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Paganini DAC

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The dCS Ring DAC™ found in all dCS DACs is a discrete balanced design that supports all high resolution musical formats up to DSD. The optimised DSP filters available in Paganini DAC ensure that you can extract every last nuance of musical detail and emotion by tuning the system to your personal preference.

Paganini DAC features standard AES3 and S/PDIF inputs in addition to the IEEE 1394 interfaces. The digital volume control allows direct connection to a power amplifier; there is no need for a preamplifier. Maximum output can be either two or six volts to suit different amplifier/loudspeaker combinations.

The unit can be used in Master mode to provide a clock for source components, and can be locked to an external word clock signal generated by a dCS Master Clock – this produces a substantial performance improvement.

Paganini DAC is intended for use with the matching upsampling Paganini CD/SACD Transport or with any industry-standard CD Transport, digital streamer or music server.

The PCM inputs on all dCS DACs are industry-standard AES/EBU, S/PDIF or SDIF interfaces. There should be no difficulty using them with other manufacturers’ equipment, provided it also complies with industry standards.

Key Features

  • Flexible output configuration can be optimised in systems with or without preamplifiers.
  • All dCS products use a sophisticated multi-mode Phase-Locked-Loop (PLL), which significantly reduces clock jitter.
  • Improved power supplies give lower running temperature and superior tolerance to AC supply variations.
  • Aerospace-grade aluminium chassis and laminated acoustic damping panels reduce magnetic effects and vibration.
  • Low-power LC display makes the user interface easier to read, keeps power requirements down and minimises electrical noise.
  • ‘Soft’ approach to programmable logic allows new software to be loaded from a dCS update CD to add new features and adapt to changes in digital formats.


Technical Specifications

  • type

    Digital-to-Analogue Converter.

  • colour

    Silver or Black.

  • dimensions

    460mm/18.1” x 400mm/15.8” x 110mm/4.4”. Allow extra depth for cable connectors.

  • weight


  • converter type

    Proprietary dCS Ring DAC™ topology.

  • analogue outputs

    Output Levels: 2V rms or 6V rms on all outputs for a full-scale input, set in the menu.
    Balanced Outputs: 1 stereo pair on 2x 3-pin male XLR connectors (pin 2 = hot, pin 3 = cold). These outputs are electronically balanced and floating, the signal balance ratio at 1kHz is better than 40dB. Output impedance is 3Ω, maximum load is 600Ω (a 10kΩ load is recommended).
    Unbalanced Outputs: 1 stereo pair on 2x RCA Phono connectors. Output impedance is 52Ω, maximum load is 600Ω (a 10kΩ load is recommended).

  • digital inputs

    IEEE 1394 interface on 2x 6-way connectors. The interface accepts dCS-encrypted DSD (1 bit data at 2.822MS/s).
    2x AES/EBU on 3-pin female XLR connectors. Each will accept up to 24 bit PCM at 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 & 192kS/s & DOP OR 1x Dual AES pair at 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8, 384kS/s & DOP or dCS-encrypted DSD.
    2x SPDIF on 2x RCA Phono connectors. Each will accept up to 24 bit PCM at 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192kS/s & DOP

  • Wordclock I/Oworldclock inputs

    Word Clock input on 1x BNC connector. Accepts standard Word Clock at 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 & 192kHz. The data rate can be the same as the clock rate or an exact multiple (0.5x, 1x, 2x, 4x) of the clock rate. Sensitive to TTL levels.
    Word Clock output on 1x BNC connector. In Master mode, a TTL-compatible 44.1kHz Word Clock is available.

  • residual noise

    Better than -110dB0 @ 20Hz-20kHz unweighted (6V Setting).

  • spurious responses

    Better than -100dB0 @ 20Hz-20kHz.

  • filters

    PCM mode: 4 filters give different trade-offs between the Nyquist image rejection and the phase response. 2 extra filters are available at 44.1, 176.4kS/s and 192kS/s. DSD mode: 4 filters progressively reduce out-of-audio band noise level (inherent in the 1 bit nature of DSD).

  • software updates

    Loaded from CD via PCM digital inputs.

  • local control

    dCS premium remote control provided with Paganini Transport or RS232.

  • power supply

    Factory set for 100, 115, 220 or 230V AC, 49-62Hz.

  • power consumption

    22 Watts typical/30 Watts maximum.


  • image 1

    Digital Supremacy – dCS Paganini Digital Playback System

    Tone Audio,  No.33 November 2010

    Review by Jeff Dorgay

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    Upsizing – dCS Paganini Digital Playback System

    HiFi World, April 2010

    Review by David Price

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    Ring Tone – dCS Paganini DAC

    HiFi World, October 2009

    Review by David Price



This is the support section for dCS Paganini Digital Playback System.   If you cannot find what you need please try the top menu Support section or Contact Us.

  • Quick Start Guide – dCS Paganini Digital Playback System

  • Product Datasheet – Paganini CD/SACD Transport

  • Product Datasheet – Paganini Master Clock

  • Product Datasheet – Paganini Upsampler

  • Product Datasheet – Paganini DAC

  • User Manual – Paganini CD/SACD Transport v1.1x

  • User Manual – Paganini Master Clock

    Software v2.0x. This applies to units with serial numbers starting with PCP.

  • User Manual – Paganini Upsampler v1.2x

  • User Manual – Paganini DAC v1.3x

  • Remote Control Codes

    Last updated 11 Feb 2016.



    • The Absolute Sound – Editor’s Choice 2014

      HiFi World – Digital Source of the Year 2009

      Dec 2009

    • The Absolute Sound – Editor’s Choice 2014

      Stereo Sound Japan – Grand Prix 2008

      Dec 2008