Channel Islands Transient MKII USB converter and DAC


Here’s something interesting from Channel Islands Audio. Their new Transient MKII USB converter doubles as a DAC. There aren’t too many of these 2-in-1 products doing the rounds at the moment but we’re sure to see more of them in the future. Another way to think of the Transient MKII is as a DAC and a DDC.  It has both analogue and digital outputs; a little like the KingRex UD384.

The Transient MKII is built around the XMOS chipset found in many other USB Audio Class 2.0 units. Digital to analogue decoding is handled by an unspecified Wolfson chip, one that also sports digital volume attenuation. Channel Islands CEO and head designer Dusty Vawter has tapped this Wolfson circuit so that volume up/down buttons make the front face plate. As do sample-rate recognition LEDs: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192 all make the cut.

On the rear panel we see the aforementioned analogue outputs, asynchronous USB input and a 75 Ohm BNC digital ouput. The killer blow for some will be I2S outputs: mini DIN connector for Audio Alchemy, Perpetual Technology and Camelot DAC connections and an HDMI connector for hooking up to Wyred4Sound and PSAudio products.

Users have power supply options too. This metal box can be juiced directly from your computer’s USB bus or by Channel Islands VDC-5 MKII outboard power supply (US$329).

The Transient MKII can be bought direct from Channel Island Audio for US$699. A 30-day home trial (with 10% restocking fee) is also available.

More specifications:

  • Master Clock Jitter: < 1.0psec
  • Analogue Output Level: 2V RMS Maximum (Single-ended RCA)
  • Frequency Response: 20hz to 96kHz
  • THD + Noise: -89db @ -1dBFS
  • Dimensions: 4.45″W x 2.9″H (including feet) x 5.25″D
  • Shipping Weight: 5 lbs

Further Information:  Channel Island Audio

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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