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Perfect Wave DAC Owner Unite - Page 12

post #166 of 1494
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by monsieurguzel View Post


People generally say that it takes about 300 hours of so to break in.  I've had one in my system for close to a year now and I really love the sound of it.  It did sound a little digital originally, but after a long period of break in, it did open up a bit and sound a lot less digital.  I have mine with a bridge and I think is sounds extremely clean, natural, and almost analogue-like at time.  I prefer it as a source over my VPI Scoutmaster.



 



The other great thing about this DAC is that you can bypass all the stupid Async USB BS that is going around with all new Dacs that came out this past year.  There is also too much fussnig with computer audio as of right now...computer type, hard drive type (ssd vs hdd), async usb implementations, software players (amarra, pure music), and quality usb / coax cable all make it waaaay too fussy for my likings with too much tinkering. With the Bridge, you can bypass all that stuff and just enjoy the music, knowing that it's feeding the DAC properly.  




 



X2 on the Bridge. I can tell the difference between 320 and lossless easily, I'm not sure any other DAC in this price range can compare. I tried the Sonic Frontier DAC but did not like it as much.

I think I can't tell the difference after 200 hours of burn in. PWD match very well with tube amp, it match WA22 better than Phoneix or M3.
post #167 of 1494

Yes, I definitely that the PWD matches very will with a tube amp / preamp.  I currently have a 6SN7 based fully balanced Atma-Sphere pre-amp and they are amazing together.  I could see some thinking that the PWD is a little neutral on a solid state amp, but with tube it adds a little bit of warmth, impact, and tubey goodness ;)

 

Actually my only complaint about the PWD is that it has a higher output voltage in balanced mode than regular DACs.  I think it outputs 5.8V in balanced mode compared to the 5V of other dacs.  In my highly sensitive speaker setup, it means that I get too much gain and not enough play with the volume on my pre-amp.

post #168 of 1494
Thread Starter 
I guess it is not me thinking PWD have a bit more ain on balanced out, I can barely turn pass 9 with WA22. I use even use the lower gain tubes on WA22 too. Pal did recommend to turn the amp to 60-70% out and use the PWD o control the volume but I think it loose some dynamic when I use PWD as preamplifier.
post #169 of 1494

Yup, same issue with me.  I'm usually stuck around 9 o'clock on my pre-amp / hp amp.  I too don't like to use the digital volume control, especially when I have an extremely expensive stepped attenuator being used in the pre-amp.  I know many say that there is no loss in digital volume control, but I'd rather keep it at 100%.

 

I see that your WA22 has a stepped attenuator, so there really isn't much problem with using those at lower volumes compared to regular volume knobs which lose quality/imbalance at lower volumes.

post #170 of 1494

Just curious, what's the attenuator in your pre-amp?

post #171 of 1494
Thread Starter 
Not imbalance or loose quality at all, that is one of the reason I have step attenuator on WA6 and WA22 (standard). Plus I usually listen at a low volume.
post #172 of 1494
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil' Knight View Post

Just curious, what's the attenuator in your pre-amp?


 

This one cool.gif


1000x500px-LL-1752b0b2_Atma-SphereVolumeControl.jpg

 

Custom built - 4 channel balanced attenuator with a built in remote control mechanism. 
 


Edited by monsieurguzel - 1/10/11 at 6:46pm
post #173 of 1494

Looks ace. Got a name for it? :P

post #174 of 1494

No name for it, just comes as part of my pre-amp / hp amp.  It's built by a company called Atma-sphere, which likes to totally over-engineer everything they do :)

 

http://atma-sphere.com/products/mp1.html

post #175 of 1494

Ah, that's attenuator is built from the Shallco which is very nice. I heard they made a 48-step Shallco prototype but never saw a real one.

post #176 of 1494
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by monsieurguzel View Post

 

This one cool.gif


1000x500px-LL-1752b0b2_Atma-SphereVolumeControl.jpg

 

Custom built - 4 channel balanced attenuator with a built in remote control mechanism. 
 


Wow, that is an attenuator. 

post #177 of 1494
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post


Anyone care to comment on how long the PWD takes to break-in? Brand new, out of the box, the DAC sounds awfully sterile and everything the word "digital" is associated with. I'm hoping this will be similar to other DACs and improve over the next 100 hours or so.




 



How dare you!!! wink.gif


I'm sorry to hear you're not digging it so far. I'm interested in the other ways in which you think it sounds "digital." I dont have enough experience with analog stuff to articulate the differences. I've been sensitive to harsh or sterile sounding DACs (e.g., Benchmark) in the past and my ears don't pick up a sterile sound with the PWD. But I do think it sounds more "gritty" at some times some other DACs. A good example of this is Mark Knopfler's voice, which sounds appropriately gravelly to me on the PWD. But I do wonder if this is over-emphasized by the PWD. I don't care much because I like that sound, but I'm curious if this quality is considered a flaw by others.

I haven't heard much difference, if any, in the PWD from the time I first opened it.
post #178 of 1494
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Monkey View Post

How dare you!!! ;)I'm sorry to hear you're not digging it so far. I'm interested in the other ways in which you think it sounds "digital." I dont have enough experience with analog stuff to articulate the differences. I've been sensitive to harsh or sterile sounding DACs (e.g., Benchmark) in the past and my ears don't pick up a sterile sound with the PWD. But I do think it sounds more "gritty" at some times some other DACs. A good example of this is Mark Knopfler's voice, which sounds appropriately gravelly to me on the PWD. But I do wonder if this is over-emphasized by the PWD. I don't care much because I like that sound, but I'm curious if this quality is considered a flaw by others. I haven't heard much difference, if any, in the PWD from the time I first opened it.


LOL!

 

The PWD sounds completely different now after 24+ hours - confirmed by comparing to my other two DACs. I initially listened to the PWD for 5-10 minutes when the thing was brand spanking new out of the box sitting in the cold - then I just left in running for over a day. The initial aggressiveness in the upper mid/lower treble (compared to my other DACs) has subsided to the point where it's now barely detectable. If the PWD actually continues to break in up to 300-400 hours like others say, it would an amazing DAC. Right now, it's one fine DAC which has met three of my four wishes (has the bass punchyness and definition of the Gamma2, the inner detail of the DCX2496 [modded with x3 AKM4393 with passive out], and a smidgen of thickness in the lower mids compared to my other DACs). It just lacks that last bit of sweetness, liquidity and air that the DCX has.

 

Also, the bass slam has started to really come out. It's scary good in this respect: like getting hit in the head, but with all the texture and fine details. This is kind of neat because I've never heard anything like this before. No congestion or masking of details here. The sound is more forward than I would like on certain material (mostly badly recorded pop), but I'm going to reserve judgement until I hit more hours and have fully tweaked my system. I've never wanted to believe in burn-in, but it seems every time I make a minor change like replacing a cap in the DCX2496, it takes a week or so for things to calm down. 

 

I'll give the PWD the benefit of the doubt though - not that it doesn't sound rather fine right now (it's definitely a keeper.) My system has undergone some recent changes (new amp). I haven't had time to try different tubes (the Peak w/ Shuguang tube is much more solid-state sounding compared to Melos), and the PS1000s aren't exactly well behaved in the treble. It may not be an issue anyways as I plan on using LCD2s with this setup. Component synergy is everything - I'll need to plug the PWD into what I know worked before: Melos/PS1000.

 

P.S. Ability to retrieve low level detail of PWD was rather poor out-of-the-box, probably just slightly better than Gamma2 (which IMO is not that great in that regards), but now after 36 hours, it's not even close...

 

On the vocal grittyness: I hear exactly the same on K.D. Lang as with Mark Knopfler, but I wonder if it's more an aspect of the recordings (I don't hear it on Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, etc.)


Edited by purrin - 1/11/11 at 11:26pm
post #179 of 1494

Are you sure that your ears are not playing tricks on you? evil_smiley.gif

 

Keep us updated with your findings, purrin. I'm currently using a highly-tinkered γ2 too so I'm always curious what improvements the Perfect Wave would bring to the table. 


Edited by K3cT - 1/11/11 at 10:48pm
post #180 of 1494

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by K3cT View Post

Are you sure that your ears are not playing tricks on you? evil_smiley.gif

It's entirely possible! Too many variables right now: 1) I'm building a second setup with a new amp and new tubes; 2) Listening fatigue; 3) Purposeful choice of material I know will sound bad. I basically don't want to believe in burn in, but it seems that every time I change on cap on anything I mod, the sound changes over time with most changes in 24 hours and things stabilizing in 2-3 months.

 

Quote:

Keep us updated with your findings, purrin. I'm currently using a highly-tinkered γ2 too so I'm always curious what improvements the Perfect Wave would bring to the table. 

 

Will do. The PWD already sounds 4-5 times better than the γ2. Be prepared to upgrade your amp. I've found my Melos, which is no slouch in the resolution department, not resolving enough for the PWD. After I listen some more, I'll offer up more specific details on the differences between them. BTW, just to give you a frame of reference: I'm running my γ2 with the cheap wall-wart (but my electricity is clean since I live in the boonies). The output caps are standard blackgates (yuck) with film bypass. I've been too lazy to rid the high value electrolytics and replace with ~3uF WIMA MKS films or something that would actually fit.

 

P.S. Listening to K.D. Lang, Hymns of the 49th Parallel right now. It sounds like good vinyl. Then again, my TT and records have been packed up for 3 years now, and I'm not too sure how vinyl sounds like anymore.


Edited by purrin - 1/11/11 at 11:23pm
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