Elac Alchemy AS-DDP2 Digital Preamp and Streamer
The centerpiece of a no-compromise audio system
Whatever mix of music sources you listen to, ELAC Alchemy's versatile DDP-2 can serve as a gateway to high-quality sound. Pair it with ELAC Alchemy's matching DPA-2 power amplifier, hook up your favorite speakers, and get ready to enjoy greater detail, depth, and dimensionality from your music collection.
The DDP-2 is really three components in one. First, it's a full-featured stereo preamp with an array of connections for your digital and analog sources. It can also stream popular music services like Spotify® via an Ethernet wire or Wi-Fi®, as well as stream music from your phone or tablet using Bluetooth®. And, of course, it's a superbly-engineered DAC with the latest audio processing, for enhanced listening with digital formats.
This view of the DDP-2's back panel shows analog inputs and outputs on the left side, and digital inputs on the right. This physical separation extends to the analog and digital circuitry inside, as well.
The DDP-2 treats your digital sources right
The DDP-2's high-performance DAC will extract the maximum amount of musical information from your digital sources — discs, downloads, and streaming services. Connection options include coaxial, Toslink optical, and digital XLR (AES-EBU) for hooking up a compatible disc player, TV, etc. There's also a USB Type B input for playing tracks stored on your computer. These connections are all galvanically isolated from the DDP-2's digital board to prevent ground-related noise.
Streamed signals coming into the DDP-2 via its Ethernet input, or the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth antennas, are first re-clocked, then sent to an on-board dual-core ARM Linux computer. After that, a powerful custom DSP chip takes care of the digital filtering and provides much of the sonic "Alchemy magic" before the signals are fed to the dual AKM 32-bit/384kHz DACs.
I2S — An advanced digital connection
When a digital audio signal is sent over an optical, coaxial, or XLR connection, the audio data and clock data are combined in order to fit on a single cable. When the signal reaches a DAC, the two data types must be separated. The encoding and decoding of this complex data is never perfect, and the resulting inaccuracies create timing jitter that can degrade sound quality.
The DDP-2's DAC section is able to avoid those drawbacks altogether. Since his earliest DACs from 20+ years ago, designer Peter Madnick has used the I2S format (pronounced "I squared S"), which separates the audio data from the clock data. On the DDP-2's rear panel are two I2S inputs: one is the Mini-DIN jack used on previous Alchemy gear, and the other is an HDMI jack.
Both types feature multiple conductors so that the audio and clock data streams can be transferred separately. Plus, signals that come in via the DDP-2's conventional digital inputs are automatically converted to I2S. Reducing jitter this way helps to clarify the sound. You can achieve truly stunning sound quality by connecting the DDP-2 to one of the handful of I2S-equipped disc transports available from companies like PS Audio.
Analog sources sound great, too
If you have line-level analog components, like a tape deck, you can connect them using the DDP-2's stereo RCA or XLR inputs. And if vinyl is part of your music diet, as well, the Alchemy Series also offers the impressive standalone PPA-2 phono preamp, which is an ideal match, both sonically and visually.
Roon-compatible for serious music lovers
The DDP-2 is a "Roon Endpoint," which means that any Roon Core or Server will see the DDP-2 as an audio location it can stream to. ELAC's Discovery Music Server is a great choice, but there are many others, plus you can use your computer.
Roon is a subscription digital music player you download to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Roon accesses your digital music collection from your iTunes library or NAS drive.
ELAC and Alchemy, making beautiful music together
The Alchemy Series' chief electronics designer is Peter Madnick, who has been creating innovative high-end audio components since founding Audio Alchemy in the late '80s. Known for its high-performance, high-value analog and digital gear, Audio Alchemy was acquired by ELAC in 2016.
- stereo preamplifier with digital and analog audio inputs
- dual AKM 32-bit/384kHz DACs (digital-to-analog converters) operating in digitally balanced mode
- digital music streamer optimized as a Roon Ready endpoint; also supports Spotify® Connect, Apple® AirPlay®, and MQA (coming soon)
- connects to your home network via Ethernet or Wi-Fi® for music streaming and downloads
- built-in Bluetooth® for convenient wireless music streaming from a compatible device
- 4 selectable digital filter profiles
- configurable upsampling to 192kHz (384kHz upsampling coming soon)
- selectable resolution enhancement
- ultra-low phase noise phase-locked loop jitter filter
- all passive rate-dependent analog filtering
- high-efficiency switching power supply for digital stages
- all-discrete FET analog stage
- toroidal transformer and linear power supply for analog stages
- dedicated headphone amplifier
- digitally controlled analog volume control with 199 steps
- remote control
- front-panel OLED information display for setup and use
- variable-level stereo balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA preamp outputs for connecting an amplifier
- fixed-level unbalanced stereo RCA preamp outputs for home theater bypass use with an A/V receiver or pre/pro
- digital audio inputs:
- 2 Toslink optical — supports files up to 24-bit/192kHz
- 2 coaxial — supports files up to 24-bit/192kHz
- 1 balanced AES/EBU digital XLR — supports files up to 24-bit/192kHz
- 2 I2S (one Alchemy Mini-DIN, one HDMI) — supports files up to 24-bit/192kHz
- asynchronous USB Type B for connecting a Mac® or Windows® computer — PCM files up to 32-bit/384 kHz, DSD up to 5.6 MHz (driver download required)
- Ethernet port for a wired network connection for streaming, firmware updates, and system control
- analog audio inputs:
- 1 set of stereo balanced XLR and 2 sets of stereo unbalanced RCA inputs for line-level sources
- no phono input — to connect a turntable, check out ELAC Alchemy's matching PPA-2 phono preamp
- full-sized 1/4" headphone jack
- 12V trigger out for activating an external device
- RS232 port for automated control systems
- detachable power cord
- If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in its audio menu — the DDP-2 cannot decode multichannel Dolby® Digital signals
Dimensions and Warranty:
- 17-1/16"W x 2-1/8"H x 16-3/16"D
- weight: 14 lbs.
- warranty: 1 year