Begin typing your search above and press return to search. Press Esc to cancel.

Ideon Absolute ε digital converter

The numbers game steps up a bit as you move through the DAC’s features; the balanced output stage has four output channels (again each with its own dedicated power supply) with no capacitors in the signal path. This again is one of the key areas that has seen upgrades in the move from Absolute to Absolute ε; Ideon has redesigned these symmetrical circuits to feature equally symmetrical, low noise, independent power supplies.

This brings the power supply count to 17 individually regulated stages throughout the converter, all fed from a high-grade, ultra-low-noise power supply that features two custom-made transformers designed to handle three times the current draw of the Absolute ε. Each regulator is built to incredibly high tolerances, and the power supply bristles with 80 high-grade Elna capacitors. All of which makes the DAC a top-class design, and not easy or cheap to make. Ideon claims the Absolute ε is future-proofed for the next 10 years, but as my TARDIS needs recharging, I’m unable to verify that statement.

 The DAC’s connections are extremely simple by today’s standards, with no Ethernet, HDMI or anything apart from S/PDIF, AES/EBU and USB. However, the USB receiver is a state-of-the-art combination of the ESS USB input chip and Thessycon’s drivers made for Ideon to offer the best possible sound and support also up to 8x DSD. This is no off-the-shelf receiver; ESS has produced custom code and configured it specifically for Ideon. The DAC outputs to both balanced and single ended amplifiers. However, instead of sparking comments that include the word ‘rudimentary’ connectivity, the Absolute ε invites interesting philosophical asides about what else is needed on a DAC. Of course, it’s not as if Greece has anything to do with philosophy…

The front panel is surprisingly user-friendly for a DAC with a nice big dial to switch inputs and an equally large display showing input and sampling frequency. It does display ‘kHz’ as ‘Khz’ (although this will change soon). The display also switches to dB (this time displayed correctly) when the large central dial is used to access the digital volume control, and the display is useful when setting up the DAC, because there’s a choice of seven filter settings, settings for an IIR filter (47.44kHz is the default), lock speed (the number of audio samples the DAC ‘sees’ before deploying its digital phase-locked loop; which is useful in working with the Sabre chip’s jitter-reduction algorithm, as well as dithering, jitter elimination, and de-emphasis, all of which can be enabled or defeated.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

Tags: DIGITAL CONVERTER IDEON ABSOLUTE ε

Read Next From Review

See all
Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc Isolator feet
REVIEW

Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc Isolator feet

Feet don't fail me now! Clever isolation feet from Franc Audio use ceramic to isolate your components from the world entire, according to Jason Kennedy.

Davone Meander all-in-one system
REVIEW

Davone Meander all-in-one system

Classic Scandinavian design and clever, innovative all-in-one streaming technology... what's not to like?

Thales TTT-Slim II, Simplicity II, X-quisite CA turntable, arm and cartridge
REVIEW

Thales TTT-Slim II, Simplicity II, X-quisite CA turntable, arm and cartridge

With a battery-driven turntable and clever tracking pivoted arm, Swiss turntable brand Thales is one of the hidden treasures of audio.

PrimaLuna Evo 400 integrated amplifier
REVIEW

PrimaLuna Evo 400 integrated amplifier

PrimaLuna represents a fine mix of high-end audio and pure-valve performance without stratospheric pricing, but does the top integrated amp in the company's popular EVO line cut the musical mustard?

Sign Up To Our Newsletter