SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 4466 times.

OrangeCrush

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 29
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #20 on: 7 May 2019, 11:07 pm »
I have been pretty lucky with my tubes and I run 16 tubes in all!

What are the tubes in the Dac?

I am very interested in the comparison as ART is the lowest jitter of any unit by far.  The Ciunas is mediocre in that regard, but he feels there are other more important factors in implementation.  Really can’t wait.  I am using an Allo Digione with a Teddy Pardo power supply to feed SPDIF into my ANK 4.1 LE DAC and it’s very good. But, I have always wanted to try an ART Legato.


JackD

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1209
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #21 on: 8 May 2019, 05:06 am »
Michael

Which tubes are giving you all the problems?

charmerci

Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #22 on: 8 May 2019, 02:08 pm »
I’m afraid the comparison between the Ciunas and AR.T converters is stalled because of a third tube’s misbehavior. I’m still relatively new to tubes, so I imagine I’ll have to get used to tubes dying at inopportune moments.

 Michael


What kind of tubes? I have some lying around if you want me to send one or two to you.

mresseguie

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 4112
  • SW1X DAC + Don Sachs + Daedalus Apollos = Heaven!
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #23 on: 8 May 2019, 04:12 pm »
I should have been clearer wrt my complaint about tubes. While it's true the first tube to fail was the rectifier tube on the DAC, replacement tubes are readily available. My second tube to fail was a KT-88 on my amp. My third tube is one (or 2?) 6SN7 tubes. When I have a few spare moments, I'll check to see if it's a one- or a two-tube problem.

My wife returns from Taiwan tonight, so my life will be well regimented once again. The wild parties will have to wait until next year.

I'll have to check to see which other tubes are used in my DAC in case (when) a tube fails. I definitely want to have a set of back up tubes.

I've been a bit low key in this thread, but this SW1X DAC is incredible. Individual instruments stand out especially clearly. Soundstage is deep and 3D. The only times music hasn't sounded wonderful with this DAC were when I played an MQA track and during poorly recorded music.




punit

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #24 on: 9 Aug 2020, 12:57 pm »

I've been a bit low key in this thread, but this SW1X DAC is incredible. Individual instruments stand out especially clearly. Soundstage is deep and 3D. The only times music hasn't sounded wonderful with this DAC were when I played an MQA track and during poorly recorded music.

I was thinking of buying the SW1X DAC III & would be grateful for your feedback about it, now that you have spent some quality time with it.

Thanks

mresseguie

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 4112
  • SW1X DAC + Don Sachs + Daedalus Apollos = Heaven!
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #25 on: 9 Aug 2020, 11:43 pm »
I'd forgotten that this thread existed.  :duh:

Well, I think you are in for a real treat. Slawa has tweaked the design a bit since I bought mine, so what you hear will actually be better than what I hear.

I like this DAC so much that I've asked Slawa to help me squeeze out a little more liquid gold by using better caps, Directly heated vintage 5R4 rectifier tube (from the 60s) in the PSU, Audio Note copper caps, an extras set of tubes (cuz tubes eventually burn out), and a few other adjustments. I figure that spending a little for an upgrade (which will yield real aural benefits) will keep me quite satisfied for a while <famous last words>. 

I think Slawa described the improvement as DAC III STD+, but not quite up to the 'Special' level. I honestly thought hard about trading it in for a DAC IV STD, but there is no way my wife would accept that without my bribing her with a diamond necklace (or similar bauble)....too much money.

Having this DAC in my main system makes it difficult to 'go back' to my dB Audiolabs Tranquility. The Tranquility is no slouch, but it is very much outclassed by the DAC III. Guys have sat down in the sweet spot and dropped their jaws (really!) at what they heard.

I think a DAC III STD will make you a happy camper - especially if your other gear is up to the task.

Michael

mresseguie

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 4112
  • SW1X DAC + Don Sachs + Daedalus Apollos = Heaven!
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #26 on: 24 Nov 2020, 10:55 pm »
My upgraded SW1X DAC III+ has just arrived!  :banana piano: :hyper: :dance:

It has been unboxed; plugged in, and connected to my gear. It was cold outside, so the inside guts may need a little time to warm up. I'll post a little later tonight and include a couple new photographs.

Michael

~two hours of warming......superb....3D....Charles Mingus "Boogie Shop Shuffle" playing....amazing.....My wife screaming from her upstairs office, "No parties during Covid-19! Everyone out of the house now!"..... 8)

The last two months of music was mostly through my still trusty Tranquility SE DAC, but, man, this is a totally different animal. The Tranquility will go back to headphone amp duty.










Very professionally packaged! Excellent job, Slawa!  :thumb:
« Last Edit: 25 Nov 2020, 01:11 am by mresseguie »

Wig

Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #27 on: 25 Nov 2020, 01:04 am »
Michael,

You are in for a Treat! Had mine updated to the III+ with DHT/Caps/additional filtering around Dac Chip/upgraded wires and a host of other goodies and it sounds AMAZING...

Get ready for some sleepless nights :popcorn:

Wig :thumb:

mresseguie

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 4112
  • SW1X DAC + Don Sachs + Daedalus Apollos = Heaven!
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #28 on: 25 Nov 2020, 01:18 am »
Michael,

You are in for a Treat! Had mine updated to the III+ with DHT/Caps/additional filtering around Dac Chip/upgraded wires and a host of other goodies and it sounds AMAZING...

Get ready for some sleepless nights :popcorn:

Wig :thumb:

Wig! Look what you got me into!! We'll have to compare notes on our upgrades.

I'm listening to Opera! I almost never listen to opera. My wife doesn't care for it....but this: Schubert, Ave Maria D. 839 by Renee Fleming  :o Wow.

Stunning....just stunning.

Fsonicsmith

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 19
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #29 on: 28 Nov 2020, 05:28 pm »
I've got a DAC III Balanced on it's way. I was so impressed by the DAC II Special that I decided to upgrade. Slawa Roshkow told me to skip the DAC III Special and go right to the DAC III Balanced if I could do without the USB-SPDIF converter. He explained that the converter won't fit in the case with the additional transformers required by the balanced version. He also feels that the balanced output stage resembles a power amp and the advantage has nothing to do with using balanced cabling and instead has to do with a more pure output signal. He explains that transformers can pass the output signal much better than output capacitors. His exact words were;
Quote
As regerding the DAC III Special relative to the DAC II you currently have, DAC even STD version wIII be a mojor step up especially in the mid, which is way more magical on the DAC III. If you wanted to have an ultimate DAC III, I would recommend to go straight for the Balanced instead of Special version. Balanced has a power tube output stage (akin to power amplifier) just like the Special version but uses SHiB DC core signal output transformers instead of capacitors. SHiB DC core signal output transformers are "virtual" components that increase transparency, dynamics and also match the impedances. They are "invisible" relative to signal capacitors.
Having said that, the signal output transformers also offer the option of balancing the signal. Therefore, one can use them for both single ended and balanced connections from the signal output.

sent October 16
https://www.facebook.com/sw1xaudio/photos/pcb.2630375327215502/2630373873882314

Wig

Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #30 on: 28 Nov 2020, 06:53 pm »


I've got a DAC III Balanced on it's way. I was so impressed by the DAC II Special that I decided to upgrade. Slawa Roshkow told me to skip the DAC III Special and go right to the DAC III Balanced if I could do without the USB-SPDIF converter. He explained that the converter won't fit in the case with the additional transformers required by the balanced version. He also feels that the balanced output stage resembles a power amp and the advantage has nothing to do with using balanced cabling and instead has to do with a more pure output signal. He explains that transformers can pass the output signal much better than output capacitors. His exact words were;

I'm blown away with my Dac Std III+ and the balanced version is going to sound AMAZING!

Here's my Dac that I cut out to use larger 5R4...



Wig :thumb:

Fsonicsmith

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 19
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #31 on: 28 Nov 2020, 08:08 pm »
I am sure it would be a close call to decide between mine and yours.
I got around the problem of my Aurender N100H only outputting USB with an elegant but expensive solution-I picked up a lightly used W20.
I also bought a Triode Wire Labs SPDIF cable.
With my present DAC II Special the W20 definitely sounded better-there was more there there.
Then the TWL SPDIF gave me a subtle but definite improvement over my Black Cat that I think cost about the same as the TWL.
Joe Cohen of Lotus Group has been great to work with-he is letting me hold onto the DAC II until the DAC III is shipped. I am getting a full credit for what the DAC II cost. The only minor premium charged for the service is that Joe asks to audition each unit for a day or two. For educational purposes I think.
Which brings up a question-are you leaving yours on all the time or do you shut it down?
Slawa advised me to leave it on 24/7 but then he did not respond when I asked what to expect of tube life.
I have noticed that once I shut it down it takes about 24 hours of being fired up before it sounds really good again.
So for now I am leaving it on.

Wig

Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #32 on: 29 Nov 2020, 02:28 am »
I am sure it would be a close call to decide between mine and yours.
I got around the problem of my Aurender N100H only outputting USB with an elegant but expensive solution-I picked up a lightly used W20.
I also bought a Triode Wire Labs SPDIF cable.
With my present DAC II Special the W20 definitely sounded better-there was more there there.
Then the TWL SPDIF gave me a subtle but definite improvement over my Black Cat that I think cost about the same as the TWL.
Joe Cohen of Lotus Group has been great to work with-he is letting me hold onto the DAC II until the DAC III is shipped. I am getting a full credit for what the DAC II cost. The only minor premium charged for the service is that Joe asks to audition each unit for a day or two. For educational purposes I think.
Which brings up a question-are you leaving yours on all the time or do you shut it down?
Slawa advised me to leave it on 24/7 but then he did not respond when I asked what to expect of tube life.
I have noticed that once I shut it down it takes about 24 hours of being fired up before it sounds really good again.
So for now I am leaving it on.

I only leave it running 72 hours when evaluating tubes, other than that I turn on 2-3 hours prior to listening. I imagine the tubes are conservatively
biased...

Wig :thumb:

debjit.g

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 79
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #33 on: 29 Nov 2020, 03:52 am »
Does SW1X DAC III+ have USB input or is it sickly SPDIF ? What is the USD price for III+ ?

Wig

Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #34 on: 29 Nov 2020, 05:22 am »
Does SW1X DAC III+ have USB input or is it sickly SPDIF ? What is the USD price for III+ ?

Yes, I believe you can order with a USB input but mine is SPDIF and the Dac III Std starts at under $5K and goes up from there with upgrades...

Wig

mresseguie

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 4112
  • SW1X DAC + Don Sachs + Daedalus Apollos = Heaven!
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #35 on: 29 Nov 2020, 05:34 am »
Mine is SPDIF as well. I don't recall the USB input upgrade's cost, but I decided it might be worthwhile if I were buying a new DAC. I already have a great USB to SPDIF converter.  8)

Michael
« Last Edit: 29 Nov 2020, 07:15 am by mresseguie »

mresseguie

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 4112
  • SW1X DAC + Don Sachs + Daedalus Apollos = Heaven!
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #36 on: 29 Nov 2020, 08:53 am »
An updated photo of my winter home's audio system. [Yes. The back wall is a mess. The old TV, which had been mounted onto the concrete wall, died and was unceremoniously (and not very carefully!) removed. We're researching new TVs now.] The SW1X DAC almost overhangs the front and back edges of my rack. The speakers are my lovely Fritz Audio LS/5-R monitors.











Fsonicsmith

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 19
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #37 on: 29 Nov 2020, 02:06 pm »
IIRC the USB option on my DACII was $1200. The circuit board includes a tube and clock.
Ir is minor nuisance to use. There is a converter output RCA on the back and then an SPDIF input RCA just above it. Slawa says he did this for the sake of flexibility which makes sense. But for the sake of SQ, Slawa does not insert a switch into the circuit with an internal routing of the same path. So you have to insert a "patch cord" of a single interconnect-a regular one or an SPDIF-Slawa says one should experiment and that SPDIF's do not necessarily sound superior-between the output and input. But then there is a hitch-the USB being tube based needs about a minute before the electrons are fully flowing. So after it has been on for a minute from a power-down, you then have to disconnect and reconnect one end or the other for the source and DAC to "see each other". If you keep the DAC on 24/7 this is not a problem. All that said, it sounds amazing.

punit

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #38 on: 26 Dec 2020, 09:07 am »
I received the SW1X DAC III Special on 20th Nov 2020, so have used it for about a month now (for around 150 hours – 175 hours). Have jotted down few thoughts below on my experience so far…

My current system :

SONIC TRANSPORTER i7 Music Server > EtherRegen (Uptone JS2 PSU + Mutec REF 10) > Sonore ultraRendu  (Farad PSU ) > Singxer SU1 with SOtM sCLK-EX Upgrade (Final Touch Audio USB + Paul Hynes PSU + Mutec REF 10) > SW1X DAC III Special (Final Touch Audio AES)

Wilson Audio Sophia MK III speakers
Ming Da MC 300 PRE pre-amplifier
PS Audio BHK Signature 250 stereo power amplifier
Sunfire XTEQ12 subwoofer - pair

My Dac III Special has the following upgrades:
•   2 x Audio Note Copper Foil, Mylar in Oil signal output decoupling capacitors
•   4 x Black Gate de-coupling capacitors for TDA1541
•   Premium Tung Sol Black Plate 5676 tube form the 60s
•   Additional choke filter for the TDA1541 DEM power supply
•   2 x Audio Note 2W copper, non-magnetic, tantalum film resistors on plates of the output tube
•   Super HiB Double C core mains transformer
•   Super HiB double C core choke

I was previously using a Holo Audio Spring Level 2 Dac, so all my comparisons are with that as a baseline. Of course, it isn’t fair to compare a $ 1,800 Dac with an $ 8,000+ Dac but I don’t have anything else to compare it with. So with that in mind.. my brief subjective notes on the sound are as follows :

•   Better soundstage depth, width, and height, more Holographic / 3D
•   Music has more weight & impact across the frequency spectrum (more meat to the bones)
•   Improved lower bass & mid-bass impact
•   I am very treble sensitive. The Dac III has an extended, clear treble that doesn’t tip over into sibilant territory. Sound is non-aggressive to the ears, I
        used to get listening fatigue after a couple of hours on quite a number of albums before but can listen longer now.
•   Even albums that sounded ordinary before now sound good
•   Vocals feel more real, firmly placed center stage.
•   Music sounds more enjoyable., engages me more emotionally.
•   All the above are much more apparent on my Headphone system as compared to my speakers (for example. If sound improved by …say...20% on
        Speakers, on headphones it improved by 30% (the percentages are just for example))
•   In one of the SW1X DAC reviews someone else had mentioned this comment - “ I find it necessary to adjust the volume much more frequently than in the past. I believe this is due to more dynamic range though I am hard-pressed to explain the phenomenon”. My experience is similar. I now understand what the term “dynamic range” means.

The DAC shipped with a GE 5R4 rectifier but Dr.Slawa gave me a list of types of rectifiers I can experiment with. After about 2 weeks of burning in, I upgraded the rectifier to KR Audio 274B - HP (white base) & the EL86 tubes to NOS Telefunken tubes. The Rectifier swap added further improvements to soundstage width, depth & layering. The EL86 swap added more resolution, especially with the treble. All my comments/observations above were made after 4 weeks of using the Dac.

Some pics of my system & Dac internals :


















The amp is built for 5R4/GZ32 rectifiers which are short in size. As you can see in the picture below, the KR Audio 274B- HP rectifier does not fit inside the case. In order to create some room for the rectifier, have tilted the top of the case up by using some vibration control footers I had. Will have to find someone who can cut a hole in the top of the case for the taller rectifier to fit.



Negatives -  well, the packing in which the DAC was sent in, could have definitely been better. The box was a bit crushed & didn’t have enough packing inside, but fortunately, no harm was done.

Dr. Slawa was extremely patient through the whole purchase & build process and answered my numerous questions diligently. I was quite apprehensive about moving from a Dac on which I was upsampling everything to DSD512 , to a DAC which uses an old dac chip that only does 24/96 max.

Bottom line, quite happy with my Dac purchase.

« Last Edit: 26 Dec 2020, 05:54 pm by punit »

Wig

Re: SW1X DAC III STD Unboxing and Impressions
« Reply #39 on: 26 Dec 2020, 08:17 pm »




Awesome Dac and almost got that one over my Dac Std III +!

You can cut the hole yourself with a hole saw designed for metal using your drill. I used a 2 1/2" to cut the tube hole
for my 1950 Ken Rad 5R4 which is much bigger than a standard 5R4 and it sticks out of the case by an inch or so.

It will continue to get better as those AN caps can take up to 500+ hours to settle...



Wig