Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
WORLD'S FIRST portable USB stick designed DAC with DSD256 native and DoP streaming and with OLED information display.
WORLD'S FIRST portable USB stick designed DAC with DSD256 native and DoP streaming and with OLED information display.
443 backers pledged £40,095 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

£40,095

443

Welcome to the Space Key campaign

Thank you for the big interest in the Space brand, which motivates us to come up with some great new audio products. We would like to show you or newest and smallest audiophile DAC (Digital to Analog Converter), which bears the name Space Key, because it resembles an ordinary USB "key" (i.e. USB stick or flash disk, thumb drive, whatever its called in your part of the World).

Space Key - the audiophile class USB DAC

The Space Key has the form of a small USB key in an elegant plastic case made by Hammond in the USA. On the top it has an OLED display with a resolution of 128 by 64 pixels, where you can see information about the format which is played back by the DAC at the moment. On the side it has a volume rocker, which can be also pushed to mute the audio. On one end it has a USB type A connector, and on the opposite end is a 3.5mm jack socket.

 

Thanks to the small size (78x30x16mm) the product is ideal for mobile use with smartphones, tablets and laptops, but it can be used with any other computer as well, as long as it has support for USB audio devices.

ESS® SABRE 32bits Reference D/A Chip and Powerful Audio Processor

The heart of the Space Key is a DAC chip by ESS®, well-known among audiophiles becuase of their high quality digital to analog converters. We used the audiophile grade 32 bit SABRE9018 chip, which is one the vendor's reference class chips. These chips are world-renowned for their quality and are used in many expensive high-end products.
The SABRE32 Reference DACs set the standard for HD audio performance, SABRE SOUND™, in a cost-effective, easy-to-use form factor for today's most demanding digital-audio applications.

The other very important component is the eight core XMOS USB High-Definition Audio Processor running at 8x500MHz which ensures high and precise data rates through USB 2.0 for the highest possible quality of the digital audio signals.

The hardware has been optimized in every aspect for the best possible sound quality. For example, we used a four layer PCB with 24 carat gold plated contacts and solder pads. Also, we used high quality (but non-nonsense) components throughout the board.

0.96" OLED display with a resolution of 128x64, high quality 3.5mm socket, volume/mute joystick and USB type A connector

Space Key High-End hardware with ESS® SABRE9018Q2C chip and eight core XMOS xCORE USB High-Definition Audio Processor

High quality audio output through the 3.5mm socket

The 3.5mm stereo socket is the way to connect your headphones or other audio gear to the product. The Space Key comes with a built-in headphone amplifier, which is able to drive headphones with an impedance of up to 300 ohms. 
The audio output has astounding specs, with 121dB DNR (Dynamic Range) or 0.0002% THD+N (Total harmonics distortion) which ensure high quality playback of your favourite music.

Device and OS Support

The Space Key supports a wide array of devices regardless of the operating system they are running, but the main focus is on the portable devices. Smartphones and tablets are very popular for listening music on the go, while doing sports, or even at home.


The Space Key is supported both by Android devices (USB OTG support required), iOS devices by Apple (iPhone, iPad, iPod), but desktop operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X (macOS) and other Linux distributions are also supported.

Portable devices with micro USB ports require an OTG cable, which allows you to connect the Space Key. In the case of Apple iOS devices, a Lightning to USB Camera Adapter is required.

 

Drop test

Space Key falling from one meter.

DSD Audio playback

DSD (direct Stream Digital) audio is getting quite a bit of attention today. The sampling rates start at an incredible 2,8224 MHz, which is 64 times more than a normal audio CD's 44.1 kHz. DSD debuted with the Super Audio CD (SACD) format and it's the best available digital format in the world.

Quad-rate DSD256 (11.2 MHz) ASIO Native and DoP/dCS mode

The DAC in the Space Key supports DSD audio playback at a sampling rate of 11,2 MHz 1-bit, which is also known as DSD256, because the sampling rate is 256 times higher than the sampling rate of an audio CD, or of a usual MP3/FLAC file.

Space Key is a device capable of DSD playback with a sampling rate of 11.2896 MHz in native ASIO or DoP/dCS methods. The latter are methods for transferring DSD Audio over PCM Frames). Of course, lower sampling rates are also supported, like DSD64 and DSD128.

DoP/dCS mode

Native DSD mode is currently only available on Windows with the foobar SACD plugin and the Tesycon ASIO driver. For DSD playback under the other platforms, you can use the DoP (DSD over PCM) method. 
DoP (DSD over PCM)
is a method of transferring DSD data from the computer to the DAC using standard PCM audio frames. This method is important for macOS and Linux, where the default audio driver will not allow direct DSD data transfer (within a direct ASIO stream), and at the moment there is no solution for this behaviour, as fas as we know.

 

An interesting solution is to listen to your normal FLAC files in DSD64, DSD128 or DSD256 mode. The resulting sound is much more pleasant to the ear. 

PCM playback via DSD output is supported via Audirvana Plus under macOS, or Foobar2000 under Windows. Direct DSD playback from a smartphone, in this case using the HibikiFree app.

 DXD384/32 Master Studio Quality


Space Key also supports ultra high resolution DXD PCM audio, with a sampling rate of 352/384 kHz with a bit depth of 32 bits.
DXD is a format used mostly by recording studios specializing in high resolution recordings.


The studio master files are lossless (APE, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF) with a high sampling rates from 44,1 kHz up to 384 kHz at 24 or 32 bits. These files offer the true qualities of a studio recording and contain much more information about the sound, than it is possible to capture on a compact disc.

  

 

Excellent Sound Experience

Space Key will delight you with high dynamic range and clarity unheard of in this price category before. Space Key is the best way how to upgrade your computer or smartphone with support for high resolution audio formats. Of course, you can still play your current audio library contents through the device, like your MP3, AAC, FLAC, WAV and DSF or DFF files. You can also use it with your favourite music streaming service.

Best Sound at this price

Don't hesitate and order the Space Key Audiophile DAC during the campaign for the best price.

Thank you in advance for supporting us!

Kind regards, the Magic Pixel Team.

www.space-audio.com

 

Risks and challenges

Although we have a few successful projects, from the design of the first prototype up to mass production, the possibility of an unforeseeable complication is always there. However during the years we learned to minimize these possibilities and deliver the product to our customers to their full satisfaction.

The prototypes we already have are fully functional. During the Kickstarter campaign we are going to finalize the hardware, software and design aspects of the product.

We hope our campaign will be successful and the product will satisfy our customers' needs in every way we can imagine.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £75 or more About $94

    Super Early Bird

    Get your own Space Key at a half of the expected retail price of £149.

    This reward is limited to only 200 units so don't hesitate!

    ATTENTION:
    Only 1000 backer can get their rewards during this campaign!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 196 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £89 or more About $112

    Super Early Bird

    Get your own Space Key at still less price than the expected retail price of £149.

    This reward is limited to only 300 units so don't hesitate!

    ATTENTION:
    Only 1000 backer can get their rewards during this campaign!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 237 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £105 or more About $132

    Super Early Bird

    Get your own Space Key at a lot less price than the expected retail price of £149.

    This reward is limited to last 500 units so don't hesitate!

    ATTENTION:
    Only 1000 backer can get their rewards during this campaign!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 5 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (45 days)