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W4S DAC-1

 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4626
Registered: Feb-07
Just got one.

BOING!!!!

As Nick would say.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4333
Registered: May-05
I know it's early and needs some warm up time, but how's it sound? What's feeding it? Connection type - coax, optical, USB?

I think the DAC-1 doesn't have the high-res asynch USB input. Can you confirm or discredit that?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4627
Registered: Feb-07
Stu, I managed to find someone a 15 minute drive from here who was selling their DAC-1! I've been looking for one of these used for awhile and even new there's at least a months waiting list to get your hands on one.

The fellah that had it before had it since last spring, so of course it's fully broken in.

All I gotta say is the very first song I listened too the sound brought a smile to my face several times. This is my first real experience with a real DAC in my own environment and I always expected a DAC to sound "digital"... you know, detailed and cold. This is the complete opposite. Cliche or not, it's analogue and organic.

I'm using one of Nick's Media Centers as a source with my CD collection all ripped as FLAC, connected via optical to the DAC. There's no bells and whistles, or multiple selections or settings. You pick your input and go.

You are correct, the DAC-1 does not have the async USB, but it doesn't matter since I'm not using USB, nor will I be.

I'll get some pics up for you guys soon. Oh yeah, I found the same thing with my DAC-1 as you did with your Rega - it's much bigger in real life than in all the pics. Pretty hefty too, at 15 lbs.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13870
Registered: Feb-05
Very cool, David. Congrats! Looking forward to the pics.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 928
Registered: Dec-06
Cool. Nice to see you are enjoying it, David. It was probably a low risk purchase. First you probably got some money off the price of new. But second, it seems that W4S's DACs are in demand, so if you opt to sell down the line you probably aren't going to lose much.

What's the associated gear? Amp and speakers?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4630
Registered: Feb-07
I figured it was a low risk purchase too Dan. They retail here in Canada for almost 1500, plus they're impossible to get new it seems. Since it was a local sale I got it for a really good price, and if do I decide to sell it down the road I'm sure I can recover at least what I paid for it.

Using it on my main rig; The DAC-1 into my Stingray, with my Totem Sttafs. Still taking some getting used to using a computer as a source, though. It's just not the same as spinning a CD. I'm sure I'll like it once I get used to the convenience.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1205
Registered: Jul-07
Someone's going to be having fun this weekend. After you listen more David, let us know your impressions. How would you compare it to your Mac cdp ?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3429
Registered: Jun-07
BOINGGG!!! lol

That is super sweet. You rip any cd's to it yet? It will rip is WAV which I personally prefer to FLAC for reasons on paper only.

So is it to say that you like the Wyred DAC more so than the Jolida?

What is the MC clocking for a sample rate?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4632
Registered: Feb-07
Listening to it right now... rather loud. Not as loud as Nuck would, of course! Man, my system sounds good.

To address your question, Chris. I was more concerned about how this setup would compare to using my Jolida CDP as source, which in my opinion, utterly smashed the Mac CDP, at a 1/4 of the cost. So far I'm pretty happy. It sounds a little warmer, smoother and is definitely not bass shy.

Nick, I rip all my stuff to a server in my basement with a 500 GB drive, then copy it over to the MC. I have it networked in here now. The MC is clocking it to the to DAC at 44.1.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4636
Registered: Feb-07
Pics!

Upload

Upload
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4637
Registered: Feb-07
This one gives you an idea of how deep it is. Stu, is your Rega roughly the same size?

Upload
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4638
Registered: Feb-07
Upload
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4337
Registered: May-05
Going by the measurements from both manufacturers, they're the same width, your's is an inch or so taller and deeper.

Are those the stock feet?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4639
Registered: Feb-07
Nope, they're some aluminum and felt risers I had kicking around. The feet are actually rubber cones.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13884
Registered: Feb-05
Nice pics, David. That's a nice looking DAC.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3430
Registered: Jun-07
wow! That DAC is bad a $ $. Big and mean looking. Yet gentle on the inside. lol. Great pics David.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4646
Registered: Feb-07
Thanks Nick. I'm really digging this piece of gear. You gotta get the Rega so we can do a shoot-out.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4350
Registered: May-05
So now that you've had it for a while, is there a review coming any time soon?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4659
Registered: Feb-07
I guess a review is in order soon. Haven't had a lot of time to spend with it. Will post more when I can find some time.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Pigman

Post Number: 18
Registered: Jun-10
Soundstage just did a review on them.They think its a great piece.
Aaron
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1237
Registered: Jul-07
How's the room coming David ?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4660
Registered: Feb-07
He Chris,

The room is coming along slowly. The only time I have to work on it is Sundays usually. I have all the walls the ceiling drywalled now, and the ceiling is 95% taped and mudded.

Next is sanding and priming, and I still to hang a door on the furnace room.

I'm looking forward to getting the floor done. Then things will really take shape.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4665
Registered: Feb-07
Well the DAC-1 was an interesting experiment, but much like Elvis, has left the building.

Strengths: Unbelievable imaging and soundstage, solid bass

Weakness: Overly warm, dark sound (this coming from a guy who likes a warm sound)

I sold it. Heard back from the guy that I sold it too. He feels the same I way I did. I bet it won't be long before he sells it.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 980
Registered: Dec-06
That's too bad, David. Is it possible it just wasn't the best match with the Sttaf and Stingray? I'm not sure how the Stingray sounds, and while I've never heard the Sttaf personally I've read it is a rich and lush sounding speaker.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4357
Registered: May-05
David,

I steered you right with the Stingray. Now take my advice and hear a Rega DAC. Trust me, this thing's the real deal. A touch of natural warmth and smoothness, good soundstage and imaging, and impeccable groove.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1255
Registered: Jul-07
Sometimes you just don't know until you try. What next David ? The Rega ?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4666
Registered: Feb-07
Dan, I would think the DAC-1 would be a good compliment with the Stingray; the Stingray is a rather precise, aggressive sounding amp.

Yes, you're right Stu... good call on the Stingray.

Taking a break from the DAC pursuit for a little while, but the Rega is definitely on my radar.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1257
Registered: Jul-07
Dave, you're more than welcome to my VDA-2 for a while if you wanted to try it out. I'd be happy to send it off to you to try out. I only use it on the odd occassion anyway. PM me if you're interested.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14067
Registered: Feb-05
Sorry to hear that the DAC didn't work out, David. I'm gonna sit out the DAC thing until we get another couple of generations into it.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4667
Registered: Feb-07
Thanks for the kind offer Chris. Like Art, however, I'm gonna step back and sit out the DAC game for a bit.

To be honest, part of the reason I didn't enjoy the DAC was using a PC as a source for music. I really missed spinning my CD's.

For the interim I picked up a brand new CA 650C, and so far I'm pretty happy with it.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14071
Registered: Feb-05
Good deal, David. That latest CA series looks pretty good. I'm going to try and put an NAD 565 in my secod setup in the next few months...I hope.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4668
Registered: Feb-07
Cool stuff Art. Having owned the 640C V2 before, I can say the 650C is just a touch better. I've always liked the dual Wolfson DAC configuration.

The transport tray is rock solid too - one of the best I've seen. I tried out a Grant Fidelity (Chi-Fi) CDP before this one, and while it sounded OK, the cheap transport was a real put-off. It was something out of a cheap PC.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 982
Registered: Dec-06
Chris, how does the VDA-2 sound? I take it not as good as your EE CD player?

What I'm doing on the source front, I have no idea. I might keep my Apollo SE, but I'm also going to demo a Simaudio CD-1 soon. I still might get a DAC...Rega DAC, VDA-2, PS Audio Digital Link III, Benchmark Dac1, and the Simaudio 100D or 300D are all in contention.

I read comments from Dan Lavry on the Head Fi forum that have me backing off the priority to buy a NOS DAC. I wouldn't rule any out, but he argues they present significant problems that OS DACs can easily overcome. He's got his own motivations I'm sure, still it is food for thought. Frankly, I think I'd buy a Bryston BDA-1 over everything else, from all I've read, but $2,000 is a little too steep.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4669
Registered: Feb-07
The Bryston is still at the top of my list too, but I'd like to give the Rega a try first.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 983
Registered: Dec-06
I wonder how good the DAC in a Bryston B-60 is. Much of a compromise over the BDA-1? One day I think I'm going to buy a used B-60, then make the short drive to Bryston to have them upgrade/fix it. Seems like it'd be a fun thing to do.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1258
Registered: Jul-07
Dan, the VDA-2 sounds very good. My Minimax just beats it out. I've always wanted to try it with a music server or computer to see how it would perform with hi-rez files, since it supports 192/24. Haven't gotten there yet though.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4358
Registered: May-05
The internal DAC in a B60 sounds very good. It's a bit of a compromise over the BDA-1 is a few ways -

1 DAC chip vs 2 in the BDA
No selectable/defeatable upsampling
1 coax input vs a couple of each type
Shared power supply

The B60 with DAC makes sense if you have one source with coax, want to keep things simple, and can't stretch for the BDA. I think it sounds great and seriously considered it, but it would have cost me more in the long run, as I'd need a new phono stage (my internal phono would have to come out), an optical to coax converter, and sone more cables.

The internal DAC upsamples everything, and I don't think it'll do as high a sample rate as the BDA, but I'm not sure about the rate limit.

If you don't need an internal phono stage and you only have one coax to plug in, it's a better VFM and doesn't give up much in sound to my ears.

Just some ideas to kick around.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 985
Registered: Dec-06
Thanks Stu. Pretty sure I'll grab a used B-60 one day, but it won't be soon. Unless a dealer here gets hold of a used one and I can trade some pieces in for it. I'm not willing to drop over a grand of new money into my system at this moment...whatever I get will have to be on trade. But if one pops up today at a dealer I'll grab it!

I heard the B-100 and BCD-1 last year and enjoyed the sound. I get the sense that Bryston tends to be very neutral and not overly refined. I'm starting to realize that I actually like a little bit of edginess in my music playback, as it is more exciting than something that is overly refined and smooth sounding. Rotel might be the embodiment of edge, and I sure wouldn't mind trying their well regarded RCD-1072.

I notice the Bryston internal DAC upsamples to 96kHz, which isn't a multiple of 44.1. Simaudio put together a little write up about upsampling, in which they warn against this:

http://www.simaudio.com/pdf/Upsampling.pdf

The external Bryston DAC actually differs from the internal, as it upsamples 44.1kHz signals to 176.4kHz (4x). I like the fact that upsampling can be defeated too.

I'm not sure if Simaudio is correct in their claims, though on the surface it seems to make sense.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4361
Registered: May-05
Using multiples of 44.1 makes sense to me too. So does oversampling, non-oversampling, Class A, A/B, etc. I've learned it's not the technology, it's the implementation. The way I look at - if it sounds right to my ears, I don't care why.

I'd avoid the Rotel CDP. It was a very good CDP for the money, but your ears and gear are better than it. It may seem like what you're looking for at first, but you'll most likely get tired of it after a month or two of consistent use.

There are a lot of CDPs that are energetic like the Rotel tries to be. Naim immediately comes to mind. Naim will trounce the Rotel in every way. Maybe track down a gently used CD5x? That was one of my favorite CDPs and the one that opened my eyes to the importance of the CDP in the system.

Cambridge is a bit energetic and a good deal better than Rotel IMO. I think you've got one or had one in your system, so I'll leave that alone.

Track down as much stuff as you can and give it a good listen. If you haven't heard a properly set up Naim system, they're definitely worth your time persuing.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 988
Registered: Dec-06
I had the Cambridge blu-ray player. Wasn't crazy about the sound, the new Denon I had for a brief time afterward was quite a bit better in my opinion. Haven't tried my Oppo yet.

Nait 5i and CD5i are a possibility for me, but I have to determine if I want to spend $1,700 on a CD player or go the DAC route instead. I don't think I'd go Naim unless I went all in. As Art says, if you want to hear what Naim is capable of, you have to go all the way (including cables).

I guess I'll just stick to the plan and listen to Creek, Sugden, and Simaudio in the near future. Despite looking around, I'm pretty content right now. I think my Rega CD player offers up enough smoothness and bottom end to work well with the Exposure, and it all sounds great through my Castle and Tannoy speakers (Quad is a little too easy going though). Basically, I'm hearing the music come through now, the emotion in it, which I wasn't getting a short time ago. If none of Creek, Sugden, or Simaudio sound better to my ears, I think I will stick with what I've got. There is little sense in messing with things when they are working.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4362
Registered: May-05
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Simaudio makes some great gear, but I wouldn't call it exciting. It's a safer sounding line. Excellent, but doesn't have that last degree of immediacy that Naim, Rega and Bryston have. It's not a bad thing, but if you're looking to inject a shot of adreneline into the mix, Sim most likely won't provide it for you IMO.

Broken record,or skipping CD here... Rega DAC when you've got a chance to hear it. I hear that Creek is working on a DAC, but I don't know the source of that rumor's track record.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 990
Registered: Dec-06
I've heard Simaudio once, it did sound safer. But that was powering Dynaudio speakers, and for all I know maybe the Dyns contributed some of that (it was the first time I had heard both). But from your comments and others I've read, Simaudio was probably a good part of that sound. Actually, I think I heard them powering Elac speakers too - again, I was unfamiliar with those, so tough to draw any conclusions.

As far as I know, Sugden is also smooth and refined, but I gather probably also livelier than Sim. The Mystro got a nice review in Hi-Fi Choice, and they noted it's liveliness and PRaT. The Creek should be interesting as well. Perhaps I will focus on those two.

My dealer has the Rega DAC available for demo now. I'll definitely listen to it, likely next month. Hopefully it'll be nicely broken in by then.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4711
Registered: Feb-07
You hear the Rega yet Dan?
 

Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1009
Registered: Dec-06
Not yet, David. I plan to in about two weeks. I want to take home the DAC and two or three amps for a couple of days.

I dunno, I'm actually quite happy with things right now and I could easily stick with my amp and player, and just upgrade my turntable to a P3-24. But I definitely need to hear how the DAC compares to the Apollo SE, especially since it would cost very little to purchase after trading in the player.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1017
Registered: Dec-06
I should have the Rega DAC on hand tomorrow evening! Along with the Simaudio CD-1 and i-1. I probably won't get much listening in until Sunday though.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14313
Registered: Feb-05
Looking forward to your thoughts, Dan.
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