• Wavelength Audio Proton DAC

    Wavelength Audio, widely known to produce some of the best USB DACs available, has released a slew of updated products and one totally new USB DAC. All of which were on display at CES 2008. The new DAC is called the Proton. It is a 24/96 LiIon Battery Asynchronous USB dac with Headphone output and will sell for $900. The Proton is for desktops, home audio, travel or any application you see fit. Accordingn to Gordon Rankin of Wavelength the idea was to "make a dac that could run without an external power supply and still sound wonderful." The Proton uses USB to power the necessities. The critical DAC and headphone outputs use the extra clean power from the battery. The Proton supports 24 bit data rates at 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96K and has four LEDs on the rear panel to indicate which rate is locked in. The headphone volume will be controlled through a software interface. A volume control icon will appear on the computer desktop. Setting this volume slider will set the Proton headphone output level accordingly. This DAC should make a great addition to just about anyone's music server. Since it only supports USB input the canned music server folks are out of luck, but for those with custom music servers be sure to check this out. Based on the quality of Gordon's past and present DACs I expect nothing less from the $900 Proton. Read more for photos of this new DAC.

    Wavelength Audio Proton USB DAC Headphone Amp Output



    CES High End Audio Photo Gallery
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    CES High End Audio Photo Gallery

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    CES High End Audio Photo Gallery

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    CES High End Audio Photo Gallery

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    Comments 10 Comments
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      I have the same concerns SGB. But, knowing the quality of Gordon's work and the high regard his peers have for him, I am pretty confident this DAC will be very good. I do think this DAC is geared toward the desktop audiophile system and listening at a computer more so than the fully integrated complete system. But, "geared toward" certainly doesn't mean it wouldn't be a great fit in any other system.
    1. Innertuber's Avatar
      Innertuber -
      It sure looks interesting and is around the right price to catch my eye. Can't wait to hear more.<br />
      <br />
      Do you think the DACs in the 5 grand and up transports are really better than something like this? The technology seems to change so fast shouldn't one expect better performance at lower cost every year. Of course, if I had a crazy expensive transport I'd be defending it versus a little mini with a gizmo attached I suppose.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      I do think the sound from the much more expensive DACs is better because everything matters. The better DACs have much more going for them than just the DAC itself.
    1. flatmap's Avatar
      flatmap -
      Are these available? Has anyone gotten one? <br />
      <br />
      I'm keen to hear reports on performance and usability. How is the headphone output vs. the line level outputs.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi flatmap - I've had a pre-production model for a few weeks and I just received a final production model a couple days ago. So far so good. A full review is forthcoming.
    1. flatmap's Avatar
      flatmap -
      Oooh good! I'm really looking forward to this. Please, please, please let the headphone output be good. :-)<br />
      <br />
      Steve
    1. Walter4Fun's Avatar
      Walter4Fun -
      Hello,<br />
      <br />
      This is my first post here <br />
      <br />
      I am very interested in this little wonder. Maybe anybody can tell us somerthing about the headphone-amp quality?<br />
      <br />
      Would be curious about using it with AKG K-701/702 or Grado SR325i.<br />
      <br />
      Best, Walter
    1. sxr71's Avatar
      sxr71 -
      In what universe is digital volume control an acceptable audiophile solution? <br />
      <br />
      I know I will have a swarm of you guys pouncing on me for saying it but seriously if you truly have honed your abilities to separate wheat from chaff you would find digital software volume control to be unacceptable. <br />
      <br />
      Now all of a sudden because this guy is "respected" by his peers and "blah blah blah" this is acceptable. Can we please stop evaluating and hyping things up because of who designed it or the "reputation" of the designer. This one could be the turd of the group. <br />
      <br />
      Everyone keep your panties on until you've listened to it and when you listen to it try not to get all wet between the legs because of the hearsay surrounding it. Stay objective people.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi sxr71 - It is impossible to evaluate your statements because this is your first post here and we know nothing about you. I think many here will be offended by your tone and your points are certainly lessened by the way you've delivered them here. What you essentially said was all people here is that everyone here is an idiot and you are somehow above the crowd?<br />
      <br />
      <i>"In what universe is digital volume control an acceptable audiophile solution?"</i><br />
      <br />
      I've talked to some of the brightest engineers in audio and they say digital volume control, when done well, can't be beat. Are you an AES Fellow or have your designed DACs before? Daniel Weiss, Berkeley Audio Design, and many others who have the highest respect in the industry are using digital volume control.<br />
      <br />
      On the other hand, the Proton does not have a digital volume control. It has an analog volume control that's controlled by software.<br />
      <br />
      <i>"...Everyone keep your panties on until you've listened to..."</i><br />
      <br />
      Have you listened to this DAC? It seems like you haven't because you did not it has an analog volume control.
    1. davehanc's Avatar
      davehanc -
      I've had one for a while, and it sounds very good with K702s or driving a preamp or active crossover.<br />
      And yes, the volume control is analog.