Who/what is Serce? 20 years of digital experience in an ARM Cortex M7 processor on a red 5x7cm PCB. That module routes USB, S/PDIF, AES/EBU, differential I²S over HDMI or RJ45, ARC under CEC control, MQA and infra-red remote code.

Serce disavows reliance on critical 3rd-party silicon which the pandemic showed can end up seriously back-ordered; or have remaining stock sell at inflationary pricing or high-volume ransom.

With Serce key routing and processing happen in custom code owned by HEM. It already factored in Erco so would again in Wandla. If you own IP, you'd be daft not to use it. This piece of IP differs from D/A conversion in FPGA à la Cen.Grand, Marantz, Meitner or PS Audio.

Actual conversion still happens off-board with a designer's choice of favored chip.

Hence Wandla's ESS chip. Serce combines the functionality of digital receiver, high-rate USB, MQA and more. It gives HEM OEMs an easy solution to design digital kit. It gives Ferrum a core to build their own digital around. Have heart, need arms and legs; especially after a werewolf encounter.

Some call that the bleeding edge?

Certainly HEM's Mytek history gives them extensive experience with how to get the most/best from ESS silicon. Q1 2023 would have final specs. By late October, "we initially thought of a headphone output so the graphics designer prepared the display as shown earlier.

"Then we decided to drop the headphone output so the new display drops its icon. Wandla is 'the DAC' like 'das Auto'; a purist design with all our effort and money pumped into conversion quality.

"Our R&D team work hard on Wandla. Our products are already known for their sophisticated software—Oor excepted—but hardware is as if not more important, especially the analogue section. Now our engineers are testing several circuit testbeds to see which idea and approach proves best.

"After solid testing, listening, modifying, testing, listening, measuring and modifying again we will make the final choice and transfer the circuit to first production. Project 060 will then also get its proper name Wandla."

Serce board top and bottom.

Here are Wandla's guts in all their glory. We see the ES9038Pro chip front right behind the control knob, the Serce module already in v2 guise. As have all Ferrum models before, Wandla again is compact and tidy. It asks why we should bling out on real estate and weight when this will do the job.

Use mouse-over loupe function; or open in new tab for full size.

Of course tech and photos only tell us so much. For more we must wander down the musical aisles and explore how Wandla wandels our sonics. Ferrum consider it their statement converter. Given prior track record, that sets expectations. Built-in volume control can retire a preamp to play it tidier still. What kind of volume control is it? Should we expect matching Ferrum amps down the line? What about the remote which talks to that circular receiver next to the knob? How about socketry in the back, max voltage on the outputs and their impedance?