The new Audio Advisor catalog has it listed for $1749. No info on connection types, and a vague description of its operating principles.
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Well this is my first post but I have been surfing here for a while.
I bought one after listening to one after seeing the HiFi world review a few months ago. I spoke to a few dealers who also loves it..
Does it make a difference....BIG YES. It really is an eye opener. At present I'm using an Audio Aero Prima CD player and the DAP.10u has elevated it past the Audio Aero Capitol which costs 3.5 times as much. More detail, better low frequency and images to die for. I ended up selling my used Transparent interconnects to get one. The Whest just works straight out the box, and better than any interconnect I've had in my system.
Would I recommend it...YES! Just listen to one.
Apparently there is a HiFi News review out next month which again is supposed to be excellent.
It only supports unbalanced. They have a website address www.whestaudio.co.uk.
I compared the output of a BAT-D5se player running balanced to a preamp and the same player running unbalanced in to the DAP.10. The balanced version was absolutely crap compared to the DAP.10 output. And that was with the DAP.10s own interconnects which retail for £89 or $US130 or thereabouts.
I recently bought a Whest DAP.10 for use with my Benchmark DAC1 and Audiomoded CEC TL-1x transport. Transparency, focus, and depth and width of soundstage improved quite dramatically. An expensive "tweak", but nothing else I know of has this particular effect, especially with a state-of-the-art DAC. I know it's not coming out of my system for the forseeable future.
Robm1 and Emag,
Did either of you notice the slight power hum alluded to by the reviewer? Also, are you using the stock power cord on the unit? Finally, have you experimented with other IC's?
I just ordered one from Audio Advisor. I figured I would give it a try on my Prima CD player. They have a 30-day trial period.
All the best,
Boa2 - Please let us know what you think of the unit when you get it.
I'm on the fence about ordering one. First, it's silly expensive, and second, its operating principles don't make sense.
Whest claims that the DAP acts to realign frequencies above 35khz and has no effect on frequencies below this point. The problem I have is that no properly designed CD player, whether oversampled, upsampled, or non-oversampled (1FS) has any output above 22.05 khz (half the Nyquist sampling frequency of 44.1 khz). One of the major jobs of the reconstruction filters (digital and analog) in the player/DAC is to block everything above this point.
SACD has output beyond 35khz, but much of this is quantization noise relocated from the audio range to this region by the player's noise shaping circuits. It has little correlation to the music.
SO what is this box really doing? Since my DAC has no output above 22.05 khz on Redbook, then what is this box acting on?
Let us know your impressions.
I'll definitely post my impressions here once I've tried out the unit. It should take about 2-3 weeks to get one. Heck if I know how it works. I'm intrigued by the claim that this unit will take a Prima beyond the performance of a Capitole. But what do I know? It's offered with a 30-day trial, so I figured why not? Indeed, it is rather expensive, but it's still about $1-2K less than mating a decent transport with the Capitole DAC. And between the price of a Prima and that of even a used Capitole, I just have not found another player that really grabs me so emotionally. Granted, I've not heard everything. And at this time, I'm not really up for spending $4K or so on a modded player.
Perhaps it's best if you wrote to www.whestaudio.co.uk directly and posed your technical questions to them. At least then we have two bases covered. I can offer my listening impressions, and you can verify the footwork on the unit.
All the best,
James did indeed reply, and seems like a very nice gentleman.
I'm not sure how to evaluate the reply - he seems to agree with my assessment of Redbook audio, then talks about phase shift in amplifiers, how the DAP acts on ultrasonics, and states that CD players have output above 30khz irregardless of engineering principles.
I guess it becomes a matter of faith (and in this hobby I've heard "impossible" differences in components before).
Looking forward to a review from an actual user.
My original email and reply below.
Thanks for the enquiry. As you are very aware the basic operating principles of 16bit digital are as you have stated.
The factors of reproduction above 22Khz for do not cover the full output stage plus analog filtering.
If you send a 10Khz signal into an amplifier you dont just get 10Khz out!
The DAP.10 does not process in the audible domain but this does not mean that it has no effect on it.
As you also know theory and practise are two very different things. The theory behind 16bit, 24bit, SACD bares nothing to sound reproduction.
Its the first thing you need to remember in R&D ..dont read the book!
If that were the case a Mark Levinson CD player would sound the same a $500 Marantz CD player.
Ever heard a discrete super tweeter? Why does it work?
There is more to digital sound reproduction than what is written in the RED book as many highend audio manufactures already know.
What we found about 4 or so years ago was that well above 30Khz all CD players exhibit several extremely low level peaks.
What causes these peaks are still in R&D. We also found a fair amount of out of phase information in the same areas.
Out of phase information is quite typical in any audio amplifier, whether it be in a buffer stage or output stage.
What we also noticed was that by applying a phase shift to one of the peaks, caused a fairly unpleasant ripple to be sent back down
the audio band. Applying a similar shift to another reduced its effect. After much peak-selection and phase shift circuits we managed to
reduce the amount of ripple being sent back down the audible band with out actually touching it. Youll find that with a DAP.10 in a system
the inherent system sound (signature) does not change but the system resolution does.
I hope this answers your question. The thing to do is to listen to one.
What system do you run? Are you relatively happy with it?
Sent: 29 December 2004 04:16
Subject: Question about DAP 1
Can you shed some light on the operation of your DAP 1 processor? I've been considering ordering one, but am unclear on its operating principles.
Your site claims that the DAP acts to realign frequencies above 35khz and has no effect on frequencies below this point. The problem I have is that no properly designed CD player, whether oversampled, upsampled, or non-oversampled (1FS) has any output above 22.05 khz (half the Nyquist sampling frequency of 44.1 khz). One of the major jobs of the reconstruction filters (digital and analog) in the player/DAC is to block everything above this point.
SACD has output beyond 35khz, but much of this is quantization noise relocated from the audio range to this region by the player's noise shaping circuits. It has little correlation to the music.
If your processor has no effect on signals under 35 khz, then how can it have any effect on the sound of the CD player?
Thanks for posting the exchange, Mark. I also just received a private e-mail from Robm1 (posted above), and he said the same thing: just listen to one. He had the Audio Aero Capitole and moved to the Prima + the DAP.10 and said that in every way (airyness, imaging, dynamics), the latter combination is superior to the single box Capitole. It certainly is an interesting concept, though I don't pretend to understand the science of it.
Has anyone previously tried something similar? I'm too new to this hobby to know the answer to that one. I'm just anxious to hear what it does in my system. And I'll certainly post my findings to the best of my abilities.
I'll also plan on getting a couple of local A'gon members over for a listen as well, and hopefully will have the chance to try it out in their systems too.
Have a great New Year's,
This is a follow-up to my brief experience with the Whest DAP.10. I say brief because I ordered the unit several weeks ago from Audio Advisor, and when I received it on the 7th of this month, it was not working. It is in fact on the way back now to Audio Advisor, and I expect that they will refund my money when they receive the unit.
When I turned on the DAP.10, it came on the very first time with a loud hum, which quieted down after about five seconds. Suddenly, a foul smell of burnt electrics filled the room, and music came out of the left channel only. I heard some crackling and popping from the right channel, but it quickly went silent. As you can probably guess, I was not too pleased, having just spent $1749 to see if the DAP.10 could take my system to the next level. I was highly encouraged to try the unit because I too have an Audio Aero Prima CD player like Robm1 above. Unfortunately, however, I never got the chance to experience the capabilities of the DAP.10.
That same day, I wrote to James at Whest Audio--the manufacturer of the DAP.10--with a request for his input on the possible reasons for the failure of the unit. I told him that I thought he would want to hear directly from me about the experience, and that I wanted to answer the several requests I had offer an evaluation of the unit, but I had no intention of badmouthing his product. How could I when I did not even get the chance to hear it? I told him that I understand the difficulty in bringing a product to market, let alone maintaining its favor with the public. Incidentally, this was not the first time I had experienced the immediate failure of a component. Last year, a highly respected audio company sent me a preamp that failed the first night, waking us up to the nasty smell of toasted internals. I contacted the company, and they immediately rectified the problem. Whest Audio, for some reason, has chosen a different tact.
In the 10 days since receiving the unit, I have written James three more e-mails. Sadly, I have not received any response from him. I guessed that perhaps they were on vacation, at CES, or just plain out of the office. But I figured that they would have made arrangements for someone to respond. Every other dealer/manufacturer with whom I have corresponded over the past couple of weeks did so in a timely fashion, even when e-mailing in the middle of CES.
I thought about ordering another unit, and spoke to another dealer about it. He offered a fair price for the DAP.10, but without the 30-day trial period provided by Audio Advisor. However, when I wrote him about my problems with the unit, I did not hear back from him either. Perhaps my request for his input concerning the product failure was not clear enough.
Following all of these events, my wife absolutely refuses to consider ordering another DAP.10, whether on a trial period or not. We are still considering upgrading our source, but unfortunately the DAP.10 will not be on our list of options.
I only hope that I eventually hear from James, as he seems a very cordial man with a viable product. It stressed me to even consider posting the details of my experience with the DAP.10/Whest Audio, but this is ultimately a place of learning. So there you have it.
All the best,
just read your post. I spoke to James on Friday to see whether I could buy some of the Whest interconnects from him. The ones supplied with the DAP.10 are great and compare to ics in the $250. Anyway, he was in fact at CES but we did talk about your faulty unit amongst other things and he did mention sending you a reply but he has no idea what the fault could be. I too have seen all sorts of faulty audio from hifi dealers. My last piece was my Prima which had a channel down. Nothing is perfect out there and is something that I realised years ago so I don't bother getting bothered about it anymore. Anyway for me and FF on audioreview and plenty others the DAP.10 is a great product and worthy of an award. Also a review is due out in HiFi News next issue.
I did in fact hear from James today, as he apparently had been alerted to my post on this forum. I told him that I would be happy to post his e-mail as well, but only if he OK'd it first. However, I think that from my response to him (below), you get the general idea of what he said.
Thank you for the mail. After sending four e-mails, excuse me for saying that it appears serendipitous to
have at last received a response the day after I reluctantly posted the details of my experience. I had actually outlined the matter in a private e-mail with another member, who then insisted it was appropriate to convey this to the audio community,as this addresses in fact the needs of the community in its relationship with the dealers and manufacturers.
I'm sorry if it appears as though you have no regard with servicing matters. Simply put, I have yet to have (in over 65 transactions and countless e-mails and telephone
conversations with sellers of all types a lapse in response. And if you did in fact respond
earlier, I also can't say why I did not receive any of them. I would presume that four e-mails
would garner at least one response making it successfully back to me. As I said in my post, several dealers/manufacturers responded from CES directly, so I dont accept that this was an issue that was as you say, "out of my control." James, the company
is yours. Who else is someone supposed to turn to? Am I simply to presume that you will appear again at some point to respond to my needs as a customer?
Frankly, I doubt that anything I said will have a negative effect on the sales of Whest Audio, James. And that was not my intention. I said so in my e-mails to you. I was simply trying to get a fair evaluation of your product, and hopefully will still have that opportunity at some point. However, it might be useful for you to consider as the manufacturer what would be the most appropriate response for a customer who has just paid $1750US for your product that is not working. I dont believe that I am an anomaly in wanting to assuage some of my apprehension in trying out another DAP.10, and you sir are the only person with the power to do this.
Thank you for the correspondence. I will in fact post a follow-up on the web site, and if you
wish I will even post your response below.
James and I have corresponded twice more today, and all was cordial. He saw no reason to post his responses, so I won't.
Perhaps in the future I'll have a chance to test out the DAP.10 for real, and I anticipate being enamored with its merits just as other owners of the product are.
All the best,
OK guys, I just qualified for my sucker certificate - Audio Advisor had two DAP 10R's up for auction on ebay. Both were customer returns and are supposed to fully functional (no burning smells, both channels working, etc). No return privilege, of course, but full factory warranty (whatever that means....)
I won one today for 1099. The other didn't make reserve and is re-listed.
I'll let you guys know what I think when I get it.
Well, I got my DAP10 yesterday. I hooked it up and guess what - no right channel. I wonder if they sent me BOA2's unit!
Since I'd asked Audio Advisor explicitly whether or not the unit was working before buying, and they answered "yes", they're going to get me a replacement unit.
What I heard through the left channel alone was promising.
I'll post again once I see a new unit.
I tried the replacement that AA sent me this weekend. It worked fine when I hooked it up, and I listened to a couple of CD cuts I know well on my cold system.
I let the system including the DAP warm up for an hour, then I returned to listen again. I replayed the same two cuts, then moved to another on the same CD.
At this point the DAP had been powered up for about an hour and a quarter. Suddenly the right channel died. I muted the preamp and picked up the DAP to check out the conections, which were fine.
I unmuted the preamp and warily sat down to listen. Both channels were again operational.
About 2 minutes later I heard a loud bang through my right speaker and the right channel went dead again.
At this point I'd had all I could handle. I removed the DAP and confirmed that the right speaker was OK after the transient. This is the first piece of gear that has ever catastrophically failed in my system in over 23 years of listening.
I called AA next day and reported my problems, and they agreed to refund the unit - kudos to Joe and Matt for great customer service.
Now for my listening impressions. Of necessity they are based on about 20 minutes of listening - I normally prefer to listen much longer before forming an impression.
System (my Frankenstein) consists of:
- Wadia 7 transport
- Genesis Digital Lens
- Wadia 9 D/A
- Krell KRC-HR preamp
- Apogee Studio Grand speakers (including DAX electronic crossover)
- Pass Aleph 1.2 on the ribbon panels
- Aragon Palladium II on the subwoofers
System is currently wired single ended, except for the link from the Studio Grand DAX crossover to the Palladium II's, which only have a balanced input.
Test CD: "No Frontiers", Mary Black; main track :"Columbus"
I consider imaging and spatial detail to be one of the great strengths of the Wadia7/9 combo.
With the DAP in place, I did hear more apparent detail, but it came at a cost. My impression was that the entire tonal balance of the system had shifted toward the treble. Bass was there, but it lost some weight, and the highs seemed etched and a bit harsh. The overall sound of the system was thin, and I missed the spectral balance of the system without the DAP.
Mary Black's voice lost its warmth and huskiness, and sounded cold, sterile, and high-fi. True, I heard a bit more ambience, but no more than I would get from EQing the highs.
I don't know how the DAP would have improved with breakin, but I don't want to risk my speakers to try again. I still wonder what the processor is really doing to the signal.
Clearly Whest is having some kind of quality control issue with the DAP-10R. BOA2 got one defective unit and I got two. If you try one be sure you buy from a dealer with good support.
Sorry that happened, Mark. A dealer also told me he had received two defective DAP.10 units. One blew immediately, and the other after about five minutes. A rep then brought him another one for a listen, and he said it was wonderful for the 45 minutes or so that he was able to hear it. He said that the music sounded more full-bodied, and the tone was noticeably more pure. He intends to carry them, provided that he can depend on them being fully operational out of the box. He is quite impressed with their phono stage as well, and this from a man who's signature line is Audio Note.
As a short follow-up, the issues that the dealer was having were from damage incurred during shipping. He said that the units are even better packed now, and they are arriving at his shop without issue. I heard the Whest phono stage the other day, and it was outstanding. I've not heard everything on the market, but it expressed the music with a warmth that I've rarely heard from SS. Others have commented in more appropriate detail than I can, so I'll just say that it was quite impressive.
Our local dealer is also using a Whest DAP.10 in his home system, and refuses to listen to a CD without it. I'm sure we'll have an audition of the unit in our system before long. Coincidentally, James (the owner of Whest) was here recently for a visit with our dealer. Sorry I missed him, and his apparently very good sense of humor!
Who's this Boa anyway? ... crying and turning because he got a bad unit? Get over it. Is your car perfect? Let's be serious here.
I bought a DAP.10 in June this year I think and did not receive a fully functional one until September (which was the third unit of its kind). Despite this experience I cannot criticize this unit in any way, it is stunning ... I really mean it! ... took my system to a new level! I see all these people here discussing how many bad units they received .... have you ever heard it? ... thought people were supposed to share audio impressions in addition to customer service ... seems to me like some people go sour because their latest toy has a ploblem and start bad mouthing whest audio and james because the DAP they got from their dealer did not work ... it's the dealer's responsability to replace the defective unit with a functional one (yeah, the dealer is supposed to test it in a system before he sends it out because of the experience they should be trying to remmedy). I think james is a great person and I'm sure that just like all great audio designers, he will continue to improve and hone his products, and of course raise his prices.
My system is very simple:
Audio Aero Capitole MKII SE
YBA passion integre
Revelation Audio Mistral S6 with Sub6 speakers
and of course the Whest Audio DAP.10
...powerconditioning provided by a Shunyata Hydra 4
...power cords are:
1. 20-amp Revelation Audio Labs Precept to the Hydra
2. 15-amp Shunyata Anaconda Vx on the Capitole
3. 15-amp RAL Precept to the DAP.10
4. 15-amp RAL Precept II to the YBA (to be eventually upgraded to either another anaconda alpha or an elrod statement)
note that only the amp section of the YBA is used ( YBA pre bypassed in favour of the Capitole preamp which sounds more natural with more extension in the highs and less bass bloom in the lows, albeit much better articulation and depth here so an easy sacrifice). I also use the separate high/low amping ability of the YBA amp stage, with 2 runs of speaker cable to my speaker top units.
interconnects are cardas golden reference RCA throughout (I wish James made an XLR version of the DAP).
speaker cables are monster sigma retro gold throughout (one run from the YBA to the highs, another from the YBA to the lows and a third run from the lows of the speaker inputs to the passive stage of the isobaric subs inside my Sub6 units.
... and most important of all I use symposium rollerblocks throughout the entire setup (double stacked series 2+ rollerblocks on the Capitole and the YBA and a single set under the DAP, with the grade 3 superballs under the Capitole) ... this system tweak equals the contributions from Whest Audio and Shunyata ... a true eye-opener.
This current digital setup sounds as good as any system I've heard so far ... besides perhaps Mike Lavigne's system or Mike and Neli's Reference system here on audiogon which I've never heard, but I've come across some pretty nice other systems that included YBA passion amps, reference Boulder amps, Nagra gear, Dynaudio Masters, Acapella Campanille's, Audio Aero Prestige, dCS combo, Linn CD-12, Simaudio Andromeda, Sonus Faber Stradivari's, Ayre's new gear, VTL reference monos. The 2 above mentioned systems are in a league of their own.
The normal system sounds very nicely balanced and detailed, yet non-fatiguing, with huge soundstage and tremendous musicality. With the DAP in the chain, the system's presence increases tenfold in the room with more detail and improved decays as well as lower and tighter bass ... so it affects THE ENTIRE SPECTRUM!
My impressions about the DAP to James following my third (and only functional unit):
Just want to say thanks, again :)
The DAP is fantastic. The difference is unbelievable!!!!!
Trying out an Audioquest NRG-5 powercord on it now and will also try a Revelation Audio Precept II and Precept today... will soon be isolated by symposium rollerblocks and an alluminum plate. And hopefully, I will be able to upgrade the Cardas Golden Reference pc to a Shunyata Anaconda VX
for my AA Capitole MKII SE.
Anyways, many thanks for this little masterpiece, it's a revelation to rediscover music with the DAP in the system. IT WAS WORTH IT! I have a new reference."
and this is how james summarized his attitude towards it:
"I really love music and get a real thrill when I can get others in to it... and not thinking about the electronics. I hope the DAP.10 does this for you."
There are some reliability issues with the DAP's out there, but I'm sure james is trying to improve the situation. As long as people realize what it does and the benefits it offers, james will not only make more reliable units but also better sounding DAP's.
...all said and done, I want to thank Rob here, because it was through his thread on audioreview that I discovered the DAP.10 and considered it for my own system. I can now recommend to everyone interested in the whest audio DAP.10 not only an AA Prima player but also an AA Capitole MKII player. The results have redefined reference digital sound for me.