SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)

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davidavdavid

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SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« on: 5 Feb 2021, 03:39 pm »


This tube/valve based DAC changed/blew my mind about Digital Audio in a big way. I was fortunate to have the DAC at mine for a few months before its review



Slawa Rosckkow, the man behind SW1X, and I met face-to-face for an in-depth interview at his home, SW1X HQ in England back in 2018



Wig

Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #1 on: 6 Feb 2021, 06:37 pm »
I discovered the beauty of SW1X years ago and started with the Dac II, III Std and now a III+ Std DHT version and just love it...

Audiophiles are starting to catch on, it's like no other Dac and chasing the latest Dac chips are a thing of the past  :D

Wig  :thumb:



Wig

Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #2 on: 6 Feb 2021, 06:37 pm »
I discovered the beauty of SW1X years ago and started with the Dac II, III Std and now a III+ Std DHT version and just love it...

Audiophiles are starting to catch on, it's like no other Dac and chasing the latest Dac chips are a thing of the past  :D

Wig  :thumb:

A_shah

Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #3 on: 7 Feb 2021, 06:32 am »
Wig
 had mentioned to me about SW1X DAC-111  last year. Since than I believe Michael has  got one and  now some other folks . I don't like buy audio equipment unless I have had a chance to listen to them ,  yesterday Joe Cohen of Lotus Group here in the Bay area who is a high end audio dealer sent me  a SW1X D 2 DAC to try it  out ( simply blown away by it !)I have 3 DAC's  right now including a PS audio DirectStream with a Network card and upgraded fuses . Anyway this DAC is nothing like any other DAC's  I have heard before including Chord Dave . Very Organic 3D full of surprises it is almost as alive performers and instruments are right in from of me .Huge sound stage  I will be comparing it to my Directsream SR. DAC before I make up mind my  which unit should I go for DAC 11 or DAC 111

I had spoken to DR. Salwa of SW1X Audio  last year but talking to him I was totally confused- I thought I needed a "PhD." to understand him he spoke totally in rarefied Air.  All I want to do is to listen to music something that is musical to my Ears,  45 min. conversation  with him  basically went over my head I was completely lost and embarrassed .
Any way some questions I have for folks who own this DAC ( Please explain in plain English maybe a little French will do )

 1. Why do SW1X DAC's have SPIDF ???  I know he does have an option $ 1100.00 for  USB ? are these DAC only for Vinyl lovers ? ( 2. ) I like the DAC - 2 STD. very much so I am wondering whether I should go for the DAC D-3 Standard with an upgrade path in the future to the Special or like the one  Michael has a DAC D3  +   My considerations are the system I have right now, I  don't see any logic in having a higher end DAC beyond the capabilities of my Present system , I am not into Vinyl  just Redbook  CD , Quboz & Tidal - any comments and advice would be "Welcome" and Greatly appreciated   :tempted: :banghead:


Main System





Asghar

mresseguie

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Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #4 on: 7 Feb 2021, 12:36 pm »
Ashgar,

I'm so glad Joe set you up with a loaner.  :thumb:

I cannot tell you anything about the DAC II sound, Wig ought to be able to tell you what differences he heard going from the DAC II to the DAC III. I think I sent you an email concerning the difference between the DAC III STD and the DAC III+. Even after two months of multi-hour listening sessions, I still marvel at how wonderful the music is. I find acoustic instruments, female vocals, and male vocals mesmerizing - even <dare I use the word?> magical.

If I were me (which I am) and I were buying my SW1X DAC all over again, I'd begin with the DAC III+. It is noticeably better sounding than the III STD.

I'm aware not everyone is going to purchase one of these because of the price of admission. However, for those individuals who are in the market for Lampizator DACs, PS Audio, Aurender, etc., I'd definitely encourage them to audition one of the SW1X DACs.

Michael

Edit: I just remembered something Slawa mentioned to me in an email exchange. He said something about my III+ being the new III STD. I didn't put much thought into it until just now when I read through the Dagogo.com review. In the review, that DAC is the DAC III STD and lists for $5,995. This is pretty much the amount I figure I spent on mine (initial purchase price + upgrade price - international shipping more or less equaled $6k).


kmmd

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Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #5 on: 7 Feb 2021, 02:00 pm »
Good to know that Joe is loaning out this DAC.  Is he still in Novato?  He repaired a pair of Yamamura IC’s for me many years ago before he launched Pranawire.  He’s very skilled.  Anyway, I’d love to hear how it compares to my Holo Audio May KTE which has been breaking in for the past two weeks.

orientalexpress

Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #6 on: 7 Feb 2021, 02:08 pm »
I"m still love my SW1X DAC II special since i got mine. :D

Wig

Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #7 on: 7 Feb 2021, 10:26 pm »
Asghar,

If funds are available I would go with the Dac Std III+ which is Directly Heated Triode (DHT) and loaded with a host of top notched parts. As an owner of the II, III and now III+, the III+ is fuller sounding and more meat on the bones as the phrase would have it but buy within your budget as Dr. Slawa gives 100% credit toward future upgrades. Here's my review of the Dac II a few years ago:

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/sw1x-audio-design-dac-ii-absolute-top-tier-ref-nos-dac?highlight=sw1x

Dac Std III Optional Extras:

a) 2 x Audio Note Copper foil, mylar in Oil signal output decoupling capacitors

b) 4 x Black Gate capacitors around TDA1541

c) Audio Note 2W copper, non- magnetic, tantalum film resistors on plates of the output tube

d) the STD version of DAC III can be ordered with either US made 5687/E182CC or Soviet 6N6P Premium 6N6P from the 60s or Premium vintage NOS black plate Tung Sol 5687/E182CC output tube

e) directly heated vintage 5R4 type of tube (from the 60s) in the PSU

f) Additional choke filtering on the DEM clock tube PSU for the TDA1541

g)  output wiring is normally one pair in fine silver and other is copper (by default), This way one can fine tune the sound by using either output. optional is all silver or all copper wiring

h) USB input with a tube master clock, powered by an separate transformer

i) 2 x HiB double C-Core mains transformers for the TDA1541 and DHT/DHD power supplies

Wig   :thumb:

A_shah

Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #8 on: 8 Feb 2021, 06:26 am »
Asghar,

If funds are available I would go with the Dac Std III+ which is Directly Heated Triode (DHT) and loaded with a host of top notched parts. As an owner of the II, III and now III+, the III+ is fuller sounding and more meat on the bones as the phrase would have it but buy within your budget as Dr. Slawa gives 100% credit toward future upgrades. Here's my review of the Dac II a few years ago:

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/sw1x-audio-design-dac-ii-absolute-top-tier-ref-nos-dac?highlight=sw1x

Dac Std III Optional Extras:

a) 2 x Audio Note Copper foil, mylar in Oil signal output decoupling capacitors

b) 4 x Black Gate capacitors around TDA1541

c) Audio Note 2W copper, non- magnetic, tantalum film resistors on plates of the output tube

d) the STD version of DAC III can be ordered with either US made 5687/E182CC or Soviet 6N6P Premium 6N6P from the 60s or Premium vintage NOS black plate Tung Sol 5687/E182CC output tube

e) directly heated vintage 5R4 type of tube (from the 60s) in the PSU

f) Additional choke filtering on the DEM clock tube PSU for the TDA1541

g)  output wiring is normally one pair in fine silver and other is copper (by default), This way one can fine tune the sound by using either output. optional is all silver or all copper wiring

h) USB input with a tube master clock, powered by an separate transformer

i) 2 x HiB double C-Core mains transformers for the TDA1541 and DHT/DHD power supplies

Wig   :thumb:



@ wig @ Michael

OK will go try to go for the DAC 111 STD  +   I am not going to go for the USB option but use an outside Spidf to USB converter just like Michael is using  probably end up selling my PS Audio Directstream SR  DAC no reason to keep that if this is going to be in my main system
Thanks Gentlemen  ! :thumb:

Asghar

abd1

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Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #9 on: 8 Feb 2021, 05:06 pm »
I recently picked up a used SW1X Dac III+ a couple weeks ago. I've been using the PS Audio Directstream Jr. Dac for a few years and really liked it. I had been considering trying a NOS Dac just to compare to the high tech upsampling in the PS Audio. I had SW1X on my radar for some time. However, a couple weeks before the SW1X came up my local hifi store had a used Directstream at a stupid price. I didn't know the SW1X would come up, so I bought the Directstream and sold the Jr. I've been impressed by the DS and its a clear improvement over the Jr. I really thought I'd be done with Dacs for a while and then the SW1X Dac III+ pops up and I went for it. I only put it in my system about a week ago. So far I'm really impressed. I haven't had too much listening time, only a couple hours. However, it does have such a natural, lifelike tone. I got about 2 hours of listening yesterday and put on a few tracks by Nina Simone. I don't usually listen to jazz vocalists, but wow, I had never heard her like this. My wife came home while I had the volume cranked pretty loud and she asked "who is that?" All I could say was "Nina Simone is amazing." I'll be listening to more... Another track I put on is The Winter Wind by the P.E. Hewitt Jazz Ensemble (I guess I was in the mood for 60's jazz vocals). I like this track because of the sound stage and vocals. It just has a fun "vintage" jazz sound. There's a spot in the song where a sax comes in for a solo and it can be a bit hot. I've listened to this with Salks, Totems, Kefs, Clearwaves (accuton ceramic), Omegas, etc. with tubes, solid state, different dacs, etc... and this part has always gotten a touch hot where I wanted to turn the volume down a bit. I'm now using Cube Nenuphar Minis (another story) and this SW1X and this part of the song sounded amazing. I actually turned it up. The tone and "weight" of the sound was so spot on. There was enough detail to make it sound so real but not overly detailed or artificially detailed like some gear can do. Again, I had never heard this song like this before.

I haven't put the DS back in to compare. I only had it in for about 2-3 weeks before the SW1X so hard to compare. I'd like to but my cabinet sucks and moving components in and out is a pain right now. Plus I've got so many things going on I don't want to take free time to moving gear around right now. And, this sounds so good its hard to take out. I do wish the dac had a power switch on the front. And, the other issue is the volume on my system is louder with this dac (does it have more gain?). I can't really listen at really low volumes unless I set the max volume to 80/100 on my auralic streamer which is feeding the dac. This wasn't an issue with the PS Audio Dacs or any other I've used.

Anyone else have experience the DS and the SW1X?

A_shah

Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #10 on: 9 Feb 2021, 06:00 am »
I recently picked up a used SW1X Dac III+ a couple weeks ago. I've been using the PS Audio Directstream Jr. Dac for a few years and really liked it. I had been considering trying a NOS Dac just to compare to the high tech upsampling in the PS Audio. I had SW1X on my radar for some time. However, a couple weeks before the SW1X came up my local hifi store had a used Directstream at a stupid price. I didn't know the SW1X would come up, so I bought the Directstream and sold the Jr. I've been impressed by the DS and its a clear improvement over the Jr. I really thought I'd be done with Dacs for a while and then the SW1X Dac III+ pops up and I went for it. I only put it in my system about a week ago. So far I'm really impressed. I haven't had too much listening time, only a couple hours. However, it does have such a natural, lifelike tone. I got about 2 hours of listening yesterday and put on a few tracks by Nina Simone. I don't usually listen to jazz vocalists, but wow, I had never heard her like this. My wife came home while I had the volume cranked pretty loud and she asked "who is that?" All I could say was "Nina Simone is amazing." I'll be listening to more... Another track I put on is The Winter Wind by the P.E. Hewitt Jazz Ensemble (I guess I was in the mood for 60's jazz vocals). I like this track because of the sound stage and vocals. It just has a fun "vintage" jazz sound. There's a spot in the song where a sax comes in for a solo and it can be a bit hot. I've listened to this with Salks, Totems, Kefs, Clearwaves (accuton ceramic), Omegas, etc. with tubes, solid state, different dacs, etc... and this part has always gotten a touch hot where I wanted to turn the volume down a bit. I'm now using Cube Nenuphar Minis (another story) and this SW1X and this part of the song sounded amazing. I actually turned it up. The tone and "weight" of the sound was so spot on. There was enough detail to make it sound so real but not overly detailed or artificially detailed like some gear can do. Again, I had never heard this song like this before.

I haven't put the DS back in to compare. I only had it in for about 2-3 weeks before the SW1X so hard to compare. I'd like to but my cabinet sucks and moving components in and out is a pain right now. Plus I've got so many things going on I don't want to take free time to moving gear around right now. And, this sounds so good its hard to take out. I do wish the dac had a power switch on the front. And, the other issue is the volume on my system is louder with this dac (does it have more gain?). I can't really listen at really low volumes unless I set the max volume to 80/100 on my auralic streamer which is feeding the dac. This wasn't an issue with the PS Audio Dacs or any other I've used.

Anyone else have experience the DS and the SW1X?


Today was the 1st full day I had listening to SW1X D2 STD. and then this evening decided to switch back to DS -Sr. the DS believe it or not sounded very flat to me although it is no slouch , Sw1x -  Dynamics organic sound , very musical  clean no distortion , agree it has very high gain , although I have very good clean stable  electricity running in my house including semi dedicated circuit separate panel  plus PS audio outlets throughout the house , I find the power supply of the SW1x either to be very sensitive to change volume seems to go up suddenly due to high gain I had reset the X-overs  & volume on my REl subs that are connected using the high level connection
SW1x DAC obviously has been voiced by Dr. Salwa  I find the HF to very clean and seems to dig out things that I did not hear before in my system high resolution, images very well , their seems to be more meat on the bone sort of situation I have had an opportunity to listen Chord Dave plus own 2 other DACs but this is the 1st NOS tube DAC I am listening to and like it very much , but it is not cheap nearly 6k , so you probably lucked out ! and if one wants a balanced or with a USB its about 11K . I am thinking of ordering one by next week , let us compare notes will PM you. or speak on the phone :thumb:
Asghar

mresseguie

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Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #11 on: 9 Feb 2021, 09:22 am »
Congratulations on your find!

I’ve exchanged emails with a gentleman who owns a SW1X DAC, who suggested that Slawa adjusted the gain in his DAC after he mentioned his other gear. [I think that’s accurate.] Anyway, my take away was that gain can be adjusted by Slawa (but I haven’t checked with Slawa about this).

I still have my ‘old’ D Sachs Model 2 preamp with left and right gain dials, and I do make adjustments as needed depending on speakers/equipment used.

abd1

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Re: SW1X DAC III STD (Standard)
« Reply #12 on: 9 Feb 2021, 04:25 pm »

Today was the 1st full day I had listening to SW1X D2 STD. and then this evening decided to switch back to DS -Sr. the DS believe it or not sounded very flat to me although it is no slouch , Sw1x -  Dynamics organic sound , very musical  clean no distortion , agree it has very high gain , although I have very good clean stable  electricity running in my house including semi dedicated circuit separate panel  plus PS audio outlets throughout the house , I find the power supply of the SW1x either to be very sensitive to change volume seems to go up suddenly due to high gain I had reset the X-overs  & volume on my REl subs that are connected using the high level connection
SW1x DAC obviously has been voiced by Dr. Salwa  I find the HF to very clean and seems to dig out things that I did not hear before in my system high resolution, images very well , their seems to be more meat on the bone sort of situation I have had an opportunity to listen Chord Dave plus own 2 other DACs but this is the 1st NOS tube DAC I am listening to and like it very much , but it is not cheap nearly 6k , so you probably lucked out ! and if one wants a balanced or with a USB its about 11K . I am thinking of ordering one by next week , let us compare notes will PM you. or speak on the phone :thumb:
Asghar

What REL subs are you using. I'm using a pair of T5i's and also have had to adjust them. It's a work in progress. Not sure if related to the DAC's gain.