The DDP-1 is the preamp for now … and the future. It combines the powerful practicality of the original Audio Alchemy with wondrous new capabilities, superior sound and a sleek design.
Inside the machined aluminum chassis are four core components: an all-analog preamplifier, a 32-bit/216-kilohertz DSD-compatible digital-to-analog converter, dual digital signal processors and a headphone amp. On its own, the DDP-1 delivers exceptional sound quality. Add the Audio Alchemy PS-5 upgrade power supply, and the performance goes from great to truly world-class.
The digital section of the DDP-1 incorporates dual 32/216 PCM/DSD AKM DACs (one per channel) with seven digital inputs: USB, AES/EBU, two RCA coaxial, two Toslink optical and, for the best possible sound quality, an I2S connection for use with the Audio Alchemy DMP-1 Digital Music Player and other sources that support the Alchemy I2S format, including legacy Audio Alchemy products and some from Cambridge Audio and other brands. XLR and RCA outputs are provided, as well as a headphone amp that delivers 1 watt into 32 ohms -- plenty enough power for even the most exotic headphones.
Seemingly magical digital technology
Unlike most digital preamps and DACs, the DDP-1 employs sophisticated digital processing that gives it superior sound quality as well as added flexibility. You can select from four output filter profiles and you can also select the output resolution -- so whether to upsample or not is your choice. A proprietary DAC chip configuration dramatically reduces noise, achieving approximately 24-bit dynamic range from 16-bit digital signals and 32-bit dynamic range from 24-bit signals. A multistage phase-locked loop (PLL) circuit reduces jitter to the picosecond level, so the sound has more of that smooth, analog quality we all love.
Masterful analog engineering
The preamp section employs a discrete FET driver and output stages, for more musical sound and better measured performance, too. A high-precision, four-gang Alps potentiometer provides precise, transparent control of volume and a gratifying feel. An optical sensor on the volume knob tracks the knob’s motion so it can work with the DDP-1’s advanced, multiprocessor-driven control system.
The DDP-1 is equipped with an external AC power supply, and can be upgraded by replacing the stock power supply with the PS-5. The PS-5 is a balanced power supply with separate feeds for analog and digital/control circuits, separate positive and negative rails for analog circuits, well as large banks of storage capacitors for better filtering of AC ripple and improved dynamics. A USB connector on the back of the DDP-1 makes firmware updates easy -- you don't even have to take it back to the dealer.
The DDP-1 is everything a digital preamp should be. Advanced, yet traditional. Versatile, yet musical. Compact, yet capable. It’s the spirit of Audio Alchemy, taken to a whole new level.