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Berkeley DAC vs Wyred4Sound DACs?


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Hi - Wondering if anyone has directly compared these? Hard to find a bad review of either, but haven't seen a true AB comparison. I've heard the Berkeley as a store demo and was impressed (comparison was against the onboard DAC in the top of range Electrocompaniet disc player); and I have Wyred amplification at home (where I feel it betters my previous more expensive components from Jadis and Audio Research) - so despite the price mismatch I was hoping to hear if anyone strongly favours one DAC over the other. Cheers.

 

RB

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In my system the Weiss DAC2 (not even the 202) was more to my (and others) tastes than the BADA at 3/5 the price. It could have been my interface, then again that is part of the package. I mention this because of the 6 moons comparisons of the Weiss>Wyred4sound DACs. Chris' review understated the the differences of the Weiss and BADA IMHO. The BADA has a little better soundstage, but the body, tonality, PRaT and bass of the Weiss easily trumped that for me.

 

YMMV of course. Do not forget to add in the cost of an interface for the BADA.

 

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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The answer is going to be different for different people.

 

I do not find Weiss DAC2 to my taste (though I can understand why people would like its sound character) so my answer is obviously different than the above post! This is likely due to system matching or perhaps as Forrest has caveated - on the interface.

 

IMO Berkeley is in a different class than W4S DAC2. However, you need to pay more attention to the interface (e.g. Lynx card) whereas W4S is plug and play via USB. The price of a Berkeley with a interface like Lynx card of course brings more options to the table.

 

W4S DAC2 is a good dac with lots of features and is one of the dacs to beat at its price point, but it still can't beat something like the berkeley imo..

 

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(i.e 400+ hours; it's important for this DAC as it was for the STP SE preamp; they go through Jekyl/hyde bipolar states until then) and I was blown away by the fidelity, let alone the price. I truly believe most folks who have heard either W4S DAC (model 1 or 2) has not heard it settled in. In my system it had plenty more soundstage width, depth and that life-like magic of dynamics and inner detail than the Berkeley IMO. However, big caveat: when I heard the Berkeley I was driving it with a Modwright Transporter via AES/EBU. When I heard the W4S I heard it via my Weiss DAC2 as firewire-to-AES/EBU interface.

 

Net/net, IMO they are not in different leagues...but it's purely my $.02.

 

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We're hearing more and comments in this vein re: the performance of the DAC1 and DAC2 vs high-end DACs. We've settled several in some very high end systems.

 

A consensus is forming that it's tough to spend that amount of money any more fruitfully.

 

Although I would agree with Keith in that if you're splashing non-trivial cash you owe it to yourself to audition as widely as possible: many like his Weiss DACs.

 

The emphasis here is on 'audition'. You rarely learn what you need to know by reading reviews: you have to get a demonstrator in your own system to know whether it suits you. Not everyone we have shown the DAC too has jumped at it: sometimes it shows up deficiencies elsewhere in the system; sometimes they just find out they need a much more expensive converter.

 

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I've just bought a W4S Dac-1 with 24/192 async USB upgrade and a W4S STi-1000 integrated amp. The synergy between these components is outstanding and I've never heard my system sound so good -much more preferred than my previous McIntosh MC352 & C41 amps and Bryston BDA-1 dac! So if you have W4S amps, then their dac paired with them will make beautiful music - why spend more? Also, if you want to run the dac in quickly, just disconnect your speakers from your amp and play it 24/7 in silence on repeat or shuffle and you'll get there pretty quick!

 

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iWonder has a point on synergy. I have found DACs to all have a sonic character akin to phono cartridges. No one will be the best for all. None of them are perfect, but they can approach each other as with all good kit. I'd suggest only looking at ones that you can try before you buy, and doing just that. The try before you buy advice is particularly important for a source IMO.

 

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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iWonder,

 

Interesting to hear abt your system synergy comments. I just bought a W4S Dac2 and was going to mate it with a Rogue Cronus Magnum, but I was very curious abt how an all W4S set-up would sound. This system would be used in a family room where I'd prefer to not use tubes because of the occassional child. The speakers would be the Gallo Stradas and a JL112 sub.

 

Best, Joe

 

Digital:  SonicTransporter I5 powered by Uptone JS-2,  Ghent Ethernet throughout, Ultra-Rendu's, Ghent DC cables, Curious and Ghent USB

Living Room:  Rethm Trishna, MicroZotl2, Auralic Vega, Rel E112 sub (High Fidelity ic's, DIY pc's and speaker wire from VH Audio)

Office:  Chord Hugo2, Feniks Essence, Rel 218, Noble Kaiser Encores, PM3

 

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Almost forgot to add, I demoe'd in my home the Bada which allowed me to compare it to a Minerva. Feeding the Bada via the Minerva, I thought the Bada had much better drive/dynamics than the Minerva. However, I have since gone to the Lio-8 and am quite happy.

 

Digital:  SonicTransporter I5 powered by Uptone JS-2,  Ghent Ethernet throughout, Ultra-Rendu's, Ghent DC cables, Curious and Ghent USB

Living Room:  Rethm Trishna, MicroZotl2, Auralic Vega, Rel E112 sub (High Fidelity ic's, DIY pc's and speaker wire from VH Audio)

Office:  Chord Hugo2, Feniks Essence, Rel 218, Noble Kaiser Encores, PM3

 

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I have the Alpha and love it. But having to recommend it now, given how much I've struggled with interfaces for it, I wonder if it wouldn't be easier (and perhaps better) to simply go for a DAC with a built-in interface that's computer-friendly. Clay calls the Alpha a "legacy DAC" for good reason -- these interfaces are band-aids, and in many cases, significantly limit the performance. I'm not sure if I'd get the Alpha again. But then, I'm not sure I wouldn't. It's a tough call.

 

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I heard the Wyred DACs at RMAF and I quite liked the sound. But I'm not sure I'd put them on par with the Alpha. I'm also not a big fan of the Metric Halo sound (lean to my ears), but some folks seem quite taken with it.

 

Were it me, I'd be seriously looking at some of the new DACs coming out. I'm particularly interested in the Pandora from Aesthetix, for example.

 

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yeap, the Pandora is interesting indeed.

Anyone heard what it's going to retail for?

 

Horacio

 

Roon Server: general purpose Gigabyte GA-Z170X UD5, i5 6600, Crucial MX200 SSD, HyperX 1x16GB RAM, Win 10 Pro, convolving in Roon digital xo + DRC + upsampling. Output through ethernet.

Roon Client AudioPC: Uptone etherRegen (with LPS 1.2) into Intel S1200KPR, Xeon E3 1265lv2, Crucial V4 SSD for OS, 8GB ECC RAM, Streacom FC8 Evo case, lab linear PSU, Windows Server 2019, AudioPhil's Optimizer, Acourate (digital xo, room correction)

Rest of Chain: Lynx Hilo as 8-channel DAC, McIntosh MC275 MkIV for mids & treble, Hypex UcD400HG for midbass into DIY dipoles 18" midbass/2x8" mids/AMT tweeter, 2 DIY 12" Rythmik subs, Equi=Core 1800 balanced power, dedicated power lines, room treatments

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The ideal bottom line equates to having the two warring DACs at home, burned in, for extended auditioning, which is difficult (especially here in Sydney) and expensive given this would practically speaking mean buying both. But your opinions help - I can't help but speculate that the Berkeley Alpha is likely (soon?) to be superseded by a Beta, addressing concerns re the interface; and that the Wyred does indeed punch above its price point.

 

Cheers.

 

RB

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about the status of Berkeley's development plans wrt a new DAC, but AFAIK, the Alpha's interface "problem" will be handled by an off-box converter along the lines of the Wavelink (with software also, so think: Wavelink + Amarra) as the designers do not ever want to have a "computer interface" on their DAC "for performance reasons". That interface is now several months delayed (like 6), but current estimates are putting FCS in Q1.

 

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