Waiting for the FedEx man. I'll break mine in for a few days before comparing to other DACs in my collection.
PS Audio's new DAC - NuWave - Page 3
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Try giving the Nuwave a straight two/three day to get used to and just try everything on it and then switch it up with comparisons. Although from quick impressions what's the word on transparency, neutrality and USB vs optical, any difference?
Cool can't wait. "Hello youtube...."
I'm a trust my ears kind of person but I can answer from my point of view. I prefer my DACs to be non-oversampling or NOS FWIW. I think the Stello is noticeably more transparent or dynamic, things seem to come from a blacker background. I think the NuWave is more neutral with less bass and high end sparkle. Detail between the two is probably a toss up, again I notice the Pico DAC falls a bit short of the NuWave in this regard. I hate to say it this way but I feel with the NuWave it sounds edgier or harder in comparison to the Stello which is smoother and easier for me to listen to.
I will not be able to test USB versus optical anytime soon but based on my experience with the PWD, the USB connection of the NWD based on the XMOS setup should be quite good. Also understand that my Stello is connected via USB which is not asynchronous and from what I have read is probably the DAC's least optimal method of connection. In other words the Stello should have a disadvantage being connected via USB and not asynchronous (or galvanically isolated or wrapped in toilet paper).
These are only my early impressions, I am sure there will be more from those who are much more fluent (and credible) than I.
Edited by Mr.Sneis - 11/21/12 at 11:27am
I almost forgot how hard testing DACs can be. Have been listening a little more this morning and to be quite honest I think I may prefer the tried and true Stello DA100 Signature (connected via plain old USB) to the NuWave. Something about the Stello sounds more organic ~ true to life to me. To make sure I wasn't crazy I also have a Pico DAC only added in the mix which seems to lose a little in the detail department compared to the NuWave. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to the opening of Jazz at the Pawnshop now. I wonder if I'm doing something wrong. The difference to me is enjoying the music versus just listening to it. Slightly disappointing to me considering I really like the PWD.
I hate to say it, but I am coming to the same conclusion. The NuWave certainly brings an astonishing new level of detail to the table for the price. The difference is easily noticeable and I can hear all sorts of new things in the music. It was a true "WOW" moment from the get-go. However, after extended listening in my HD800 + Decware CSP+ tube amp rig... I notice a distinct lack of "organic-ness" as Mr. Sneis described. Like the overall sound signature has become somewhat sterile. As if the body, airiness, and even a little of the soundstage has been subtly siphoned out of the signal.
I do not know what might be causing this. The DAC has burned in for about a week solid and is plugged directly into the wall. No line/AC filters in place. I am using the same high quality interconnects as with my original DAC for the A/B tests. Both Native and 192Khz upsampling were tested, along with many different audio sample rates and compression algorithms.
The only remaining potential handicap I can think of might be the interface. I have not yet tried bypassing the USB input and making a connection via SPDIF with either coax or optical. I should be able to confirm this on Sunday during a mini-meet w/a couple of local pals. Opinions forthcoming...
It's been running non-stop for over 24hrs. No much heat from the unit.
Initial impressions are that the DAC is very life-like & natural sounding. It has details and refinement of a modern DAC without any hint of dryness or overly bright. Low frequencies are well defined and controlled. I have to say that it sounds well balanced. More to come.
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I got a chance to hear the NuWave yesterday. Being fed by a Parasound Halo D3 universal player as transport, or via USB from a laptop with Empirical Audio Short Block filtering USB. I hate to say it, but I just wasn't all that impressed with the DAC. It was not terrible - I've heard worse. But it didn't really do anything special to set it apart from many other units in the $500-1000 range. I agree with what people are saying so far regarding a somewhat clinical feel to it. I actually liked the Parasound D3 better through the analog outs - and the D3 is not the best player in the world.
I didn't bring my stuff to compare but I feel like the NuWave is no better than the Parasound Zdac that just came out for under $500, and worse than the $599 Resonessence Concero. It may have more features though.
I'll revisit it in a month or so, but at this time I'm just not impressed by the NuWave. Not every DAC can be a winner, so there's no shame in not blowing away all the competition.
I held a mini-mini meet at my place today and three others generally echoed the same sentiment: The NuWave possesses many positive qualities but sounds almost "canned" in comparison to the Gungnir.
However... (a big however)...
...near the end of the meet, Yuceka connected a... well... I don't know what the gizmo was... but it facilitated a Macbook Air -> coaxial connection to the NuWave. The "canned/sterile" issue was much improved. Although we were running out of time, I was truly beginning to enjoy the NuWave with the new connection. I'll ask him to contribute his 2c here (he is currently evaluating the unit).
In the meantime, I can say that the NuWave is more up-front, delivers stronger and more well-defined bass, excels at pulling the details from the music, and shines at the top end with cymbal brushes and hits. The Gungnir still exceeds the NuWave in terms of soundstage size and airiness/naturalness of certain instruments, but ultimately it doesn't quite get you as far into the nuances of the music as the NuWave.
Hmmmmm. It's really an apples and oranges kind of thing. Hard to choose which way I would go now. I wish I had another week with the NuWave + Yuceka's thingamagig. Clearly, the connection to the NuWave is pretty darn important. USB -> NuWave straight from a laptop wasn't cutting it. Nor a CDP -> NuWave via coax.
That's quite the finding, wonder why it would be so much better with a usb spdif converter versus regular connections; the asynch setup is supposed to be pretty good, maybe not so. Last week I sent the NWD back to Boulder. I'm going old-school for now. Parasound!