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Does anyone own the Wyred4sound DAC 2? - Page 2

post #16 of 1347
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityCy View Post

The DAC-2 now probably has 200-250 hours on it.  I've been doing quite a bit of listening the past week.  Impressions have changed

 

  • Using SB Touch as Source (Coax to DAC2) connected to the WA22 with balanced ICs and using HD800 balanced the sound is amazing.  I have a few 24/96 albums from HDTracks and they are a real treat!  I can only compare it to the modded DL3 from memory as I'm using that in my main stereo setup now (and still loving it) - I still think the DL3 rocks for this type of usage and probably would not have moved to the W4S if this was my only usage.
  • Using my laptop as Source (USB to DAC2) connected to the WA22 with balanced ICs and using HD800 balanced the sound is just as good (maybe slightly better than the Touch - really a toss-up - I use the Touch more for convenience).  I have been using both Foobar and J River with FLACs.  I can't tell a difference in sound from either player.  They both sound awesome.  In this usage the DAC2 is definitely better than the DL3 however the DL3 was not bad - like comparing a BMW 7 series to a 5 series -- most people would be really happy with either.
  • Using Touch or Laptop as Source and DAC2 as the pre-amp for my Klein+Hummel o300 active monitors is where the DAC2 has really improved in the past month.  I much preferred listening with the WA22 and HD800 headphones when I wrote my last post.  That has changed.  Now I'm just floored by how smooth and precise the K+H speakers on my desk are sounding.  I have recently found myself listening to them more than my headphones.  The DL3 couldn't be used in this configuration unless I was to add a separate pre-amp so for me this capability and results really make the DAC2 shine.
  • The DL3 is still quite a piece in my main stereo/theater system and when I want to really shake the house I go to it.  Sometimes I think about selling the DL3 since it's not being used very often but then I end up listening to a couple of songs and can't bring myself to do it.

 

Is the DL3 the PS Audio DL3?
 

post #17 of 1347

Interesting, WindyCityCy. Thanks for your impressions! It seems that you can really go with either way: DAC-2 or DL3 Cullen IV. The extra features, like async usb, 2x coax inputs, etc, give DAC-2 more flexibility to work with.

post #18 of 1347
Quote:
Originally Posted by gzone3lement View Post

Interesting, WindyCityCy. Thanks for your impressions! It seems that you can really go with either way: DAC-2 or DL3 Cullen IV. The extra features, like async usb, 2x coax inputs, etc, give DAC-2 more flexibility to work with.


I'm trying to get up to speed on this post.  Is the thinking that the DAC-2 is equivalent to the DLe with Cullen level 4 mods?
 

post #19 of 1347

To me the PS Audio DL3 with Cullen 4 mods is a very good DAC when using the Coax input.  Using the w4s DAC2 Coax input with a Squeezebox Touch as the Source playing 44.1kHz/16bit and 96kHz/24bit FLAC files does not provide enough difference to justify spending a bunch of money to me if that is the only usage.  However if you are planning on using a USB or i2s source or need a digital volume control then to me the DAC2 is a terrific product at a very reasonable price - and it works and sounds wonderful.  I was very happy with the DL3 in my headphone setup until I added the powered monitors and needed the volume control and a high quality USB input.  I honestly can't knock either DAC and I love Cullen Circuits/W4S as they are one of the best Audio companies I have ever dealt with. 

post #20 of 1347
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityCy View Post

To me the PS Audio DL3 with Cullen 4 mods is a very good DAC when using the Coax input.  Using the w4s DAC2 Coax input with a Squeezebox Touch as the Source playing 44.1kHz/16bit and 96kHz/24bit FLAC files does not provide enough difference to justify spending a bunch of money to me if that is the only usage.  However if you are planning on using a USB or i2s source or need a digital volume control then to me the DAC2 is a terrific product at a very reasonable price - and it works and sounds wonderful.  I was very happy with the DL3 in my headphone setup until I added the powered monitors and needed the volume control and a high quality USB input.  I honestly can't knock either DAC and I love Cullen Circuits/W4S as they are one of the best Audio companies I have ever dealt with. 


Ok, now I understand.  Thanks.
 

post #21 of 1347

WindiCity,

  very interesting comparison. From your comments it's like feeding the W4S DAC2 with S/PDIF is the same as USB. Is this right?.

  I thought the asyn USB inputs would be better than the S/PDIF, but maybe I'm wrong and at the end of the day is not worth spending the extra $500 with respect to the W4S DAC1.

 

   best. 

 

post #22 of 1347

Hi guys, I just bought the Wyred4Sound DAC2 this week. In the instruction manual, it says that the DAC benefits from burn in. So I have left it on for the past 5 days and I have left my CD player on in repeat mode. Everyday I change the CD so that it may benefit from a different range in music that it has to process.

 

I am only using it with a coax input cable from my Onix CD player. I plan to eventually get a laptop and use the USB input. But for now I wanted to compare the W4S DAC2 sound quality with the internal DAC in my CD player. In case you are not familiar with the Onix, I paid $300 for it brand new a few years back. I think it is considered low to mid-fi, but it does have a Toslink and coax out to use with an external DAC.

 

First, I wanted to mention something quirky about the W4S DAC2. It has an option to change the output setting to Fixed or Variable in the settings menu. With the Fixed setting, you set the output level that feeds into your amplifier. The higher the setting, the louder the sound will be from your amplifier.

 

I tried changing the output setting to Variable, the DAC comes with a remote control so I thought it would be good to adjust the volume changing the DAC's output setting. The range for volume goes from 0-70. I changed it to 63 and then I turned the DAC off. When I turned the DAC back on, the Variable output setting was on 23. I changed it back to 63 and turned it off again, Turned it back on and it was back to 23.

 

It doesn't seem to remember what output setting you previously had if you use the Variable setting. I thought to myself, if the Fixed output setting has the same issue, this is a deal breaker for me. Back it goes to Wyred4Sound and I would reluctantly pay the restocking fee to return the item. 

 

Fortunately, when I changed the output setting on Fixed and turned the DAC off and powered it back on. The DAC remembers the Fixed output setting.

 

Anyways, on the sound. I was assuming since my Onix CD player goes for $300 dollars and the Wyred4Sound DAC2 goes for $1500 dollars, I thought sound quality should be night and day. When I compared the 2, it was hard to initially tell a difference. Maybe because my amplifier and my headphones are not that resolving.

 

It was hard to tell a difference, but when I finally put in a CD with alot of bass. It was UB40. I could clearly tell a difference. The bass out of the Onix directly was very flat. On the W4S DAC2, the bass had a fuller sound and the musical image was much sharper.

 

I think this goes for the high and mids too, not just the low end frequency, but it is kind of hard to tell, because when you are A/B ing 2 sources, you are not really sure if it is a placebo effect because you are expecting something big but the difference is not so hugh that you can not clearly know for sure. But in the low frequency, is it really noticable.

 

Those are my initial impressions. I don't how some head-fiers go to a meet and listen to DAC for 5 to 10 minutes and clearly know that this DAC is bettter than the other. For me, I had listen for about 3 to 4 hours before I noticed anything. But now I know the external DAC sounds better, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

 

Now, what else can I spend my money on? 


Edited by arnesto - 12/27/10 at 9:50am
post #23 of 1347
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnesto View Post

[...]

 

Those are my initial impressions. I don't how some head-fiers go to a meet and listen to DAC for 5 to 10 minutes and clearly know that this DAC is bettter than the other. For me, I had listen for about 3 to 4 hours before I noticed anything. But now I know the external DAC sounds better, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

 

Now, what else can I spend my money on? 


Thanks for your feedback. I wouldn't know how to distinguish the sound of one DAC and the other either if I were to listen for 5-10 minutes in a meet. There are amplifiers, headphones/speakers, and cables to consider too. However, if you have comfortably listened to a reference song or CD album, then you can use it in different audio setups to hear the difference.

For example, I wouldn't know what the differences are in DLIII and in W4S in different amplifier, headphones, and sometimes cables. Instead, I simply enjoy the music smily_headphones1.gif. However, if the complete setups are similar except for the DACs, be it W4S or Audio-GD Reference 7, then I would be very curious what sound differences I can pick up in 5-10 minutes (using my reference music).

post #24 of 1347

Well, everything has a sonic signature, so just by listening for a few minutes you get the jist.  The details get filled in later after listening for a long time to a lot of different music.  It's all about the music anyway.

post #25 of 1347

In my case the USB input on the W4S may be slightly better (I believe I said this in my 2nd post).  There are lots of things to take into account here:

  • My source using the Coax input is the Squeezebox Touch with the Squeeze server running on a HomeServer and all files are FLAC.
  • My source using the USB input is a very good laptop (Dell Precision M6500) and all files are FLAC.
  • Both Coax and USB inputs on the W4S are very good (quite a bit better than previous sources I've had - various CD players, ipods on docs, imod on doc, itunes through airport express, Squeezebox 3, minidisc players, etc.)
  • The USB input on the W4S is quite a bit better than the USB input on my PS Audio DL3 with Cullen 4 mods - I spent about the same price for the DL3 as for the W4S due to the mods
  • In my opinion the Coax inputs are about the same between the W4S and the DL3 with Cullen 4 mods with the W4S being somewhat better - both are very good.
  • I have aftermarket power cables (signal cable) on both DACs
  • I am using signal cable silver reference ICs between all components
  • I have everything plugged into a PS Audio PPP power regenerator.
     
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cortes View Post

WindiCity,

  very interesting comparison. From your comments it's like feeding the W4S DAC2 with S/PDIF is the same as USB. Is this right?.

  I thought the asyn USB inputs would be better than the S/PDIF, but maybe I'm wrong and at the end of the day is not worth spending the extra $500 with respect to the W4S DAC1.

 

   best. 

 

post #26 of 1347
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityCy View Post

In my case the USB input on the W4S may be slightly better (I believe I said this in my 2nd post).  There are lots of things to take into account here:

  • My source using the Coax input is the Squeezebox Touch with the Squeeze server running on a HomeServer and all files are FLAC.
  • My source using the USB input is a very good laptop (Dell Precision M6500) and all files are FLAC.
  • Both Coax and USB inputs on the W4S are very good (quite a bit better than previous sources I've had - various CD players, ipods on docs, imod on doc, itunes through airport express, Squeezebox 3, minidisc players, etc.)
  • The USB input on the W4S is quite a bit better than the USB input on my PS Audio DL3 with Cullen 4 mods - I spent about the same price for the DL3 as for the W4S due to the mods
  • In my opinion the Coax inputs are about the same between the W4S and the DL3 with Cullen 4 mods with the W4S being somewhat better - both are very good.
  • I have aftermarket power cables (signal cable) on both DACs
  • I am using signal cable silver reference ICs between all components
  • I have everything plugged into a PS Audio PPP power regenerator.
     
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cortes View Post

WindiCity,

  very interesting comparison. From your comments it's like feeding the W4S DAC2 with S/PDIF is the same as USB. Is this right?.

  I thought the asyn USB inputs would be better than the S/PDIF, but maybe I'm wrong and at the end of the day is not worth spending the extra $500 with respect to the W4S DAC1.

 

   best. 

 


 


So it seems that the W4S DAC is the equivalent of the DL3 with Cullen 4 mods on for coax, and better for USB.

 

Cool, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
 

post #27 of 1347

 

I've had mine for couple of days now (today is Monday and I got it last Thursday). I have to admit, I was a little under-whelmed with the sound straight out of the box, but I took another extended listen last night (~96hours of burn-in), and now all I can say is Wow! The burn-in has really increased the soundstage and clarity, and everything feels more alive, engaging, and silky smooth (honestly, I don't know how anybody can claim this dac is too clinical sounding; I just don't think it must have been burned in enough). Judging from other's experiences, it seems this will only get better, and so I'm anxiously awaiting the 200 hour mark. Needless to say, I've very happy with this purchase. 

 
post #28 of 1347
Thread Starter 

Mangler.  For sure the sound does change.  Mine only has about 100+ hours but it has been a steady improvement.  my sound stage really opened up about 50 hours in.

 

Man.  I started this thread and never mentioned I did buy the DAC2!  All good and highly recommended.  I too own the Woo WA22.  In about 6 weeks I will also have a Cavalli Liquid Fire!!

post #29 of 1347

My DAC-2 is on the UPS truck right now for delivery today!

post #30 of 1347

Anyone using thier DAC-2 out of a video setup?  I figure I can get some burn in time with it from the output of my SONY flatscreen while I watch the NBA playoffs.

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