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Firewire Dacs


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I am aware of the Weiss dacs and the Metric Halos and the derivatives of them. I am assuming that the ULN 2 is the worst and the top of the line Weiss or Metric Halo us the best. Are there anymore ones that are very good. How good is the ULN2, Is it as good a the Bryston? I am going to use a Mac Mini or a Mac book pro and firewire would enable to achieve the higher resolutions, The USB dacs from Wavelength and Ayre some of the best sound op to the limits of their resolution and the Bryston which no one seems to have good way to hook up to mazimize its potential. The Weiss DAC2 is apparently very good but I would have to purchase it unheard from Vintage King unless they would let me demo it here in Ohio. It represents the top of my price range and cost I really do want to spend. I can get the Wavelength Cosecant used on Audiogon so it would be less than the the 3k the Weiss would be. I loved the Naim so it would renter the thinking at those price levels. I would guess the ULN2 is the most affordable dac that is firewire that is good. I am unsure how good but anyone who can help me out there please do.

 

Mac Book Pro, HiFace, Cary Exiter Dac, Focal speakers, JL Audio sub,plus cable and cords from Audio Art and Shunyata, Hydra powered by Cambridge Audio

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G:

My sense is that with the new Weiss INT202 firewire-AES, -S/PDIF interface that is now available, the AES configuration into the Bryston BDA-1 DAC serves to maximize its potential. Keith is certainly in a better position to speak to this, as I believe he has been listening to the INT202 in his system. I think looking ahead this year with many new interfaces becoming available, an important consideration will be how well async-USB/AES interfaces sound in comparison to a Firewire-AES interface. Again, there are many people far more knowledgeable on this topic than I am, although I am planning to purchase the Weiss INT202 to link my MacBook Pro to the Bryston BDA-1.

 

tom

 

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Hi Gulinias,

 

I would not by any means assume the ULN-2 is the worst. To my ears, it is one of the best. But that depends on what you seek from your DAC.

 

A lot of folks like a certain "color" from their gear. Such gear can tend to be more "forgiving" of less than stellar recordings. Or it can add apparent "detail". But gear that tends to be more forgiving of recorded flaws or add apparent "detail" also tends to be less transparent with better recordings, applying the same "color" to everything that passes through it. Still, if a certain color provides listening pleasure, as far as I see it, it is doing its job - provided this is what the listener wants.

 

The MH gear is not forgiving and it doesn't add apparent detail. It doesn't editorialize and hence will reveal less than stellar recordings for what they are. At the same time, it excels at allowing the best in recordings to come through. That's my take on it anyway. Of course, asking three audio folks a question will likely result in at least four different answers ;-} so I suggest a personal audition of whatever gear you are interested in.

 

I've put the ULN-2 up against DACs selling for triple its price and always returned to the '2 (... until I heard the '8 that is).

 

As someone else already mentioned, the ULN-2 goes up to 96k and will not do the 4x rates (i.e. 176 and 192). This may or may not be important to you. I would add that my experience with many (but not all) DACs that do claim to do the 4x rates is that their performance goes down due to clocking (and analog circuitry) that do not hold up at the higher rates. Those units -to me at least- perform their best at the 2x rates. If 4x rates are important to you, an audition will help separate the wheat from the chaff.

 

 

 

 

"Is it as good as the Bryston?"

That's a personal call, again depending on the sort of sound you seek. There are a lot of good DACs out there today.

For myself (and my work), I like to compare output to input. The closer they are, the happier I am. Just my perspective.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Best regards,

Barry

www.soundkeeperrecordings.com

www.barrydiamentaudio.com

 

 

 

 

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1) Vintage King has a return policy, or try my dealer (Archon Audio). Mike is great and will allow a Weiss home trial.

2) Where are you in Ohio? You could come here my DAC2 (Cleveland area).

3) Barry's point about DAC sweetspots is right on. Don't be assuming that every 24/xxx DAC is best at all its native sample rates.

 

 

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I live in Canton so the Cleveland area is certainly not far at all. It really depends what you are close to up there. I would like to hear the sac if that is possible. It would give me insight into the Weiss sound. I appreciate your mentioning the two dealers also. If this audition of your DAC goes well I could then follow up with those two. You can send me a message on where you live and what days or times might be good for you.

 

Mac Book Pro, HiFace, Cary Exiter Dac, Focal speakers, JL Audio sub,plus cable and cords from Audio Art and Shunyata, Hydra powered by Cambridge Audio

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Barry thanks for the input. It is not paramount that I have 4x. That is why I considering the Wavelength Dacs. I do not know that there is coloration I am looking for so the ULN2 does not sound out of the question. Is there anything out of the ordinary I would have to do to hook the unit up since it is a pro product? ( Different connectors and all) Thanks for your input and I realize the question better than a Bryston or better than any other dac is one based on our listening biases and equipment as much as anything else. Thanks again for the input.

 

Mac Book Pro, HiFace, Cary Exiter Dac, Focal speakers, JL Audio sub,plus cable and cords from Audio Art and Shunyata, Hydra powered by Cambridge Audio

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Hi Gulinias,

 

"...Is there anything out of the ordinary I would have to do to hook the unit up since it is a pro product? ( Different connectors and all)..."

 

There is a learning curve involved but if your main goal is to use the unit as a DAC, setup is quite easy. The software that comes with the MH boxes contains some preset templates that make this fast.

 

Also, there are none of the usual RCA type analog connectors on the rear of the ULN-2, so connector-wise, you'd need a pair of 1/4" to RCA adapters.

I used these with my ULN-2:

http://www.markertek.com/Cables-Connectors-Adapters/Audio-Adapters/1-4-Phone-to-RCA-Adapters/TecNec-Cables-Connectors/SP-PF.xhtml?SP-PF

 

Since I'm used to climbing the learning curve with new pieces of gear in my studio, perhaps other folks here, who use a ULN-2 as their DAC can chime in on their experiences in getting it running in their systems.

 

Have fun!

 

Best regards,

Barry

www.soundkeeperrecordings.com

www.barrydiamentaudio.com

 

 

 

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