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Weiss DAC205 DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 116 47.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 103 42.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 15 6.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 8 3.3%

  • Total voters
    242

nagster

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@amirm: why is the 44.1 kHz multitone using fewer frequencies?
The APx can also generate custom multitone signals other than the presets (44.1kHz 32 tones, etc.), but in that case the measurement signal will be unique to amirm.
 

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AudioSceptic

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WOW is this thing hand made by the designer with a soldering iron and raw parts, then packaged and shipped by himself? Otherwise I couldn't explain this price.
I don't think even that would excuse the price. I wonder what Michael Fidler would make one for (I know he only does analogue phono preamps but I doubt that properly utilising DAC chips would be any more difficult)?
 

Palladium

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Ooh no external PSU... bet the subjectivists are now coming to the defence with the statement that you need to connect a $4000 linear power supply to really hear all the sound details this DAC offers. :rolleyes:

Everything sonically matters except the 1 cent generic cables inside the $10000 audiophile switch.
 

Rottmannash

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I think that anyone who wears a Rolex on their wrist will be able to consider such a purchase):eek:
I may be wrong but I believe @Haskil was responding to @ocinn post re: not fair to compare this DAC with Chinese DACs as they are for professional use.
 

voodooless

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not fair to compare this DAC with Chinese DACs as they are for professional use
What does that mean? Professional use? What feature does this have that makes it professional? The only thing I can think of is the price tag and maybe the support...?
 

Haskil

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I may be wrong but I believe @Haskil was responding to @ocinn post re: not fair to compare this DAC with Chinese DACs as they are for professional use.
Yes ! It's quite the opposite, I responded that although it came from a brand known for its professional equipment, this DAC was not at all a device intended for a professional environment given that it has unbalanced RCA outputs. and inputs in SPDIF format which is a general public digital format unlike AES/EBU on an XLR socket which was found in a professional environment...

Danyboun understood me very well with his humorous response on the Rollex watch.. Who in fact makes fun of Nicolas Sarlozy, a former French President of the Republic, a little did you see me, who said "If you don't have a Rolex on your wrist at 50, it's because you've failed his life." and had provoked a wave of protest in France for the vulgarity and stupidity of such contemptuous people towards the less fortunate...

On the contrary, we can perfectly compare this Weiss DAC to a "Chinese" DAC ten times less expensive and yet much more efficient than this Swiss one poorly born in a prestigious house.
 

ocinn

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What does that mean? Professional use? What feature does this have that makes it professional? The only thing I can think of is the price tag and maybe the support...?
Support and service.

We see all the time in this forum Chinese DACs having completely unacceptable (in professional use) glitches (randomly muting, changing volume, etc). That’s fine for consumer use. You can go thru the lengthy process to contact the company or retailer and get a replacement sent out, assuming it’s under warranty. The only thing you lose is some convenience while your system is down.

Aside from the fact that products from pedigreed pro brands like this simply do not have those issues, assuming they did, you could get a replacement (yes even discontinued models they will stock for this exact reason) overnighted to you with a return label to send your old one in for service. The cost of doing this is a tiny tiny tiny fraction compared to having to suspend all studio operations and the hugely damaged reputation when you need to tell your client your (relatively) budget Chinese dac took a crap and Amazon is out of stock so you need to wait 4 weeks to get one shipped from China. Totally unacceptable.

For ADCs and interfaces, driver development is crucial for DAW compatibility and low latency. Poorly developed interfaces can have 250+ ms of round trip latency thru a daw due to firmware and driver issues. Which makes tracking recordings with monitoring impossible. This is a test I’ve asked Amir to do in the future.


This data is for outdated gear but notice how performance is somewhat correlated to professional brands with a proven pedigree in pro audio (rme, lynx, antelope), and then the units which didn’t perform so well, are cheap consumer brands (m-audio, focusrite). Sorry, any professional is going to sacrifice any inaudible SINAD performance to actually be able to use their gear for the purpose they bought it for, lol.

TLDR: ASR members need to talk to professionals in both live and studio settings to understand the dynamics of how the profession works. There are completely different standards and needs and surprisingly little overlap to the home audiophile or home studio enthusiast.
 

Rottmannash

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What does that mean? Professional use? What feature does this have that makes it professional? The only thing I can think of is the price tag and maybe the support...?
You need to ask @ocinn -it was his comment that drew the response from @Haskil .
 

Rottmannash

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Support and service.

We see all the time in this forum Chinese DACs having completely unacceptable (in professional use) glitches (randomly muting, changing volume, etc). That’s fine for consumer use. You can go thru the lengthy process to contact the company or retailer and get a replacement sent out, assuming it’s under warranty. The only thing you lose is some convenience while your system is down.

Aside from the fact that products from pedigreed pro brands like this simply do not have those issues, assuming they did, you could get a replacement (yes even discontinued models they will stock for this exact reason) overnighted to you with a return label to send your old one in for service. The cost of doing this is a tiny tiny tiny fraction compared to having to suspend all studio operations and the hugely damaged reputation when you need to tell your client your (relatively) budget Chinese dac took a crap and Amazon is out of stock so you need to wait 4 weeks to get one shipped from China. Totally unacceptable.

For ADCs and interfaces, driver development is crucial for DAW compatibility and low latency. Poorly developed interfaces can have 250+ ms of round trip latency thru a daw due to firmware and driver issues. Which makes tracking recordings with monitoring impossible. This is a test I’ve asked Amir to do in the future.


This data is for outdated gear but notice how performance is somewhat correlated to professional brands with a proven pedigree in pro audio (rme, lynx, antelope), and then the units which didn’t perform so well, are cheap consumer brands (m-audio, focusrite). Sorry, any professional is going to sacrifice any inaudible SINAD performance to actually be able to use their gear for the purpose they bought it for, lol.

TLDR: ASR members need to talk to professionals in both live and studio settings to understand the dynamics of how the profession works. There are completely different standards and needs and surprisingly little overlap to the home audiophile or home studio enthusiast.
I believe most are wondering how this device could/would be used in a professional environment with its limited Inputs.
 

ocinn

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I believe most are wondering how this device could/would be used in a professional environment with its limited Inputs.
There are a million use cases for a standalone 2ch DAC like this in professional settings.

Studios which still track recordings thru an analog console (monitoring while tracking is fed from the console, all analog) will use 2ch DACs like this for DAW playback of either a multitrack recording (final mix adjustments in daw), or a stereo recording (final mix is done thru the console/outboard gear alone).

I don’t see any issue with the input options. SPDIF can be effortlessly converted from AES and TOSLINK is extremely common on both studio computers and interfaces (as I/O along with ADAT).

Even if you do believe that the I/O is limited that doesn’t negate my point of that Weiss is a professional company, and even if you purchase a watered-down piece of gear like this, you still get all of the benefits of a truly professional vendor.

It’s the same as companies like RME. You buy a $1000 Babyface Pro for pro-sumer use and you get all of the reliability, support, service and development that owners of their $3000++ ultra-pro solutions enjoy.

I will say this again. Regardless of product, use case, features, etc…. The professional world has an entirely different, specialized set of standards to judge products. If there is a $500 ADC from a company with no pedigree or proven support infrastructure that manages 115SINAD, and a $2500 ADC from a very reputable and pedigreed manufacturer that only manages 105SINAD, 99.999% of professionals would choose the latter.

Gear problems cause enthusiasts inconvenience, gear problems cost professionals tens of thousands of dollars and an extremely damaged reputation.

Buying this Weiss dac and a USB to SPDIF converter (assuming you need it) would be an absolute no brainer for 99% of professionals over buying a Chinese audiophile DAC. Cost is not an issue considering the financial and reputation losses from a problematic piece of consumer gear is orders of magnitude more than the upfront cost of buying a so-called “overpriced DAC” which will never have any issues, and even if it did, would be resolved by the many in under 24hrs effortlessly.

To put it in an automotive analogy, If I had to drive 100miles to work every day, I would lease a new toyota (proven incredible reliability and lease means on the absolutely tiny chance I had an issue I would be-given a loaner vehicle immediately).

I am an objectivist and that is why I love this forum, but there are so many instances where objective performance (in a resonable range) and “value” are completely irrelevant due to other far more important priorities.

I think most members of this forum are simply unaware of the dynamics and needs of the pro world. I’ve come across so many posts on here saying that features such as external clock inputs are complete
snake-oil, when in reality these are necessary in professional settings.

I hope members of this forum can begin to lower their defensive hard-line objectivist wall and hear the rational insights of those in the pro world can offer.
 
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For ADCs and interfaces, driver development is crucial for DAW compatibility and low latency. Poorly developed interfaces can have 250+ ms of round trip latency thru a daw due to firmware and driver issues. Which makes tracking recordings with monitoring impossible. This is a test I’ve asked Amir to do in the future.

True, but if I remember correctly, Weiss DACs use a generic Thesycon ASIO driver. Only RME (and maybe Motu?) develop their own drivers in-house.
 

ocinn

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True, but if I remember correctly, Weiss DACs use a generic Thesycon ASIO driver. Only RME (and maybe Motu?) develop their own drivers in-house.
DAC development (in terms of integration with the OS/DAW) isn’t remotely as large of an issue as ADCs/interface, IME.

Those who own standalone DACs for professional use will not be using them in scenarios where latency is a huge concern (I explained this in my previous post, monitoring is done thru the console in these use-cases)

My tangent about driver and firmware development was not directed at this product specifically, but more of a general market trend.

many professional companies which ASR would deem as “overpriced/bad value” take the time to ensure their products work flawlessly in all professional settings, which is priceless and far more important than upfront cost savings or 5db of SINAD.
 
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many professional companies which ASR would deem as “overpriced/bad value” take the time to ensure their products work flawlessly in all professional settings, which is priceless and far more important than upfront cost savings or 5db of SINAD.

Where did you read that? I do understand your point, but I had a quick look at the electronics subset of the review index and most professional brands (ART, Audient, Benchmark, Lynx, RME, Trinnov Audio, Universal Audio) do have a good proportion - if not all - of their equipment recommended here.
 

ocinn

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Where did you read that? I had a quick look at the electronics subset of the review index, and most professional brands (ART, Audient, Benchmark, Lynx, RME, Trinnov Audio, Universal Audio) do have a good proportion - if not all - of their equipment recommended.
I’m not talking about Amir, I am talking about how many forum members have the knee-jerk reaction of:

“117 SINAD for $2600!, you could buy a SMSL DO100 for $239 instead” when viewing professional market products.

Which is a totally valid critique for consumer/audiophile use but not at all for professional products from professional brands.

The $2270 difference goes completely out of the window when (for example) you lose DAYS of pro studio work because your SMSL power supply took a sh*t and nuked your DAC. Or the firmware has a glitch and it refuses to un-mute itself (a tiny sampling of the issues members here have had with budget consumer DACs)

Apologizes for the car analogy, but It’s the same as if I hired two construction employees. One drove a classic Toyota hilux he paid a classic car premium for. The other one drives a newer Nissan frontier or something he got for cheap. The Nissan guy might be 5% more efficient at work due to the technically better specs on paper, but that goes completely out of the window when the cost-cutting, profit-maxxing engine decides it no longer wants to work. And Nissans horrific support means he is out of a truck for weeks!!

Meanwhile the industry proven, dependable, and easy to fix hilux is still getting the job done.

Guess which employee is getting let go….
 

JustJones

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I'd rather have the Benchmark, RME,UA, Lynx ... with lower SINAD than the Weiss. I get USB , AES3 and 4 volts at balanced.
Weiss just got fired.
 
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I’m not talking about Amir, I am talking about how many forum members have the knee-jerk reaction of:

“117 SINAD for $2600!, you could buy a SMSL DO100 for $239 instead” when viewing professional market products.

Which is a totally valid critique for consumer/audiophile use but not at all for professional products from professional brands.

The $2270 difference goes completely out of the window when (for example) you lose DAYS of pro studio work because your SMSL power supply took a sh*t and nuked your DAC. Or the firmware has a glitch and it refuses to un-mute itself (a tiny sampling of the issues members here have had with budget consumer DACs)

Apologizes for the car analogy, but It’s the same as if I hired two construction employees. One drove a classic Toyota hilux he paid a classic car premium for. The other one drives a newer Nissan frontier or something he got for cheap. The Nissan guy might be 5% more efficient at work due to the technically better specs on paper, but that goes completely out of the window when the cost-cutting, profit-maxxing engine decides it no longer wants to work. And Nissans horrific support means he is out of a truck for weeks!!

Meanwhile the industry proven, dependable, and easy to fix hilux is still getting the job done.

Guess which employee is getting let go….

I think the price criticism is still valid for a professional unit. You've also seen the puzzling multitone results, which could indicate some inter-sample clipping. This is clearly a concern for a DAC that doesn't have a volume control.

As a professional user, would you really recommend this $2000~$2600 Weiss DAC instead of an RME ADI-2 DAC or Pro FS? Or even a more comparable, screenless ADI-2 FS (around $700, I think), which is also a pristine ADC?
 

57gold

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What am I missing?

Read an interview with Daniel Weiss who claimed he did not "listen" to his products, he relied upon engineering and measurements to design and test his products. As a musician and a music lover, I appreciate well designed/engineered equipment, but it has to sound great in my guitar rig(s) and my audio system for me to make a decision to own/employ something. So, I couldn't understand Mr W's disdain for listening at the time (at least a decade ago) of the interview. His gear had both a studio and audiophile following and believe he cheapest DAC was $5K at the time.

How could he, "Mr Measurements Only," miss it so hard?
 

Ucftechguru

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I’m a huge fan of ASR and Amir’s review. I buy a lot of gear he recommends and I have a Marantz SR8015 which I love, but I have the Weiss 204 DAC based on numerous positive reviews online and I’d say the reviews are legit. It’s slightly different than the Weiss reviewed here. The 204 which I have is the bigger sibling to the 205 (reviewed in this thread). Two channel music sounds amazing with the Weiss 204 DAC using the USB input from my audio streamer.

Easily better than the Marantz with two channel music. I also have the Denafrips Pontus ii DAC and Gustard R26 and before that had some of the $500-$1000 Topping and SMSL DACs recommended on here. The Topping and SMSL DACs sound artificial to me and digital. They lack some weight to the notes that better DACs have IMO. When I state this, I’m comparing real life musical performances versus how these DACs sound in my system.

The Weiss is easily twice as good as the Pontus and Gustard. I have tried it with four different pairs of speakers and amp/preamp combos and it bests them each time. Usually a piece of gear doesn’t always wow me with every piece of equipment. The Weiss has. It has wide depth in the musical range, detailed and sounds really really good. I would balance this review with other reviews before writing Weiss off. And if you have the chance to demo it in your system, you will not be disappointed.

I know some of you will say these are just Os and 1s but I’ll tell you that Weiss is not selling snake oil with the 204 DAC. Some of their other gear is really expensive, way more than I would ever spend, but this one sounds great to me and I’d rather it not so I can have a cheaper DAC. But it sounds so good, I’m keeping it.

Everyone has their own ears and what sounds best to me won’t sound best to everyone else. However, this will impress many of you if you’re in the mood to test out $2K+ DACs. I unfortunately did and will not go back.
 
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DonR

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I’m a huge fan of ASR and Amir’s review. I buy a lot of gear he recommends and I have a Marantz SR8015 which I love, but I have this DAC based on numerous positive reviews online and I’d say the reviews are legit. Two channel music sounds amazing with this DAC. Easily better than the Marantz with two channel music. I also have the Denafrips Pontus ii DAC and Gustard R26 and before that had some of the $500-$1000 Topping and SMSL DACs recommended on here. The Topping and SMSL DACs sound artificial to me and digital. They lack some weight to the notes that better DACs have IMO. When I state this, I’m comparing real life musical performances versus how these DACs sound in my system.

The Weiss is easily twice as good as the Pontus and Gustard. I have tried it with four different pairs of speakers and amp/preamp combos and it bests them each time. Usually a piece of gear doesn’t always wow me with every piece of equipment. The Weiss has. It has wide depth in the musical range, detailed and sounds really really good. I would balance this review with other reviews before writing this DAC off. And if you have the chance to demo it in your system, you will not be disappointed.

I know some of you will say these are just Os and 1s but I’ll tell you that Weiss is not selling snake oil with this little DAC. Some of their other gear is really expensive, way more than I would ever spend, but this one sounds great to me and I’d rather it not so I can have a cheaper DAC. But it sounds so good, I’m keeping it.

Everyone has their own ears and what sounds best to me won’t sound best to everyone else. However, this will impress many of you if you’re in the mood to test out $2K+ DACs. I unfortunately did and will not go back.
How do you know you aren't just imagining all this in your head?
 
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