wig congrats on your new DAC! I read about that on HFA also, love that site, one of my comments is at the bottom of the review page. It looks like a great DAC and he obviously, and I an not saying this negatively, ripped quite a few idea off AN. He even has levels 1-3 and Special and Signature versions like AN. The DACs look like AN DACs and even have some AN parts. It's a recipe that worked for AN obviously glad you like it so much I was very intrigued myself! Happy listening!
One thing to realize with this DAC, unlike the Border Patrol, is that you will hear the jitter of the transport. If you change cables, transports or treat the disk, you will probably hear differences. This is why you are liking the silver coax cable.
This is a good reason to consider a good reclocker like the Synchro-Mesh to reduce the jitter coming from your transport. Transport jitter is usually quite high:
Other advantages of the Synchro-Mesh:
1) Provides galvanic isolation of ground between transport and DAC. Eliminates ground-loops.
2) Upsamples 16/44.1 to 24/96, allowing the filters in the DAC to be more effective and providing a more analog signal.
3) Creates a perfectly matched impedance to a good 75 ohm cable. Surprisingly, most transports don’t get this right.
Even very expensive transports, many times the cost of your DAC will have high jitter compared to the 20psec of the Synchro-Mesh. For a minimal $699 investment, you can get much better imaging, slam, improved soundstage and less edge on vocals. 30-day money-back guarantee, less shipping. Some customer feedbacks:
Also, I though you already had my reference silver cable for $499. My customers have yet to find anything that beats it, at any price. I only designed this cable because they were spending $2K+ and not getting great results. These cables should ALWAYS be more than 1m in length. Mine are 4 feet. See my white-paper explaining why:
The jitter experts
My SW1X DAC STD II has been running constantly for over two weeks now and is sounding more refined and front-to-back and sided-to-side layering is extraordinary. I can hear distinctly, 5 different performers on stage within their own space with no crowding, blurring or congestion.
I know further improvements can be had with better tubes and waiting on some 1960 Foton Factory Square Getters 6N6P to arrive and will roll the rectifier with a Tung-Sol 6X5GT. This should be a magical combination...
Apologies, I only just saw your post re jitter and balanced power.
It is understood that by accurately balancing mains power any residual digital hash / reactive current will sum to zero ie common mode noise rejection. Equitech suggest a reduction in jitter of 30-50% in many cases just by using a good transformer which I can completely believe having been through this over the last few years. The sound from my own digital (Ayon CD-T & Concert Fidelity DAC040B/D) is far closer to my analogue front end via it's own dedicated 300va symetrical output transformer to the extent that I would say that digital really needs this to work optimally.
Some info from Equitech's Martin Glasband on the subject:
Received my 1960 NOS Foton Factory 6N6P tube recommended by Dr. Slawa for my SW1X STD DAC II and at the same time upgraded the Rectifier to a Tung-Sol 6X5GT and an already phenomenal DAC is now even better. The midrange is richer/fuller and without sacrificing any detail but it is the imaging, sound-staging and layering to take note of; “Truly Holographic Palpable Dimensionality”…:)
The upgrades will take an already phenomenal DAC even further with Audio Note Caps, Direct Heated Diode Tube Rectification and a slew of other parts that are harmonically matched; Way more refinement...
I am totally happy with the way it is sounding now but know it will get even better! Had a few others that bought this DAC with top shelf parts, told me they have never heard anything like this and were very happy with their purchase.
That is what I have heard and read about in regards to DHT and this may be my Christmas present in 5 months :)
I was quite happy with my Nanotec 308 and Oyaide Black Mamba V2 PC until I tried Verastarr's and know have almost a full loom of Mike's cables and they have without a doubt elevated each of my components to an unbelievable level in terms of tonality, imaging, sound-staging, dynamic impact/slam with unbelievable realism...
@wig Congrats again on the new DAC glad it's providing you so much pleasure! Just to clarify is the upgrade a DHT output stage that's tube rectified? And I am certainly a fan of AN caps having an AN DAC I know they will sound amazing! Keep us posted on your upgrade Wig and congrats on the new cables as well!
That's correct, DHT Tube Rectified Output Stage but check out the link below that lists parts based upon your listening criteria:
Those foil cables are something special for sure.
Thanks again! I'm really enjoying my system like never before, Don Sach's Tube Pre-Amp and his Kootenay 120 KT88 Amp along with SW1X STD II DAC and Verastarr cabling keeps me up past midnight daily and this has been going on since March :)
Very cool. I’ve been a vinyl only guy forever, and only recently decided to introduce digital into my main system. I am very pleased with the Border Patrol and this looks like a real step up in the same direction, at what appears to be a fairly reasonable cost- the fully monty signature version at 3500 UK pounds (ex VAT)?
Loved your review of the SW1X DAC. And I immediately looked it up. And I’ll be doing more research on it as I get the time. I am curious about the Aero 10 cables you mentioned. I can’t find the listed by that name anywhere. I found the company and links to copper or silver ic’s, but nothing called Aero 10. Can you put up a link please? Also, if I might ask, what are lengths and prices of them?
Thanks in advance.
Thanks for providing us with the great review, and congratulations on attaining this terrific milestone in the evolution of your system!
As a point of information, though, and not that it matters much, contrary to what is stated on the SW1X web page you linked to in your last post I’m pretty certain that neither the 5C4S full wave rectifier tube nor the 5687 twin triode output tube is directly heated.
For the 5C4S note the reference here to indirect heating, and also click to expand the second of the two datasheet pages shown to the right of the picture of the tube. The pin diagram shows a heater connected between pins 2 and 8, while the cathodes are connected just to pin 8. Another diagram shown here, as well as this datasheet which is the pdf linked to on that page, indicate the same thing. (The designation that looks something like 5U4C, although with the "U" looking a bit different, apparently is Russian for 5C4S).
Regarding the 5687, it is indicated as being an indirectly heated twin triode in various datasheets that are readily found, as well as in a vintage GE tube manual I have.
In any event, enjoy! Best regards,
Yes, the wording is a bit ambiguous. However per the three references I cited in my previous post the 5C4S is not a directly heated diode. Those references indicate that it is indirectly heated, contrary to what is stated in various places at the SW1X site.
And the 5687 dual triode output tube is indirectly heated as well, as I had mentioned.
P.S: For an example of what the pin diagram would look like for a directly heated diode tube that is otherwise similar to the 5C4S see this diagram of the 5U4GB. In contrast to the diagrams of the 5C4S I linked to previously note that no cathode appears in this diagram; there is just a filament and the two anodes/plates.
This is a very good sounding SPDIF, hand made with all silver, utilizing different gauges sizes and no screens to choke openness and transparency; I believe 1M at the time I bought was $500 USD based upon the exchange rate.
@ almarg and @ jond
We are grateful to have you guys on this forum, very knowledgeable and inspiring to many Audiophiles. I will ask Dr. Slawa about his Direct Heated Diode Tube Rectification, maybe he has something up his sleeve and is brillant :)
I actually tried the SM with his upgraded PS and it elevated my Modwright Marantz SA8005 Tube CD Player to a higher level but when added between the DAC/Player, it stripped the organic nature of the DAC, making everything sound flat. Maybe the SM does not complement NOS DACS.
The BP is an outstanding DAC and very musical, the SW1X takes it much further...
@wig Thank you kindly for the nice words.
Regarding directly heated vs. indirectly heated rectifier tubes, the following article strikes me as being informative:
Although I can’t vouch for the following statement one of the authors provides, given the knowledge that is evident in the rest of his posts I would consider it to be worth considering. The words in brackets are mine:
IMHO, directly heated rectifiers like 5U4 have a “faster” more “transparent” sound with a lot of punch, speed, and dynamics as compared to a Mullard GZ34 [which is indirectly heated]. The legendary GZ34, though, has a much more refined, more “hifi” sound with smoother treble, warm detailed mids, and less edgy sonics than directly heated types like 5U4. I tend to favor the indirectly heated rectifiers ....
Some of the other issues he mentions involving the choice between the two types of rectifiers, such as the potential for cathode stripping in the audio tubes in the case of directly heated rectifiers, are non-issues if they are addressed properly in the design.
@wig I look forward to what you have to say. Do you still have the DAC II in house for direct comparison?
also - this bit on their website is curious "Based on 2 x PCM56 K – the most refined and highest resolving sounding 16 bit DAC chips ever produced"
If that's true, why does the top of the line DAC III use TDA1541A instead??
The SW1X DAC II sounds fantastic and even beat an Audio Note, which is like 3 times the price.
That 1541 chipset is the most sought after chip ever produced and is no longer in existent except for those who purchased them many moons ago but are the best analogue sounding chipset and are typically used in manufacturer’s top DACS.
Will not be able to do any direct comparison since my DAC II is sold, but it refines the sound of the DAC II with another level of analogue naturalness and more signature parts.
Congratulations! Are you choosing the standard, special or the signature version of the level III DAC? The various part options available is quite intriguing. For example you have choices regarding the decoupling output capacitors. . In my Yamamoto DAC I replaced the stock film output capacitors ( which were already good) with Duelund CAST capacitors (superb) and the improved sound quality was undeniable and worth every cent. I bet your SW1X DAC level III will sound fabulous and look forward to your upcoming listening impressions.