They are in two completely different classes of quality and sophistication IMO.
I have a friend who has the Nixon, and I have a Brick (soon to be Cosecant), and I liked the Brick better, much better. But there are alot of variables with systems etc...I can say the Brick is sexier looking..Very nice design, and build quality is awesome.
I'm in the same boat as Orjazzm. I like the Nixon USB dac very much, but now that I have a taste of what is possible, I wonder how much better things get with the Brick and then the Cosecant (or alternatively, other USB options and higher end universal CD players). Please describe in as much detail as you can the differences between the Brick and the SN. If the systems you listened to aren't comparable, how are you sure the Brick is so much better than the SN?
Good point you make Morris....I don't know I can give the level of detail you want on the sounds, since I didn't own both pieces to A/B them, just Wavelength stuff. But to me I just didn't hear the same amount of detail in the SN. But like you said, that is also very much system contingent.
I did however look at both of the products before purchasing, among others. In the end, I was able to get a few things out of the buying experience with Wavelength that I couldn't with SN. For one, I was able to audition the Brick, which is a wonderful option to have when spending this kind of money on equipment. The build quality on the Brick is better, no contest there. It is a custom desgined product, from the ground up-even the power supply is made from scratch, and the USB controller is custom as well. I am not sure of the internals on the SN, although I think he uses Black Gates. As nauseating as capacitors and circuitry is for some, this is where you would want to start to make an accurate comparison. Most importantly, find out what the USB controller is, who designed it, and if there are any commodity based DAC chips used in the design. There are alot of pieces out there, even at the high end (Bel Canto, Musical Fidelity etc) using a commodity DAC chip from TI (AKA burr brown). These obviously can be made to sound nice I am sure, since layout of the board and power supply is a factor. They just never sounded right to me.
In the end, Gordon's resume, the time he spent personally, and his dealer choices were all very impressive, and the reason I had not problem spending a little more. The once I listened to it (properly set up) I was shocked at how good his entry level DAC sounded.
It does however make sense to push to try and audition ANYTHING you plan to purchase. A good dealer, or manufacturer will recognize this, and if they dont' move on. If you haven't purchased anything yet, start with the cheapest option and work your way up until your satisfied. If you have the SN, then see if you can listen to a Wavelength product, you won't be sorry.
Thanks for the info. The SN is designed to maximize sound quality at a very low price point. I've been very impressed by everything I've read that Gordon has posted on Audio Asylum and he has a very happy customer base, which is a good sign. I assume the Wavelength Brick sounds better than the SN at more than 3x the cost, with higher quality components, but I'm curious how much better it sounds. Looking at the Wavelength line up, the Crimson looks like the best option, since it is battery powered, but at that price, I wonder how it stacks up against high end SACD players. The Crimson's price is high, but if it delivers the goods, it is still reasonable compared to a high end vinyl setup. The only downside to the USB route is that there is no SACD or DVD-A option. By any chance, did you get to compare the Crimson and Cosecant?
Morris...SACD and DVD-A will die out soon trust me...They have gone virtually nowhere since there introduction...Too few titles etc. Gordon configures his pieces according to the Red Book CD standard. Upsampling sounds silly to me on most systems anyway.
As far as the Crimson goes, I hear it is beyond compare. Only you can make the decision as to how much "better" something sounds. Thats almost impossible to quantify.
Here is my comparison of the Cosecant and Crimson:
The Crimson is a very special product. I find it better sounding than my Esoteric UX-1 playing SACD or DVD-A.
I hope this info is helpful.
Steve and Jc51373 thanks for the very helpful comments. It sounds like Gordon has developed a real state of the art component. I'll start saving for a Crimson...
Morris, Steve knows his stuff...He has alot of experience with Wavelength. Lucky duck has the Crimson!
Wow! I didn't think this thread would yield this much information. Morris, your right about us being in the same boat, as I did not want to spend too much on a usb dac if the hi-rez formats would out perform it. Nice to know that the Crimson can compare to sacd/dvda.
Guys, I was in the same exact boat as you both, not wanting to spend a mint on this stuff and just simply not knowing how the pricier stuff would sound. I have to say I am glad I went with Wavelength for more than just the sound. Gordon is awesome, his products are simply incredible. It's up to you what you do, and whatever that is it won't be a 'bad' decision. But I can tell you with the utmost of confidence that you will not be disappointed with ANY of Gordon's products set up to proper spec. They are ground-breaking and sound perfect.
Jc51373, I hope you didn't sell your Brick yet, I am very interested in your impressions on how it compares to the Cosecant.
Steve, you say you prefer the Crimson to hi-rez, was this also the case when you had the Cosecant? I have a few albums in both redbook and sacd/dvda and the hi-rez discs win hands down in everything, so it's hard for me to fathom that redbook could sound as good, thanks.
I will let you know how it compares...What is the rest of your system like? If you like upsampling, which can sound good, then you should look into something that can play those. I personally think those formats are a waste of time. Not to mention the proper presentation of any music performance is not in surround sound like DVD-A. Most music I have listened to comes from the front, maybe not out of two channels but from the front, and if you have a system dynamic enough to image you will hear what you should.
The Crimson has really changed the playback landscape for me. The tridoe tubes present the most beautiful midrange I have ever heard in digital. SACD and DVD-A for me are just not as musically statisfying as listening to CDs ripped to my MacBook Pro hard drive. And yes, I preferred the Crimson to high-rez on my system. Naturally, this could be more of a comment on my hardware than the formats.
I have given up on SACD and DVD-A given the lack of support of the big labels. This is a personal thing and not a comment on high-rez.
For now, the quality of the sound, and the ability to access hundreds of CDs on the computer has sold me on computer server audio.
Jc51373, my system consists of Omega bipoles, Firstwatt F1, Modwright pre with the Scott Nixon usb dac and a denon 2900 as the sources. This is my first real speaker rig as I have been into headphones for a long time. All formats are played in stereo. Can't wait for the impressions, thanks.
Steve, I agree with you. I was pretty diehard about hi-rez myself, auditioned a few hi-end universal players but never pulled the trigger, but once I downloaded itunes and got a taste of how convenient it was, there was no turning back. However, you have to admit hi-rez has always sounded better than conventional redbook, despite it's lack of support, that's why I'm hoping the Cosecant can give me the fix I need.
You might consider the Brick, sounds like a better value for you and it sounds wonderful.
You may be right, however I'd probably do the same as you and get the Cosecant anyway.
I only went with the Cosecant after owning the Brick, and I didn't do it for sonic reasons, because the Brick sounds great. I did it for systems matching, and quite honestly at this point I should probably consider the Crimson myself since I am investing considerably, and upgrading my system with a Class A Krell amplifier.
Do what makes you happy, but I would suggest working in logical steps and starting with the Brick and then go from there...Mine will be up for sale soon with a dealer and it is perfect, and low hours.