Aqua Hi-Fi La Scala MKII D/A Converter

that slot on the right side lets you peak through to the tubes

Digital Audio Review's John Darko said, and please don't quote me quoting him since I may have the exact wording wrong, the Aqua Hi-Fi La Scala MKII D/A Converter ($5,600) was, "lovely". La Scala is designed and handmade in Milan, Italy, a lovely place filled with lovely people. La Scala is a non-oversampling multibit R2R discrete ladder DAC (4x Burr-Brown PCM-1704K) and a pair of a ECC81(12AT7) vacuum tubes share the analog output stage with some Mosfets. La Scala supports PCM resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz via asynchronous USB, 2x coax S/PDIF (RCA and BNC), AES/EBU, and "AQlink Pro" an I2S serial bus port for connecting to the Aqua La Diva CD transport.

La Scala was served by the Antipodes DS server ($2,700) which I have in-barn for review. Rounding out the system were a pair of Alta-Audio Rhea speakers ($4,500) being driven by the Nuprime REF20 monoblocks ($7,600). And the sound? Lovely.