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Manley Reference DAC was produced between 1994 - 2000
Manley Reference 20 Bit Digital To Analogue Converter
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The MANLEY REFERENCE HDCD DIGlTAL TO ANALOGUE CONVERTER is a totally dual mono concept in its vacuum tube analogue and power supply sections. The GOLD plated digital board features TWO custom built fully differential 20 bit ULTRAANALOG converter units combined with the ULTRAANALOG AES-21 monolithic jitter reduction circuitry plus the Pacific Microsonics HDCD decoder / processor and filter unit. Besides decoding HDCD recordings to their fullest potential, we proved by careful listening and measurement that Dr. Keith Johnson's input filter design provided superior resolution on all available digital material.Jitter content is lower than 20 picoseconds peak-to-peak (8 picoseconds RMS) with a -14dB, 1K input over most of the audio range. After numerous listening tests, and much feedback from existing clients we developed a special topology for the vacuum tube analogue line amplifier: a fully differential input circuitry driving our favorite high current totem pole output stage. Both single-ended capacitor coupled unbalanced outputs and balanced transformer coupled outputs are provided.

In the final analysis this combination of leading edge technology and design delivers what we set out to achieve: a truly musical converter that sounds like the best of analogue with complete freedom from annoying digital artifacts.

It came in "Manley Blue" too.

In the January 1997 issue of AUDIO, esteemed reviewer Bascom H. King wrote: "My initial, continuing, and final impression of the Reference was that it is one of the best D/A converters I have ever had in my system... Imaging was wide and deep, with a great sense of air and space. Definition and detail were outstanding, yet sonic irritation was low. Tonal balance over the whole frequency range was natural, with good weight in the lower midrange that's so often lacking in other D/A converters. Bass was deep, powerful, and tuneful. But more important than the Manley's individual sonic attributes was the overall manner in which it conveyed the music."

Frequency response graph



Get the owner's manual for the Manley Reference DAC PDF.


Features & Specifications

Manley Reference DAC

  • Fully Dual Mono design
  • 2 custom 20 Bit ULTRAANALOG converters
  • ULTRAANALOG AES 21 anti-jitter receiver
  • PACIFIC MICR0S0NICS HDCD processor
  • Pure triode Vacuum tube high current output stage
  • 2 x 5751, 2 x 7044 or 5687
  • 19 separate power supplies
  • Proprietary anti-alias filter
  • Precision Stepped Attenuator allows for system matching and direct feeds to power amps.
  • PHASE / POLARITY switch
  • ADD DITHER switch
  • 3 x SPDIF unbalanced 75 Ohm inputs
  • 3 x AES / EBU balanced 110 Ohm inputs
  • ST (AT&T) glass fiber OPTlCAL lNPUT
  • Unbalanced and balanced analogue outputs
  • Indicators for VALID DATA, HDCD. ERROR. DEEMPH
  • Incoming sample rates: 32KHz, 44.1KHz. 48KHz
  • Auto-Mute until stable signal (no digital garbage)
  • CNC milled billet chassis
  • Machined 1/4" Gold plated faceplate
  • Audiophile components used throughout
  • Gold plated PCB's with massive ground planes
  • LO-Z Panasonic electrolytics in the power supplies
  • MultiCap rolled film and foil capacitors and 1% metal film resistors
  • LINEAR TECHNOLOGY regulators
  • Gold plated connectors
  • Professional (+4) output levels available
  • Power consumption: 86 Watts
  • Factory set for 100V, 120V or 220-240VAC operation for original destination country's mains voltage.
  • Operating Mains Voltage changeable with power transformer re-wiring and fuse value change.
  • Mains Voltage Frequency: 50~ 60Hz
  • Dimensions: W=19". L=13", H=5 1/4"
  • Shipping Weight: 35 Ibs.



Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
  • Manley Reference DAC Original Retail Price: $8,800 to $10,560 clams (USD $) per each

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