Computer Audio Design (CAD) was launched in 2011 to create high-end audio components that seek to deliver the best possible sound in computer-based audio.

The past decade has seen a revolution in the way we listen to music, with computer audio becoming one of the most important growth areas. While initially driven by convenience and cost, the market has rapidly evolved to focus also on quality and authenticity in sound.


1543 MKII DAC is optimized to work with a computer or audio server. There is one USB input and there is one set of unbalanced RCA outputs.

Along with working with our own CAD Audio Transport (CAT) the 1543 MKII DAC is “Plug & Play” and will work with almost any audio server on the market, including: Innuos, Auralic, Melco, Aurender and Fidata.

The CAD 1543 MKII DAC has used as few components as possible in the signal path. For that reason we do not offer additional inputs or outputs. The digital signals travel less than 1 cm from the USB board to the DAC chips. Due to there being only one input the digital signals do not pass through any switches. Digital signals run at extremely high frequency (MHz) and sound quality can be significantly reduced when switches are used in the digital domain.

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CAD Audio Transport

CAD was one of the first companies to produce a high-end audio transport/server. The reason we developed an audio transport was when our USB only 1543 DAC was first released 8 years ago the only option was to use a standard computer/laptop or Mac Mini with our 1543 DAC. There were no servers at all on the market. In 2015 the CAT won the Editor’s Choice award at HiFi+ Magazine and it had been on the market for a couple years at that point.

The new CAT has just been released and is 100% new on the inside. There is not a single component or even wire inside the new CAT that was in the previous version. We have spent many years learning and perfecting the deeply complex hardware and software issues that are important for influencing sound quality in audio servers/computers. There are now many good servers on the market, but if you are looking for the very best please contact CAD.

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Ground Controls

CAD believes that one of the key reasons so many digital audio products “sound digital” is due to this high frequency noise. From the very beginning of CAD we have worked hard to reduce unwanted noise in all our products. Materials and technologies that are used in our 1543 MKII DAC, USB Cables and CAT are included in the GC1, GC3 and GC-R Ground Controls.

The Ground Control contains a mixture of materials that converts high frequency energy into heat. Our research has found that to achieve the best sound quality the GC1, GC3 & GC-R needed to be effective over a large frequency range. This was not easy to accomplish! The CAD Ground Controls will reduce noise from about 1MHz up into the GHz range.

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CAD Audio USB Cables

The CAD Audio USB Cables are optimised specifically for audio use in conjunction with a USB Digital to Analogue Converter.

Compared to purely analogue devices (e.g. turntables), digital audio source components produce more high frequency “noise” (EMI/RFI). This is generated within CPUs, chipsets, switch mode power supplies and regulators and so on. Also the basic USB carrier frequency can be in the 200 MHz to 400MHz frequency range. Digital audio interconnects have a range of issues that are significantly different from analogue audio interconnects. During listening tests we found that when we reduced the amount of this “noise” from reaching the Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC), sound quality dramatically improved in our opinion.

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