DAC 5.1 Signature – Level 5 Ultimate DAC


Level 5 DAC5.1  Staggering dynamics. Triple C-Core, WE274B rectifier tube.

SKU: DAC-5.1 Categories: ,


DAC 5.1 Signature –  Digital to Analog R2R

The DAC5.1 Signature is the culmination of years of DAC development at ANK which resulted in popular products like the DAC2.1 Signature , DAC 4.1x etc. All based on the AudioNote Resistor Ladder Architecture we wondered how much more we could squeeze out of digital SPDIF!

ANKits is proud to announce the latest addition to our level 5 series with the new DAC 5.1 Signature. Under development for over 4 years it’s quite incredible this product is available as a kit, rather it is an exceptional piece of high-end audio that can also be purchased in kit form or as factory assembled.

The DAC 5.1 features include:

  • Mentor Filament Board.
  • New Super Regulation Board.
  • New Large Can I/V Transformers.
  • New 12AU7 & ECC99 Line Stage.
  • Triple C-Core O/P Transformers.
  • New SHUNT Power Supply 5U4GB/WE274B.


  • Dual Mains Transformers.
  • Mentor Filament Board.
  • WBT Silver 75 ohm SPDIF input.
  • AES/XLR input.
  • Silver Input Cable.
  • Available as a Kit or Factory Assembled (Finished Product).

New Design

The goal was to design the finest r2r DAC possible leveraging our current DAC expertise and develop one of the finest digital to analog converters on the market today. We leveraged our newly designed Shunt power supply technology and combined that with a film capacitor architecture dedicated to delivering unparalleled performance.

The dynamics, the smoothness, the end result – a staggering experience for the modern audiophile and a chance to re-experience their entire digital collection.


Dedicated WE 274B SHUNT Power Supply

Demanding audiophiles know that power supply design is absolutely critical for the ultimate in sonic performance. In the DAC 5.1 signature we start by having two separate mains transformers; one dedicated strictly to the HT voltages that power the line stage, the other supplies our new super regulation board and the line stage DC filaments.

At the heart of the power supply is the new WE274B (replica) rectifier tube. This 5U4G variant is a powerful valve more commonly found in 300B amplifiers and there is plenty of NOS choices for this position. The overall design of the power supply incorporates three substantial chokes supplying two separate HT voltages, one for the 12AU7 input stage, and one for the ECC99 output stage. Thus each tube on the output stage has its own dedicated HT path.

The SHUNT design in this unregulated power supply enables the ultimate dynamics and detail, instantaneous current supplies are available to the ever changing analog signal running through the system. The results are staggering dynamics that most audiophiles will have never experienced. We firnly believe that your high end vinyl system will have trouble keeping up.



Large Can Level 5  I/V transformers

Current to voltage transformers are key to the Audio Note Dac philosophy. These new large can mumetal I/V transformers in the DAC 5.1 signature facilitate the ultimate in signal transfer between the digital and analog domains. This preserves the small analog signal at birth and presents it to the line stage 100% intact. It is one of the most critical components (and little understood) of the Audio Note DAC design philosophy.


Triple C-Core output transformers

The triple C-Core transformers at the output of the 5.1 signature ensure the highest quality transfer of the analog signal to your pre-amplifer or intergated amplifier. The C-Cores bring a level of detail and authority across the entire spectrum and increase definition, authority and high frequency detail, bringing an incredible accuracy and realism to the music. They also have very low output impedance and can run long interconnects. Both of these aspects ensure excellent system matching.


Developing an ultra high level DAC requires special attention to not only the digital circuits, but even more significantly, all the analog aspects of the design as well. The DAC 5.1 signature was developed from the ground up to focus on every aspect of digital reproduction that will ultimately have an impact on sound quality.

All the Audio Note DACs use the AD1865 chip and support RedBook 16/44Khz plus 24/96Khz files. 192Khz files will pass through the DAC and use 96Khz processing. We have found that when utilising a high high quality resistor ladder DAC on RedBook and 24/96 the result is superior to higher resolution files processed by Delta-Sigma designs. In a resistor ladder architecture precision laser trimmed resistors are used for each digital bit in order to create the analog voltage from a passive circuit.


Audio Note considers this the ONLY way to successfully build a DAC for audiophile level systems. The alternate and more widely used method is the less costly and easier to implement Delta-Sigma upsampling and oversampling architecture where a computer algorithm decides what the output voltage will be and what your ears are going to listen to.

Remember more sampling means more noise and thus many additional strategies have to be employed in Delta-Sigma designs to combat this including noise rejection & complex filtering algorythms. In our DAC we preserve the integrity of the original signal in the resistor ladder domain and immediately transfer this through the I/V transformers directly to the analog output stage. The results – detail, smoothness and no listening fatigue. With the release of the DAC 5.1 signature ANKits is now producing one of the worlds finest DACs at any price. Enquire to reserve yours.

The DAC 5.1 comes with SPDIF and AES inputs and we recommend an external USB to SPDIF converter of very good quality if you want to use computer digital audio with the DAC.


DAC 5.1 Specifications

  • Output Tubes: 12au7 & ECC99*
  • Rectification Tube: 5u4g/WE 274B
  • Inputs (any 2 switchable):
    • 1. Standard 75 Ohm RCA (S/PDIF)
    • 110-ohm AES/EBU (XLR) S/PDIF
    • USB (optional board)
  • Outputs: Single Ended Stereo RCAs & Balanced Stereo XLRs.
  • Output level: 2.0V RMS both channels
  • Output impedance: 13 Ohms
  • Width: 38.1 cm (15 inches)
  • Height: 14.6 cm (5.74 inches)
  • Depth: 40.6 cm (15.98 inches)
  • Weight: 14 Kg (30.86 lbs)
  • Chassis: 3mm Aluminum (Black Powder Coat)

*Tube rolling guide on our site for ECC99 position

DAC 5.1 Parts Complement / Highlights

  • Dual Mains Transformers for High Voltage and FIlaments
  • 3 Wide Band Chokes
  • 2 x Triple C-Core CC-410 Output Transformers Lugged ( uses can supply high end silver wire for upgrades)
  • 2 x Large Can ( 40mm)   I/V Transformers
  • DualTorriodal Digital Transformer
  • Signature Digital PCB (pre-assembled) with AudioNote Tantalums and Charcroft pf caps
  • AudioNote Tantalum 1W Resistors ( Professional Edition uses AudioNote Non magnetics Resistors)
  • AudioNote Copper .22uf 600v   Film Caps*
  • Elna Cerafine Bypass Caps (gain stage) ( Professional Edition uses Kasaii Electrolytics non polar)
  • PTFE Silver Plated Hookup Wire
  • Audio Note Silver RCA’s
  • Super Regulation for Digital Circuitry
  • Analog Output board uses 12au7* & ECC99*  ( tube swapping guide available)
  • SPDIF / AES switchable ( USB option)
  • PCBs: Sturdy PCBs with 2oz copper trace and thick grounding/ HT traces

Check out our on line BUILD Manual for the DAC5.1 Signature

also check out our HI RES GALLERY 

Time to start building!!