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USB DAC Comparison Ayre-Wavelength-Music Hall


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I realize that these are not all in exactly the same price range but I would just like to hear some thoughts on their comparison, none the less. I am currently coming from a dedicated Win7 64bit HP laptop with 6GB RAM via USB to a V-DAC with upgraded outboard power supply. This is my first foray into lossless computer audio. And while I was completely blown away with the outstanding performance of the V-DAC, I'm interested in some more of the warmth, liquidity, imaging and detail that I "read" characterizing the sonics of some of these other DAC's.

 

In particular I would like to know of your thoughts comparing:

* Ayre Acoustics QB-9

* Wavelength Cosecant USB DAC v3

* Music Hall 25.2 with Level-2 RCA tube mods and clock upgrade

* Some other likely suspect that I've missed that would fit into this group.

 

One last question, does ANYONE know anything about the upcoming Wyred 4 Sound W4S DAC-1 that has been "Coming Soon" for a LONG time now?

 

Thank you for your thoughts and happy listening.

 

Plinius SA-Reference, EMM Labs DCC2/CDSD, Soliloquy 6.5 Full Range Speakers, Mac Mini, Pure Music, dB Audio Labs Essential USB Cable, Empirical Audio Offramp 4 with Turboclocks & Hynes Regulator upgrades - Power Conditioning & Cabling by Silver Circle Audio

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I can't help you with the Music Hall but I own both the Ayre and the Cosecant. They are about what you would expect in terms of differences. Both are very good; the Ayre has a bit more drive and dynamics, a little more bass grip and extension, seems to handle high level input with slightly more aplomb. The Cosecant sounds like the things I enjoy about good tube products, i.e. not syrupy, euphonic sounding ones. Very open, images are a little more tactile, the music flows very well, slightly more "there" there. Ultimately for me it comes down to taste and system synergy. I wouldn't buy either, or anything for that matter, without hearing it first.

 

Rick

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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But unfortunately, having the luxury of getting to hear any of them first is not an option I can explore. I may live in the 4th largest city in the US but there is a dearth of high end audio brick and mortar here.

 

Plinius SA-Reference, EMM Labs DCC2/CDSD, Soliloquy 6.5 Full Range Speakers, Mac Mini, Pure Music, dB Audio Labs Essential USB Cable, Empirical Audio Offramp 4 with Turboclocks & Hynes Regulator upgrades - Power Conditioning & Cabling by Silver Circle Audio

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I started with the Waveelength Cosecant V3. It was (still is) wonderful. I tried a less expensive DAC and it was really really good to my surprise. It lacked the finer details without the warmth. I'm waiting on delivery of my Wavelength Crimson with the denominator module.

 

I'm sure you'll be very happy with whatever you choose to purchase. Have fun and enjoy the sound!

 

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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