Linear Tube Audio Aero DAC

I would be extremely interested in how this sounds once released. Small write-up below from PTA below which can be found here:

I was on the hunt for the new Linear Tube Audio Aero DAC ($3,600) on CAF Day One and spoke with founder Mark Schneider. Mark explained that they really hadn’t intended on designing a DAC, but fate, technology, and a key supporting cast presented itself. With a steep learning curve, outside help, and alignment of the universe the Aero DAC was born. This R2R ladder DAC uses the ZOTL output stage, zero negative feedback, and isolated power rails. I’ll report more on how this reasonably priced tube DAC sounds in the Day 2 show report once I track it down.


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@cetla416 I had modified my Orchid as well but when (thanks to @decooney ) I compared it to the Schiit Bifrost 2/64, I realized how much detail I was missing. This was not just a matter of a certain kind of tonality ("clear" or "shimmery" or "brighter") but rather one where the non-tube DAC actually was revealing notes and instruments I didn’t know where in the recording.

Of course, there are various views on this -- a lot depends on the actual DAC, how well it’s designed, parts quality, etc.

For me, this member comment ultimately rang the most true:


The question was, do tube dacs make sense, not can I buy a dac with a tube to distort the sound to my liking. The whole engineering concept of a DAC is to convert the digital to analog as precise without distortion as possible. From that perspective adding tubes and other filters to mess with the output makes no sense. If you want colorations, to me it makes more sense to buy a transparent dac for $200 and do the signal degradation with preamps or amps or EQ. It’s cheaper and in the OPs case it makes even less sense he’s already using a tube preamp

This is the direction I went. In short, I want my sources to provide the maximum amount of neutral information and I’ll season further on in the chain.

+1 @hilde45 Very well stated. In a similar vein I’ve also found I want my best and least colored cables more toward my source components and do more “shaping” of the sound more downstream. Like Linn says (heavily paraphrased), you can’t replace what’s not there in the first place. Makes sense to me.

+2, @hilde45  one of the prime reason for me to not consider a tube DAC upstream. It’s a matter of choice as to how one choose to fine tune their system sound to their preferences. I always thought, a tube preamp is probably an appropriate place to add coloration, if at all. 

@hilde45 @soix @lalitk  I conquer with your assessments. 

m I always thought, a tube preamp is probably an appropriate place to add coloration, if at all. 

Just recently I replaced my Tubadour dac with a solid-state dac.Comparing them directly there was a little more detail but I could have remained happy with the Tubadour. I kept the Denafrips simply because already having tubed pre and amp it was one less pair of tubes to fuss over. The front end will remain stable and it is a  feeling of relief, if that makes sense.After needing to replace my transport I was motivated to try a new dac.The Jays transport was huge upgrade, more so than the dac.

I like LTA products and will be interested in how owners feel about the dac.