Quad Link D-1 DAC

The packaging, admittedly, looks quite impressive. But, as it turns out, the lion's share of the box is taken by the polyethylene foam tray, and the device itself is very tiny. However, it is very solidly made. The specialists of the British company Quad have put it in a solid enclosure made of metal with a single button on the top panel (it's responsible for powering on) and several sockets on the back. The only one of them is a USB connector type B. And what can be mistaken for optical and coaxial inputs are actually outputs. That's such an unusual functionality of Link D-1 - we also get a bridge from PC to audio system components with a standard set of digital inputs. Of course, the device is also able to work as an independent USB DAC. We can remove analog signal from the RCA stereo line pair.

The Link D-1 is powered by a tiny five-volt adapter. However, there are LED indicators on the front panel of the converter that show the sampling rate of the incoming digital stream. It turns out that the converter path is capable of receiving data via USB with a sampling rate up to 192 kHz, whereas most similar DACs only work up to 96 kHz. The bit-rate of the path is 24-bit, it is implemented on Crystal CS4398 chip. The class of the development can be judged only by indirect signs - technical data. The nominal signal amplitude on the line output is 2,2V, output impedance is only 100 ohms, dynamic range is over 110dB. As you can see, the analog part is like a CD player of quite high class.

The "British" doesn't seem to have any obvious undertones, but the sound has a somewhat artificial flavor. The scene is three-dimensional, quite clear and stable, but with small spatial flaws. What is more, it lacks fine nuances in the middle register, and it is exactly the tract's problem - the same uninformative sounding features were revealed while playing 24-bit Studio Master class files.

But the little Quad Link D-1 turned out to be quite strong on the dynamic side. It transmits the attack well, doesn't slow down the drums, and doesn't soften the dynamic contrasts. The lower register is full of energy, the lowest bass is confidently supported, the strong "infra" is felt. And at the other end of the spectrum everything is good. The upper register is clean and rich, no traces of compression or softening of the dynamic pattern are felt. In general, in the formal system of coordinates "frequency - dynamics" Quad Link D-1 is absolutely fine with the ranges.

Quad Link D-1 DAC photo
Tags: Quad, DAC, Quad DAC