Rockna Wavelight thoughts?

Rockna's new wavelight looks great at ~$5K, im guessing it sounds similar to the acclaimed big brother wavedream, very little reviews/impressions so far though, anyone have one or plan to order? im looking to try a good R2R. denafrips terminator was just OK in my system. i especially wonder how wavelight performs vs la voce s3 which is a similar price. couldnt find any dealers that would home demo the two. any other suggestions for +/- 5k?

If you are looking for a great R2R DAC take a look at my review on the Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE DAC on the website Stereo Times. It retails for $2,500, is beautifully built and is exceptional music maker. By the way I know three listeners who owned Denafrips Terminators who replaced them with the Tubadour III SE and loved the change to this DAC.
Check out Audiobyte's (Rockna sister company) new Hydra/Vox for the same price.  I've had mine for a month now and blown away by it.  Mike Powell ("OCD hifi guy" on youtube) has several video's on it and in this video he puts it up against a 20K DAC with interesting results;

I would be very interested to know how it compares to the new wavelight.
Mrkoven ,  I owed Rockna’s WaveDream dac which replaced a Denafrips Terminator I owed just prior to the spike of online popularity .
I vaguely remember Terminator’s performance however with direct comparisons in two different systems the Rockna dac seemed to be quieter ,clearly it was more musical and more resolving plus a big deal to me Rockna had it over the Denafrips with well recorded vocal's.

I would think the new Rockna Wavelight would certainly be great performing considering the designers back ground history .

However later on I got interested in Rockna’s sister companies AudioByte converter and power supplies and noticed the Hydra Vox dac digital stack with a purpose built headphone section.
I saw that AudioMirror is a AudioByte dealer and made an impulse purchase of the Hydra Vox dac after a short exchange of emails with Vlad . I passed on the AudioByte converter and power supples realizing there would be more boxes and connecting cables to deal with and look at . I liked the neat and tidy look of the Vox stack and of course it’s performance over the WaveDream .

So the Hydra Vox one box version DAC bettered the Wavedream?? Interesting... 
Jriggy I find the Hydra Vox a little more exciting sounding over the WaveDream and possibly even quieter then the entry level Rockna dac .
The Vox I have is a two piece identical chassis’s  , a dac and dual power supplies in the other .
Sonictekton thanks for the video , I usually listen to vintage footage of the Jazz greats ect on YouTube and I listen with headphones and I could clearly hear a difference between the two dacs , jeesh 
i currently have a rockna stack: wavedream signature se with wavedream net. it's a great combination in my system. i was running the rockna with a metrum ambre to start - so i could utilize roon with my laptop serving as the roon core. then i bought the rockna wavedream net on a bit of a whim but with some reservations. this was - again, in my system - a huge step forward. i was frankly stunned as i'm a computer guy and bits are bits...

the first that thing that stood out to me was how much bigger the soundstage became in all dimensions. after that initial "wow" wore off over some days and weeks i noticed that everything was just much better over all. the tone, texture, and all the other words used to describe play back that differs from merely listening to being captivated.

my rockna experience and the experiences of others with other servers has lead me to believe the server is even more important than the dac itself in that changes in servers are resulting in bigger sound differences than changes in dacs. am i saying buy a cheap dac and an amazing server? no, not necessarily (though i know of one user using a taiko extreme with a dragonfly - while they wait for their new dac and enjoying the sound). but for me, i'd take any dac budget and try to spend half to 75% on the server and the rest on the dac. i mention this because the terminator from everything i read (and it was high on my list before pulling the trigger on the rockna) may really benefit from a nice server as a source.

okay, now that i've gotten through that i'll get to the bad news: i haven't heard the wavelight and can't comment directly. however if it carries any of the tonal qualities of the wavedream net + wavedream signature se, i reckon it will sound great. rockna has a density to the sound that is just so palpable and it's able to flow so beautifully from one note to another. but everyone has different tastes so all i can do is share my opinion. for what it's worth i'm probably selling the wavedream net soon as i'd like to purchase a taiko extreme and really take the server experiment to it's illogical/logical extreme :). not meant as solicitation but just wanted to be honest about it. if you have any other questions about rockna, feel free to pm and i'll do my best to answer
@skanda  Interesting findings. If willing, feel free to post your findings / experience on the thread (linked below) where we are trying tease out whether the DAC or the streamer is "more important."

Some additional info on the AudioByte Vox stack. My understanding after emailing Mike Powell, the USA dealer. The Hydra has a power cable to the ZAP power supply. That unit powers the HUB and VOX units using supplied proprietary cables. So I see only 1 cable going out of the stack,  the other cables I regard like interconnects (that are supplied).

I am thinking of buying this stack unheard if it works with my new preamps professional-grade XLR connections. Some technical mumbo jumbo that I am clarifying with AudioByte.

I'm highly interested in both the Audiobyte Hydra Zap and the Rockna Wavelight dacs, so please guys (those of you in the position to do that) do share your impressions in as much detail as it is comfortable for you. Tone, timbre, frequency extension (especially in the highs), detail, micro- and macrodynamics, soundstage (especially width), PRAT... You know what I mean... Many thanks!
Hey Everybody,

I just received information that a Wavelight DAC  will be sent to me for a review for Stereo Times.  I'm very interested in what this DAC's performance level will be.  Hopefully, in the next two weeks, depending on when I receive it, I'll give some feedback about what I'm hearing.
@teajay , will wait to read your review. Will be an interesting read. Which other DAC will you be comparing with this Rockna?
Skanda I know what what your saying about the Rockna WaveDream net I listened to a demonstration switching out other severs the Dream net clearly made a fairly noticeable difference, just beautiful however out of my budget. Having tried other servers I got a big jump in performance enjoyment trying a Innuos Zenith 3 just recently.
Now I’m content with Hydra Vox dac and Innuos server though I will keep an eye out for that 2nd hand Rockna net if you purchase the Taiko Extreme.
I've got an entry level Wavedream (single ended version). Put it head to head with a Holo Spring 2 KTE and the Yggy. Bested both quite easily.

Great liquid sound with dense tone. PRAT and transient speed a major highlight of the product. Quick, firm bass - no mid base hump/boom. 

Not sure how the Wavelight will compare but I must say I like the aesthetics of the Wavelight more than the Wavedream ! The price seems similar as well so I'm curious as to the difference in performance ? 
@in_shore great to hear about your experience with the NET. it can certainly be a bit jarring at first because like ... it's a server, how could it possibly matter but the proof is in the pudding and you don't even have to listen to for it. the differences are not subtle in any way. given the quarantine situation i'm not sure when the taiko will land but hopefully some time this summer. looking forward to sharing impressions.
hey everyone, i received my taiko extreme yesterday. i'm keeping an audio journal on it here. hope you guys find it interesting! i will specifically be comparing it to my rockna as things settle in and i get my bearings with this new piece of kit:

Hey milpai,

Just last night I submitted my review to my editor on the Wavelight. Hopefully, it will go up on the Stereo Times website in the next couple of weeks.
Thanks for the update teajay.
Knowing your posts on other threads I am assuming that it did not dethrone your reference Bricasti :-)
@in_shore , thank you! i've been updating it fairly regularly so if you havent been to the thread in the while i've made further comparisons. 

this morning, i'm sitting here with the extreme playing and i'm taking care of my morning emails etc and I'm just blown away by what i'm hearing. no hyperbole, the soundstaging is just the best i've ever got out of my system. all that said, the rockna is a fantastic piece and already playing at a high level so please don't take this as "you must upgrade now!!". i think too often in our hobby there is an exaggeration of improvements etc. realistically, the extreme is very expensive and i think if you got it you'd be happy with the improvements (as i am, and they are still working out via burn in) but the rockna is still a tremendous server
How does the  Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE DAC compare with the Rockna Wavelight? I am looking for a new main or second DAC that is sufficiently different sounding than my current main DAC, the very neutral and quiet Benchmark DAC3B.

Ideally this new DAC is also very quiet which I find is very important for my current musical enjoyment.
Hey yysantabarbara,

Both DACs are the antithesis of your Benchmark DAC3B. Both are much more fuller sounding regarding image density and have better tonality/colors then your DAC3B. I have reviewed both DACs that you are asking about, my review on the Wavelight for Stereo Times has been submitted but not yet published yet. Because the Wavelight is a solid state design it is slightly quieter then the Tubadour SE III that uses tubes in its analog conversion section. Both are great DACs.
Thanks Terry. I am leaning towards trying the tube one to go to the opposite extreme of the DAC3B. The DAC3B will still be the main DAC I use.

So many quality DACs these days.
Would the Wavelight be a good upgrade point from the Metrum Onyx? What is the consensus vs other r2r dacs? Is there a switchable OS/NOS option?
@milpai That was a great reading, thanks for sharing. Now waiting on Terry's review to publish
I just got the Wavelight DAC and my first night with it was fantastic. It's an excellent DAC, super smooth, balanced and dynamic. I've listened to alot of gear over the last few months and this is by far the best digital I have heard yet. 
I already own a great sounding DAC, the Lindemann Musicbook DSD. And now Lindemann offers an upgrade which entirely replaces the contents within in skin for less than $2K.

But, mental illness has me wishing for a new dac. It happens in audio. And mental illness along with age has me grappling at various types of dacs. 

I thought first about the Doge Audio Doge7. But those guys didn't respond to my last email as they are so busy selling product - a good thing no problemo. Love to see success in this tough competitive industry.

Then I thought about a Terminator. Then the Holo May KTE. Then the Rockna Wavelight after Terry's review. Now I'm on to the Audiobyte stack. And that got confusing as I go through reviews of such confusing Hydra Vox with Hydra Zap, Wave this Wave that, Hydra this Hydra that, Vox Rockna, Byte, heck, I just want a great sounding DAC :)

 OCDguy has got some great videos comparing some nice DAC's. That APL through YouTube then my computer headphones made me want the APL. Then I searched the price. No APL for me :( The Audiobyte sounded great and with the coming of the server streamer clocked to the DAC, should be a very good sound.

I'm trying to glean differences between the Wavelight and the Audiobyte Hydra Zap stack, all 3 boxes which gives me a FPGA based DAC, clean power and a server streamer.

Thanks for your help.

I have tried for a few years to get a DAC that sounds "right", to my ears. Conservative estimate I tried nearly a dozen including; two Schitts, IFI, Phison, Mytek and a Cambridge. I'm sure I'm missing a few from my trials.... ranging in price from $1000 - +$6000. On the recommendation of a friend, I tried a Wavelight and am hooked. It is the first DAC that I can actually sit down and listen to music to, while all the others were at best background music. I'm still in awe of how good it sounds after 6 months. 
Hey jimpittsburgh would love to know more about your impressions of the wavelight and also a bit about your system (music server, digital cable connection... are you using the wavelight as a premap etc.). If you get time... thanks! :)
@jimpittsburgh , Please tell us some more details, especially if you used the Wavelight as a preamp driving an amp directly, and its soundstage performance.
I owned the Rockna Wavedream Signature (top model) for a while along with the matching Wavedream Net server.  Excellent dac that was a very close with the Mola Mola Tamaqui dac I had at the same time.  There were plusses and minuses to each.  That being said, they are both gone.  I recently acquired a Jeff Rowland Aeris with Super Cap PSU (amazing) for system 2. 

However, the heavy hitter right now in my books that handily beat both the top level Rockna and Mola Mola dacs is from Aries-Cerat.  It is the Helene dac- we did close A-B comparison's at a buddies place and no contest- There was more sparkle; life; and openness to the top end of the Aeries-Cerat dac that the Rockna and Mola Mola simply couldn't match.  One day I hope to be able to get the Helene's 'big sister' dac the Kasandra II.  Check the feedback on the Kasandra dac over at WBF.  This thing is insane- it's a 135-lb dac.  I have seen it at a local buddie's place, but have yet to hear it.  Yes it's the price of a nice used BMW, but if you truly want to hear the next level in digital and just end the chase, this is it IMO.  
Totally not true audio bytes is the lower end version of Rockna which has better build quality 
I heard them both ,the wave light beats the Audiobytes ,the wave dream blows it 
away, something seriously wrong with that guys setup if he thought audiobytes 
was better ,not happening. Everythung is software based you miss one upgrade 
thst can be major !!

Seriously y'all, you have not learned yet that in this hobby our subjective hearing is as different as the stars in the sky. The obsession about gear has gotten so great that you can no longer enjoy the Music. No matter the cost just like everything else on this planet, it'll never be perfect!

@doctorrob77 I invite you to come listen at our Listening Room in Northern New Jersey and maybe you will change your mind about subjective hearing and how certain gear can be your final choice.  PM me when you are coming to the area.


Happy Listening.