Antelope Zodiac Platinum

This DAC supports DSD

up to DSD128 Natively over USB and it up-samples DSD64 and DSD128 up to DSD256. It also supports 384khz PCM and up-samples lower rates to that value. What is the advantage of up-sampling? All digital must be filtered. If not the high-frequency noise would sound objectionable and could even damage speakers. CD at 44.1khz, originally had digital brick-wall filters applied to cut off this objectionable noise. The effect of these filters was so severe it made early CD sound hard and “glassy”. It also meant that CD’s could not present the fine details and ambience of the recording venue; something that vinyl excels at. By up-sampling to a higher rate much gentler filters can be used. The filtration also takes place at frequencies much further above the human hearing threshold. The result? A much more lifelike sound with all those fine details and ambience retrieval intact.

For DSD the same problem occurs. The high frequency noise from DSD is usually filtered using analogue filters. This caused DSD to sound a little soft or to some ears “analogue” sounding. In the Platinum DAC Antelope applied their own proprietary digital filter for DSD. A lot of SACD’s were released at the 64 DSD rate from analogue or digital PCM masters. By first up-sampling these to 256 then applying their digital filter Antelope gets us far closer to the full potential of these recordings. They sound more “modern” to these ears. Recordings originally mastered in native DSD sound even better. When more 128 DSD and DXD at 352khz native PCM files become available, you will be ready with this DAC.

This DAC also functions as a pre-amp with fine adjustment analogue volume control. There are more connectivity options than I’ve seen on any DAC. (See rear panel photo). The up-sampling feature of the DAC can be turned off, if you prefer to do this in software ahead of the DAC. This and all other functions can also be controlled from a software control panel under Mac or Windows, which is terrifically convenient. The separate Voltikus regulated analogue power supply is standard with this model. Price is €5000 TTC.

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