Clarity and Sound Quality
The Clarity Headmaster is a reference class monitor controller designed for critical listening, and used by professional engineers, in a wide variety of situations: in the recording studio for overall monitoring and mixing; as the monitor D-A and pre-amp in mastering facilities; for flexible monitoring situations on location; and for audio post-production editing and restoration.
The `mastering grade’ digital-to-analogue converter made by Crookwood, with analogue output stages designed by the DACS Clarity team provide high-quality analogue signal for distribution to all four variable outputs – to the pre-amp section for the two main monitor outputs and to the driver circuits for the two headphone outputs.
In addition to converting and controlling the digital audio from your DAW or other digital device, the Clarity Headmaster can serve as a transparent pre-amp for both balanced and unbalanced analogue signals e.g. from CD Players, tape-decks or from an external D-A converter. The analogue inputs are based on the legendary Clarity circuits which offer state of the art performance.
Switched monitor outputs
The Clarity Headmaster offers two sets of balanced monitor outputs intended to feed powered speakers or amplifier/speaker combinations. Choice of output, and individual volume levels for each of the outputs, can be controlled from the front panel.
Two headphone outputs
The Clarity Headmaster has two headphone outputs both of which use the same high-performance circuitry of the Clarity DACS HeadLite. There is one on the front and one on the rear of the unit and their levels are both set by the same front-panel volume control.
The heart of the Headmaster is a `mastering grade’ digital-to-analogue converter made by Crookwood, with analogue output stages designed by the DACS Clarity team. Although the Headmaster D-A converter can be configured for stand-alone use (with a fixed output level) its general purpose is to provide the same high-quality analogue signal for distribution to all four variable outputs – to the pre-amp section for the two main monitor outputs and to the driver circuits for the two headphone outputs. The digital-to-analogue converters are made by Crookwood. They can accept AES or SPDIF PCM input from 32KHz to 192KHz, and operate with any word-length from 16 to 24 bits. Because one of the main limiting factors of converter performance is the accuracy of clock-data recovery from the incoming stream, Crookwood utilises a technology which isolates the data clock from the precision D-A clock. This means that the converter can produce a jitter-free output which is largely independent of the main determinants of quality of the digital carrier stream: the condition and length of the digital cable and its routing; and the quality of the digital driver at the source of the incoming signal. Whatever you put into it – within reason – will come out sounding its best.
S/N and dynamic range of -119.5dB A weighted. Frequency response, as per Nyqvist = incoming sample rate/2.
The analogue inputs, on balanced XLR and in unbalanced RCA, use the DACS proprietary Clarity circuitry.
These circuits incorporate THAT InGenius® balanced input ICs which provide excellent specs (90dB CMRR, DC coupling and THD+N figures of around 0.0015% input to output) and so provide a sound which has tremendous detail and clarity, and a superbly stable stereo image.
Direct from D-A: a fixed level balanced analogue output from the D-A input, with digital FSD factory set to provide an output of +18dBu
The headphone output uses DACS’ renowned Clarity headphone driver circuit.
The balanced outputs are DACS’ high performance [hand trimmed] driver circuits.