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Weiss DAC501 Streamer and DAC Review

Rate this DAC/Streamer

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 160 47.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 132 39.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 29 8.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 13 3.9%

  • Total voters
    334

daniboun

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For USD $1299 (to my door) the SHD comes with the UMIK1, and full fledged Dirac… not sure where the $1600 number comes from.

The Flex doesn’t have streaming nor true 2-way Dirac processing (meaning Dirac Bass Control and Active Room Treatment are totally out of the picture) even under future updates.

Not saying the flex is a bad product, I have one, but that the SHD is the clear best competitor to this.
Audiophonics ) Prices are probably higher in France
 

AndreaT

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Big houses, nice boats, a few Porsches in the garage... that sort of thing. ;)


JSmith
Sorry…Porsche is indeed a pinnacle of driving pleasure vs price. Here, unfortunately, something is missing. My hypothesis is that it tries to do too many things at once, and the inevitable compromises show on the test bench.
 

ocinn

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Audiophonics ) Prices are probably higher in France
Wow what a price hike…

Ordering from the US to a USA based international shipment forwarding service would be orders of magnitude cheaper.

Funny how it’s the polar opposite for the USA. A huge portion of my purchases are placed with European retailers as it allows me to bypass VAT/taxes and I usually save significant amounts of money even after shipping.

For example I recently bought a pair of new DJ cartridges. Paid $305 USD shipped to my door from German retailer (HHV) whereas if I bought the EXACT SAME product from my country (USA), I’d pay a minimum of $438 USD shipped.

Porsche is indeed a pinnacle of driving pleasure vs price
Off topic, but Mazda takes that title.

Porsches are amazing (for context I am an ex-Porsche racing team suspension and chassis engineer with a few trophies on my shelf) but not “high value” by any definition.

Weiss is pagani, Porsche is RME, A relatively lightly modified Mazda mx5/rx7 is MiniDSP; for the car analogy.
 
Last edited:

JSmith

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Porsche is indeed a pinnacle of driving pleasure vs price.
I agree my friend... however it seems something may have got lost in interpretation. The quote I responded to was asking why the price is so high and my response was an example of expensive houses, cars etc. as the reason why. I wasn't making automotive analogies to audio, which generally annoy me. :)
Here, unfortunately, something is missing.
Absolutely... about $8k+ at least.


JSmith
 

ocinn

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wasn't making automotive analogies to audio, which generally annoy me. :)
For those of us who work(ed) in the automotive fields; the car analogies are quite useful.

The philosophy behind what this forum stands for and the Motorsports science circles are remarkably similar.

Why would you purchase a $300,000++ sports car (high end audiophile dac,preamp,amplifier) when a $10,000 car (one of ASR’s darling products) with $5000 of science, shocks, wheels/tires and tuning (measurement mic and DSP) could outperform it in all performance metrics outside of creature comforts and luxury.

I hope the parallel I am drawing is clear…
 

JSmith

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I hope the parallel I am drawing is clear…
LoL... from my experience expensive sports cars have nothing to do with comfort and much to do with showing off (unless into proper track racing). One can't exactly show off a DAC... most people won't even know what one is apart from other audio enthusiasts. Unless one walks around like this? :D

IE_GREEN_7211-248_7_c6eda604-fd0b-4b40-a5f7-79b1624683c9.jpg



JSmith
 

ocinn

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unless into proper track racing
That; and the mountain roads is all I was referring to.

from my experience expensive sports cars have nothing to do with comfort and much to do with showing off
This is what happens when someone with no knowledge purchases a ultra high end track car like an STO etc… just an ego boost

The audio equivalent would be spending tens of thousands on a ultra high end and optimized vinyl playback rig when you could play a CD out of a $20 thrift shop player and objectively beat the vinyl.
 

Billy Budapest

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Does anybody know how this unit measures up to the Weiss 202?
 

DSJR

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Nice to hear your feedback. I listened to it all day today and liked what I heard. Simplest setup: Old Denon DCD-3520 CDP SPDIF> DAC205 XLR> Neumann kh310. No attenuation or pre. and mostly Chesky recordings - I was enthralled. Then I switched back and forth from to the Topping E30 - the difference might have been imagined, but with the Weiss I didn't feel fatigued, and the woodwinds and upright bass sounded more like wood. Regardless of how testing turns out, I'm happy with it for what I paid - the body of Weiss's work and contributions to the industry add some value. I am hoping this gets sorted out. Pricing on the other hand... c'mon.
Had to ask, is the Denon as a stand alone player really that bad subjectively? I have a 1520 with seemingly similar mech? and it 'sounds' neutral enough to me with reverb tails and so on well reproduced.
 
OP
amirm

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OK, here is where we stand on the linearity issue after spending last evening on it.

I noticed that if I changed the amount of buffering for the ASIO driver, the nature of the bug changes. Oddly, lowering the buffer size down to 128 bytes (default in AP is 512), caused it to almost run reliably. Conversely, changing the buffer to 2048 made it much, much worse. It seems that data is being lost but why smaller buffers make that better, I don't know. To confirm this is a USB driver issue, I ran the test using Toslink. That worked perfectly:
Weiss DAC501 DAC streamer processor EQ Balanced Linearity Tests.png


This would explain why they company did not see the error. They are using older generation Audio Precision analyzer which does not support USB interface. So they did their testing with Toslink/Coax and didn't see it. I have suggested that they borrow a current generation AP to replicate the error. And I have offered to give them the project file to do so.

As far as I can tell, this will impact anyone using the product over USB. So I hope the company fixes the bug and that it is only a firmware/driver issue.

FYI Daniel is complaining that I should have done the above investigation prior to publication of the review. I explained to him that some 450 DACs have passed this test and only one other one showed linearity bug (that was a 20 to 24 bit conversion issue which was fixed with new firmware). And that debugging products is outside of the scope of a review. I will be shipping the product to its owner shortly.
 

Todd k

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Also, sometimes people buy the product taking the word of the manufacturer's published specs or third-party measurements was never available or they were once an audiophool before being enlightened.

Except that once a gear is measured and the data is published in the public domain, now everyone knows and it can be difficult to sell. That is precisely what happened to my LKS MH-DA004, although ASR only measured the MH-DA005, but let's be honest, the MH-DA004 is likely 90% in the similar situation. I ended up selling my MH-DA004 for about a third of the MSRP and 40% of what I paid for; before ASR's review of the MH-DA005, the MH-004 (and MH-DA005) was holding it's value pretty decently.

I am not discouraging anyone to send gear in to be bench tested, but be prepared for some bad news and have a game plan to rid of that gear if that is your decision.
That was my LKS I sent in. I got lucky the seller took it back. I wish I could send Amir some of my older legacy gear to test but my room full of 80 lb gear would be to expensive to ship cross country. Thanks to the member that sent in his wiess Dac.
 

Overseas

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Can they build the tommorow SOTA device using the 'older generation analyzer'? Excuse me for asking, I am just a non technical guy.
 

daniboun

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Can they build the tommorow SOTA device using the 'older generation analyzer'? Excuse me for asking, I am just a non technical guy.

With the profits they make from selling products at exorbitant prices they could even finance an Audio Precision APx555 B-Series Analyzer ;)
 

Robbo99999

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OK, here is where we stand on the linearity issue after spending last evening on it.

I noticed that if I changed the amount of buffering for the ASIO driver, the nature of the bug changes. Oddly, lowering the buffer size down to 128 bytes (default in AP is 512), caused it to almost run reliably. Conversely, changing the buffer to 2048 made it much, much worse. It seems that data is being lost but why smaller buffers make that better, I don't know. To confirm this is a USB driver issue, I ran the test using Toslink. That worked perfectly:
View attachment 317137

This would explain why they company did not see the error. They are using older generation Audio Precision analyzer which does not support USB interface. So they did their testing with Toslink/Coax and didn't see it. I have suggested that they borrow a current generation AP to replicate the error. And I have offered to give them the project file to do so.

As far as I can tell, this will impact anyone using the product over USB. So I hope the company fixes the bug and that it is only a firmware/driver issue.

FYI Daniel is complaining that I should have done the above investigation prior to publication of the review. I explained to him that some 450 DACs have passed this test and only one other one showed linearity bug (that was a 20 to 24 bit conversion issue which was fixed with new firmware). And that debugging products is outside of the scope of a review. I will be shipping the product to its owner shortly.
I'd expect the company to ship their product without bugs, it's not the job of a reviewer to diagnose why faults are happening - afterall the consumer gets the product in the same state as the reviewer and they'll certainly not going to be diagnosing it, but they will indeed be experiencing it! I mean it's interesting if a reviewer has the ability to diagnose the problem, but they're not liable to the company to diagnose it for them.
 

tmtomh

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Not to mention, the idea that @amirm should have messed with the drivers before publishing the review seems to imply something a bit worse than, "Amir should find our bugs for us." It seems to imply, "There is no bug, it was user error." Which is of course not the case here.
 

GXAlan

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This would explain why they company did not see the error. They are using older generation Audio Precision analyzer which does not support USB interface. So they did their testing with Toslink/Coax and didn't see it. I have suggested that they borrow a current generation AP to replicate the error. And I have offered to give them the project file to do so.

As far as I can tell, this will impact anyone using the product over USB. So I hope the company fixes the bug and that it is only a firmware/driver issue.

FYI Daniel is complaining that I should have done the above investigation prior to publication of the review. I explained to him that some 450 DACs have passed this test and only one other one showed linearity bug (that was a 20 to 24 bit conversion issue which was fixed with new firmware). And that debugging products is outside of the scope of a review. I will be shipping the product to its owner shortly.

Agree. I think you should to put the corrected graph as an "EDIT" on the original post, cross out but not delete your original comments and revise it to say that the rating stands until the ASIO software bug is fixed.

We give the Chinese "start-up" companies like Topping grief when hardware customer service isn't there. People pay extra to have customer service, etc.

Along the same lines, we have to give companies grief when the software customer service isn't there. We give AVR's grief when the HDMI and HDMI CEC doesn't work.

Moreover, this is the opposite problem. Normally too small of a buffer can lead to the crackling and dropouts, so if you don't need low-latency (like most audiophile playback applications), the instinct is to just throw a giant buffer at the problem since you don't really care if the music starts EXACTLY when you hit play but you do care when you hit pause.

I think the standard of "If the company sends you gear, you work with it. If a reader sends you a product, you should pretend you're an ordinary customer"
 

Sokel

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Strangely small buffers also fix DSD playback issues with foobar at least for some XMOS dased DACs'.
Is somehow a standard (admittedly older) advice.
I don't have the slightest idea why but it works at high DSD (256-512-1024) sometimes.
 
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