Team Theta plumbed the mysteries of digital playback, discovering minute levels of mathematical reconstruction, subtleties of timing and jitter; virtually reinventing digital playback, all to bring sound quality up to the musicality audiophiles crave. Since theta’s inception in 1987 reviewers have praised each new Theta with “Breakthrough” and “Sets A New Standard” and “State of the Art.” We’ve been on a long quest to bring back the magical sense of aliveness, the delicate illusions of an involving, moving musical experience. Now, with the Chroma, Theta’s expertise has beenturned to making as much as possible of this “state of the art” listening pleasure available in a popular price range. Inspired by our multi-thousand-dollar reference standard D/A converters, Chroma’s design benefits from years of manufacturing experience as well as our high sonic standards. Chroma’s immediate predecessor, the Theta Cobalt, set the stage for Chroma, but the Chroma benefits from advances made in the last three years of research and development. A beefier power supply, better jitter rejection, a refined analog stage filter and an improved circuit layout all contribute to Chroma’s dramatically enhanced performance. Theta’s holistic design approach guides our decisions on which elements are crucial to sound, and where some compromises can be made with minimal sonic impact. For maximum cost efficiency, we use low-cost “mass production” techniques where we find them beneficial. But each design decision, on a part-by-part basis, was made with attention to detail and a depth of understanding unheard of in equipment normally available in Chroma’s price range. You will find some surprisingly expensive parts inside, in important areas of Chroma’s circuitry. For the technically inclined, we would like to point out that we use the highest grade of the latest Burr-Brown@ hybrid DAC. We use the lowest-jitter data recovery IC in the industry. Chroma also has an ultra-low-jitter master clock generator. We gave it a fast-settling current-to-voltage converter stage with high-current buffered outputs. We use costly Vishay@ bulk-foil resistors in the critical current-to-voltage conversion stage, and make exclusive use of superlative Wima polypropylene capacitors in the entire analog section. Chroma uses the world’s most advanced captive digital filter IC. with a 45 bit accumulator and digital-domain de-emphasis, or you may choose the optional HDCD filter. More than the sum of its parts, Chroma’s design wizardry can give you the listening experience you’ve been hoping for. Chroma’s sound is detailed and dynamic with well defined bass and smooth treble. Imaging is surpassed only by Theta processorswith programmable filters.
Chroma 396 D/A converter by Theta, introductory price $749.95 ($8.95);
Chroma 396 D/A converter by Theta, HDCD version, intro price $829.95 ($8.95)
Theta Chroma Features: Outำboard D/A converter with Burr-Brown hybrid DAC, ultra-low-jitter data recovery IC and master clock generator, and advanced captive digital filter IC with 45-bit accumulator and digital domain de-emphasis (or optional HDCD filter). Highest quality parts used throughout including Vishay bulk-foil resistors and Wima polypropylene capacitors. Inputs: 1 coax and 1 toslink digital. Digital tape output (RCAs, unblanaced). Front-panel-selectable digital absolute phase reverse. Specifications: FR: DC-20.5 kHz. S/N: 102 dB. THD at full output: 0.008%. Computing power: 42 effective MIPs. Math resolution: 56 bits. Resolution: 18 bits. Linearity: 18 bits. Dimensions: 7″ W x 8.5″ D x 1.28″ H. Manufacturer’s Limited Warranty: 1 year parts & labor. Made in USA.