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Suitability of Minerva(vs BDA-1) for Windows OS Machine


aps
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So, following advice on another thread, I’ve decided to go full steam ahead on a computer audio set-up. The plan is to use a Windows OS, as I’ve got knowledge of the environment as well as a selection of components, and the question I’ve got is on the DAC.

 

There is, now, no distributer of Alpha Berkley DAC here in Australia so the initial thinking was to use Lynx AES16e to Bryston BDA-1 DAC. I’ve started wondering, though, if the answer might be Weiss Minerva via on-board fire-wire. These two options (AES16/BDA-1 versus Minerva) have similar recommended retail prices in our market.

 

My question, really, is about the suitability of the Weiss Minerva for use with Windows OS computers. All the reviews seem to use an Apple OS and there seems to be some hint that Weiss Minerva doesn’t excel with Windows OS. Also, use of MOBO firewire acceptable or is there a benefit in using a dedicated firewire card?

 

Regards,

APS

 

P.S. FYI – listening to the two set-ups isn’t an option as, with no local suppliers, it’d entail a 5hour interstate flight!

 

 

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I am a newbie just starting to audition DACS, but here is my opinion.

 

I was at a dealer 2 days ago taking the Berkeley DAC home to audition. As he unplugged the Berkeley and plugged in the Weiss while the music was playing, the tonality difference was striking. The Weiss is a LOT brighter. My first sentence was, "Wow, that's different". I then turned to the dealer and said "I prefer the Berkeley". He just nodded in agreement. I didn't stay longer to hear how the Weiss did other things. That comparison took it out of the running right away.

 

Two weeks ago, I had the Bryston in my system. Compared to the Berkeley, the Bryston has a darker sound. I noticed this right away with a ripped CD by Jane Wiedlen. She was a lot throatier with the Bryston. The Bryston does not do a soundstage like the Berkeley. I am listening to the Berkeley and just amazed at how it sets the soundstage. Don't get me wrong, I really liked the Bryston. I just think the Berkeley is in another class. (It should be given the price difference.)

 

Obviously, associated equipment is important. I am not sure what the dealer was running. I think it was Pass mono-blocks into Avalon speakers. My equipment is Bryston pre-amp/amp into Maggie 3.5's. I also took the pre-amp out of the equation with the Berkeley. Taking out the pre-amp took the Berkeley sound to another level. I am running an old Windows PC using Media Monkey and either otachan ASIO or Wavout, Lynx aes16 with 2.0? firmware.

 

Most of my listening is classical ripped CD's.

 

Hope that helps.

 

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Thanks. Interesting feedback but the Berkley isn't an option as it's not sold locally. What's the performance of the Weiss DAC2/Minerva with Windows OS machines? And is on-board firewire acceptable or should one add a specific firewire card?

 

Cheers,

APS

 

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If anything negative has been said about the Weiss (DAC2/Minerva) it's that it "smooths" out the sound too much; i.e not as much detail as the Berkeley. I found that the Weiss made all my good redbook sound like hirez, and took hirez through the roof. The Berkeley had a slightly wider soundstage (and the preamp aspects are nice) but didn't sound as good on non-audiophile recordings...slightly too bright for me. The Weiss's soundstage was defionitely deeper, and music had more color, more organic textures. As in all cases, YMMMV...but never heard the Weiss considered bright by anyone.

 

Yes, the Weiss works fine with onboard firewire outputs. It's firewire drivers seem more at home with a MAC than pc (just cuz myself and a few others have had some hiccups with driver recognition on our pc's...I went MAC eventually) but Daniel Weiss's newest drivers supposedly fix all that.

 

IMO, both significantly outperform the Bryston, but are more $$ too.

 

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I'll leave the mobo fw vs dedicated card up to those that know more. I've nevr compared...my Macbook has FW400 and I'm a happy man.

 

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Firefly0071

 

Thanks. I hadn't seen that Len Wallis was now distributing Alpha DAC. You're right, though, the RRP $7.8k (including AES16 card) is at quite a premium to the Weiss Minerva at $4.7k!

 

Regards,

APS

 

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That's a hassle. All the information I'd received suggested that Windows 7 drivers were operational so, hopefully, there is just some set-up issue that can be resolved with a little support. Thanks for the heads-up and good luck.

 

Regards,

APS

 

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