Sonner Audio, LKV Research, iFi DAC, and Small Green Computer/Sonore

Uh oh. It had to happen someone. But did trashed-in-shipment karma really need to strike New Hampshire's Gunny Surya, whose excellent Sonner Audio Legato Duo loudspeaker ($9500/pair) had to make do, not with the intended SW1X Audio Design DAC III SPX ($7500), but rather with an iFi DAC2 ($400)?

Even with that compromise, the fabulously recorded duo of Ella & Louis (or is it Louis & Ella?) sounded very smooth, with a fine midrange. The top was toned down, and intense colors as well as transparency were not the DAC's to deliver. Nonetheless, the system threw a huge soundstage on Khachaturian's Masquerade, and flattered the voice of Amber Roth. All in all, a fine showing from a system that also included LKV Research's Line 1 line preamplifier ($3500) and Veros Power+ power amplifier ($10,000), Small Green Computer's sonicTransporter i9 optical ($3000) and Signature Rendu SE optical ($4800), and a cable stew of PranaWire, Luna Cables, and Nordost Valhalla 2 and Tyr 2.

Joseph Cohen's picture

In fact, the SW1X DAC III SPX that was sent to the show did not suffer any damage in shipping. There was another issue that was not resolved at the show having to do with interaction with something else in the system. For those who missed hearing it at the show, here is a recording of the very same DAC after it's return. It was simply plugged in and turned on.

Played on the Lotus Group Reference System

Best if you listen with headphones. You will hear the sound of the room.


MontyM's picture

I think these speakers are excellent irrespective of DAC choice. I heard them at AV Therapy in NH in a set up using a Chord Dave -- I think that DAC was also used at Axpona. After auditioning lots of speakers, I bought a pair and they make beautiful music in my system that includes a Border Patrol DAC. I do think they may be more sensitive to speaker cable choice, though. I heard them first connected to a Jadis amp with Audioquest Thunderbird and the sound reproduction was thick and veiled. We swapped in Nordost Tyr2 (I think) and the difference was remarkable. Everything became clear, focused, not dry, but just right. In my system I am using DanaCable Sapphire Reference Mk.2 with equally beautiful results.

All the best Jason and thanks for your coverage of the show.