EVGA Nu Audio

So EVGA announced their Nu Audio product at CES, and it looks interesting. It uses the AK4493, they went over board with the "Audiophile grade" components, 1/4 headphone jack, swapable op-amps, RCA and SPDIF (5.1 support) outputs, but they leave out things like output impedance or meaningful output numbers. But it certainly looks better than any PCIe sound card we've seen. https://www.evga.com/articles/01281/evga-nu-audio/

This is the parts list:
  • DAC - AKM AK4493
  • ADC - AKM AK5572
  • OP-AMP (Headphone) - ADI OP275
  • OP-AMP (Line Out) - ADI AD8056
  • Capacitors - WIMA, Audio Note(UK), Nichicon
  • Power Regulators - Texas Instruments TPS7A47/TPS7A33 ultralow-noise power solution
  • Audio DSP:
  • XMOS xCORE-200
  • Native DSD Support (up to x256)
  • Output Configuration:
  • 2 Channel (Analog)
  • 5.1 Channel (Digital via S/PDIF)
  • Dynamic Range (DNR) / Signal-to-Noise (SNR):
  • 123dB (Stereo Playback)
  • 121dB (Line-In Recording)
  • Playback Format:
  • Up to 384kHz, 32bit (Stereo)
  • Up to 192kHz, 24bit (Optical)
  • Headphone Amp:
  • 16-600ohm (Independent Analog Control)
  • Maximum Voltage:
  • 8Vrms
  • Maximum Current:
  • 250mA
  • Recording Format:
  • Up to 384kHz, 32bit (Line-In)
  • Up to 192kHz, 24bit (Mic-In)
  • RGB Lighting:
  • 10 - Mode w/ Audio Reactive Lighting
  • I/O:
  • Stereo Out (RCA L/R)
  • Headphone Out (6.3mm)
  • Line-In (3.5mm)
  • Mic-In (3.5mm)
  • Optical Out (TOSLINK Passthrough)
  • Front Panel Header


Jan 10, 2019
Some more details: The card can replay native DSD, and, as DSD is a bitstream, it's not possible to control volume by software, you cannot multiply or divide a single bit, so it has a software controlled analog volume control for the headphone amp. The headphone amp is direct coupled to the jack, there is no decoupling resistor or inductor, sothe output impedance is a minute fraction of an ohm. The GUI allows for setting various digital filter functions for the DAC and ADC, such as regular sync function FIR, or slow rolloff IIR type response. The AD5056 is swappable, but, before that IC all circuitry is fully balanced using fully differential amplifiers. Similar for the Line In. The OP275, used for the HPA is swappable. There is a plot to view in the suite, noise floor is around -155dB. IMD is around -110dB to -120dB depending on op-amp. Harmonics are down to as low as-128dB, again, depending on op-amp - upgrade if you feel the need to get to that kind of level to enjoy music. The GUI has a graphic EQ.
Jan 10, 2019
Google search for Audio Note: http://www.audionote.co.uk/products/_home_products_01.shtml It looks like they are makers of boutique audiophile products. They don't seem to be a headphone-centric company. No headphone amps in the product page.
Jan 10, 2019
Could be interesting if priced right. It could actually earn a place in my computer to replace my aging Sound Blaster Z.
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