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Review and Measurements of PS Audio NuWave DAC

Shadrach

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#41
Just out of curiosity. Is anyone here interested in how this DAC sounds? Or do you only go by measurements?
A properly designed and implemented dac should not sound any different from any other properly designed and implemented dac.
The idea is to faithfully reproduce what goes in at the input at the output.
 

BillG

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#42
Or do you only go by measurements?
By the way, there are individuals who actually shop by measurements. I happen to be one of them, and I have been doing so for years now: my goal in doing this is to obtain the most audibly transparent equipment my budget will allow for, and then to adjust it to my taste afterwards with DSP and room treatments - I've never been disappointed... :cool:
 

Juhazi

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#43
I only buy OEM replacement parts for my cars, aftermarket is typically inferior.
Ever heard about tuning parts?


High end hifi is like this, with a bunch of money you can tune your basically ok dac or amp to have a signature sound. Then the fun begings with matching those tuned dacs, amps and speakers to get your satisfaction! The problem is that it is pretty diffiult to find cables that have an effect, and dsp-based sound eq is naturally a no-no http://www.goodsoundclub.com/MacondoAcousticSystem.aspx
 
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#44
So you pay $1000 for a DAC and then $2000 on bits and bobs to get decent performance.

So you buy a new car for $2000 with a 1 cylinder 50cc engine, then spend $48000 on buying a proper engine, wheels, tyres, suspension, brakes, a steering wheel, transmission, propshaft et al.

But your $2000 car beats other $30k cars so aint that something or you could buy a properly built performance car that was built to be a performance car.
 

BDWoody

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#45
Just out of curiosity. Is anyone here interested in how this DAC sounds? Or do you only go by measurements?
How do DAC's 'sound?' It should sound like the music, and basically like any other competently designed DAC. A DAC with a signature or engineered 'sound' is the last thing I would buy. I prefer to season the sound to my taste starting as close to the original as possible
Do you own this one?
 

PaulD

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#51
The music hidden deep in the data :p
:D It's ok to make jokes, but too many people believe in the disinformation that there are things audible that cannot be measured. Then they try to bring that here... It's a constant rebuff to the myths and hearsay and disinformation. So it needs to be repeated constantly, that measurements capture everything that can be heard (and more), and that properly conducted listening tests (double blind and level-matched) are the only way to overcome cognitive biases and give a valid listening comparison.
 

digititus

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#52
:D It's ok to make jokes, but too many people believe in the disinformation that there are things audible that cannot be measured. Then they try to bring that here... It's a constant rebuff to the myths and hearsay and disinformation. So it needs to be repeated constantly, that measurements capture everything that can be heard (and more), and that properly conducted listening tests (double blind and level-matched) are the only way to overcome cognitive biases and give a valid listening comparison.
People believe in all kinds of nonsense and no amount of repetition will persuade them otherwise. The problem is when the unscrupulous marketeers begin to mix science fiction with science fact. This is where ASR provides its excellent public service for the audio lovers around the world, by sorting the wheat from the chaff.
 

PaulD

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#53
People believe in all kinds of nonsense and no amount of repetition will persuade them otherwise. The problem is when the unscrupulous marketeers begin to mix science fiction with science fact. This is where ASR provides its excellent public service for the audio lovers around the world, by sorting the wheat from the chaff.
I agree with you, except that the repetition of the truth is important. It's called the Illusory Truth Effect. It's a tendency to believe that a statement is true if it is easier to process, or if it has been stated multiple times, regardless of its actual veracity. See here and here, there are plenty of other examples and explanations online. Given how much disinformation is repeated, it is important to repeat facts and truth, it makes a difference.
 
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anmpr1

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#54
Just out of curiosity. Is anyone here interested in how this DAC sounds? Or do you only go by measurements?
I think we can say that if you are 16, with undamaged HF hearing, are lucky enough to own good speakers that reproduce out to 20KHz with very low distortion, drive them with a SOA amp like the Benchmark, and are listening to superbly recorded material, then this PS unit will sound inferior to a DAC with ruler flat FR, due to its HF roll off.

So, if you are someone like that, it would be best to avoid this product. Unless you like HF roll off, in which case you could accomplish the same thing with a tone control, buy a better and cheaper DAC (see the list Amir provides), and pocket the difference.

But my guess is that this is not what you are asking. My guess is that you want to know about stuff like 'front to back depth'; 'soundstage'; 'rhythm', 'pace' and 'timing'; 'mid-range liquidity and LF slam'. If those are descriptions of the 'sounds' you are looking for, then no one here is probably going to be able to help you out.
 

anmpr1

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#55
Imagine if Porsche produced a new model now that was 6 times more expensive than what they offered back in 2012, yet it was much slower and handled worse! Yet that is the reality we deal with in high-end audio.
Porsche offers 'badge deletion' as an option. Presumably so your neighbors won't know which model you bought, and because you don't want to make your Turbo S friends feel insecure that you own the GT2.

Paul and Stan need to offer badge deletion as an option. That way, your sophisticated audio friends won't know you bought into the PS hype when they come over to critique your system. Finally, I wonder... does the optional special 'power cord' this device needs have the same tactile feel and overall value as an Alcantara headliner? And can you get it in Miami Blue?
 
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#56
"People are sold on fantasies and unproven proposals rather than cold hard facts. "

We're talking about the difference between Data and Lore. So many prefer Lore in their daily lives with disastrous consequences for themselves and society.

Kinda like the way it works on Star Trek TNG.
This is exactly it! I've seen people who are on the objectivist/subjectivist fence come down hard on objectivists for being rigid or uncompromising, for not living and let live. For me it's not really about the $5000 power cable, it's about the psuedo-science used to sell that cable, because the same gibberish is used to sell us all sorts of far more consequential stuff.
 

maxxevv

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#58
The Audiophile Barista
Can you suggest something that measurements can’t pick up?
I think he was alluding that it sounds very good although it measures pretty average (and thankfully not broken).

There are some effects in music reproduction which probably has not had tests designed for them. Not that they can't be measured.
If it can be reproduced as an electrical signal to generate the sound output that can be heard by the human ear, it definitely can be measured.

I've yet to see a test protocol that can measure/ represent things like the perceived depth / width of a recording be it from a DAC / AMP / transducer ( speakers, headphones, earphones). I seriously would like to see one as it would take away the subjectivity of many listening reviews.
 
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#59
I have this dac, thank you Amir for destroying its resale value :(.

How does it sound? Fine. It's output is hot as shown in the measurements so it can sound more dynamic than some Dacs I have since it is louder. It also sounds a bit more laid back than some Dacs I've owned or heard.

I also have an RME ADI 2 in the house for a demo/review and ironically just swapped out the Nuwave with it. So this thread coming up is apropos. The RME sounds better to me, cleaner with more details but not as smooth as the Nuwave.

I'll need more time with it for a proper evaluation but so far my thoughts are postive on the RME. Especially the additional feature set; to think they are/were around the same price!
 

anmpr1

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#60
I've yet to see a test protocol that can measure/ represent things like the perceived depth / width of a recording be it from a DAC / AMP / transducer ( speakers, headphones, earphones). I seriously would like to see one as it would take away the subjectivity of many listening reviews.
Those things are a function of a) the recording technique, and b) loudspeakers (in conjunction with the listening room). Your properly working DAC is not going to affect those things. The power amplifier might be important, but only if it is a huge mismatch, power-wise, vis-a-vis your speakers, causing your speakers or amplifier to act up. Generally, unless your speakers are particularly difficult to drive (impedance-wise) and require a lot of power (low sensitivity), and you only listen with a 5 watt SET tube amp, it's probably not going to be a big deal for you. Most people know what kind of amplifier power is required for their particular set-up.

As far as speakers go, you can get a pretty good idea about how a speaker is designed, and how it might sound, from sophisticated measurements. Back in the '70s and '80s you could contrast the work of Richard Heyser in Audio, with the simplistic stuff done by Julian Hirsch in Stereo Review. But even then, and armed with all the graphs in the world, you really had/have to put it in your living room, move it around, and play with it a while in order to find out.
 
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