The Optologic DAC
Our pure R2R Ladder Optologic DAC, fully-floating (isolated) FPGA-based DAC
The Formula DAC is the first in aqua’s history to implement a proprietary resistor ladder conversion system, the Optologic DAC.
The signals sent to the resistor ladders are generated by a proprietary digital circuit, programmed inside a FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array).
The Optologic D/A conversion system has a sign-magnitude converter structure which requires not two but four 24-bit resistor banks; each one made with low tolerance discrete resistors.
In order to separate the sensitive analog circuits from the digital section, galvanic and magnetic isolation is implemented between the FPGA, and four branches of the R2R ladder converter.
This achieves complete isolation of the entire digital circuit - including clock - from the analogue section resulting in a clean, noiseless, ground plane.
It also serves a critical role in the differential management of the R2R ladders, creating perfect symmetry between the counter-phase halves. The result is the highest tonal contrast and naturalness.
Innovation through Technologies
The absence of digital filtering means no processing of the input signal. The original digital samples are translated to the reproduced sound, preserving the transient shape and avoiding any ringing.
In this way we also avoid the "intersample overs" problem that is vital to faithful reproduction, considering current recording studio practices.
With our R2R conversion technology the sound is natural, fast, dynamic, and without the sense of compression characterizing others converters. We could say that our effort at aqua is to obtain a sonic result comparable to that produced by a studio master reel-to-reel recorder.
For aqua being able to reproduce the precise temporal response, dynamics and harmony of sound far outweighs technical measurements. After all, achieving "analog sound" is what matters most.
We are continuously experimenting and open to new discoveries which is why our machines are modular and upgradable to accommodate future technology.