There's always a lot of talk about DACs with most revolving around names like Denefrips, Gustard, T&A, Weiss, Border Patrol and many others, but I see no mention of the Wyred 4 Sound DAC and in particular the 10th anniversary edition. Even a quick search of the forum doesn't bring much up in the last couple of years.

It is competitively priced, made in the USA and it was well reviewed at the time (2018)

Has anyone compared this DAC to the newer ones most that are most mentioned here? Maybe technology has surpassed a DAC that is now 5 years past its prime?



I have the W4S DAC 2DSDse and I have absolutely no regrets or issues with it, a very analog sounding DAC. The nice thing about W4S is that you can buy one of the lesser versions of the DAC and 5h3n send it in to be upgraded as budget allows.

5 years at the speed that digital tech has been moving forward is almost an eternity today. ASR reviewed the "DAC-2v2 SE DAC" a few years ago, and while I do not make judgement based on measurements alone, there were some obvious findings that show that the unit under test had some issues. In the case of the findings, their product was not capable of what they were saying it would do. This is not an opinion in any case, it is a clear limitation of the circuits of the device based on engineering that totally affects the performance. Would there be an audible issue? The review suggests that the faults and limitations may be audible. Maybe this is why we are not seeing a lot of enthusiasm around this company's products? Get yourself a current DAC that has good reviews and be happy for many years.. 

W4s always made good products and they were more popular several years ago, but I think the huge influx of excellent dacs from China killed them. Who’s going to buy a 5k W4s when they can buy a Terminator or a May that every major reviewer went crazy over? Also, W4s is using ESS chips, which are not popular now in higher priced dacs, where buyers either want ladder, fpga or vintage chips.  

The idea that Dac tech moves that fast is meaningless a good Dac is still a good Dac if you evaluate it based on SQ. My Dac is around 13 years old and sounds fantastic.

I had a DAC-2v2 SE DAC for a number of years and it's a very nice sounding DAC which you can pick up used at a very reasonable price.

I thought I was upgrading when I bought a HOLO Springs 3 KTE DAC, but I was mistaken. The HOLO had a quirk that drove me absolutely nuts - I couldn't take it after six months. I decided to step clear of all the flavor of the month DACS which are so frequently reviewed and bought a Aries Cerat Helene DAC.

It wasn't cheap, but I'm now content in the world of DACs

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Agreed. $19k vs a couple grand or so for a used Wyred? Seems like an odd comparison. Personally, I owned the Wyred 2v2se for a bit. It was nice. It’s no longer with my as my system is too bright as it stands. It’s easier to sell 15 pounds of dac than 250 pounds of speakers……

Well, since you asked, right now an Audio Alchemy DDE V2.0 is the primary unit. It was being given away for a song, so I scooped it up. It was running head to head with the Audio Alchemy DDP-1. For whatever reason, the DDP is back on the shelf and the DDE remains for now. The DDE is clearly not the pinnacle of performance, however I find myself not annoyed with it after a few hours. 

I have an old W4S moded Sonos Zone player. Been in my 2nd system for years As a Roon endpoint  I think W4S do good work. 

It’s ok for the money but nothing special vs the competition 

Denafrips forsure beats it in its price class just pop the top  and look at what you get , 

I have a top of the line wyred4sound preamp, but a Gustard X26 PRO dac. China does lead the pack in "affordable" quality dacs imo.

@wturkey - that's an old timer!

@jacobsdad2000 - I see that, it should be updated to the 15th anniversary edition.

@jbuhl - Had the same zone player as well, great little unit.

@audioman58 +1


A strong argument in favor of the W4S products is that the technical support is exceptional. I had what I thought was an issue with my W4S DAC and sent an email on a weekend evening, expecting to get a reply early the next week. Within an hour EJ Sarmento, the president of W4S, called me and talked me through correcting a mistake I'd made in the setup.

I have a W4S 2v2 DAC which I bought new several years ago. I have found it to be on the ’bright’ side of the spectrum and recently tried substituting in its place a Musical Fidelity TriVista DAC (which I had also bought new upon its release). Much more compatible with my overall system and definitely a warmer more balanced sound.

@laps OK, but what is the rest of your system? There's nothing on your profile page? Isn't the TriVista tube based?

I agree the Wyred 10th Anniversary  DAC does not get enough attention on these pages.  It is a bargain.    I using a 10th for years in a high resolution system and have been very happy.  The 10th is a much better performer in all SQ attributes than the V2SE.  So if you are considering a Wyred DAC go with the 10th.  I was upgrading my system recently (past 3 months) and compared the 10th head to head to the Mola Mola Tambaqui (3x the price) and DCS Bartok Appex (5x the price. Let me start by saying both DACs were better. There was better clarity expressed as increased detail, and better staging and imaging due to less thickness and more clarity in this spaces between performers. Dynamics (micro and macro) were better but to a lesser degree. I found the 10th to be competitive in image density, timbre and that intangible parameter -expression of emotion to draw you into the performance.  Tambaqui still had the edge but not by much.  The Bartok presented a less palpable and dense image. Lighter if you will. But we all know our decisions are based on degree of price/performance ratio and personal preference.  To me, I made a decision to keep the 10th and upgrade my amplification (from an old Krell KRC HR - KSA 300s to a Burmester 032 integrated).  The degree of clarity and sophistication of the sound trumped the change in the DAC.  I have not compared the 10th to other DACS in its price range.  I am sure they perform better in some areas in not all.  Listen and make the decision yourself.  For me, I feel the 10th excels in that intangible of letting you connect to the performance better than most at its price point while admittedly being bettered in some areas of performance. 

@navyachts Thank you for mentioning my profile page.  I went ahead and just now updated it with component listing and photos.  And yes the TriVista has a tube output stage. 

@jsalerno277 Thanks for the detailed response. Nice system, by the way!

@laps Sweet, thanks for sharing!


I am pretty content with my Ares2. I tend

to look for upgrades that will make my 

entire system shine. I am running a Cambridge 

transport, CJ tube pre, Classe amp, and Thiel 

cs2 speakers. My most recent sparkling addition 

was a pair of Anti-cable ref 3 speaker wires.

suggestions welcome.

I have the W4S 10th anniversary DAC, one of the reviewers put it up against his VPI turntable with a $5,000 Japanese cartridge and he said it was every bit as analog sounding, on that review I bought it because it also had a 30-day trial period and I can tell you this it is extremely analog sounding and when it can go Head to Head with DACs that cost three to five times more that saying a lot to me and it also depends on your associated equipment and wiring as well, I only use rectangular OCC single crystal wire throughout my whole system cuz I found it to be the best wire for audio on the market even far superior to the round OCC and even more superior to anything OFC at any price and my associated equipment is very high in as well I use a sim audio p8 preamp and a sim audio w8 amp which I will be soon upgrading to the new 861 amp, I put this DAC up against the SIM audio $15,000 DAC and it was far superior, and if you read the reviews it's gone up against many DAC's double and triple the price and beaten them, I think this is one of those giant killers that doesn't get enough press.


I hope you picked this up in viewing my system and I should have mentioned I use the 10th with the Wyred USB ISO and DC Recovery products.   The reclocking USB and DC filters further increase performance by lowering jitter further removing digital glare, lowering noise floor providing better retrieval of secondary harmonics and decay as well as imaging and staging, and more liquidity.  Ditch the supplied pig tail USB and wall wart and use you favorite cable and after market switching or linear 5V DC supply.  I found the improvement notable.  I did not do the head to head comparison with the 2 Recovery in line.  Should have. Of course there are better reclockers and linear power supplies but this was an improvement at a reasonable spend.  Recommended.  


How did you find the improvement to your speakers when you put them on the Townshend podiums? When I did it to my speakers it was a revelation it was as if I had upgraded the electronics to far more expensive gear.


I confirm your observation that the improvement was to a degree equivalent as changing a major component.  While this may seem like a theme, the Podiums produced better clarity, less background noise, better imaging and staging, and more detail retrieval, especially base detail, and better micro and macro dynamics.  I believe in vibration isolation.  All electronics are isolated with a number or products as well as the Podiums for the speakers.  I found better performance with the speaker spikes left on rather than the recommended set-up with spikes off and direct speaker contact with the Podiums.  However, I am sure this is speaker and room dependent and you should conduct your own evaluation. 


My evaluation of the Tambaqui and Bartok indicated these more modern DACs are better in some if not most  areas at 3-5 times the spend. In others parameters, it’s a wash.  In the intangible parameter of whether the equipment lets you connect with the performance, ( and is that not what we are after), I find the 10th organic, dynamic, and true to timbre in an “ analog” way.  I hate that cliche but there it is.  @navyachts that is a personal preference. My recommendation is to audition in your own system.  You may or may not agree.  That’s the point. Let your own ears decide. The Tambaqui is the best I have heard at an insane but reachable price point. After I recover from the amplification upgrade and save my pennies, I may have another bout of insanity and go for it.  But that is long off and I will remain happy and thankful for now. 

Have you looked at any R2R dacs? Best digital I’ve had was a Musician Aquarius. It was just different. Can’t explain it but it was plenty detailed and just made every damn thing sound awesome any very analog sounding. No idea how it measured.
 Listening to a Lyngdorf 3400 all in one now which if it was just a straight Dac would probably not be that amazing but the room correction for me way trumps the smaller differences in DACs. It again makes everything sound amazing. 

I had the upgraded w4s dsd dac over a decade ago. 6 years ago, I thought it was better than my friends $13k msb analog dac. I sold the w4s over 5 years ago and bought a much better dac for $4k and then moved up to a highly reviewed dac for $8k. 


R2R ladders have the buzz in this forum.  With respect, it is not the D/A conversion format that matters but the execution of the design intent. Some of the best DACs use OEM chips or proprietary technologies.  For example, the Tambaqui and Wadex Reference (6 $ figures) use proprietary code and technology.  The Solution 760 (high 5 $ figures) uses chip technology (Burr Brown). The Bricasti M21 offers both chip and ladder for different playback formats.  So performance can not be connected just to conversion format but rather to the execution of the design intent at any price point. Decisions are personal preference.  Some feel chip DAC designs are too forward compared to Ladders.  I personally find ladders too laid back with less dense images.  Admittedly, I have not done enough  head to head evaluations to consider my observation an axiom, but of the evaluations I have conducted it seems to be the case.  Some love the laid back presentation.  To each their own. Choose based on audition, not on what is published.  

Fwiw, I was excited about W4S DAC sometime before the pandemic, bought and then returned one.  I thought it was kind of dry, like the original Class D Amps, and sterile/clinical to my ears.  I am not sure if they were using ESS chips back then.

Anywho, 6 years or so is an eternity in Digital.  I also remember having to hassle with W4S over the return , even though they are an Internet company that prominently discusses the return policy.  Ultimately it worked out

@mahler123 yes, W4S would have been using ESS chips at the time you purchased, it sounds though as you may have bought one of their entry level series and with the various series, they offer numerous upgrades. I'm sure a basic DAC-1v2 would sound nowhere as good as a loaded-up DAC-2v2 or 10th Anniversary Edition at 2.5 times the price of the 1v2. Do you know what model you had?

@jsalerno277 +1 (well said)

@p05129 What DAC did you purchase for $4K then $8K respectively?

@mofojo Yes, I currently am using a Gustard R26 which is an R2R DAC, but as @jsalerno277 suggests, it does sound a little laid back.





DACs and streamers really suck in a way. You spend your hard earned money and 1 year later there is something way better. All of my friends have some sort of DAC streamer at various price levels up-to about $25k. I use a BlueSound Node and an OPPO 205. I like the BSN app. Lately the software and apps are working a lot better and sound great. My main thing is that everyone get their foundation setup properly. Speakers and speaker wire, preamp or 100% digital front end like a lumin, and an amp that properly pushes your speakers along with interconnects and power cords to the preamp (Digital streamer/DAC only) and amp. Once you do that almost everything should sound great even a $600 BlueSound Node and an OPPO 205. I see so many people not get their foundation right and then go down the rabbit hole trying to fix their system with tweeks, cables, and the worst Audiophile crime of them all. You only play certain recordings because others sound so poor. I kid you not, I can play anything on my system from heavy metal to Opera. Just imagine how good all of these Audiophile favorites sound! (Hey Now!) All jokes aside please get your foundation setup. Before you drop $5k on a new DAC. Spend it on room treatments. ATC in Illinois even has room treatments with nice pictures. IKEA has these cool octagon felt shapes you stick in the wall. Treat the first reflection point and you won’t believe your ears. $5k in room treatments will transform your sound. First reflection and some bass management will be amazing. IsoAcoustics came out with a larger stand that gets your subs off the floor. I hope this helps. 

@hsounds that is why you should step up and buy a streamer that is upgradeable, Innous, Simaudio, and that is a great foundation to build on. DAC wise I stick to R2R dacs. 

@hsounds Yes, all good advice, thank you, but I am in one of those situations where my listening room is also my living room with the kitchen off to one side.

I put drapes up on the widows to one side and bought some 2' x 4' x 2" thick acoustic panels for what wall space I have and honestly, I don't think it sounds any better than it did before the treatments, it also looks like crap.

Having electrostatic speakers I saw where one reviewer said the sound improved dramatically when he put some acoustic panels on the walls behind the speakers. I I did this in my situation, and it sounded awful, just sounded very flat.


I know people think this OCD Hi-Fi guy is nuts, but that maybe because he goes against the grain of conventional audiophile marketing (wisdom?). DAC’s are not evolving as many believe (or the marketing they buy).


I use a W4S DAC2-DSD. It does a reasonable job with the sound.. perhaps not as analogue as an R2R or as future proof as FPGA, but if you're good with IIR filters it can offer a clean detailed top end that plays well with good speakers with extended hf. What it really does excel at (over most others these days) is being a versatile digital hub with a plethora of switchable inputs.. 2 coax, 2 toslink, AES-EBU, USB and I2S. It also has an overbuilt onboard power supply and plenty of gain to be used as a preamp (which I do with an old Pass Aleph.. sounds great that way) and a 32bit volume control. I've kept it around for it's flexibility while still sounding perfectly decent. One day I may add a second DAC exclusively for audio. Maybe a Merason or a Weiss.. but the flexibility of the W4S has kept me from upgrading.



W4S is still sonically competitive at its price point.

While digital audio tech is still progressing with newer chips or better engineering, whether it’s worth spending more is a subjective call.  

I own the 12th Anniversary DAC and like it a lot. I previously owned the Denafrips Pontus II with the Iris DDC and found it to produce very enjoyable sound for the money. It leans toward the warm side but it doesn’t sacrifice detail. I’d highly recommend this combo. The W4S gave up a little warmth but still maintains an analog sound with greater authority and detail. 

I also demoed the T+A DAC 200 and found its hi-rez sound addicting at first but it ultimately sounded a little too digital to me.

Based on a post from @jsalerno277 I picked up the iso recover and DC blocker to enhance the W4S further - what power supply did you pair with these guys?



I use the IFI Power X to power the Recovery DC in place to the Wyred wall wart.  Added liquidity and reduced grain slightly.  It is still a switching supply but I was not going to spend more on a linear supply for only powering the Recoveries.  You also should replace the computer grade USB pig-tail that comes with the ISO with a 1/2 to 1 foot USB of your choice.  I personally use WyWires Platinum full loom. Alex at WyWires is wonderful and his cables sound great.  He made a 1 foot USB and there was an audible improvement in liquidity, dynamics, and timbre.  You need to burn in the Recovery at least 200 hours.  It will sound grainy with digital glare upon initial installation but with a better power supply and USB, and with burn in, the overall improvement of using the Recovery ISO and DC combination is just as published be Wyred … quieter background, increased detail, increased macro and micro dynamics, better imaging, deeper stage, and better timbre.  This was the most cost effective tweak  I have installed. Since this hobby is subjective and one of degree, I hope you find improvement as I have.  Good luck and good listening.