Me too, but I'm wondering about the differences if you are not hooked into usb but are using Dac 2 with a Squeezebox touch as we are? Will the differences be as noticeable and worthwhile - anyone set up like this?
- 30 posts total
- 30 posts total
I'd like to be able quantify, however roughly, how much I value the improvement. Quantifying this on some kind of absolute scale seems impossible; however, it might be useful to compare the value of the changes I've made to my system.
A related thought experiment - an evil wizard poses a choice: give up the DSD SE and revert to the original DAC2, or give up another recent(ish) change to your system. OK: what am I prepared to forgo in order to keep the DSD SE?
Wireworld Eclipse SC and Equinox IC? - Yes: out they go; bring back the 18 year old Audioquests and the Oasis 6 ICs.
RWS-708 Speaker Stands? - Yes: tougher choice, as the stands really improved overall definition and bass impact; but I'd prefer the DSD SE upgrade.
GR Research Crossovers? - Hmmm - these were a great improvement over the stock Usher xovers. Still, yes, I'd go for the DSD SE.
Pure Music vs raw iTunes input? - Artificial choice, given the low cost of Pure Music, but... this is really difficult - Pure Music is incredible in removing a host of digital headaches from the sound; as mentioned up above, I hate grit and glare. Given my preferences, a close call. Maybe I'd keep the DSD SE.... (Note - if it were Pure Music vs Audirvana or any other similar software, then the DSD SE wins every time, and by a huge margin - I hear differences between the software, but they are small).
Usher Be718s vs Usher S520 - Well, you'd think this would be hands down in favour of the bigger speakers, but, actually, I might well opt for the DSD SE. The small Ushers are remarkably neutral and have a nice midrange and upper bass - they lose out to the Be718s in the highs. So, very close, but a win to the DSD SE.
Wyred ST1000 vs NAD325BEE - I briefly owned the NAD as I experimented with amplication in a second system. For the money, the NAD is quite nice; but ultimately the Wyred trumps it in virtually every area. I don't have the NAD anymore so a direct comparison is no longer possible - still, from memory, here the Wyred amplifier wins.
So, you get some idea of what it would take for me to renounce the DSD SE upgrade. I'll try to pin a arbitrary unit scale to each of the improvements:
Audirvana to Pure Music +1
Old cables to Eclipse/Equinox + 3
DAC2 fixed & Wyred STi500 as preamp/amp to DAC2 as pre-amp & ST1000 as amp +3
Audio Research CD1 (onboard DAC) to original Wyred DAC2 +5
Old 30kg stands to bolt on RWS-708s +5
Stock xovers to GR Research +8
Usher S520s to Usher Be718s +11
Raw iTunes to Pure Music +12
DAC2 to DAC2 DSD SE +15
NAD325BEE to Wyred ST1000 +18
These values are a little rubbery, but hopefully give you some idea. If you add the numbers together, then I think they hold up: that is to say, if I had to give up the Usher Be718s for the S520s (11 units) AND give up Pure Music for raw iTunes (12 units), then, yes, I'm afraid I would prefer to forgo the DSD SE upgrade (15 units).
Let me know if you have any comments on this "relative unit" system.
Mesch - No worries. Apple lossless (ripped CDs) + a few dozen high resolution FLAC files from HDtracks. Again, I really have no experience with other DACs, so can't comment on your existing gear vs W4S. I went for W4S as their amps bettered my previous ones from Jadis and Audio Research; their prices were in my budget - with resale values high (if I didn't like the product); their sales service was exemplary; and the reviews were uniformly positive, with no caveats hidden "between the lines". Seemed like a safe bet.
A very nice review. I particularly appreciate your description of the relative impact of the upgrade in comparison to other potential component upgrades.
The relative improvement in the context of other potential upgrades in different parts of a system is sometimes too easily overlooked, as we focus just on a particular component.