there's a brief owner's review here:
I've just gotten mine, (Dac 1). I've only had it running for a day but cold out of the box it sounded about as good as my DAC Magic..200 hours is recommended break in. Build quality is very good, it's bigger in person than it looks in the pictures. I'll try and post a bit about SQ when it's gotten a few more hours on it, but I suspect it's a real winner, and a serious bargain at $995.00
Third day of breaking in the DAC-2. Impressed with many aspects so far. Not being very analytical. Just getting used to it. superficial aspects: it's an giant SUV compared to my little Lite DAC-AH; i like the dimmable display; the controls are thoughtful and intuitive; power switch up front - yes!
Comparatively (to my Lite DAC-AH): big defined bass; better sound stage; very detailed highs and timbre that i hadn't experienced before; nice lows and it's detailed timbre (like right now I'm listening to Brett Sparks of the Handsome Family sing in his low voice followed by marimbas in a White Stripes track); the female vocals haven't been as velvety as I like (which could partially be attributed to the Telefunkens that I just put back into my pre). i have some CBS/Hytron and RCA Cleartops to try out. Waiting for the break in to open it up more. It should kick my old DACs butt. not gonna A-B for a few more days.
i'm hoping the break in will give me better mids and even more imaging.
got my fingers crossed. i kind of went out on a limb pre-ordering. it's the first brand new home audio component I've bought since the 80s.
i've been using the Toslink and USB out of my MacMini. using a trial version of Pure Music on occasion. the USB output causes a delay in the audio transmission that's unacceptable for playing movies/tv from the computer. but the Toslink sync is about the same at my old DAC (maybe 3 frames behind the video). i created a keyboard short cut AppleScript for switching the audio output between USB to Toslink. but when Pure Music is running the switch has some kinks. i don't have much hi res music to test. just the Raising Sand album and a couple Jonathan Richman records I digitized from my mediocre turntable set-up. oh, and the 24/44 Beatles in Stereo. i guess I'll be able to A-B those.
i'm not planning on using it as a pre-amp, but will definitely be testing it that way at some point.
ambivalent about the fact that I'll be rolling all my cables and tubes around to get the system tuned.
i've been using the Toslink and USB out of my MacMini. using a trial version of Pure Music on occasion. the USB output causes a delay in the audio transmission that's unacceptable for playing movies/tv from the computer.
I was hoping to watch Hulu on my PC using the USB output. Are you saying that audio and video are very likely to be very out of sync through this connection? Any idea why?
Please note that the selected buffer size on the audio preference menu will change the delay of audio based on the size. The larger of the buffer, the longer of delay. When watching movies, you would want no delay. When a Media Center that is used with enough processing power, the buffer can be set to its minimum without any dropouts and the delay shouldn't be a problem. Dropouts are sometimes caused by the computer not being caught up with the other tasks it has on hand. At this point, the processor cant complete the transfer of the audio packets when the USB interface is telling it to be sent. Several solutions for this are obtaining more processing power and or memory, running fewer applications at the same time, or increasing the buffer size.
When the customer above is using the MAC mini, and the buffer is set high, there should be a delay. I am in contact with him and we will be experimenting to find the ideal settings. The DAC-2 does not have any delays itself, but its length can be set in the audio output configurations, and can be set differently based on the audio playback software being used.
also if you own the w4s dacs you need to set the IIR setting to 70k. The explaination of this feature is difficult but its roughly a filter and it is default at >50 so it filters everything below 50 kilohertz out to reduce noise but if you have a good system and would appreciate all detail then set it at 70k. And if you think it wont matter since you cant hear it anyway well....just try it you will be surprised. Kinda like bad rca,s versus good rca,s and how interconnects can make a difference. This IIR is the analog equvilant of caps in line with output signal as filters which is what most people want to avoid or remove from any design since it robs you of SQ. Except IIR is a digital domain filter and not an analog capacitor. DSP is how the Sabre chip works and it stands for digital signal processing. It has nothing to do with home theater or dsp as in the reverb added to audio to give the effect of a studio or theater.Not the same Idea.I told someone once that it used dsp and they said "I dont want a dsp in my stereo" and now they are the biggest proponent of this dac which uses dsp as its processing. And yes I am referring to you Brother. Anyway please try this feature. If you have any questions about any other options on the w4s dacs please ask and I will be happy to help you understand.