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Looking for a consensus on Wiim Pro Plus and DACs

bec143

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I’m brand new to ASR. After a long retreat to Sonos and not messing around with my stereo, I recently got a starter TT because I like poking around record stores (Planar 3/Hana EL). This led to some other changes. I decided I was tired of my original Audio Physic Virgos and got new ATC SCM40s (which seem to be hated over here but sound great to me). And now that we are listening to main system again, I got a Wiim Pro+ (not knowing the Ultra was coming). My amp is an older YBA Passion Integre, which replaced a Naim system, and I still have a Naim CD5/Hicap (on its last legs).

Anyway- I like the Pro+ on first listen, using the RCA out and Tidal. I haven't had any EQ option for 20 years- it's nice! Trying to wade through all the threads here reminds me of my old days with various Squeezebox iterations and tweaks – most of which I still have in a box (linear power supply, several NOS DACs, a MF V-Dac, an early MQA meridian Explorer 2, and a Benchmark Dac1 that is on loan elsewhere).

Is there a clear consensus about the benefit of garden variety DACs to the Pro+? I no longer have the patience to endlessly swap nor want to spend a lot on a new DAC. But would like to set it up rationally. My DAC collection is old, but I see the V-DAC measured well here.



Bruce
 

staticV3

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Is there a clear consensus about the benefit of garden variety DACs to the Pro+?
In terms of pure sound quality, it doesn't get any better than the Pro+.

An external DAC may be preferred in that you can get native balanced output (XLR/TRS), for long cable runs without interference noise.

On the other hand, you can pretty easily convert the WiiM's own RCA output to balanced. You just need the right cables:
2conductorsor3.png rca-xlr_corr.png

You then have the same noise cancelling properties as native XLR/TRS, without the cost and complexity of yet another external DAC box.
 

dtaylo1066

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The WiiM Pro Plus has been reviewed and measured on ASR and is a very good unit and one could argue a steal for the price. The DAC on the Pro Plus is top-notch and transparent, and you also get analog (RCA) in so if you have a tape deck or turntable you can run that through the Pro Plus. It will be digitized by an internal ADC. You get a remote, a quality streamer with remote software for your phone or tablet, and as you note the software has EQ, and it's Roon ready. Really not much more to ask for.

The consensus is this is a high quality unit with transparent sound quality at an astoundingly good price. You will not need a separate DAC as the internal AKM DAC is very good. One could argue a $300 external DAC will measure better, but I think most listeners will have no issue with the Pro Plus. You could always upgrade to an external DAC down the road.

Rumor has it a Pro Ultra is in the works and may be out by mid-year.

For its price, ease of use, and ease of set up you cannot beat it. If you want to spend more, then look at Eversolo or Fiio units that sell for about $700.
 

jcadduono

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From what I can tell, you can also just buy a WiiM mini, and connect an SMSL SU-1 to it for $100 less if you're not using any of the Pro Plus's features. You won't have Roon support though.
 

dtaylo1066

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From what I can tell, you can also just buy a WiiM mini, and connect an SMSL SU-1 to it for $100 less if you're not using any of the Pro Plus's features. You won't have Roon support though.

Upon re-reading the OP, he has already purchased the Pro Plus, so the question is adding an external DAC worth it? I would say I think the Pro Plus DAC will suit your needs.

You can always add one later, or a DAC/Headphone amp combo if you need headphone support, or want balanced out (but that can also be addressed with cables). Bottom line is that the Pro Plus DAC's measurements are excellent and you could find a DAC that measures better but on this site you will get the argument you would not hear any difference.

I stream via an SBC and Volumio into a DAC, but am contemplating getting the Pro Plus myself for it's ease of use, especially for my wife, and it's analog in for my TT.
 
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bec143

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I am very impressed with the Pro Plus so far- I will try to stay away from the box of DACs I could start swapping. I do have a linear PS that will work and may change that, just out of principle.

But overall great VFM, easy UI, and no complaints.
 
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bec143

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So having had a week to poke around - here is a question. The response to a product like this is that it's excellent in measurements and has a fine Dac And shortcomings are inaudible.

but there is often a caveat - "as capable as any several hundred dollar dac" with the implication is that the big boys are better.
Is that what people are saying ?

seems like either the differences should be audible or not and if the latter, then nothing sounds better?
 

JeremyFife

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So having had a week to poke around - here is a question. The response to a product like this is that it's excellent in measurements and has a fine Dac And shortcomings are inaudible.

but there is often a caveat - "as capable as any several hundred dollar dac" with the implication is that the big boys are better.
Is that what people are saying ?

seems like either the differences should be audible or not and if the latter, then nothing sounds better?
There is a performance threshold above which nothing sounds better. End.

Many inexpensive DACs perform above that threshold - are better - but people have a hard time accepting that cheap can also be not just good but excellent, even SOTA.
That phrase is really just trying to allay that doubt. As you have found, it doesn't always help.

Some more expensive DACs do have better build quality, additional features, better support and those are real differences. They can't sound better.
 

radix

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I have a Pro+ and a Pro. I really cannot tell them apart, sound-wise, just listening to it. I'm sure if I got sensitive measurement gear, I'd see a difference, but not hear it. I use the RCA out on the Pro+ and the optical out on the Pro (I could have probably gotten away with a mini).

The only thing I would say is, if you want to have manual controls or an EQ you can turn knobs on, then you want a separate preamp. If you are OK using the app (or setup a tablet as a kiosk for your system), then the Wiim should be everything you need.

Wiim has pretty good multiroom. And it responds very well to changes in streaming services (e.g. switching from roon to spotify). I wish the Wiim control app had Spotify baked in, so I don't need to switch apps, but overall its ok. The Wiim app seems solid, I've not hit any bugs yet.
 

DVDdoug

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but there is often a caveat - "as capable as any several hundred dollar dac" with the implication is that the big boys are better.
Is that what people are saying ?
People say a lot of things. MOST of what you read in the "audiophile community" is nonsense. ;) This is one of the few rational-scientific audio-related websites.

Personally, I've NEVER heard a difference or defect from a DAC, including the one built into the 1st CD player I bought in 1985! Except... I had a noisy soundcard once that made noise when the hard drive was accessed. But I don't blame the "DAC". That was noise getting into analog electronics or the "analog side" of the DAC'
 

gwing

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So having had a week to poke around - here is a question. The response to a product like this is that it's excellent in measurements and has a fine Dac And shortcomings are inaudible.

but there is often a caveat - "as capable as any several hundred dollar dac" with the implication is that the big boys are better.
Is that what people are saying ?

seems like either the differences should be audible or not and if the latter, then nothing sounds better?

Not audible. I have a nice modern external DAC which looks much prettier, has balanced outputs and measures better. However any differences between them would be way beyond audibility - even when my ears were much younger. The external DAC is there to provide a much better headphone amp than my other kit and also to reduce ground loops.
 

dtaylo1066

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If you want to believe in subjective opinions, then you can buy a more expensive DAC or streamer and be happy.

If you want to believe in measurements, the Pro Plus will make you happy at a low cost.

If you want other features such as balanced out, then you can buy a product with the additional features you desire. Same as to build quality or warranty, but the WiiM products seem to be OK in both categories.

Consensus on this Forum is that a great DAC, built like a tank, and rich in feature set is the RME ADI-2 FS. If you have $1,200 to burn, go for it! It will not disappoint you.

 

radix

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Consensus on this Forum is that a great DAC, built like a tank, and rich in feature set is the RME ADI-2 FS. If you have $1,200 to burn, go for it! It will not disappoint you.
The ADI-2 FS does have a physical volume and bass/treble controls, if those matter to you. And an excellent headphone amp. In this case, you'd use the Wiim optical out to the RME, so having the Pro+ vs the Pro vs the Mini does not matter much, except for the AUX/LINE IN. I'm not sure if there's ADC differences between those units.
 
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bec143

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You can see from my first post that I went though a number of early Dacs and tweaks with the squeezebox models as they came out. The nos dacs did sound different but that is mostly roll off I think, although they werequte a fad. Sometimes I thought a linear PS helped but I was still with mostly Naim stuff so maybe predisposed to PS improvement.
 
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Anton D

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Put me down as another vote favoring the Pro Plus!
 

dtaylo1066

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You can see from my first post that I went though a number of early Dacs and tweaks with the squeezebox models as they came out. The nos dacs did sound different but that is mostly roll off I think, although they werequte a fad. Sometimes I thought a linear PS helped but I was still with mostly Naim stuff so maybe predisposed to PS improvement.

On this Forum you will get basically a hard-line measurements, fact-based opinion on DACs. So don't expect too much subjective analysis or support thereof.

It's OK if you have a differing opinion. And if you believe you can hear a difference in DACs or power supplies, then go for it and you will only support your POV, your ears, what you hear, or think you hear. There is a lot of bias inherent in the human brain. But bias can also make us happy.

So if you want a "better" DAC, then just go for it, knowing you will not get a lot of support for that position on ASR, as the Pro Plus DAC measures as "transparent" and is a well regarded chip.

The good news is you can always add a DAC later if you think the internal unit is not up to snuff. And you need not spend at the RME level to get a great DAC.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Audio is in the ear of the listener. Don't worry, be happy.
 

Emlin

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On this Forum you will get basically a hard-line measurements, fact-based opinion on DACs. So don't expect too much subjective analysis or support thereof.

It's OK if you have a differing opinion. And if you believe you can hear a difference in DACs or power supplies, then go for it and you will only support your POV, your ears, what you hear, or think you hear. There is a lot of bias inherent in the human brain. But bias can also make us happy.

So if you want a "better" DAC, then just go for it, knowing you will not get a lot of support for that position on ASR, as the Pro Plus DAC measures as "transparent" and is a well regarded chip.

The good news is you can always add a DAC later if you think the internal unit is not up to snuff. And you need not spend at the RME level to get a great DAC.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Audio is in the ear of the listener. Don't worry, be happy.
Rubbish.
 

kemmler3D

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Is there a clear consensus about the benefit of garden variety DACs to the Pro+?
The consensus here and anywhere that measurements are taken seriously: the Pro+ has a fully competent DAC in it, and it would be virtually impossible to derive an audible benefit from using a different DAC with it.

To put it another way, if you could pass a blind test between the Pro+ and any good DAC you choose to test against it, you would be considered literally superhuman.

As others have mentioned, this is not to say there is no reason to buy another DAC. But sound quality is not one of them.
 
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bec143

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The consensus here and anywhere that measurements are taken seriously: the Pro+ has a fully competent DAC in it, and it would be virtually impossible to derive an audible benefit from using a different DAC with it.
As others have mentioned, this is not to say there is no reason to buy another DAC. But sound quality is not one of them.
Just be be clear I agree with this. But is then confusing to read in the Pro+ review here-" Plus version nicely ups the performance by a good mile, essentially matching that of our low cost DACs in $100 to $120 range'.
I take from that the DAC's performance (as opposed to some set of features peripheral to SQ) is on par with other cheap DACs. And with the the implication that more expensive ones are better still, as DACs. Maybe it's semantics, but if the review stated, "Plus version nicely ups the performance by a good mile, essentially matching that of all other well designed DACs), that would be unambiguous. Isn't that what all the testing data show?
 

radix

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Just be be clear I agree with this. But is then confusing to read in the Pro+ review here-" Plus version nicely ups the performance by a good mile, essentially matching that of our low cost DACs in $100 to $120 range'.
I take from that the DAC's performance (as opposed to some set of features peripheral to SQ) is on par with other cheap DACs. And with the the implication that more expensive ones are better still, as DACs. Maybe it's semantics, but if the review stated, "Plus version nicely ups the performance by a good mile, essentially matching that of all other well designed DACs), that would be unambiguous. Isn't that what all the testing data show?
Yes, there are many DACs with greater than 113 dB SINAD that cost $300+ (there's a few in the sub-200 range). You can see them on the "Review Index" tab. It's a little confusing how to search there, but you can search for DACs an sort by SINAD.

But there's no audible difference. yes, they have lower SINAD, but it's way beyond the ability of a human to hear the difference.

Modern, well-implemented, audio gear is just too good. You don't need to spend $$$$ to get excellent sound quality.

You can spend more on a DAC, but unless it has some feature you cannot get on the Wiim, it won't be any better perceptually.
 
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