In an industry where most high end manufacturers adopt a build-by-numbers approach, using generic technology lightly repackaged to suit commercial needs, there are few companies that go their own way. Data Conversion Systems (dCS) is one. This specialist British brand stands apart because all the elements of its digital audio playback systems are designed, developed and assembled in the United Kingdom using unique proprietary technologies, accrued from twenty five years at the cutting edge of digital audio recording and playback. So, what does a dCS system sound like and why are they so remarkable?

At dCS’s facility just outside Cambridge a small team of highly skilled technicians builds a limited number of units each month. Every dCS product – whether it be a Digital Audio Converter (DAC), CD/SACD Transport, Digital to Digital Converter or Master Clock – is individually hand-assembled in a process that takes two full weeks. During that time it is subjected to a battery of extremely rigorous and demanding tests to ensure that by the time it leaves the company’s premises every single parameter of its measured performance is guaranteed to be within the very fine tolerances demanded by the company and that there is not a single blemish anywhere to spoil its beautiful finish and elegant appearance.

Ten things about Britain’s greatest purveyor of premium digital music playback sources…

dCS’s culture of cutting-edge engineering, that is the result of its twin heritage in both defence systems and professional audio, led to a number of ‘world firsts’ in the audio field.  The company pioneered high resolution audio, developing converters capable of supporting 24/192, DSD* and DXD* audio formats. Not only were the world’s first high resolution (24/88.2) and surround Super Audio CD (SACD) recordings created using dCS technology, but the company was the first to develop outboard upsamplers and master clocks, demonstrating to music lovers worldwide the importance of these technologies and how they could get listeners much closer to the original musical performance.

dCS celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2014. It has been a remarkable quarter of a century for the Cambridge company, during which time it has changed the face of digital audio recording and playback around the world. In its twenty-fifth anniversary year, dCS is looking back at its legacy, celebrating its tradition of innovation and engineering excellence, and reviewing its many technological milestones along the way.

DOUG SCHNEIDER, Editor of Soundstage Global, visits dCS in their Cambridge home where he meets the people, learns about their special technology and manufacturing systems and processes and has a tour of this beautiful city.  Read more.