KITTY DAC - get perfect sound out of every album. (Canceled) project video thumbnail
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£1,767 pledged of £53,000 goal
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By Speakertec
£1,767 pledged of £53,000 goal
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About

SoundMatch™ Technology

Which DAC is the best? Truth is... all leading DACs are great. Just like fine dining requires careful food and wine matching, DACs deliver their full potential only with specific music material. Given that your music preferences are fixed, but every DAC produces different results, maybe just pick the right DAC for the album?

This is why Kitty comes with four DAC modules. Swappable in seconds.
This is why Kitty comes with four DAC modules. Swappable in seconds.

DACS VS POCKETS
Most portable DACs on a market are not ..erm..’portable’. Well, they fit into your check-in luggage, sure. Ok, ok, some are pocketable. And that is fine if your wear those 12 pocket cargo pants. But in real life your phone and wallet calling dibs on the only two jeans pockets you use.

This is why Kitty is credit card-sized and only 7.7mm thick.
This is why Kitty is credit card-sized and only 7.7mm thick.

HOLD 'EM TIGHT
Mobile DACs are supposed to exist in a perfect piggyback symbiosis with mobile phones but in reality vendors include ‘rubber bands’ (no kidding) to hold them together. Yes, the same kitchen rubber bands. In a 21st century.

This is why we invented Kitty’s slim magnetic lock.
This is why we invented Kitty’s slim magnetic lock.

CHARGED WITH BATTERY

There is nothing worse than charging all your gadgets before your next trip. It is super annoying. Really. Given that your phone has a sizeable battery built in and USB port to supply power, any external battery is just a dead weight.

This is why Kitty does not have a battery. Zero, zilch, zip, nada, nothing.
This is why Kitty does not have a battery. Zero, zilch, zip, nada, nothing.

Not convinced? Your are a tough nut to crack. 

How about driverless plug&play on iOS/Android/OSX/Windows? 384Khz PCM/DSD128 support? 8V p-p output? 50 grams weight?

Still not convinced? 

Well, how about cute carry-on bag? Tiny and flexible USB cable set? A spare set of Kitty magnetic logos? ‘Surfing Kitty audio PCM/DSD tracks Vol.1’ test suite? Check more features below!

Sounds unbelievable? Sounds incredible! 

Get Kitty right meow!

 Alex Kalyadin
 and SPEAKERTEC team.

  1/ FEATURES
  2/ GALLERY
 
  3/ VIDEOS
 
  4/ SPECIFICATIONS
 
  5/ PROJECT STATUS
 
  6/ PRICING
  
  7/ SMALL PRINT
 
  8/ RISKS
  

QUALITY MATTERS
Don’t let avant garde design to confuse you. The sonic performance has not been sacrificed at the altar of modularity. Top grade components, careful layout, multiple power supplies to minimize current loops, differential audio path and strict adherence to supplier’s design guidelines bring the best out of every DAC.

Kitty with top cover and magnetic lock removed.
Kitty with top cover and magnetic lock removed.

FILTERED FOR PURRFECTNESS 

It may come as a surprise, but many DACs have very little ‘analogue’ in them. For example, delta sigma DACs are basically a combination of an integrator and digital filter. And yes, filter architecture has direct impact on audio performance.

Kitty let you select any DAC built-in filter.
Kitty let you select any DAC built-in filter.

USABILITY FIRST
The volume rocker is edge mounted to enable a quick volume change with just one finger. All interfaces located on the same side for clutter free routing. Tiny, flexible cable interconnects for pocketability. 

True pocketability without compromises.
True pocketability without compromises.

ZERO SETUP 
Kitty is plug-and-play with Mac (OSX 10.6.4+), PC (Windows 10.0.15+), iOS (10.3.3+) or Android (6.0.1+)making it one of the easiest ways to bring your digital audio files to life. Earlier Windows versions are supported via provided driver.

MIDI dialog in OSX. 32-bit mode supported in apps.
MIDI dialog in OSX. 32-bit mode supported in apps.

STAY IN VOGUE 
There's nothing worse than buying shiny new toy only to discover that it has become the old model almost immediately after purchase. Kitty has a lowest degree of obsolescence vs. investment among its rivals due to modularity. ES9018Q2C, ES9038Q2M from ESS Technology, AK4452VN from Asahi Kasei Microdevices and CS43198 from Cirrus Logic available for pre-order with more coming in 2018.

4 modules, 3 vendors. Kitty, a future-proof choice.
4 modules, 3 vendors. Kitty, a future-proof choice.

‘I DID IT MY WAY’
Modularity may be seen as a fun concept or as an essential tool, a swiss army knife of audio path control. Every critical part of Kitty is either interchangeable or upgradeable to make sure you have your sound ‘your way.

Carrier v2 coming in Q2 2018 with many new features.
Carrier v2 coming in Q2 2018 with many new features.

BAG IT? NO, ACCESORIZE IT!
Tired of dull packaging boxes gathering dust in the closet? Kitty comes in the cute little travel bagthat can hold up to one carrier, five DACs and a set of cables.

A sofisticated nature of elegance
A sofisticated nature of elegance

 

 

Kitty playing from Macbook
Kitty playing from Macbook

 

Kitty playing from iPhone
Kitty playing from iPhone

 

Kitty bag opened
Kitty bag opened

 

Kitty volume/mode rocker
Kitty volume/mode rocker

 

A featherweight champion
A featherweight champion

 

Kitty and Android phone closeup
Kitty and Android phone closeup

 

Kitty is macOS High Sierra compatible
Kitty is macOS High Sierra compatible

 

 

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Kitty DAC unboxing video

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 Kitty DAC project information video

 

Carrier v.1 (USB/control interface & output amp)
Carrier v.1 (USB/control interface & output amp)

 

HARDWARE
Input:1x Mini USB 384kHz/32-bit/DSD128
Output:1x Optical 192kHz/24-bit, 1x 3.5mm Jack Audio
Headphones: 16-600 Ohm 
Power: 2x140mW @ 16 Ohm-2x180mW@32 Ohm-2x13mW @ 600 Ohm
THD of amp section: 0.00014% @ 2V rms 
Amplifier output: 8V p-p max
Weight (with DAC module): 50 grams
Dimensions: 86x56x7.7 mm
LED indicator: Bitrate, status, volume and filter
Battery: USB powered
Hot Swappable modules: No

SOFTWARE
Windows®: Windows 10 Creators Update recommended. Earlier versions require driver.
iOS™: V10.3.3, iPhone™ 6, A1619 adapter recommended 
Android™: Android 5.0 or later 
Mac OS X v10.6.4 or later

ESS Technology ES9018Q2C module      32-bit      PCM 44, 48, 88, 96, 176, 192, 352, 384Khz      DSD128      –115dB THD+N     121dB DNR  3 filters
ESS Technology ES9018Q2C module 32-bit PCM 44, 48, 88, 96, 176, 192, 352, 384Khz DSD128 –115dB THD+N 121dB DNR 3 filters

The SABRE9018Q2C SABRE32 Reference DAC is a high-performance 32-bit, 2-channel audio D/A converter designed for audiophile-grade portable applications.

Using the critically acclaimed ESS patented 32-bit HyperStream® DAC architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, the SABRE9018Q2C SABRE32 Reference DAC delivers performance level that will satisfy the most demanding audio enthusiasts.

The SABRE9018Q2C SABRE32 Reference DAC sets the standard for HD audio performance, SABRE SOUND™, for today’s most demanding digital-audio applications. 

ESS Technology ES9038Q2M module 32-bit PCM 44, 48, 88, 96, 176, 192, 352, 384Khz DSD256 –120dB THD 129dB DNR 7 filters
ESS Technology ES9038Q2M module 32-bit PCM 44, 48, 88, 96, 176, 192, 352, 384Khz DSD256 –120dB THD 129dB DNR 7 filters

 The SABRE9038Q2M SABRE32 Reference DAC is a very high-performance 32-bit, 2-channel audio D/A converter designed for audiophile-grade portable applications.

Using the next generation of ESS patented 32-bit HyperStream® II DAC architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, the SABRE9038Q2M SABRE32 Reference DAC delivers performance level that will satisfy the most demanding audio enthusiasts.

The SABRE9038Q2M SABRE32 Reference DAC sets the standard for HD audio performance, SABRE SOUND™, for today’s most demanding digital-audio applications.

 

 

Cirrus Logic CS43198 module 32-bit PCM 44, 48, 88, 96, 176, 192, 352, 384Khz DSD256 –115dB THD+N 130dB DNR  5 filters
Cirrus Logic CS43198 module 32-bit PCM 44, 48, 88, 96, 176, 192, 352, 384Khz DSD256 –115dB THD+N 130dB DNR 5 filters

The CS43198 is a high-performance, 32-bit resolution, enhanced delta-sigma oversampling D/A converter. The advanced 32-bit oversampled multibit modulator with mismatch shaping technology eliminates distortion due to on-chip component mismatch.

Proprietary digital-interpolation filters support five selectable filter responses with pseudo-linear phase and ultra-low latency to minimise pre-echos and ringing artifacts.

The patented on-chip DSD processor preserves audio integrity by allowing signal processing such as volume control to be applied directly to the DSD stream without an intermediate decimation stage. 

Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4452VN module 32-bit PCM 44, 48, 96, 88, 176, 192, 384 Khz DSD128 –107dB THD+N  115dB DNR  5 filters
Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4452VN module 32-bit PCM 44, 48, 96, 88, 176, 192, 384 Khz DSD128 –107dB THD+N 115dB DNR 5 filters

The AK4452VN is a new generation of premium 32-bit D/A converters, based on AKM’s VELVET SOUND™ architecture that has been widely adopted by well-established high-end audio companies.

VELVET SOUND™ is a brand concept of “sound philosophy”, given to AKM’s new generation of audio devices and “new architecture & core technologies” This technology realises fine sound details with its low-distortion architecture in addition to 32-bit resolution digital filter processing.

The AK4452VN is a premium audio device that targets high-end to middle class audio equipment, integrating futuristic features and having sufficient specifications suitable for high-resolution audio.

SUMMARY
PRE-PRODUCTION PHASE. MOST FEATURES ARE COMPLETE

DAC MODULES
ES9018Q2C = 100% COMPLETE, LIMITED STOCK
AK4452VN = 100% COMPLETE, LIMITED STOCK
ES9038Q2M = 30% COMPLETE, PCB/FIRMWARE UPDATES
CS43198 = IN THE WORKS, NEW DESIGN

CARRIER' PCB
V1 = 100% COMPLETE, IN STOCK
V1.1 = 70% COMPLETE, NEW FEATURES PLANNED:
- HOT-SWAP SUPPORT
- FRONT LED BITRATE INDICATION
- IMPROVED THD/SN
V2.0 = IN THE WORKS, NEW FEATURES PLANNED:
- DSD256 SUPPORT
- OPTIONAL MQA SUPPORT
- NEW AMPLIFIER SECTION
- SOFTWARE FIELD UPGRADE 

WE AIM TO SHIP YOU V1.1 FEATURE SET. ALL EXISTING V1 AND V1.0X CUSTOMERS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR 50% OFF UPGRADE DISCOUNT TO V1.1

CARRIER' CASE
V1 = 60% COMPLETE, ADDS THE FOLLOWING:
- DUAL FRAME (WITH INTERNAL METAL LAYER)
- PROTECTION BUMPERS ON ROCKER SIDES
- ADDITIONAL SHIELDING ON BOTH SIDES
- EXTRA CASE ROBUSTNESS
- MINOR LOGO CHANGES
- FANTASTIC LOOK & FEEL 

PACKAGING
- MANUFACTURABILITY IMPROVEMENTS
- USABILITY IMPROVEMENTS

CABLES AND ACCESSORIES
- PROVIDED BY OUR PARTNERS

ADD-ON INSTRUCTIONS
To include an add-on to your pledge, follow these steps.
-Press "Manage Your Pledge" button above. If you have not pledged yet, it will say "Back this Project".
- Increase your pledge in the pledge amount box by the total amount of all add-ons you would like to add.
- Once campaign is finished, you will receive a survey with questions about add-ons you had chosen.

 

Reward #1. Kitty logo set. Made from brushed stainless steel. Attach to your secondary phone case if you plan to use Kitty with more than one source. Or to any flat surface as a cool accessory. Remember, double sided tape has very strong adhesive!
Reward #1. Kitty logo set. Made from brushed stainless steel. Attach to your secondary phone case if you plan to use Kitty with more than one source. Or to any flat surface as a cool accessory. Remember, double sided tape has very strong adhesive!

 

Reward #2 "Surfin' Kitty Records" downloadable test suite with PCM 44-384 Khz and DSD64/128 test tracks. Can be used for Kitty calibration and THD/DNR measurements. Or any DAC you own.
Reward #2 "Surfin' Kitty Records" downloadable test suite with PCM 44-384 Khz and DSD64/128 test tracks. Can be used for Kitty calibration and THD/DNR measurements. Or any DAC you own.

 

Reward #3. Kitty DAC design community membership to access:  - Kitty roadmap - Kitty program tracking - vote for new features - vote for new DACs in the portfolio - vote for colour/materials options - beta releases Available separately or as ADD-ON.
Reward #3. Kitty DAC design community membership to access: - Kitty roadmap - Kitty program tracking - vote for new features - vote for new DACs in the portfolio - vote for colour/materials options - beta releases Available separately or as ADD-ON.

 

Reward #4. A set of Kitty Micro USB to Mini USB OTG and USB A to USB mini super flex cables. Can be used with any miniUSB DAC.
Reward #4. A set of Kitty Micro USB to Mini USB OTG and USB A to USB mini super flex cables. Can be used with any miniUSB DAC.

 

Reward #5. Early bird special 1+2 Kitty DAC kit. Includes two DACs: ES9018Q2C and AK4452VN; Limited to 50 pcs.
Reward #5. Early bird special 1+2 Kitty DAC kit. Includes two DACs: ES9018Q2C and AK4452VN; Limited to 50 pcs.

 

Reward #6. Kitty DAC kit containing:  - One carrier;  - One DAC of your choice (ES9018Q2C or ES9038Q2M or AK4452VN or CS43198);  - A set of cables;  - Spare Kitty logo set.
Reward #6. Kitty DAC kit containing: - One carrier; - One DAC of your choice (ES9018Q2C or ES9038Q2M or AK4452VN or CS43198); - A set of cables; - Spare Kitty logo set.

 

Reward #7. Kitty DAC kit containing:  - One carrier;  - Two DACs of your choice (ES9018Q2C or ES9038Q2M or AK4452VN or CS43198);  - A set of cables;  - Spare Kitty logo set.
Reward #7. Kitty DAC kit containing: - One carrier; - Two DACs of your choice (ES9018Q2C or ES9038Q2M or AK4452VN or CS43198); - A set of cables; - Spare Kitty logo set.

 

Reward #8. Kitty DAC kit containing:  - One carrier;  - Three DACs of your choice (ES9018Q2C or ES9038Q2M or AK4452VN or CS43198);  - A set of cables;  - Spare Kitty logo set. (Third DAC not visible).
Reward #8. Kitty DAC kit containing: - One carrier; - Three DACs of your choice (ES9018Q2C or ES9038Q2M or AK4452VN or CS43198); - A set of cables; - Spare Kitty logo set. (Third DAC not visible).

 

Reward #9. Kitty DAC kit containing:  - One carrier;  - Four DACs (ES9018Q2C, AK4452VN, ES9038Q2M, CS43198);  - A set of cables;  - Spare Kitty logo set. (Only top two DACs are visible).
Reward #9. Kitty DAC kit containing: - One carrier; - Four DACs (ES9018Q2C, AK4452VN, ES9038Q2M, CS43198); - A set of cables; - Spare Kitty logo set. (Only top two DACs are visible).

 

- Speakertec Ltd reserves the right to change specifications. We will aim to provide advanced notice where applicable.
- Carrier v1 is not hot swappable. Unplug USB cable prior to DAC change
- USB bridge and Amplifier are only upgradeable together in V1
- Filter graphs are an artistic representation. Check actual DAC module filter characteristics
- Attaching logo directly to the phone is not recommended due to strong adhesive
- 32-bit and DSD are supported by audio player applications
- Kitty cards are an artistic representation only and not affiliated with any financial organisations
- 300-600 Ohm headphones support depends on sensitivity and maximum listening levels
- DAC specifications provided by supplier. PCM/DSD bitrates that exceed carrier specifications are not included
- Certain specifications are calculated or estimated based on supplier's data. Specifications of shipped units will be fully tested/measured
- Carrier V1.1 weight (with DAC module) is expected to increase to approximately 75 gramm due to the addition of internal metal frame
- Speakertec can not guarantee to provide shipment tracking to all deliveries/destinations
- Kitty design membership does not provide access to Kitty schematics, pcb and mechanical design documents, bus/hot-swap specifications and BOM.
- Speakertec reserves the right to amend/veto any Kitty design community poll results that affect program execution and deadlines.

Risks and challenges

We have spent 3 years developing and polishing our products to make sure they are designed for manufacturing (DFM). In our video and in the Project Status section above, we cover all steps and associated risks in fine detail.

However, If you are looking for a short summary, on a process side our suppliers performance is a major contributing factor to possible delays.

Another area that requires attention is testing/validation, affecting both cost and timescales. BOM (bill-of-materials) has very low risk of obsolecense within planned project timeframe.

Your support is pivotal in getting project executed as smooth as possible because you hold a perfect weapon against risks in your hands: pledges. Going beyond required project minimum significantly reduces risks enabling additional mitigation strategies and room for manoeuvre.

Please share on social media, bring friends and family members and all music lovers. Let's make it together.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £9 or more About $12

    Kitty logo

    A set of one Kitty logo and two dual-sided adhesive transparent decals. It is beautiful, it is cool and can also be used as a part of Kitty magnetic lock if you have multiple phones/tablets to use Kitty with.
    Available separately or as ADD-ON. Check 'Pricing' section for instructions.

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    Pledge £16 or more About $21

    DAC test suite

    'Surfing Kitty Records' downloadable test suite with PCM 44-384 Khz and DSD64/128 test tracks. Can be used for Kitty calibration and THD/DNR measurements. Or any DAC you own.
    Available separately or as ADD-ON. Check 'Pricing' section for instructions.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £39 or more About $52

    Cable set

    A spare set of Kitty Micro USB to Mini USB OTG and USB A to USB mini super flex cables. Will work with most DACs with miniUSB port.
    Available separately or as ADD-ON. Check 'Pricing' section for instructions.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £59 or more About $78

    Design Community memership

    Join our team. Be first to know. Have your say. Get Kitty DAC design community membership (valid for the duration of the project) to access:
    - Kitty roadmap
    - Kitty program tracking
    - vote for new features
    - vote for new DACs in the potrfolio
    - vote for colour/materials options
    - beta releases
    Available separately or as ADD-ON. You will receive a membership badge and personal certificate. Check 'Pricing' section for instructions. Restrictions apply - check 'Small print' section for details.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £279 or more About $370

    Early bird offer: 1+2 Kitty DAC kit

    One fixed promo Kitty DAC kit containing:
    - One carrier;
    - Two DACs: ES9018Q2C and AK4452VN;
    - A set of cables;
    - Spare Kitty logo set.
    Limited to 50 kits.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £299 or more About $397

    1+1 Kitty DAC kit (25% off)

    Kitty DAC kit containing:
    - One carrier;
    - One DAC of your choice (ES9018Q2C or ES9038Q2M or AK4452VN or CS43198);
    - A set of cables;
    - Spare Kitty logo set.
    You will be able to specify which DAC you ordered in the survey sent to you once campaign is finished.

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    1 backer
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £349 or more About $463

    1+2 Kitty DAC kit (30% off)

    Kitty DAC kit containing:
    - One carrier;
    - Two DACs of your choice (ES9018Q2C or ES9038Q2M or AK4452VN or CS43198);
    - A set of cables;
    - Spare Kitty logo set.
    You will be able to specify which DAC you ordered in the survey sent to you once campaign is finished.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £399 or more About $530

    1+3 Kitty DAC kit (35% off)

    Kitty DAC kit containing:
    - One carrier;
    - Three DACs of your choice (ES9018Q2C or ES9038Q2M or AK4452VN or CS43198);
    - A set of cables;
    - Spare Kitty logo set.
    You will be able to specify which DAC you ordered in the survey sent to you once campaign is finished.

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    Pledge £449 or more About $596

    1+4 Kitty DAC kit (40% off)

    Kitty DAC kit containing:
    - One carrier;
    - Four DACs (ES9018Q2C, ES9038Q2M, AK4452VN, CS43198);
    - A set of cables;
    - Spare Kitty logo set.
    You will be able to specify which DAC you ordered in the survey sent to you once campaign is finished.

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Funding period

- (35 days)