T+A DAC 200 or WEISS 501

Who will take what if given an opportunity lets take a vote.


@roccity As with any dialogue around format, I believe it is not about the format but about the implementation. T+A is one of the pioneers in DSD playback and the first manufacturer to achieve true 1-Bit DSD 1024 playback (established in the SDV 3100 HV and evident in the DAC 200). But it’s the design of the DSD DAC that enables it to perform in a superior manner than the PCM side. Of course, I’ve heard some DACs that support DSD and still prefer PCM.

FWIW, I often demo the DAC 200 with PCM content as a good share of my customers don’t have any DSD, and I don’t want to sell them on an experience they may not replicate in their own home. If the streamer is up to par, synergy with the DAC 200 still yields excellent results, for example when pairing the DAC 200 to an Aurender N200.

Also, not related to 501 vs DAC 200, but when I most recently took in the Weiss 501, I was curious to try it as a headphone amp. I recently got myself a pair of Hifiman HE1000SE, which are not hard to drive, and the 501 has a good reputation as a headphone amp/dac/streamer combo.

In my experience, I much preferred a much less expensive stack - a Topping E70 Velvet R2R DAC and matching Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier. The Topping stack had better control and more engaging presentation, when hooked up to my MacBook Air’s Roon / HQPlayer output in DSD in comparison to the Weiss, which was more refined but not as engaging. The Weiss felt quite passive to me in this configuration. And despite the Topping Stack sounding great with Roon and HQPlayer out of a MacBook with DSD format, it still sounded superior in PCM once I switched the source to an Aurender N200 using coax. So the source component’s quality does matter a heck of a lot here, too. 


I agree with Juan at BlissHifi in that it’s implementation and not file type that makes the biggest difference. My previous Dac could also play DSD files natively and indeed sounded good doing so through the Sirius processor, but the differences between DSD and PCM were far smaller than through the DAC200.  

I’ve also heard other DACs where PCM sounded better than DSD. 

Hope this helps.


@mgrif104 and @blisshifi - It always helps hearing about other people's experiences.  Thanks.

<<I don’t want to sell them on an experience they may not replicate in their own home>>

I very recently had a conversation about that notion with my local dealer (Lance of Forefront Audio) in the context of amps driving speakers that customers are shopping.  He knows he can make any speaker sound really good if he connects them to his Vitus integrated, but he's honest, like BlissHiFi, and chooses an amp to give them an experience more on par with what they'll likely experience in their own home with their usual amplification. And again, I'll report back once I've done the A/B of the T+A's preamp versus my Classé.