DACS Clarity HeadMaster

£1,018.80 £815.00 Inc. VAT

Seamless Switching and Superlative Sound

A professional studio monitor controller is not simply an over-grown volume control. In addition to regulating overall monitoring levels a controller must also provide swift and seamless switching between various signal inputs and between a choice of monitoring outputs. However, a monitor controller is not just the control centre of the studio monitoring set-up, it is also the quality centre; any compromise will inevitably affect everything that follows.

The DACS Clarity Headmaster is an inspired combination of elements, and each of its component parts has a stellar pedigree. It marries the Crookwood DAC – used in the very best mastering studios – with DACS’ own award winning analogue clarity and detail.

Accurate monitoring is not a studio luxury, it is a professional necessity. And just plugging the DACS Clarity Headmaster into your powered speakers will immediately bring a world-class upgrade to your audio environment.

Only 1 left in stock (can be backordered)

Description

The DACS Clarity Headmaster: Seamless Switching and Superlative Sound

A professional studio monitor controller is not simply an over-grown volume control. In addition to regulating overall monitoring levels a controller must also provide swift and seamless switching between various signal inputs (both balanced and unbalanced analogue and AES and S/P DIF digital) and between a choice of monitoring outputs (e.g.to alternative main monitor outs, and headphone outputs). However, a monitor controller is not just the control centre of the studio monitoring set-up, it is also the quality centre. Because it is only through the digital to analogue converter in the monitor controller and the subsequent pre-amp and distribution paths that your digital mixes first enter into the real world of sound,  any compromises at these points will inevitably affect everything that follows.

The DAC Clarity Headmaster is an inspired combination of elements, and each of its component parts has a stellar pedigree. It marries the Crookwood DAC – used in the very best mastering studios – with DACS’ own award winning analogue clarity and detail.

You can’t judge what you cannot hear, so accurate monitoring is not a studio luxury, it is a professional necessity. And just plugging the DACS Clarity Headmaster into your powered speakers will immediately bring a world-class upgrade to your audio environment.

 

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.

Versatility

Analogue inputs

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.

D-A Converters

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.

Analogue Inputs

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.

Analogue Outputs

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.

*Product usually shipped within 5 days.

Additional information

Weight 3.65 kg
Dimensions 54 x 43 x 14 cm

Reviews

  1. “Just wanted to let you know that I’ve set up the headmaster and I’m really impressed! I’ve been listening to some stuff I know quite well and I’ve only ever heard such detail in a very expensive monitoring studio setup.”

  2. “With quality and accuracy being the essentials in a mastering studio, we worked endlessly to fine tune the studio and obtain the clearest and most accurate results. Their after sales technical support, and DACS MD Douglas Doherty’s expertise was impeccable. the HeadMaster lived up to all expectations and delivers a dynamic and universally pristine result that has left most of our old customers gawping when they hear their new mastering results.”

  3. “The DACS Headmaster is an imaginative combination of a headphone amp based on the DACS HeadLite and a D-A converter from Crookwood (the same one that appears in the company’s C2 and other monitor controllers)…in the mastering and editing studio, I put the HeadMaster to use for some fine editing and for the headphone stage of classical sweetening… and the HeadMaster once again was superb, having the edge over the benchmark. For some recordings I’d makde earlier in the Dorset church, as well as adding in the warmth that the Benchmark headphones had suggested was already there, I found that I could add some space, [and] tweak the early reflections. In fact, these were essential to get right, as they defined the ‘place’ of the instruments in the room, and I found this task very much easier than I have before: the clarity of the HeadMaster was a pleasant improvement on the slightly artificial boom bloom of the Benchmark overlaid on the material… I’d have no hesitation in trusting the HeadMaster to provide the material for professional mastering judgements. It is, as you’d expect, at least as good on this score as the larger Crookwood controllers, which a number of studios already trust to route more complex setups to their monitors… as a D-A converter and headphone amp, the HeadMaster is simply in a class of its own at this price level- which for me, makes it something of a bargain. I trust its deliverances on location, and i now intend to rely on it exclusively for headphone duties in my mastering room… the headmaster is here to stay.”

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