BAlabo - BD-1 Digital to Analog Converter

Our chief designer notes, "One of the most important aspects of digital conversion is to get the analog output stage just right — it must sound natural and without harshness or glare . We have gone to extreme measures to make sure the analog stage is very musical and preserves proper dynamics — large and small."

BC-1 MK-II Control Amplifier from Bridge Audio Laboratory

BAlabo - BD-1 Digital to Analog Converter
from Bridge Audio Laboratory

The BD-1 DAC has a singular mission - to make music sound as natural and lifelike as the moment it was created. Mostly, this magical music moment occurs in the analog world - where we capture (record) the event, convert (analog to digital) and transport (master and copy) it to a digital medium for convenience of storage, portability and playback. For music lovers, this means that the conversion of music into and out of the digital domain must be a process that preserves the original musical event in all its nuanced splendor - a simple concept, but a challenge of formidable proportions.

Naturally, the BAlabo BD-1 DAC delivers extreme accuracy in the digital to analog conversion but by itself, this is merely a starting point for restoring the musical performance and placing it back into the analog world. This process is underscored by a fine tuning of the conversion algorithms, stabilizing minute aspects of the digital and analog electronic stages to preserve harmonics and microdynamics and voicing the BD-1 for overall realism and emotional impact. Together, the technical challenges (involving signal accuracies in the part per billion range) and final tuning of the BD-1 by ear describe a process that is both an art and a science.

Why go to this extreme? Because the human ear is an instrument of extraordinary sensitivity that can detect meaningful audible differences below measurable limits. In development for over two and a half years, the BD-1 takes both the art and science of music reproduction to soaring new heights.

Auto/manual Sampling Rate Selection
User selectable sampling rates of 32, 44.1, 48, 96, and 192 KHz are available on the front panel - the active selection is illuminated. In auto-detect mode, the sampling rate is selected on the fly based on the incoming source material.

Selectable Upsampling Off, 2x and 4x
User may select the upsampling of 2X or 4X - or none at all - via illuminated buttons on the front panel.

Illuminated Standby/On Function
A Standby/On switch is located on the front panel so the BD-1 is ready at all times to provide the optimal sound quality without the need for a warm up period. Electrolytic caps remain charged during standby while power consumption is a mere 8 watts. Main on/off is located on the rear of the chassis. Blue indicates On, amber indicates Standby.

Remote Standby/On from Control Amplifier
A remote Standby/On scheme is employed in all BAlabo products. The BD-1 has a pair of RJ11 jacks on the rear panel for use with BAlabo control amplifiers, offering remote control power Standby/On switching from those units. This remote system is completely isolated from all audio signals.

Signal Ground Plane Connection Lug
Small differences in ground potential between components can detract dramatically from sound quality. The BD-1 offers a signal grounding lug (not chassis ground) that is intended to tie together the signal ground planes of the BAlabo Control amplifier and the BAlabo DAC - thereby eliminating any minute differences in ground potential.

Noise Reduction for AC Line and Power Rectification
In home environments, electronic equipment such as personal computers and televisions, add noise to the power mains and degrade the AC waveform. This can deteriorate the performance audio components. The BD-1 employs a power line filter at the AC inlet that reduces external noise and reshapes the AC wave form.

Custom Components Throughout
For the ultimate in sound quality, components must be designed and selected through careful listening tests. The BD-1 boasts an amazing 80% custom components, such as all electrolytic capacitors in the power supply section, fixed resistors for the audio signal, copper foil capacitors for phase compensation and the relays. Audio improvements are easily recognized when compared to bulk style, off the shelf components.

PowerCon AC Inlet
The BD-1 uses PowerCon connector made by Neutrik Corporation of Germany for superior reliability and product safety. The PowerCon is a bayonet, snap-in mechanism and is designed to prevent unexpected disengagement of the AC cord. The PowerCon has one-third the contact resistance of conventional connectors and a larger maximum current rating (20A).

Mechanical Grounding of Chassis
The four corners of the chassis are constructed with heavy-duty, extruded aluminum for superior mechanical integrity. The chassis is designed to aid in the dispersion of the resonant frequencies by the use of various materials (Aluminum/Steel/polymer) each with their own properties of absorption and transmission. As the result, the local resonance of each structural member is suppressed to an absolute minimum.

Integrated Spikes for Rigid Installation
The feet of the BD-1 are coated with Teflon with an under cushion material to prevent shipping damage. Once the BD-1 is installed, spikes (included) can be threaded into the base of each foot for additional mechanical grounding.




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Tech Specs

  • Weight: 48.5 lb / 21.5 Kg
  • Power consumption:
    15W - ON, 7.5W Standby
  • Dimensions:
    16.5" w. x 17.75" d. x 6.5" h. 420mm w. x 450mm d. x 163mm h.
  • S/N:
    115dB IHF-A
  • Inputs:
    XLR - Balanced (AES)
    BNC (SP/DIF)
    RCA (SP/DIF)
  • Outputs:
    1 pair Balanced XLR L/R
    1 pair rca L/R
  • 1 - Signal Grounding Terminal
  • AC input 20A PowerKon
  • Input Sampling Frequency:
    Auto detect 32 to 192kHz
  • Word length:
    Auto detect 16 - 24 bit