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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
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Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac late 2020 with macOS Ventura 13.3, 40GB RAM, Audirvana Origin, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, Sonnet Pasithea DAC; Active filter: icOn Gradient Box at 80Hz/4th-order hi/lo-pass; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos, Goldmund Job 225; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Qualio Audio IQ w. sound|kaos DSUB 15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex, Cube Audio Nenuphar Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: Shanling M3 Ultra, Soundaware D300Ref; DAC: Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Preamp/filter: Vinnie Rossi Signature L2 + icOn 4Pro + 4th-order/40Hz hi-low pass; Amplifier: Enleum AMP-23R; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini, Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF + Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; Headamp/DAC: iFi iDSD Pro Signature; Headphones: Final D-8000; Active speakers: DMAX SC5
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: smsl Dp5 transport; DAC: Auralic Vega; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: €2'795
Wandler. It's German for changeling. Worker by day, werewolf by night. No wonder Germans call D/A converters Wandler. But pray tell by my crucifix, what's a Wandla? During my LA days I worked at Wanda Bouvier's Beverly Hills Pilates studio. I knew Wanda to be a woman's name. But Wandla? It's Ferrum's standalone statement DAC. Unlike Erco it won't work part-time as head amp. Just one thing all the way. A pure-blooded werewolf then. Perfection is narrow-minded.
Given Ferrum's history as prior Mytek OEM, all of us knew a pure DAC to be inbound sooner than later. What we couldn't foresee was its name. Oor is Dutch for ear. Erco is ore in Esperanto. Hypsos is a portmanteau of hybrid power supply; or Greek for 'aloft' or 'on high'. Serce is Polish for heart and Ferrum's OEM DAC board. Only this €249 splitter goes by the prosaic name Power Splitter. Now Wandla is made-up Germanski to require trademark protection.
On model christenings, Ferrum remain fiercely unpredictable. We're not sure what language they'll raid next. Portuguese?
It goes without saying that like for their pure head amp and mixed DAC/headfi deck, Hypsos the external switching/linear power supply stands by on Ferrum's in-house upgrade path. Hypsos is even potent enough to power both Wandla and Oor simultaneously.
That's because the splitter is meant for two devices whose voltage x current requirements are equal then sum to less than the 80-watt max rating of Ferrum's adaptive PSU¹. Wandla's premiere was planned for the annual Warsaw show October 28th-30th 2022. So my narrative began well before then.
Worker by day. Werewolf at night. A Wandler in Warsaw. I'd run out of W words so nothing more on why, what or when until October 15th. Then I checked on project status with the factory. They'd given it the temporary code name 060.
"We recently opted to rework the analog output stage. Although we await first proto boards which are currently being soldered, we cannot show them at the upcoming AVS in Warsaw. These won't be the final product. The rework will postpone our premiere by a few months to Q1 2023 to ultimately translate into an even better final product and sound.
"We do plan on some comparative tests of its components at the show but haven't yet worked out the details."
As such my narrative pit-stopped at another W: wait. In an early photo I'd seen a Sabre chip, Serce module, MQA readiness, remote volume though unclear whether Sabre's on-chip digital, Leedh code or Muses-type analog resistor ladder on a chip – then some sort of headfi mode. Crossfeed in the digital domain? As Ferrum/HEM boss Marcin Hamerla seemed to tease though it later turned out to be misleading phrasing, "I hope you'll like the effect when you get it in your hands." Date with werewolf. Booked. If HEM confused you to look for a sewing machine, it's Ferrum's parent firm. They do OEM/ODM, sales and marketing. Ferrum is just one chapter in their good book.
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¹ "We use the Ooor/Erco/Hypsos stack with splitter at various shows all the time The same goes for Wandla. Hypsos can deliver up to 80 watts of continuous power and Oor+Erco combined use about 31.5W at idle. For Wandla it may even be less since it lacks the headphone amp. So off one Hypsos you could easily use 3 splitters and connect 2 x Oor and 2 x Erco/Wandla and there should still be some spare watts left." That was Wojtek Glowienka of Ferrum's engineering team.
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