Released to considerable fanfare in October of 2010, the new Avid HD box is a replacement for the older blue Digi HD converters.
Like most converters released under the Digi/Avid name, clocking architecture is based on the standard HC49 crystals in Pierce-Gate configuration. A/D conversion is built around the CS5381 A/D chip. D/A conversion is built around the Texas Instruments PCM1794 converter chip, which offers improved dynamic range performance over the Cirrus Logic D/A chip found in the blue Digi boxes. What’s nice about the PCM1794 is its on-chip conversion design as well as the way the filters are etched into the semiconductive substrate; this makes it a favorite among design heavyweights whose opinion we respect.
Sadly the new Avid boxes omit the wonderful copper shielding of their predecessor; something we imagine is a cost-saving move. Analog path in the new black boxes is not nearly as impressive as the older design, with most of the path built around the NE5532, Burr Brown OPA2227 and OPA4134. These are decent amplifiers, but we think that better options exist.
|Avid HD with FM Clock|
|Avid HD with XB Clock|
The scale is from 1-10, with “1” being unimpressive audio quality and “10” being true audio excellence. This is an exponential scale, so going from “1” to “2” isn’t nearly as big of a jump as going from “9” to “10”.