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Don’t be fooled by its appearance, the Ross Martin Audio PCM1794 Digital to Analog Stereo Converter

Box is a high-end, hand assembled D/A converter not a mass-produced piece of junk electronics from

overseas.

Using the optional coax cable provided by RM with the PCM1794, I connected the digital output from my

computer’s sound card to the coaxial digital input on the back of the PCM1794. (It also has an optical

digital input.) I connected a stereo patch cord from the outputs on the front of the PCM1794 to the AUX

input on my Yamaha Preamp and plugged the included 120V power converter into my surge protector.

When the ON/Off switch on the PCM1794 is switched to the ON position, the LED on the front of the

PCM1794 illuminates RED indicating power is on. The LED changes from RED to GREEN, when a

digital signal has been detected.

The LED is the only indication that the unit is on since the signal to noise ratio of the PCM1794 adds

absolutely no audible noise to the processed signal. RM claims that the SN ratio can only be measured

using special equipment and I would have to agree. The instructions clearly warn to turn the volume

down when switching inputs because a typical background hiss associated with other equipment is

absent here and there is no way to know how loud it might be when the signal returns. So be careful.

I proceeded to do an A-B comparison with my existing analog interface between the computer and the

stereo. It is very easy to tell which one is on with the music paused because of the difference in the

signal to noise ratio. The always-present hum is gone when listening to the PCM1794. That alone

makes the PCM1794 worth the price but this converter does so much more!

To further explain how impressed I am with the difference the PCM1794 makes to the total listening

experience, I have to digress here and mention another epiphany I had years ago concerning the

relationship between sound quality and another component in my sound system, speaker wires. How

could wire possibly make any difference in the quality of the sound? I received my first Monster Cables

as a gift and proceeded to conduct a similar A-B comparison. WOW what a difference! Who knew high

frequencies travel on the outside of the conductors and more strands have greater surface area resulting

in better high-frequency response, a more open sound, increasing the depth of the sound field and this

could produce a thee dimensional audio experience? I became a believer in Monster Cable that day.

Today I have experienced another quantum leap in the quality of the sound coming from my computer.

Who knew a digital converter could make such a difference in the quality of the sound.

The PCM1794, 24bit converter takes good sound and makes it fantastic sound! For example, listening to

cymbals, the reverberation time is sustained longer as the sound fades. The result is a more open sound

image. It’s as if the speakers have been moved farther apart. The difference is dramatic, not just the

highs but the low frequencies too. According to RM, with no capacitors in the output, the PCM1794 can

reproduce signals down to DC. The bass response from this converter is incredible! I thought my

subwoofer was working before but it never went this low. This is bass you can feel. Listening to

Chumbawamba’s Outsider from their Tubthumper CD, the intro and the song is so much fun. If you’re in

an apartment your neighbors will run into the halls fearing that an earthquake is taking place. It’s

probably not a bad idea to stand in a door way while playing this if your building’s structure is

questionable. Otherwise, enjoy the ride☺

After a week of listening to the PCM1794 at every opportunity, it has been a re-discovery of my entire

music collection. The CD’s that were not recorded well are obvious. The ones that are recorded well are

such a delight! It’s like the first time I really heard the recording. Incredible range, wide-open sound

image. The incredible silence between songs adds to the dynamic range. Vocal solos by Linda Ronstadt

are dramatic with her incredible range fully exposed using the PCM1794. We generally play music louder

because it sounds better. But the PCM1794 sounds good at any volume. There is no listening fatigue,

even at unreasonably high volumes. But the real discovery is how good the sound is at a normal volume.

The PCM1794 is like a loudness button for your entire collection. The bass, the highs and the voice all

are better when using the PCM1794 Digital to Analog Stereo Converter Box.

Thanks for taking my audio enjoyment to the next level!

Glenn Esser

Electrical Engineer (and Audio Enthusiast)

Kansas City, MO