Review of SW1X DAC III Balanced at Mono & Stereo

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
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This review of the SW1X DAC III Balanced serves to confirm the message I have been trying to convey that SW1X products separately and in the aggregate represent the kind of game changer that only comes around very rarely. Matej Isak has done a superb job of not only laying out the rationale behind Slawa Roschkow's creation but the overall effect, an effect that will require some serious recalibration of listening and thinking about what is possible and what really matters in hi fi reproduction. Matej is speaking of the DAC only, but I can attest that whoever chooses to climb this mountain with one component will realize that the potential for further Himilayan vistas is possible with his phono stages and preamplifiers, and I daresy the amplifiers as well, though I have not yet had the privledge to hear those. If it is music you value, these are serious machines that deliver!
Mono & Stereo Review SW1X DAC III Balanced
 

Fsonicsmith

Well-Known Member
Jun 25, 2015
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148
I have to humbly disagree. That this review is helpful to any of us.
What is this writer's first language? It can not be English. Only 40 paragraphs into the review does Mr. Isak make his first effort to describe the sound. In none of the preceding paragraphs did he even endeavor to describe what makes the design of this DAC different from the competition. And then at paragraphs 41 through 45 he comes up, finally, with this indecipherable pablum;

Interestingly, DAC III Balanced did not apply to the sound. It followed the energy without a dizzying delivery and small textural pulses were delivered in plethora and high-minute increases deciphered in ear-opening density. Period!
I would not call Language Of Life a typical pop album. It's influenced considerably by jazz and fusion.

SW1X Audio Design DAC III Balanced quickly demonstrated that it leaves an emotional mark and that Everything But The Girl is a work of art.

Different frames were projected without losing the individual virtues. This was noted repeatedly in my listening notes. Language Of Life's astute rendition offered details that stood out sublimely in most cases. A most refreshing and unexpected turn in the performance.

And then this equally mind-numbing nonsense;
Yes - The Yes Album has further disclosed SW1X Audio Design DAC III Balanced ability to ponder deeper into the unexplored realms.

DAC III Balanced mapped the details and anchor points with refreshing vibrancy.

The iconic sonic canvas was portrayed without an indication of slenderest fractions of reality, which is too often faux in presentation even with some exorbitant priced DACs.

Many DACs can dim the Yes album. On contrary, DAC III acted in consonance with rhythm never sounding like a tapered illusion.
I have a Masters Degree in English and have written for a living for 36 years, albeit as an appellate lawyer. Let me be concise and clear. This writing is pure shite. Sorry to be harsh. Imho there are several things holding SW1X back from wider recognition and first and foremost would be the outlier reviewers who take a swing at the tethered ball hanging motionless before them and miss comically.
 

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
220
230
348
I have to humbly disagree. That this review is helpful to any of us.
What is this writer's first language? It can not be English. Only 40 paragraphs into the review does Mr. Isak make his first effort to describe the sound. In none of the preceding paragraphs did he even endeavor to describe what makes the design of this DAC different from the competition. And then at paragraphs 41 through 45 he comes up, finally, with this indecipherable pablum;



And then this equally mind-numbing nonsense;

I have a Masters Degree in English and have written for a living for 36 years, albeit as an appellate lawyer. Let me be concise and clear. This writing is pure shite. Sorry to be harsh. Imho there are several things holding SW1X back from wider recognition and first and foremost would be the outlier reviewers who take a swing at the tethered ball hanging motionless before them and miss comically.
Of course you are right about the language, and yes, of course he is not a native speaker, but his passion for the product is there in spades, or hieroglyphics, if you prefer. You may not have gotten the reviewer’s mind, but his heart is plain to see.
 

audioblazer

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May 14, 2010
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Of course you are right about the language, and yes, of course he is not a native speaker, but his passion for the product is there in spades, or hieroglyphics, if you prefer. You may not have gotten the reviewer’s mind, but his heart is plain to see.
I agree . Matej may not write as well as a lot of Writers but he has plenty of experience in the audio industry& he is informative. He knows what he is listening to. How many audio reviewers has a room & syst as good as his to be able to hear the SQ they described ?
 
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Fsonicsmith

Well-Known Member
Jun 25, 2015
73
49
148
I own this DAC. I love it. Joe has asked me to post a review. I in the past said that I would but I don't think I can. First, I would want to explain how the circuit topography differs from it's obvious influencing precursor, the Audio Notes, but I lack the expertise to do so. And then to give an informative review I would contrast it with the current most mentioned and respected DAC's in the same price range and a bit above (maybe much above!) which I am again unable to do. But even if these two limitations-my limitations-were not in play, I would still find it a daunting task to review this DAC because unlike any other component I have ever owned, it's qualities and characteristics are elusive. And so perhaps my harsh criticism of Mr. Matej was just that-harsh. But this DAC deserves a review from someone who has the resources to dig deep into the design, execution, and sound characteristics. Mr. Roschkow is very adamant that the digital source is critical to hearing the best that this DAC can offer and he is not a fan of my particular source, an Aurender W20. So that too is a limiting factor on my part. A good review would involve experimenting with different digital sources and cables. While my Aurender W20 remained a constant I experimented with multiple cable types and brands. The differences were very obvious. I have no idea if Joe or Slawa would agree with me but I believe that the design and execution of the DAC III B favors S/PDIF assuming that the source is also able to output signal optimally via S/PDIF. So again, a proper review of this DAC would require a lot of work. I know I could describe why I like this DAC with certain well known tracks better than the author I so harshly criticized. And that is about it.
 
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Fsonicsmith

Well-Known Member
Jun 25, 2015
73
49
148
Unlike the review in question, paragraphs are properly used to set apart different topics or themes. Mine is one theme.
Also, I think I have done enough self-criticism and acknowledgement of imperfection in one day.
But if you must, I admit to being fair game, so have at it! :cool:
 

TheMooN

Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2013
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Well Not really, however “ But even if these two limitations-my limitations-were not in play “
Subjective comment upon the limitations of the author’s review and any reference to your own are two separate topics/themes Non !
 
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TheMooN

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Jul 30, 2013
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Anyway … For my part merely viewing the component and build quality of the SW1 DAC’s fills me with subjective confidence that they will most likely reproduce recorded music to a very high level indeed .
 

Fsonicsmith

Well-Known Member
Jun 25, 2015
73
49
148
Well Not really however “ But even if these two limitations-my limitations-were not in play “
Sorry. I can't help myself. The above is a very poor sentence.

Can we leave the topic of English alone and talk about the DAC? Why is it always Joel who brings up the SW1X (pot stirring emoji here)?
 

TheMooN

Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2013
1,380
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Sorry. I can't help myself. The above is a very poor sentence.

Can we leave the topic of English alone and talk about the DAC? Why is it always Joel who brings up the SW1X (pot stirring emoji here)?
Are you refering to my “ Well Not really, however “ or your “ But even if these two limitations-my limitations-were not in play “


Of course, perhaps had you not set us on this divergent course in the first place Non !
 
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Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
220
230
348
Airto and Chick Corea

SW1X DAC III Balanced Plus the SW1X PRE III in the Lotus Group Reference System

All PranaWire cabling and accessories.

Best if heard through headphones.

 
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Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
220
230
348
Renee Flemming

SW1X DAC III Balanced Plus the SW1X PRE III in the Lotus Group Reference System

All PranaWire cabling and accessories.

Best if heard through headphones.


 

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
220
230
348
Friend n' Fellow

SW1X DAC III Balanced Plus the SW1X PRE III in the Lotus Group Reference System

All PranaWire cabling and accessories.

Best if heard through headphones.

 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
2,735
2,520
710
Hong Kong
I wonder if SW1X is still making streamers (it was called "Transport")?

The SW1X dacs got spdif/coaxial inputs only.
A bit inconvenient in the current Streaming/CAS era.
Many SW1X dac owners may have to buy a DDC.
They will be very happy if there are also SW1X "transports"!
 

Fred Crane

Industry Expert
Apr 23, 2020
189
331
70
I have to humbly disagree. That this review is helpful to any of us.
What is this writer's first language? It can not be English. Only 40 paragraphs into the review does Mr. Isak make his first effort to describe the sound. In none of the preceding paragraphs did he even endeavor to describe what makes the design of this DAC different from the competition. And then at paragraphs 41 through 45 he comes up, finally, with this indecipherable pablum;



And then this equally mind-numbing nonsense;

I have a Masters Degree in English and have written for a living for 36 years, albeit as an appellate lawyer. Let me be concise and clear. This writing is pure shite. Sorry to be harsh. Imho there are several things holding SW1X back from wider recognition and first and foremost would be the outlier reviewers who take a swing at the tethered ball hanging motionless before them and miss comically.
Matej is Slovenian and multi lingual. But no, English is not his native tongue. Being a reviewer would seem daunting under the most favorable conditions. I was asked to review on a couple of occasions and came to the conclusion that I would rather have a root canal. On the one hand, I would want at least 5 or 6 systems to be able to fairly handle the varied approaches that would come a knocking. Then there's dealing with audiophile speak vs. the stilted descriptors we tend to use about how we hear. Imagine doing 3000 words a week of that pap. It's a very difficult job to do well, and those who manage it deserve every ounce of respect we can afford them.
 

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
220
230
348
I wonder if SW1X is still making streamers (it was called "Transport")?

The SW1X dacs got spdif/coaxial inputs only.
A bit inconvenient in the current Streaming/CAS era.
Many SW1X dac owners may have to buy a DDC.
They will be very happy if there are also SW1X "transports"!
The CDT Transports are not on the current price list and I don't yet know if he intends a newer version.
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
2,735
2,520
710
Hong Kong
Hi Joe,
Would you please ask Mr. Roschkow about this?
Thanks!
 

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
220
230
348
Hi Joe,
Would you please ask Mr. Roschkow about this?
Thanks!
New CDT Transport designs are in the works. They are focusing on amplifier and speaker design right now, so work on the transport is being squeezed in as time permits.We don't have an ETA at the moment. Thanks.
 
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