Wyred 4 Sound W4S DAC-2 DSD

Hi there,

I am running a music server off of a headless PC. (No monitor.)

It is running Daphile, a Linux-based single purpose music server based on Logitech Media Server.

My Wyred4Sound DAC-2 DSD is connected to one of the PC USB ports via USB cable. Other than the power cable, there is nothing else plugged into the PC. No other USB devices, cables, etc.

My question is how does the USB input of the DSD-2 DSD compare to the coax input?

I have heard that previous W4S DACs (non DSD) may have benefited from the Audiophilleo or other similar USB to S/PDIF devices. However, the USB on the DAC-2 is upgraded, has galvanic isolation, supports integer / direct modes, requires no drivers on Mac / Linux, etc.

Would I benefit from getting an Audiophilleo, connecting that to the USB of the PC, and connecting to the DAC via coax? Obviously, I would lose DSD capabilities this way.

Is the USB on the W4S DAC-2 DSD elevated to the point that a USB to S/PDIF convertor would not provide improved sound?


Hi Mark,
The review of the W4S DAC-2 DSDse in the latest TAS Spring 2015 Buyer's Guide issue by Steven Stone who states that the W4S usb implementation is so good that he can forgo having the EA Off-Ramp 5 usb-spdif converter in the chain.
Hope this helps.
I had the SE version of the wyred DAC for sometime and used both the coax and the USB. I found the USB to be the better of the two. Superb results. Highly recommended.
I have the DAC-2 DSDse and use the USB input only. It's one of the best USB implementations out there.

I've used both the coax and the XLR inputs with various external signal improvement devices between my laptop server and the DAC and found none have made a discernable improvement over USB, in my system at least.

Another plus for the USB is it will carry the higher resolution PCM and DSD files the DAC is capable of handling whereas devices using other inputs might not.
I know the DSDse and DSD are different in many ways, but the USB input is exactly the same on both, correct?
But just wanted to confirm that the SE and non-SE models have the exact same USB implementation.
The W4S website describes the differences. Does not say anything about USB. You might want to contact EJ directly on this (avoid their marketing people) at ej@wyred4sound.com.
One thing you might want to look into is whether the W4S uses power from the computers USB port - many DACS take this approach.

I found a dual USB cable where one cable handles just data and a second just power - they are joined at the DACs usb plug.

I now power my DAC's USB board from an external power adapter.

The improvement was quite noticeable.

The cable itself is very good quality and improved on my DH-Labs USB cable - even with both cables plugged into my iMac.

Other USB power solutions include the AQvox power supply which injects cleaner power into an adapter that fits between the USB cable and the DAC socket.

Personally, on my Bifrost I was unable to tell the difference between USB, SPDIF and Optical inputs. But I think the dual cable and seperate power supply upped the anti in favour of USB implementation.

Willie - what cable are you using? Thanks.
The W4S uses the 5V for galvanic isolation only.

I just corresponded with EJ, the DACs designer, a few days ago about this very subject. He claims there might be slight improvements to be had with a better USB input signal, but I was not able to accomplish this. Same with several USB-in SPDIF/XLR-out devices, and several different cables. The USB always won, or at least could not be bettered.

Again, this is the best USB DAC implementation you will find.

To the OP's direct question, a USB to S/PDIF convertor will most likely NOT improve SQ on this DAC.
Peter - this is the cable


I also use a 1 amp power adapter like this one...


I tested it against a rechargeable USB battery and could hear no difference, which is really good for a switched power supply

Still curious as to whether the USB section in the W4S DAC-2 DSD is identical to the one in the W4S DAC-2 DSD SE. Are there any differences at all between the two as it relates to the USB input?
Contact the manufacturer.
Thank you Jaybe for your response, including the email address for EJ.
I've found EJ to be exceptionally helpful and direct. He won't steer you wrong.