DAC Upgrade - I've folded..... Or the Weiss DAC202 thread

edited January 2012 in Digital
Well, after waiting for M2Tech to release the Vaughan DAC for a few months with no success, I've today purchased a Weiss DAC202. It should be with me tomorrow. I'm looking forward to hearing how it sounds compared to my Young/Teddy PSU combo.

Fingers crossed the FireWire and XLR cables I've ordered turn up tomorrow as well, otherwise it will just be a shiny ornament adorning my shelf. Now just need to sneak it past SWMBO and all will be well chez Brumjam towers ;-)


  • James, you're just making me jealous :-)

    I'm eagerly awaiting your thoughts on the comparison
  • edited November 2011
    Woo Hoo!

    We are jealous, but happy for you. We want you thoughts. And pics.

    Resistance is futile.
  • Pics and thoughts to follow.  I'm off for a couple of weeks (at home) so there's no excuse for me to not post some pics when it arrives.  Now that I've got my hi-fi/av gear neat and tidy I can show you what else lurks in my rack (ooh err).

    Really looking forward to hearing my speakers on the end of a DAC202....today is REALLY dragging!
  • You can clean your connections, align the screws in your plugs, make some foil triangles and dust your Shakti stone to pass the time!

  • You are a sick man, Alan. Stoppit!
  • edited November 2011
    :ar! Arrrrrr!
  • The 202 has arrived, along with a FireWire cable and some XLR leads. Just going to let everything warm up for a bit.
  • Go on. Play some music.

    You know you want to
  • Arrrrggghhhh impromptu visit from relatives :O today of all days!
  • edited November 2011
    Have they gone yet?
  • Yes.  The DAC has been on all day connected directly to my speakers.  It's got a neat feature whereby the XLR output voltage can be set from one of four options, meaning I can choose the correct voltage for my speakers, which is 4. something volts.  Any lower and my speakers don't come out of sleep mode.  Any higher and the rang of digital attenuation is too narrow.  There are a few other options but I've left them all at their default setting.

    I've got my MBP connected via Firewire and my Sonos ZP80 is connected via RCA.  There is an even bigger difference between Firewire and RCA now than there was on the Young between USB and RCA, so my MBP (running Audirvana+) will definitely be my primary source until I can afford a Mac Mini.

    Initial impressions?  Well, the first word that springs to mind is tone.  Pianos and guitars have a wonderful tonal quality which makes good quality recordings sound very lifelike.  There seems to be increased bass weight compared to the Young, yet it's also better controlled.  Not night and day better in this regard, but bass guitar notes sound better articulated.....bass drums really kick through the 202 as well.  I remember reading the Computer Audiophile review of the 202 where Chris said that what really stands out is the music.  When I read it I didn't fully appreciate what he meant, but having listened to the 202 for a couple of hours I agree with him - there's stacks of detail in every track which makes the music sound very realistic, but not in a digital/bright manner - there's a cohesiveness to the sound which I'm not describing very well, but every track just seems to offer more to the listener than I've experienced before.

    I'm listening to a live session from Adele (rolling in the deep) now, and the interplay between her and the backing singers sounds superb....very realistic.  

    I'll keep updating this thread as I get more familiar with the 202.  A/B'ing with the Young is going to be difficult because I can't go XLR out of the Young meaning a change of cables is required, by which time my memory has forgotten what the other unit sounded like.  It's something I want to do though to try and convey the differences between both DAC's.

  • Thanks in advance for making the effort to keep us informed James - I am very glad for you.
  • Drool!  B-)
  • James, Many congrats on your purchase. I have also recently bought a 202, about 10 days ago. I was looking for a neat one box solution to plug in between iMac, and HD800 headphones, via Firewire.

    I brought mine 1 year old (couldn't push to a new one) and the seller threw in a Firewire cable, only for me to find when i got home i needed a 400 - 800, and this was a 800-800!!! So i had to sit and stroke it all night (the DAC that is) until i could get a cable the next day when the shops were open again. Time stood still that night.

    My thoughts completely match yours, it's all about detail, sounds that i hadn't heard before, and just such a wide and natural soundstage. My best hi-fi purchase ever. WOW!

    How does it mate with the speakers? Have you got it plugged directly into the speakers? Excuse my ignorance, but only use headphones at mo (which i love) but keep thinking about a pair of speakers.

    Look forward to your thoughts.


  • Hi Justin.  Thanks, I've been listening to the 202 for several hours each day since I bought it.  Mine wasn't new either having been with the previous owner for about four months.

    Isn't is just a brilliant piece of kit?  I've got it connected directly to my speakers using the XLR outputs.

    It's funny that you are thinking about speakers because I happen to be thinking about getting some headphones. How do the HD800's sound through the 202?  What did you have before the Weiss? 

    If you are thinking about speakers I can highly recommend going the active route.  Fewer boxes and superb sound, particularly when connected directly to the 202.  Let me know if the active route appeals and I can list out a few options that I considered or demoed.



  • I have joined the growing Weiss 202 club. I thought the Audiolab might be a keeper after ousting the Young, but it wasn't. Good as it was there was just something about it, especially as I tend to listen quietly, about -40db where digitial attenuation might be robbing some resolution.

    I pick mine up on Monday.
  • Great news Simon. I look forward to your thoughts, particularly as a fellow former Young owner.
  • Maybe we need to retitle this thread so it's the Weiss 202 thread to balance the Young thread? :-)
  • Sounds good to me.  
  • Hi James and Simon,

    Simon, i can confidently say, you are in for a treat! Hope you enjoy it, please let us know your thoughts. James, previous to the 202, i had Naim DAC, 155,152, Flatcap and Focal Electra speakers. I just didn't want to get on the Naim upgrade ladder, and also didn't like all the wires, boxes, and the room it took up.

    The HD800's sound absolutely fantastic through the 202, i had been using them plugged straight into the iMac as a stop gap, until i could decide what route i wanted to take. They give such a wide soundstage, with HUGE amounts of detail (courtesy of 202 i'm sure) with deep and controlled, but not excessive bass. Very pleased with things so far.

    I am considering looking into getting some speakers, and would interested in any options you could give me. I currently have the iMac in my study, but would like to have the set up in my lounge (more comfortable chair) and have been considering a Mac Mini, or MacBook Pro, the ultimate would be the Weiss MAN 202, due out in December. I have spoken to Keith at Purite (very helpful) who thinks it might sell for £4,000'ish. That is the price for the model without the inbuilt DAC, there will also be one with a DAC, to the quality of a 202 built in, not sure the price of that, £8-9,000 i guess.

    Turns out to be quite expensive, this listening to music lark!!

    Kind regards

  • Simon, Have you got your new toy yet??? Any initial thoughts? Hope all is going well.

  • Yeh, not had the chance to belt it out yet, daughter is asleep upstairs. 

    That said I have been listening for quite a while, it's cleaner in the treble, more focussed on the mids and up than the Mdac, less spitty than the Young. I like it.
  • Had a listen again this morning to my favourite selection of 192khz classical. It's a very good dac indeed, it won't be leaving..

  • Nice one, I've had a 202 for a while - lovely bit of kit.

  • Yeh, very impressed with mine. Perfectly neutral, no added warmth or euphony and remarkable sound-staging and micro dynamic contrast. Which is all very funny given it has quite prosaic parts selection, the devil truly is in the detail.
  • James,

    Would you mind telling me your findings re speaker matching for the 202. Funnily enough the guy I bought mine from had a pair of Adam Audio speakers, huge things that cost him £25,000. They looked you in the eye as you walked into the room, I felt as though they we're going to start kicking me around if I said I didn't like them!

  • Hi Justin. Sure, no problem. I'll write up my findings re active speakers at some point this week. Travelling around with work for the next couple of days so it won't be until Weds/Thurs - been off for the last four weeks and to say my 6am alarm call this morning was a shock is something of an understatement!
  • Thanks James, look forward to it. I moved the Weiss over the weekend from iMac via FireWire, and tried with AppleTV via S/PDIF. The sound quality took a huge nose dive, so promptly required back to iMac. Interesting to do though. Guess I'll have to invest in a Mac MIni!!!


  • That was the old AppleTV with a hard disk, not the current black one, I take it?
  • No it was the new one, playing music using Airplay, via iMac. Just experimenting until i can afford a Mac Mini, to enable me to have the system in the lounge without a 27" iMac sitting not very discreetly on the side!!

  • edited December 2011
    I suspect the black Apple TV/Airplay combo was causing more harm than the S/PDIF interface.

    I'm pre-ampless at the moment, but I have a black ATV. There may be a comparison that I can make.
  • Interesting Justin. I plan to try feeding my Weiss from a Denon 3800 blu ray player using coax, just to see how it compares to FireWire from my MBP. Most Weiss users seem to use the FireWire input but I'm interested to see if I can hear any difference.

    I could also do with a MacMini to save me setting up my MBP every timeI want to listen to music. This hobby is a never ending money pit!
  • Trouble is, that experiment has too many variables. You need both interfaces on the same box :-( (or the same interface on different boxes, of course)
  • True, but I'm not trying to compare the
    same Weiss input using two different transports. I want to see whether a different transport and input makes the slightest bit of difference. To be honest I don't expect it to make a difference and even if it did, there's no way I would go back to loading CD's :-).
  • My bet is it will do. Playing CDs just ain't up to playing files IME.
  • Well that didn't take very long. FireWire sounds better. Not much in it mind.
  • Does your MBP have firewire? How does it compare to USB? (if the Weiss has USB)

    TBH, I don't even know if my MAC has firewire, though my DAC certainly doesn't.
  • It probably has. Have a look around the back.
  • Yes the MBP has FireWire, but there's no USB on the Weiss.
  • I was thinking about the Alan's Mac mini. I'm pretty sure it has. So he could have a word with Keith about getting a 202 in time for Christmas
  • I could....do you think he has grown his beard to full length yet?
  • Fairly tripping over it, I'd say
    ~X( :O :-j
  • What are you two on?
    We do get the occasional 202 traded in, if you just want to hear one let me know and I can send you a unit.
    KR Keith.
  • Love to Keith, but I'm afraid I would just be wasting you time at the end of the day. I am very happy with the last DAC you sold me (a year ago?!) and couldn't afford the jump. Unless you want to send me one out of sheer boredom, in which case I'll be happy to help you out old chap!
  • Resistance is futile Alan :D
  • The 202 is a super DAC, but you would probably get a greater improvement in SQ by looking at your room,or changing your loudspeakers.
    KR Keith
  • Gaaaaaaaaaaaasp! Splutter...What a flamin' cheek! How very dare you sir!


    The room probably could do with some attention, it's on the 'to do' list.

    Speakers - very hard not to make a compromise that's not a net loss from where I am TBH, without spending a whole lot of moulah I don't have.
  • I tell you what Keith, the only DAC I am actually wanting to hear is the MYTEK 192 DAC, but there aren't any UK dealers I can see. Perhaps you should make contact with MYTEK? Dealing with you is good for the punters and will increase MYTEKs UK presence.
  • Hi Alan, did you like the sound of the Mytek ?

    ps: you can find it on thomann cyberstore, located in Germany
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