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Vol. 18, No. 1 Spring/Summer, 2015


Wavelength Audio

Wavelength Audio has two new innovative entry-level products and one new very high end offering this year. They are the Juice Box Toslink DAC at $600, the Electron Nano USB DAC at $600 and the Crimson Quotient Q1 DSD DAC at $9000.

The Juice Box is specifically designed to provide high-quality analog outputs to devices such as the Xbox, Apple Airport Express, and Sonus that only have digital outputs. By connecting the digital output from one of these devices to the digital input of the Juice Box, the Juice Box can then convert the digital information to analog. This allows one to use these devices with an analog audio system that does not have its own digital inputs. This DAC can be powered by its own AC power supply but also has its own internal battery for portable use. Don't let the low price fool you. The Juice Box uses the very advanced ESS ES9018 chip for digital-to-analog conversion. Although many of the devices that one would hook up to it are only capable of 96kHz digital streams, this DAC is capable of receiving even 192kHz music files.

The newest USB DAC from this company is called the Electron Nano. It is a fully-asynchronous USB DAC using the same ESS ES9018 chip as the Juice Box and is capable of 24-bit/96kHz decoding. It has solid-state audio outputs and is designed to yield very high quality audio output at a very affordable price. It is also battery-powered for those who need portability.

Wavelength Audio Crimson Quotient Q1 USB DACOne of the most appealing characteristics of Wavelength Audio is their steadfast commitment to upgradeability. To make their flagship DAC, the Crimson, capable of decoding DSD music files, Gordon Rankin had to design a new circuit which they've called the Quotient Q1, a PCM and DSD 32-bit/384kHz DAC Module. To make USB compatible with DSD, one must create appropriate protocols. This is because all DSD files are transferred using "DSD over PCM" or DoP for short. Most DAC manufacturers do this with software, but Gordon feels this is a poor choice and prefers a hardware solution. Therefore, he used what is called a Fully Programmable Gate Array to create the protocols in hardware. Based on the 32Bit ESS Sabre DAC Chip and an FPGA Based DoP section the Quotient Q1 design allows the Crimson to decode both PCM and DSD to their highest quality. The Sabre32 is used in what is called "synchronous" mode in that the master clock and the sampling rate are synchronous. Gordon uses discrete power supplies for all the analog supplies and the Master Clocks. The FPGA automatically sets the ESS Sabre DAC chip into either DSD mode or PCM mode. The new analog section features a quad-matched transistor output stage the differential output of which is transformer-coupled to the tube stage for single-ended output .

The Crimson has always been one of the most magnificent sounding DACs available, and the new Quotient version now brings that unparalleled performance to the playback of DSD files.


Audio Nexus, LLC
33 Union Place
Summit, NJ 07901

   (908) 277-0333

Store Hours Mon-Sat 10:30 AM to 6 PM, Thursday til 9PM

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