This interview was posted on Fair Hedon
I'll try & add the images
John Kenny, based out of Dublin, Ireland, has been producing audiophile grade computer audio products that are affordable, feature proprietary power schemes, and sold direct to consumer. In this interview, we discuss many topics including his design philosophy, his new line of ISO products, and USB audio.
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background and how Ciúnas Audio came to be?
At an early age I was building crystal radio sets, taking transistor radios apart and building/improving amplifiers, constructing new types of kites, model rockets and model hovercraft. Later, at University, I completed a science degree but at the same time, computers captivated my interest and I eventually set up a computer company specializing in bespoke software. Returning to my electronics hobby in later life I found a trove of information on the web regarding building & designing audio electronic devices and forums dedicated to DIY which I avidly digested.
My growing interest in the impact of power supply noise in DACs led me to an investigation into the use of a relatively new battery chemistry. I premised that this battery had characteristics which were important for powering digital audio devices. Apart from ultra low noise, they offered huge current output (120Amps instantaneous) which I believed would make them a very stable PS. I considered the latter hugely important, particularly in the sensitive circuitry of digital audio devices, even though they represent a light load albeit at high frequencies. Another appealing aspect was that their 3.3V voltage output held up during their discharge cycle. Normally batteries drop in voltage as they discharge but these batteries remain close to their 3.3V output until near their fully discharged state.
In 2009, I tested the batteries by modifying two popular digital audio devices at the time; Musiland 01US DAC and the original Hiface USB/SPDIF converter. The results exceeded my expectations and I posted details of the modifications on DIYAudio. A number of people took up the challenge and reported great success. However, not everybody wanted to do the modifications themselves and I was inundated with private messages requesting that I make the modifications for them — a business was born.
At that time my products were referred to as JKDAC or JKSPDIF and JKDAC32 but I eventually settled on a name which I felt encompassed what I was about — Ciúnas Audio. Ciúnas is the Gaelic word for calm, stillness, serenity and, as my design focus is on noise reduction and stability, I felt it represented this as well as introducing some Gaelic words into the audio world.