Why are we testing a studio converter again? Or even better: a universal converter that can convert analog to digital and digital to analog. With 1001 ways to switch it. What use is this to you – the hi-fi enthusiast? Well… that’s a very good question. The Grimm UC1 intrigued us; so we wanted to check it out and listen to it. And we’re glad we did!
There are simply put some devices that you plug in and…. it just adds up. In fact, there is very little to say about them because everything just falls into place. And the Grimm Audio UC1 definitely falls into that category. As do the Grimm TPM interlinks, Driade Flow speaker cable… Isotek filters (the bulk) and we could name a few more like that. But well: a review with just:
This device is just right …
… is a bit boring of course. In short: we’re going to see what else we can tell about it.
Pre-amp, dac, adc, headphone amp, master clock
The Grimm Audio UC1 is a Universal Converter. And a headphone amp, pre-amp and master clock. Damn… that’s a lot of functions in one box. True. But fortunately Grimm doesn’t believe in price gouging. It will not offer a bargain of the century, only to skimp on quality here and there. No. For €4000 (ex VAT) you buy a complete product that in fact does everything right.
To give an idea. As a dac chip Grimm Audio has deployed an AKM 4396VF. And there are three in there (one per stereo pair). The ADC is a wonderful TI PCM4202. Internally we see, of course in a seperate housing, some famous clock crystals with circuitry. The extra housing ensures both thermal stability and it prevents resonances (the crystal is encapsulated by the way.
In this FLIR-picture we do not see the clock glowing, but a heatsink doing its job. The heatsink is between the shunt regulators and the bottom plate. Thus, the UC1 is passively cooled and therefore quiet.