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Once lifted upstairs, the 35kg/ea. W1 took up a preliminary position in our room. From the accessories kit came eight soft half-domed silicone feet with felt at the bottom. These allowed us to shift the speakers easily across our parquet flooring. Next the two stereo amplifiers emerged together with the DAC/pre. In the model we received, the crossover filter still sat in a separate enclosure. This meant that the provided speaker cable split from the amplifier into one leg entering the speaker terminal directly whilst the other leg first hit the crossover, then connected to the speaker from it. All speaker connectors were Neutrik speakON. This is not a common choice but boy is it robust and fool proof. All three electronic components connected with short interlinks and trigger wires to enable remote control. Finally we hooked all three devices to the power grid with a braided set of generic power cords.

We agreed upfront on reviewing the set as a set and just swap sources. The use of speakON connectors limited swaps to anything prior to the amps. Once the W1 sat in place, it became clear just how airy their industrial design really was. With a total height of 1 meter and a 30.6cm square footprint, they are modest of size. By subdividing the height across 5 equal-sized sections, the cosmetic effect is modern and very friendly to the eye. When observed from the front, the bottom 20cm are a closed section open to the back housing the lower 25cm Seas long-throw woofer. The middle 20cm section opens to the front to show both woofers. Cat owners beware. Above it the third 20cm partition duplicates the first and houses the second identical woofer.

At each side and at 1/3rd of the bottom cabinet’s depth sits a stainless 1m vertical steel strip to support the tweeter and midrange driver. Working our way upwards to the 4th 20cm tall section we encounter the Mundorf AMT 25D1.1 dipole air-motion transformer tweeter hanging in thin air like a spider in its web. With it we visually noticed the benefit of the silicone feet. A harder connection between speaker and our suspended wooden floor like spikes for example showed how foot fall could set the tweeter in motion. On concrete flooring this effect should be mild or fully absent. For our use we kept the silicone decouplers in place.

The final and uppermost 5th 20cm section is an open baffle for the Danish Audio Technology C-Quenze 18cm midrange driver. All connecting wires were cleverly hidden whenever possible. In the final production models the hookup wiring will run in a milled slot of the stainless steel uprights [here one wishes manufacturers would provide actual production and not pre-production review loaners – Ed.]. The still outboard crossover box was stocked with top-quality Mundorf silver/gold oil-filled capacitors. Daudio have all of their drivers modified by the respective manufacturer to their specifications and for open-baffle use. The W1 driver array claims to cover a bandwidth of 20Hz to 22kHz with filter hinges at a nicely low 150Hz and 2’350Hz. System sensitivity is 87dB. A discrete amp for the mid/high section would see a 6Ω load.

The included stereo power modules were each built around two OEM Hypex UcD250LP 250-watt boards with matching SMPS. Jeroen designed and built his own driver stages for the amplifiers. This includes a separate power supply for the Mosfet driver stage of the Hypex modules to reduce distortion and idle losses even further. If desired, the Daudio amplifiers can be assigned to only drive the dual-woofer sections up to 150Hz. The XLR out of the amps’ auxiliary feed can then be used for the mid/tweeter head section. Now a user could manipulate the tonal/textural balance by, say using a 300B stereo amp or two transistor monos for the top sections. And remember that Daudio’s ASP amps aren’t merely amps. They also contain active bass filters and dipole EQ for the low/mid frequencies. ASP is short-hand for analog signal processor as a Linkwitz term.

For the review set these amps saw music signal from Daudio’s DAC/pre. As a further sign of Dutch expertise, here one encounters a Metrum Acoustics Octave DAC board. Daudio added two analog inputs to the stock two digital inputs of this outsourced PCB. These analog inputs pass straight to a third Dutch solution, a Tent Labs volume control. This works with the signature relay clicks of a stepped attenuator: click click click click clack, click click click click clack is the recipe for changing volume. Visual confirmation for volume and input setting is by by way of a blue LCD display. From left to right on the business end of the Daudio DAC/pre we find the IEC power inlet with mains switch, the remote standby output, two RCA analog line inputs, S/PDIF optical and coax and two RCA line outputs. Yes, you read this correctly, no USB input. It appears that the Metrum Octave OEM board in use is the version without the USB option. Metrum of course have always offered an OEM hiFace-based USB module and of late a customized Amanero equivalent. We think that Daudio’s choice against USB during these times of streaming computer audio is a deplorable omission.

Whilst considering their DAC/pre’s assets, here is what their power amps offer by contrast. First there’s the IEC with mains switch, then the remote on/off trigger port. Next follows the bass control knob. Since the amplifier is an integral part of the W1’s woofer control, there is extended attenuation for the dual woofer section. The volume control covers no less than ten full turns from extreme left to extreme right. Each full turn is equivalent to just 1dB so the measure of very fine control is enormous.

The obvious downside is a lack of visual feedback as to the chosen setting. Where does one sit? And remember also that most of the time a user will make these adjustments from the front so turning left becomes ‘up’. We found that five full turns to the right from the full left stop and then duplicating that plus any subsequent smaller adjustments for the other amp was the way to go. Yes, one can have too much control. Next comes the XLR line input followed by the XLR output should a separate mid/treble amp be used. To the far right sits the speakON output to connect to the W1.