Home Aqua La Scala MKII Optologic D/A converter – Off the scale

Aqua La Scala MKII Optologic D/A converter – Off the scale



  • Organic reproduction Many connections
  • Modular structure


  • No display
  • No remote control

Price: € 7450

Build quality
Aqua La Scala


Italian company Aqua (Acoustic Quality) specializes in digital audio without compromise. As a result, its product line is extremely limited. At the time of writing, Aqua makes only four components. Two d/a converters, a streamer and a CD transport. And that’s it! We take a look at the La Scala D/A converter.

Big boss Christian Anelli is the mastermind and has been running his company with passion for years. Five years ago we already tested the fine La Voce S2. Currently, Aqua offers only the Formula and the La Scala dacs, both of which possess the so-called Optologic technology. What that technology is ánd why there are tubes in this dac, we will explain. Meet the Aqua La Scala MKII Optologic D/A converter. Quite a mouthful. Let’s check it out!

Construction and appearance

Aqua Acoustic’s home base is in Milan where each unit is developed and manufactured. The La Scala’s design language is simple but beautiful. Simple but sleek in a stylish way. Especially in silver, the curved line of the aluminum front stands out very nicely.

The power switch is on the left with the input selector next to it. You can choose between five inputs each indicated by a Roman numeral. There is a choice between BNC, AES/EBU, RCA, USB and I2S. A nice row of acronyms but in the end it means that there will be an input for everyone.

The architecture of this dac is quite distinctive. In fact, inside the Aqua La Scala are a pair of Russian ECC81 tubes (visible through a little window) that, in combination with a number of mosfets, form the basis for the hybrid circuit without negative feedback.

In addition, there is a separate power supply for both the analog and digital parts. That power supply is essential. I guess we don’t have to explain to the Alpha reader anymore. Furthermore, the fully balanced output stage is floating-mounted to prevent resonances. The Aqua dacs are modular, making them basically future-proof.


The Aqua La Scala is basically a NOS (Non OverSampling) R2R dac with its own FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array). So no Oversampling but also no filter. The latter is special and we hear it when we listen. The biggest change with the previous model is that the La Scala now gets the Optologic implementation, just like the Formula. This means that the digital section is galvanically and magnetically isolated from the analog circuit by means of so-called opto-couplers. Furthermore, Aqua attaches great importance to support and after-sales service so that you can make a purchase with peace of mind.

Type test
Single Test
  • Digital Coaxial
  • Digital Optical
  • Digital BNC
  • Digital AES
  • Digital USB
  • Analog RCA
  • Analog XLR
Product type
Max samplingrate
384 kHz
Max bit depth
24 bit
9 Kg
  • Width: 45 cm
  • Depth: 37 cm
  • Height: 10 cm
Production country