Since The Absolute Sound is a print publication, there ain’t no way (except in rare occasions) we’re gonna be the first to “publish” a review of a component as au courant and in-demand as the Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2. The question on my mind, when I read other extremely positive reviews, was, “Have these folks ever heard a state-of-the-art DAC to compare against the DAC-2?” Because I know full well what happens when you’re confronted by the best you’ve ever heard—you get a wee bit overenthused.
After my time with the DAC-2 I can’t help but be impressed with it. Wyred 4 Sound has combined a rich feature set with remarkable performance at a price that makes it hard to beat. While I haven’t heard every DAC (who has?), I have yet to hear any USB DACs under $1500 that I like better, and I doubt that you will either, at least for the time being. Factor in the DAC-2’s current 192kHz high-resolution capabilities and built-in circuit-board upgradability, and you have a DAC that will remain au courant long enough to make it a savvy and satisfying purchase, regardless of how much more you can afford to spend. Will the DAC-2 get you back in touch with your first seminal high-fidelity experience? There’s a high probability that it will.
Type: USB/SPDIF DAC with built-in volume control
DAC: ESS Reference audio (ES9018) 32-bit DAC
Inputs: Two coax inputs, two TosLink inputs, one AES/EBU input, HT Bypass inputs (via DC trigger,) 24-bit/192kHz asynchronous USB input
Output impedance: 100 ohms
Driver: Proprietary for 32/64 bit windows XP, Vista, & and Mac OS above 10.4
Dimensions: 8.5” x 4.125” x 13.5”
Weight: 16 lbs.
WYRED 4 SOUND
2323 Tuley Rd Unit A-C
Paso Robles, CA, 93466
Source Devices: MacPro model 1.1 Intel Xeon 2.66 GHz computer with 12 GB of memory with OS 10.6.4, running iTunes 10.0.1 and Amarra 2.0 music playing software, Pure Music 1.65a music playing software, AyreWave music playing software,
DACs: Weiss DAC 202, Empirical Audio Off-Ramp 3
Amplifiers: Bel Canto S-300 stereo amplifier, Edge Electronics AV-6, Accuphase P-300 power amplifier
Speakers: ATC SCM7s, Silverline Minuets, Paradigm S1s, Aerial Acoustics 5Bs, Role Audio Kayaks, Earthquake Supernova mk IV 10 subwoofer
Cables and Accessories: Locus Design Polestar USB cable, Locus Design Nucleus USB cable, Wireworld USB cable, PS Audio Quintet, AudioQuest CV 4.2 speaker cable, AudioQuest Colorado interconnect, Empirical Audio Coax digital cable.