Massdrop x Airist Audio R-2R DACsearch

Massdrop x Airist Audio R-2R DAC

Massdrop x Airist Audio R-2R DAC

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Stickied
Torq https://www.head-fi.org/threads/massdrop-x-airist-audio-r-2r-dac-a-discrete-resistor-ladder-dac-for-350.881315/#post-14282867 “The TL;DR here is simply that the RDAC sounds marvelous. The signature is one of general neutrality with a touch of sweetness to the midrange and upper registers, and a distinctly 'pristine' quality/clarity to the sound. Overall presentation is open with a good sense of air but is neither lacking, nor carrying too much, tonal weight/density. The RDAC’s rendering is fluid, articulate, nuanced, and well balanced—capable of excellent top-end delicacy while simultaneously plumbing a tuneful, driving bassline and keeping vocals present and lucid.” Head-Fi.org, SuperBestAudioFriends.org, Headphone.com
Stickied
Hans030390/Hands http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/massdrop-rdac-airist-audio-r2-r-dac.6415/#post-210078 “The RDAC has a nice, full, powerful low end with good extension. The midrange is liquid and free of congestion. The treble is on the softer side of things but has an effortless, clear quality to it, even if some of the overall details seem to not pop as much as they should. Unless you are opposed to this warmer tone and liquid but very slightly soft timbre, it should just flow with ease in listening. It also has a nice sense of swing and micro-dynamics to it. It’s nimble and grooves nicely despite its warmer, softer leanings. It’s never boring, veiled, or smothering.” SuperBestAudioFriends.org, InnerFidelity.com, Head-Fi.org
CEE_TEE
"liquid," "effortless," "timbre," "nimble," "smothering," "congestion," "warmer," "softer," "veiled,"........
If I took a shot for every audiofool term written in that "review," I'd be in the hospital.
Stickied
Hey Friends, Here’s a summary of the top questions and answers from our pre-launch discussion. This covers the most frequently-visited topics from the first couple of hundred discussion posts. Q: What is R-2R and why do I care? A: A different way to process digital to analog conversion, which many audiophiles prefer for it’s characteristic “sweetness”. Q: Is this different from the Schiit Audio Multi-Bit DACs? A: Different species, same family. The Multibit DACs use chips with integrated resistor ladders. The RDAC uses discrete resistor ladders. Q: Is the RDAC a copy of the Hibiki DAC? A: No, the top PCB of the RDAC has a similar layout, but these projects are unrelated, read more about RDAC development here: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-airist-audio-r-2r-dac/talk/2100186 Q: Why use discrete resistors instead of a resistor array? A: Integrated resistor arrays are not inherently better or worse than discrete resistors. In the context of the RDAC, the price point made it unrealistic to source sufficiently wide and precise integrated arrays. Q: What are the main differences between the RDAC and other popular R-2R implementations? A: We've pared it down to the core elements that make R-2R DACs sound great, focusing on a discrete ladder implementation over the more popular integrated implementation. Q: Does this DAC “upsample” it’s input? Is it “NOS”? A: The RDAC up-samples the input but the digital-to-analog conversion does not oversample. Thus, it can be considered a “no-oversampling” DAC even though there is “upsampling” at the digital inputs (with an FIR filter to reduce noise through input processing before D-to-A conversion). Thanks for your interest in this product and don’t hesitate to join the discussion below!
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That’s actually a brilliant idea. Network and Bluetooth streamer, along with a fully featured R2R DAC below that. The hard part is the UI and capabilities of the OS but that would be a truly unique product at that price range even if doubled in cost.
Will
Hi Will MarcSpence above has an interesting question about UBS3 to Lighting interface. Perhaps you might reply?
Thanks
Stickied
Hey Friends, I was hoping to avoid making another post on this topic, but given sosolar’s most recent posts, I feel it’s necessary to summarize and clarify the statements and claims made. Sosolar surfaced in the Massdrop RDAC discussion at the beginning of the week, claiming the RDAC was a copy of his Hibiki project. A lot of people got excited by this, maybe not understanding all the details, but seeing the layouts of the PCBs looked the same, and accepting that as proof of sosolar’s claims. Seeing that post, we (Massdrop) were surprised to see the similarities as well. We were unfamiliar with the hibiki DAC, and we didn’t play a role in the development of that top PCB, so we reached out to William at Airist. He let us know he wasn’t familiar with the project either, and was reaching out to his engineering manager to get more information (thus the post from William explaining reference designs and saying he was unfamiliar with the hibiki DAC). At this stage, we needed to get details from the engineering manager and the contract engineers he hired to work on this project. The layouts looked the same as the RDAC, but the arrangement of some parts was different, and the spacing between parts was also different. That’s all we knew at the time. Sosolar continued to feed the discussion, making further claims, and posting details of his project on various discussion boards, talking about releasing a product and gathering feedback. At this point, I had already provided my contact information as a direct response to his comment on our discussion, and received no response. While this was happening, we were able to speak with the engineering manager from Airist and his contract engineer. The engineer explained his process; initially he was provided with a set of specifications, a mandate for a ladder arrangement that would meet the specs of William’s overall design (the top PCB represents ~25% of the overall RDAC design). Given that mandate, he began searching for reference material, and discovered this reference design posted for free use (says that on the post) in 2014: http://bbs.hifidiy.net/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=994769 From the basis of this reference design, he looked for examples of layouts that could provide a good baseline, while allowing him to build the underlying structure to serve the purpose of William’s design. Important note here, PCBs have multiple layers, the top board of the RDAC has four. The top layer is where components are positioned, but the content of the other layers determine how those components interact. At this point, the engineer found the Hibiki DAC, and while the same configuration of parts wouldn’t yield the desired result, the general layout would work for this project, so he used it as a reference and creating the RDAC top PCB layout. This is why it looks the same, and why we subsequently posted as much in our discussion. My wording could have been more direct, but it’s not an exact copy, so “inspired by” seemed like the best option, but ultimately it was more confusing than clarifying. The position of parts is nearly the same, but sosolar continued to post, accusing Airist’s team of reverse engineering the board, which isn’t the case. From there, still having received no contact from sosolar, I reached out to the email address associated with his Massdrop account, explaining that I’d like to understand exactly what he’s saying, and to understand more about the Hibiki project in general. Now I want to pause here, and make clear an important understanding in professional communication. Emails are intended for the specified recipients, and it’s bad form to break that trust. I won’t be posting screenshots or exact wording from his message, but following sosolar’s most recent posts I feel it’s important to share some of the general themes in our communication. He responded to my messaging with a development timeline for the Hibiki DAC, starting in June 2015 and ending in July 2016, and demanded that we post a comparable timeline for RDAC development. His timeline had great detail, with lots of links to posts and things of that nature, which makes sense given the Hibiki was developed publicly, with sosolar sharing details with the hifidiy.net community. It’d be nice if posting a timeline would answer the questions at hand, but the RDAC development was private, there are no public posts to verify the statement. Given the many responses from people saying they didn’t believe our previous statements, I didn’t think an unverifiable timeline would answer questions for anybody. The most important part of Sosolar’s response, was around some parts in the design he said were unnecessary, essentially saying they were stylistic choices on his part, that wouldn’t exist on another board unless the functionality was being copied through a reverse engineering service. All of these parts which are unnecessary for the HIbiki, but are critical to the function of the RDAC. We answered all of Sosolar’s questions directly, here is the explanation we provided for each of the sections sosolar called out: For the op amps: The op amps on the RDAC top board are not just buffers, they are necessary for the operation of a sign-magnitude ladder. The output from a network of so many resistors is very weak, so we have to bring that signal strength up or else further processing will drown it in noise. These op amps do that amplifying, merge the outputs from the positive and negative ladders into one output waveform, and filter out the switching artifacts. For the large transistors: Because the R-2R ladder is basically a 48 resistor network on each side, you need a fair amount of current to actually drive the whole thing, not to mention extra overhead. For the logic switches: These are the same switches used in the open source schematic posted in 2014, and that is how the engineer picked this part. Sosolar’s response to this message said that he was waiting for us to post the timeline, followed by a sentence that I think was trying to suggest he wasn’t accusing Airist of reverse engineering and copying the DAC design, but the layout alone (not trying to knock his english, I don’t write a character of chinese, but I couldn’t understand his wording) which would be a change from his previous statements, but I can’t be sure. Hopefully we can talk about this on the phone where mandarin/cantonese speaking team members can remove the language barrier in this technical discussion. I responded to his message early this morning, hoping to catch him still awake so we could have a call, and in that email I proposed a solution that would give clarity to the community. We could both provide our gerber files to an unbiased third party (I suggested the new editor of IF, guy has no skin in this, and I’ve been asking folks for his contact info today in an effort to reach out and see if he could do this), they can examine the files and tell the community if the RDAC top pcb is a copy of the Hibiki pcb. I haven’t received a response from sosolar, but it’ll be morning in China soon, so hopefully sosolar is game for what seems like a pretty amenable situation. TL;DR Overall the layout of parts on the hibiki DAC and the top board of the RDAC are nearly the same. Neither Massdrop or William Tse of Airist was aware of the Hibiki DAC before sosolar’s post on Massdrop. The layout is not 1:1, but it’s clearly close enough where folks feel it’s essentially 1:1. We’ve explained how the hibiki layout was used by Airist’s contract engineer, and hats off to sosolar for creating a layout that works for the RDAC’s execution needs. If he had interest in compensation for this, he has plenty of avenues available to express that, as it stands, it seems he’s more interested in posting about the balanced hibiki he’s releasing this August. The similarities end at that top layer, and we’re glad to provide RDAC files for verification by an unbiased third party. We’re doing everything we can to resolve this amicably, and we’ll keep trying, hopefully sosolar will engage with us.
Original Post: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/massdrop-x-airist-audio-r-2r-dac-a-discrete-resistor-ladder-dac-for-350.881315/page-12#post-14294445
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Will
I would like to respond as an "average" consumer in this product category with strong rational capability, low average for expertise in the technical parts of this discussion, but also trying to inject a significant element of common sense. In general, I absolutely support the value of integrity and respect for what people produce through their own talents and effort, but I think the engineers and experts here are getting too intense and overreaching with their arguments about the legitimacy of this Airist product. I think those of you in this group need to back away from your slide-rules, drop the condescending attitudes about your moral "high ground" and stop acting like this is a "case closed" ethical determination based on "appearing to be" an exact copy of sosolar work/product. You are only presenting a personal philosophy with no legal, objective determination... and you are absolutely entitled to that attitude for yourself and even to discuss that this is your reason....but it is no different than stating that you won't buy products made in China (for whatever reason).
This is completely different than where people manufacture products to take advantage of another's reputation, brand or market by claiming their appearance without delivering the performance and selling at a price to skim the market. As I understand this product, the source is a long-term technology with a generally available template and with numerous entities looking to produce their vision of a product that uses the techniques and factors of the technology. The only way to protect "proprietary" development is with a patent! I get that it is expensive and hard to justify, but otherwise there is no claim to "ownership". Period, End game.
Now, if you engineers or others with more of your life force invested in the deep places of this business want to have your own personal calculations and philosophies to determine what is "best" for you - then you should use those to decide - for you. Otherwise, it seems to me that Airist (in their determination) have just built a better mousetrap and are presenting it in their own right for customers to decide with no interest in relating their product to what sosolar did or didn't do to create their separate product. I wish you technical experts, who I respect your objective knowledge and information, would concentrate on specific analysis of performance items and not provide so much "color commentary" which is diminishing your potential contribution and making you seem spiteful and full of agenda in your discussions. It actually makes me greatly discount any of your (hopefully) legitimate input.
Thanks for your consideration.
DavidLonghorn
+1 Could the armchair lawyers move on if your not interested in a purchase so those that are can get back to discussion of the unit itself? I'm sure sosolar is a big boy, and can handled his own matters without the internet 2 cents machine.
Stickied
UPDATE FOR THE JUNE 2018 DROP Hi everyone, Production is well underway for the Massdrop x Airist Audio R-2R DAC. Quality control and cleaning of the first batch has almost completed and packaging is due to begin this week. We’re happy to share that we’re on track to meet the estimated ship date of December 18. We’ll be back with another update closer to the ship date.
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JaleesaG
Bullshit! I just got an email that it is postponed until May 2019 :/
Hutmacher
Sighhhh 😑
Stickied
Hello Everyone, We have an update on the Massdrop x Airist R-2R DAC (RDAC). We are really excited to get them into your hands, systems, and ears. Developing and delivering the best product possible is of utmost importance to us. Unfortunately, in final QA, we determined it did not meet our standards. As such, delivery time will be impacted. We are working as quickly as possible to update the RDACs, making sure they are nothing but amazing. We are currently anticipating delivery in May 2019. We know that you have waited a long time to receive your RDAC and we really appreciate your patience. As a token of our gratitude, we have added a $25 credit to your Massdrop account. It will remain active for a year, and will automatically apply as a discount at your next checkout. If you choose to opt out of waiting, you are welcome to cancel your order from your transaction page. Thank you for your enthusiasm around the RDAC. Stay posted for more information as we continue the development process. We very much look forward to you enjoying this product!
(Edited)
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You are very likely right... just kill this Hibiki whole tangent... dead,, and it will have to be an improvement,, or an unquestionable = equal in performance R-2R engine... hard to do in this biz... so it would pitch as "we gave you better", incremental is good. Enough though still,, I'm giving credit where credit is due; Neanderthals - a much maligned and misunderstood group of peaceful people, the basis of R-2R DAC, the ladder: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-thx-aaa-789-linear-amplifier/talk/1986531 For those of you waiting to hear R-2R, it is worth it...
(Edited)
The Q/A just got e-mailed out today. Interesting questions everyone had I must say.
Soooo, is this still happening? I mean I'll wait as long as I have to for one of these (the only product that has had me sign up for Massdrop). It seems very promising.
When are you dropping this again dear Massdrop.... X*(
Is this going to be dropped again like the THX AAA amp? I really hope so.
miketheconsumer
If it does it will be awhile due to the delay on the first drop of this unit being delayed to May 2019 potentially. There is a second drop that was completed with a ship date estimate of 2 months after the first drop.
Hi guys , just a quick question ... I was planning to use the Airist Dac with the THX 789 on RCA passthrough, to two W4S SX1000R monoblocks but I have just realized there is no volume knob or remote, so I wonder if it would be ok to command all the volume chain from the Mac book Pro ?... any thoughts ?
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interesting. the ADI 2 seems a curious choice; what led you to it? what do you find in comparison to the smsl?
Motorrad
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First of all, I read the manual, and was blown away by the absolute love from the RME people to provide something great at a fair price, packed with a lot of useful features !! that sold me in the first place. Besides that, the Adi 2 DAC has also some features that really help me with the W4S mono amps, the THX and my headphones... among others .. Independent settings for line out, HP out, and IEM out for volume, crossfeed, etc. the volume control is exactly what I was looking for too ..
(Edited)
Did anyone actually cancel their order? I am thinking to get topping dx7s. Getting error while cancelling.
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ridhuankim
Me too..... or both!
I’m an instant buy as soon as you reopen it. If enough people drop out can I take one of their slots?
@CEE_TEE Since I already sold my Peachtree Itx Dac making space for the R2R Dac a while ago and now that this is delayed, can you drop the Grace SDac Balanced version pretty soon(with next day shipping)? If you have limited stock, maybe you can give priority to those existing R2R buyers first. I would certainly get one if you drop it now.
(Edited)
ridhuankim
Hi ridhuankim, We're still working on the first SDAC-B units too, very sorry for the delays on the DACs!
7 weeks ago it was informed that shipping will commence in that week meaning the QC had already passed. Now the 6 months delay is like a new production from scratch which makes me think that the R2R PCB schematics layout has to be reworked because it was informed that it was a cosmetic issue. Outer case may not be the problem as that might have been done much earlier. So am I right to assume the RDAC issue (with sosolar) is not yet over? If it was really some cosmetic issue on the outer casing, I think MD would have mentioned it up front and may not take another 6 months delay. MD, would appreciate if you could be more transparent and tell us why a cosmetic would require so much delay so we can stop guessing.
(Edited)
There goes that Christmas present. What a PITA. I think I will cancel, and spend a little more and get a Chord Mojo. At least they are available.
vkennedy61
Thinking about cancelling as well.. They are probaly gonna be in stock at some point anyway like a lot of the other gear. Edit: I'm gonna wait this out, love my other massdrop products to much to cancel this very promising product!
(Edited)
I just received an email of delay till May 2019! What’s with the quality issue of the units which are supposed to be delivered in Dec? Can we have some explanation here? While I appreciate the goodwill of offer made in the email and the option to cancel, I will appreciate some clarity, so that I can decide if it is worthwhile for me to wait another 6 months for you to sort out the quality issue.
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6 months for a "cosmetic issue" seems rather ridiculous.... we waited 6 months now for full production. The issue that was not specified to us was that severe it warrants a full rebuild?
Does this have anything to do with the change to the USB port from micro to type-B? Because I was fine with micro USB....
Delays suck but it's better to ensure the end result is a good quality product. Making something new is hard, I'm (pleasantly) surprised delays don't happen more often with the Massdrop collaboration projects.
loadexfa
What you state is, IMO, words of wisdom and logical reasoning that comes from a sound mind. But for the rest of us it was supposed to be a Xmas present, and for me the end-game purchase. So if you don't mind I'll go sulk for the next sixth months.
(Edited)
Jiv_au
Haha, yeah, I understand. I hope they're overestimating the new ship date but that won't solve the issue of gift giving.
So sad, I just got an email that it is postponed until May 2019 :/ And I just sold some other gear, because you been telling this was on time, now I have to buy a substitute to have for at least 5 month. Then sell that gear with loss!! Not happy atm! :/ Edit: I'm gonna wait this out, love my other massdrop products to much to cancel this very promising product!
(Edited)
May 2019?!
aayler
I just got an email that it is postponed until May 2019 :/
aayler
was this confirmed?
I'm also scheduled for December, so I sure hope they can deliver more or less around the 18th. Excited to pair this with my Cavalli hybrid amp.
Wick
I just got an email that it is postponed until May 2019 :/
Hutmacher
Yup, I just got the same one. Didn't meet their standards etc. I had a feeling this was going to happen. Disappointing.
Been quiet on the RDAC front lately. Hoping this is still on schedule... now that cooler heads have prevailed?
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Yeah got it too. I hope this QA issue gets fixed. I was really looking forward to getting mine installed in the living room for some speaker listening!
PopZeus
Yeah was really looking forward to this! Ofc this is better than shipping out bad products, but come on, so close to shipping day? I just sold some gear the other day, because everything seemed on time here. Now I can't use one of my systems :/ Don't know what to do, just wait it out, buy something for this period, cancel and buy something serious bla bla bla :/ Edit: I'm gonna wait this out, love my other massdrop products to much to cancel this very promising product!
(Edited)
Does anyone if the USB port has been confirmed changed from micro USB to USB-B? There was discussion of it when the first drop came around, but I never heard confirmation.
yoman960
If you dig realllllyyyyyy deep you can find Cee_Tee confirming a change to USB-B..... however I am skeptical since that was before the second drop occurred and pictures were not updated to show this when the second drop occurred. This "change" will definitely be watched by many to see if it was added or not.
Exactly 7 days/1 Week left until the long awaited expected ship date is reached! Idk how everyone else but I am ready for a new listening experience. @JaleesaG @CEE_TEE Will the ship date be met? I am eager to try mine out so I can retire my Asus Xonar Essense
roarWolfy
I just got an email that it is postponed until May 2019 :/
Is December 18th still good for the first drop ship date of the Airist R2R DAC? I'm confused with the discussion post stating Feb 2019 as a ship date. What is the latest on this?
(Edited)
Audiopro
There was a second drop which has a Feb 2019 ship date. So first drop ships Dec 2018, Second Drops ships Feb 2019
I'm wondering if this RDAC - Hibiki thing has been sorted yet. As far as I can tell from this venue and head-fi the whole discussion has gone to sleep. Is there any reason to be concerned about the RDAC actually being shipped?
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They have been copying and stealing designs for ages and noone can do anything about it.
omniweltall
European countries and the US have a level of reciprocal respect for patents and ip. Asian countries for the most part DGAFF, a patent is a recipe, a picture is a blueprint etc. I saw it first hand working in Japan, and it goes on today, if they have no intent of marketing it out of country... party time, copy at will. China has recently accelerated copying, I believe in the knowledge that a clamp-down is imminent, effective,, no... but troublesome for them, makes copying a tad more work.
(Edited)
John Grandberg/project86 https://www.head-fi.org/threads/massdrop-x-airist-audio-r-2r-dac-a-discrete-resistor-ladder-dac-for-350.881315/#post-14282853 “Massdrop’s Airist R-2R DAC offers massive performance at a relatively low price ... It focuses on the fundamentals and makes beautiful, natural sound, much the same way my favorite vintage R-2R DACs did ... For offering a musically satisfying performance, with amazingly pure treble and accurate imaging, the Massdrop Airist R-2R DAC is a clear winner. Factor in the ability to upgrade it to an almost shockingly high level of performance, and you can see why it earns a very strong recommendation.” Head-Fi.org, InnerFidelity.com, Darko.Audio
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Do you really believe what you wrote - " I do think that guilt by association is also sometimes valid "
You cannot taint the others on a forum for the objectionable posts of a few, unless they stand by for truly serious offences. Where online forums are concerned, barring someone seriously bullying another party, disclosing personally confidential information, or criminal behavior, and others stand by while it is done, that statement is simply patently not true. You cannot taint the others on a forum for the objectionable, but ultimately very banal, postings of a few. Of course that is different for truly serious offences, but point out one of those on this form, or ASR, or SBAF, that you would want the crowd to rise up against. You will find that a reasonable standard is a very high standard (unless you are a believer in safe places where you don't need to be confronted by those who think differently... then please go find your happy place and have a great life!!).
These are discussion forums, treat them like that, and stop believing that you are so right that others must conform to your beliefs. Have perspective. Respect what others say - debate it, but respect it. Live and let live. At worst, simply IGNORE those who bring nothing constructive to the conversation. Hint - "constructive" does not mean that they agree with you. I do not agree with you, and I suspect you do not agree with me, but I hope you see that in this post I am trying to engage you constructively and appeal to your better angels.
I look on forums across the internet and I also watch numerous news networks and what I see makes me fear for where our society is going. What happened to the basic tenet of Western Civilization and its fundamental freedoms associated with free speech, and frankly the right to be who and what you want to be - " I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it "? Think about just how fundamental that is to everything - not just the spoken or written word - that statement really implies. I will defend you, regardless of my personal opinion, because you simply have a right to be!!
While disagree completely with what you wrote, I believe you have your right to that opinion, and to express it.
jsmiller58
Guilt by association is an extremely valid concept. You choose to front a community that you partake in.
You listen to recordings all day- music on your phone, dialog on television, radio in your car, etc. With rare exception, these are digital recordings converted to an analog signal played over speakers or through your headphones. Every sound you’re hearing has been processed through a DAC, and all of those DACs are one classification of DAC called “delta sigma”. The Delta Sigma DAC was a brilliant invention because it doesn’t require many parts (making it cheap to manufacture), and it is easy to fit into circuit designs where Digital to Analog conversion is a necessity (but not the focus). This type of DAC, which colors every recording you hear, is based on a process that simplifies the signal (losing some of the detail) and then rebuilds the signal (restoring detail). Similar to freeze dried food however, the reconstituted sound isn’t exactly the same. Delta Sigma DACs change the format of the signal and create extra noise during processing which is then filtered out, you don’t get the recording exactly as it was. A second type of DAC exists, R-2R, a fundamentally different approach to digital to analog conversion. Instead of simplifying and reconstituting, this DAC maintains the detail of the recording throughout the process, at the expense of parts and space. R-2R DACs have been around since the 1980’s but the execution was historically poor, very expensive, or both. To do this style of conversion, you need dozens of very tightly toleranced resistors, and manufacturers simply couldn’t achieve those tolerances in the 1980s. R-2R makes for a better sound, but it takes so much space it requires it’s own box and precision (expensive) parts that are hard to make. It should come as no surprise that this technology was abandoned for many years. In 2016, we met William Tse of Airist Audio, and began a conversation about R-2R DACs. Our goal was to take this beneficial technology, build it into a reasonable form factor, executing a no-compromise R-2R DAC at a price that would reach the majority of our audiophile community.
Two years later, the result is the RDAC. The method used is called sign-magnitude representation. On each channel we have 2 ladders, one dedicated to the positive side of the waveform, the other for the negative side. The purpose of this is to involve a smaller number of changing bits between positive and negative, without introducing too much bias.  
Our Partner: Airist Audio Some of you know Airist Audio for their Heron 5 amplifier that has been sold here on Massdrop.   The Heron 5 was their first product and a statement that you can make a great-sounding solid state amplifier by paying attention to phase (timing) performance rather than just frequency response (bass-to-treble linearity). They had a different angle to amplification and a clear goal which they achieved.   Descriptions of the Heron 5 are never “sterile” or harsh, but warm, natural, and “involving”. The design and execution of the Heron 5 led us to ask Airist about taking on our challenge of making an entry-priced R-2R DAC with the sound and performance of much higher-cost units.They understood what we hoped to offer, had clear ideas about how to approach the design, and believe in what Massdrop is trying to do. (FYI: One of the reasons Airist Audio hasn’t yet followed up the Heron 5 with another product is because part of the team was working on tackling global health issues…turns out that similar technology is helpful in solving audio-related problems as well as tackling disease in populations. Another reason is that they were working on this challenge.)
Community Feedback/Community Validation Great gear makes your music sound the best you have ever heard it.  Or, great gear just gets out of the way and you forget about the gear and just listen to the music. We’ve gotten several RDAC units out to community members to be sure it sounds good.  We’ll get some review links up and ask them to post here. Some early prototypes were circulating as far back as 2016.  In that period of time, we have changed the inputs, the input selection switch, parts used on the PCBs, the form factor of the entire thing (to stack and look good with our amps), along with the power supply voltage & regulation.
Technical Chat William Tse of Airist Audio will have limited availability due to his current projects but will try to be online to answer questions here in discussion for a few days. We will then collect questions throughout the drop and relay the top questions to him in an additional First Purchaser Q&A after the drop ends.
While you can't change the Sigma Delta DACs that are already in your phone and all the various equipment all around you, now you have a choice that you can make for your audio system that won't cost you thousands of dollars.
This is an important launch for us, a high-level affordable separate DAC of great sound quality in a matching chassis to accompany our recent amplifier launches.  
We’re excited for pics of your stack and to read if people stay up "way too late” listening to their rigs. :)
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This is a deal breaker for me unfortunately. Maybe need to save for the Schitt.
StevePA
Yes, I am also concerned about massdrop partnering with a young company that builds amps. I have my eye on a gumby ;)
Here is a link to a quick impression I had with the Airist R-2R DAC. TLDR: I really was enamored with it! I can't wait to get my order in the mail, I mean … I really can't wait now! But it will be worth it to pair it with my Bottlehead again! https://forum.headphone.com/t/massdrop-x-airist-audio-r-2r-dac-review/1653/42?u=darthpool


What ever happened to the detailed Q&A on this that was supposed to go on after this drop ended?
@CEE_TEE @Will Any info on when/if this drop will re-open? I have the CTH, THX 789, and Balanced SDAC and would love to complete my stack with this unit.
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Thanks, this is what I figured but wanted to confirm.
Pretty please!
Yes any updates @CEE_TEE for the first production run (December) drop?? Production still on time? Any improvements or changes made to the R-2R outside the USB??