The Three Fundamental Principles of SW1X

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
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To achieve a high level of performance, equipment must maintain utmost faithfulness to the original signal. No technological sleight of hand can add to it, and the opportunities to degrade it are endless.

Three Fundamental Principles

Focusing on three fundamental principles, SW1X equipment, created under the guidance of chief designer, Slawa Roschkow, allows the listener to hear more deeply into what has been there all along:

1. Elegant Simplicity

“Less is more” is a good starting point and in most cases is better than over-engineered, unnecessarily complex circuits, but overly simplified designs will result in impedance mismatches which must be addressed, otherwise overreaching simplicity becomes as detrimental as too much complexity.

For example, all SW1X DACs are NOS (non oversampling or without digital filtering of any kind) by design and look like this:

Input > SPDIF receiver chip > current out R2R DAC chip > I/U conversion >Single Ended, Class A, Zero feedback Valve Output Stage – that is it!

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2. Choice of Parts and Materials

The effect each individual part has on the overall performance of an audio component is inversely proportional to the number of parts in the circuit. SW1X circuit designs remain very similar at all performance levels. The musical performance at each level is defined by the quality of the components & materials, their Harmonic Balance and the sophistication of the power supply circuit.

The study of materials & components is just as important as understanding circuit topology. SW1X spends incalculable numbers of hours in critical listening to every part in every product, to ensure that they have maximized performance at each price level.


3. Harmonic Balance

Combining components & materials in a circuit in a harmonic (complementary or synergistic) manner is the ultimate key to great sound. Harmonic Balance is the outcome of careful voicing and listening to all parts separately, to gain knowledge of their innate character, as well as combined with other parts in a circuit to understand the nature of their interactions. Simply employing excellent sounding, exotic components & materials in an elegantly engineered circuit will not in itself guarantee a great sounding product.

The importance of Harmonic Balancing is equal to that of the circuit design and the choice of materials & components. In the design and assembly of an SW1X product nothing is left to chance. Each component is carefully chosen and voiced to achieve the final sound before completion of the product and delivery to the customer.

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The Lineage

SW1X firmly believes that there is little point in chasing modern technology, as most critical know-how that enables superior reproduction of music has been available for a long time. Deep insight into the nature of music reproduction has been passed on from masters such as Ernst von Siemens, Susumu Sakuma, Hiroyasu Kondo, Anatoly Markovic Likhnitsky and many more, who spent their lives experimenting with audio. SW1X carries this torch of established technology forward, experimenting with materials and methods that will bring listeners closer to the recorded event.

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Available from SW1X Audio Design
  • NOS R2R Single Ended, Class A, Zero feedback Valve Output Stage DACs
  • Digital Transports
  • Preamplifiers
    • Line Stage Only
    • With built in MM Phono
  • MM Phono Preamplifiers
  • Amplifiers
    • Mono Block
    • Stereo
    • Integrated

Last edited:

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
Beverly Hills, CA
Thank you very much for posting this, Joe!

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