"An Extremely Strong Performer
Class-Leading DAC with Headphone Stage and Preamp
The NuForce DAC-100 is a class-leading digital-to-analog converter supporting USB and S/PDIF and accommodating up to four digital input sources. It features a precision digital volume control, a high-power headphone amplifier section with extremely low distortion, a high-resolution analog RCA preamplifier output stage, and a convenient wireless remote.
The Head-Fi Summer Buying Guide 2012 calls the DAC-100 "an extremely strong performer. I don't know if it's to do with the excessive attention given to minimizing jitter, their straight-wire-with-gain goal for the preamp output stage, or any number of other things NuForce considered in designing the DAC-100 (likely all of the above), but it is one of my favorites of all the sub- $1500 DACs I've had in my systems on sound alone, perhaps my favorite."
Low Jitter Asynchronous Mode
The DAC-100's digital input stage operates in an asynchronous mode independent of any timing errors associated with the incoming digital audio stream. The input stage synchronizes the data to an internally referenced timing signal generated by an exceptionally stable circuit. The re-clocking circuit's accuracy is such that any negative timing errors (jitter) are reduced to near theoretical limits.
Powerful Headphone Amp
The DAC-100's headphone amp delivers enough power to drive most headphones with absolute authority. It provides a full 500-milliwatts of single-ended 'Class A' power, held by many audiophiles to be a headphone amp's purest form of circuit topology.
Precision Volume Control
A digital 32-bit volume control offers precise channel tracking. Unlike more common digital volume controls operating at 24-bits or 16-bits, the 32-bit dynamic range of the DAC-100's volume control avoids any loss of low-level resolution.
Transparent Preamp Stage
The DAC-100's analog preamp stage is a minimalist design offering a signal path that approaches a straight-wire-with-gain level of performance. Combined with top quality parts and a full 2.0Vrms signal level at the RCA outputs, the preamp section of the DAC-100 ensures that only the purest of analog music signals will ever be presented to your preamplifier.
A 24-bit/192kHz DAC stage accurately converts digital audio data back to an analog signal at its native sampling rate. No upsampling or other questionable data manipulation is ever employed.
"Having mated it to several different amps (driving several different headphones), I've found the NuForce DAC-100, as a DAC, an extremely strong performer. I don't know if it's to do with the excessive attention given to minimizing jitter, their straight-wire-with-gain goal for the preamp output stage, or any number of other things NuForce considered in designing the DAC-100 (likely all of the above), but it is one of my favorites of all the sub- $1500 DACs I've had in my systems on sound alone, perhaps my favorite.
"Compared to my long-time reference Lavry DA11, the DAC-100 sounds to me to be as detailed, as resolving, but with a touch more lushness, a little more air. And like the Lavry, the DAC-100 has adjustable output in very fine digitally-controlled steps (the DAC-100 uses a 32-bit digital volume control), which is tremendously helpful for me, with as many different amps as I use (and their many different gain settings)."
- Head-Fi Summer Buying Guide 2012