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Review and Measurements of Wyred4Sound DAC-2v2 SE DAC

tired_guru

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What happened to @EJ Sarmento ? No additional comments/clarifications?

Maybe it was just a bad unit and Wyred4Sound can send out a unit for @amirm to re-test?
There would be possibility to get pre-tuned unit or even modified to get best results (thus completely useless test in my opinion). The main purpose of these tests is to get random unit from some member without "extra preparation".

If there is a real chance of unit being "defected", the only way to retest it, would be get another one from another user, not directly from the manufacturer. Call me paranoid but sorry, in this world of super dooper gold-platinum fuses that "take the sound to completely new level" - don't get me wrong, I am just sick & tired of this ...
 

tired_guru

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Exactly!

This “color” in cheap devices they call it distortion, but in expensive devices it is “sound signature” ;)
Yep, and what's more funny, you can realize that when you have really transparent setup - there will be great sounding tracks and awful ones. Once your setup has some kind of "sound signature" or "specific flavour" you realize, that all kind of tracks sounds very similar, no matter what album, or genre. This is very boring after a while and you start looking for "a change". Then it goes again and again in an infinite loop, forcing you to lose more and more money - now let's think about it :)

Once you have transparent audio chain you are surprised every time you listen to some new album (with timbre of instruments, dynamics, tonality, transient response, resolution, linearity). Sometimes it can be harsh, other time can be butter smooth but it can't be butter smooth all the time, even on harsh recordings ffs (not even mentioning losing a lot of details, resolution and speed on many of those "butter smooth tuned systems").

In my book that is the real term to describe transparency and HI-FI audio equipment. And guess what ? It doesn't always have to cost a fortune, you just need to be patient when looking for, listen carefully with your own ears and not some biased/sponsored reviews or let advertisment/PR do their job. You can also use information from this great site, at least to do some pre-selection of units that you may like, and at the end of the day, having not only something that "sounds subjectively nice to your ears" but also very well engineered product that you paid for.

I still believe there might be some kind of tests that we miss and that can show differences between dacs or amps, even though current tests say objectively there can't be a difference. Real life sound is never like 1kHz sin wave with certain amplitude. There can be some other phenomenons when complex waveform is being processed and a lot of interactions between them, which may affect final sound after conversion. For instance for poorly designed but great measuring headphone amp, thanks to high amount of NFB applied, there can be high level of TIM distortion (discovered not so long ago btw, in 70's if I remember correctly), which will never show up with sin wave 1kHz test etc. Even small amount of these can cause sound being always bright, tiring and unpleasant (thus I love multitone test and IMD which are quite important IMHO).

From the other site - TIM distortions usually rise odd order harmonics, so it would show up in THD test as sky high level of 3rd, 5th harmonics etc but I hope you get the point.
 
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vitalii427

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I still believe there might be some kind of tests that we miss and that can show differences between dacs or amps, even though current tests say objectively there can't be a difference. Real life sound is never like 1kHz sin wave with certain amplitude. There can be some other phenomenons when complex waveform is being processed and a lot of interactions between them, which may affect final sound after conversion. For instance for poorly designed but great measuring headphone amp, thanks to high amount of NFB applied, there can be high level of TIM distortion (discovered not so long ago btw, in 70's if I remember correctly), which will never show up with sin wave 1kHz test etc. Even small amount of these can cause sound being always bright, tiring and unpleasant (thus I love multitone test and IMD which are quite important IMHO).
Here I’m not in agreement with you. Amir measures more than just 1kHz sine wave. Don’t want to start it again. It’s not a Higgs Boson.
 

tired_guru

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Here I’m not in agreement with you. Amir measures more than just 1kHz sine wave. Don’t want to start it again. It’s not a Higgs Boson.
I know exactly what he measures and he's doing a great job. It was just more like general example of what might be still yet to find, not a statement. It is just my personal opinion - like with TIM distortions that we were not aware of until they were discovered. Still there are no TIM distortion measurements in amir's procedure. To be honest thery are not so easy to measure.

Let's just not pollute this thread with offtopic - if the topic is interesting enough, we can create separate thread.
 

vitalii427

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I know exactly what he measures and he's doing a great job. It was just more like general example of what might be still yet to find, not a statement. It is just my personal opinion - like with TIM distortions that we were not aware of until they were discovered. Still there are no TIM distortion measurements in amir's procedure. To be honest thery are not so easy to measure.

Let's just not pollute this thread with offtopic - if the topic is interesting enough, we can create separate thread.
As I remember TIM was a problem decades ago when amplifiers usually have little frequency headroom, so I see no need in this measurement when FR, SINAD & IMD are good. But I see your point. In my opinion additional measurements required when we have evidence that two devices sounds differently despite the measurements are very similar or both have distortions beyond audiblity. And in this case I would start with null test.
 
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graz_lag

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Nango

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I didn't know this, I really thought that at least *he* could be an independent audiophil but more and more I agree with you, he is not, he gets paid.
 
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Frank Dernie

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Nothing conclusive because you need to examine each case carefully one by one. For instance, if I heard the OP sound very clinical, I might call this an OP sound. Yet after I changed a capacitor in the feedback loop, the sound might become mellow and analog like. So OP sound or not?

As for the sound coloration, in most cases, what coloration a DAC can do is often different from what an amp can do. I like to compare this to cooking. You can add flavor with black pepper, you can add flavor with rosemary. However, you can not use rosemary to duplicate black pepper's taste.
A forensic examination of the sauce would reveal the chemicals causing the added taste of rosemary or black pepper. A forensic examination of the amp output after changing a capacitor in the feedback loop would show no change as long as the capacitance and inductance of the capacitor was the same.
 

JJB70

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I don't know any other area where there is such a big disconnect between price, performance and quality as some of the companies who inhabit the world of high end audio. Some high end audio companies do design and manufacture to very high standards but some of them really are designing and making stuff that would be criticised if it was on sale for peanuts and that is before considering the out and out snake oil.
 

Frank Dernie

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I don't know any other area where there is such a big disconnect between price, performance and quality as some of the companies who inhabit the world of high end audio. Some high end audio companies do design and manufacture to very high standards but some of them really are designing and making stuff that would be criticised if it was on sale for peanuts and that is before considering the out and out snake oil.
I do, and it is equally ironic in a way.
Back when Ferrari started making road cars it was only done to raise money for him to go racing and whilst the styling was usually good and the engine and gearbox excellent the rest was of amazingly poor quality.
The ironic thing is the value, due to rarity, of these cars today - they have been an amazing "investment" for those who bought them in the 70s.
It was actually when I saw the poor workmanship in Ferrari Formula 1 chassis, particularly the sheet metal work and welding, which gave me the confidence to believe I could do better myself, without which I wouldn't have spent over 30 years being paid to have fun...
 

Webninja

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I do, and it is equally ironic in a way.
Back when Ferrari started making road cars it was only done to raise money for him to go racing and whilst the styling was usually good and the engine and gearbox excellent the rest was of amazingly poor quality.
The ironic thing is the value, due to rarity, of these cars today - they have been an amazing "investment" for those who bought them in the 70s.
It was actually when I saw the poor workmanship in Ferrari Formula 1 chassis, particularly the sheet metal work and welding, which gave me the confidence to believe I could do better myself, without which I wouldn't have spent over 30 years being paid to have fun...
This is true of many older cars, and many manufacturers have had some real lemons, but I work in Automotive, and today the level of quality at all price points is amazing.

My view is some audio manufacturers seem to have never stopped producing Pintos or Yugos. We don't have the regulations that Autos have (understandably), but I'm shocked at how poor some of these products test, while being marketed as top quality.
 

vitalii427

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I do, and it is equally ironic in a way.
Back when Ferrari started making road cars it was only done to raise money for him to go racing and whilst the styling was usually good and the engine and gearbox excellent the rest was of amazingly poor quality.
Few modern Ferraris, which I happened to drive about the same quality as you described. But they are fun to drive anyway.
 

tired_guru

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This is true of many older cars, and many manufacturers have had some real lemons, but I work in Automotive, and today the level of quality at all price points is amazing.

My view is some audio manufacturers seem to have never stopped producing Pintos or Yugos. We don't have the regulations that Autos have (understandably), but I'm shocked at how poor some of these products test, while being marketed as top quality.
I don't care if the product doesn't use the whole potential of the chip inside because it is quite hard to achieve (even when called as high-end - all these kind of audiophile terms are just ridiculous) - I don't have to buy it by looking at product specification if I don't like it.

Real nasty thing is selling a product, that is not even close after measurements to what's in the specification (and we have some of these here, even with screens from AP, rotfl). In this case, with such great mismatch, this should be called a fraud after checking a few more units of it to be 100% sure. In this case I would like to have my money back immediately from such manufacturer and if it's not possible - sue the manufacturer that produced it and posted fake specs to mislead customers, because this is not the product I paid for - simple as that.

Many times this stuff costs a little fortune and people buy it by checking out specs that are completely not true. And manufacturers can get away with it only by taking advantage of potential buyers with no possibility to check the performance of the unit (not until now thanks to Amir, his knowledge and expensive AP equipment).

Second part that will mess a lot with unfair manufacturers is teardown of the products +analyse. Showing how messy it is inside and how dangerous, with many hazardous areas inside or design flaws. This is another, important aspect, that should not be forgotten and always showed to people if possible.

I think after many measurements on this site, there will be significant drop in income for unfair companies. They will have to start real engineering with no compromises or vanish from the market (and I am not talking about W4S here but about a lot of crap that's been measured on the site).
 
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johan

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Hello all,
Just wanted to drop a note how we have many things going against us here. For one, understand that these DACs have discrete output stages. The ones you rate so highly and compare it to are Op-Amp implementations which have an incredible amount of local and global feedback to provide good numbers. This doesn’t come free and that is why we opt to not use them where possible. Im not posting here to debate on the legitimacy of Femto clocks, naked Z-Foil resistors, discrete output stages etc.
*Most of our DACs have discrete output stages (meaning no op-amp in the audio signal). Noise figures that you are looking for would only be possible when using ICs in the design – such as the ESS Sabre reference design or the Oppo products. In my experience, harmonic distortions have always been more inherent in discrete designs because there aren’t 100s of parts involved which we try to avoid. There are some downsides to this but we feel the upside is worth it.
Hi Sarmento

I would like to add my 2 cents to this. We also make a DAC (ess9038q2m) with a discreete output stage (class A amplification) and Amir got -110db THD+N and in our internal testing we are going up to -113 using a very good LPS. So no , discreete stage does not mean bad thd +n
 

Krunok

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Hi Sarmento

I would like to add my 2 cents to this. We also make a DAC (ess9038q2m) with a discreete output stage (class A amplification) and Amir got -110db THD+N and in our internal testing we are going up to -113 using a very good LPS. So no , discreete stage does not mean bad thd +n
No doubt it is possible to make discrete stage of good quality but stating that op amps have inferior sound quality compared to discrete stage because of the "simpler" signal path, higher feedback or something else is simply BS.

The truth is this: discrete stage of the same or comparable quality as the one made with op amps will cost significantly more and I see no single reason to pay for it as it will not sound better.
 

Killingbeans

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I don't care if the product doesn't use the whole potential of the chip inside because it is quite hard to achieve (even when called as high-end - all these kind of audiophile terms are just ridiculous) - I don't have to buy it by looking at product specification if I don't like it.
Agree. But my real problem with manufacturers who are honest about subpar measurements on their insanely expensive products is that they still often go with marketing blurbs like: "The closest thing to a wire with gain" or "music the way the it was intended to be played".

It begs the question whether they say those things solely because it sells better or because they actually believe in that strange dogma that seems to pester the world of audiophilia. The one that says there's some sort of magic to audio reproduction that none of the many fields of science has yet discovered. A phenomenon that once made measurable will be proved to be exquisitely represented in these products.

The first option spells 'scam', the other is just pouring gasoline on the bonfire of delusion. Neither are good things in my book, and they shouldn't be ignored.

If at least they were also honest in the maketing and said things like: "Measures badly, but it's all below audibility" or "We focus on build quality and exclusivity", I wouldn't have the slightest problem with them.
 

tired_guru

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Agree. But my real problem with manufacturers who are honest about subpar measurements on their insanely expensive products is that they still often go with marketing blurbs like: "The closest thing to a wire with gain" or "music the way the it was intended to be played".

It begs the question whether they say those things solely because it sells better or because they actually believe in that strange dogma that seems to pester the world of audiophilia. The one that says there's some sort of magic to audio reproduction that none of the many fields of science has yet discovered. A phenomenon that once made measurable will be proved to be exquisitely represented in these products.

The first option spells 'scam', the other is just pouring gasoline on the bonfire of delusion. Neither are good things in my book, and they shouldn't be ignored.

If at least they were also honest in the maketing and said things like: "Measures badly, but it's all below audibility" or "We focus on build quality and exclusivity", I wouldn't have the slightest problem with them.
What can I say ? Welcome to the real world ?

These kind of behaviors takes place not only in audio business but everywhere where big money kicks in. There is big factor of marketing, PR, extra philosophy, manipulation, taking advantage of your lack of knowledge with some bullshit talking flyers, sponsored articles/tests/reviews in every kind of media etc. This is like a mob. Just to get nice amount of money from your pocket. There is no dignity, life rules, morality, honesty. It's been always like that and it won't change. Your only weapon is you brain, your own research, analitycal thinking, learning lessons & drawing conclusions.
 

Killingbeans

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I know. We wouldn't have needed to invent the (deeply flawed) concept of civilization if the world was all cotton candy and butterflies.

But even if dishonesty is a big part of the natural order, there's no need to encourage it.

Maybe I'm just being depressed. It's cold, dark, windy and wet outside (here in Denmark), and last time I took my medicin for my autoimmune disease it also triggered an attack of Shingles. Shouldn't really write on forums in times when both my body and mind are falling apart :D
 
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