Computer Audio Design has unveiled a refit to its CAD 1543 DAC that now uses proprietary EMI/RFI reduction material, improved circuit boards and refined power supply filtering. The new CAD 1543 MKII retains the key technologies that have made its predecessor popular – namely its use of vintage resistor-ladder DAC chipsets and the removal of the standard digital interpolation filter – and the maker claims that the result is an open and boundless soundstage. The aforementioned resistor-ladder converter chip – the Philips TDA1543/N2 with its 16 selected devices – is now mounted on a revised four-layer circuit board and as well as claiming minimal intrinsic noise, CAD states it allows a native resolution of 192kHz PCM audio. 

The minimalist design has limited switches and connectors between mains plugs and output sockets. Connections include a single USB 2.0 input that galvanically isolates the 16 Philips TDA1543 chips from a connected PC and an analogue output with a pair of low-mass pure copper RCA phono sockets wired directly to the chips through a passive I/V stage. This summed output of paralleled multi-bit convertor chips removes the need for additional signal amplification or buffering, meaning no unnecessary signal stages. 

The casework retains the laser-cut 10mm-thick acrylic construction of the original model and is supplemented with internal RFI/EMI materials, which combine with the new power conditioning at the unit’s power input to minimise AC line noise and reduce the effects of high-frequency interference on the circuit boards and their ground plates. The converter is available in CAD’s standard black finish, although other colours are available to special order.

Because of the modular fashion of the DAC, owners of the original CAD 1543 converter can opt to have their units upgraded to full MKII specification for £600. The 1543 MKII is available now for £7,250 and you can find out more about it here.