THEY say a picture is worth a thousand words but we beg to differ … occasionally. For example, we may not have an illustration of the new products that US digital specialist Wyred4Sound (W4S) has up its sleeves, but we can tell you about them right now.
First up is the mini-AMP, a monobloc design with 220 watts (into 8 Ohms) waiting to be unleashed on unsuspecting speakers. The mini-AMP, W4S tells us, is a fully-balanced design, with an all-new FET input buffer. The input stage is claimed to be ultra low noise and distortion, and boasts excellent frequency response. It’s designed to mate synergistically and sonically with W4S’ newer range of products and even your tube source.
Next, the mini-PRE … a preamp, of course, fully balanced and dual mono (right down to the power supplies) to ensure complete separation of the right and left channels. We also almost don’t need to tell you (but will, anyway) that there’s a DAC onboard, too – with coaxial, Toslink and USB inputs, all supporting 24-bit/192kHz streaming.
Both units will adopt the physical design aspects of the more recent mINT mini-integrated amp and Music Server (both pictured here), like the three-quarter-inch, anodised machined aluminium front panel and cosmetic lines. The photos here should give you an idea. According the W4S, “the m-PRE will be the exact same look as the mINT but with different silkscreen, and a different rear, of course. The m-AMP will have the venting of the mINT on the top but the front will be more like the server without the front slot.”
Then, there is the µLINK, a USB to S/PDIF converter that has a 24/192 asynchronous USB input which is driver-less for Mac and Linux, with drivers for Windows downloadable at the W4S site. Most such devices offer just one type of S/PDIF connection but this one has a generous three – Toslink, coaxial and BNC digital outputs. Price? A mere US$299 for a cutting-edge USB interface to revamp the USB support of your system.
Finally, the µDAC-HD, which uses the same 24/192 interface as the µLINK and wraps things up with a ESS Sabre DAC. It has both RCA and headphone outputs, so will double up as a DAC or headphone amp, it goes without saying, and for US$499.
Can’t wait? Sorry, no short cuts … but we’ll keep you posted when they’re ready to roll out to the public.