Proliferation Ownership of Wadax Atlantis Reference DAC

edited November 28

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  • 50,000 man hours spent on research and development on this 100kg solidly milled aluminium chassis. 


  • Last Sat, I went to Divin Lab to listen to the Reference DAC, it was the 3rd time for me to listen  but literally it is also the first time to listen to a Reference DAC which is NOT the same one as I have listened in Apr.  According to PT, this is the one taken to Munich Show in May and is a finished product supporting all formats of CDs together with some special upgrade to cater for server music.

    Perhaps I should jump to a follow up discussion with PT after the audition.  We talked about the perception of analog sound.  Is it something with a smooth and thick midrange?  An organic vocal?  A warm tonality?  Or indeed it is a stress and compression free dynamic ride?  In many of the digital recordings that we listen, quite often we suffered mostly from dynamic compression due to (1) distortion due to Digital to Analogue conversion and/or (2) insurmountable digital/ground noise introduced in the digital filtering path.  Many recording engineers might compromise (2) by cutting a few dB on the upper end frequency spectrum during the digital mastering in order to maintain a lower background noise and distortion.  As a result, digital playback can never reach an ‘analog’ state of play in many systems with both.

    Whatever Javier can disclose in creating this Reference DAC, I think we all know.  What we might not know and perhaps is the secret leading to the huge success of this DAC in Munich show and the shocking experience that we have.  When listening to this DAC, the richness of the music contents is not a direct result of the format, 16/44, 24/96, MQA, Tidal streaming.  It is more reliant on the quality of the recording and the touching of the performers.  What does it mean in simple terms?  To the reference DAC, format is just an ‘input parameter’ for its decoding.  The output/outcome is always a ‘close to perfect’ musical signal reproduction ‘curving’ up and down according to the original musical flow in the most stress free manner that one could only experience in a vinyl/open reel tape playback.  Voice of Sally Yip in singing 王昭君culminated to a highest note ever reached audibly shedding sweats to me.  PT reminded me that it was just a 16/44 file in Divin lab as opposed to the 24/96 file that we listened in AE showroom one week ago using Riviera!

    In the past, my benchmark is always on how to match digital playback with the vinyl playback.  I must admit there is a paradigm shift after listening the third time on this reference DAC, the target for me is how I can make the vinyl platform be on par with this Refernce DAC playback in Divin lab. I can honestly admit that this is not a light weighted statement given the vinyl setup in Divin lab is also top of the breed.  Listening side by side, it is not easy to tell what source/format that I am listening to.  Looking at the rear side of the DAC, I can see there are many cables that one can upgrade in order to garner the best outcome.  With the future ready design, this reference DAC should be the ‘end game’ at least for the next 10 years!

    Marvel


  • Marvel,

    Are you suggesting it is better than vinyl?  Not easy to understand. But I equally trust you. After all, we all know each other here for a decade. 
  • Voy,

    I recall when Roy G visited HK in Apr, the vinyl system was not perfectly setup as per his stringent standards, he commented that the Reference DAC is indeed playing more music than the vinyl.  The same comment when he first visited Roman.  Now the vinyl setting in Divin lab is much more proper but on my listening on last Sat, I can only conclude it was a draw.  As I mentioned above, the cables used in the digital front is far below those in the vinyl.  I would see the era of close competition among CDs, server and vinyl has dawned and here is no clear winner among the 3.  

    Marvel
  • Isn’t it great we are all back now?  王昭君 is a difficult piece of music for any singer. It is even more difficult for audio reproduction. I am glad PT constantly introduces new type of music for us to test.  I am sick of the usual testing tracks.  Some of my friends only listen to a few tracks for their decades of audio life.  The 16/44 format of Sally signing this song isn’t the highest quality recording. I tried playing in my system playing via Atlantis DAC. That was really good.  But i did  some compression towards the end of the song when she delivers the high note (C?) of the Chinese words “Pipa”.  Without this compression, the range of free flowing dynamic would be great. 
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