SW1X DAC III Special Listening Test (Video)

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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It would be interesting to hear the same music through different version of your DAC...particularly the cost differential in the DACs gets pretty extreme all the way up through your DAC V Special. Can that be done?
 

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
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It would be interesting to hear the same music through different version of your DAC...particularly the cost differential in the DACs gets pretty extreme all the way up through your DAC V Special. Can that be done?
We are in the process of having a DAC V built for a customer. I will ask Dr. Roschkow to do just that and will publish it here.
 

mresseguie

Well-Known Member
Feb 26, 2016
14
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208
My upgraded DAC III STD is sitting in a warehouse in England getting ready to fly back to me. I hope to have it back in my system by Friday.

I can only dream of the IV or V level, but I do hope to someday listen to a IV.

Michael
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
12,588
1,144
688
We are in the process of having a DAC V built for a customer. I will ask Dr. Roschkow to do just that and will publish it here.
Thank you! Very exciting. Allowing us to hear the 2 videos side by side with the same music should be fun.
 

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
145
123
383
7F572FC7-D1C3-40D1-AF5D-9B31D113BFEE.jpeg
SW1X DAC IV. More photos at mono and stereo.com.
 
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Punit

Member
Jul 19, 2020
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Since the DAC in the video posted in the first post is mine, have jotted down a few thoughts below on my experience so far…

I received the SW1X DAC III Special on 20th Nov 2020, so have used it for about a little more than a month now (for around 175 – 200 hours).

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% (Percentages are for 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:

system1.jpg front.jpg back.jpg 01.jpg 02.jpg 03.jpg

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.
Dactop.jpg
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 that uses an old DAC chip that only does 24/96 max.

Bottom line, quite happy with my Dac purchase.
 

Saturntube

Industry Expert
Feb 8, 2011
84
4
415
Austin Texas
www.SadurniAcoustics.com
This is a fantastic DAC, now the DAC III is also extremely good and you wouldn´t wish for anythig more, unless you have listened to the special side by side. I had both playing and have been able to compare side by side, the DAC III special has just that more air, the sounds seems illuminated by comparison, a friend said "it seems to play things in the music that you don´t believe are there", needless to say it is our reference DAC at Sadurni Acoustics and we use it for our speaker developement.
 

Punit

Member
Jul 19, 2020
3
6
5
49
Review of SW1X DAC III (Standard)

 
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Saturntube

Industry Expert
Feb 8, 2011
84
4
415
Austin Texas
www.SadurniAcoustics.com
Review of SW1X DAC III (Standard)

This is a wonderful review mainly because he can really describe sound with words
 

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