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QB-9 or Wyred DAC2 thru USB?

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Hello! First post here.


I've been into 2-channel for a while, but have not yet gotten into computer audio, and want to get in. Been reading around, and it seems to make sense to go with asynch USB out of a computer (and avoid spending on a Lynx card). Hence the question: QB-9 or Wyred DAC2 thru USB?


I've seen very good comments about the QB-9 performance, obviously thru its USB input.

I've seen good comments about the DAC2 in general, but they weren't necesarily referring to the USB input.

Was wondering if anybody had a chance to compare both thru USB? Also, please tell me about the computer you were using.


Thank you!



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I spoke w/Underwood Audio-Hawaii who sells Wyred and he claimed the Wyred sounds every bit (joke) as good as QB-9 plus you get a preamp. Then there is the 6Moons review. Head-fi forums has a few guys who have ordered theirs already and a few more who own them. I think one of the guys had an Ayre but I don't remember. I've decided to buy the W4S Dac2 for my Woo WA22 balanced headphone amp that I'm waiting on delivery (US made, tube, point to point wiring, beautiful-I'm a SS guy but these sound great and why not try something new?)


Everyone who owns these at Head-fi loves them.


What I'l like to see is a comprehensive Stereophile review with JA bench testing these. That won't happen because they are only sold online unless they change their policy.


My issue with the Ayre at this point is cost. A few years ago I could understand the cost but not now. It only goes up to 96, not 192. The W4S is online so no dealer network/overhead overpricing. Side-stepping here: have you seen the new Ayre Universal player? $10K and it's based on and Oppo chassis! Everything is been changed but still.........


If you are spending Ayre money I would consider the top Wavelength DAC's too. Fully balanced, asynch,Sabre chip, plus you can get a volume control if you want. I think they are nicer looking too.


Furutech GTX-D, GTX Wall Plate,106-D Cover > NCF Clearline >J River 27 > Curious Cable Evolved USB > Chord Hugo TT 2 > Empyrean Copper PCUHD Cable > Meze Empyrean > my ears > audiophile brain

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on their newsletter or update radar simply wouldn't have a clue that they are intending 24/192 for an update/upgrade (new units, once released, are more money for 24/192). Gregor, you comment may be a true fact BUT it is not well known, and anyone stating that the Ayre is 24/96 should not be tersely labeled as "misinformed".


Educate this community, don't admonish it!!


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Excerpt from the Ayre website...


"As computer audio continues to mature there will be an increasing number of files available at 176.4 kHz and 192 kHz. All Ayre DX-5 universal audio engines and all QB-9 USB D/A converters manufactured after the summer of 2010 have the capability to handle these files. The instructions for configuring your system to go beyond 96 kHz are on another page."

Link: http://www.ayre.com/usb.htm


Also see Ayre page "Going Beyond 96 kHz"...

Link: http://www.ayre.com/usb-192.htm




Amarra 3.0.3/iTunes-->AQVOX USB PS-->Acromag USB Isolator-->Ayre QB-9-->Ayre K-5xeMP-->W4S SX-500-->Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Super Towers-->SVS SB12-Plus (L&R). Cables: Nordost, Transparent, LessLoss, Analysis Plus & Pangea. Dedicated line with isolated power conditioning per component: PS Audio & Furman. Late 2012 Mac Mini 2.6GHz Quad-Core i7 (16 GB, 1TB Fusion, 6TB ext via Tbolt). External drives enclosure http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f7-disk-storage-music-library-storage/silent-enclosure-external-hard-drives-7178/

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"Educate this community, don't admonish it!!"




I had no problem at all locating this on the Ayre web page:




I read this page a while ago, although I honestly can't tell you when - it's been that long.


Since I'm not an Ayre customer, I don't get any of their emailings. All I did to find the information was to follow the links on their web page.



EDIT: I see Christopher was able to find this same information and post it while I was visiting the Ayre website. I guess we both got lucky...




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Again, I just checked a link for the QB-9 and specs. Great to hear it is 196 capable. Where are those made? US? The Wavelength page is updated for the 192 capability and offer Sabre chips too.


Furutech GTX-D, GTX Wall Plate,106-D Cover > NCF Clearline >J River 27 > Curious Cable Evolved USB > Chord Hugo TT 2 > Empyrean Copper PCUHD Cable > Meze Empyrean > my ears > audiophile brain

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via Charles's many posts on these types of forums, etc. However, it was a late upgrade, and 99.9% of QB-9's sold to-date were 24/96 out of the box. My point was simply that it would be nice to educate the poster that his info is out of date or needs updating, not that he is spreading misinformation, as if it was premeditated.


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OK, it is good news the QB-9 will be upgraded to handle 192, but how do the two compare in sound, say at 96 kHz?


I'm aware the W4S DAC2 has a preamp section, but I don't really need it (have a Lamm LL2D). For me the nice things about the DAC2 are lower price and other input options, so I could use it for computer audio and also to use my CD player as a transport and benefit from a better DAC. Yet at used prices the QB-9 is not so far off the DAC2 new, so sonics becomes the most important factor for me. I know I should audition, but that's not feasable around here...


Any further thoughts?


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"it is good news the QB-9 will be upgraded to handle 192"


It is not going to be upgraded to handle 192; it does handle 192. Mine, bought in mid-summer, supported 192 out of the box (once I installed the right driver). If you have an older one, it can be upgraded for a few hundred bucks. The sound is magnificent. Even though I bought it new, I consider it to be one of best purchases I have made. The support from Charles at Ayre has also been superb.


Auctioneer: How much do I hear?[br]Audience member: That\'s metaphysically absurd, man! How can I know what you hear?[br] — The Firesign Theatre, [br] Don\'t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers

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It is fantastic that your QB-9 does 192 out of the box. So some need to be upgraded to do so (if I purchased used I might need to) and some do so out of the box.


Have you had the chance to listen thru the W4S DAC2, though?


I understand both sound great so it's tough to go wrong, but if both happened to sound the same and the DAC2 is cheaper and has more input options, then it looks like a no brainer.


Maybe the DAC2 hasn't been around enough for people to be able to make comparisons?



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I don't know how we are going to get any perspective here other than word-of-mouth. Maybe Chris could get one for review. None of the reviews I've read get to technical and truly that's what I'd like to read about. Because it is a web based sales product there aren't going to be any "auditions". That said I'll still probably get one for my headphone rig plus try it out on the regular system as well. Worse case is I end up selling it. The biggest issue here for me is cost. I don't want to buy a QB-9 at a $1600 premium+tax(here it is 10% so that put's this at $3300 total) and have something marginally better. If money weren't an issue I just get a Weiss......I'm sorry, DCS system. Besides both of those make the Ayre and Wyred look like it was built in someone's garage(Wyred probably is close to that).


Furutech GTX-D, GTX Wall Plate,106-D Cover > NCF Clearline >J River 27 > Curious Cable Evolved USB > Chord Hugo TT 2 > Empyrean Copper PCUHD Cable > Meze Empyrean > my ears > audiophile brain

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It's probably a case of splitting hairs. If you heard one but not the other, I doubt if you'd be disappointed with what you're hearing as both dacs are high class. Although I've never heard the Ayre, I doubt that it would be miles in front of the W4S. If 100 people heard them in a side by side comparison, I'm sure that the results would not significantly favour one over the other. If you have to purchase without directly comparing them, then I would go for the W4S but only because it's cheaper and because of its quality, you can safely assume that you're buying a good dac and not a dog. Comparing them side by side is the only real way of making an accurate comparison.


I was lucky actually because in Australia, W4S has the local importer in my town so I was able to listen and compare in my own system before purchasing and FWIW, I preferred it over the Bryston BDA-1 I had at the time and I also preferred their STi-1000 integrated amp over my McIntosh C41 & MC352 amps.


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Thanks for sharing your experience. The BDA-1 is high on my list, but decided to forego non-asynch USB DACs, otherwise it looked great.


BTW, how were you feeding the DACs in your BDA-1 vs. DAC2 comparison? How do you use your DAC2? (meaning, do you feed it with a computer, transport, etc)


Thanks again!


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I'm not sure you can say that the two components would be similar. The two clearly have different design priorities, which are well described in their literature.


I think this is another case where you'd have to try both for yourself to see which one really works for you. The good part is that you probably can't go very far wrong either way.


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Hi LewinskiH01,


I think async USB is the way to go so in this regard, the W4S is superior than the Bryston. When I compared the two, my source was a Wadia 170i/iPod with Apple Lossless via coax. I just preferred the W4S. Now I am using an iMac as a server with iTunes and Pure Music via async USB to the W4S and the sound is sensational - the best my system has ever sounded!


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