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Weiss DAC 2 v Bryston BDA-1


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I am currently looking to replace my ageing Musical Fidelity Tri Vista DAC. The shortlist is now down to two DAC's , Weiss DAC 2 and the Bryston BDA-1. If you have auditioned or better still owned both DAC's, a brief description of the differences between the two would be much appreciated. I am hoping to audition both for myself in the coming month, unfortunatley auditions will not be in one place at one time, which will make the job of selection even harder.

 

As the re-sale value of the MF Tri-Vista DAC is not very high, I am contemplating moving it on to my PC system in the study, moving my Cambridge Audio DacMagic from the study to the kitchen, and moving the Beresford DAC form the kitchen, to create a new system in the bedroom. I spend a fair amount of time listening to music while working in the study, so it will be interesting to see how the older MF DAC compares to the new DacMagic, considering the DacMagic cost one seventh of the price of the MF (from new).

 

Regards

 

Paul

 

Are all audiophiles obsessive compulsives or is this just a Stereo Type? Yorkshire UK

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Hi Paul,

 

I have been lucky enough to borrow both these DAC’s to try at home within a few wks of each other. I used a MacPro desktop with 44.1kHz/16bit AIFF files as the main source and used my CD player as a reference point comparing the same songs.

 

I listened to the Bryston first via optical and usb. I could hear little difference. Also the difference between the Rotel CD player and the Bryston was very minor. In fact I couldn’t tell which was better which was very disappointing considering the price difference between the two. I then plugged the CD player into the DAC and the difference was huge and very obvious. This is the improvement I was hoping to get from the Mac and was surprised by the difference. The Bryston is a good DAC with a ton of inputs but in my personal opinion the optical and usb inputs let the DAC down - for computer audio anyway.

 

I then borrowed the Weiss DAC. To start with the volume was very low but after reading the manual again you need to adjust a small screw at the back of the DAC to adjust the gain and the volume buttons on the front tuned to max. Once I had done this the volume matched the CD player perfectly. This time the difference between the CD player and the Mac was obvious. The Mac was much better all round and was pleased to hear the sound matched that of the CD player connected directly into the Bryston. Out of interest I also plugged the CD player into the Weiss but this time the difference was very minor.

 

So to conclude, I think it’s a no brainer the Weiss is a much better DAC for computer audio at a cheaper price then the Bryston (or at least it is in the UK).

 

Of course it’s best to come to your own conclusion if you can get a demo of both. I can highly recommend Keith at Purite audio who kindly lent me the Weiss. Good luck and let us know how you get on.

 

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Thanks for the prompt reply, I would just like to clear a couple of things up:-

 

"I listened to the Bryston first via optical and usb. I could hear little difference" What was the mac playing through prior to connecting the Bryston?

 

"I then plugged the CD player into the DAC" which connector, coax? Same question for " I also plugged the CD player into the Weiss"

 

User name "Eric2" should that not be "Eric as well" :-)

 

Thanks

 

Paul

 

 

 

 

Are all audiophiles obsessive compulsives or is this just a Stereo Type? Yorkshire UK

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Hi Chris, nice to hear from you, I should take this opportunity to say congrats on how the site is taking off. I just checked my profile and I have been a member here just over a year, wow a lot changes in a year, computeraudiophile.com seems to pop up more and more when searching the net.

 

I have taken in to account the various inputs and the fact that the the Bryston is limited to One USB at 16Bit 32K-48K, as compared to the Weiss on firewire up to 24Bit 192K. Although my current collection is exclusively 16/44, I am sure this will change in time, because of this and the disparity between the UK and US prices on the Bryston, i am leaning toward the Weiss.

 

Are all audiophiles obsessive compulsives or is this just a Stereo Type? Yorkshire UK

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Airport Express! The Mac really wasn’t playing through anything prior to the Bryston. It’s a whole new system except for the Mac. I’m a graphic designer so the Mac has dual use and was already in place.

 

Re the CD player I connected it to both DAC’s via Coax.

 

Hope this helps.

 

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Thanks for the kind words Thunktank! It appears that the Weiss will make it easier for you to output 24/192. The Bryston unit would require a desktop computer with a card like the Lynx to get up to 24/192. I don't want to sway your decision rather just discuss the features which can include or exclude certain components before you spend a ton of time trying to demo the units.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Just found the thread and thought I'd make a comment ...

 

I can't remember how much the Bryston and the Weiss cost - around $2000 for the Bryston and closer to $3000 for the Weiss DAC IIRC. I'd like to just make a comment about Eric2's review / comparison of the two devices.

 

Eric2 said "I listened to the Bryston first via optical and usb. I could hear little difference. Also the difference between the Rotel CD player and the Bryston was very minor. In fact I couldn’t tell which was better which was very disappointing considering the price difference between the two. I then plugged the CD player into the DAC and the difference was huge and very obvious. This is the improvement I was hoping to get from the Mac and was surprised by the difference. The Bryston is a good DAC with a ton of inputs but in my personal opinion the optical and usb inputs let the DAC down - for computer audio anyway."

Now there's no debating that the USB input is very limited being only 16/44.1 compatible. However the "review" goes on to blame the optical input of the Bryston for the limited sound quality and then he later praises the Weiss. However did you (Eric2) ever compare the optical input of the DAC2? Could it not be that the blame lies with the optical OUTPUT from the Mac rather than the INPUT to the Bryston DAC? For the difference in cost between the Bryston and the Weiss you could add (for example) a FireFace 400 which would give you 24/192 via firewire and may improve the input to the DAC.

 

I know it adds more complication, but maybe would level the playing field.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Hi Eloise,

 

Good point. I never did try the optical of the Weiss. This would have been a interesting comparison but having said that the USB sounded the same (or similar) so I don’t think there is anything wrong with the output of the optical from the Mac.

 

If Bryston added firewire 400 (or 800) then yes I think it could have been a completely different story as the CD player connected with coax had a massive improvement but again this is why I have come to the conclusion that the firewire is the better connection. If Bryston added firewire to their next generation DAC I think this would be fantastic - but unlikely, however I can see them changing their USB input for a Asynchronous Mode connection which would be good news.

 

In the UK Bryston have increased the price of their DAC by £200. Making the Weiss DAC cheaper and therefore an easy recommendation to Thunktank. If the Byston is cheaper in the States by $1000 then the decision would be much harder.

 

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The best price I have found for the Weiss DAC 2 in the UK is £1630, which is around £500 less than the Bryston. As my source is a MacBook (which I wish to continue using) I do not have the option of adding any cards. I was surprised that the difference between USB and Coax was so marked.

 

Are all audiophiles obsessive compulsives or is this just a Stereo Type? Yorkshire UK

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