This is purely subjective opinion. Aqua LaScala/ Atma-Sphere Class D

The last couple weeks I’ve been listening to my Atma-Sphere Class D amps. I added the Aqua LaScala and set of ECC801S Tele’s. And I can say this is a magical combination.  The Atma-Sphere are simply amazing. Probably the best Class D on the market. But when fed by the LaScala DAC and the Tele’s it was like wow. Bringing the system to an entirely new level. I can not believe how transparent this system is. And how real Sax, Piano and female vocals sound. Had a Music Teacher over tonight. She teaches Piano on the side. She couldn’t believe how George Winston’s Steinway sounded. She said she’s never heard a Steinway reproduced that close before. BTW she has a Steinway Grand in her home. Tomorrow I’ll be adding a Innous PheonixUSB too the mix. The Atma-Sphere Class D is the best Class D I’ve ever heard in my system. And as close to OTL as you’ll ever get without going OTL. And I’ve had plenty of Class D amps in the system.  The Aqua LaScala is an excellent DAC. Great addition to the system. I’d strongly suggest if your looking for a really nice DAC…. This should be on the short list.  And it really shines with the Telefunken ECC801s tubes. Anyone else out there have opinions on the Aqua LaScala?

Running Roon, dedicated core, Atma-Sphere MP-3 3.3 with Vcaps and Caddocks


She couldn’t believe how George Winston’s Steinway sounded. She said she’s never heard a Steinway reproduced that close before. BTW she has a Steinway Grand in her home.

This is very interesting to me, as when I was asked early on to describe the differences between my Aqua La Scala DAC and my previous Denafrips Pontus II, I said this: particular thing that immediately grabbed my attention is how piano is reproduced. It was not something that was on my mind at all, so no expectation bias involved, yet across genres, all of the well-recorded piano music seemed much more natural and detailed than what I have previously experienced. It may well have something to do with the clock, and more accurate decays, as that is something that crossed my mind with the reproduction of other instruments, as well. But whatever the exact explanation, having had the experience, it seems that in retrospect I have typically been listening to piano as almost a generic, background instrument, lacking fine definition, and I now suspect that going forward it might be a particularly important and useful focal point when auditioning any DAC, and/or speakers.

FWIW, I listen to the La Scala with a C.E.C. TL-15 CD transport, and Circle Labs A200 hybrid integrated amp, through a pair of FinkTeam KIM speakers.

I was very close to pick La Scala MKII to replace my Musician Pegasus, but in the end went with Lab12 Dac1 Reference because it's cheaper and to my ears identical in sound quality to the La Scala (though no DSD playback so that might be a deal breaker for some people). I am a full-time trained classical pianist and I am very particular about how piano and string instruments are reproduced. Dac1, La Scala, and Weiss Dac 502 MKII were the DACs I listened that I thought sounded most natural for piano. I would be happy with any of these three as my final DACs.

OP The folks at A-S and at Aqua are making wonderful gear. When I listened to the La Scala I was shocked. I had listened to other tubed DAC's but none with the clarity and soul of the La Scala. Almost sold my Simaudio 680D to finance a change. Sat and listened to my 680 with my X200 and smiled. 

You have some very nice kit. 

@auroravengeance just put the Lab 12 on my list for a system I am building for the recreation room.