Back in the day, this was conceived as the future of digital audio preamp. Denon, like many other great Japanese brands then was all about setting new boundaries for audio. The DAP-5500 was the culmination of an excellent preamp with an excellent DAC into one box. Each “component” was housed separately on each side with their own transformer. The DAC section had a BurrBrown PCM-56P-K DAC which may not be as sterling as the current DACs but for under $500 and with a preamp section to boot, it is quite a bargain. As a DAC, it has a fairly neutral sound, good detail retrieval and a generally enjoyable sound with most CD transports or the digital output of CD players. As a preamp, it was pretty good too. Backgrounds were dark and quiet and although a bit clinical in sound, it did a wonderful job in extracting every possible details. Paired with a nice warm sounding amp, and you would have quite a respectable sounding system going. Features are generous and the XLR inputs and outputs are quite the bonus for a under $500 preamp. There is no remote control feature on this (for that you need to look for the DAP-2500) which is another sign of its “high end” sound aspiration. Additional controls can be found under its flip down cover at the bottom of the unit. Add its DAC feature and you have a wonderful bargain piece.