Author Topic: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions  (Read 4153 times)

Offline springcreek

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 437
  • Liked: 54
  • Karma: +2/-0
Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« on: December 01, 2011, 06:22:16 PM »
Hi guys :D

Over the last year I have had chance to listen to two DACs, other than the KillerDAC, that are very well reviewed and owned by various reviewers. I thought I would very briefly describe what I heard for anyone interested.

First was the Weiss DAC202 which gets a lot of press and is used by at least one reviewer. I heard it in a system with ASR amplification and Zingali speakers being fed by either a MAC laptop or a Koala CD transport. I used music that I listen to regularly and am very familiar with. The sound had the typical digital signature, which to my ears is thin, clean and clear, but lacking in tone, texture, warmth and naturalness. Spatially it was better than most. However, it sounded artificial and at times confused with either the transport or MAC feeding it.  How much did the system contribute to this? In the same session I heard a very good vinyl front end that potrayed all the bits the digital left out, the sound was lovely. Very involving.

Next was the Bryston BDP-1 player and BDA-1 DAC. The BDP-1 is a digital player that can handle hi res formats and can be linked to a network for downloading/ streaming etc. and the player can be controlled by various Apple devices like an iPhone or iPad. Very cool! This is not a disk spinner or a server. To get your music into it you can stream, connect a USB hard drive or a USB stick. There are no moving parts in the machine and it is based on a modified computer with flash memory. I heard this player with the  Bryston BDA-1 DAC. Both products get rave reviews and several reviewers have purchased them, suggesting a substantial step forward in technology and sound. I heard this system driving an Arcam preamp with a Bryston amp and B&W 802s. The guys doing the demo set it up while I got into position. Music was similar to that used on the Weiss202.

The system sounded very thin, hard and confused. Not pleasant at all. I asked about the system and found out that someone got confused and was using a Macintosh CD player. The front end was swapped to the Bryston combo and replayed. Much better, though to be honest, that would not have been hard. The Bryston combo was warmer, slightly richer and the confused sound was almost completely gone. Whew! I listened to several cuts of Diana Krall. One from HD tracks which was high resolution, which to me sounded very diffuse and pretty mangled, with no real centre fill. The next version was burned from the normal red book version. Better, much better centre fill, more natural and organic. However, there was no magic. The sound was still very thin, bleached, and not particularly interesting. I asked if valves could be inserted into the system and a Macintosh 275 was used instead of the solid state gear. Better, but only marginally. Still no magic, just a bit warmer and more dimensional.

Compared to the moded Phillips CD960 I use at home (thanks OzMillsy!) the sound of both systems was really lacking in emotion and beauty. I could not live with either. Compared to a KillerDac...well lets not go there, they live on different planets or planes of existence. The devide was enormous to my ears. System synery has a lot do do with the sound we get, but neither system above made music when used with those digital front ends. One did with a nice vinyl front end.

Hope you found it interesting....I did.

Cheers

Offline ozcal

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 463
  • Liked: 0
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 07:26:45 PM »
Hi Mate , thanks for the enjoyable read.
I think it's very difficult to make valid comparisions unless the equipment is being inserted into your own system and you have the time to adjust to both the bad a good aspects of the new bit of tech. What do you reckon?
That being said a good turntable is very hard to beat when it comes to sounding like the real thing imo.  :D
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 08:20:36 PM by ozcal »
Listening with my ears :)

Offline springcreek

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 437
  • Liked: 54
  • Karma: +2/-0
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2011, 09:26:19 PM »
Hi Ozcal

Yep agree mate very hard to make valid comparisons without  knowing the character of the rest of the system. Though I think you get some idea of where things might take you.

I know I like my music more organic and somewhat richer.
 :D
Cheers, Andy

Offline ozcal

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 463
  • Liked: 0
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2011, 11:27:40 AM »
Hi Ozcal

Yep agree mate very hard to make valid comparisons without  knowing the character of the rest of the system. Though I think you get some idea of where things might take you.

I know I like my music more organic and somewhat richer.
 :D
Cheers, Andy
"I know I like my music more organic and somewhat richer."
No arguments there :D
Makes you wonder what some of these new digital products would sound like with a decent valve output stage.
Cheers
Gordon
Listening with my ears :)

Offline ozmillsy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1947
  • Liked: 134
  • Karma: +38/-34
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2011, 08:50:01 AM »
Good report Andy.   I've had a similar experience listening to other systems, where the vinyl rig sounded very nice and natural, and the digital front end artificial. 

It's more than just a tube output stage, IMO.
There's more fun trying various changes to your hifi gear,
than there is in trying to explain why those changes are having an effect.

Offline ozcal

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 463
  • Liked: 0
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2011, 12:41:01 PM »
Good report Andy.   I've had a similar experience listening to other systems, where the vinyl rig sounded very nice and natural, and the digital front end artificial. 

It's more than just a tube output stage, IMO.
Reckon your right Oz but it would be interesting to see/hear what could be done to get more music out of these hi-res dacs.
Listening with my ears :)

Offline kajak12

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2338
  • Liked: 32
  • Karma: +2/-2
    • http://killerdac.com/forum/index.php
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 04:50:56 PM »
Good report Andy.   I've had a similar experience listening to other systems, where the vinyl rig sounded very nice and natural, and the digital front end artificial. 

It's more than just a tube output stage, IMO.
Reckon your right Oz but it would be interesting to see/hear what could be done to get more music out of these hi-res dacs.
Start working on it ozcal one way to find out the first hurdle are the chips used  ;)
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time

Offline ozcal

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 463
  • Liked: 0
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2011, 06:39:40 PM »
Good report Andy.   I've had a similar experience listening to other systems, where the vinyl rig sounded very nice and natural, and the digital front end artificial. 

It's more than just a tube output stage, IMO.
Reckon your right Oz but it would be interesting to see/hear what could be done to get more music out of these hi-res dacs.
Start working on it ozcal one way to find out the first hurdle are the chips used  ;)
Exactlly my intention Mario , saving up for one of the Twisted pair Sabre dacs and a Tubizator output stage with valve regulation. Will use I2S input , with source yet to be decided.
I still love my Satch , new case like Ozmillsy' should arrive tommorow for the Satch but I want to hear if there is anything in this hi-res malarkey :D
Listening with my ears :)

Offline zenelectro

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 659
  • Liked: 50
  • Karma: +8/-1
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2011, 12:08:31 PM »
Good report Andy.   I've had a similar experience listening to other systems, where the vinyl rig sounded very nice and natural, and the digital front end artificial. 

It's more than just a tube output stage, IMO.
Reckon your right Oz but it would be interesting to see/hear what could be done to get more music out of these hi-res dacs.
Start working on it ozcal one way to find out the first hurdle are the chips used  ;)
Exactlly my intention Mario , saving up for one of the Twisted pair Sabre dacs and a Tubizator output stage with valve regulation. Will use I2S input , with source yet to be decided.
I still love my Satch , new case like Ozmillsy' should arrive tommorow for the Satch but I want to hear if there is anything in this hi-res malarkey :D

I got Buffalo 1 (Sabre ES9008) from TP a few years back to have a quick listen and see if there was potential.

The implementation is rubbish and I was surprised how many people raved over Buf 1.

I think they are up to Buf 3, and it's a lot better, they have learned a lot, but still not close to what I think is optimum for getting musicality out of this DAC.

The valve OP stage will help.

For hi rez / I2S input, Sabre needs to be run in a specific way (WRT clocking) that is not well documented, with the right supplies, with the right clock
then it -should- equal the 1541 - maybe even beat it.

The right valve OP stage is also a big issue. Sabre has balanced OP and that needs to be turned into SE. 





Offline ozcal

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 463
  • Liked: 0
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2011, 12:58:16 PM »
Hi Terry , thanks for the tips once again.
I was thinking of one of these : http://glass-ware.stores.yahoo.net/bcf9pinpcb.html  to do the balanced to single ended convesrion. What do you think?
Listening with my ears :)

Offline zenelectro

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 659
  • Liked: 50
  • Karma: +8/-1
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2011, 09:26:58 PM »
Hi Terry , thanks for the tips once again.
I was thinking of one of these : http://glass-ware.stores.yahoo.net/bcf9pinpcb.html  to do the balanced to single ended convesrion. What do you think?

Broskie Cathode follower whilst having very good drive has no voltage gain, in fact if each phase puts out 1V (2V balanced)
the BCF will only give you 1V out, so actually gain = 1/2.

You will have to get some gain somewhere else.


 

Offline ozcal

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 463
  • Liked: 0
  • Karma: +1/-0
Listening with my ears :)

Offline springcreek

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 437
  • Liked: 54
  • Karma: +2/-0
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2011, 12:19:10 PM »
Thanks OzMillsy :D

Very common in my experience to hear digital done poorly and I've only heard a couple of digital front ends I could live with and one I could really love.

It would be great if a DAC and digital streamer/server could be built to utilize the new high res formats and didn't kill the music. A great sounding system that could incorporate a user interface like an iPhone or iPad would bring people to our hobby, instead of scaring them away. That's likely to equate to more time listening (and that's the point really), though for me it would have to have killerdac sound.

I wish Terry, Ozcal and others every success, man I hope they can do it!!!

Cheers, Andy ;D

Offline zenelectro

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 659
  • Liked: 50
  • Karma: +8/-1
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2011, 03:36:46 PM »
Thanks OzMillsy :D

Very common in my experience to hear digital done poorly and I've only heard a couple of digital front ends I could live with and one I could really love.

It would be great if a DAC and digital streamer/server could be built to utilize the new high res formats and didn't kill the music. A great sounding system that could incorporate a user interface like an iPhone or iPad would bring people to our hobby, instead of scaring them away. That's likely to equate to more time listening (and that's the point really), though for me it would have to have killerdac sound.

I wish Terry, Ozcal and others every success, man I hope they can do it!!!

Cheers, Andy ;D

Andy

I'm fairly confident it's all quite doable.

Unfortunately my main income stream is electronics service, so esoteric design jobs that have
no immediate profit have to be amortized between paying service jobs. Time wise they play second fiddle.

I used to work for a $2 bill T/O global company in the R & D department and design amortization along
with huge purchasing power was something we really took for granted.


I suppose that's the way the cookie crumbles. :)


cheers
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 05:52:28 PM by zenelectro »

Offline ozcal

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 463
  • Liked: 0
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2011, 07:29:07 PM »
Thanks OzMillsy :D

Very common in my experience to hear digital done poorly and I've only heard a couple of digital front ends I could live with and one I could really love.

It would be great if a DAC and digital streamer/server could be built to utilize the new high res formats and didn't kill the music. A great sounding system that could incorporate a user interface like an iPhone or iPad would bring people to our hobby, instead of scaring them away. That's likely to equate to more time listening (and that's the point really), though for me it would have to have killerdac sound.

I wish Terry, Ozcal and others every success, man I hope they can do it!!!

Cheers, Andy ;D
Sorry for dragging your thread ot Andy.
Seems things have come full circle : 30 yrs ago if you thought CD represented good sound quality most music lovers/ audiophiles would have given you strange looks. Now! just as cd replay has gained a degree of acceptance with the advent of the KD and other Dacs of simmilar musicality we get a whole new range of problems to try and solve with Hi-res replay :)
Listening with my ears :)

Offline springcreek

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 437
  • Liked: 54
  • Karma: +2/-0
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2011, 09:54:01 PM »
Hi guys

It is really encouraging to hear that a high res dac could be built that could provide killerdac performance. Terry at a guess how long do you think it would take to create a dac like this??? Similar cost to a killerdac???

I wonder if something like the Bryston BDP-1 could be modified to get close to a decent transport that could handle the hi res files?
Many of the parts seem discrete that presumably could be replaced with better versions.
http://bryston.com/products/digital_audio/BDP-1.html
Or could something better be built from scratch?

This is very exciting! :o Just think not that long ago I thought digital was totally broken and vinyl was the only answer!  ;D

Cheers, Andy

Offline kajak12

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2338
  • Liked: 32
  • Karma: +2/-2
    • http://killerdac.com/forum/index.php
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2011, 10:10:19 PM »
Hi guys

It is really encouraging to hear that a high res dac could be built that could provide killerdac performance. Terry at a guess how long do you think it would take to create a dac like this??? Similar cost to a killerdac???
Cheers, Andy
hi andy if i was to strat modding the burson the only thing that would be left is the ??????
nothing the case is too small all the smd devices would be flying out of the pcb's not to mention the pcb's thenselves more then likely use hair thin copper tracks.
not worth it all i need is to buy some of zenelectro's time to make a digital board and i can do the rest,remember took steve 5 years with kdac
so maybe 2017 a kd might be born in highrez fashion
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time

Offline ozcal

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 463
  • Liked: 0
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2011, 11:46:58 AM »
Hi guys

It is really encouraging to hear that a high res dac could be built that could provide killerdac performance. Terry at a guess how long do you think it would take to create a dac like this??? Similar cost to a killerdac???
Cheers, Andy
hi andy if i was to strat modding the burson the only thing that would be left is the ??????
nothing the case is too small all the smd devices would be flying out of the pcb's not to mention the pcb's thenselves more then likely use hair thin copper tracks.
not worth it all i need is to buy some of zenelectro's time to make a digital board and i can do the rest,remember took steve 5 years with kdac
so maybe 2017 a kd might be born in highrez fashion
Mario , I do wonder ,given the much higher freq that these hi-res dacs are working at, if at least some SMD components will be necessary just to achieve stability. Oscons are available as SMT/D devices and I guess other quality caps and resistors will be as well.
Listening with my ears :)

Offline zenelectro

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 659
  • Liked: 50
  • Karma: +8/-1
Re: Bryston BDP-1, BDA-1 and Weiss DAC 202 - listening impressions
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2011, 10:55:46 AM »
Mario ,

I do wonder ,given the much higher freq that these hi-res dacs are working at, if at least some SMD components will be
necessary just to achieve stability. Oscons are available as SMT/D devices and I guess other quality caps and resistors will be as well.

Ozcal,

I believe you are right WRT SMT components. Designing a pcb for low noise using modern high speed DAC's, it's hard to get around them.

The present Killer DAC digital board, with caps joined to their associated points using long traces of wire, seems to work pretty well,
however the TDA1541 uses very low noise, class A current steering logic inside which by today's standards is fairly slow. 

Using the same approach with modern high speed CMOS based DAC's,  I don't think would work well.

Refer below to a board I designed a few years ago for TDA1541 which has pretty good layout, with ground plane underneath.


There is a general fear amongst people here WRT SMT components, I'm not sure who perpetuated it (Steven?) but IMO it is wrong. 

SMT components are like any other component, they need to be evaluated on an individual basis, they are all different.
There are certainly plenty of very bad ones, X5R SMT ceramic caps, thick film resistors, 0.125W resistors etc, but there are
also good ones. It's a matter of finding them.   


T