AKM’s new AK4493S-AK4490R DACs

Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation (AKM) has confirmed that it totally redesigned the AK4490 D/A converter (DAC) and its higher-end counterpart, AK4493, as new products under the Velvet Sound brand. Following the recent announcement that AKM has resumed sample shipments of 13 Velvet Sound D/A and D/A converters – all part of a new generation of improved devices targeting high-quality audio applications, the Japanese manufacturer now relaunches the AK4490REQ and AK4493SEQ, 32-bit, 2 channel premium devices, with a superior signal-to-noise ratio of 120dB and 123dB, respectively.

The two new devices – AK4490R and AK4493S – use advanced AKM’s Velvet Sound technology to improve electrical margin and stability. According to the company, both achieve an unprecedented level of audio integrity and dynamics while maintaining the reduced power consumption of the original AK4490 and AK4493. The AK4490R and AK4493S accept up to 768kHz PCM data and 22.4MHz DSD data (AK4493S), both being able to accurately reproduce the information-rich, unaltered audio data of high-resolution sound sources.

“The AK4493S and AK4490R have been redesigned to optimize signal path impedance for much-improved noise immunity, particularly as it applies to low-frequency noise performance.  These new products achieve a dynamic and responsive sound while reducing unnecessary power consumption,” AKM confirms in its website.

The AK4493SEQ is a new generation 32-bit, 2-channel premium DAC that is able to achieve a leading level of low distortion characteristics and wide dynamic range thanks to AKM’s Velvet Sound technology. The AK4493SEQ integrates a newly developed switched capacitor filter “OSR Doubler,” making it capable of supporting a wide range signals and achieving low out-of-band noise while maintaining low power consumption. The new AK4493SEQ also features six types of 32-bit digital filters, supporting simple and flexible sound tuning in a wide range of applications. The AK4493SEQ accepts PCM data up to 768kHz, and 22.4MHz Direct Stream Digital (DSD512) data, with PCM/DSD automatic switching, ideal for the latest high-resolution audio sources.

AKM returns with AK4493S and AK4490R

Keeping the same essential base specifications but offering the best balance between performance and power consumption, the new AK4490REQ is a premium 32-bit DAC, with 2-channels of AKM’s Velvet Sound architecture, allowing this converter to bring fine sound details to life with its low-distortion architecture, in addition to 32-bit resolution digital filter processing. The digital input supports PCM up to 768kHz, and 11.2MHz DSD (DSD256). It also offers six integrated digital filters, making it ideal for a wide range of applications, including high-end source playback with network audio and USB DACs.

Both new DACs excel in their analogue performance, with the AK4493S delivering 123dB SNR (2Vrms), and 128dB in large amplitude mono mode, with an impressive THD+N of -115dB. The AK4490R delivers 120dB (2Vrms) SNR, 123dB (in mono mode) with -112dB of THD+N.

These are converters that the audio industry will certainly welcome to adopt in new hi-res digital audio players and network streamers, DACs and many new-generation integrated premium sound systems. According to AKM, samples will start shipping in February 2022, and both devices will be available for volume production in the second quarter of 2022.