If you are looking for a great R2R DAC take a look at my review on the Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE DAC on the website Stereo Times. It retails for $2,500, is beautifully built and is exceptional music maker. By the way I know three listeners who owned Denafrips Terminators who replaced them with the Tubadour III SE and loved the change to this DAC.
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Check out Audiobyte's (Rockna sister company) new Hydra/Vox for the same price. I've had mine for a month now and blown away by it. Mike Powell ("OCD hifi guy" on youtube) has several video's on it and in this video he puts it up against a 20K DAC with interesting results;
I would be very interested to know how it compares to the new wavelight.
Mrkoven , I owed Rockna’s WaveDream dac which replaced a Denafrips Terminator I owed just prior to the spike of online popularity .
I vaguely remember Terminator’s performance however with direct comparisons in two different systems the Rockna dac seemed to be quieter ,clearly it was more musical and more resolving plus a big deal to me Rockna had it over the Denafrips with well recorded vocal's.
I would think the new Rockna Wavelight would certainly be great performing considering the designers back ground history .
However later on I got interested in Rockna’s sister companies AudioByte converter and power supplies and noticed the Hydra Vox dac digital stack with a purpose built headphone section.
I saw that AudioMirror is a AudioByte dealer and made an impulse purchase of the Hydra Vox dac after a short exchange of emails with Vlad . I passed on the AudioByte converter and power supples realizing there would be more boxes and connecting cables to deal with and look at . I liked the neat and tidy look of the Vox stack and of course it’s performance over the WaveDream .
i currently have a rockna stack: wavedream signature se with wavedream net. it's a great combination in my system. i was running the rockna with a metrum ambre to start - so i could utilize roon with my laptop serving as the roon core. then i bought the rockna wavedream net on a bit of a whim but with some reservations. this was - again, in my system - a huge step forward. i was frankly stunned as i'm a computer guy and bits are bits...
the first that thing that stood out to me was how much bigger the soundstage became in all dimensions. after that initial "wow" wore off over some days and weeks i noticed that everything was just much better over all. the tone, texture, and all the other words used to describe play back that differs from merely listening to being captivated.
my rockna experience and the experiences of others with other servers has lead me to believe the server is even more important than the dac itself in that changes in servers are resulting in bigger sound differences than changes in dacs. am i saying buy a cheap dac and an amazing server? no, not necessarily (though i know of one user using a taiko extreme with a dragonfly - while they wait for their new dac and enjoying the sound). but for me, i'd take any dac budget and try to spend half to 75% on the server and the rest on the dac. i mention this because the terminator from everything i read (and it was high on my list before pulling the trigger on the rockna) may really benefit from a nice server as a source.
okay, now that i've gotten through that i'll get to the bad news: i haven't heard the wavelight and can't comment directly. however if it carries any of the tonal qualities of the wavedream net + wavedream signature se, i reckon it will sound great. rockna has a density to the sound that is just so palpable and it's able to flow so beautifully from one note to another. but everyone has different tastes so all i can do is share my opinion. for what it's worth i'm probably selling the wavedream net soon as i'd like to purchase a taiko extreme and really take the server experiment to it's illogical/logical extreme :). not meant as solicitation but just wanted to be honest about it. if you have any other questions about rockna, feel free to pm and i'll do my best to answer
@skanda Interesting findings. If willing, feel free to post your findings / experience on the thread (linked below) where we are trying tease out whether the DAC or the streamer is "more important."
Some additional info on the AudioByte Vox stack. My understanding after emailing Mike Powell, the USA dealer. The Hydra has a power cable to the ZAP power supply. That unit powers the HUB and VOX units using supplied proprietary cables. So I see only 1 cable going out of the stack, the other cables I regard like interconnects (that are supplied).
I am thinking of buying this stack unheard if it works with my new preamps professional-grade XLR connections. Some technical mumbo jumbo that I am clarifying with AudioByte.
I'm highly interested in both the Audiobyte Hydra Zap and the Rockna Wavelight dacs, so please guys (those of you in the position to do that) do share your impressions in as much detail as it is comfortable for you. Tone, timbre, frequency extension (especially in the highs), detail, micro- and macrodynamics, soundstage (especially width), PRAT... You know what I mean... Many thanks!
Skanda I know what what your saying about the Rockna WaveDream net I listened to a demonstration switching out other severs the Dream net clearly made a fairly noticeable difference, just beautiful however out of my budget. Having tried other servers I got a big jump in performance enjoyment trying a Innuos Zenith 3 just recently.
Now I’m content with Hydra Vox dac and Innuos server though I will keep an eye out for that 2nd hand Rockna net if you purchase the Taiko Extreme.
I've got an entry level Wavedream (single ended version). Put it head to head with a Holo Spring 2 KTE and the Yggy. Bested both quite easily.
Great liquid sound with dense tone. PRAT and transient speed a major highlight of the product. Quick, firm bass - no mid base hump/boom.
Not sure how the Wavelight will compare but I must say I like the aesthetics of the Wavelight more than the Wavedream ! The price seems similar as well so I'm curious as to the difference in performance ?
@in_shore great to hear about your experience with the NET. it can certainly be a bit jarring at first because like ... it's a server, how could it possibly matter but the proof is in the pudding and you don't even have to listen to for it. the differences are not subtle in any way. given the quarantine situation i'm not sure when the taiko will land but hopefully some time this summer. looking forward to sharing impressions.
hey everyone, i received my taiko extreme yesterday. i'm keeping an audio journal on it here. hope you guys find it interesting! i will specifically be comparing it to my rockna as things settle in and i get my bearings with this new piece of kit: https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/living-at-the-extreme-i-bought-a-taiko-extreme-and-then-this-happened.31014/
@in_shore , thank you! i've been updating it fairly regularly so if you havent been to the thread in the while i've made further comparisons.
this morning, i'm sitting here with the extreme playing and i'm taking care of my morning emails etc and I'm just blown away by what i'm hearing. no hyperbole, the soundstaging is just the best i've ever got out of my system. all that said, the rockna is a fantastic piece and already playing at a high level so please don't take this as "you must upgrade now!!". i think too often in our hobby there is an exaggeration of improvements etc. realistically, the extreme is very expensive and i think if you got it you'd be happy with the improvements (as i am, and they are still working out via burn in) but the rockna is still a tremendous server
How does the Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE DAC compare with the Rockna Wavelight? I am looking for a new main or second DAC that is sufficiently different sounding than my current main DAC, the very neutral and quiet Benchmark DAC3B.
Ideally this new DAC is also very quiet which I find is very important for my current musical enjoyment.
Both DACs are the antithesis of your Benchmark DAC3B. Both are much more fuller sounding regarding image density and have better tonality/colors then your DAC3B. I have reviewed both DACs that you are asking about, my review on the Wavelight for Stereo Times has been submitted but not yet published yet. Because the Wavelight is a solid state design it is slightly quieter then the Tubadour SE III that uses tubes in its analog conversion section. Both are great DACs.