Two bits of news:
First, I received an email the other day from Gary Dews, chief designer and sole proprietor of Border Patrol, about a new DAC. I heard this particular unit in prototype form at the last Capital AudioFest and it sounded absolutely spectacular, belying its humble bamboo exterior. Now decked out in a copper metal chassis, it still sports the vintage Philips TDA 1543 to convert the incoming bits using a R-2R resistor ladder. The outputs are coupled directly to the outside world using boutique capacitors. No oversampling or analog brick wall filters need apply. However, the real heart of the DAC might just be the hybrid tube / solid state power supply. Two versions are available, standard and SE. According to Dews, the SE version “has a better power supply featuring BorderPatrol’s low distortion twin transformer system as used in the large BorderPatrol EXS amplifier PSU’s. It uses a Cerafine power supply capacitor instead of Panasonic and has Uptone Audio film and foil signal capacitors rather than Clarity Cap metalized polypropylene.” Pricing starts at $899 for the standard version with either a USB or SPDIF interface (a unit with both inputs can be built at higher cost). More information can be found here.
Second, I noticed in the Computer Audiophile forums that Ayre is offering an update to the QB-9 DSD – even though the DAC is no longer in production. It’s basically new firmware that enables you to play back double-rate DSD as well as PCM files with sampling rates up to 352.8 kHz. No changes to the analog signal path are made. The price for the update is set at $200. The Computer Audiophile post can be found by clicking on this link.