Where in Europe are you? We have plenty of distribution in Europe. It should be fairly easy to hear one,
When I was looking for à digital source I auditionef some of the biggest combos from some of the biggest brands, among the were MBL and Weiss, nothing was close to the NWO-3.0-SE. The 4.0-SE is significantly better than the 3.0-SE and IMHO cant be touched by anything in the market. But only way to decide for yourself is to audition. A plane ride and hotel is à very low cost compared to the players so if the machine cant come to you maybe you can come to the machine.
Questions to Jonathan Tinn:
Great front end. My most sincere congratulations. Let me exploit your presense in this forum.
Dud you ever considered (GOOD) tube output stage?
Will you consider it?
When your USB input will start to accept 176/24 and 192/24 data streaming from musical server?
Can you share with us what are you "cooking" now in your magic kitchen?
Thanks for the kind words. While I have always been a lover of tubes, I would say that one of the worst places to have them is in a DAC. A properly done solid state analog output stage can sound much better than a tube DAC. There is too much distortion and noise produced by tubes. Really I would not even focus on tubes versus solid state here. There are much more critical things going on like the conversion itself.
Currently USB is not ideal nor is it that important for use with a music server. Our unit accepts anything up to 24/192 through either AES or SPDIF. We have many customers that are very satisfied using USB to SPDIF converters in order to achieve 192kHz if they cannot use AES or SPDIF sound cards.
Right now we are extremely back ordered and focusing on filling orders. When there is something to announce, I will let you know.
This is a very interesting comment: "There is too much distortion and noise produced by tubes." considering that the second and third order harmonic distortion that John Atkinson measured during his measurements for the Stereophile review of the Playback Design unit appears to be a deliberate attempt to add and emulate an exciter/enhancement tube-like distortion, in firmware. Would you please comment on this observation?
"There is too much distortion and noise produced by tubes."
Thank you Carlos for your astute observation. Let me also to add something.
Noise: I have new Joule-Electra preamp which got Harry Pearson's 2010 HP Editor Choice Award. OK, when I place my ear next to my speakers I hear...nothing, nada, ziltch. Total silence as in SILENCE. (The measured noise was of about 50 uV).
Distortions: The best BAT, CAT, Joule-Electra preamps have measured distortions (THD) less of 0.01%. Not much!!!!!!
All The Best
The long outdated (3-4 years old) NWO-2.5 featured 20 per channel AKM DACs and differential/balanced tube output stage with 6H30 tubes and Lundahl transformers (no negative feedback). Some measurements below.
Here is a graph with 1KHz at 0dB
Second harmonic at 0.003%, third at 0.001%, noise is at below -120dB or 0.0001% above 60Hz. You can see some 60Hz interference picked-up by the output transformers, but at -100dB or 0.001% it is something you cannot hear.
Another graph with 1KHz sine this time at -90.31db showing the resolution at this extremely low level.
All of the above measurements made with CD (44.1KHz/16bit).
Hope this helps!