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Madison LE System Controller

High-end digital replay – without the cost, size and complexity

With exactly the same, sophisticated, DSP-based, spline filtering algorithm and proprietary ethernet interface, the same milled-from-solid casework and minimalist but carefully selected features as the standard Madison, the LE version already offers digital input and conversion capabilities that are well beyond its price point. So, to build a better Madison, we looked at the analog output stage, the power supply and the filtering, improving its performance still further in the digital domain while increasing the musical capabilities and output characteristics of the analog circuitry.

The Madison LE still uses an external energy-efficient, switch-mode power-supply, but we were able to engineer it for reduced noise levels with the addition of an AC input filter and greater stability, by adding linear regulation. In turn, that demanded a bigger box. We could have used the same, precision machined casework as the Madison itself, but instead, given that the power supply is best placed remotely and thus, out of sight, we chose to reduce the overall price of the product by using a cost-effective, generic case: maximum increase in performance, minimum increase in price.

We also doubled the amount of power supply capacitance and improved the quality of the capacitors themselves. Then we designed an all-new analog output stage. The fully balanced and differential circuit uses two pairs of op-amps per channel, allowing us to optimise the interface to the DAC chips and improve the LE’s ability to drive a connected power amp. We also took the opportunity to improve the quality of the critical coupling caps between the DAC chips and the analog output stage.

 

The Madison LE extends the Wattson Audio concept of value-engineering. Like all of our products, it leverages the power of sophisticated, DSP-driven digital circuitry to deliver remarkable musical performance. But by budgeting additional engineering and material resources to the power supply and analog sections, it provides an even better working environment for its digital circuitry and an even more capable output stage – with very real musical benefits.

 

With its ghostly quiet noise floor and the ability to really drive the connected power amp(s), the Madison LE delivers musical dynamics and authority, nuance and subtleties that are normally the province of vastly more expensive (and far larger) products. It stays true to the Wattson Audio ethos of superior musical performance, coupled to forward looking, space efficient and resource sensitive design.

 

True high-end performance has never been more accessible – or easier to live with!

System and setups

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

You’ll find the Madison LE 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 and in EU

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 2,1in (174 x 185 x 52mm)

  • Weight: 2,37lb (1075g)

  • 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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