Weiss is so underrated

I have had the Weiss DAC 202 in my system for about a year now being used in a very ambitious and high resolution system. But then I got that typical audiophile itch and given that this DAC was the lowest priced component in my system, I thought that it was time for me to focus on a new DAC. So with the help of some friends and a local deal I got the following DACs to try in my system for an extended period of time: Berkeley Audio DAC 2 + Alpha USB, Calyx Femto, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC2 and DCS Vivaldi.

The Berkeley was the most analog sounding DAC and had great image focus. In comparison when inserting the Femto I could immediately hear a slight loss of focus on the location of instruments or voices. The Berkeley also has a very little electronic signature in high frequencies which is very impressive, especially at this price point.

The Femto DAC is quite an impressive machine with a well balanced sound. It is a substantial leap over the PS Audio DAC in every way. The Femto has a sound that should work well in virtually any system although it is a little on the dry side. But ultimately it's lack of tight focus of images bothered me.

While the Berkeley has a terrific analog sound and no matter how much you dissect it there is very little if anything that one can fault about his DAC, there is something about it that I found just doesn't suck you into the music. I often found my attention wandering and being distracted while listening to it.

The Vivaldi is by far the most expensive in the group and while it was impressive at a lot of things, in particular how it was able to remain composed during complex passages, it has a certain bright sound that just sounds very artificial to me. It has that sound that is remarkable for audiophile demo discs, but when just listening to music you enjoy I found it to be disappointing overall.

The PS Audio doesn't even come close to any of the DACs in this group. It sounds lifeless, flat, and dull in comparison. Any experienced listener will hear this right away. Beautifully made machine with great specs, but it just doesn't deliver the musical goods at all. I would say that it sounds like kind of how CD players sounded in the early 90s.

But let me tell you, the Weiss despite its relatively low price point beat every DAC in this group, including the mighty Vivaldi. It's soundstage is absolutely massive, much wider and deeper than the other DACs which makes it feel like you are listening in a much larger space (the opposite of Berkeley). And then it also has this incredible airiness that is very special to hear. Images float on silky smooth and airy presentation which is supported by a very dynamic foundation. It is just a thrill to listen to this DAC. The bass is also the most dynamic (although not very deep) that I heard which gives everything far more rhythm and pace.

So the conclusion is the Weiss 202 is a very serious piece of equipment, a remarkable bargain, and probably one of the best DACs out there regardless of price. Has anyone else done an direct A/B comparison with the Weiss? Does your opinion mirror mine?
Soix, if what you were saying were true then I could just buy a $200 boombox and be done with it. It could easily be as good as my $100k+ system, I just need to change my opinion.

What about video? Would you say that 1080p resolution is not better than 480p, it's just a matter of opinion? Plenty of people would choose the lower resolution format over 1080p, inspite of the fact that the image is much sharper, crisper, and more vivid on the HDTV screen?
Dweinstein, I have heard the VAC Statement 450 (driving some large Raidho floorstanders) and thought it sounded lousy, as did a lot of other people who heard the system. (It was the Sound By Singer room at the New York Audio Show.) And I have owned a VAC Phi 200 and thought it sounded good, but in the end was overrated/overpriced in my book. I like Pass Labs better. That does not mean that Pass Labs is objectively better than VAC. It means I like how Pass Labs sounds better than how VAC sounds in my system.

System matching is a make or break proposition -- you can throw together some very expensive components and they will not sound good together -- for example, if their output/input impedances are mismatched. With digital, the transport itself has a big effect on how a DAC sounds. The Perfect Wave DAC, for example, is not particularly impressive from the USB or S/PDIF inputs, and sounds much better when matched with the Perfect Wave Transport connected via HDMI/I2S.

I don't think anyone is going to contest your red herring statement that there must be objective differences in the sound quality and measured performance of various components. That is why John Atkinson spends so much time measuring performance objectively. What you are refusing to admit is that some components -- even very high-end ones -- sometimes do not sound good together in a system, and that sometimes, synergies between components make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. When you refuse to acknowledge the possibility of synergies in your system and declare that the Weiss is objectively superior to other DACs, in contradiction to others who have had the opposite experience, you sound like a religious zealot. If you love the Weiss DAC, great, we get it, but stop using reductionist arguments to dismiss everyone else here.
Mcondom, as I've said taste and system synergy is secondary. You see some people might choose a Ferrari over a Lamborghini and vice-versa but both brands are on equal footing and objectively deliver the same level of quality and performance. So in this case, when choosing at this level it will ultimately be your taste that will determine if you will chose the Ferrari or not.

However, you will certainly not choose a Kia over a Lamborghini if you are looking for a high performance car. You will know objectively that the Kia is not even in the same league.

It's the same with Pass and VAC, they are both state of the art products and of course at this level it will be your taste and system synergy that will ultimately dictate which one you choose.

I am simply making the point that the PS Audio is objectively like a Kia and Weiss is like a Lamborghini, although some people might got for EMM Labs (Ferrari) - an equally good choice determined by taste and system synergy.
Dweinstein: "I am simply making the point that the PS Audio is objectively like a Kia and Weiss is like a Lamborghini, although some people might got for EMM Labs (Ferrari) - an equally good choice determined by taste and system synergy"

i'm simply telling you..... you're foolish, narcissistic and arrogant. almost every reply has pointed this out in one way or another. this should have given you some pause before making yet another extremely ignorant statement. the fact that you haven't paused (kia vs lambo?? really? LOL!)....more or less proves you're foolish, narcissistic and arrogant. you really know so little yet pretend to know so much. puzzling....you're a real enigma. good thing you have plenty of money.....because u have little else to offer the world.

keep chiseling into stone the "advise and information" obtained from the people selling you all that expensive gear. rest assured they love ya for it $$$$$$ =)