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Outwardly, the M-ONE is almost identical to the M-DAC+, Audiolab’s flagship DAC component. It sports the same compact aluminium case, small enough to sit unobtrusively on a desk, table or shelf, with the same central OLED display and elegant dual rotary control scheme. But while standalone DACs require a separate power amp to drive a pair of speakers, the M-ONE packs stereo power amplification of suitably high quality, plus preamp facilities for analogue sources as well as digital, into its diminutive chassis.
The M-ONE’s DAC section is equipped to process PCM audio data up to 32-bit/384kHz via USB, ensuring the M-ONE is primed to take full advantage of high-resolution digital sound both now and in the future. The USB input also supports DSD files (the digital audio system originally developed for Super Audio CD), offering compatibility with DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 – a significant inclusion, as DSD has an important role to play in the developing hi-res audio scene.
The preamp section mixes minimalist design with high-quality components, ensuring a short, direct signal path to maintain sonic purity. Volume is digitally controlled in the analogue domain, outputting directly to the Class AB power amplifier, which delivers an output of 40W per channel into 8 ohms – plenty of power to drive efficient modern speakers to room-filling volume levels without a hint of strain.
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