Jump to content
IGNORED

weiss gear


Recommended Posts

Hello all,

 

I am new to this forum and starting to look for a new DAC to try computer audio. I have read Chris Cs good experience with the Weiss so went to check out the website.

 

When I go to the website I see the 'pro-audio' and 'high end' sections. The pro-audio stuff also looks great and you can actually buy it online for much more reasonable prices. I was looking specifically at the DAC2 (on the pro-audio side) for $2999. Anyone know anything about this unit? Is there some reason the 'high end' gear is so much more $$$?

 

Thanks very much,

 

Bryan

 

 

 

Link to comment

Hey Bryan - I think you'll find many different answers to your question about the cost or pro gear v. high end gear. It would be kind of nice if a manufacturer would jump in here and let us know what the deal is. I have my guesses like different inputs, different licensing agreements, different features, different aesthetics, etc...

 

The Weiss Minerva is the only piece of Weiss gear I have experience with so far so I can't comment on their pro gear. I should be done with the Minerva review very soon.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

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

Link to comment

There are several possible reasons for the price differences between pro audio and highend audio gear:

 

- highend gear may use much more elaborate mechanics, even if it is just the frontpanel.

- highend gear may be individually tuned / trimmed for best performance

- highend gear may use special parts like special capacitors, resistors etc.

- highend gear may be manufactured in smaller lots which makes it more expensive.

- the distribution chains can be different, e.g. in pro audio it can be like manufacturer to distributor to enduser while in the highend it usually is manufacturer to distributor to dealer to enduser. This adds another margin. The benefit for the enduser is that he/she can buy at the store around the corner and gets first class customer treatment, like demo equipment at home, help with setting up the system, recommendations regarding acoustics, etc.

 

All those things add up to a higher price with the highend gear.

 

Daniel Weiss

www.weiss.ch

 

www.weiss.ch

Link to comment

I never expected to get a response from the designer himself.

 

I have been trying to search the web for more information about your DAC2- can you describe how this unit compares sonically to the Weiss DAC reviewed by Chris C? Is it simple plug and play to the computer?

I have been looking for a really nice DAC in the 2-3K range.

 

Thank you very much,

 

Bryan

 

 

Link to comment

Hello Bryan

 

The DAC2 uses the same basic design as the Minerva does. The frontplate and feet are different between the two. Also the Minerva gets some extra treatment in that we optimize it for channel matching and overall technical specs.

 

Best Regards,

Daniel

 

 

www.weiss.ch

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...

I'm also thinking of purchasing the Weiss DAC2, I have a question regarding its analog outputs though:

 

I need to connect the XLR out to powered monitors and at the same time the RCA out to a headphone amplifier. Can anyone (I noted that even the designer himself answers on this site!) tell me if this is supported (without impacting sound quality) ?

 

I'm asking because the DAC2 manual text suggests that this is not supported. It says:

 

"Connect your preamplifier or power amplifier to

the output connectors of the DAC2. Use either

the symmetrical (balanced) lines (XLR) or the

asymmetrical (unbalanced) lines (RCA)."

 

Notably, in the case of powered monitors that do not have a volume control, how is the volume controlled through the DAC2? Do I need a seperate preamp for that? I noticed that the manual does not mention volume, is this done digitally in the computer OS (Vista in this case)? If so, won't this impact sound quality? I understood that in general it is better to have volume controlled in the DAC in an analog fashion rather than having the bits recalculated by the computer operating system.

 

Many thanks, VincentH

 

VincentH, Pro Audio and Headphone enthousiast. Currently using Vista + Foobar + WASAPI bitperfect --> FireWire --> RME FireFace 400 DAC --> Vovox unshielded balanced XLR interconnects --> Focal Twin 6Be active monitors + Focal Sub6 active sub; Grado RA 1 + Grado RS 1; Etymotic ER-4P.

Link to comment

Hi Vincent

 

Both XLR and RCA outputs can be used at the same time without interference. There are separate drivers for the two outputs.

 

Regarding the volume control: It can be done either in a preamp or digitally in the computer. Level control in the digital domain is not problematic (anymore), as today's D/A converters have such a high resolution that they can handle low level signals with decent quality. Of course not all digital level controls are equal. One would have to test them for best performance. Preferably they are dithered at the wordlength of the DAC used.

 

Daniel

www.weiss.ch

 

www.weiss.ch

Link to comment

Hi Daniel,

 

Thanks for your quick response, in person - I'm honored! Also thanks for answering my question on the Weiss site.

 

This is good news. I will now look into how Vista handles volume control (dither, word length) OOB and also with other vista software options like foobar.

 

Does anyone else know more about that?

 

Thanks, Vincent

 

VincentH, Pro Audio and Headphone enthousiast. Currently using Vista + Foobar + WASAPI bitperfect --> FireWire --> RME FireFace 400 DAC --> Vovox unshielded balanced XLR interconnects --> Focal Twin 6Be active monitors + Focal Sub6 active sub; Grado RA 1 + Grado RS 1; Etymotic ER-4P.

Link to comment

Hi Vincent - I don't recommend using any volume control on a PC or Mac. Some manufacturers say it is totally fine, but my experience has shown otherwise. For example, Benchmark says the iTunes volume control is very good etc..., but when you adjust the volume in iTunes you no longer have bit perfect output. I tested this with the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC in combination with the Weiss Minerva. HDCD tracks illuminated the HDCD indicator only when the iTunes volume was set to 100%. But, whatever brings each listener enjoyment is totally cool with me! There is nothing wrong with using any volume control as long as you like the sound. If it sounds good to you then it's good!

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

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

Link to comment

Thanks for the (un)recommendation Chris, of course I will use my ears to judge, and it's understood that I won't miss anything that is better beyond everything I have heard so far. However, I want my new setup to be as good as it can be... hey, I'm practically an audiophile ;-)

 

So there remains a couple of questions on this:

 

  • Does the fact that the HDCD light goes off really indicate a loss of analog sound quality, or is this just an indication that the bits are changed but they do not necessarily result in a lesser analog signal (as compared to an analog volume control applied after the DAC)?
  • What type of volume control would you recommend between a DAC2 and active monitors? I'd rather not insert an entire preamp in the chain just to get better volume control...
    How about passive vs active analog volume controls? E.g. the Goldpoint SAX1 or the SPL Volume 2 ? Oh man, reading all the "it depends" stories on these really makes me wonder what will be the lesser evil, analog volume control or software.

 

--VincentH

 

VincentH, Pro Audio and Headphone enthousiast. Currently using Vista + Foobar + WASAPI bitperfect --> FireWire --> RME FireFace 400 DAC --> Vovox unshielded balanced XLR interconnects --> Focal Twin 6Be active monitors + Focal Sub6 active sub; Grado RA 1 + Grado RS 1; Etymotic ER-4P.

Link to comment

Your questions are tough to answer and may have different answers based on individual experience. The HDCD light itself is just an indicator of changed bits. The quality issue is much more subjective. Most people I know really dislike the effects of volume controls that change bits. Personally I always keep it at 100% and really haven't bothered to listen any other way :-)

 

recommending a volume control is really something I'm not qualified to do. I'd probably give you some bad advice! Maybe Rick (rom661) will jump in and offer some advice on this. He seems very learned in this area. After all he owns a high end shop.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

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

Link to comment

A volume control which does not change bits is not a volume control. Volume control can't be done without changing bits. So it is no surprise that the HDCD light goes off with less than 100% volume.

The matter of volume control is always a point of discussion also in the pro audio circles. There are two things which are important:

Volume control is a multiplication process. This means that the wordlength is increased. E.g. if we start with a 16 bit audio wordlength and have a 16 bit factor (volume) to multiply the audio with, we end up with a 32 bit wordlength. (Like in the decimal system, 8 times 7 equals 56, one digit times one digit results in two digits). Often times the resulting wordlength is too high to fit into the receiving channel, e.g. the 32 bit won't fit a 24 bit D/A Converter.

Now, a well designed volume control does not just chop of the remaining bits (requantizing), it rather employs a dithering process which avoids the quantization distortion which would occur when chopping off bits.

The other thing is that often times the volume control which generates the gain multiplier factor (e.g. the potentiometer) is low pass filtered in order to avoid the so called zipper noise. Zipper noise occurs when the gain multiplier factor is changed in (small) steps, e.g. by using a potentiometer which is quantized in 8 bit resolution to generate 256 gain steps. Low pass filtering those steps assures that the volume is changed smoothly between steps and not just step-like. The drawback of such a low pass filter can be that it generates noise which in turn ends up in the audio. On the other hand, if the low pass filter is properly designed, the noise can be negligibly low.

Both issues are difficult to check, i.e. one has to have digital audio measurement tools to do so. Or very good ears...

Daniel

 

 

 

 

 

www.weiss.ch

Link to comment

Chris, here's my two cents worth since you asked. My personal experience, and I want to emphasize that, is that I have never heard a digital volume control that I considered to be as good as a really good preamp. I absolutely can't claim to have heard all the possibilities and the technical explanations being offered are over my head in terms of really grasping the issue.

 

I will say that at one point I used a Meridian 518 between my Mark Levinson transport and DAC many years ago. The 518 was kind of a cool piece; John Atkinson of Stereophile once referred to it as a digital Swiss Army Knife. I used it briefly as a volume control with the output of my DAC directly connected to a pair of monoblocks. The earlier version of the 30.5 DAC was 16 bit and the degradation when you lowered the volume was immediate and obvious. The DAC was later updated to 24 bit, the 30.6. The 518 had the capability to convert the 16 bit input from the transport to 24 bit as well as giving you some dither options, noise shaping, etc. With 24 bits the degradation was significantly reduced and really only objectionable at lower volumes. The one issue I had remaining was, I suspect, due to the ability of the DAC to drive different power amps well. It was pretty good with the Levinson 33H's. I switched to a pair of VTL tube monoblocks and it fell apart. Perhaps an issue with input impedance but that is just a guess on my part.

 

I don't know if that is of any help at all. I have always found that I prefer an active preamp but there may be viable alternatives that I haven't been exposed to. Admittedly, I am completely smitten by my Audio Research REF 3 preamp.

 

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

Link to comment

Gentlemen, thanks for these insights, appreciated! (I was on a trip last week so I'm a bit late in responding)

 

Since I plan to do a lot of listening at low to moderate volume, I'm particularly concerned with retaining sound quality at low volume settings.

 

Daniel and Rom666 have already provided great feedback on digital and active preamp types of volume controls (thanks again guys, this is very enlightening).

 

To complete my understanding, I'm wondering whether anyone can compare the above types of volume controls to an audiophile quality passive volume control, e.g. a stepped attenuator device like the Goldpoint SA1X?

 

Instinctively this type of device appeals to me because it is simple and because it is designed to do only one thing very well, without introducing all the complexities of powered electronics.

 

In particular I'd like to know whether there are any theoretical or experienced downsides to using a passive device versus an active preamp, if the only function you need is level control?

 

 

 

VincentH, Pro Audio and Headphone enthousiast. Currently using Vista + Foobar + WASAPI bitperfect --> FireWire --> RME FireFace 400 DAC --> Vovox unshielded balanced XLR interconnects --> Focal Twin 6Be active monitors + Focal Sub6 active sub; Grado RA 1 + Grado RS 1; Etymotic ER-4P.

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

 

This is my first post here so I will start with a big "thank you" for the collective knowledge developing here; it's very useful for someone building a computer-based audio system.

 

On to the reason for this post. There is an editorial on www.ultraaudio.com by Jeff Fritz, the writer of TWBAS ("The World's Best Audio System") articles, in which he says that using a Weiss Minerva with a Mac is giving him the best digital music he has ever heard, bar none. His opinion only but nonetheless it is praise indeed when you look at the equipment he has reviewed, most of which is way, way beyond what I can afford. It is certainly a poke in the eye for all the naysayers who refuse to believe a computer-based system can be as good as one which spins CDs. He states that a full review will be forthcoming.

 

Me, I am in the process of getting a demonstration of the Weiss DAC2, the pro version (uglier and cheaper) of the Minerva. I will compare it via Firewire with my Lavry Black DA10 (even uglier and cheaper than the Weiss DAC2) which uses Toslink from the Mac (but only has XLR sockets for the audio outs - dammit!) and see what happens. I personally think the Lavry is superior to the Benchmark DAC-1 so it will be interesting to see if I hear as significant an improvement as Chris.

 

Thanks again for the site; it is genuinely useful which is a nice change.

 

All the best from Scotland,

 

Col

 

Link to comment
  • 11 months later...

It's been almost a year, but I am very curious to know what you heard, colhd, when you compared the DAC2 to the Lavry. Are you still around?

 

[is there is a way to email site members directly? Sometimes it's best to take these things offline, but this site, unlike most others, doesn't seem to give direct access to participants. Or am I just missing it?]

 

Mac Mini 5,1 [i5, 2.3 GHz, 8GB, Mavericks] w/ Roon -> Ethernet -> TP Link fiber conversion segment -> microRendu w/ LPS-1 -> Schiit Yggdrasil

Link to comment
  • 4 weeks later...

"""""There are several possible reasons for the price differences between pro audio and highend audio gear:

 

- highend gear may use much more elaborate mechanics, even if it is just the frontpanel.

- highend gear may be individually tuned / trimmed for best performance

- highend gear may use special parts like special capacitors, resistors etc.

- highend gear may be manufactured in smaller lots which makes it more expensive.

- the distribution chains can be different, e.g. in pro audio it can be like manufacturer to distributor to enduser while in the highend it usually is manufacturer to distributor to dealer to enduser. This adds another margin. The benefit for the enduser is that he/she can buy at the store around the corner and gets first class customer treatment, like demo equipment at home, help with setting up the system, recommendations regarding acoustics, etc.

 

All those things add up to a higher price with the highend gear.

 

Daniel Weiss"""""

 

I like all those "mays". Keep 'em guessing. How about some specifics?

 

 

 

Link to comment

I too am really curious to hear what people think of Lavry. This is my first really good DAC, and I noticed a major improvement over my prior setup.

 

Prior setup:

Apogee Ensemble connected to Mac Pro via Firewire

 

Current setup:

Mac Pro with Lynx AES16e card

Lavry DA11 connected via AES/EBU

 

I suppose it may not surprise people that I noticed a big improvement here, but it surprised me. Anyhow, I am now curious to hear the next steps up the ladder. I will soon be hearing:

- Berkeley Alpha DAC

- Weiss DAC2

- Sonic Studio Model 4

 

Has anyone done such a comparison before?

 

Sanjay Patel | Ciamara Corporation | New York, NY | www.ciamara.com

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...