North Star Model 192 DAC with Empirical Audio Turbomods.
This Northstar DAC is in great working condition. I have conservatively rated it a “7” because the top front edge of the aluminum faceplate is not perfectly smooth due to some “micro-dings”, mainly on the left side of the front edge. These are hard to see, but you can feel them if you run your fingers along it. I paid $900 to have Empirical Audio modify the DAC with its TurboMod, which transformed the DAC’s performance. The DAC itself listed for $2,500 when new, so the total package was therefore worth $3,400 new.
A unique feature of this DAC is that, at the push of a button, you can have the output upsampled to 192 mHz. This allows the filtering that is always required in a DAC to be set at a much higher frequency, far out of the audible frequency range, where it has minimal effect on the sound.
This DAC allows 5 different digital inputs of 4 types (see list below), allowing you to connect a variety of sources. One of these is an I2S input using an RJ45 connector. I2S is the data format that must be delivered to the DAC chip inside the unit. Use of the I2S input avoids the necessity of having the DAC convert an S/PDIF signal to I2S, thus avoiding the added jitter that may be associated with that conversion. This provides clearer sound. Now, this requires a CD transport or USB-to-I2S converter that can send I2S over a properly wired cable with RJ45 connectors. Empirical Audio makes such a converter, called the Off-Ramp, which takes USB audio input from a computer and outputs I2S through a cable with the appropriate connectors. Also, Northstar made a transport, the Model 192 Transport, that outputs an I2S signal.
Please note that I am also offering for sale (in a separate listing) a Revelation Audio Labs I2S cable that can connect an Off-Ramp with this DAC.
I am selling this DAC because I have upgraded to a Bricasti Design M1 DAC.
Ships in original packaging.
Included in the box:
- Northstar 192 DAC with Empirical Audio TurboMods
- User Manual
- Power cable
Input signals: 32kHZ to 192kHz, with up to 24 bit depth
Dynamic Range: 120dB
S/N ratio: 117dB
Inputs: 3 S/PDIF (2 RCA coax and 1 Toslink optical), 1 AES/EBU (XLR balanced), 1 I2S (RJ45)
Output Sockets: Gold plated RCA posts
Mains/Power Consumption: 230/115V 50/60Hz 15VA
Chassis size: 43.3 x 17 x 5 cm or 17 x 6.7 x 1.95 in
Weight (with envelope): 5.4 Kg – 11.9 lbs