Preview: AMB Labs Gamma 2

Brian has been parading this DAC, looking for a challenger. Looks pretty serious, although I think it would’ve been prettier if the enclosure is all silver.

The AMB Labs Gamma 2 DAC is the design of AMB Labs, the same people who’s created one of the world’s best headphone amplifier, the Beta22, as well as other kickass products like the M-cubed, the Mini-3, the Gamma1, et cetera. The Gamma 2 is purely a digital to analog circuit, hence it requires to be used with the earlier DAC design, the Gamma1, to provide USB and S/PDIF receiving capability and convert them to I2S data. The Gamma2 then takes that I2S data, upsamples them to 24/96 with an asynchronous sample rate converter (either Texas Instruments/Burr-Brown SRC4192 or Analog Devices AD1896 ASRC chips), before finally converting them to analog with Wolfson’s top-of-the-line 24-bit 192KHz chips: the WM8741, WM8742 or WM8740 DAC chips. It’s also equipped with an on-board CMOS oscillator for the I2S master clock.

What should I fight the Gamma 2 with? It’s a DIY, but the parts alone costs ~$250. Should we find a comparison twice its price, or triple its price?

Anyway it should be a fun comparison.


Front faceplate.


Back faceplate.


The Gamma1 board.


The Gamma2 board.


Next to a Sony A818 DAP.


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  • Reply April 25, 2010


    Made one of those myself, was a real ***** to get it to work: I re-soldered all the surface mounted devices 3 times, but it was worth it. It's been working like a charm for the past few months, and it's much better than the Pre-Sonus Inspire 1394 I used before (to be fair, it's an ADC, so I wasn't expecting it to). I don't own any other DAC, so I'm curious about how it fares.

    • Reply April 26, 2010


      Wyld, I am also curious on how the Gamma2 compares to say $400 DACs. 😀

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