Breakthrough DAC Technology Redefines Digital Audio Quality
- Unequaled PCM audio quality from 32 kHz to 192 kHz
- Unequaled MQA Rendering audio quality to 384 kHz and above
- Ultra low phase noise conversion clocking
- Ultra low distortion variable output attenuator
- Outputs can connect directly to power amplifiers
The Alpha DAC Reference Series 3 has breakthrough technology that redefines the potential of digital audio quality. Experienced industry listeners who have heard
the Alpha DAC Reference Series 3 are unanimous in their praise, saying that the Reference Series 3 clearly outperforms any other DAC they have heard, including those
with six figure retail prices, and even the much admired DAC portion of the Pacific Microsonics Model 2 studio ADC/DAC. In addition to its unprecedented PCM audio quality,
the Alpha DAC Ref. 3 also features MQA Rendering of unequaled audio quality. Manufacturing each Alpha DAC Ref. 3 to its full performance potential required development
of a new hyper-accurate test and alignment procedure that is unique in the industry. This new test and alignment procedure allows extremely precise and repeatable production
of the Alpha DAC Ref. 3. The original Alpha DAC Reference Series was a breakthrough product that reduced noise, particularly in the time domain, to levels significantly lower
than any audio D to A converter previously available. The result was an immediacy and presence of music reproduction that was closer to the microphone feed than ever before.
The unprecedented resolution of the original Alpha DAC Reference Series allowed and demanded further development and perfection of digital algorithms and analog circuitry
that otherwise would not have been possible. Now, the unmatched time domain resolution, low noise digital processing and highly accurate analog circuitry of the
Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Ref. 3 combine to provide unprecedented audio quality with all PCM and MQA recordings. The presence and sonic reality of the Reference Series 3
is also made possible by tremendous electrical and mechanical noise isolation coupled with extreme time domain stability. Ceramic aerospace circuit board materials are used
in all critical areas and the enclosure is carefully engineered to minimize electrical noise and maximize mechanical and thermal stability. The Reference Series 3 weighs 14 kilogram
and the entire enclosure is precision machined from solid billet 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. A high output metal IR remote control with direct input source selection is provided
with the Reference Series 3. Careful consideration was also given to providing the highest possible fidelity reproduction of DSD files by the Alpha DAC Ref. 3.
99+% of modern DAC’s, including the Alpha DAC Ref. 3, use multi-bit D/A converters because they provide better performance than 1-bit converters – even DAC’s
who advertise “native” DSD compatibility. So, at some point, the 1-bit DSD stream must be converted to multi-bit for all of those DAC’s. We could, like many other manufacturers,
convert 1-bit DSD to multi-bit within the Alpha DAC Ref. 3 and show “DSD” in the front panel display. That would be the easiest approach from a marketing standpoint
and would also be very simple and low in cost to implement. But that approach would also mean increasing the amount of processing in the DAC during playback which
would degrade audio quality, and audio quality is the reason the Alpha DAC Ref. 3 exists. Virtually all reproduction of DSD files using external DAC’s is with a computer
based music server as the source. If 1-bit DSD to multi-bit conversion is done first in the computer it can be performed with extremely high precision and superior filtering
that preserves all of the content of the DSD file. Computer DSD to multi-bit conversion can be at least as good as that performed in a DAC and without adding processing
noise near or in the D/A converter chip. Also, conversion of DSD to 176.4 kHz, 24 bit AIFF or WAV files can be done ahead of time using a software app. as JRiver Media Center
resulting in no conversion processing occurring during playback. Another advantage of computer based DSD to PCM conversion is that
if higher performance DSD versions such as DSD 4X appear in the future, they can be easily supported with a software upgrade.
- Input sampling rate: 32k Hz to 192 kHz
- Input word length: 24-bit
- Ultra low phase noise Precision Clocking; at 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz and 192 kHz sampling rates ± 100 ppm
- Two channel analog stereo outputs: XLR balanced with pin 2 positive and RCA unbalanced
- Digital Inputs: AES – XLR, 110Ω; SPDIF1 – BNC, 75Ω; SPDIF2 – BNC, 75Ω; TOSLINK – Toslink optical connector
- MQA rendering: automatically detects MQA Core decoded signals and performs MQA rendering to 384 kHz and above
- HDCD decoding: detects 16-bit flag at 44.1 kHz or 24-bit flag at all sampling rates
- Multiple digital filter options
- Balanced analog output level: +18 dBu (6.15 Vrms) maximum, +12 dBu (3.1 Vrms) or lower recommended
- Unbalanced analog output level: 3.25 Vrms maximum, 2 Vrms or lower recommended
- Digital volume & balance control: 0.1 dB/step with .05 dB/step L/R gain trim, 60 dB range
- Frequency response at ≥ 88.2kHz sampling rates: ± 0.1 dB from < 0.1 Hz – 35 kHz, – 3 dB – 59 kHz for 176.4 kHz & 192 kHz
- Distortion at recommended levels: all products ≤ -120 dBFS
- THD+N at maximum level: < -110 dBFS
- Firmware is upgradeable through signal inputs
- Enclosure dimensions: 9 cm.H x 44.5 cm.W x 32 cm.D
- Weight: 14 kg.
- Mains power: 100/120/240 VAC, 50/60 Hz
- Power consumption: 25 W
Design Details October 24, 2018 Shipping November 2018
The original WATT began not as a response to a perceived market need. It was not the product of focus groups. Dave Wilson never intended it to be a commercial product at all.
Dave designed the WATT in 1985 as a tool for himself. He was a recording engineer who needed a loudspeaker he could take with him to on-location recording venues,
a location monitor that spoke the same language as his revolutionary and revered WAMM reference monitor, a precision tool that aided him in his efforts to make recordings that sounded
indistinguishable from the unamplified live event. In other words, Dave was literally designing the loudspeaker he wanted to own. There was a certain freedom this approach afforded Dave.
He was not governed by business-school notions of market need. He was not hamstrung by considerations of an acceptable price point or perceived value. Without these considerations,
he was unrestricted to design and build a loudspeaker that specifically fit his desire for a portable location monitor that was completely without compromise,
crass cynicism, or commercial concerns of any kind. As a direct consequence of Dave’s pure intent and his idealistic approach, a masterpiece was born. The WATT was unlike any loudspeaker
that came before it. Dave’s attention to the details of panel resonances formed the basis of an enclosure that was heroic beyond even what the most jaded audiophile considered sensible.
Dave used materials in the construction of the cabinet that until that point had never been used in the application of loudspeakers. In his landmark book on loudspeaker technology and design,
Martin Colloms referred to the WATT’s enclosure as a near perfect example of “the most perfect exposition of cabinet construction.” The WATT’s time-domain accuracy,
made evident by its sloped baffle, was a product of the original research Dave conducted for the WAMM, and was the beneficiary of his patented time-alignment measuring technique.
The drivers were selected to perform well together, and to serve Dave’s demands in the areas of dynamic and harmonic expression, as well as the physical constraints presented by
his other design choices. The WATT entered the commercial market almost by accident. Dave had no interest in selling the WATT to the public.
Dave’s interest nothwihstanding, he simply didn’t believe there was a market for an extremely diminutive—and extremely expensive—loudspeaker like the WATT.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in January of 1986, Dave demonstrated his WAMM in the main room of the Wilson’s exhibit. In the adjoining room, Sheryl Lee Wilson employed a pair
of WATTs to provide the sound for her display of Wilson Audiophile records, a small system to which attendees could listen to while waiting for Dave’s next WAMM demo.
She was selling records, not displaying Wilson’s latest loudspeaker. Dealers and international distributors who listened to the WATT for the first time were collectively smitten. Various dealers
expressed a strong interest in selling the speaker in their stores, several of these were ready with their checkbooks and purchase orders. Sheryl Lee explained the WATT wasn’t for sale;
it was Dave’s location monitor. With so many dealers pressuring the Wilsons to sell the WATT, Dave reluctantly relented and agreed to build, sell WATTs to a select group of high-end retailers.
The WATT joined the WAMM, which, up until that point, was Wilson Audio Specialties’ sole product. The WATT went on to enjoy surprising (at least to Dave) market success.
It was the introduction of the WATT’s companion woofer, which Dave and Sheryl Lee affectionately called the Puppy, that really took the audio world by storm.
The combination “WATT/ Puppy” went on to become the best-selling, high-end loudspeaker priced at over $10,000 in the history of audio. All of which started with a loudspeaker Dave never
intended to sell. The Sasha is the lineal descendant of the WATT/Puppy. When approaching the design of the original Sasha, Dave eschewed the modular, two speaker approach of the
WATT/Puppy, and instead treated the loudspeaker as a single integrated design. Without this limitation, imposed by the fact that the WATT itself existed as a standalone monitor with its own
integral crossover, Dave was free to explore the new platform in ways not possible with the WATT/Puppy. The Sasha’s performance established a new elevated standard for what is possible for
hyper-performance, compact monitors. When it came time to upgrade the Sasha, then in its Series-2 iteration, Daryl Wilson was mindful of what his father had accomplished.
In the wake of Dave Wilson’s recent passing, Daryl was all the more motivated to ensure the Sasha would honor his father’s achievements, and yet look to the future for an even greater level
of performance than was possible when Dave designed the original Sasha. An All-New Sasha: Daryl decided a fresh look at the Sasha was in order. He approached the Sasha as if it were an
all-new loudspeaker, taking the elements that very clearly worked in its design and, at the same time, applying the myriad technologies generated by Wilson’s design team since the advent of the
Series 2 nearly five years ago. The result is the largest upgrade in the history of the WATT/P and Sasha platforms. In recognition for the man who started it all, the Wilson team felt it apropos
to dedicate this most ambitious iteration of the Wilson compact loudspeaker in its history to the visionary who first imagined it thirty years ago. Introducing the Sasha DAW. DAW for David
Andrew Wilson, an homage to the man who started it all. Complete Redesign of the Woofer Module: Led by Vern Credille, the team designed a new woofer for the Sasha.
Based on the 8-inch driver found in the Alexia Series-2, the new woofer was redesigned for the specific needs of the Sasha. When Dave designed the original Puppy, speed and
dynamic impact were priorities, as well as optimizing the bass extension. He found that two smaller drivers allowed him to optimize both. This strategy has been refined over the years.
The latest Sasha represents the largest leap in bass performance since the platform’s inception and resets the bar in the areas of transient honesty and impact, linearity, and timbral resolution.
To further augment bass performance, Daryl and his team redesigned the Sasha’s bass enclosure from the ground up. Thicker X-material panels further reduce (the already vanishing low)
panel resonances. Enclosure volume increased by 13.3%, which allows for greater bottom-octave authority and reduced distortion. The blades on the top of the module, where its companion
midrange/tweeter rests, have been strategically redesigned with openings, which reduces cavity pressure in the space between the upper and lower modules. Finally, a new, ultra-low-turbulence
port reduces already low unwanted windborn noise. All-new Upper Module: For the design of the upper module, Daryl Wilson worked closely with Jarom Lance, one of Wilson mechanical
engineers. Thicker panel sthrough out the module reduce resonance. An all-new pattern is cut into the inside of the enclosure, which mitigate internal reflections.
Enclosure volume was increased by 10.2 % for increased dynamic range and efficiency. Th e midrange and tweeters are the same units uset in the WAMM Master Chronosonic ,
and an all – new crossover blends the entire recipe together. Vern and Daryl worked to improve the frequency linearity of the platform. Al-ready the industry leader in the areas of
ultra – low distortion and vanishing noise levels , the team found ways to reduce both . Most importantly, the latest Sasha provides a remarkably direct conduit to the numinous beauty of music.
The Best Materials: The material to which a driver is mounted provides the “launch pad” for cone excursions. Years of empirical listening trials and materials testing,
most recently with Wilson’s Laser Vibrometer, have shown that dissimilar materials provide optimum baffles for different drivers. Wilson’s proprietary composite,
X-Material, is the ideal material for woofers and tweeters. The research surrounding the original Sasha led to the development of S-Material, designed specifically to increase midrange accuracy
and beauty. Wilson Audio remains at the forefront in the world of enclosure composite development. Using the most sophisticated test equipment,
not least of which is the human ear, Wilson’s team have raised the bar again with the Sasha DAW. The team’s attention to detail and nuanced approach to enclosure design contributes
substantially to Sasha’s unique blend of resolution, dynamic contrast, timbral accuracy, and musical beauty. On Time: Since the original WAMM, designed in the early 1980s,
all of Wilson’s loudspeakers accurately correct the individual drivers in the time domain. Like its bigger siblings, Sasha DAW is a modular design, which allows the drivers to be specifically
aligned for each installation. In the Sasha DAW, a beautiful and functional calibrated “ladder” facilitates extremely fine adjustment within the time domain. For each installation,
the midrange/tweeter module is adjusted in relation to the woofer drivers below, such that the four drivers are precisely aligned for that particular environment.
Other Important Details: The Wilson Engineering Team revisited the binding post. The outgoing binding post, designed entirely in house, set the industry standard for sound quality.
Daryl Wilson and Blake Schmutz, Wilson’s lead mechanical engineer, found ways to improve the older connector ’s performance and ergonomics.
The new binding post is easier to tighten by hand, and also features a banana plug option. Debuting on the Sasha DAW, the new Wilson Audio connector resets the bar for reliability and
sonic integrity. In the DAW, Wilson has enhanced the user interface of the group-delay mechanism, which now features a knurled knob, enabling the adjustment to be facilitated without tools.
Additionally, the woofer baffle is now angled back, which more correctly integrates the bass drivers with the upper module in the time domain. The Resistor Plate Cover is now removable
without the aid of tools. It provides easy access to the resistors , which act as an extremely high-quality protection system for the drivers. The resistors also enable the fine tuning of the
driver blend in those rare installations that benefit from this adjustment. A tempered-glass cover is elegantly integrated into the plate.
Enclosure Type Upper Module: Rear Vented Midrange, X&S-Material
Enclosure Type Woofer Module: Rear Ported Woofer, X-Material
Woofers: Two – 8 inch (20.32 cm)
Midrange: One – 7 inch (17.78 cm)
Tweeter: One – 1 inch, Dome (2.54 cm)
Sensitivity: 91 dB (one watt at one meter at 1kHz)
Nominal Impedance: 4 ohms / minimum 2.48 ohms @ 85 Hz
Minimum Amplifier Power: 25 watts per channel
Frequency Response: 20 Hz –30 kHz +/- 3 dB room average response
Height: 44 3/4 inches (113.67 cm)
Width: 14 1/2 inches (36.83 cm)
Depth: 22 15/16inches (58.26 cm)
Sasha DAW Weight Per Channel: 236 lbs (107.05 kg)
System Shipping Weight (approx.): 710 lbs (322.05 kg)
June 27, 2017 | Louisville, Colorado – Boulder Amplifiers is pleased to announce the immediate release and shipment of the 1160 Stereo Power Amplifier.
The 1160 is the successor to the 1060 Stereo Power Amplifier and the first product in the new 1100 Series to debut. The 1100 Series is Boulder’s mid-level product line,
combining new technology and exceptional performance with reduced size, power and cost. The 1100 Series offers a substantial advancement over the previous 1000 Series,
with improvements in sound qualityby way of better thermal management, ground paths, noise floor, and circuit layout. The increased use of surface-mount technology,
manufactured on Boulder’s own surface-mount manufacturing machines and ovens, has also yielded improvements in noise radiation, propagation delay, parasitic capacitance and the
elimination of lead inductance in affected circuits. It also offers improvements in unit-to-unit quality and consistency and long-term reliability.
Also new for the 1160 is the use of a 64-bit, multi-core ARM (Advanced RISC Machine) processor for all supervisory functions, including management of protection circuits, AC line monitoring,
power, thermal detection, error notification, and HTML- or IP-based external control. This ARM processor will also enable the use of Boulder Net, an IP-based unit-to-unit detection,
system layout, and communication architecture available to external control systems such as Savant or Crestron and application-based system controls.
For units that are network connected, an HTML setup and control page is available by simply logging into the amplifier’s IP address via a browser.
Gain stages within the 1160 are Boulder’s proprietary 983, which are unique to the 1100 Series. 983 gain stages feature surface-mount mechanical design with board-mounted heatsinking and
provide the initial 20 dB of gain in a multi-stage design for exceptionally wide bandwidth. They combine discrete and monolithic design with a high-current output. The 1160 utilizes 56 bipolar
output devices (28 per ch.), 48 filter capacitors and 2 toroidal power transformers to generate power output of up to 300 watts per channel into any load, enabling massive current swings and
the ability to drive any loudspeaker to realistic audio levels. The physical design of the 1160’s external casework has evolved, with the heatsinks’ hard corners and chamfers being replaced with
small radii and curves. The front panel has also been changed to reflect Boulder’s local geography. The layered front panel design is actually a reproduction of the topographical map of Flagstaff
Mountain, located directly west of Boulder, Colorado. Continuous power output of the 1160 is 300W per channel into 8 ohms, with peak output power doubling into 4 ohms (600W),
2 ohms (1200W). All audio circuitry is full differentially balanced. Outputs include dual connections for bi-wiring.
Continuous power, 8, 4, 2 OHMS: 300W
Peak power, 8 ohms: 300W
Peak power, 4 ohms: 600W
Peak power, 2 ohms: 1200W
THD, 8 ohms, 300W: 20-2 kHz: 0.0009%, 20 kHz: 0.0048%
THD, 4 ohms, 300W: 20-2 kHz: 0.0016%, 20 kHz: 0.0071%
THD, 2 ohms, 300W: 20-2 kHz: 0.002%, 20 kHz: 0.0130%
Equivalent Input Noise (EIN), 20 kHz BW: 1.5 μV
Magnitude response, 20 to 20 kHz: +0.00, -0.04 dB
Magnitude response, -3 dB at: 0.015 Hz, 150 kHz
Voltage gain: 26 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio (RE: 300W/8Ω): -127 dB, unweighted, 20 to 22 kHz
Balanced: 100k ohms
Unbalanced: 50k ohms
Common mode rejection (balanced only): 60 Hz: 90 dB, 10 kHz: 70 dB
Input connectors: 3-pin balanced XLR
Output connectors: Two sets of 6 mm / .250-inch wingscrews
Crosstalk, L to R or R to L: Greater than 120 dB
Weight: Amplifier, 140 lbs. (63.5 kg); Shipping, 220 lbs. (99.8 kg)
Power requirements: 100, 110-120, 220-240 VAC, 50-60 Hz
Power consumption: 15W Standby, 240W Nominal, 3600W at Maximum output