Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Does anyone own the Wyred4sound DAC 2?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Does anyone own the Wyred4sound DAC 2? - Page 61

post #901 of 1351
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWuss View Post

well, peter.

your post above got me thinking...

so last night i downloaded J River media center 17.

and put the hiface evo back into the mix, with computer acting as a server.

and guess what?  that pretty much levelled the playing field between the DACs.

 

they sounded a lot more alike than different with this transport.

 

so, what might be happening is that the W4S is more sensitive to transport related jitter than the Bryston.

thus, my very "average" (by audiophile standards) musical fidelity cd transport sounds pretty good with the bryston, but almost "mid-fi" from the W4S.

 

however, i am experiencing something of a revelation with J River.

 

i've been a foobar guy for about 2.5 years.  and wow, it appears those 2.5 years were not wisely spent...  biggrin.gif

 

early impressions of J River are MUCH more favorable than foobar.

smoother, more analog.  less strident all around.

all with a slightly deeper and more cohesive sound.

 

 


Well Brent, your post has now got me thinking too....looks like I'll be playing around with music players. smile.gif

 

post #902 of 1351
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWuss View Post

i think it is no coincidence that w4s / LCD-2 rigs have become so common.

the synergy is certainly there.

 

and, what shortcomings the DAC2 has, the LCD-2 has as well.

so, no need for a DAC with a huge soundstaging capability if you are going to listen to the lush and intimate LCD-2 (especially Rev.1).

 

it's a really fine DAC.  built like a tank, and sounds as clean and clear as any i've heard.

which is why i am sure it will keep a place in my home...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

To add my two cents... the DAC-2 is unbelievably awesome at this price.  It just walked all over all the DACs in my profile and achieved that high resolution, high energy sound while being smooth and grain free.  Its USB implementation is also quite friendly and crash proof.  I originally had the DAC-1 but its USB, and frankly its could have been the unit, was less integrated than the DAC-2s.

 

Beyond happy, should definitely be on someone's short list if they are looking in the 1K+ range.  I would say that some have reported that as a preamp its not going to compete with similar priced preamps.  But then they, having no digital inputs, make terrible DACs at any price :p


 

 

I guess when we speak of soundstaging in this thread it is mostly directed at headphones and the DAC-2's synergy with whatever headphone amps and headphones that are used in that combination.   Recently I have been assembling a 2.1 speaker rig using the W4S DAC-2 as the source end center piece and since it has the digital volume control I was going to use that feature to control the rigs volume and act as the pre amp for the rig, and why not since the digital volume control feature seems like a great idea and for the most part it is.

Over the many years I've spent as an audiophile (at least 32) and the many years I spent professionally mixing audio and editing broadcast video in NYC (24 years) I have come to know what it is that I enjoy most from a speaker rig. A knowledge for me that took trial and error over the years and many hours and dollars in front of many different systems to discover.    Basically I love a beautiful sound stage,  a 3D holographic soundstage that is realistically wide from left to right, realistically deep from front to back, and realistic also in vertical height.  This type of soundstage by it basic 3D nature of sound arriving to the listeners ear from a real place both in time and in space cannot exist with headphones.   Soundstaging in headphones is a completely different concept and in many ways a shadowy perversion of what we know and experience as a soundstage from a speaker rig.  Two drivers placed upon ones ears can never have the same type of dimensional space/time existence as sound moving thru the air from various points in time and space which is the way sound travels to our ears in the everyday world.

 

Knowing that my main pleasure in musical reproduction is soundstaging and imaging I set out to build a system to do so.   First I obtained the Anthony Gallo Acoustic Reference Stradas known for their freakish 3D holographic ability to soundstage.  They have this ability and much more.  They have amazing resolution without becoming artificial, pinpoint imaging which allows them to  separate deeply crafted mixes.  Soundstaging is their thing.  If your tracks and your source end have the ability the Stradas will produce the goods.  They do not create an artificial soundstage but implement whatever signal that is sent to them in a very efficient manner by faithfully and accurately reproducing all the sonic dimensional cues intended to recreate the soundstage when the recording/mix/master was made.

This brings me to theW4S DAC-2 and two recent discussions about the DAC-2's ability to soundstage and also act as a quality pre amp using the DAC-2's digital volume control. 

 

To amplify the Stradas I obtained the Wyred4Sound ST-500 amplifier and used it in partnership with the W4S DAC-2 and its digital volume control.  The soundstaging was impressive.  Inner detail retrieval, instrument separation, soundstaging all of it very satisfying.  But I began to become concerned with the DAC-2's digital volume control as a serious component with regards to the rest of the system.  Was it up to par as a pre amp?  I was using the volume control between 30 and 40 units for most of my listening experience.  Was this reduced level truncating the word length of the DAC-2's digital output?  Being a digital volume control I was not sure but it seemed perhaps theoretically likely.  This idea was all I needed to convince myself a quality Pre Amp was essential to my rig. 

 

As luck would have it a bel canto Pre3VB Pre Amp came my way. I inserted the Pre3VB into my rig, set the DAC-2 to 60 and discovered a few things.  One, that is was still possible for me to be stunned by a piece of audio gear.   As Solude has pointed out the DAC-2 digital volume control is not the same as a separate high quality Pre Amp.  While the digital volume control in the DAC-2 is no slouch in terms of performance it is not a high end Pre Amp.  Granted the bel canto Pre3VB and the LNS1 power supply is 1K more than the entire cost of the W4S DAC-2 itself it clearly shows that the DAC section of the W4S DAC-2 will really and truly shine when allowed to be caressed by a proper high end pre amp. 

 

This brings me to the soundstaging aspect of the W4S DAC-2.   I have only used the W4S DAC-2 with LCD-2 r.1,r.2 and LCD-3's with the Violectric V200 and the Lyr amp which was supplied with at least ten sets of quality tubes so I cannot speak about headphone soundstaging beyond that gear but I will say that in a speaker rig such as the Gallo Stradas (soon to be added a Gallo TR-3 subwoofer), W4S ST-500, bel canto Pre 3VB Pre amp that the W4S DAC-2 as a digital source has excellent soundstaging capabilities. 

 

My system in its current state is soundstaging and imaging with breathtaking ability.  Instruments seem to be sculpted in space as if I can now reach around behind them as they play.  Inner detail is outstanding and detail retrieval seems never ending.  The bel canto is now able to plumb and caress these delicacies from the outstanding signal the W4S DAC-2 is converting.   None of this would be possible for the bel canto Pre2VB,W4S ST-500, Gallo Stradas to recreate if the W4S DAC-2 did not have the ability to produce an excellent and realistic soundstage to begin with.   So in conclusion I would say one needs to consider that soundstaging in the speaker realm is very different than what is understood to be soundstaging in the headphone realm.  Personally I feel they are two completely separate paradigms whose only common denominator is that they share the same term.

 

I might also add that the bel canto has brought a level of musicality to the rig which I have simply not experienced from a solid state pre amp in the past.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by WarriorAnt - 4/13/12 at 11:27pm
post #903 of 1351

i get your point, WA.

 

i too am a guy who comes from the speaker side of things.

and 2.5 years into headphone audio, i still don't think headphones image....

which is why i'm going to pare things down to a select few cans, and move into a really nice powered monitor rig...

 

 

post #904 of 1351
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarriorAnt View Post


 

 

I guess when we speak of soundstaging in this thread it is mostly directed at headphones and the DAC-2's synergy with whatever headphone amps and headphones that are used in that combination.   Recently I have been assembling a 2.1 speaker rig using the W4S DAC-2 as the source end center piece and since it has the digital volume control I was going to use that feature to control the rigs volume and act as the pre amp for the rig, and why not since the digital volume control feature seems like a great idea and for the most part it is.

Over the many years I've spent as an audiophile (at least 32) and the many years I spent professionally mixing audio and editing broadcast video in NYC (24 years) I have come to know what it is that I enjoy most from a speaker rig. A knowledge for me that took trial and error over the years and many hours and dollars in front of many different systems to discover.    Basically I love a beautiful sound stage,  a 3D holographic soundstage that is realistically wide from left to right, realistically deep from front to back, and realistic also in vertical height.  This type of soundstage by it basic 3D nature of sound arriving to the listeners ear from a real place both in time and in space cannot exist with headphones.   Soundstaging in headphones is a completely different concept and in many ways a shadowy perversion of what we know and experience as a soundstage from a speaker rig.  Two drivers placed upon ones ears can never have the same type of dimensional space/time existence as sound moving thru the air from various points in time and space which is the way sound travels to our ears in the everyday world.

 

Knowing that my main pleasure in musical reproduction is soundstaging and imaging I set out to build a system to do so.   First I obtained the Anthony Gallo Acoustic Reference Stradas known for their freakish 3D holographic ability to soundstage.  They have this ability and much more.  They have amazing resolution without becoming artificial, pinpoint imaging which allows them to  separate deeply crafted mixes.  Soundstaging is their thing.  If your tracks and your source end have the ability the Stradas will produce the goods.  They do not create an artificial soundstage but implement whatever signal that is sent to them in a very efficient manner by faithfully and accurately reproducing all the sonic dimensional cues intended to recreate the soundstage when the recording/mix/master was made.

This brings me to theW4S DAC-2 and two recent discussions about the DAC-2's ability to soundstage and also act as a quality pre amp using the DAC-2's digital volume control. 

 

To amplify the Stradas I obtained the Wyred4Sound ST-500 amplifier and used it in partnership with the W4S DAC-2 and its digital volume control.  The soundstaging was impressive.  Inner detail retrieval, instrument separation, soundstaging all of it very satisfying.  But I began to become concerned with the DAC-2's digital volume control as a serious component with regards to the rest of the system.  Was it up to par as a pre amp?  I was using the volume control between 30 and 40 units for most of my listening experience.  Was this reduced level truncating the word length of the DAC-2's digital output?  Being a digital volume control I was not sure but it seemed perhaps theoretically likely.  This idea was all I needed to convince myself a quality Pre Amp was essential to my rig. 

 

As luck would have it a bel canto Pre3VB Pre Amp came my way. I inserted the Pre3VB into my rig, set the DAC-2 to 60 and discovered a few things.  One, that is was still possible for me to be stunned by a piece of audio gear.   As Solude has pointed out the DAC-2 digital volume control is not the same as a separate high quality Pre Amp.  While the digital volume control in the DAC-2 is no slouch in terms of performance it is not a high end Pre Amp.  Granted the bel canto Pre3VB and the LNS1 power supply is 1K more than the entire cost of the W4S DAC-2 itself it clearly shows that the DAC section of the W4S DAC-2 will really and truly shine when allowed to be caressed by a proper high end pre amp. 

 

This brings me to the soundstaging aspect of the W4S DAC-2.   I have only used the W4S DAC-2 with LCD-2 r.1,r.2 and LCD-3's with the Violectric and the Lyr amp which was supplied with at least ten sets of quality tubes so I cannot speak about headphone soundstaging beyond that gear but I will say that in a speaker rig such as the Gallo Stradas (soon to be added a Gallo TR-3 subwoofer), W4S ST-500, bel canto Pre 3VB Pre amp that the W4S DAC-2 as a digital source has excellent soundstaging capabilities. 

 

My system in its current state is soundstaging and imaging with breathtaking ability.  Instruments seem to be sculpted in space as if I can now reach around behind them as they play.  Inner detail is outstanding and detail retrieval seems never ending.  The bel canto is now able to plumb and caress these delicacies from the outstanding signal the W4S DAC-2 is converting.   None of this would be possible for the bel canto Pre2VB,W4S ST-500, Gallo Stradas to recreate if the W4S DAC-2 did not have the ability to produce an excellent and realistic soundstage to begin with.   So in conclusion I would say one needs to consider that soundstaging in the speaker realm is very different than what is understood to be soundstaging in the headphone realm.  Personally I feel they are two completely separate paradigms whose only common denominator is that they share the same term.

 

I might also add that the bel canto has brought a level of musicality to the rig which I have simply not experienced from a solid state pre amp in the past.

 

 


Well stated, WA. It's just a matter of time before my living arrangement changes. When it does, I'm going to get up, take my two biscuits and go! Walking Running back to the other side!!! In the nearly two years I've been searching for rhythm in head-fi, I still find the experience to be a strange kitty.

 

Very excited about your new experience!

beerchug.gif

 

post #905 of 1351

Does anyone know what the supported sample rates are on the DAC-2?  Specifically, I'm looking for the minimum supported sample rate.  

 

I have run into an issue where feeding an internet talk radio feed to the DAC-2 results in the stream sounding sped up, like 'chipmunks' talking.  The DAC-2 displays 32k as the sample rate.  My guess is the stream is 16k and the DAC-2's minimum is 32k thus resulting in the 2x speed I'm hearing.

post #906 of 1351

WA, sound staging was my goal in purchasing the DAC 2 6 months ago.  I had a cambridge audio Azure 840c prior scratching the DAC itch.  I was using a Krell pre at the time and felt like the difference between the DAC's in the Krell showcase pre were about equivalent to the 840c's.  Things sounded pretty good but I felt like I was missing something.  I purchased a Benchmark DAC1 Pre and the W4S and demoed them side by side.  I really liked the headphone amp on the Benchmark using AKG K701's; it didn't work to well with my Linkwitz Orion loudspeakers though.  If you plan on using a DAC extensively for headphone listening I can't knock the Benchmark; I just don't use headphones in the same room as the speakers.  The Orion speakers, like the Gallos, are known for extraordinary imaging.  

 

The W4S DAC 2 just adds more dimensionality to many recordings.  I don't know how to explain it except that the air in certain recordings creates a believable acoustic environment.  Instruments sit in a defined space well behind the speakers.  Most people think that the center channel is turned because the center image is so rock solid when the vocals come from the center.  I can only speak to the combination of speakers/DAC; I'm sure different speakers may yield different results.  After 6 months in this configuration; I don't want to change anything for the first time in a very long time.  

 

While I don't have any experience with uber expensive DACs, the W4S is the best I've ever had in my system for my loudspeakers; no questions asked.  Here are the DACs I've tried:

1.  Cambridge Audio 840c

2.  Krell Showcase

3.  Lavry DA10

4.  RME Fireface 800(surprisingly good considering it's not built primarily as a DAC)

5.  Benchmark DAC1 Pre

6.  W4S DAC 2

post #907 of 1351
Quote:
Originally Posted by starfish View Post

Does anyone know what the supported sample rates are on the DAC-2?  Specifically, I'm looking for the minimum supported sample rate.  

 

I have run into an issue where feeding an internet talk radio feed to the DAC-2 results in the stream sounding sped up, like 'chipmunks' talking.  The DAC-2 displays 32k as the sample rate.  My guess is the stream is 16k and the DAC-2's minimum is 32k thus resulting in the 2x speed I'm hearing.

 

Did you somehow get this resolved? Please share with us how...

post #908 of 1351
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent One View Post

 

Did you somehow get this resolved? Please share with us how...

In short, no.  If you are using a PC or Mac though as your source it is pretty trivial to solve because you can change the sample rate being sent to the DAC-2 in the OS / software- i.e. resampling.  Conversely, if you are sending the DAC-2 a digital stream directly (no computer) at a sample rate less than 24k, the DAC-2 simply doubles the rate to reach its minimum sample rate and the side-effect is a doubling of the speed of the stream.  

 

All-in-all this is a minor issue, more of a nuisance having to switch to a computer source for VBR and/or lower-rate internet streams, but otherwise I have been very pleased with the DAC-2's performance.

 

The other thing is, I never really compared any dacs in this regard....   perhaps all/most have a lower limit of 32k, though it does seem odd when internet streaming, with significant compression, is still relatively ubiquitous, and @20k VBR seems to be widely in use.


Edited by starfish - 5/25/12 at 7:47am
post #909 of 1351

I Received my W4S DAC1 about a week ago, since theres no DAC1 thread i figured i'd post here. I got the supercap upgrade on mine ($150 extra), so basically it is the same sound quality as the DAC2 without the pre-amp or extra inputs.

 

I absolutly love this DAC so far. im at about 200 hours right now and im loving every second. the detail with my LCD2v2's is amazing. I cant wait to get a balanced amp to pair with it (with Audio-GD C2-SA right now).

I cant wait for it to improve more with more burn in. I had no need for the preamp since its for my headphone rig so i just opted for the much cheaper one ;) although the I2S would have been nice to use with my Audio-GD DI-DSP.

 

When i buy my own house next year and do a dedicated 2 channel system i will definately pick up a DAC2 as well.

 

i wish W4S would make a nice balanced headphone amp. but its not like were lacking the options right now with the new Schiit Mjolnir and Bryston BHA-1 being released.

post #910 of 1351
Thread Starter 

You can read on and on about balanced headphone amps.  You don't have to trust me but I don't really think it matters with headphones.  I had the Woo WA22 (which there is a heated debate about if it actually is balanced) and now own the Cavalli Liquid Fire which is SE.  Balanced never made a difference for me listening or SQ-wise and the LF just kills the WA22.  There was a debate that to have truly balanced headphones you need phones wired that way too which they are not (I might be full of whatever so seek this out, read and study.  There's a ton of guys here who know EE every which way and know all about this stuff)

 

Yes the W4S DAC is incredible!

post #911 of 1351

For those of you who know a lot more about computer audio and jitter and the need for USB to SPDIF bridges please take a look at this link

http://www.esstech.com/PDF/SABRE32%20Reference%20PB%20Rev%200.6%20110117.pdf

 

If jitter reduction is done to the signal after it is received by the DAC-2 then is that there is better jitter reduction out there implemented by after market bridges and/or the DAC-2 chip doesn't eliminate all jitter?  Essentially these M2Tech Hifaces and AP1/2s are getting a super clean signal to the DAC-2 so that very little is needed to be done by the Sabre chip.  

 

I believe Clint of W4S doesn't think a bridge is going be to a huge improvement for the DAC-2.  We've been over this before but today I just happened to look at specs of the DAC chip and it got me thinking again about USB/SPDIF bridges. 


Edited by WNBC - 6/22/12 at 9:38am
post #912 of 1351

I and a friend use the W4S DAC-2 with the AP2, and the difference is appreciable. In this case theory drools, reality rules... The difference with the AP2--and now with the Pure Power Battery supply--is significant. I wish Clint would try it rather than defaulting to White Papers. At least for the W4S DAC's, a well designed S/PDIF transport from Audiophilleo or Empirical Audio make all the difference in the world. I don't believe they have heard what is possible with the DAC-2. 

 

EDIT: BTW, I'm not convinced that the difference in sound quality is the result of lower jitter. It might be. It could be that the USB interface, even being asynchronous, just doesn't match a well designed S/PDIF transport, with lower jitter.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by WNBC View Post

For those of you who know a lot more about computer audio and jitter and the need for USB to SPDIF bridges please take a look at this link

http://www.esstech.com/PDF/SABRE32%20Reference%20PB%20Rev%200.6%20110117.pdf

 

If jitter reduction is done to the signal after it is received by the DAC-2 then is that there is better jitter reduction out there implemented by after market bridges and/or the DAC-2 chip doesn't eliminate all jitter?  Essentially these M2Tech Hifaces and AP1/2s are getting a super clean signal to the DAC-2 so that very little is needed to be done by the Sabre chip.  

 

I believe Clint of W4S doesn't think a bridge is going be to a huge improvement for the DAC-2.  We've been over this before but today I just happened to look at specs of the DAC chip and it got me thinking again about USB/SPDIF bridges. 


Edited by Rdr. Seraphim - 6/22/12 at 1:03pm
post #913 of 1351

i love the DAC2. 

 

but, despite what W4S preaches about the async usb, it still sounds "limited' through that input.  IMHO, of course.

 

in my opinion, the DAC2 is subject to transport-related jitter.  no more or no less than every other DAC i've owned or heard.

 

from my experience, making subtle improvements and tweaks to my transports has been one of the biggest revelations for me in this hobby.

 

my DAC2 now is running from the EVO w/ battery power supply.  using wireworld USB and Coax cables.

 

and the sound is dy-no-mite.  biggrin.gif

post #914 of 1351

Thanks for the input guys. 

 

I haven't made the splurge yet but thinking about the AP2 or EVO or other high end USB-to-SPDIF bridges to take computer audio to the next level.  The alternative is to get a decent CD transport.  In the past I tried V-Link, Audio-gd DI, and M2Tech Hiface.  I did notice any advantage that would make me sit up and take notice.  Bear in mind those bridges were used in conjunction with the PS Audio DLIII which was an upsampling DAC.  I learned later on that there might not be an advantage to a bridge and upsampling DACs.  Maybe that's untrue as well.  I am what I read :)

 

FLAC > W4S > Zbox > V200 > HE-500 

 

I recently added a Decware Zbox to the equation and this tube buffer has really opened things up in terms of soundstage, resolution, and a more natural timbre to instruments/voices.  My main worry is that after spending a $1000 on the AP1/PurePower I won't be able to hear a difference because the Zbox has already made such improvements in my rig.  

 

Ok, anybody tried the M2Tech Hiface 2?

post #915 of 1351
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWuss View Post

i love the DAC2. 

 

but, despite what W4S preaches about the async usb, it still sounds "limited' through that input.  IMHO, of course.

 

in my opinion, the DAC2 is subject to transport-related jitter.  no more or no less than every other DAC i've owned or heard.

 

from my experience, making subtle improvements and tweaks to my transports has been one of the biggest revelations for me in this hobby.

 

my DAC2 now is running from the EVO w/ battery power supply.  using wireworld USB and Coax cables.

 

and the sound is dy-no-mite.  biggrin.gif

 

It still sounds miles better through USB than the Cary Xciter DAC I previously owned.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Does anyone own the Wyred4sound DAC 2?