Originally Posted by The Monkey
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.
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