World Premiere of Wolfson Lampizator DAC WM8742
For the first time in Poland, and maybe Eastern Europe, who knows -
perhaps EMEA too. Maybe even Worldwide - first critical test of the
newest, the latest - hopefully - the best
WOLFSON DAC WM8742 with Lampizator output stage.
Man I have been waiting for this moment - after being enamourated in
the old WM8740, I could not get enough of it. So when I heard that
there is an audibly superior, newer, smoother, more analog, more liquid
- WM8741 - I was very eager to try it. Like for example in the latest
When I tried to approach this subject - an EVEN NEWER chip came out -
the WM8742. Noone ever tried it yet! It is so new - it scares me!
So to cut the BS and go to the point - I HAD TO HAVE IT. It is beyond
When the DAC arrived - two days after I ordered it - I decided to give
it very serius lampization and supply. It deserves only the best. My
hopes are high - maybe we can have the quality of the Sabre dac -
without the trouble of getting it. And cheaper too.
Even Twisted Pear does not have it yet. Dont bother checking. The
privillege of being the tester goes to Doctor Lampizator himself.
First, I listen to the WM8741 and later I will compare it to the WM8742
Some info from Wolfson:
- Advanced Ultra High Performance Multi-bit Sigma-Delta
123dB SNR (‘A’-weighted stereo @ 48kHz)
Differential analogue voltage outputs
High tolerance to clock jitter
- PCM Mode
Sampling frequency: 32kHz to 192kHz
Input data word length support: 16 to 32-bit
Supports all standard audio interface formats
Selectable advanced digital filter responses
Includes linear/minimum phase and range of tailored characteristics
Enables low pre-ringing, minimal latency
Optional interface to industry standard external filters
Digital volume control in 0.125dB steps with soft ramp and soft mute
Anti-clipping mode to prevent distortion even with input signals
recorded up to 0dB
Selectable de-emphasis support
Zero Flag output
- DSD Mode
DSD bit-stream support for SACD applications
Support for normal or phase modulated bit-streams
Direct or PCM converted DSD paths (DSD Plus)
- Hardware or software control modes:
2 and 3 wire serial control interface support
- Pin compatible with WM8740 and WM8741
- 4.5V to 5.5V analogue, 3.0V to 3.6V digital supply operation
- 28-lead SSOP Package
WOW. What a chip. It has everything one can dream about (except sex
with twins). Even volume !
It has USB input too, I2S inputs, onboard op-amps, whatever the request
- the answer is yes.
Lampizator meets the Wolfson DAC
The lampizator which I used seems IDEAL for the wolfson:
tubes e88cc philips goldpin
Rk - all four - 200 Ohms
Ua = 160V
R grid to ground = 360K
input caps 1 uF MKP Arcotronics
Output 2,2 Roedenstein MKT
Link to other Wolfson devices:
ARCAM CD 73
Audio Azur series
Converting evaluation PCB into super high end DAC - who knows -
maybe THE BEST DAC IN THE WORLD.
First step is to set jumpers.
THANK GOD that the jumpers were already set. The DAC played from the
first moment. Uffffff.....
Second step is to add 12 V dc power. I have omitted the - 12V which is
meant only for the op-amps which I am not going to use. Worse than that
- I have a devilish plan of removing them.
Above you see the in-coming 12 V DC. Blue wire is plus. I decided to
use soldering to the incoming power diode - not the strange
I also added an oscon over this input to filter out the noises.
Since all internal circuitry is regulated on the board, the 12 V can be
raw, meaning - just rectified by bridge and CRC filtered (10 000 uF,
R=20 Ohms, 10 000 uF again, supply AC 12V, transformer minimum rating
30 VA. )
Of course - we can use regulated 12 V DC or simply a battery from a car.
Next step is finding the signal for stealing. The DAC has 4 outputs:
L+, L-. R+, R-. I tapped to the L- and R- (because lampizator flips the
Black arrows above point to the tapping points - H2 and H4 (purely
unfiltered but I like it). For solid state amps I suggest to use
a more filtered point - TP31 and TP21
Since there is DC present - we must use capacitors to block it. Any
size - from 0,22 uF till 10 uF will be fine.
If you want to have balanced DAC - just use all four signals and the
same 4 tubes.
One of the three critical points for tuning - the DC 5V power regulator
which I decorated with my best OS CON SEPC type.
I soldered it across the SMD tantalum cap.
Above you see both oscons helping the two regulators onboard. On
previous photo - the right one was visible.
Listening impression of the Wolfson DAC WM8742 with SRPP lampizator.
THis dac played extremely well. It has all best qualities you can ask
It is 99% the quality of the Sabre32 DAC, and it beats other highly
capable DAC chips like CS4397, CS4398, AD1865, AD1955, BB1402, BB
I am not yet sure how it ranks against the most tweaked TDA1541.
In one area - in the BASS - The wolfson beats them all. Probably the
Sabre 32 Buffalo too. I can verify it next week. This wolfson
bass is absolutely awesome. I never heard anything like that in my
home. The WM8740 bass was already superb, and the successor is
I can just fantasize how this DAC would play in I2S mode which is
available on board, as well as dsd and all possible formats.
All in all - this is the finest DAC money can buy - with addition of a
tube stage - you will never need a better DAC. It belong in the same
class as the best ones including the king of them all - Sabre 32. The
distance between them is so small, that I finally decided to call them
equal. Sabre costs much more, is harder to get but also it has
built in receiver chip - it is fully integrated.
I could live with any of them.
My next experiment was soldering the naked WM8742 chip inside the fine
Arcam CD73 to make it The Worlds First Ever integrated CD player with
Read the story HERE
Wolfson inside the Arcam CD73
A little later - I tried the upsampler from Behringer - and here
is the report