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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.

WM8742 DAC

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 Arcam CD17.
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 my control.

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

WM8742 DAC


Some info from Wolfson:


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

WM8742 DAC

WM8742 DAC

WM8742 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:


Cambridge 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 connector provided.
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 phase again.)


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 for.
It is 99% the quality of the Sabre32 DAC, and it beats other highly capable DAC chips like CS4397, CS4398, AD1865, AD1955, BB1402, BB PCM63, etc.
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 even better.

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 WM8742.

Read the story HERE

Wolfson inside the Arcam CD73

A little later - I tried the upsampler from Behringer - and here is the report

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