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Schitt Gungir vs PS Audio Nuwave?

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Posted on December 2, 2016 at 17:19:11
jrdoe
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Subtle differences? Or like Dirac on/off?

 

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Good question, posted on December 2, 2016 at 18:45:21
AbeCollins
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I own the PS Audio NuWave DSD DAC which replaced my Ayre QB9-DSD and Luxman DA-06. I like it that much. ;-)


 

RE: Good question, posted on December 2, 2016 at 19:37:19
jrdoe
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I read a post from someone recently arguing they couldn't hear the difference between a $2DAC and a $2000 DAC. I can't hear the difference between the Gungir and the DAC in the Parasound P5 Pre. So, I'm wondering... I suppose I can get the 30-day trial. I think that's only a loss of shipping.

 

RE: Good question, posted on December 3, 2016 at 10:33:33
AbeCollins
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I wouldn't know about $2 DACs. ;-)

But IMHO there's not much to be gained above about $1000 or so. I've heard DACs in that range and others that are significantly more expensive. $1000 - $2000 seems to be the sweet spot. Of course that's just my opinion.



 

"But IMHO there's not much to be gained above about $1000 or so.", posted on December 3, 2016 at 15:39:28
E-Stat
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Hmmm. Set aside the choice of purely digital stuff in the DAC. For me, a critical part of any DAC is its analog output which is effectively a line stage

I don't find that line stage resolution capability tops out at the $1k level. At that price, you are most likely using op amps.

Pass.

 

RE: "But IMHO there's not much to be gained above about $1000 or so.", posted on December 4, 2016 at 06:07:55
AbeCollins
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One of the differences is that a real linestage will likely have multiple analog inputs and connectors (RCA/XLR), input switching, versatile remote control, and cost associated with these features. A basic DAC can still have a good analog output stage but may delete all of the features and cost mentioned above.

I agree that the DACs analog output stage plays a huge role in it's overall sound and I have to laugh to myself when folks put a too much emphasis on needing the latest greatest (or rare vintage) DAC 'chip' itself. The 'best' DAC chip is no guarantee that the DAC is going to sound great or even decent.

I'm sure there are excellent DACs out there for well over $2000 but in my own experience and opinion, one can get an outstanding DAC for much less these days. As with anything audio, higher performance and better sound are not always proportional to higher price. The magazine ratings and ranking systems will try to convince you otherwise. At least that has been the case for me in a number of comparisons not only with DACs but other gear as well.


 

RE: "But IMHO there's not much to be gained above about $1000 or so.", posted on December 4, 2016 at 06:19:45
connieflyer
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AbeCollins do you have your ps audio dsd dac connected by usb from source? I have a ps audio dac 3, and bought the dsd dac from psaudio and there was a nice improvement, I believe most came from the use of the Sabre chip. Unforuneately after 30 some days the unit quit in mid song. Called psaudio support, and was asked to change the fuse, which they sent to me. It worked on power up, so moved it back to system, connected it to usb input powered it up and fuse blew again. Sent back for refund. Usb still works on psaudio dac 3. Wondered if you had any problems with your unit.

 

RE: "But IMHO there's not much to be gained above about $1000 or so.", posted on December 4, 2016 at 07:01:05
AbeCollins
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No issues with mine. My PS Audio NuWave DSD DAC replaced the previous model NuWave. Mine was attached to my Mac Mini via USB for several months but it is now on the microRendu network streamer. It drives my Rogue Cronus Magnum or Ayre AX-7e integrated amps. I bought the NuWave DSD DAC when it first came out over a year ago.

It does sound a little better than my previous unit and some of that improvement may be due to it's CPLD processing (similar to FPGA), Sabre DAC, and updated analog stage:

"The output stage is a unique Class-A configuration, fully balanced and direct coupled hybrid array (utilizing both discrete semiconductors and ICs), with an extended bandwidth of -3dB at 60 kHz!"

What was yours attached to? Were you running anything special for a USB cable? What linestage or amp was it driving?

In any case, the PS Audio NuWave DSD DAC sounds great, better than a few higher priced DACs that I owned in my system including the Wavelength Brick USB DAC v3 with Mortar PSU upgrade, Luxman DA-06, and the Ayre QB9-DSD. The Ayre and the NuWave DSD are very close sonically. Some may prefer the Ayre but I felt that the PS Audio was voiced more to my liking with a little more body and weight.



 

RE: "But IMHO there's not much to be gained above about $1000 or so.", posted on December 4, 2016 at 08:12:39
connieflyer
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Was running either the pc or Sony media player by usb audioquest evergreen cable. All equipment was the same as used previously and using again with the returned previous dac. Outputing to a Feliks Elise headphone tube amp.

 

RE: "But IMHO there's not much to be gained above about $1000 or so.", posted on December 4, 2016 at 08:12:48
oldmkvi
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Why have you had/have DSD capable Dacs?
I seem to recall that you don't care for DSD.

 

RE: "But IMHO there's not much to be gained above about $1000 or so.", posted on December 4, 2016 at 13:36:08
AbeCollins
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Why have you had/have DSD capable Dacs?
I seem to recall that you don't care for DSD.


Because many outstanding PCM DACs now INCLUDE DSD because if they didn't the manufacture would lose market share as many buyers think it's a must have feature. It's not that I dislike DSD, it's just that it's not important to me.



 

RE: "But IMHO there's not much to be gained above about $1000 or so.", posted on December 4, 2016 at 13:39:20
AbeCollins
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Not sure what to tell you unless perhaps there was some DC on the analog path somehow. The NuWave DSD DAC is direct coupled and not being familiar with your other gear it's just a bit of speculation on my part. All I know for certain is that I have never had any DAC blow a fuse and I've owned several. Who knows.



 

RE: "But IMHO there's not much to be gained above about $1000 or so.", posted on December 4, 2016 at 14:11:49
connieflyer
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That was a first for me also. When I changed the fuse, the unit worked while not connected to any other gear. But as soon as I connected it to the usb cable the new fuse blew, even though nothing was powered up. Now with my original dac, same gear power cords,everything as it was, no problemso it had to be the dsd dac.What it was I could not say and they never offered an explanation. Such is life, thank you for your responses.

 

Abe, can I have your opinion ?, posted on December 5, 2016 at 15:18:51
Anfield
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Back in June last year, I asked you about the W4S DAC-2 and Ayre QB-9 DSD and you mentioned the Ayre is in another league, presumably that was before you got hold of the NuWave DSD. Now you think the NuWave DSD is the best sounding ?

My DAC is a W4S DAC-1 (with cap upgrade, so it should be the same sounding as DAC-2 up to 24/96). Recently I have ripped my small SACD collections into DSD files, in order to play them through my DAC-1 I have to convert the DSF files into 24/96 PCM files (a lossy process). I wonder whether there would be much gain by upgrading to a DSD capable DAC like the NuWave DSD (also for playing 16/44.1 and 24/96 files), and am now hesitating if I should spend the money after reading your post.

Would appreciate your advice. Thanks.

 

RE: "But IMHO there's not much to be gained above about $1000 or so.", posted on December 6, 2016 at 06:43:22
morricab
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Well, I generally agree that the output stage is probably overall more important than the DAC chip and filter but those are still rather critical.

For $1000 a Monarchy Audio NM24 will give you a pure tube output stage (no op amps...even for the IV) OR opamp output. It sounds as good as anything I have heard up to at least $5k. It uses the late great PCM1704 and DF1704 chipsets. The output is an SRPP design and sounds very good indeed.

I recently compared it to the $7500 Meitner MA-1 and the Resolution Audio Cantata (I have the M24, which has the older...and I think better...PCM63K but the rest is the same) and the Monarchy is in most ways better. The SS DACs have a bit deeper and stronger bass but they fall flat (literally) when it comes to soundstage and image palpability.

 

RE: Abe, can I have your opinion ?, posted on December 7, 2016 at 07:24:31
AbeCollins
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The W4S DAC2 was not a bad DAC compared to the Ayre QB-9 DSD or PS Audio NuWave DSD. These are all excellent DACs of slightly different flavors.

I found the the DAC2 to be a little darker sounding and maybe not quite as detailed and agile as the Ayre. I'm not sure how to explain it but the Ayre sounded quicker with better attack. The Ayre was smoother yet sounded more extended up in the treble and revealed more. That being said, I would think the DAC2 might do better in a brighter sounding system. So the Ayre was in fact better to my ears in my setup.

When I got the PS Audio NuWave DSD DAC I felt that it was just as good as the more expensive Ayre at 1/3 the price but I actually prefer it over the Ayre, slightly. The NuWave DSD DAC has a little fuller sound with more weight in the lower notes yet retains the smoothness and detail of the Ayre.

The NuWave DSD DAC as with many recent DACs will handle DSD playback over DoP. I can't tell you if that will sound any better than your DSF files converted to 24/96 PCM but I suspect it will.

If it were my DAC1 I would not continue to upgrade it. This DAC uses an older USB input, is limited to 24/96, and if I recall correctly it required proprietary drivers even on Mac. No amount of upgrading will get it to higher PCM resolutions or DSD.

The NuWave DSD is $1299 MSRP and it looks like PS Audio direct sales will give you about $390 in trade for your current DAC making the final price $909. I've seen DAC1's going for about $450 - $500 used. A dealer might give you a better trade if you're thinking replacing your DAC1.

 

RE: Abe, can I have your opinion ?, posted on December 7, 2016 at 13:01:16
fstein
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welcome to the world of "flavour du jour". May I suggest buying last year's flavour used at 50% discount?

 

Thanks Abe (nt)., posted on December 7, 2016 at 23:11:17
Anfield
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nt

 

NuWave vs. NuWave DSD?, posted on December 17, 2016 at 05:57:31
spons70ss
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Abe,

Was there a difference in sound quality between the NuWave and NuWave DSD on PCM files?

Thanks.
Andy

 

RE: NuWave vs. NuWave DSD?, posted on December 19, 2016 at 11:24:21
AbeCollins
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Sorry for the late reply here but I think we may have discussed this via private email.

The NuWave and NuWave DSD are both excellent but I did hear some improvements in the NuWave DSD even on PCM files. Enough of an improvement that when I received the PS Audio NuWave DSD DAC I no longer felt the need to keep my Ayre QB-9 DSD. I slightly preferred the NuWave DSD. Selling the Ayre put some cash back in my pockets. ;-)



 

RE: Good question, posted on December 26, 2016 at 02:54:55
lowrider75
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I compared the Gundir Multibit and Nuwave DSD DACs. They both present music with a wide and deep soundstage, very good mids and good weight to the bass. The highs and low-end are nicely extended and textured. I found the Nuwave DSD to be more musical and have smoother, more natural highs. In my system, the Gundir was more detailed and analytical.

The difference in sonics may be largely due to PS Audio using a passive analogue stage and the large toroidal transformer. Also, they use a programmable device similar to the circuit in their higher-end DAC which reclocks the signal and reduces jitter, in addition to a ESS Sabre chip.

 

RE: Good question, posted on December 28, 2016 at 00:54:00
lowrider75
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With the Schiit Gungir you can audition for only 15 days, and there is a 5% restocking fee when it is returned. I don't think mine was even fully burned-in when my audition period ended.

PS Audio has a 60 day demo period.

 

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