Set-up and listening
Because we’re getting a brand-new machine (straight from the factory in Milan!) we’ll let the dac play quietly for a couple of days. The Aqua La Voce S3 replaces a Metrum Onyx in the set below:
- Bryston B60r
- Nad M50
- Audio vector Qr1/ Atc Scm 19V2
- Iso Acoustics Aperta 155
- Wiring: Grimm, Audioquest, Supra
We rather like female vocals and a voice that regularly shines through the listening room is that of the New Zealand Nadia Reid. It had been a while since we had played her debut album “Listen to formation, look for the sign” and the La Voce S3 sketches a balanced sound. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. We immediately notice that the rather spicy recording, there is some emphasis on the s-sounds, is softened by the La Voce S3. In addition, the drum section sounds excellent.
We open another box, full of electronic music and get a cd from the German Stefan Betke aka Pole. The passion for electronic music stems from our young(er) years and over time we have collected a beautiful collection with the most important albums from each subgenre. We would describe Pole’s music as minimalist electrodub with an emphasis on rhythm. The bass sounds sultry and languid and sings wonderfully. The low-end is fine with the La Voce S3, let that be clear. The crackling, crackling, murmuring effects that support each song are heard more clearly than usual. Blessed what a good dac and ditto speakers all sound.
More recent work now with Tyler The Creator and his latest album “Igor” (Tidal). Like Kendrick Lamar and Blood Orange, he makes very eclectic music. By combining influences from soul, pop and jazz with rap and hip-hop, he creates a universe of his own in which you keep discovering new elements. The soundstage is tight and the La Voce S3 has no trouble following the complex rhythms. The music sounds organic or natural if you like and not cool or fresh like some other dacs. Individual layers are pretty well unraveled but other dacs are better at it. This dac makes the song sparkle sooner. The Aqua La Voce S3 does not yet offer the ultimate resolution but it is already very close to it. Overall, this dac makes very little mistakes.