New Wadax Atlantis Reference Dac

Stereophonic

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IMHO Lincoln’s review is a technical information one.
His sound’s description is very poor. John William’s album is a good example.
“ The impeccable performance of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the magnificent sound of their instruments, the calmness of John Williams, and the inexplicable excitement of the players under the baton of their idols, as well as the enthusiasm of the performance, and even the warm, natural and elegant ambience of the concert hall, the Wadax combo has done an absolutely fantastic job. This reminded me of the movies associated with the musics, and made me feel so relaxed, which is certainly a fulfilling experience !”
That’s all? This album is very complex to describe and is a good album to test a component.
Deutsche Grammophon has changed his sound signature and its releases from years ago are over produced trying to escape from shrill and thin sound had before.
This is one of most unnatural album i have listened. Yes, it has an impecable sound quality from spectacular sound perspective. Fat bass, dynamics bigger than life, reverb everywhere, great slam, open brass instruments, violins cutting the air like knifes with fast sound….energy anywhere. Very complex.
It is the kind of album that get you tired after 15m. if your system isn’t well balanced.
I’m not a reviewer but i’ve listened a lot of concerts and Musikverein is one of the halls i’ve been listening a great concert.
This hall doesn’t sound as is recorded in Williams's album.
My Atlantis system does a stunning work playing this album. It is the new director of the orchestra, taking the orchestra with determination and putting all this wall of sound in its right place.
Double bass sounds deep with texture and attack, far away from ooommmp sound.
Brass has stunning placement and harmonics. Violins and violas mass well defined, first ones on the left second ones on the right. You can feel the orchestra placement in Musikverein is very wide and little deep, no more than 5/6 mts., you have to see it to believe it. I haven’t see any stage so little deep.
Then Anne Sophie Mutter enters with his fast and energyzed sound. His Stradivarius is very strong but Wadax don’t let the violin sounding bigger than it is. You can feel the direct sound with real timbre and rawing cords with the wood reverb embracing speed. Containing it at the same time letting it be expresive.
Wadax is like an excavator, it finds until last bit to organize them in the best form i have listened until now.
This could be better explained as Roy Gregory does…
 
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dcathro

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This could be better explained as Roy Gregory does…

I tried to read Roy Gregory's review. Way too much waffle for me. I tend to read his reviews as being almost negative unless he is doing a Tom Cruise couch impersonation.
 
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PeterA

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Thr reviewer said what he said, and it's clear. Let's not pretend that it isn't.

Or have we arrived at a "post-truth" moment?

Thank you Al and Tim. If we can’t even ask a question about what a reviewer writes here in a discussion forum, what is the point of reading a review or reading ad copy and asking a question about it?

The guy described something extremely specific. We all know what it means. What is the point in arguing about it? I’m looking for anyone who has heard this specific dac to comment on the nature of the image outlines or boundaries. That hasn’t happened yet which is pretty interesting. Surely people have heard this DAC and have read the review and are reading this thread.
 
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howiebrou

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Thank you Al and Tim. If we can’t even ask a question about what a reviewer writes here in a discussion forum, what is the point of reading a review or reading ad copy and asking a question about it?

The guy described something extremely specific. We all know what it means. What is the point in arguing about it? I’m looking for anyone who has heard this specific dac to comment on the nature of the image outlines or boundaries. That hasn’t happened yet which is pretty interesting. Surely people have heard this DAC and have read the review and are reading this thread.
Peter, not to belabour the point, but I have to admit that I haven’t the first clue what Lincoln means by ‘vivid image outlines‘. When I audition a piece of a equipment, my priorities are whether the piece captures my emotion. I don’t really dissect it as it rather detracts from the experience. I have heard the Wadax ref Dac on many occasions so please don’t presume that my lack of comment with regards to Lincoln’s descriptive prose has anything to do with the performance of the particular Dac in question. It’s probably more to do with my general lack of interest In audio descriptive writing or my own inability to assimilate what he means. I would much rather digest another of your excellent videos with your Vitavox.:)
 

bonzo75

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Anyone who thinks they can understand an unfamiliar component via an unfamiliar writer needs more humility accepting what they don't know. Simples
 
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tima

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This reviewer might be just as likely to describe a vinyl playback system with the same words. It's probably just the reviewer's way of describing a resolving playback. A thousand other adjectives could probably be used by a reviewer to describe the same sound (like clear, or natural, or vivid). I think reviews of how something like a DAC sounds is meaningless unless done in the context of comparing to another DAC in the same system.

Maybe, but I kind of doubt it if Cheng is well experienced in describing sound. I have not read him often enough to know how carefully he describes what he hears, but he has been around a long time. A reviewer with command of language can be quite precise in what he wants to convey. I'm giving Cheng the presumption of his command of language and his knowing what he intends to say.

“The outlines of the acoustical images were super fine and vivid”.
“The acoustical outlines are sharp and clear.”

Assuming accurate translation, these are very explicit descriptions. My sense of what you suggest is that Cheng is making a somewhat generic description of the sound he hears that could be made with thousands of other adjectives. The descriptions are less about "resolving playback" than they are about psychoacoustic visual imagery. I don't think he is mixing nouns and adjectives. "Clear" or "natural" or "vivid" are adjectives that can apply as modifiers but they are not the same as the subject to which they attach. Here, the object of the modifiers is "acoustical images". Cheng doesn't say what the images are images of - that is in his head - but the outlines of those images are sharp, clear, vivid, etc.

The descriptions quoted are what the reviewer tells us he experiences from the Wadax component. I agree he could use the same words to describe what he hears from a different component - I don't think that changes the meaning of his description of what he hears.

Okay, some find sonic description meaningless without a comparison for context - as in your case and bonzo. That is your way of understanding. Equipped with typical audiophile language, I believe it is possible to describe what I hear without needing a comparison and that my description will remain true when presented with a description of the sound of some other component. If I wrote "the sound of a PQR amplifier tends to be warm, evincing slightly fuzzy transients. When I swapped cables and preamplifiers the PQR's character did not change" Some people will have a notion of what that description conveys.

I agree with you about Roy G's coverage.
 
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Scaena1

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Circumventing the discussion over the language used in the review, I’ll merely say the writers linguistic descriptions need some polishing (he is no HP), but I suspect his listening skills do not. Focusing on the WADAX DAC instead, I have heard it in a system in which I was relatively familiar and to my ear, it significantly bested the excellent CH Precision multi-box system that preceded it in that system. To my ear, it is the best digital I have heard in any system that is NOT our company reference system, having not heard all DAC’s, but having heard the MSB Select and Berkeley Alpha Reference, two contenders for SOTA, in several other systems. Our current reference of the dCS Vivaldi 4 box stack with the very important Mutec Ref 10Mhz clock added, is still the best digital I have heard, primarily because it is in our reference system that has been tailored to our sonic preferences and it always acquits itself admirably on the things WE value most (and other listeners may not). However, the presence of the WADAX in a system that I was familiar with significantly raised the performance of that system, exhibited for the first time in that system many of the things we value , piqued my interest to audition it and raised the possibility that the WADAX may reign supreme in many systems.

The point of all this is to say if you are in the market and can afford such a product, it is worthy of consideration and DO AUDITION IT IF YOU CAN.


Alan Eichenbaum
SCAENA Loudspeakers
 

howiebrou

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Circumventing the discussion over the language used in the review, I’ll merely say the writers linguistic descriptions need some polishing (he is no HP), but I suspect his listening skills do not. Focusing on the WADAX DAC instead, I have heard it in a system in which I was relatively familiar and to my ear, it significantly bested the excellent CH Precision multi-box system that preceded it in that system. To my ear, it is the best digital I have heard in any system that is NOT our company reference system, having not heard all DAC’s, but having heard the MSB Select and Berkeley Alpha Reference, two contenders for SOTA, in several other systems. Our current reference of the dCS Vivaldi 4 box stack with the very important Mutec Ref 10Mhz clock added, is still the best digital I have heard, primarily because it is in our reference system that has been tailored to our sonic preferences and it always acquits itself admirably on the things WE value most (and other listeners may not). However, the presence of the WADAX in a system that I was familiar with significantly raised the performance of that system, exhibited for the first time in that system many of the things we value , piqued my interest to audition it and raised the possibility that the WADAX may reign supreme in many systems.

The point of all this is to say if you are in the market and can afford such a product, it is worthy of consideration and DO AUDITION IT IF YOU CAN.


Alan Eichenbaum
SCAENA Loudspeakers
Please don't forget it's a translation.
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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Okay, some find sonic description meaningless without a comparison for context - as in your case and bonzo. That is your way of understanding. Equipped with typical audiophile language, I believe it is possible to describe what I hear without needing a comparison and that my description will remain true when presented with a description of the sound of some other component. If I wrote "the sound of a PQR amplifier tends to be warm, evincing slightly fuzzy transients. When I swapped cables and preamplifiers the PQR's character did not change" Some people will have a notion of what that description conveys.
I think you are missing the fundamentals of subjectivity from a psychological perspective. High end audio is an experience , not an absolute, and make sense in light of other experiences. You are using a comparison, but your description is incomplete.

What does "warm" mean? What are fuzzy transients? These terms only mean something to you or to those who have listened with you or those with whom you have taken the time to hammer out the audiophile vocabulary. Everyone else is just using their imagination to have those words mean to them whatever they imagine those words to mean..

Can you guess what song I am tapping now with my knuckles as I am typing this?
(Carol from Stones' Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!'")
 

caesar

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Circumventing the discussion over the language used in the review, I’ll merely say the writers linguistic descriptions need some polishing (he is no HP), but I suspect his listening skills do not. Focusing on the WADAX DAC instead, I have heard it in a system in which I was relatively familiar and to my ear, it significantly bested the excellent CH Precision multi-box system that preceded it in that system. To my ear, it is the best digital I have heard in any system that is NOT our company reference system, having not heard all DAC’s, but having heard the MSB Select and Berkeley Alpha Reference, two contenders for SOTA, in several other systems. Our current reference of the dCS Vivaldi 4 box stack with the very important Mutec Ref 10Mhz clock added, is still the best digital I have heard, primarily because it is in our reference system that has been tailored to our sonic preferences and it always acquits itself admirably on the things WE value most (and other listeners may not). However, the presence of the WADAX in a system that I was familiar with significantly raised the performance of that system, exhibited for the first time in that system many of the things we value , piqued my interest to audition it and raised the possibility that the WADAX may reign supreme in many systems.

The point of all this is to say if you are in the market and can afford such a product, it is worthy of consideration and DO AUDITION IT IF YOU CAN.


Alan Eichenbaum
SCAENA Loudspeakers
Thanks for some rational people bringing reality to this thread!
 

caesar

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I know many audiophiles love to imagine great products in this hobby. For you: this is the best dac ever. It is so real, musicians come to your room. Now go read Roy "the Rambling Fool" Gregory and "Worthless to the audio fans" Robert Harley. These Neil Grobbers / audio journalists will tickle you in all the right places.

For others who are looking to understand the psychology behind subjectivity, let me repeat what I have written about a few times before:

It has been said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. This is also true when it comes to putting words around subjective experiences of audio.

Words like “warm” and "real" and "fuzzy transients" are really nothing more or less than words that anyone can use to indicate anything we please. The problem is that people use these words to indicate a host of different things, which has created a tremendous terminological mess…

A lot of the mess stems from prior experiences – or a lack thereof. If someone lacks the machinery for a sexual orgasm, then our experience of orgasm is one that this person will never know -no matter how much we talk about it.

Experiences of fine tequilas, string quartets in world class venues, caring deeds, ice cream, and high end audio are rich, complex, multidimensional, and impalpable. Because “warm” or "organic" are also experiences, they can only be approximately defined by its antecedents and by its relation to other experiences. That’s why I can’t stand Neil Grobbers/ "audio journalist" scumbags who never compare, but just proclaim something as “best” because some new detail they heard tickled his analytical preference. Of course, it is best only in the worthless guys' imaginations and contributes to fukc the audio fan culture… (And thank God Goebbels did not have access to the talent of these despicable propaganda artists!)

Once we have an experience - hear a component that does something very new or very different – like speed and inner detail of a horn or an electrostatic midrange, we cannot simply set it aside and see the world as we would have seen it had the experience never happened.

Additionally, distorted views of reality are made possible by the fact that experiences are ambiguous -that is, they can be credibly viewed in many ways, some of which are more positive than others. Different moods, auditioning circumstances, people we like or don’t like, preconceived notions, etc…

Furthermore, to complicate things even further, our remembrance of things past is imperfect, thus comparing our new understanding of “real” with our memory of our old "real" is a risky way to determine whether two subjective experiences are really different.
 
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caesar

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Many dumb and arrogant Neil Grobbers / "audio journalists", and in fairness, many "experienced" audiophiles, as well, fall into the trap of "Naïve Realism".

Naive realism is the concept where people hold illusions that their own brain leads them to believe the audio sound and their preference reflect the actual reality, while everyone else who holds other sonic preferences or perceives things differently are biased, distorted, wrong, ignorant, uneducated, unreasonable, evil, and wrong.

This leads to most arguments in this hobby, including this thread, and makes the hobby so disgusting: "My taste or preference is right and you are wrong." This sentiment is so powerful, two of the top reviewers in this hobby , "Great" Peter Breuninger and "the Yoda" Jon Valin were willing to fight at the Axpona show about the best turntable.

My hope is that some of these definitions and explanations of how people may perceive, interpret, and define things differently and completely "wrong" from someone else, can lead to a better discussion of comparative experiences and help individuals decide if they want to take the time and money to travel to hear this product. In a nutshell: have some humility about your proclamations, guys!
 
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spiritofmusic

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I'd have paid good money to watch those two fight. Then again, slinging audiophile insults at each other is stressing the word "fight" to the limit.
 

caesar

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Now with psychology out of the way, let's talk some economics :) :

- From a product stand point, has anyone been able to explain in non-technical , marketing language why this DAC is different/ better than FPGA dcs, top ladder dacs like TotalDAC, msb, top tube dacs like Lampizator and Jadis?

- From a price point, this DAC is $140K or something like that. Why is this DAC priced at $140K ? obviously it's irrational to price luxury price low as no one will take them seriously. Why not price at $175K if it's truly "transformational"? MSB , which has been recently loved by Yoda Valin (Soulution is best now?) and given product of the year is only $135K. ... And if a guy just bought MSB and has to sell it for roughly 50 percent off, what does he get extra for spending that $70K?


- I discussed the influence of Neil Grobbers / "audio journalists" before, but again, people look to authority figures in a state of confusion due to overwhelming choice ... dCS and MSB have had a huge reviewer blitz with their DAcs. Wilson guys live dcs. Magico guys love MSB for its musicality.... But most reviewers just follow the herd , which further helps entrench the more successful brands.... Neil Grobbers recently claimed that dcs bartok is better than vinyl.. nauseationg and disgusting....

- why is the US distributor so mediocre? it's the big, big lady from Canada , the one with the charming personality. Avantgarde recently tried to dump her... if this dacis so great, why isn't there a top notch distributor , like Philip O'Hanlon, dealing with this?

- And how many dealers carry this product? What else do they carry? What brand do they favor/ feature in their top systems? Doesn't seem like MSB and dCS dealers are touching this, understandably. But these are the brands that have benefited from bandwagon effects.

- How many rooms at shows will have this DAC? and will anyone be able to differentiate the sound of the dac from the overall system if they get to hear it at a show?

Luxury and entertainment industries are bound to bandwagon effects... The bandwagon effect is where popular brands become even more popular as people gain knowledge of them from their friends, experienced influencers, dealers, online boards, show reports , “audio journalists “, etc. What this means is that people’s tastes converge on select few brands rather than be dispersed across the assortment of available offerings. We see this with popular music and movies all the time, and here we see MSB, dCS, TotalDac, and Lampizator as passionately discussed by the fans and owners and getting the sales in this upper price bracket (social proof influence force acting on us). There may be many excellent products out there, including this one, but they just don't get the oxygen. And even less, thanks to the disgusting marketing of this product so far.

Sincere good luck to the dealers carrying it, as only guys with knowledge of the hobby will get to hear it.

I could go on and on...
 

thedudeabides

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I tried to read Roy Gregory's review. Way too much waffle for me. I tend to read his reviews as being almost negative unless he is doing a Tom Cruise couch impersonation.
Interesting how folks criticize a reviewer. Happens all the time and certainly that is their perogative. However, we all know reviews are subjective just like the rest of this hobby. I wonder how many of those criticizing a review have tried to write one and have it printed in a major audio publication. If they did, they might better understand the inherent difficulty in reviewing products and pleasing all readers. IMHO, Roy Gregory is one on the best reviewers i know of. Another is MF.

As for those that don't like a particular reviewer, the solution is simple. Don't read the review.
 

caesar

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I'd have paid good money to watch those two fight. Then again, slinging audiophile insults at each other is stressing the word "fight" to the limit.
I'd love to see the rematch! With the shows like Axpona and RMAF struggling to get attendees, maybe they can live stream the fight!

After Axpona didn't return the money last year to those signed up, maybe they recoup some of the losses and sell hot dogs , drinks, arm chairs, and drinks for those onsite ... and a big Jumbotron screen !!! maybe get Fremer to be the Master of Ceremonies! and do pre, post, and in-fight interviews... have pretty ladies in bikinis and guys wearing short shorts hand out beers ... Hahaha
 

bonzo75

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Thank you Al and Tim. If we can’t even ask a question about what a reviewer writes here in a discussion forum

You are changing the context. It was not about the question. It was about your comment that the response to question would have told you "exactly the sound of the unit"
 

caesar

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And for full transparency about reviewer incentives, did any of the reviewers get paid to the reviews? Get free trips to hear it? Or just get long term loans of the DAC?
 

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