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1  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: September 29, 2016, 01:44:44 pm
Nearly a year ago now I started this thread and now feel the story of SW1X requires some conclusions.

Looking back at the early postings, we saw vintage technology being applied to Red Book CD playback, and in a modern World of upsampling and oversampling we were a little harsh on the new boy on the block.

I suspect of all the people here I am the only one to have heard the gear and been mightily impressed. But being impressed is not enough and it would be OK for you to be thinking “yes but was it good enough to buy”.

The answer is an emphatic yes.

I am in my sixties, and for a number of years had tired of fiddling with software settings to try and find the elusive audio nirvana. I am no Luddite. Computer based audio is a reality, but how to get a system that sounded like the best analogue, but was plug and play rather than needing a degree in computer sciences. What's wrong with just wanting to sit and enjoy the music without all the software paraphernalia?

The bottom line is I bought the following items from SW1X

1. Solid silver interconnects including USB cable. Many replaced Audionote silver cables
2. Solid silver mains cables
3. Solid silver speaker cables
4. Signature SPDIF to USB converter
5. Signature DAC
6. My own simple triode amp reworked by Slawa of SW1X at a modest cost, to vastly improve its sound quality
7. Open baffle speakers with vintage Alnico magnets on Grundig tweeters, Greencone Saba midrange, and Altec 416 VOTT base drivers. Speakers rewired by Slawa with silver wires, Black Gates and AN Kaisei capacitors etc

I didn't want this to turn out to be a sales pitch for SW1X, but Peter has agreed with me that the early negativity in this thread could do with a bit of balance, and I post this here with his full blessing.
2  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: November 12, 2015, 03:55:29 pm

I saw that Mr Roschkov signed up for the forum and I did not know what to expect, nor why that happened in the first place. Possibly he wanted to counteract some of what has been said in here. Well, not necessary (I hope I just showed that). But, perfectly allowed. So Slawa, please do ! Warm welcome !

I hope all is well now.
And Chris, very good of you to be so honest (with your corrections). Appreciated !

Peter

Well, its a very small world on the internet. I am glad that Slawa found himself here as we spoke a bit about my use of your software.

My feeling is that all people that stray from the mainstream will  get criticism at some time - how many times have we read in forums that all cables 'sound' the same. This is more so, if one has never met someone and has to rely on limited information.

You and Slawa have a lot in common, though you have taken divergent paths you are both aiming towards audio Nirvana.

Long may it continue.

And Slawa, I have only just been told you are here so my response above was not an attempt to ingratiate myself with you Happy
3  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: November 12, 2015, 09:42:54 am
I did go over to visit Dr. Slawa Roschkow at SW1X yesterday and was VERY VERY impressed.

He is a Hi Fi fanatic and an electronics genius just beginning to market some of the stuff he has developed (start up company) He certainly has no affiliation to any Chinese company.

He has three systems set up in three dedicated rooms, all of which were wonderful.

Everything was valve based 300Bs, 2A3s and the best system used open baffles speakers with a full compliment of field coil drivers. Silver wiring was everywhere including mains cables.

If this is old technology, then I love it.

I am not trying to promote this man, but in hindsight we gave him a bit of a hard time on here and I just wanted to restore the balance.

The biggest compliment I can pay Showa is that I have not met a person of such qualities since I met a young Peter Qvortrup many many years ago, and he went on to develop the Audionote brand.
4  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Phasure price list on: November 06, 2015, 10:25:07 am
Hi Peter

I have found it almost impossible to track down prices of some of your stuff such as the Clairixa cable. Have I missed the 'shop' where all things are listed?

Thanks Chris
5  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: November 06, 2015, 09:45:53 am
Peter

Thanks for restoring my sanity and making me feel very old at the same time  Wink

I knew I had put my system together with advice from you and Bert because with electronics and computers I need expert guidance. friends

So today I wake up in 2015 and must readjust to a Hi Fi world that has shifted on its axis.

All is not lost as a pristine Fireface 400 seems to be fetching reasonable money on E Bay and will help finance a change to a USB DAC.

I'm not sure I even dare to ask this question but both USB 2 and USB 3 exist. How does this factor in to the decisions?
6  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: November 06, 2015, 01:06:17 am
Nope, looks like a fine plan. There a a lot of usb dacs in any price segment, so you'll have to do some homework on the internet. The positive side of this is the fierce competition leading to better base quality for the dollar all the time.

I'd advice to look for a high as possible samplerate capability, like 384khz or more. Personally i do not value the DSD capability since it adds little if anything to sq and its catalog is allways also available in normal format (pcm), but it may be a nice to have feature.

The other thing is the pc. Some xx settings resulting in good sound can be really tough on the processor. Even my 4core machine is not really up to the task of delivering the bits on time consistently. Today you can make it really complicated with pc setup but if you renew make shure to step into the i7 range for the audio pc.

Regards, Coen

Good man Coen. I feel like I am getting somewhere now.

I have been reading reviews on the iFi range and its all very favourable.

You mentioned the nano kit which is also the cheapest. I guess that moving up to the micro range is better still. I don't need headphone facilities and reading some of the specs gives me a headache  wacko.

Ignoring cost for the time being, what would be the best USB DAC to fit my needs.

I also see there are USB cable power supplies, mains power supplies, and audio perfect USB enhancers, so clearly an upgrade path is opened.
7  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: November 06, 2015, 12:21:52 am
This is how it is currently wired and plays very nicely. My assumption therefore that somewhere in the system a quality sound card was required. Is this all nonsence?

Ok!

the rme fireface itself looks like a nice but littlebit outdated device to function as a quality two channel audio dac itself but you are not using it that way. Apparently the rme 'soundcard' as you call it has an good working spdif output interface for your quality dac. I see nothing fundamentally wrong with this setup, yet moderner solutions are available. I don't think a 'better' soundcard will improve on this merely because it is "better'. The attention given to the spdif output is usually not clear.

There are these specialized usb to spdif converter devices that can do the spdif trick of the rme in a smaller package and have been developed with audiophiles in mind. As a matter of fact the ifi idsd nano has a specialised spdif output and you can connect your external dac to it. No clue though if this kind of connection enhances your sound, it might or might not.

I may sound like an ifi commercial by now but have no ties whatsoever. I just think its design, engineering and sound are great,especially for the price.

Like i said your DACs spdif interface has its limitations wrt the possibilities of software based optimisation in Xxhe. You need both the higher sampling rates and increased bit numbers and linearity to fully benefit from it (and preferably no in dac sampling like on delta sigma style dacs). So if you really want to move forward this is something to consider.


Regards, Coen

P.s. Obviously you do not need any 'soundcard' when using the usb to spdif device. Just plug it in one of the free usb ports on the pc (and then experiment which port sounds best Grin).

P.s.2 does your Dell on board soundcard have a SPDIF output? Not all of them do. Maybe it will be worth trying since it is closer to the pc's hardware and xx is likely to have more impact, on the negative side noise on the spdif line is bound to be higher but not neccecarly so.




Thanks again Coen

So, if I wanted to progress in a good direction I should use a USB cable to connect to a DAC with USB input such as the iFi.  The Fireface 400 can then be sold on E bay as no soundcard is needed with this configuration.  smile

The USB DAC will have phono connections to connect to audio amplifier.

Is this about the best configuration to go for, or is there any other approach you would recommend (other than Peters DAC which is a bit too expensive for me at present).
8  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: November 05, 2015, 11:04:06 pm
Coen, thanks for baring with me, perhaps I have got this wrong all along Happy

When I started with computer music, first option was to let the computer play using its own sound card (sounded rubbish).

Then XXHE came along and the advice I took in (perhaps wrongly) was that the internal sound card would hold back the sound quality and to switch to an external sound card attached by a firewire. This was and still is the Fireface 400 which is used solely as a sound card and the internal DAC is not used as this is not very good.

Signal from the Fireface 400 is taken via a single digital cable to the DAC.

This is how it is currently wired and plays very nicely. My assumption therefore was that somewhere in the system a quality sound card was required. Is this all nonsense?
9  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: November 05, 2015, 04:45:02 pm
Ok that makes sense, but the job of the firewire in my system is to carry the signal from XXHE to the Fireface 400 which is an external sound card and is much better than the internal computer sound card.

If I fed a good NOS DAC with a USB signal from the computer I seemed to have omitted the Fireface 400, so what is being used as a sound card  dntknw
10  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: November 05, 2015, 10:25:11 am
Here is a bit of correspondence I had with the seller. Does this man sound like he knows what he is talking about or is it more BS?

Me

"As my music source I am using computer software that does all the upsampling before it sends out the data. It is capable of outputting data at 32bit/768Khz.

In terms of ultimate SQ how will your NOS DAC be handling a 32bit/768Khz signal?

Please keep the response simple as I am taking advice from the people who generate the software and am not skilled at all this technical stuff."

 
Seller

"I can see where you coming from. A resolution is only one aspect of a good sound. Higher resolution does not guarantee a good sound anyway, when there are so many other factors just deteriorate the sound beyond comprehension. Many years ago I also thought that the higher the resolution the better it is, until I realised that the potential of 16 bit Red Book (CD) format was far from being fulfilled. Wait until you hear a properly designed 16 bit NOS R2R DAC that can resolve as good or better than a 32 bit Delta Sigma DAC.

Speaking of resolution, the highest resolution of an mass produced R2R DAC chip known to me is 24 bit (which requires digital filtering) and a NOS capable R2R DAC chip is 20 bit.

R2R means resistor network based chip architecture, the most accurate and most expensive DAC chip to design and to produce. Only the R2R chips can provide a true resolution in its original sense. If you have a R2R DAC chip with 16 bits resolution and low noise capacitors around, most likely you will come close to the specified resolution.

On the other hand, all modern 24 and 32 bit DAC chips of Delta Sigma type are <1 bit noise shaping by design, i.e. produce noise and that clean up the signal with a demodulator, which supposed to be 24/32bit. These modern chips do not really resolve the claimed accuracy and are quite forgiving with low quality components and all of them require filtering by design.

On top of that, what is the benefit of upsampling to 32 bit if the maximum resolution of digital SP/DIF signal is 20/24 bit and the recording itself is 16 bit only?

The 32 bit upsampled signal is re-formated to 24 bit SP/DIF, where 12 bits are lost. When a signal arrives at a SP/DIF receiver chip of a DAC, the last 8 bits of 24 bit get truncated to the resolution of the DAC chip e.g. 16 bit. It is like taking a low resolution picture and zooming it in, then adding additional bits to make the curse looking squares appear smoother and then zooming it out again. In other words, there is no value added with upsampling. In my expreience, the upsampled signal cannot and does not sound better relative to the original 16 bit.

I hope that everything I wrote makes sense"



 
11  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: November 05, 2015, 09:24:16 am
It took me 1 minute to find it.
Quite some more to find out who or what the seller is. And THAT alone would make me the most suspicious.

http://www.clartes.co.uk/about
That is your seller. Hum.

Maybe they got hold of a pallet of DACs but ... I don't know.

Now tell me - If you would be a respectful UK company, would you sell on ebay Hong Kong ?
http://www.ebay.com.hk/itm/SW1X-Audio-Design-DAC-01-NOS-TDA1543-ECC88-6N6P-Tube-Note-300B-2A3-amp-/181910924043?hash=item2a5abc6b0b:g:~6EAAOSwo6lWKhT6

Now what's crucial here :
This is brandnew (from the Ebay UK page), right ?
Of course it is brand new. But as the text is old, see the picture below for what's in there. Indeed that's from my old Telefunken TV they probably tore down for this.
Or maybe it was the 2nd WW Philips radio - I forgot.

Still it can sound good.

Peter


Good detective work Peter  thankyou

I only stopped from putting the name on here as I didn't want to be seen as advertising someone else's products.

It has all the hallmarks of a re-badged Chinese product, but the guy lives local to me so I will go and have a listen.

Indeed I might just ask for a tour around the English factory. grazy
12  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: November 04, 2015, 11:28:40 pm
Thanks Coen  smile
13  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Anyone like to comment on this NOS DAC on: November 04, 2015, 09:54:03 pm
I hope this is OK to ask this here?

I am going to audition a NOS DAC which will hopefully improve on my SHEK D2 in my system. Would anyone like to comment on the 'quality' of the design and components.

In particular Peter, would one expect it to work best with XXHighEnd with the valve re-clocking option turned on or off.


NOS (Non oversampling –zero digital domain filtering) design

Based on 1x TDA1543 – one of the most analogue sounding DAC chips ever directly connected to CS8412 SP/DIF receiver

Active I/U conversion via a special transistor with a shortest signal path directly connected to the tube grid - unlike other TDA1543 based DACs on the market our DAC is excellent at reproduction of low level musical information

ECC88/6N6P tube output stage

Tube based re-clocking option (can be switched off by a jumper)

Shunt voltage regulators everywhere (much smoother and more analogue sounding)

We only use fine selected audio components such as Allen Bradley resistors, Philips BC, Nichicon Muse, Panasonic Pureism, Kendeil capacitors, Telefunken diodes, PIO output capacitors

The PCB has no mask on the bottom side and all conductive traces are covered with gold and a special varnish for a for a more open and detailed sound

Mains input wiring as well as SPDIF and analogue out is wired in pure silver

Silver plated RCA connectors
14  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: Ifi USB Purifier on: October 31, 2015, 09:24:04 am
Hi Shreekant

Can you detail your PC playback system as shown here.

http://www.phasure.com/index.php?topic=124.0

That way people can better advise on improvements.


Cheers Chris
15  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: System selection a personal perspective on: October 29, 2015, 09:45:59 am
Sounds like a minefield out there Peter, lucky we have you to help us through it.  friends

I suppose for those of us not able to afford your NOS the answer is to stick with the established principle of letting your ears be the judge.

I feel more comfortable now I have learnt a bit (no pun intended) about data transfer rates.  very happy
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