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hughandella
12-04-2016, 21:58
This is my first review --- be gentle with me !


The purpose of this review is to describe my time with the SW1X DAC1, as designed and built by Dr Slawa Roschkow

I will not be writing this review from a technical perspective, firstly because there are others far better informed than myself, but also because I don’t believe I listen to music and enjoy it with the technical side of my brain.
Music can soothe me, and excite me in equal measure, and I can and I do lose myself in it. Only when I am painting my daubs do I detach so thoroughly.
Therefore, I want a hifi system that puts as little between myself and the performer as possible – if I notice the system itself (after the inevitable initial adjustment for it) then the system is probably not for me.

I have bought enough hifi gear – especially in my early days – from very well known dealers and even better known manufacturers based on a 15/30 minute audition where it’s brightness and I now realize (misplaced) ‘detail’ impressed me so. Only to live with the same components and after a while find them almost unlistenable.

Upfront I have to state that I am personally convinced that all DACs do not sound the same. I have no desire to enter into a debate about all DACs being equal and that it is only 0’s and 1’s after-all, and also that higher sampling rates have to be better. From my own experience I know that this is incorrect. I will leave Slawa of SW1X and others better qualified than myself, to explain why; be it the impact of sound shaping, master clocks and negative feedback loops etc -- basically I am interested in the reasons why - but not that interested!

I have been something of a box swapper in the past and as a result I have tried quite a few DACs; at least a dozen, from the very cheap Chinese, via the latest tube-based favourite, or the new must-have simplified USB-only model and onto a 2 box design - and in most cases I have been able to find something I liked about them; but they always felt digital and somehow synthetic – it didn’t always feel like music is the best way I can describe it.
I was always drawn more to tube based units and was resigned to accepting the accusation - that I now know to be false – that I seemed to prefer distortion over transparency. Indeed, even with a well regarded £1,000 transistor based DAC, I found myself putting a Musical Fidelity tube buffer in the listening chain – I now realize this probably helped with an impedance mismatch as much as adding tube ‘warmth’ but whatever – I knew something was lacking.

What is it that was lacking?

When I hear music live I perceive it as a whole and complete experience and my aim will always be to try and recapture that, I will inevitably fail but some systems can bring me a lot closer than others. There have been numerous times when I have been sidetracked in this – just as I had been with my early hifi shop auditions, by the increased perceived transparency I was hearing – with some DACs I initially marveled that I was witnessing more detail in the percussion for example, and I focused on that. What I failed to realize was that the music shaping was unbalancing the sound and in fact the detail was now too prominent – if the band were playing live in front of me I would not have been homing in on the drummer or the pianist, I would be listening the music in the round – the detail would be there but it wouldn’t drown out other parts – the very details I was treasuring were in fact proof that I was not hearing the music as it was played – I wonder how many others can relate to this?

How did I come to discover this?
I guess the first time I heard a truly balanced and truly musical system was an audition at the SW1X designer Slawa’s house. But now I can hear something very similar in my own home with the SW1X DAC 1. This DAC is not the last word in what can be achieved (it is the SW1X base model) and the same goes for the rest of my equipment; but it provides me with great pleasure and at a price I can justify and afford --- in truth I can often justify spending more but right now I can’t afford it!

The DAC 1 is in a simple but sturdy and reassuringly heavy casing and has nicely understated labelling -- it weighs in at roughly 5.5kg and the craftmanship inside is excellent.
Much of the wiring is solid silver (not silver plated copper) the RCA connectors are of obviously quality and it uses the TDA1543 chip a Non Over Sampling design.
It employs a tube output stage with zero feedback.
For this review I have it coupled with a SW1X USB 1 transport (a USB/SPDIF convertor) and connected to my Innuos Zen music player (NAS & Server) and onto a Clones 25i integrated amplifier that plays through Impulse H2 speakers.
(The USB 1 converter – to my slight surprise if I am honest – makes a meaningful difference to the sound quality, but that can be discussed elsewhere.)

My summary of the SW1X DAC 1: it is musical, it delivers a human quality and ultimately it does not feel digital.

I have heard an analogy of taking a veil off of the music and I understand that now – it is like having a pair of reading glasses for too long, your eyes adjust to the slowly deteriorating sight day by day – but then you get a new pair with the correct prescription and everything is suddenly clearer and more vivid and true.
This is what the DAC has been for me BUT, and it is a very large ‘but’ – it is still a musically balanced sound.
The music I hear is ‘cleaner’ without being at all clinical or cold. The detail is there without doubt and I can home in on a particular instrument should I want to – but it is not placed there for me, out of time.
Just as in real life I can decide if I want to focus on just the drumming etc because it is not imposed on me by the DAC. I read an article highlighting how wondrous and sophisticated our ears and brains are. The example used was our ability to be able to hear a conversation between two people across a room, by simply filtering out all the noise around us – it is incredible we can do that, and to me it proves that the best filtering (if it is needed) lies in our own heads and we do not need an algorithm to impose filtering on us.

I now understand a little more about the technical side of things, but that will always be secondary for me. But I am happier than ever that there is someone out there who shares the same aims and is doing the research -- and I have learned Slawa’s research is all via listening tests – despite being very technical he is not persuaded by ‘the numbers’ which can and do lie. ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’ springs to mind (I admit I was a risk analyst by trade) and as an example the reported DAC resolution and sampling rates are only theoretical and are at the chip level, not the DAC output itself, the DAC that contains all the other ‘noisy’ components operating simultaneously with the chip, for instance.

To conclude, I think you can tell from the tone of this review that I am a fan of the SW1X products --- I am – the best feedback I can give is that I am listening to more music now than before.
I am a happy customer and in time I may look higher up the SW1X chain of products but right now I am very happy with my Level One experience.
Hats off to Slawa and SW1X !


http://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/20160414_172403_zps9ov1xrg3.jpghttp://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/20160414_172512_zpsyhifjrvd.jpghttp://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/20160414_172613_zpsgqq7yvjz.jpg


Post-script
For transparency I want to note that I enjoyed the DAC so much that I am considering joining Slawa in his venture, but this review reflects my honest unbiased opinion .... if I join Slawa it will only be because I believe in what he is trying to establish.

struth
12-04-2016, 22:22
A nice write up Chris.... I have moved it to Digital as its where it is best suited

hughandella
12-04-2016, 23:13
Thanks Grant -- a slightly better photo (only just !)

Barry
13-04-2016, 10:17
Excellent review Chris - well done!

Is it possible for you to provide a contact link, and to give some indication of the cost of the SW1X?

Yomanze
13-04-2016, 10:36
Another fan of true multi-bit, non-oversampling DACs. Nice write up, am not at all surprised that you find it such a natural listen; I used to use a similar DAC (Audiosector).

hughandella
13-04-2016, 11:06
Excellent review Chris - well done!

Is it possible for you to provide a contact link, and to give some indication of the cost of the SW1X?


Thanks Barry --- the base unit as tested current costs £499 plus VAT and the main outlet is on eBay here http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SW1X-Audio-Design-DAC-1-NOS-TDA1543-ECC88-6N6P-Valve-Tube-Note-300B-2A3-amp-CD-/182085608005?hash=item2a6525e245:g:mPUAAOSwjMJXBo-C

eBay isnot the right marketplace for what we hope to build into a well regarded true audiophile range and we are in early discussions with selected independent dealers as we feel that is our natural home. A website is also close to completion and we may sell direct from there but we have to be fair to any dealers ofcourse and not undercut them ... but we all have to start somewhere and for that eBay has been useful --- we have sold several units ( interestingly quite a few into the FarEast who are discerning buyers as you know ) and the feedback has been excellent but until this point the units were basically built to order and demand meant we didnt have review examples available --- that is changing slowly and we now have some units we are using to visit dealers -- we dont want to be get ahead of ourselves and slip into hubris but i (we) genuinely believe that for the price we can beat all DACs out there (have to have that belief!) ... the USB/SPDIF Transport is something else and we hope to have a review from someone completely impartial to SW1X soon

Will be posting internal shots soon --- there are some on the eBay link ---- we currently only offer Level 1 'standard' and 'signature' versions (the extra cost is purely based on better capacitors - black gates etc ) but already have working prototypes upto Level 3 ..... as well as solid silver interconnects ..... I think you can tell I am somewhat enthusiastic (!) but aware that the history of hifi is littered with some probably great products that failed as businesses --- so we want to build slowly .... and luckily as well as having Slawa's technical skills we both have some business experience too and so hopefully can avoid some pitfalls along the way ... there has to be room for well designed and well manufactured hifi and we feel that the industry has gone the wrong way with ever higher sampling rates and sound shaping etc ... it sometimes feels like 'progress' in name only akin to the apparent need for 5 blades on a new razor ha ha `! ..... anyway all we ask is for people to listen to the equipment and then decide .... Slawa is going to join the forum and will post more technical details and probably answer questions as needed --- but we dont want to start a NOS vs Sigma Dacs thread - there's been a few of those !! .... tks anyway for taking the time to read the review -- crossed fingers
atb
chris

Barry
13-04-2016, 11:12
Thanks for that Chris.

If Slawa joins he will need to join as a Trade Member, and since you have declared yourself to have an interest in the enterprise, you will need to change your membership status.

Regards
Barry

hughandella
13-04-2016, 11:13
Another fan of true multi-bit, non-oversampling DACs. Nice write up, am not at all surprised that you find it such a natural listen; I used to use a similar DAC (Audiosector).

Many thanks Neil ..... yes I think that the industry has missed a trick and taken a wrong turn --- tube output ensures impedance matching as well as a linear signal --- ( there my technical knowledge ends ha ha !) .... I have used NOS DACs -- cheap Chinese TeraDak based and upto Metrums etc - this DAC to my ears atleast is in a different league and in some ways the biggest surprise for me was the difference the USB/SPDIF convertor made ---- there are true technical reasons why this should be so (Slawa's area ) but it still came as a surprise to me I guess because i'm used to DAC swapping but not convertor changes ..... hopefully we can get some more thoughts on here from happy buyers !
thanks again and atb
chris

StanleyB
13-04-2016, 11:36
Many thanks Neil ..... yes I think that the industry has missed a trick and taken a wrong turn --- tube output ensures impedance matching as well as a linear signal --- ( there my technical knowledge ends ha ha !)
Are you assuming that transistors cannot be used for impedance matching?

hughandella
13-04-2016, 12:04
Are you assuming that transistors cannot be used for impedance matching?

No not at all --- and as I have stressed i am not claiming technical expertise ..... I was trying to infer that not only do we believe in NOS Dacs but also tubes as well --- other people have different approaches and gives people choice which has to be good ...... for what it's worth I have enjoyed your DACs in the past ..... not looking to have to check every post to ensure it can't be percieved as implied criticism ---- we think tubes are better than transistors - you take a different approach --- both have issues

hughandella
13-04-2016, 12:13
Thanks for that Chris.

If Slawa joins he will need to join as a Trade Member, and since you have declared yourself to have an interest in the enterprise, you will need to change your membership status.

Regards
Barry

Hi Barry
ofcourse will do --- I'm off to see Slawa now and so will raise it with him ----- I'll still be buying and selling gear on here for purely personal use - I guess I should just flag that in the advert? I assume I can't have 2 profiles ?
I dont want to misrepresent myself to anyone needless to say

cheers
chris

Marco
13-04-2016, 14:28
Hi Chris,

Nice review :)

If you're buying and selling purely for private use, then you won't need an account, but of course with Slawa being in the trade himself, then he'll need one when he joins. Enjoy your DAC :cool:

Marco.

hughandella
13-04-2016, 16:03
Hi Chris,

Nice review :)

If you're buying and selling purely for private use, then you won't need an account, but of course with Slawa being in the trade himself, then he'll need one when he joins. Enjoy your DAC :cool:

Marco.

Thanks Marco --- I ve just been with Slawa and hopefully he will join this evening as a trade member --- and I am happy to put my association with SW1X on anything --- we've just had some new cases delivered for the Level 3 DACs and also now have a design for the USB/SPDIF and DAC in a single chassis ---- very exciting times ..... I hope to be able to (ideally) invite a few people over for a listening evening/bake off and for those further away I want to have a level one DAC & USB convertor available to audition --- I have our first dealer meetings planned for next week --- we know there is a lot of competition out there and we can never compete with their marketing budgets and we actually don't want to be a real mainstream product - we can only differentiate on quality and approach ...... I have worked for 30 years in the City and didn't enjoy the last 15 years ! so doing something I care about is important to me, and the same goes for sure with Slawa .... his hifi hobby was more serious than mine but we don't ever want to lose that enthusiasm ..... he's the only guy I know or buys a level 5 pair of monoblocks from a well known company and sets about rewiring them himself because he sees more performance ! he also collects pre war drivers for future speaker projects so it's a bit of an alladins cave chez Slawa .....we may be idealistic but it will be fun trying to achieve what we want to achieve and to be proud of our efforts and so far so good,but its very early days -- frankly I had no plans to become involved in a hifi business but to date I'm glad I have ---- the AoS audience is the type of customer base we want to attract and we simply say try us and see - our audition to purchase conversion rate has been v good so far --- our products wont be for everyone but we think there are more than enough enthusiasts out there to serve and the Level 1 equipment is a nice introduction we believe ..... enough waffle !
tks again
chris

brian2957
13-04-2016, 17:37
This looks very interesting Chris . It's nice to be doing something you're enjoying for a change isn't it .

Good luck with the new venture and I'll be watching developments with interest :)

hughandella
13-04-2016, 19:29
This looks very interesting Chris . It's nice to be doing something you're enjoying for a change isn't it .

Good luck with the new venture and I'll be watching developments with interest :)


Thanks a lot Brian --- yes it is a real relief and a very welcome change ! .... we live in hope !

hughandella
14-04-2016, 12:09
SOME BETTER PHOTOS

http://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/IMG_2403_zpsjckziqvv.jpghttp://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/IMG_2409_zps75mddein.jpghttp://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/IMG_2411_zpsfgmtm0f6.jpghttp://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/IMG_2412_zpsylljljqb.jpghttp://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/IMG_2408_zpsrwwmjnkw.jpg

SW1X
14-04-2016, 18:15
Greetings!

Thank you to Chris for sharing your impressions.

The review is pretty much reflective of what we at SW1X have been aiming to achieve with the sound- that is to resurrect the spirit of a recording.

We are convinced that an elegantly engineered circuit only performs at its best if it is made of high quality materials and components. It is just like cocking a delicious dish: a good recipe (NOS TDA1543 + single Germanium transistor I/V conversion + class A no feedback valve output stage), the finest ingredients (AN Kaisei, AN Standard, Purism capacitors, Allen Bradley resistors, Silver wiring, special un masked PCB) and execution with lot of love by SW1X.
All what is left is to feed the DAC 1 with a recording and let it shine in your system.

A couple of pictures of inside of the DAC 1 for desert

http://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/20160414_171051_zpsf4a0pomn.jpg
http://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/20160414_171130_zpsjvfcdifr.jpg
http://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/20160414_171215_zpsj1gi0q1t.jpg
http://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/20160414_171033_zpsdf5hxutg.jpg
http://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/20160406_170340_zps5qe0k6pl.jpg

ReggieB
14-04-2016, 19:49
Can we have a photo of the back, so you can see the connections?

hughandella
14-04-2016, 22:17
Chris, if you have a faster way of contacting Slawa, please inform him that he must arrange to open (and pay for) a trade account before he can advertise or promote his products here. Ta! :)

Marco.

sent him a message Marco tks

hughandella
14-04-2016, 22:24
Hi Rob

Slawa has the DAC at mom as he is changing the red bulb because it is too bright --- he also has a decent camera and so will be adding more photos especially of the internals --- and I've asked him to take some of the back too ...... I can tell you that the connections are a pair of silver plated rca outs and a single silver plated SPDIF/RCA in (I have suggested we consider having two SPDIF/RCA inputs so one can use the USB/SPDIF transport and also a CD player for example --- Slawa was concerned it would degrade the signal a little but think he can be persuaded ) the beauty is each unit is built by hand and so some small changes can be made e.g. intermediate capacitors between the standard and the signature which has black gates etc ...... I have a pretty terrible photo I can send you if you are desperate if so PM me with your email and I'll send it --- but I dont really want to post it on here because it was taken whilst unit was in a rack so one-handed from distance ( and all that implies about quality )


there are photos on the eBy listing showing the back too http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SW1X-Audio-USB-1-Tube-Transport-SPDIF-converter-ECC88-CD-DAC-iMac-300B-2A3-valve-/182085607401?hash=item2a6525dfe9:g:xhIAAOSwsN9XBo0 B

Marco
15-04-2016, 10:36
sent him a message Marco tks

Cheers, mate. Now sorted :thumbsup:

Marco.

hughandella
15-04-2016, 10:43
Can we have a photo of the back, so you can see the connections?


Hi Rob

the back and more importantly some internal shots are now posted in previous post by Slawa --- I think you can see the quality --- and this is of my personal DAC the BASE model not the Signature !

http://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/20160414_172403_zps9ov1xrg3.jpghttp://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/20160414_172512_zpsyhifjrvd.jpghttp://i1316.photobucket.com/albums/t616/Chrismoore50/20160414_172613_zpsgqq7yvjz.jpg

CageyH
15-04-2016, 11:09
My only comment is that the connectivity seems a bit limited?
Will there be/ is there a model with optical, coax and USB?

hughandella
15-04-2016, 11:57
My only comment is that the connectivity seems a bit limited?
Will there be/ is there a model with optical, coax and USB?

Right now we have a USB/SPDIF Transport that we recommend to connect to any computer source - it does make a material difference but we are looking at a single chassis with a USB/SPDIF and DAC inside and so it will obv have a USB input ...... I also agree we need to consider 2 SPDIF connections (Slawa was worried about signal degradation) but it needs to be practical too .... I dont honestly know about optical --- I think ( possibly incorrectly ) it is used less these days ---- tks for thoughts

Yomanze
15-04-2016, 11:59
It isn't a good idea to put USB and SPDIF into the same DAC. They have very different design requirements. It is why so few DACs sound the same through their SPDIF and USB inputs.

struth
15-04-2016, 11:59
Not so sure re optical. Think i prefer it over coax if implemented well and a glass cable used

SW1X
15-04-2016, 12:34
Dear Kevin,

Your concern about additional connectivity is a very well discussed subject.

The main objective of the design of our DACs and any other product we design is the highest possible quality of sound.

It is just a matter of Quantity vs. Quality. Our DAC design is optimised for Coax SPDIF connection only. We could have offered a DAC with all possible digital inputs including optical Toslink, however I felt that there would no value added (mildly put) to the quality of sound. The only other alternative would have been I2S, with which is even more problematic to insure maximum compatibility. I am sure that you also heard about the trade off between compatibility and performance? On top of that, it is well known that all switches and additional soldering joints simply worsen the signal transfer ability. Furthermore, numerous experiments indicated that a better way of interconnecting a NOS DAC is by means of digital SPDIF is via coax SPDIF, provided that the digital transport is properly designed without giving up performance to much.

That brings us to the question of USB input. Please do not underestimate the importance of an USB interface. It contributes to the sound at least as a DAC does if not more. If you are into music and not just sounds, then there is no way around a properly designed USB interface. A DAC sounds only as good as your digital transport is.

A properly designed USB interface requires a lot of space and therefore cannot be fitted inside DACs where there are constraints to space such as in case of our DAC 1. For that purpose we specifically designed a USB to SPDIF interface called SW1X USB 1. The USB 1 employs valve based circuit for the master clock and an impedance matching SPDIF valve output stage. More info can be found here:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/182085607401?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

The combination of USB 1 interface and DAC 1 transforms the music listening experience into an other dimension. Unfortunately, there is not enough space to for both devices in the current chassis. We are most likely going to offer a DAC 1 with USB 1 interface in one larger chassis design at some future point of time.

In order to achieve best results in terms of musicality, I would recommend pairing DAC 01 with USB 01. Both devices were made for each other and work with each other in best possible synergy. Of course feel free to try the DAC 1 on its own with other transports (CD or USB it does not matter) but bear in mind that a DAC is only as good as the transport is. The transport is the weakest link. Even best DACs will only sound mediocre if paired with a mediocre transport.

My question always has been: Why would one need many sub-optimal ways to interconnect a digital transport and a DAC if there is one connection that ensures maximum possible quality, after all? In our book one connection is enough if that connection ensures best possible results in musical performance.

SW1X
15-04-2016, 12:41
It is a good idea to combine both USB and a DAC in one chassis if it is done properly. In majority of cases it is just a "cutting corners" approach, which is really counter-productive to our musical enjoyment.

CageyH
15-04-2016, 12:47
So if Ihave a CD transport, and stream music from a PC - I would need two DACs?
For me that is going a bit far with regards to expenditure.

I am sure that the DAC you have produced is very good as a "no compromise" design, but a switchable input (more than one of the same type) would be most welcome so I would not have to mess around with cables round the back of my rack.

SW1X
15-04-2016, 13:15
Dear Kevin,

Single properly designed DAC should suffice. There are no issues to produce a DAC with 2 SPDIF inputs and a switch (mechanical toggle or relay). I mentioned before there would be a convenience vs. sound quality trade off.
I am also using a CD transport from time to time. The process of reconnecting one end of the SPDIF cable from the USB 1 interface output to CD transport output does not take more time than toggling a switch at the back of the DAC or changing a CD.

When it comes to convenience with maximum possible sound quality with digital sources then a combination of a properly designed computer with a properly designed USB interface and a DAC are hard to beat.

SW1X
15-04-2016, 13:36
The other more important aspect is that once you hear the USB 1 and DAC 1 combo in action, you probably will revert less often if not at all to your old CD transport, after all.

SW1X
15-04-2016, 13:45
double post

bumpy
15-04-2016, 15:27
Today I emailed Slawa to check on the availability of my new toys and he alerted me to the discussion here. So I thought I would join you.

When I first saw Slawa's products advertised on eBay my first reaction was "another cheap re-badged Oriental import". Being relatively local I paid him a visit out of curiosity and was mightily impressed. I have been into Hi Fi for over 50 years and have met some of the leaders in the field such as Peter Qvortrup and Tim de Paravicini. I put Slawa firmly in this category and trust me when I tell you I am not easily pleased of fooled.

Over the last few decades I have become progressively jaundiced by the lack of progress in sound quality. Some years ago I ventured into computer based music using XXHighend software which for the first time displaced my Linn Sondek/Ittok combination for sound quality. As the months and then years passed the software became more and more complex until the point arrived when the complexity was killing my love of music. Why couldn't I just sit down, turn the system on and enjoy.

The visit to Slawa was a revelation - a simple streaming computer, a NAS full of music and a sound to kill for.

I bought myself a Raspberry Pi for last Christmas and with few computing skills I was able to load up Moode software and get the whole thing playing music saved using EAC on an external hard drive. The system is controlled from my sofa using my Hudl 2 communicating by Wi Fi.

When I was satisfied that it was up to standard I emailed Slawa to place an order for the Signature DAC and Signature USB/SPDIF interface together with a few of his wonderful silver cables. I will add reviews as the kit arrives. These pieces will complete a very competent system.

SW1X
15-04-2016, 16:10
Greetings Chris and welcome to this thread.

Thank you for your kind words.

I am glad that I am not alone on the issue of musicality (or the lack of thereof) in the modern day audio products.
I also thought that the primary purpose of audio equipment is to give us satisfaction not just by looking at it but by experiencing an emotional and spiritual connection with the recorded event.
Since it was close to impossible to find such an audio equipment, I decided that the only way to aspire my own design based on all available technology and with the finest components available
backed up by my endless experimentation.

I also think it is important to understand that everything we experience is being relative. However, I always come back to the following definition of music reproduction formulated by Peter Qvortrup.

"Music is a time continuum from start to end which when broken is irreparably damaged and no amount of clever manipulation of the circuit design can restore it to its original time / frequency / amplitude duration relationship."

Everything that is engineered and designed by me under the SW1X brand is based on that principle.

berco
30-04-2016, 13:37
I just bought this dac and I am amazed by the quality of what I hear. This is what I wrote in Slawa after a week of heated to allow the Black Gate to charge :
"Dear Slawa,
Your DAC is wonderful. It is better than the ZANDEN or my Stax. I am very happy with it. I hope to soon buy the USB / SPDIF Signature."

bumpy
30-04-2016, 15:38
I just bought this dac and I am amazed by the quality of what I hear. This is what I wrote in Slawa after a week of heated to allow the Black Gate to charge :
"Dear Slawa,
Your DAC is wonderful. It is better than the ZANDEN or my Stax. I am very happy with it. I hope to soon buy the USB / SPDIF Signature."

Hi Berco

You have a very exotic (expensive) set up. It must have been a real gamble for you to buy a new DAC, from a new Company, in a foreign Country.

Most people would not take the risks, so I'm pleased it worked out for you.

Gazjam
03-05-2016, 14:11
Hi Slawa
Looks a very good product, some quality caps in there.

For my own use, I would need banced XLR input and a BNC spdif inputs.
Is this do-able?

SW1X
04-05-2016, 13:32
Greetings Bernard,

Thank you for leaving such a positive feedback. Here is my reply to Bernard's email: " I am glad that you like the sound of our DAC. If you prefer the sound of DAC 1 Signature (based on NOS TDA1543) over Zanden DAC (based on TDA1541 S1),
can you imagine how the higher level DACs like the DAC 2 (based on NOS PCM 56) or DAC 3 (based on NOS TDA 1541) are going to sound like?
Moreover, you will be surprised how much difference the USB 1 Signature USB/SPDIF converter makes once you hear it perform relative to a CD transport at any price point."

SW1X
04-05-2016, 13:43
Dear Gazjam,

DAC 1 was originally intended to be our entry level DAC. We tried to keep the design as minimum as possible. That is one of the reasons as why there is no variety of inputs and outputs.
There are numerous ways around it and I am sure we may offer some options on special order basis.
We intend to offer XLR AES/EBU input and XLR balanced output on our higher level DACs as a standard.

SW1X
04-05-2016, 13:47
Our DAC product range is offered on 3 different performance/price levels.

The DAC 1 is based on TDA1543 and it is performance level 1 DAC.
We are introducing the level 2 DAC (DAC 2) based on PCM56 and level 3 (DAC 3) in the near future. DAC 3 is going to be offered with 3 tube output stages: 5687/E182CC, 6080 and DHT 71A /45 (OTL is level 3 and output transformer coupling is reserved for level 4 and 5). The DAC 3 (based on TDA1541) with DHT 71A tube output stage is going to be our flagship Level 3 upwards DAC. No DAC known to me should be able to match or beat the musical performance of that one. We are going to offer two version of the same DAC: standard and Signature at every performance level.

All DACs at any level are NOS based on a single DAC chip except the monolithic PCM56, where two chips are required.
Everything else being equal, the difference in performance levels is mostly determined by sophistication of the power supplies, the tube output stage design and the material and component quality.

Apart from the elegant simplicity of the circuit design, the Signature version come equipped with finest parts available.
The more exotic and more costly components make a huge difference and the differences in sound between Signature and standard versions are more than significant.
While the Signature versions retains all the sonic characteristics of the standard version, it has clarity, dynamics and frequency extension on a different level.
There is no way back to standard version after the Signature version has been experienced.
Given the performance level, with the Signature version there is simply nothing left to upgrade.
The Signature version is what I consider timeless.

Gazjam
04-05-2016, 14:36
Thanks Slawa.


Dear Gazjam,

DAC 1 was originally intended to be our entry level DAC. We tried to keep the design as minimum as possible. That is one of the reasons as why there is no variety of inputs and outputs.
There are numerous ways around it and I am sure we may offer some options on special order basis.
We intend to offer XLR AES/EBU input and XLR balanced output on our higher level DACs as a standard.

bumpy
13-05-2016, 12:26
The cases for my DAC and USB/spdiff converter are now in from the printers, and should be built, tested and ready for collection in about a week.

I have gone for the sophisticated look of all silver. Cant wait.16927169281692916930

hifi_dave
13-05-2016, 17:34
Chris.

Perhaps you could get Slawa to reply to the 2 x PMs I have sent him ?

bumpy
13-05-2016, 17:41
Chris.

Perhaps you could get Slawa to reply to the 2 x PMs I have sent him ?

That's most unusual, he normally gets back to me very promptly. I only know him as a customer, but I'm sure he will see your posting here and get back to you:)

hifi_dave
13-05-2016, 18:12
Apologies - I thought you knew and had contact with him.

SW1X
13-05-2016, 23:30
Hi Dave,

Sorry for not replying, I just noticed your PM after I have seen your post. For some reason I do not get the notification of receiving PMs.

Please check your mailbox - PM sent

hifi_dave
14-05-2016, 11:31
Replied.

Thank you.

hughandella
14-05-2016, 17:03
That's most unusual, he normally gets back to me very promptly. I only know him as a customer, but I'm sure he will see your posting here and get back to you:)

Hi

There also may be some confusion with multiple chris's on here too --- I posted the original review and am Slawa's business partner -- we do sincerely apologise for not replying in short order but as Slawa has explained unlike on other sites neither of us get an email alert that a message has been sent ( have we missed out on that in setting up our profiles? ) and sometimes we are busy on other issues and forget to check message status 'lesson learned' .... if for any reason replies are slow please feel free to contact myself on my personal email chris.moore50@gmail.com as well as company email of chris.moore@sw1xad.co.uk in the first instance --- nothing is more frustrating than trying to get a response so apologies but i hope I can say with confidence it wont happen again ..

Yesterday I sent out a USB /SPDIF transport to a trusted member on here for review and today a chap picked up a pair of Tannoy HPD's from me (sold in my private capacity) and was intrigued by the SW1X DAC I had here ... so he has left here with that to review too .... I don't think myself and Slawa can be more open in offering a 'listen then decide' approach --- I am personally very aware it is a potentially big ask for someone to invest a pretty significant amount in an 'unknown' brand and so we feel this is the best approach to take ..... we will be working with new partners and that (inevitably) involves a rise in price because quite rightly that dealer or outlet needs to put food on their table too -- eBay is the wrong platform for us ----- we are confident enough to believe that the SW1X products can more than withstand the price increase required to access a dealer network if it means we can reach serious buyers as a result - and further we need to be X amount cheaper than a very well known brand on a pure quality basis because today we are not in that fortunate position of benefiting from brand loyalty - we are aiming to be that and to build that loyalty and so today we have to be better on a like for like basis to justify customer support -- we think we are and we are looking to have an 'open day' over Summer to display our current range and also offer a preview on what we hope to bring along in time --- I will make a more formal announcement when we have a date but in the meantime please let myself or Slawa know if you would be interested in joining us ... it will basically be a BBQ with a few beers and some wine but most importantly a chance to demo SW1X .... our first bake off is you will !!

tks Chris

struth
14-05-2016, 17:28
Yes you can get a notification if you have a pm or subscribe to a thead and also get notified there too


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

bumpy
16-05-2016, 21:35
Hi

I will make a more formal announcement when we have a date but in the meantime please let myself or Slawa know if you would be interested in joining us ... it will basically be a BBQ with a few beers and some wine but most importantly a chance to demo SW1X .... our first bake off is you will !!

tks Chris

Count me in Chris. It will be nice for our paths to cross.

hughandella
17-05-2016, 06:00
Count me in Chris. It will be nice for our paths to cross.

definitely :)

bumpy
26-05-2016, 15:23
1703717038

THE DAC 1 Signature and USB 1 Signature are now successfully installed in my system. A review will follow in a few days when the Black Gates have bedded in.

Cheers Chris

SW1X
26-05-2016, 16:53
Greetings,

We are introducing a new silver alu finish of the chassis with engraved inscription on the front panel. On top of that, the new batch of production will have red PCBs based on the same circuit design.

Here are some pictures
http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160520_173117_zpsbahh8qe1.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160520_173117_zpsbahh8qe1.jpg.html)

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160519_174455_zpsgatocblg.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160519_174455_zpsgatocblg.jpg.html)

struth
26-05-2016, 16:58
Cockup on the picture front.:)

SW1X
26-05-2016, 17:02
there we go

http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160520_134035_zpsa51mvboy.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160520_134035_zpsa51mvboy.jpg.html) http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160520_134334_zpsemfkfgaq.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160520_134334_zpsemfkfgaq.jpg.html) http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160520_134602_zpshofu9gjl.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160520_134602_zpshofu9gjl.jpg.html) http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160519_184346_zpslox54uyw.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160519_184346_zpslox54uyw.jpg.html) http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160518_174251_zps3c8rehjp.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160518_174251_zps3c8rehjp.jpg.html) http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160518_174208_zpsplbos9fh.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160518_174208_zpsplbos9fh.jpg.html) http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160518_173919_zps6tn2znox.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160518_173919_zps6tn2znox.jpg.html) http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160518_173812_zpsjmkk2pwi.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160518_173812_zpsjmkk2pwi.jpg.html) http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160518_174119_zpsymr579pd.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160518_174119_zpsymr579pd.jpg.html) http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160518_174100_zpsoe6e0mkp.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160518_174100_zpsoe6e0mkp.jpg.html) http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160518_173620_zpshq7uerfx.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160518_173620_zpshq7uerfx.jpg.html) http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee376/sw1xad/20160518_173558_zps3adswyne.jpg (http://s1224.photobucket.com/user/sw1xad/media/20160518_173558_zps3adswyne.jpg.html)

struth
26-05-2016, 17:23
Looks very nice. hi end in styling.... well done , bet it sounds good too.:)

SW1X
26-05-2016, 17:37
Looks very nice. hi end in styling.... well done , bet it sounds good too.:)

That is exactly the point here. SW1X Audio Design is about sound, fundamentally. And it is not just about a sound! It is the sound of music.

We are not designing our products for the looks. Consider the looks as a byproduct.
Unlike many products on the market, we consider that looks must be subordinated to its function and not another way around.

Marco
27-05-2016, 23:12
...and quite right, too! :)

That looks like a fabulous design, Slawa, and one I'd certainly love to hear sometime. Next time I'm due down south, I'll let you know, and perhaps I could pop by for a listen?

Marco.

jandl100
28-05-2016, 06:04
Wow.
Fabulous looking designs.
Good luck with your venture Slawa and Chris - it must be hard gaining traction in the DAC market with so much competition.

SW1X
28-05-2016, 09:02
...and quite right, too! :)

That looks like a fabulous design, Slawa, and one I'd certainly love to hear sometime. Next time I'm due down south, I'll let you know, and perhaps I could pop by for a listen?

Marco.

Dear Marco,

You are welcome. Feel free to come over. We have several demo rooms at my facility.

In any case, please let me know in advance when you are coming.

SW1X
28-05-2016, 09:05
Wow.
Fabulous looking designs.
Good luck with your venture Slawa and Chris - it must be hard gaining traction in the DAC market with so much competition.

Thank you. Yes, it is very competitive. The time shall reveal.

SW1X
15-06-2016, 20:49
Greetings,

Our website has been updated and it is live now.

www.sw1xad.co.uk (http://sw1xad.co.uk/)

Some of of our material on audio design you may find something interesting has been published in the technology section.

Please feel free to visit our site and to leave a comment on its style & content.

Thank you in advance

Slawa

SW1X
19-06-2016, 20:45
Greetings,

There is another update on production. Introducing the UMS 1 Universal Music Server & PSU 1 Linear Power supply using the finest materials and components

More about it here

http://sw1xad.co.uk/production-update/

bumpy
20-06-2016, 15:09
Hi Slawa

Can you give us a broad outline of what the UMS will offer us. Aside from great sound, (which is a given with your stuff) it looks to have a CD slot and presumably on board music storage. Hopefully it will move on a step or two from set ups like the Raspberry Pi with upgraded power supply.

Thanks

SW1X
20-06-2016, 19:36
Hi Chris,

The music server is based on the well established concept of Vertexbox, a minimalist Linux based operating system derivative. The UMS 1 music server can be used as a standalone local music server or as a network streamer.
In either way it needs to be connected to a network in order to control its functions over a touchscreen such as a tablet or a smartphone.

In essence, the hardware of SW1X UMS 1 is optimised for audio with tweaked BIOS and some functions such as integrated sound card, unused controller bridges disabled -all functions reduced to an absolute minimum. In combination with the PSU 1 power supply it offers unparalleled musical performance because the quality of power supplies is everything when it comes to audio. The combination of USM 1, PSU1 and USB 1 defines an ultimate 21st century digital transport with an analogue character.

More information about the UMS 1 can be found here:

http://sw1xad.co.uk/product/usm-1-universal-media-server/

Best

Slawa

bumpy
21-06-2016, 08:25
Sounds encouraging Slawa. To me, its seems clear that the less 'work' the computer is asked to do while playing music the better the sound will be, and also that good power supplies are paramount

A standard PC using software like foobar is good, but near the bottom of the food chain.

Using sophisticated software like XXHighend on a standard PC gives a massive improvement in sound, by (amongst other things) turning off all unnecessary operating processes in the computer. But this comes at the expense of user friendliness. I used this for several years.

Dedicated players like the Rasberry Pi don't have a mass of other operations to manage and the sound shines through, particularly with a better power supply. :)

bumpy
21-06-2016, 14:43
My review of some products from SW1X

History
I have been collecting and listening to Hi Fi for about 45 years. The move to digital, and up-sampling in particular, has been a big disappointment in the last 15 years. Like many I am not enamoured by the digital íheadacheí. Previously this annoyance has been somewhat ameliorated by the use of valve amps (McIntosh 225, Audionote Meishu, EAR 861), transistor NOS DACs and horn speakers, but there are times when I contemplated giving up trying to improve my system.
Then, by chance, I spotted an advert for SW1X, carried out extensive auditioning, and finally entered a new world. Below is my best attempt to review the kit I have bought. I am no technical expert and I leave Slawa of SW1X to fend off any technical question.

USB1 Signature
Almost all interfaces to computers rely on USB connection and the job of the USB1 is to convert that signal to SP/DIF and hence onward to the DAC. It does clever things with the clocking and predominantly makes use of valves. It doesnít have a sound in the absolute sense and can only be judged when in line with a good DAC. Itís a smart well finished box. In my case it is brushed aluminium which I like as it diminishes the sort of minor marks that occur on black boxes over time. Connection is minimalist with a USB cable in and an SP/DIF cable out. A mains switch makes up the compliment and this is placed at the rear to encourage one to leave it on 24/7, particularly with the internal Black Gate capacitors. In operation it was immediately recognised by my Raspberry Pi.

DAC 1 Signature
This is where the magic reveals itself. There is an SP/DIF cable in and phonos out, and again there is just the mains switch on the rear. If you are looking for an analogue sound from a digital source then the search is over. I used to own a Linn Sondek, Ittok etc and its memory has been truly laid to rest. CDs that were unlistenable are now enjoyable and discs that were once enjoyable are now wonderful. I have learnt over the years to avoid over focussing on details within the sound, being old enough to remember that Naim sold a thousand amps based predominantly on the reproduction of a rim shot on a drum. Well this DAC just makes music, overwhelming, foot tapping, sing along music. It does high and low frequencies and a lovely valve-like fluid midrange, but at no times does it draw undue attention to specific elements. Its just a pleasure to own it.

Silver cables
If the electronics are the icing on the cake, then these cables are the cherry on top. In the past I have often played lip service to the choice of cables not really hearing too much in the way of differences but happy to settle for Audionote silver ANV cables so I didnít have to worry about missing out on something! Suddenly I was hearing differences. SW1X cables bettered the Audionote cables which went on E Bay. The real revelation were the silver mains cables. Slawa has his own recipe for cables using strands of silver wire of mixed radiuses in what is essentially an air dielectric. A key element is their (zero) impedance. I cant begin to guess why 1m of silver mains cable can impact on several miles of supply cable to the house, but it does. I would say the interconnect between computer and USB1 is the cable to get in order to share the insight and at about £100 itís a steal. Each change of cable allows the system to breath more easily. The soundstage opens up and just becomes more real. Eventually the speakers disappear - Amazing.

In conclusion
Slawa is one of the nicest people I have met in Hi Fi. For creativity and innovative thought I would put him alongside the likes of Peter Qvortrup and Tim De Paravicini. Yet he is friendly and happy to talk through any naÔve questions I may have.

SW1X
21-06-2016, 21:51
My review of some products from SW1X

History
I have been collecting and listening to Hi Fi for about 45 years. The move to digital, and up-sampling in particular, has been a big disappointment in the last 15 years. Like many I am not enamoured by the digital íheadacheí. Previously this annoyance has been somewhat ameliorated by the use of valve amps (McIntosh 225, Audionote Meishu, EAR 861), transistor NOS DACs and horn speakers, but there are times when I contemplated giving up trying to improve my system.
Then, by chance, I spotted an advert for SW1X, carried out extensive auditioning, and finally entered a new world. Below is my best attempt to review the kit I have bought. I am no technical expert and I leave Slawa of SW1X to fend off any technical question.

USB1 Signature
Almost all interfaces to computers rely on USB connection and the job of the USB1 is to convert that signal to SP/DIF and hence onward to the DAC. It does clever things with the clocking and predominantly makes use of valves. It doesnít have a sound in the absolute sense and can only be judged when in line with a good DAC. Itís a smart well finished box. In my case it is brushed aluminium which I like as it diminishes the sort of minor marks that occur on black boxes over time. Connection is minimalist with a USB cable in and an SP/DIF cable out. A mains switch makes up the compliment and this is placed at the rear to encourage one to leave it on 24/7, particularly with the internal Black Gate capacitors. In operation it was immediately recognised by my Raspberry Pi.

DAC 1 Signature
This is where the magic reveals itself. There is an SP/DIF cable in and phonos out, and again there is just the mains switch on the rear. If you are looking for an analogue sound from a digital source then the search is over. I used to own a Linn Sondek, Ittok etc and its memory has been truly laid to rest. CDs that were unlistenable are now enjoyable and discs that were once enjoyable are now wonderful. I have learnt over the years to avoid over focussing on details within the sound, being old enough to remember that Naim sold a thousand amps based predominantly on the reproduction of a rim shot on a drum. Well this DAC just makes music, overwhelming, foot tapping, sing along music. It does high and low frequencies and a lovely valve-like fluid midrange, but at no times does it draw undue attention to specific elements. Its just a pleasure to own it.

Silver cables
If the electronics are the icing on the cake, then these cables are the cherry on top. In the past I have often played lip service to the choice of cables not really hearing too much in the way of differences but happy to settle for Audionote silver ANV cables so I didnít have to worry about missing out on something! Suddenly I was hearing differences. SW1X cables bettered the Audionote cables which went on E Bay. The real revelation were the silver mains cables. Slawa has his own recipe for cables using strands of silver wire of mixed radiuses in what is essentially an air dielectric. A key element is their (zero) impedance. I cant begin to guess why 1m of silver mains cable can impact on several miles of supply cable to the house, but it does. I would say the interconnect between computer and USB1 is the cable to get in order to share the insight and at about £100 itís a steal. Each change of cable allows the system to breath more easily. The soundstage opens up and just becomes more real. Eventually the speakers disappear - Amazing.

In conclusion
Slawa is one of the nicest people I have met in Hi Fi. For creativity and innovative thought I would put him alongside the likes of Peter Qvortrup and Tim De Paravicini. Yet he is friendly and happy to talk through any naÔve questions I may have.

Thank you Chris for your kind review

Your feedback is appreciated very much

Slawa

User211
21-06-2016, 23:12
In conclusion
Slawa is one of the nicest people I have met in Hi Fi. For creativity and innovative thought I would put him alongside the likes of Peter Qvortrup and Tim De Paravicini. Yet he is friendly and happy to talk through any naÔve questions I may have.

Based on one product? Really? C'mon - those guys have some serious history and respect from many. It might be good but get real. I'm not doubting he is a nice bloke, but he is a newcomer. And this is new stuff - to be encouraged for sure, but it is what it is - new stuff without reputation.

On what grounds would you say anything in the DAC or other parts is innovative from a technical perspective? Not that I'd know anyway where electronics are concerned but just curious.

bumpy
22-06-2016, 06:16
Based on one product? Really? C'mon - those guys have some serious history and respect from many. It might be good but get real. I'm not doubting he is a nice bloke, but he is a newcomer. And this is new stuff - to be encouraged for sure, but it is what it is - new stuff without reputation.

On what grounds would you say anything in the DAC or other parts is innovative from a technical perspective? Not that I'd know anyway where electronics are concerned but just curious.

I will let Slawa answer the technical stuff.

Regarding Peter and Tim, I am old enough to have met and spent a bit of time with both of them when they were just starting out, so my placing Slawa in that category was based upon my impressions of all three at the start of their journey in the Hi Fi world. Both Peter and Tim went on to great things as you point out. Sorry I didn't make the situation clear.

In my job I interviewed hundreds of job applicants and it's really not that difficult to pick up on quality people.

bumpy
27-06-2016, 06:19
Congratulations Slawa on another great review. Its an honour to be pitched straight in against quality Audionote gear.

http://www.hifiwigwam.com/sw1x-audio-design-dac-1-signature-a-review-by-kevin-fiske/

Marco
30-06-2016, 10:16
Please could all further discussion/promotion of SWIX products be conducted in the dedicated area for that purpose, which has now been opened. See here: http://theartofsound.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?108-SWIX-Audio-Design

Slawa, I'd be obliged if you populated your new sub-forum, by posting there, at your earliest convenience. Cheers! :cool:

Marco.

bumpy
01-07-2016, 07:33
Please could all further discussion/promotion of SWIX products be conducted in the dedicated area for that purpose, which has now been opened. See here: http://theartofsound.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?108-SWIX-Audio-Design

Slawa, I'd be obliged if you populated your new sub-forum, by posting there, at your earliest convenience. Cheers! :cool:

Marco.

Well done Marco

If Slawa required, would it be possible to transfer the contents of this thread to the new section. That would add a bit of focus.

Marco
01-07-2016, 07:58
Yes, I could do that, no problem. Just let me know :)

Marco.

bumpy
01-07-2016, 10:28
Yes, I could do that, no problem. Just let me know :)

Marco.

Thanks Marco, I'm only a customer, so better not go organising Slawa's life for him. :)

Incidentally I saw elsewhere, rather belatedly, that reviews should only come from people that have purchased kit. So for the record I have purchased the following items from SW1X

DAC 1 Signature
USB 1 Signature
1 x Silver USB cable
1 x Pair of silver interconnects
3 x Silver mains cables
1 x SPDIF silver cable

User211
01-07-2016, 18:43
Is E88CC recommended for use in the DAC Sig? It isn't a 6N6P equivalent so that is why I am asking .

SW1X
01-07-2016, 20:11
Dear Justin,

True, ECC88 tube is not an electrical equivalent to 6N6P (ECC182/6463/ 6350 tube equivalent with different pin out). The 6N6P is more powerful and demanding tube than ECC88/E88CC/E288CC type. The Circuit of DAC 1 Signature is optimised for 6N6P, while the standard version of DAC 1 is more tuned towards ECC88 type. The power supplies of both versions of DAC 1 are over-specified therefore one could use either tube. The other tube one could use is the 6N1P which sounds a tad more dynamic. Musical presentation wise, I would recommend the 6N6P over any other 9 pin compatible double triode tube.

Best

Slawa

Marco
02-07-2016, 00:29
Hi Slawa,

As repeatedly directed, could you please 'populate' your new sub-forum, ASAP, by starting a thread there, advertising the products and services of your company. Your new sub-forum can be found here in the trade room: http://theartofsound.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?108-SWIX-Audio-Design

After you've done that, I will move this discussion in there too, and your trading area will have some 'substance' to it :)

Cheers! :cool:

Marco.

KevinF
04-07-2016, 08:48
I now have the SW1X USB-SPDIF converter here on review. Am still experimenting with media control software on my Macbook, but the SW1X sounds promising.

hughandella
24-07-2016, 22:21
I am no longer working with Slawa on SW1X but wish him the very best and remain a fan of his products

thanks

chris

DSJR
17-10-2016, 16:48
How come the eBay price has more than doubled since all this kicked off last Easter and all the good reviews started coming in? or is it that there are now multiple versions?

struth
17-10-2016, 16:50
Dealer. Markup i guess. Such is life.

SW1X
17-10-2016, 17:20
How come the eBay price has more than doubled since all this kicked off last Easter and all the good reviews started coming in? or is it that there are now multiple versions?

Dear David,

The SW1X products are currently offered in 2 versions (Standard and Signature) on 3 different performance/price levels. In order to keep our products affordable we offer a Standard version that employs highest quality components but are less exotic in nature than employed in the Signature versions. The prices for the Standard version at performance level 1 (USB 1, DAC 1 and LPU 1) should remain at around GBP 1K level. SW1X DAC 1 Standard currently retails for GBP 730. Its price is ought go up to 1100 including VAT in the coming months. That price level should not change much in the future otherwise. The performance level 2 & 3 products e.g. SW1X USB 2/3, DAC 2 and DAC 3 were recently put into the series production and should be available around December/January. USB 2/3 and DAC 2/3 have more sophisticated tube rectified power supplies are substantially larger in size, therefore require additional space. All higher performance level products will hence come in a larger chassis. Everything inside our performance level 2/3 inclusive larger chassis is custom designed and produced in England.

As regarding rising prices, the are numerous reasons for the increase in prices.
One of them is that the current promotional pricing cannot continue forever. It makes no sense to offer products made of finest, vintage and out of production materials that also perform accordingly for a fraction of a cost.
The other is the uncertainty associated with Brexit, which is partly causing Pound Sterling to slide against EUR and USD. Despite everything being designed and assembled here in England, many of the parts that we employ in our designs are imported from Japan, US or EU and are priced in foreign currencies accordingly. Pound Sterling has lost over 25% against EUR and USD over the last couple of months. Last but not least is the 20% VAT (we are VAT registered business) and the mark up required by the dealers, who also need to make a living. Believe me or not but we are not making any net profit at the moment because of all initial production costs and costs associated with R&D.

SW1X
17-10-2016, 17:21
Our products appear to be expensive but the musical performance they offer is also conclusive. We have no intention to sell overpriced products made of cheap materials that will not deliver our promise.

Please feel free to read here about our performance level system that use to classify and to price our products.

http://sw1xad.co.uk/product/sw1x-audio-designtm-performance-level-system/

In some ways the performance level system is very similar as employed by Audio Note (UK). The idea is to offer a product that maximises its musical performance at any given price level.

Should you still feel that our products are overpriced please feel free to visit ebay and check out the availability and cost of Black Gate capacitors, Allen Bradley resistors and Germanium transistors and diodes.
We also would encourage you to visit Audio Note (UK) website to see for yourself how much the Kaisei capacitors, tantalum resistors and their other components cost that we heavily employ in our designs.

http://audionote.co.uk/comp/cap_electro.shtml

bumpy
17-10-2016, 18:12
Slawa

There is one particular forum on the Net that has made some cruel criticisms of your products. Of the people giving 'informed' comment there is not one that has actually heard any of your gear.

Here are typical comments:

"Its made of bullshit."
"Is it possible that Slawa" is a front for a Chinese company (one of the AliBaba ones) to push their gear at huge mark-ups in the UK market ?
"This looks like a budget Chinese product "

I am not expecting you to dignify the "bullshit" comment, but you may wish to clarify the situation regarding links to China.

SW1X
17-10-2016, 20:24
Slawa

There is one particular forum on the Net that has made some cruel criticisms of your products. Of the people giving 'informed' comment there is not one that has actually heard any of your gear.

Here are typical comments:

"Its made of bullshit."
"Is it possible that Slawa" is a front for a Chinese company (one of the AliBaba ones) to push their gear at huge mark-ups in the UK market ?
"This looks like a budget Chinese product "

I am not expecting you to dignify the "bullshit" comment, but you may wish to clarify the situation regarding links to China.

Comments of such nature most likely come from our competitors. Some of those comments are quite amusing and some of them are less so. Just to make things perfectly clear:

Anybody who thinks that any of SW1X products are made in China should come over to us to see our production for him/herself. You are more than welcome to test drive our products.
My team and I personally design, prototype, solder, assemble and test all of the products that we offer. There is nothing inside our products that is made in China.

We employ only the finest components made in Japan, US and Europe. Some out of production IC chips such as TDA1541/3, CS8412/14 are known to be produced in Asia, though.

Feel free to read further here about our approach here:

http://sw1xad.co.uk/informed-and-rational-choice/

bumpy
18-10-2016, 07:57
"This looks like a budget Chinese product "

I have been thinking a bit about this put down. It is meant to imply that the product uses cheap components, is perhaps electrically unsafe, may not last very long and worst of all has poor sound quality.

Those parameters can only be assessed with any credibility if one has actually touched and listened to that product.

If the judgement is made on looks alone using a picture on the Internet, then most people browsing the cheaper regions of E Bay will no doubt have been impressed by the LOOKS of those Chinese amps. Some of them are just beautiful, including layout of the circuit boards. At times I have been so tempted by the looks that I have to sit on my hands to avoid bidding.

So for me, saying that a component looks like a budget Chinese product, is something of a compliment

Scooby
18-10-2016, 08:39
What gets me is uninformed criticism from people who decline an offer to hear the thing, then make assumptions about how it sounds. I seem to remember the very same people criticising AVI for this approach.

SW1X
18-10-2016, 08:42
"This looks like a budget Chinese product "

I have been thinking a bit about this put down. It is meant to imply that the product uses cheap components, is perhaps electrically unsafe, may not last very long and worst of all has poor sound quality.

Those parameters can only be assessed with any credibility if one has actually touched and listened to that product.

If the judgement is made on looks alone using a picture on the Internet, then most people browsing the cheaper regions of E Bay will no doubt have been impressed by the LOOKS of those Chinese amps. Some of them are just beautiful, including layout of the circuit boards. At times I have been so tempted by the looks that I have to sit on my hands to avoid bidding.

So for me, saying that a component looks like a budget Chinese product, is something of a compliment

We take any constructive critique serious and anything what our competitors say as a compliment. Comments like that are quite understandable. There are plenty of people who are annoyed by the marketing tricks in the industry.
I am myself developed an allergic reaction to it. So, when we take a completely different approach by offering maximum possible transparency, some folks think that it is some sort of marketing gimmick.

Just to be perfectly clear, we are spending zero on advertising. All the money goes into R&D of sound improvement instead. Anybody who knows me and has been at our place knows this.
Why would we want to invite people to see how different passive components sound in our products? Quality of materials and musicality of our products are fundamental to our business model. Nothing is better than a satisfied customer who keeps coming back for more. The only but very crucial difference between us and our competitors is that we also walk the walk instead of talking the talk. Everything we state on our website comes with the intention to keep our customers informed as opposed to misinformed as widely practiced in the industry. If somebody thinks otherwise, please come over to this forum, contact us or better come over and talk to us - feel free to ask your questions publicly.

All I can say, do not take my word for it but come over for an audition and find out yourself. One can hardly fault us if you will like what we do.

SW1X
18-10-2016, 10:23
Another thing:

It is relatively easy to scrutinise other peoples ideas and products based on their looks especially without even having listened to them.

It is much harder to put your money where your mouth is.

If somebody thinks that they can make a better product for less, then bring it on. We welcome you to compete with us but please be fair when you do so.

How many of our respected competitors can or are willing to show what is inside their equipment, hidden inside their designer casing?

Try us