SW1X Audio Design® Performance (Level & Version) System
“Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try.” – Unknown
Very few products on the market can be considered to be truly without compromise. Some manufacturers do not recognise the significance of components and material quality, some are more concerned with profit making rather than the quality of sound but in many cases it is simply due to budgetary constraints. Contrary to that, the product range of SW1X Audio Design™ is built around musical performance levels from which we developed a range of product versions and with their corresponding price levels. The ultimate objective is to allow our customers and distributors to select and build systems of superior sound quality and longer lasting value.
Every product offered under SW1X Audio Design brand maximizes musical pleasure money can buy at any given price level.
Therefore, all our products are graded according to performance, which defines what SQ to expect at any corresponding price level.
The SW1X Performance (Level & Version) System is created to demonstrate that increases in price correspond with improvements in sound quality.
In essence, SW1X Audio Design™ Performance is an indicator of the quality of sound our customers can expect from the SW1X Audio Design™ product they are looking at. The goal is to help you in your search for the highest level of sound quality for your money. The SW1X Performance System is built upon our philosophical approach to Audio Design, which is based on 3 main factors:
1. Elegance of Circuit Design,
2. Quality of Materials & Components and
3. Degree of Harmonic Matching
upon which the performance is achieved, summarized in the link below:
SW1X Performance System
Level & Version Grading
In a nutshell, the SW1X Performance System is derived mostly from the 3 main factors: 1. Circuit Design, 2. Quality of Materials & Components and 3. Harmonic Matching. Following that, SW1X Audio Design™ products are offered on 6 performance/price levels. At each performance level, we offer products usually in 6 versions: Signature, Classic, Special, Balanced, SPX and Standard (STD). At any given performance level, all available versions are sharing similar 1. Circuit Design concept but differ in the tube amplification topology, sophistication of power supplies and most importantly in 2. Quality of Material & Components and 3. the degree of Harmonic Matching.
Generally, all product versions can be summarized according to their a) signal output stage topology & b) materials & components quality:
Product Version Quality Grading
Great < Better < Best
STD < SPX < Balanced < Special < Classic < Signature
While all our products have musicality in their DNA, the higher performance products offer more refinement, uncover more holography and add more authority and scale to the presentation. Each version at each corresponding performance level is priced accordingly: the higher the musical performance & refinement, the higher the cost of the materials and components, the higher the price.
STD versions = Basic circuit design & Basic Components & Materials versions
SPX Versions = basic STD circuit design versions with harmonically matched Specially Selected Materials & Components
Balanced versions = non-compromise circuit design versions with a more sophisticated tube output stage & tube power supply design, Specially Selected materials & components quality versions usually with power tubes in the output stage, Inductively loaded, Inductively de-coupled (signal output transformer, OPT) LL topology in Balanced versions
All performance level 4 & 5 products are by default Balanced, i.e. are signal OPT based versions which have both true Balanced and Single Ended output signal
Special versions = Finest Materials & Components charged Balanced versions with power tube output stage with copper wound signal (OPT) output transformers
Classic versions = Finest & Exotic materials & components charged Balanced versions with power tube output stage, with partial silver wound signal (OPT) output transformers
Signature versions = limited production versions with no expense spared Exotic Materials & Components, maxed all out Balanced versions, with all silver wound signal (OPT) output transformers
In addition to the above, all signal output transformer (OPTs) equipped Amplifier versions of SW1X products come with following output transformers:
- Standard : all Copper wound, orient grain M6 EI Core OPTs
- Special : all Copper wound Super HiB DC Core OPTs
- Classic : Copper/Silver Windings, Super HiB DC Core OPTs
- Signature : Silver/Silver Windings, Super HiB DC Core OPTs
The Standard (or STD) version are basic models, they comes with high quality components. SPX versions employ better sounding, specially selected materials & components however they are still essentially STD versions in terms of circuit design. Balanced versions (and all the products from level 4 upwards by their design) employ Signal Output Transformer (Signal OPTs) de-coupled topology and provides two type of signal outputs: true balanced and also single ended. All Signal OPTs based topologies are a step up from STD and SPX versions in terms of transparency and dynamics. Special, Classic and limited production Signature versions are essentially Balanced versions and use only the finest components available taking the potential of the Balanced circuit design to another level of performance. Special, Classic and Signature versions feature improved power supply and shares some of the technological aspects borrowed from higher performance level. Since there is nothing left to upgrade in terms of materials & components, Signature and Classic versions is what we consider truely timeless.
Materials & Components Quality Grading
Basic < Specially Selected < Finest < Exotic
Basic = excellent sounding, harmonically matched, currently available budget Materials & Components
Specially Selected = a harmonically matched choice of great sounding and therefore expensive Materials & Components, currently available and out of production
Finest = the most harmonic combination of currently best available and out of production that yields the best possible sonic results:
Deliberate employment of Black Gate capacitors, Super HiB Double C cores, specially annealed copper and/or fine silver conductors, 1W & 2W AN and AB resistors
Exotic = the best possible harmonic combination of no expense spared Materials & Components, most of them out productions or available in limited quantities
In essence, SW1X Audio Design® Performance Level/Version is an indicator of the quality of sound our customers can expect from the SW1X Audio Design® product they are looking at.