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Considering a dedicated headphone setup and need an additional DAC: Gungnir, NuWave or WDS-1?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I am contemplating relocating my headphone rig away from my listening room and into the main living room of my house.  I listen through my headphones primarily at night or early morning when the wife is sleeping and am thinking it would be nice to have it more conveniently located.  This will, however, necessitate purchasing an additional DAC (darn shame) and I covet experienced ears opinions’ regarding the DACs I’m considering.  

 

I am considering three DACs, and yes I know there are dozen’s in the price range.  While I do appreciate everyone’s personal favorites, I’m really only looking at these three, so please refrain from suggesting another brand.

 

Music preferences-

Pretty much the entire spectrum from Baroque to Metal with heavy rotation of Jazz, rock and opera thrown in the mix.

 

Associated gear-

Current DAC is PS Audio PWD Mk. II streaming through the bridge via LAN. This will have to stay with my main speaker based system.

 

Headphone amp- Woo 22 with various NOS tubes.

 

Headphones- Beyer T1s with Moon Audio Black Dragon fully balanced cabling. Sen HD600s with OEM cables.

 

Sources- Mac Mini running J River, serving from either a NAS or an attached external drive, which will connect via USB. I also have a SONOS Connect in that location so I figure I might as well go ahead and use it via Toslink.  I have over 2500 ripped CDs to AIFF files and precious few HR downloads so DSD and high oversampling capabilities really aren’t paramount if I am to be honest with myself.

 

Cabling will be Kimber KCTG balanced between the DAC and the Woo.

 

Considered DACs-

As the title mentions, the three I’m considering are the PS Audio NuWave, the Schiit Gungnir and the Woo WDS-1.  I want a DAC that has balanced outputs as my Woo mates best that way.

 

I am considering the PS Audio because I already own the PWD and am very pleased with it.  I would love to buy another but am not wanting to spend that kind of money for a second listening location. My concern about the NuWave is that the USB input has been reported as not very good.  That issue may have been resolved but I’ve not confirmed it yet.

 

I am looking at the Woo because it will be mated to the Woo amp and I have read there is great synergy between the two.  However, there really isn’t much out there regarding individual experience with the unit, considering it’s been out a while now.  It is the most expensive, by a fair margin, and am not really wanting to gamble unnecessarily. It would have to really “woo me” to want to spend 50% more on it.

 

I’ve not owned any Schiit products at this point, but have almost bought several over the past few years. I suppose I am attracted by their niche product development, outstanding customer reviews and satisfaction and extremely high value. While there are some naysayers out there, the overwhelming majority of opinions is extremely high, which is more than I can say about the NuWave, surprisingly.

 

So, I’m putting it out there, looking for those that have first hand knowledge of these three DACs.  Of course I prefer hearing from those of you that have compared at least two of the three if possible.  Thank you in advance.


Edited by speeddeacon - 2/25/14 at 7:15pm
post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 

Wow, no responses yet.  I'm surprised.  My decision has gotten a little foggier with the upcoming release of the PS Audio DirectStream upgrade for my PWD.  Now I'm rethinking moving my headphone set up in order to upgrade to the DirectStream in stead of purchasing another new DAC.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Came across a good deal on a used NuWave DAC so that's the route I've taken.  I'll play the waiting game for the DirectStream to come down in price in a year or two, as it inevitably will.  That will also give plenty of time to see if it is the panacea for digital files after all.  Thanks for all the insight :rolleyes:.

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