SW1X Audio Design™ DAC I Performance Level 1 D to A Converter


DAC I is an extremely musical DAC – a radical move away from current production mainstream (regardless of the price level) DACs, which all tend to sound mechanical and artificial in comparison. For some reason it also happens to be our bestselling DAC. It is available in either matte black or brushed alu fascia. Signature and Special versions of DAC I are only available on custom built to order basis.

DAC I is NOS (non oversampling) by design.  The signal chain looks like this:

Input > SPDIF receiver chip > current out DAC chip > I/U conversion >Valve Output stage – that is it!

In essence the DAC I is 1 x TDA1543 chip directly connected to CS8412/14 receiver chip in NOS (non over-sampling), i.e. zero digital filtering mode. The DAC I Standard is available in 2 versions with either a) Active I/V or b) Passive I/V conversion stage. The active I/U (current- to voltage conversion) via specially selected transistor is directly connected to the single ended class A, zero feedback E88CC/6N1P tube output stage. The Passive I/V conversion stage on the other hand, is performed via a carefully selected resistor. The whole circuit has only one decoupling capacitor per channel in the signal path. Some engineering highlights of the DAC I are mentioned here.

As a result, the DAC I has an incredible tonal purity and clarity. The sound is characterised by a deep, accurate bass, extreme dynamics and analogue smoothness!


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SW1X Audio Design
™ DAC I Features:

a) Active I/V conversion via a specially selected transistor (with less than 10 Ohm input impedance) with the shortest signal path directly connected to the tube grid
the major advantage is that dynamics are more realistically reproduced relative to passive I/V conversion approach
and unlike other TDA1543 based DACs on the market, DAC I is excellent at reproduction of low level musical information especially at lower volume levels

b) Passive I/V version is performed over a carefully selected Allen Bradley resistors


Difference in sound between Passive and Active I/V (current to voltage) conversion

There are distinct difference in sound between those conversion techniques, implemented in Active and Passive versions of SW1X DAC I. While the sound of active I/V over a specially selected transistor has a better “dynamic bite”, the passive resistor I/V method gives a more relaxed feeling to the sound. On the one hand, Active I/V of DAC I has an edge over Passive I/V in resolving details, on the other, passive I/V provides a more organic envelope to the texture of music. Both conversion techniques have merits with a particular music in mind: Active I/V version will particularly excel with energized Rock or Electronic type of music while Passive I/V will sound more harmonically with Jazzy or Classical type of music.


SW1X DAC I Active vs Passive in Comparison

Delta Sigma vs Non-oversampling R2R DAC Designs

for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) click here




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Dimensions: Height (mm) 130 x Width (mm) 220 x Depth (mm) 311

Weight (kg): 5.3

Max Power Consumption (W): 11

Output Noise, Unweighted (mVrms): < 0.5

Output Impedance (k Ohms): <1

Tube Compliment:  ECC88 or 6N1P


Front panel options: brushed Silver or matte Black



SW1X Audio Design Product Price List



We do not recommend purchasing a key system component without first auditioning it carefully, which is why we have demonstration rooms and a flexible home loan policy.

However in certain situations it can be difficult for people to get to our showroom and for those instances we can offer our mail order service.

For demonstration and ordering click here

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