In preferring vinyl and tubes, Audio Note is not alone in the wider audio world.
It’s in the area of digital technology our company differs from the mainstream – and radically too. As owner of what is probably among the world’s largest private record collections, Audio Note UK's Peter Qvortrup might appear an unlikely champion of Red Book CD. But champion he is, spending big R&D money in an effort to make CD deliver similar musical satisfaction to vinyl.
The work led Audio Note to pioneer a fundamentally different approach to D/A conversion than that taken by the rest of the industry, rejecting oversampling and digital filtering in favour of an architecture that takes the native data stream, converts it to analogue, then passes it through a simple filter.
The resulting output, as we readily admit, measures horribly on a spectrum analyser. And yet, and yet…it sounds glorious – natural, organic, with none of the brittle edginess that leaves so many audiophiles deeply dissatisfied with digital sources.
Extensive research into the fundamental properties of the data stream itself have shown beyond doubt that regardless of the theoretical and measurable advantages of the signal manipulation employed in all currently available digital products, such as higher over sampling, noise shaping, re-clocking or jitter reduction. All these corrective measures greatly interfere with the critical time domain requirements of the signal, based as current theory is, on an assumption that music is similar to book keeping data which off course it is not.
Music is a time continuum from start to end, which when broken is irreparably damaged and no amount of clever manipulation can ever restore it to its original time-frequency-amplitude duration or relationship, regardless of what the theorists may tell you.
As a result we have developed a way of excluding or bypassing all these corrective measures, to allow the conversion from digital to analogue to be done without any manipulation whatsoever. All we do is to reformat the data stream to allow the converter chip to be able to interpolate the in coming information properly.
In other words, our DA Converters use no over sampling, no jitter reduction, no noise shaping and no re-clocking. Having removed all the digital filtering that is part of the over sampling, all filtering our DAC's are done in the analogue domain where is appears to be easier to retain good wide band phase-frequency and dynamically coherent behaviour than in the digital domain.
The result is that we can represent the best possible digital replay in the world. The result closely resembles that what is possible from our top analogue setups.