About the ELAC Alchemy Series DDP-2
The centerpiece of a no-compromise audio system
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 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. For more details on this service, read the Roon article by Ralph, one of our music experts.
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 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
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # AS-DDP2-BK
What's in the box:
- 8' AC power cord
- Remote control
- 2 "AAA" batteries
- Operating Instructions
Thanks for submitting your review
More details on the ELAC Alchemy Series DDP-2
Features & specs
|Signal to Noise Ratio||110|
|Number of Inputs||12|
|Network Streaming Services||Roon, Spotify Connect|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
Alchemy Series: Designed ground-up by the ELAC team, the new Alchemy Series gives birth to a marriage of technologies, bringing further advances to a name known for delivering performance and build quality far exceeding its price. Every component incorporates relevant, well-thought-out features and topology that is important to critical listeners, like discrete implementation of power supply, preamplifier and signal processing to bring you best-in-class sound. With years of experience in award-winning analog and digital products, the Alchemy Series establishes a new standard for value in the world of high-end audio separates.
Preamplifier/DAC/Streamer: The Alchemy Series DDP-2 from ELAC combines three components in one elegant piece of gear to give you the highest-quality digital-to-analog converter, preamplifier, and digital streamer. The preamplifier offers maximum flexibility, while incorporating DAC and streaming functions to make the DDP-2 the centerpiece of your digital system.
High Quality Construction: The ELAC DDP-2 offers exceptional build quality with an all-discrete FET analog stage, ultra-low noise DC voltage regulators, digital controlled analog volume, a high-efficiency switching power supply for its digital stages, plus Toroidal transformer and linear power supply for the analog stages.
Dual 32 bit/384kHz DACs: The ELAC Alchemy Series DDP-2 utilizes two 32-bit/384kHz DACs (digital-to-analog converters) operating in balanced mode and incorporates an ultra-low noise phase-locked loop jitter filter for excellent sound quality. The unit supports 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.4, and 384 kHz sampling frequency rates.
- Digital Upsampling: The unit offers configurable upsampling to 384kHz, as well as selectable audio resolution enhancement of 16-bit to 24-bit and 24-bit to 32-bit
- DSP Filters: You can choose from for four select digital filter profiles to tailer the sound to your music content and listening preference. Select between F1 (Liner Phase/Fast Roll-Off), F2 (Linear Phase/Slow Roll-Off), F3 (Minimum Phase/Fast Roll-Off), or F4 (Minimum Phase/Slow Roll-Off).
Network Connection: The ELAC Alchemy Series DDP-2 Preamplifier/DAC/Streamer offers wired (Ethernet) and wireless (WiFi) network connectivity in order to access Roon, AirPlay or Spotify Connect. The initial network setup of the DDP-2 requires a wired Ethernet connection. After the initial setup, you can switch over to a wireless WiFi connection.
- Roon Ready: The DDP-2 Preamplifier/DAC/Streamer is Roon Ready and can be used as a Roon Endpoint. This means that any Roon Core, Server (such as the ELAC Discovery) or computer running Roon Software (for Windows / Mac) will see the DDP-2 as an audio location to stream music to. Up to 3 independent Roon streams can be sent to the DDP-2. A wired Ethernet connection is preferred for Roon, but a wireless WiFi connection can be used if necessary.
- AirPlay: Apple AirPlay allows you to wirelessly stream your iTunes music library from your Mac computer, Windows PC or Apple iOS device to the ELAC DDP-2. You can also wirelessly stream music apps from your Apple iOS device to the DDP-2 Preamplifier/DAC/Streamer. Your Apple iOS device must be running 4.3.3 or better, and your iTunes music software must be running 10.2.2 or better.
- Spotify Connect: The integration of Spotify Connect will enable Spotify Premium users to instantly select and wirelessly stream music to the ELAC DDP-2 from within the Spotify app (Apple iOS or Android). Subscription & fees will apply.
Bluetooth Audio Streaming: The ELAC DDP-2 features built-in Bluetooth with support for wireless audio streaming (A2DP) and remote control (AVRCP). You'll be able to wirelessly stream stored music, music apps, and other audio content on your Bluetooth source device (such as your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer) to the DDP-2. You'll also be able to control basic playback functions such as Play/Pause, Volume Up/Down, and Previous/Next Track. Advanced music browsing and song/artist/album information will still be done from your Bluetooth connected source device. You can pair multiple Bluetooth source devices to the DDP-2, but only one device can be used for playback at a time.
Asynchronous USB-B Port: The ELAC Alchemy Series DDP-2 features an asynchronous USB-B port to connect your Windows PC or Mac computer. You will need a separate USB driver for the connection of a Windows PC (downloadable from ELAC's website). The DDP-2 supports playback of 2ch PCM (up to 32-bit/384kHz) and DSD (up to 5.6MHz) music files. MQA support will be available soon via a future firmware update.
Digital Audio Inputs: The ELAC DDP-2 offers seven digital audio inputs. It has two coaxial digital inputs, two optical digital inputs, one AES/EBU XLR input, one HDMI I2S input, and one Mini-DIN I2S input. All the digital audio inputs support 2ch PCM only (up to 24-bit/192kHz); they do not support multichannel audio formats such as Dolby Digital or DTS.
Balanced & Unbalanced Connectivity: The ELAC Alchemy Series DDP-2 offers balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) inputs and outputs for connection flexibility. Balanced XLR connections guard against induced noise and allow long cable runs without compromising sound quality.
- Inputs: The Alchemy Series DDP-2 is outfitted with both balanced and unbalanced analog inputs and outputs. There is one balanced stereo XLR input and two unbalanced stereo RCA inputs for connecting an external analog audio source component. This unit does not have a dedicated Phono input for connecting a turntable. If you want to connect a turntable, you will need an external phono preamplifier (such as the ELAC PPA-2) or a turntable with a built-in phono preamp.
- Outputs: The DDP-2 Preamplifier/DAC/Streamer is also equipped with balanced and unbalanced analog outputs. There is one balanced stereo XLR output (variable), one fixed unbalanced stereo RCA output, and one variable unbalanced stereo RCA output to connect the DDP-2 to a power amplifier (such as the ELAC DPA-2) or integrated amplifier. The variable outputs are volume controlled. The fixed unbalanced output can be used in a home theater application (home theater bypass), or if you want to use the DDP-2 digital section separately from its analog section.
Front-Panel Headphone Jack: The ELAC DDP-2 houses a dedicated headphone amplifier with a front-panel 1/4" headphone jack for connecting a set of headphones, so you can enjoy your music privately. Audio from the unit's variable audio outputs will be muted. However, the unit's fixed level outputs will still be active.
Front-Panel Display: The front-panel OLED screen displays source input, volume level, sampling frequency, and menu settings. The unit does not display song/artist/album information.
IR Remote: The included IR remote control provides wireless operation of the ELAC DDP-2 Preamplifier/DAC/Streamer. The remote offers Power, Volume/Mute, Play/Pause, Previous/Next Track, Input Select, Balance, Upsampling, and Filter functions.
12V Trigger In/Out: The ELAC DDP-2 is outfitted with a 12V trigger input (3.5mm) and 12V trigger output (3.5mm) that can be used when you want to power on/off another connected device when the DDP-2 is powered on or off.
Mounting Options: The ELAC DDP-2 can simply be mounted on a shelf or other flat tabletop surface thanks to its integrated rubber feet.
8 questions already asked