Swiss Wattson Audio has been working hard during the pandemic to get their Madison network player ready. It’s small, but has built-in DAC and “true high-end architecture and signal processing”. Including carefully selected and tuned low tolerance components.
Roon users will be pleased to know that the Madison is Roon Ready, as well as supporting Tidal, Qobuz, internet radio and UPnP with its own app. In addition, it provides streaming via AirPlay.
The player has both fixed and variable output, which can be enabled or disabled at any time in the app. This basically means you don’t need a preamp – just plug Madison directly into a power amp or a pair of active speakers.
A quick touch of the volume wheel switches between the various inputs, and extra pride has been taken in a very “smooth” volume wheel.
A headphone output, which we’re promised keeps high levels, is also provided. However, we’d suggest using relatively lightly driven headphones with it rather than a pair of heavy-duty planar ones.
Dual-DAC circuit, true balanced outputs
In Madison, Wattson Audio uses a dual mono DAC chip per channel. This makes it truly balanced, resulting in a lower noise floor. Each DAC chip also has its own precisely regulated power supply for minimal modulation between channels.
The filters on the outputs are differential, which should ensure lower phase distortion and “prevent switching noise from the digital-to-analog converter from reaching the outputs”. Wattson Audio reportedly uses state-of-the-art up-amps and fully balanced analog output stages of the highest quality.
Proprietary sampling algorithm
In Madison, Wattson Audio uses their own time-optimizing sampling algorithm. It reclocks the incoming and outgoing signal (asynchronous clocking) to minimize jitter.
It is also claimed that the precision of the conversion from digital to analogue is increased considerably “without modifying the incoming data in any way”.
” Big sound “
We are told that the Wattson Audio Madison “sounds big, impressive and musically immersive, offering a level of detail and presence that is almost unheard of in its price range”.
Wattson claims to have worked meticulously on the internals to get the absolute best sound out of such a small format. Alexandre Lavanchy, CEO of Wattson Audio, said:
“For our new Madison streamer, we have put all our know-how into action to seek the intensity of the analog restitution and to find the emotion of the musical message beyond technical considerations. In use, the Madison must transmit the pleasure of listening to very high fidelity, with optimal ergonomics…”
Price and availability
The Wattson Audio Madison costs 3,200 euros and is available now.
- Proprietary streaming solution, bit-perfect and asynchronous.
- Roon Ready, Tidal, Qobuz, AirPlay, internet radio and UPnP.
- Supports up to 32 bit/384 kHz PCM or DSD256 over network.
- New upsampling process with time domain optimization based on Swiss Anagram technology.
- Fixed or variable output, balanced and single-ended.
- Additional digital inputs, easy to connect to a TV.
- LEEDH lossless volume control for direct connection to power amplifier and active speakers.
- Ultra-precise clock circuitry, extremely low phase noise and jitter.
- One DAC chip per channel, true balanced in Dual Differential mode.
- Power supply circuitry with very low noise floor.
- Fully balanced analogue output stages.
- Headphone output, 2x 100 mW into 32 ohms.
- CNC-machined chassis out of solid aluminium blocks.
- Controlled with own smart app or via Roon.
- Handmade in Switzerland, both cabinet, PCB and assembly.
- Dimensions and weight: 17,4 x 18,5 x 4,7 cm / 1,1 kg