I will be comparing a W4S DAC-1 and a Nova sometime this week.
25 responses Add your response
I haven't heard either, though I did briefly toy with the idea of a Nova for simplification sake, but I do suggest you add the Eastern Electric Minimax DAC to your considerations. Its another Sabre32 DAC with exceptional SQ, great mod potential and a toggle-able tube/solid state output.
Listening to mine right now. Its great.
What do you mean you would use the Nova "as a DAC preamp only"? I assume that means you won't be using the Nova as a power amp to drive speakers.
The Peachtree Nova was designed as an affordable integrated, not as a standalone DAC. Yes, the DAC chip is good, but that is not the sole determinant of sound quality. If you don't need the analogue inputs or the power amp, why pay for them?
If you just want a DAC with volume control and can afford it, I would try to find a PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC either used or at a discounted price new. It is a stellar piece, and the "street" price from some on-line retailers is considerably below the $3K retail price.
The W4S DAC2 was supposedly designed to sound as good as (or better than) the Perfect Wave DAC. One of the reasons the W4S DAC 2 has the HDMI/I2S input is so it can be used with the Perfect Wave Transport). However, Wyred4Sound and their distributors sell the DAC2 at the full asking price of $1,500, so the PW DAC might only cost an extra $750.
Last piece of advice, send your question to Underwood HiFi. Walter carries PS Audio, Peachtree, and Wyred 4 Sound and can definitely offer some guidance (and quote you prices). I have dealt with him before and trust his ears.
Mingles, I did replace the Bel Canto with the W4S Dac. It's no contest between the two. I really didn't expect as much of a difference as I found. Without going into a lot of hoopla, let's just say that the W4S bettered the Dac 3 in every category. The W4S will take 500 hrs of break in to really smooth out and settle down from the break in irregularities.
Well the designer I spoke actually build two DACs the only difference between those 2 DACs were the DAC chip sets. One was using a Burr brown PMC 1704 the other a Sabre 32. The one using the Sabre DAC never went into production. According to him the Sabre DAC has many nice options that can also be turned of but he didn't like the sound.