Another DAC on the way!

So,about a year or so ago I added an external DAC into my system. I only use it for a Bluesound Node. Eventually I’ll do the streaming thing from a laptop. Not today though.
The DAC I first purchased was a used April Music Stello da 100 signature. I was very happy with the enhanced sound quality. A few months ago I set up a second system,digital only. For this system I use a Bluesound Node 2. (The main system has a 2i) When I set this system up,a purchased used Beresford Bushmaster DAC. It was pleasant enough,but remember,this hobby is a sickness,always searching for the next high! So after a couple weeks, I spot a first generation Schiit Bifrost that had the Uber upgrade. What the heck,it was cheap enough. I’m pleased with the upgrade in SQ. Am I done? Ha,right!
At this point, I’m actively seeking an upgrade for the Schiit. 2 days ago I find a Wyred4sound DAC-1 LE with the femto upgrade. I pulled the trigger,and I should have it in my grubby little hands on Tuesday. Do any of you folks have any experience with the DAC-1? I’ve read really good things about this DAC,but I was wondering about anyone here that has heard one,or owned one? I’m also curious about doing a shoot out with the April Music DAC. Any thoughts would be welcome.
See my profile for list of gear.
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Comments

  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 30,889
    These are halcyon days for good, inexpensive (or expensive, for that matter) DACs.

    Well, other than that one chip supplier's manufacturing facility burning down, of course. :(
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,822
    edited November 2020
    Yeah, AKM, I heard about that. Hope nobody was hurt.

    Edit: No employees were injured: https://www.prosoundnetwork.com/business/akm-factory-fire-shakes-up-pro-audio-industry
  • Clipdat wrote: »
    Yeah, AKM, I heard about that. Hope nobody was hurt.

    Edit: No employees were injured: https://www.prosoundnetwork.com/business/akm-factory-fire-shakes-up-pro-audio-industry

    I heard about that. Catastrophic!!
    See my profile for list of gear.
  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 6,104
    I had the Wyred4sound DAC 2 when it first came out. Solid dac and they make a good product. The Bluesound is Coax out correct?
    Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista 300, Audioquest Thunderbird Zero Speaker Cable, Tyler Highland H2, Audioquest Thunderbird Interconnect, Innuos Zen MK3 W4S recovery, WireWorld Platinum Starlight 7 USB, Border Patrol SE-I, Audioquest Niagara 5000 & Thunder, Cullen Crossover II PC's.
  • erniejade wrote: »
    I had the Wyred4sound DAC 2 when it first came out. Solid dac and they make a good product. The Bluesound is Coax out correct?

    Coax,or optical. I use coax. I really am enjoying the Wyred4sound DAC 1LE. It is giving me a taste of what a decent DAC can do.
    See my profile for list of gear.
  • @TEAforONE I appreciate your take on your new DAC. I have the Bluesound 2 and 2i in my systems. I’m currently using a cheap Dragonfly DAC so I have plenty of room for improvement.
  • jbail2011
    jbail2011 Posts: 94
    I use a Bluesound Node 2i as well however I didn’t think I needed an external DAC. Does it really sound that much better? Is it that the DAC in the node 2i isn’t very good so you’re bypassing it?
    Polk Audio SDA SRS 2.3 TL
    Polk Audio SDA 2B TL mod
    Carver M 1.0 MK2 Opt 2 x2
    Carver CT Seven Preamp
    Bluesound Node 2i
  • TEAforONE
    TEAforONE Posts: 887
    jbail2011 wrote: »
    I use a Bluesound Node 2i as well however I didn’t think I needed an external DAC. Does it really sound that much better? Is it that the DAC in the node 2i isn’t very good so you’re bypassing it?

    I found the internal DAC on the Node 1,2,2i to be very adequate. Now,that being said, I'm at a point where(within financial reality) I am trying to squeeze out as much performance that I can. So,when you're chasing the "dragon", is good,ever good enough?

    I think a lot of folks are in the same boat in trying to get that little extra out of their systems. I ran my Node 1 with the internal DAC for about 3 years before upgrading to the 2. I probably ran that for another year before getting the itch to see what more I could achieve.
    See my profile for list of gear.
  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 6,104
    I think the 3rd version of the node is coming out soon.
    Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista 300, Audioquest Thunderbird Zero Speaker Cable, Tyler Highland H2, Audioquest Thunderbird Interconnect, Innuos Zen MK3 W4S recovery, WireWorld Platinum Starlight 7 USB, Border Patrol SE-I, Audioquest Niagara 5000 & Thunder, Cullen Crossover II PC's.
  • TEAforONE
    TEAforONE Posts: 887
    erniejade wrote: »
    I think the 3rd version of the node is coming out soon.

    Absolutely correct. According to their website,they will start shipping 7/15/21. I think you will start seeing more used 2i popping up very soon. I’m going to stick with what I have unless one of the nodes I currently have fails. Even at the new price of $549, I really think they are a great value.
    See my profile for list of gear.
  • steveinaz
    steveinaz Posts: 19,505
    Love my Node 2i.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amp: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: MartinLogan Motion 60XTi - Shop Rig: Yamaha A-S501 Integrated - Shop Spkrs: Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2
  • TEAforONE
    TEAforONE Posts: 887
    And, another DAC on the way! This time,it’s an 8 month old Musician Pegasus. I’ve been wanting to hear an R2R DAC, this almost new DAC popped up at a very reasonable price,so, what the heck. It should be here next Tuesday. I just took a look at my original post,and the Wyred4sound showed up on a Tuesday also. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. The Wyred4sound will probably end up in the Pit rig. I’ll post an update when it gets here.
    See my profile for list of gear.
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 16,364
    New toys are always cool. Let us know how it plays in your rig!

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • TEAforONE
    TEAforONE Posts: 887
    edited January 21
    The Pegasus has landed! I am thus far,very happy with the upgrade. It seems very well built. Thick case,and some heft. It actually stays put even with a Virtual Dynamics power cable connected. This DAC has a bunch of different connections. SPDIF,OPTICAL,AES,USB,and I2S. I only use the coax from my Node. I have been using the Node via Wi-Fi since hard wiring would be be VERY cost prohibitive due to location. I recently learned about using a Wi-Fi extender,and wiring that to the Node. Prior to the Pegasus, I was streaming this way for about a week. I definitely noticed a difference with stability of the signal,and sonically as well. I believe this way of connectivity lowered the noise floor.

    Back to the Pegasus. I’ve noticed the music seems more realistic. Cymbals sound more like,well, cymbals. Piano sounds like piano. I guess I would throw in the term organic. Music also has more layers. Front to back depth is a bit more extended than my Wyred4sound. Another improvement,and this is a big deal for me, is a more holographic soundstage. Detail is also great,as well as dynamics. The Wyred4sound has served me well,and will continue to do so in my secondary system. However,This may be my endpoint DAC. Simply because the only streaming I do is Qobuz. I don’t rip CD’s, or download hi rez files. Since I am only streaming Qobuz, I have to be honest about the possibility of going with a larger dollar streamer. I can see myself in the near future upgrading the power supply on the Node. But I don’t know if spending $2k or more on a streamer will be a realistic goal. As far as value goes, this buy is a huge hit. I picked this up used, at a very good price. Is it worth the MSRP of $1099? I think so,that’s why purchasing used bumped up the value per dollar spent.
    0fcuxvw9n2a8.jpeg
    2zqvies8y9e9.jpeg
    Post edited by TEAforONE on
    See my profile for list of gear.
  • maxward
    maxward Posts: 1,305
    I’d be interested in hearing more about your experience with a Wi-Fi extender. I have a similar situation and can’t easily get an Ethernet connection to my listening room. Not an issue yet since I don’t stream there, but that’s in the plans.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 26,663
    Mesh systems and never look back.

    Much better than a router plus an extender
    - Not Tom ::::::: Any system can play Diana Krall. Only the best can play Limp Bizkit.
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 780
    TEAforONE wrote: »
    The Pegasus has landed! I am thus far,very happy with the upgrade. It seems very well built. Thick case,and some heft. It actually stays put even with a Virtual Dynamics power cable connected. This DAC has a bunch of different connections. SPDIF,OPTICAL,AES,USB,and I2S. I only use the coax from my Node. I have been using the Node via Wi-Fi since hard wiring would be be VERY cost prohibitive due to location. I recently learned about using a Wi-Fi extender,and wiring that to the Node. Prior to the Pegasus, I was streaming this way for about a week. I definitely noticed a difference with stability of the signal,and sonically as well. I believe this way of connectivity lowered the noise floor.

    Back to the Pegasus. I’ve noticed the music seems more realistic. Cymbals sound more like,well, cymbals. Piano sounds like piano. I guess I would throw in the term organic. Music also has more layers. Front to back depth is a bit more extended than my Wyred4sound. Another improvement,and this is a big deal for me, is a more holographic soundstage. Detail is also great,as well as dynamics. The Wyred4sound has served me well,and will continue to do so in my secondary system. However,This may be my endpoint DAC. Simply because the only streaming I do is Qobuz. I don’t rip CD’s, or download hi rez files. Since I am only streaming Qobuz, I have to be honest about the possibility of going with a larger dollar streamer. I can see myself in the near future upgrading the power supply on the Node. But I don’t know if spending $2k or more on a streamer will be a realistic goal. As far as value goes, this buy is a huge hit. I picked this up used, at a very good price. Is it worth the MSRP of $1099? I think so,that’s why purchasing used bumped up the value per dollar spent.
    0fcuxvw9n2a8.jpeg
    2zqvies8y9e9.jpeg

    Sounds like you had a very similar experience to mine when introduced R2R dac. Congrats on your upgrade!
  • TEAforONE
    TEAforONE Posts: 887
    VR3 wrote: »
    Mesh systems and never look back.

    Much better than a router plus an extender

    Eventually that will happen, but for now this is a viable solution.
    See my profile for list of gear.
  • TEAforONE
    TEAforONE Posts: 887
    maxward wrote: »
    I’d be interested in hearing more about your experience with a Wi-Fi extender. I have a similar situation and can’t easily get an Ethernet connection to my listening room. Not an issue yet since I don’t stream there, but that’s in the plans.

    I bought a TP link Wi-Fi extender, plug it in near your Wi-Fi router,push a couple buttons to link them. Plug the extender near your streaming device and connect an Ethernet cable to the streamer. Easy peasy. If I can do it,literally,anyone can!
    See my profile for list of gear.
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 16,364
    VR3 wrote: »
    Mesh systems and never look back.

    Much better than a router plus an extender

    From much experience with trying to get my Auralic NAP to work and going through 3 different not cheap Tri-Band routers and at least the same amount of not cheap extenders? I concur.

    The mesh system solved all of my woes. Bonus is, everything wi-fi related in the house now works flawlessly.

    Where did you get the weights? I am looking for some...

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • TEAforONE
    TEAforONE Posts: 887
    I picked the weights( aka heavy doorstops) off of epay. Every time I would see some,I’d grab a couple. I furnished both of my systems with them. I’m OCD like that!
    See my profile for list of gear.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 26,663
    I dig the faceplates to that piece that says musician on it
    - Not Tom ::::::: Any system can play Diana Krall. Only the best can play Limp Bizkit.
  • invalid
    invalid Posts: 917
    Has anyone compared the mesh system to a hardwired system with a decent router and linear power supply?
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 26,663
    I run my mesh system with the main hub at the main system hardwired and then two other hubs thru out the house disperse the signal.

    I have ran it the other way but part of what makes the mesh system so awesome is all satelittes have two hard wired connections.
    - Not Tom ::::::: Any system can play Diana Krall. Only the best can play Limp Bizkit.
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 16,364
    I would love too do just that (just to test) but the run from my mother mesh unit and the satellite(s) are too far apart and with too many obstacles to go through. I gotta rely on the mesh to get the signals back to the stereo room and hard wire from the satellite.

    One other note worth mentioning with this setup is that the signal to the satellites(s) do not go through the wi-fi, or use the same band. It utilizes a completely different channel for communicating and it does communicate both ways, so no restriction(s) there. The extenders utilize the wi-fi network for communicating the signal.

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 780
    invalid wrote: »
    Has anyone compared the mesh system to a hardwired system with a decent router and linear power supply?

    Most persons I know would say hard-wired streaming is preferred to wi-fi streaming in terms of sound quality. Everything sounds more present and dynamic hard-wired. I’m also in that camp.

    I got noticeably improved sound from my Node 2i when I connected an external solid-state drive (SSD) via USB with my music collection on it, compared to streaming the music via wi-fi from my desktop PC.

    If I use a wi-fi streaming service and compare the same songs to what is on the SSD drive, the latter wins. So, imo, it would be sonically more ideal to run a network cable directly to the Node 2i as a single solution, however, that is impractical in my set-up. The SSD arrangement accomplishes the same with a much shorter cable and no PC noise.

    a00wb2byn6uu.jpeg

    I have plans to upgrade the Node 2i to a linear power supply to maximize its capabilities as a source.

    As it is, I’m not confident I could tell the difference between CD playback versus the Node 2i with SSD music, if blind-folded.

    Both sources run to two different external DACs when wanting different sonic flavors.

    Just my $.02.
  • Toolfan66
    Toolfan66 Posts: 15,506
    Link to the mesh systems you guys are using??
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 26,663
    NETGEAR Nighthawk Tri-band Whole Home Mesh WiFi 6 System (MK83) AX3600 Router with 2 Satellite Extenders, Coverage up to 6,750 sq. ft. and 40+ devices https://a.co/d/cSmYLft
    - Not Tom ::::::: Any system can play Diana Krall. Only the best can play Limp Bizkit.
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 16,364
    I use the same one Trey has. Works flawlessly for me.

    FWIW, I do agree that the majority of folks prefer hardwired over wi-fi. The empirical evidence is definitely there. But, and yes there is a but.....there is an argument brewing that separating the direct connection naturally breaks the chain of all electrical noise upstream from entering into your system.

    In my case, I have no choice. I have to go through the mesh system or get into construction mode, spending $,$$$+ just to see if it will or will not make a difference. I have no plans to enter said argument or to even try to find out, as the noise is so low right now, I don't know if there is anything else to eliminate.

    Plus, there has been barely any mention (from what I have seen so far) whether those who go over Wi-Fi use the same channel of the wi-fi itself, are they hardwired after the break in connection (wi-fi) or direct to streamer wi-fi, are they using an extender, what is the signal at the end point.....the questions and plethora of variables just add to the confusion.

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 780
    @treitz3

    I’d imagine your Auralic has a USB capability (correct me if I’m wrong), and you could just put some .wav files on a USB stick and A/B your current mesh wi-fi method vs. USB. Shouldn’t require construction and only single-digit $, and we’d all benefit from your impressions.

    This approach won’t introduce any electrical noise, only that which is intrinsic to your Auralic streamer, which I’m sure is negligible.

    Nowadays, many USB implementations on DACs/streamers are galvanically isolated to solve the noise issue resulting from a direct connection to an electrically noisy PC (but won’t get rid of PC fan noise).

    Others use Toslink, which is intrinsically galvanically isolated, but considered lossy material. But essentially allows for hard-wired connection sans electrical noise.

    The main drawback of non-hard-wired wi-fi streaming is it introduces digital jitter, which defeats the goal of most modern DACs, which is to reduce jitter to below the threshold of measurability of modern test equipment.

    Only mentioning this, because if not carefully considered, uninitiated persons may find themselves going down an expensive rabbit-hole that in retrospect they may find unnecessary, or undesirable.

    Nothing wrong with rabbit holes in this hobby, there are plenty of them. But people should know the pros/cons.