Decware 24/192 Z-DAC1


Having recently communicated with Decware’s Steve Deckert about his single-ended amplifiers, I noticed he now makes a 24/192 upsampling DAC called the Decware Z-DAC-1. It does 24/96 on the USB input, which reportedly bests the S/PDIF inputs for sound quality. Output impedance is rated at less than 100 Ohms.

From the Decware website blurb: “The ZDAC-1 is an audiophile implementation Cirrus Logic’s flagship 192kHz multi-bit CS4398 DAC Chip. It features Coax, Optical and USB inputs via a digital receiver with 32kHz~192kHz sample frequency range and low-jitter clock recovery. All three inputs, including USB are up-sampled to 24-bit/192kHz and are selectable from the front switches. The output stage features high grade op amps that have been carefully voiced for each channel to handle the I/V conversion from the DAC chip to the dual-mono buffer stage for a nice low output impedance.”

One poster over at DIYAudio reckons it’s just a reboxed Gigaworks board. Maybe (maybe not), but the Decware box contains mil spec resistors, Nichicon Muse caps, LT1361 output stages and Burr Brown buffers.

The Z-DAC1 is sold direct for US$875.


  • Digital inputs: 1-Coaxial, 1-Optical, 1-USB (Windows XP/Visa, Mac OS, Linux compatible)
  • Inputs selectable from the front panel.
  • USB is plug and play, no drivers needed. Compatible with 1.0 and 2.0 USB standards.
  • Removable power cord with high-end IEC connector
  • Analog outputs: 2- Gold/Teflon RCA jacks
  • CS4398 24 bit 192kHz DAC chip – 120dB dynamic range with -107dB THD+Noise.
  • Digital receiver CS8416 with low-jitter recovery clock
  • CS8421 up-sampler
  • Dual LT1361 output stage with Burr Brown followers
  • Nichicon MUSE caps, WIMA, Rubycon as well as mil spec 1% resistors used everywhere.
  • Front panel LED indicates on/off.
  • Rear panel LED lights when USB is connected to computer.

Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

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