Emotiva Pro launch Stealth DC-1 DAC/pre-amplifier


A digital pre-amplifier with analogue input and headphone amplifier? Where have we seen this recently? Oh yes, the Mytek Stereo192-DSD DAC.

Emotiva Pro’s new Stealth DC-1 DAC looks like it will pack a similar functional punch for half the moulah.

The operational similarities between it and the Mytek unit are arresting  (a good thing):

  • Headphone amplifier with independent volume control
  • Analogue input for a line-level source
  • Single ended and balanced outputs
  • Switchable asynchronous sample rate converter
  • Analog(ue) domain volume attenuation

The display on the Emotiva certainly looks nicer. OLED mean it will be easier to read than the Mytek’s more rudimentary pocket calculator vibe.


The bad news for some: the Stealth DC-1 won’t do DSD. However, its five digital inputs (BNC, coaxial, toslink, USB, AES/EBU) have PCM streams comprehensively covered up to 192kHz, No worries here with (the often slippery) support for 88.2kHz and 176.kHz. I assume Windows users will need a driver for anything above 96kHz.

The decoding section is handled by two AD1955 chips, each running in mono mode, one for each channel. LM4562 op-amps run the output stage. Each channel’s volume is digitally controlled by a Muses 72320 that does its stuff in the analogue domain via an internal resistor ladder.

As is typical of Emotiva, pricing is super sharp. At US$699 the Stealth DC-1 looks like one tidy package.

Further Information: Emotiva Pro


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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  1. If it is like most Emotiva electronics, it won’t sound as good as the Mytek, but will be a very good value for the money; that is, sound better and have more features than you would expect for $699, or see from other companies at that price.

  2. Will you be getting a unit for a full review? There don’t seem to be any specs on the headphone output. I’d really like to know how it does with the usual suspects: Sennheiser HD 600/HD 650, HiFiMAN HE-500, and Audeze LCD2. Will the headphone output be an afterthought or a true performer?

  3. Is this a Benchmark killer, sans DSD? Can’t wait for a review! US$700 for a balanced DAC/pre/headphone amp is a great deal if it sounds right.

    Emotiva is rather fond of the aging AD1955, which appears in all of their dacs and may well be a limiting factor in the Stealth. That chip has a reputation for being bright and hard on top, but we’ll see.

    • I don’t know if it was the chip – I don’t think DACs can be attributed a sonic signature on chip choice alone – but I found their XDA-2 a little bright and overly etched in the treble. Only a little but enough to call it out.