|I consider myself a moderately interested Audiophile who knows what he likes and what moves him, and one who also likes to get to the point and is not interested in talking on and on in carefully couched nuances of Audiophilease lingo and buzzwords with meaning hidden between the words, so here it my take: |
In a shootout with my Audio Note 2.1.X DAC versus the Wyred 4 sound DAC, my tubed Audio Note (tubed with Telefunken gold pin E188CC/7308 tubes from the early 60's, very nice) had a much more vivid, textured, rich, and 3 dimentional sound. The Wyred 4 sound DAC 2, to me in comparison, sounded wonderfully analog for a solid state DAC, still it seemed to be relatively lacking the same level of saturation of tone and feeling that the Audio Note had. In other words, the Wyred DAC 2 sounded relatively dry and ho hum compared to the Audio Note DAC (to a well biased tube lover like me).
So, if you love a rich, full bodied, immediate, detailed and extended without harshness tube sound (and I don't mean dark and abnormal sounding syrupy coloration either), you will by my ears certainly choose the Audio Note 2.1.X DAC far and away over the Wyred 4 Sound DAC 2.
(As a side note, although not quit its equal, the Monarchy NM24 tube DAC came very close to the Audio Note DAC 2.1.x at a fraction of the price. It took some serious listening to hear that the Audio Note portrayed a little more finese and a little less edge and slightly more tonal saturation).
In summary, if you are the type of listener who is often at odds with choosing tube sound over solid state and want a very analog sound with finese, silky smoothness, and refined detail, the Wyred 4 sound DAC remains one of the best solid state DACs I have heard and a great solid state option, particularly for a person getting into high quality audiophile gear on a budget. (In fact, the Wyred 4 sound DAC as per memory seemed to come very close to a very nice sounding Wadia DAC I heard recently.) However, to me as a non-repentant tube lover, the Wyred 4 sound DAC is just a little too solid state sounding and relatively dry and not near as alive, front row center immediate, and rich as the Audio Note DAC 2.1.x.
(BTW, I once had an earlier model Audio Note DAC with a silver front that had a hard wired tube that did not allow swapping, and did not like it neard as much).