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 nice 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. This includes an I2S input using RJ45 connectors, compatible with the Empirical Audio Off-Ramps.
Three years ago I was considering buying an Empirical Audio Off-Ramp 5 (USB to S/PDID or I2S converter. At that time the Empirical Audio website listed top DACs to use with the Off-Ramp, with the PS Audio Power Wave DAC at the top of the list. I wrote to Steve Nugent, the head of Empirical Audio, asking whether I would be better off staying with the TurboModded Northstar DAC or transitioning to the Power Wave DAC. His response: "The modded Northstar is quite good. I would try the OR5 with it first, maybe using I2S." It's that good!
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