Weiss 501 DAC


With great caution, just set up my new Weiss 501 DAC.  Why pray tell with great caution? Because I'm running ATC 40 actives and did not wish to mistakenly cook them by incorrect hookup while using the unit as a DAC and single source preamp/volume control.

Far too soon for evaluation, but not too soon to observe and appreciate the incredibly small footprint of it all.  Naim Core server, Weiss 501, Decware power conditioner all sitting on Quadraspire Reference X stand, appropriate cabling, PCs and done.  Compact civilized aural pandemonium! 

 

celtic66

Looking forward to your impressions!   I’m looking at the Weiss also.  Wondering if it is more like a $5k DAC with premium price being Swiss and with a lot of DSP functions I may or may not use - I don’t intend to be negative, just that at $10k it’s pricey.  The reviews are very favorable, unfortunately nowhere to listen.  But I like the characterization of the DAC being neutral and letting the music come through (“breathe”) with a certain naturalness  - that seems to be a common thread in the reviews, and is what I am looking for now in a digital front end.  Since they have been raising prices at nearly $10k now you get into other promising and newer contenders like the Esoteric N05xd and Lumin P1.  Currently I’m trying out a Mytek Manhattan, which is nice.  

@jimmy2615 i have tested the Weiss vs some of the more popular ~$5k and ~$10k DACs; Bricasti, Chord, Rockna, PS Audio, Audiobyte and I can say this it is far less compromised than those ~$5k units. It is definitely competitive with the Bricasti M1 SE, Chord Dave, MSB Discrete, etc…. It has its own sound signature which may or may not be preferred vs. the others but it is quite at home with those more premium DACs.

@verdantaudio great info, thanks.  That’s a very relevant/appropo concept - “compromised”, which better fits what I was trying to get at with things like “neutral” or “natural.”  Many DACs sound mostly fine, but it seems many at a certain price point do something wrong - Grit or grain, timbre, tonality issues, etc.  

Update with perhaps 50 hours break-in and listening.  I've never owned a piece so instrumental in organizing everything.  It will seem odd to some, but it's as if a top notch business manager hired from outside the company has arrived and forced order onto the entire operation.

Great recordings sound even better and less than optimal are at least made listenable.  The Swiss have truly struck onto something special.

 

i really really like my dac501 --- great sound, great ergonomics, great features, all around a top notch package, simply beyond reproach

I’ve had mine now for a few days. Usually I’d wait a while to post any opinions and will post again after a while, but I have to say this DAC is unusual in that it is truly transformative with regards to my system. I’ve owned a lot of good DACs and CD players and they all have sounded more similar than different.  This one is different, the whole system seems elevated to a higher notch which is something I’ve never experienced with a front end. It’s definitely not a $5k DAC with Swiss pricing…. Very positive initial impression. Clean, clear, precise, controlled, smooth and musical are initial thoughts.

The Weiss 501 DAC is a gamer in any arena. Any quest for the foreseeable future suspended as this piece simply transforms everything around it. It has not revealed any shortcomings, it simply effectively organizes the participants into cohesive reproduction. In my estimation I did not overpay for Swiss engineering, design and manufacture.

Agree with the other owner thoughts in this thread (clean, clear, dynamic). I listened this morning to the Weiss 501, Igor Levit's Piano Sonata No. 30 (Beethoven), which I just heard Levit play at Carnegie the other week. No stereo is going to match Carnegie acoustics, but in terms of musical engagement, the Weiss is delivering. I agree with the Stereophile review's comment to the effect that it's as if you're looking at a picture that just has more pixels -- that's what's giving you the additional musical detail, not artificially upping the contrast settings on the picture. 

Love the small form factor as well -- ergonomics on this are perfect, as I personally don't want a hulking 20+ lb. box for a DAC.

@celtic66  said ”In my estimation I did not overpay for Swiss engineering, design and manufacture”…. Agreed, and in fact I’d say it’s a bargain.  Some of the other DACs or CD players I’ve owned also required a good streamer to get the best out of them.  I had the Luxman D08u with a Lumin U1, a Mojo Mystique with an Aurender N20, etc.  I went with Weiss to eliminate two boxes and so far this is at least as good using as a Roon endpoint, at half the price.  It’s just delightful to listen to.  Still early but after 100+ hours the detail And precision I heard at the beginning is now complimented by more natural presentation and tone, and a little more warmth.

@celtic66 

 

i too have ATC speakers, albeit scm19v2’s and am considering a streamer dac. the Weiss has entered my view, though it’s stretching the budget and may prevent an upgrade to scm40 passives.  
 

I was wondering if you’ve found the Weiss to be too cold with the ATC’s?  
 

thx

admranger  Not in the least is the Weiss 501 analytical.  It is simply magical in its ability to organize the whole affair.  As far as budget, I cannot speak to anyone’s financial affairs.  

I will submit that purchasing once with great satisfaction, enjoying that purchase for years, is fiscally better than years spent sneaking up on the prize with multiple purchases on the way.

My years experience with ATC includes ATC 19As, ATC 40As and now ATC 50As.  Sense a theme?  Active is where I live.  The very best of luck sorting the whole thing out.  Doubtful you can make a mistake here.  Ciao

Thanks @celtic66 !  I do sense a trend with your speaker selections.

 

What streaming app are you using with the Weiss?  I currently use the Lumin app to stream from my NAS.

While not as robust as Roon, it works and I don't really need all the features Roon offers.

Is there any way to deliver Spotify to the Weiss?  I know it does roon, which works for me most of the time.   It for Spotify, does one need a bluesound or some other (reasonably priced) streamer?

Hi,

WEISS only supports UPnP, or your use roon core to see the 50x as roon ready device.

Therefore you can’t use Spotify or Tidal Connect. Tidal & Qobuz can be used through the mconnect (app I don’t like).

I use Lumin U2 mini (+ ferrum hypsos exteran PSU) to stream through RCA to the Weiss, or if you wanna really get the best out of the DAC, use some dedicated music server like Antipodes, Grimm Audio MU1 or Innous.

Personally I’d highly recommend your move to Tidal or Qobuz, as Spotify doesn’t come close to that streaming quality.

 

Best rgds
Gerald

Does Weiss even have user support?  I sent them a support query weeks ago, with no response.  

I cannot get a 501 to maintain a stable connection to a WlFi LAN and receive UPnP music.  Anyone domestic who you can turn to?

Does Weiss even have user support? I sent them a support query weeks ago, with no response.

I cannot get a 501 to maintain a stable connection to a WlFi LAN and receive UPnP music. 

in the recent past i have emailed with a question to weiss in switzerland, daniel weiss himself answered me within 24 hrs

that said, you may need a networking tech to solve your local problem, weiss probably cannot help you... their stuff works, in my experience

I had the same experience with getting a response directly from Daniel. The Music Room sells them as well as Bluebird Music—perhaps try them

Daniel Weiss owns and operates the company.  He is a busy guy and can’t respond to every customer issue.  Your first inquiry when having trouble should be to your dealer.  That is literally our job and why we make money on these products. We are your first line of support.    
 

If you bought it used and don’t have a dealer, the distributor is Bluebird Music and they ought to help.  Send a note to them via the Contact Us link on the site.  
 

This is going to be a very tough one though as there are lots of variables.  What software are you using.  What mesh system? How far is the node from your core? Etc….  The big issue here is there is a good chance it isn’t the DAC.

what scott (@verdantaudio) says is right

but i will note i have personally found bluebird distinctly unresponsive to retail customers/end users in the past, maybe they have cleaned up their act in the present day...