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Madison System Controller

Neat, discrete, multi-source digital connectivity

Like all Wattson Audio components, the Madison DAC/Controller is more capable, versatile and delivers more performance than its diminutive dimensions suggest. With the ability to accept and switch both streamed and S/PDIF digital material, it embodies a sophisticated DSP-driven DAC and both balanced and single-ended outputs – technology and topology you normally only find at many times the Madison’s price. Discrete, efficient and ecologically aware, Madison provides the heart of a forward-looking, high-performance, digital audio system.

Leveraging high-technology solutions to deliver astonishing musical performance at a remarkably approachable price is an exercise in extreme value-engineering: selecting what functions really matter and how they can best be implemented, what to include and what to exclude.

Network replay and compatibility

The Madison’s network interface employs Wattson Audio’s own, highly regarded streaming engine. It’s a proprietary solution we build around the Sitara processor from Texas Instruments, which depends on our own, updatable software and which you’ll find in some remarkably high-profile and expensive products. Capable of handling the ever-increasing number of network communication protocols, it has been continuously developed and updated since its introduction. Signal handling has been optimized to ensure audio data integrity, transmission reliability and support for Hi-Res file formats (PCM and DSD) without transcoding, all while delivering a smooth and responsive user experience.

plays with Audirvana

Alongside the streaming capability, Madison also provides a dedicated S/PDIF receiver decoder with both 75Ω RCA and TOSLink optical inputs for connection to legacy digital or AV sources. All digital circuitry is controlled by our own, exactingly executed clock, with twin oscillators for 44.1kHz and 48kHz (as well as any multiples thereof) each separated and independently filtered to reduce the possibility of noise and jitter. A Shark DSP chip is employed to implement our sophisticated up-sampling and spline-filtering algorithm. The short-tail filter profile ensures superb time-domain performance, while independent left and right channel WM8742 DACs preserve channel separation and spatial information.

The analog output stage

A pair of op-amps per channel are employed to provide a robust, space efficient and cost effective analog output stage, equipped with both balanced XLR and single-ended RCA connections. Each and every stage or circuit block within the Madison benefits from the substantial on-board power supply filtering and reservoir capacitance while, with so much DSP power on hand, it makes perfect sense to rely on the clever, loss-less LEEDH digital volume control, rather than the added cost and questionable performance of an analog "pot". Ultimate versatility is provided by the Wattson Remote for Android and Wattson Music for iOS apps, which let you control your Madison, and respectively access your streaming sources, from your phone or tablet.

 

The Madison combines genuinely cutting-edge, upgradable digital technology with carefully costed, balanced and executed circuitry, designed specifically to deliver unprecedented musical performance from an elegant, compact and surprisingly affordable package.

 

Madison – everything you need, nothing that you don’t!

System and setups

Review real world systems adopted by and the comments of our Wattson Audio community members.

You’ll find the Madison in good company in a multitude of different setups.

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Key features
  • Proprietary bit perfect and asynchronous streaming solution

  • Support for PCM and DSD high-definition formats

  • New up-sampling process with time-domain optimization, legacy of the famous Anagram Technology up-samplers

  • Lossless LEEDH Processing volume control for direct connection to power amplifiers

  • Adjustable bass response to compensate for speaker placement near walls

  • Ultra-low phase noise oscillators

  • One D/A converter chip per channel in dual differential mode

  • Full-symmetric analogue output stages

  • Very low-noise power supply circuits

  • CNC-machined out of a solid aluminium block

  • Design, manufacturing and assembling entirely made in Switzerland

Performance
  • Network streaming resolution: PCM up to 32-bit 384kHz, DSD up to 256x (11,2896MHz)

  • S/PDIF input resolution: PCM up to 24-bit 192kHz

  • RCA output level (0dB FS): 2,0V RMS

  • XLR output level (0dB FS): 4,0V RMS

  • Signal-to-noise, weighted (SNR-A): > 120dB

  • Harmonic distortion (THD+N, 0dB FS): < 0,001%

  • Headphone output: 2x 150mW on 32Ω, 2x 50mW on 150Ω, 2x 10mW on 600Ω

Connectivity
  • Network input: 100Mbit/s Ethernet

  • Digital inputs: 1x S/PDIF on RCA connector, PCM and 1x S/PDIF on TOSLink

  • Analog outputs: 1x unbalanced on RCA connectors and 1x balanced on XLR

  • Headphone output: 6.35mm Jack connector

Mechanical and electrical characteristics
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 6,9 x 7,3 x 1,9in (174 x 185 x 47mm)

  • Weight: 2,31lb (1050g)

  • Power supply: 5V DC, external, medical grade

  • Power consumption: 50mW (idle), 3,5 W (playing)

Restitution

¹ requires a TIDAL service account and subscription, not included with the product

² requires a Qobuz service account and subscription, not included with the product

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