If you ask us, this is probably the best sounding NOS (Non Over Sampling) DAC out there. Concert Fidelity is a Japanese high end audio manufacturer that has churn out some outstanding products over the years and their philosophy of keeping it simple has establish some of their products as being amongst the best there is. The DAC-040BD has some interesting design features that has allowed it to take an edge over the edge over our other top end DACs like the Esoteric D-05 and the dCS Debussy. The DAC-040BD uses three tubes – one 6CA4/E281 rectifier tube and two 12AU7 output tubes that tube rollers will be delighted to try different brands to change the sonic nature of the DAC to suit their liking. The other feature is their use of batteries (rechargeable) to process and deliver audio signal out to your preamp or integrated. This has allowed the DAC to have one of the darkest background we have heard from any DAC. Add the naturalness of NOS and the silky smooth response of tubes and the music takes on a magical presence. Bass was a surprisingly deep and cleanly cut and not too “woolly” like in some tube buffered DACs. The richness and multi layered texture is just a beauty to behold. If precision and straight down unraveling of the music is your cup of tea, go for the Esoteric or dCS. But if you love Van Gogh’s Sunflower’s painting, the DAC-040BD is the more colorful and richer sounding DAC.
Operating the unit is rather straightforward and you just have to remember the unit has two power switches and which one to turn on or off. The power switch on the back is the main one which the manufacturer recommends to be left on at all times unless the unit won’t be in used for prolong periods of time (like you going on a vacation). By leaving this on, it keeps the DAC board “live”. The other power switch on the side is to turn on the tubes. So when you are using the DAC, you just need to turn that switch on and wait for about 30 seconds for the tubes to warm up.
This unit had one very careful owner from new. We have the original manual and will have the unit securely packed for safe shipping.