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A high end DAC that actually isn't garbage.

MZKM

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#1
Stereophile recently reviewed the "Weiss Engineering DAC502" DAC & headphone amp, I went straight to the price tag and saw $9850 and eagerly went to the measurements to see what a shit show it would be, but it actually is pretty good, not Mola Mola good, but good.
Here is a comparison with the Benchmark DAC 3 (Benchmark left, Weiss right).

Noise Floor (different scale)
1117BDAC3fig05.jpg 720WDAC502fig08.jpg

50Hz THD
1117BDAC3fig08.jpg 720WDAC502fig11.jpg

19+20kHz IMD
1117BDAC3fig09.jpg 720WDAC502fig12.jpg

16Bit Jitter (USB)
1117BDAC3fig10.jpg 720WDAC502fig13.jpg

24Bit Jitter (USB for Benchmark, AES for Weiss)
1117BDAC3fig12.jpg 720WDAC502fig14.jpg


Ok, so it's good but not D90, Matrix, Mola Mola good, so why this post? Well, this thing has some impressive features not typically seen in 2ch products:
  • Room Equalizer - to suppress room modes for a decent bass reproduction.
  • Creative Equalizer - a tone control with low boost/cut, high boost/cut and mid boost/cut. Very useful to correct those recordings which do not quite sound right.
  • De-Essing - the automatic removal of overly bright sibilances from human voices. The sibilance effect can be more or less pronounced depending on your speakers or room acoustics.
  • Constant Volume - adjusts the audio volume (loudness) to a constant value across all tracks played. Useful for "party mode" when the volume control should stay untouched.
  • Vinyl Emulation - get that special sonic character of a record player based playback chain. We also employ an emulation of the DMM-CD procedure offered by the Stockfisch label.
  • Crosstalk Cancelling (XTC) - for the playback of dummy head recordings or live recordings via speakers for an incredible live sensation. Dummy head recordings usually are listened to via headphones because they only work properly if the left channel goes to the left ear only and the right channel to the right ear only. With speakers this is difficult to achive as the left channel goes to the left and the right ear. But with some clever signal processing of the speaker channels is is possible to suppress the crosstalk, i.e. the audio going from the left speaker to the right ear and vice versa. If that works properly then the recording sounds as if one would be in the space where the recording has taken place. All the reverberation and 3D representation of the sound sources is there.(For speaker based playback only.)
  • Loudness Control - a listening volume dependent equalization of the audio.
  • Headphone Equalizer - to adapt any headphone to the listener's ears in terms of frequency response.

It also is Roon Ready.
What would be even cooler would be if it had true EQ like Dirac while preserving the loudness control feature.

While not a product I would ever even remotely consider for myself (not that I could even afford to spend $10K on a DAC :)), it's nice to see a boutique manufacturer aiming for those with deep products that actually performs and has good features. I really pray this is a sign of the times.
 
Last edited:

Vini darko

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#2
Cool set of toys it has. Would be fun to play with. 10 grand price isnt fun though.
 

Eurasian

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#4
Isn't this review 8 years old and the product about 10?

Edit: Sorry, you are talking about a newer model -- my bad.
 

Bombadil

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#8
Stereophile recently reviewed the "Weiss Engineering DAC502" DAC & headphone amp, I went straight to the price tag and saw $9850 and eagerly went to the measurements to see what a shit show it would be, but it actually is pretty good, not Mola Mola good, but good.
Here is a comparison with the Benchmark DAC 3 (Benchmark left, Weiss right).

Noise Floor (different scale)
View attachment 75022 View attachment 75023

50Hz THD
View attachment 75024 View attachment 75025

19+20kHz IMD
View attachment 75027 View attachment 75028

16Bit Jitter (USB)
View attachment 75029 View attachment 75030

24Bit Jitter (Toslink for Benchmark, AES for Weiss)
View attachment 75031 View attachment 75032


Ok, so it's good but not D90, Matrix, Mola Mola good, so why this post? Well, this thing has some impressive features not typically seen in 2ch products:
  • Room Equalizer - to suppress room modes for a decent bass reproduction.
  • Creative Equalizer - a tone control with low boost/cut, high boost/cut and mid boost/cut. Very useful to correct those recordings which do not quite sound right.
  • De-Essing - the automatic removal of overly bright sibilances from human voices. The sibilance effect can be more or less pronounced depending on your speakers or room acoustics.
  • Constant Volume - adjusts the audio volume (loudness) to a constant value across all tracks played. Useful for "party mode" when the volume control should stay untouched.
  • Vinyl Emulation - get that special sonic character of a record player based playback chain. We also employ an emulation of the DMM-CD procedure offered by the Stockfisch label.
  • Crosstalk Cancelling (XTC) - for the playback of dummy head recordings or live recordings via speakers for an incredible live sensation. Dummy head recordings usually are listened to via headphones because they only work properly if the left channel goes to the left ear only and the right channel to the right ear only. With speakers this is difficult to achive as the left channel goes to the left and the right ear. But with some clever signal processing of the speaker channels is is possible to suppress the crosstalk, i.e. the audio going from the left speaker to the right ear and vice versa. If that works properly then the recording sounds as if one would be in the space where the recording has taken place. All the reverberation and 3D representation of the sound sources is there.(For speaker based playback only.)
  • Loudness Control - a listening volume dependent equalization of the audio.
  • Headphone Equalizer - to adapt any headphone to the listener's ears in terms of frequency response.

It also is Roon Ready.
What would be even cooler would be if it had true EQ like Dirac while preserving the loudness control feature.

While not a product I would ever even remotely consider for myself (not that I could even afford to spend $10K on a DAC :)), it's nice to see a boutique manufacturer aiming for those with deep products that actually performs and has good features. I really pray this is a sign of the times.
How ironic, digital emulation of vinyl distortion as a "feature". This could cause the audiophiliac to have a stroke trying to describe it :cool:
 

Blumlein 88

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#11
We need to get Topping to build a DAC with some fancy features. Then it would be affordable.
If I were Topping, or SMSL or such I'd create an aura about a special research project to take all they have learned and build a true SOA unit. Price it at maybe $8000. Send it out for review. Don't have too many features. Have it a minimalist attempt at best sound for the connoisseur. Make one with top notch results. Let it get reviewed and ewwed, and ahhed over a bit. Named to some best of lists. Then announce that due to the good reception they had spent the resources to make enough to realize economies of scale, and offer the same unit for $199. Then offer refunds to those who purchased at the previous pricing. You probably will get some comparing the $8k version to the $199 version and proclaiming sonic differences just for icing and the cherry on top.
 

maxxevv

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Apr 12, 2018
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#12
Stereophile recently reviewed the "Weiss Engineering DAC502" DAC & headphone amp, I went straight to the price tag and saw $9850 and eagerly went to the measurements to see what a shit show it would be, but it actually is pretty good, not Mola Mola good, but good.
Here is a comparison with the Benchmark DAC 3 (Benchmark left, Weiss right).

Noise Floor (different scale)
View attachment 75022 View attachment 75023

50Hz THD
View attachment 75024 View attachment 75025

19+20kHz IMD
View attachment 75027 View attachment 75028

16Bit Jitter (USB)
View attachment 75029 View attachment 75030

24Bit Jitter (Toslink for Benchmark, AES for Weiss)
View attachment 75031 View attachment 75032


Ok, so it's good but not D90, Matrix, Mola Mola good, so why this post? Well, this thing has some impressive features not typically seen in 2ch products:
  • Room Equalizer - to suppress room modes for a decent bass reproduction.
  • Creative Equalizer - a tone control with low boost/cut, high boost/cut and mid boost/cut. Very useful to correct those recordings which do not quite sound right.
  • De-Essing - the automatic removal of overly bright sibilances from human voices. The sibilance effect can be more or less pronounced depending on your speakers or room acoustics.
  • Constant Volume - adjusts the audio volume (loudness) to a constant value across all tracks played. Useful for "party mode" when the volume control should stay untouched.
  • Vinyl Emulation - get that special sonic character of a record player based playback chain. We also employ an emulation of the DMM-CD procedure offered by the Stockfisch label.
  • Crosstalk Cancelling (XTC) - for the playback of dummy head recordings or live recordings via speakers for an incredible live sensation. Dummy head recordings usually are listened to via headphones because they only work properly if the left channel goes to the left ear only and the right channel to the right ear only. With speakers this is difficult to achive as the left channel goes to the left and the right ear. But with some clever signal processing of the speaker channels is is possible to suppress the crosstalk, i.e. the audio going from the left speaker to the right ear and vice versa. If that works properly then the recording sounds as if one would be in the space where the recording has taken place. All the reverberation and 3D representation of the sound sources is there.(For speaker based playback only.)
  • Loudness Control - a listening volume dependent equalization of the audio.
  • Headphone Equalizer - to adapt any headphone to the listener's ears in terms of frequency response.

It also is Roon Ready.
What would be even cooler would be if it had true EQ like Dirac while preserving the loudness control feature.

While not a product I would ever even remotely consider for myself (not that I could even afford to spend $10K on a DAC :)), it's nice to see a boutique manufacturer aiming for those with deep products that actually performs and has good features. I really pray this is a sign of the times.
A fair bit of these features are software achievable.

I think phone app with BT / wifi connectivity to a similar device would resolve quite a bit of the stuff. The DAC would need a processing chip to process the commands from the App.

- Do a "REW-like" measurement via the phone App using the phone's microphone. And do the necessary room corrections using the accrued data via the app itself and send to the DAC.
- Build in a 20 band EQ on the App.
- De-essing is a bit harder, I'm not completely sure how to overcome that but I believe either of the above 2 features can address it.
- Vinyl emulation, tube emulation whatever can be done via software too. Heck, DSP's can even emulate a concert hall sound in your living room or even headphone though not perfect.
- Crosstalk cancelling/mixing and loudness control are all software, think some of the modules on Foobar2000 already do that.
- Creative Technologies already has the ear mapping tech in their Super X-fi products it seems.

So you just need something like the Matrix X-Sabre ,Topping D90 or SMSL M400 with a fancy DSP / processor chip that can interface with a well implemented phone App build to send these parameters into them.

All the basics are there. Just the consolidation into a seamless package that's lacking.
 

win

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Jun 17, 2020
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Location
Irvine CA
#14
Stereophile recently reviewed the "Weiss Engineering DAC502" DAC & headphone amp, I went straight to the price tag and saw $9850 and eagerly went to the measurements to see what a shit show it would be, but it actually is pretty good, not Mola Mola good, but good.
Here is a comparison with the Benchmark DAC 3 (Benchmark left, Weiss right).

Noise Floor (different scale)
View attachment 75022 View attachment 75023

50Hz THD
View attachment 75024 View attachment 75025

19+20kHz IMD
View attachment 75027 View attachment 75028

16Bit Jitter (USB)
View attachment 75029 View attachment 75030

24Bit Jitter (Toslink for Benchmark, AES for Weiss)
View attachment 75031 View attachment 75032


Ok, so it's good but not D90, Matrix, Mola Mola good, so why this post? Well, this thing has some impressive features not typically seen in 2ch products:
  • Room Equalizer - to suppress room modes for a decent bass reproduction.
  • Creative Equalizer - a tone control with low boost/cut, high boost/cut and mid boost/cut. Very useful to correct those recordings which do not quite sound right.
  • De-Essing - the automatic removal of overly bright sibilances from human voices. The sibilance effect can be more or less pronounced depending on your speakers or room acoustics.
  • Constant Volume - adjusts the audio volume (loudness) to a constant value across all tracks played. Useful for "party mode" when the volume control should stay untouched.
  • Vinyl Emulation - get that special sonic character of a record player based playback chain. We also employ an emulation of the DMM-CD procedure offered by the Stockfisch label.
  • Crosstalk Cancelling (XTC) - for the playback of dummy head recordings or live recordings via speakers for an incredible live sensation. Dummy head recordings usually are listened to via headphones because they only work properly if the left channel goes to the left ear only and the right channel to the right ear only. With speakers this is difficult to achive as the left channel goes to the left and the right ear. But with some clever signal processing of the speaker channels is is possible to suppress the crosstalk, i.e. the audio going from the left speaker to the right ear and vice versa. If that works properly then the recording sounds as if one would be in the space where the recording has taken place. All the reverberation and 3D representation of the sound sources is there.(For speaker based playback only.)
  • Loudness Control - a listening volume dependent equalization of the audio.
  • Headphone Equalizer - to adapt any headphone to the listener's ears in terms of frequency response.

It also is Roon Ready.
What would be even cooler would be if it had true EQ like Dirac while preserving the loudness control feature.

While not a product I would ever even remotely consider for myself (not that I could even afford to spend $10K on a DAC :)), it's nice to see a boutique manufacturer aiming for those with deep products that actually performs and has good features. I really pray this is a sign of the times.
So what does it do that a minidsp shd + topping d90 couldn't do much, much better for 20% of the price?
 
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#18
When I read this in JA’s review, it gave me pause:

“The PS Audio DirectStream ($5999) has been my go-to D/A processor since I purchased our review sample in 2014. While not the last word in resolution, its smooth-sounding presentation allows the music to communicate ...”
 

Jimbob54

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#19
If I were Topping, or SMSL or such I'd create an aura about a special research project to take all they have learned and build a true SOA unit. Price it at maybe $8000. Send it out for review. Don't have too many features. Have it a minimalist attempt at best sound for the connoisseur. Make one with top notch results. Let it get reviewed and ewwed, and ahhed over a bit. Named to some best of lists. Then announce that due to the good reception they had spent the resources to make enough to realize economies of scale, and offer the same unit for $199. Then offer refunds to those who purchased at the previous pricing. You probably will get some comparing the $8k version to the $199 version and proclaiming sonic differences just for icing and the cherry on top.
Even better - put a D90 in an audiophile friendly case, brushed metal etc. Ludicrous fake brand name, "audio guru" back story, the works. Send a handful of demo units out for review. See what happens

(It may get reviewed as too cold/clinical/digital- but hey)
 

raistlin65

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#20
Even better - put a D90 in an audiophile friendly case, brushed metal etc. Ludicrous fake brand name, "audio guru" back story, the works. Send a handful of demo units out for review. See what happens

(It may get reviewed as too cold/clinical/digital- but hey)
I always wanted to fake a YGGDRASIL at a head-fi meetup with something like the D90 inside.
 
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