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Wavelength Proton?

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I've been unable to audition this device since the closest dealer is two states away. I'm intrigued by the device but would like more opinions from owners or others that have had a chance to spend some time with it. I've read the review here and know that it is on the CASH list.


What do you think of the PROTON as a multi purpose "mobile" and desktop DAC/AMP? It would primarily be used with a Macbook and IEM's but would occasionally see duty on my main sound rig; Classe DR4 and DR10, FOCAL BE 1007BE's.




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Hi TAV - As you know I had the Proton here for the review and put it on the CASH List. I also had the Focal 1007Be loudspeakers here and reviewed them as well. As a mobile DAC it's fabulous and tough to beat. If you're using IEMs I recommend contacting Gordon Rankin about compatibility between the IEMs and the DAC's headphone output. I had issues with my Ue 11Pros that make listening no so fun. As a main sound rig DAC it can work, but I recommend something with either its own volume control, not controlled by the operating system's volume control, or a DAC without volume since you are likely going to use a preamp. It may just work easier for you, it did for me this way.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

I bought one about two months ago.

I hooked it up as a stereo system based dac and have not used headphones. I have it feeding my Mac Mini to my McIntosh preamp and Proceed Amplifier. It blows away the mac mini analog outputs. I noticed differences right away. I am very impressed. Its so small and easy to use. Its light and doesnt make any noise or need power. It felt like a special product to buy and it sounds fantastic. Won't be upgrading to any other DACs. Sorry Gordon, I don't know how the Brick could better sound to my current system. Its a great match. I jsut wish the volumein Apple OS could be locked so I dont have to worry about if someone else has messed with the volume on the keyboard or computer.


Samsung 2TB SSD external drive > Oppo 205 USB in > McIntosh C45 > Proceed AMP5 > Mirage HDT Speakers > Velodyne HGS15 Sub // Nordost Blue Heaven Cables, PS Audio Quintet, OWC 2TB Mercury Elite Pro Firewire

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I'm also very interested in the Proton, especially given Gordon Rankin's reputation and the review from Chris. I'm about to jump into the world of computer audio by purchasing a macbook pro and a pair of headphones (around the $200-300 mark). The Proton is very appealing given that it has a bulit in headphone amp and so would mean

buying less boxes. Given how difficult it is to go out and listen to a lot of the equipment discussed on these pages I'd be very grateful to know if people think there is a significant improvement in going from the highly rated DACs around the $200-300 mark (e.g. Devilsound, HRT Streamer) to those around the $1000 mark (e.g. Proton and Peachtree Nova). I'm considering the Nova given the good reviews of its DAC plus the fact that you get a decent integrated amp in the same box.


Thanks in anticipation!




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I was in the same boat, go with a $200-$300 or go to the $1000 dac.

Initially I was interested in the Devilsound as a starting point. But the cost of those went up to like $400 and there wasn't glowing praise of any of the other dac's in that price range that gave me confidence in buying. For every lover you had someone who felt the product wasn't anything special.


So I went with the proton because it was portable, didn't need power supply, and just did USB, so I had a feeling it did that better than its competition which had multiple inputs and did other things.


No regrets, although I didn't compare it to others in the price range, I feel typically you get what you pay for and with this item, its price point was the same as others that did things I didn't care about, so I figure this did the one thing I wanted a little better.


Samsung 2TB SSD external drive > Oppo 205 USB in > McIntosh C45 > Proceed AMP5 > Mirage HDT Speakers > Velodyne HGS15 Sub // Nordost Blue Heaven Cables, PS Audio Quintet, OWC 2TB Mercury Elite Pro Firewire

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Next to the Metric Halo devices, the Wavelength Proton is one of the most under-valued DACs currently available, in my opinion. I've no idea why it doesn't get more press.


It sounds great, it's portable, has a great headphone amp, doesn't require an AC Power Supply, has a very clever analog volume control (driven by the computer), and is Async USB on top of all that.


Frankly, I'd chose it over any of the $1000-range DACs in a heartbeat - in fact, I already did. Heck the Proton can even be used to drive an amp directly (in a minimalist system). I'm using it lately to drive a J2 and Audio Physic Virgos, and it sounds wonderful.


Even if you already have a great DAC in your (s)he-man rig, it's the perfect DAC for travel, second systems, etc.




PS, Trying to find one used? Good luck with that.



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Hi Clay - I agree that the Proton is underrated. Something tells me that it's not understood by many people. The volume control has some people confused I know that.


Your comment about finding one on the used market is very valid. Some components rarely end up on the used market. There is good reason for that.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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Recently, someone here commented that the Proton might be deemed over-priced due to the perceived low number of components in it.


IOW, perhaps it's being penalized for such a simple circuit, and the resultant form factor.


The only improvement I can think of is - no, not Firewire - a physical analog volume control, but that would increase the price by at least half again probably to maintain the same high level of sonics, perhaps more.




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What makes it being located in Europe a concern at all? Shipping via post should be very affordable since it is a small package. And the seller has some positive agon feedback. If I was looking for a proton, I'd bite.


Dedicated 240V balanced power, Torus RM20-BAL. Mac Mini/Ayre QB-9. LSA Group Signature integrated. Eminent Tech LFT8B speakers. Real Trap and GIK bass traps.

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The seller says,


"Selling because I don´t feel comfortable about using computer as sound source."




A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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Well at least you were graced with a response rejecting your offer, FireFly. More than a day has passed from my offer meeting his asking price and no response. Either 5,000 other audiophiles have flooded his inbox, he's on walkabout, or he's not reading his email. I suppose that someone who is afraid of using his computer as an audio source doesn't refresh his inbox every 20 seconds.


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In Australia the price of a Proton is higher because of support and smaller market.


I was hoping to purchase one secondhand.


However I am going to California so I could get one inthe US but there is an issue with warranty etc while being in Oz.


I have purchased two DACs from overseas albeit at lower prices. Works fine.


Keep on Upgrading!!!

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