DAC202 is Weiss Engineering most popular product in worldwide market. You can easily find more than dozens of reviews/events and almost 10 countries POTY (product of the year) awards.
During 2012 CES, Daniel and the team has introduced its USB Option. I’ll take sometimes to write about it here. Since I am a Weiss partner, you should read my writing with caution and bias. I try to explain technically aspects rather than tell you the conclusion it is one fine DAC. =)
This USB optional version is called DAC202U. It has no different compare DAC202 except replacing the RCA output with an USB input. DAC202U does NOT replace DAC202, both versions will be available in the market. This optional configuration is offered to all existing DAC202(s). The unit requires going back Switzerland Weiss headquarter for hardware/software upgrade.
As time we received the first DAC202U shipment, there are small pricing different between DAC202 and DAC202U. After the initial announcement during CES 2012, we have worked very hard to bring down DAC202U pricing from 13% to 6% more expansive than normal DAC202./p>
DAC202 is one of the more popular DACs in today market. However without USB connection, it makes a lot of people drop the mind to consider it a computer audio solution. Now DAC202U is equipped with both USB and Firewire connections (of course standard AES/EBU, SPDIF and Toslink) , the options are all here, the choice is yours.
If user has a Mac computer and/or firewire connection capability, normal DAC202 will be ideal.
If user has Windows computer without firewire connection capability, he/she may consider DAC202U.
A lot of audiophiles know/rate Weiss firewire connection is superior computer playback method, which is true. But when they read DAC202U, some think Weiss is compromised on USB connection. First of all, Weiss introduced firewire products more than 5 years ago, there was no USB Class 2 Audio (established 2010). USB Audio Class 2 provides Async USB connection for stereo 24bit/192kHz playback. Secondly when you look at the DAC202U USB module(red color PCB), you can see the USB module output feed signal to Weiss firewire chipset. Thirdly the DAC202U USB module is “full galvanic isolation”, the USB module itself is even powered from USB port, and not by DAC202 power supply.
DAC202U combines Async USB connection with Weiss own firewire technologies. This ensures highest quality USB playback.
Similar to all Class 2 USB Audio products, it requires no driver to work with Mac OS/x and hard disk server such as Aurender S10/A10. Once I plugged in the USB cable, it shows up as an Async audio device. On Windows platform, a software package is included with each DAC202U manual to install 192kHz Class 2 Audio driver. The following screenshots show the software install procedure.
The new “USB Audio Class Driver Control Panel”, allows user setup/monitor: Streaming Buffer Size, ASIO Buffer Size, USB firmware update and active clock source etc.
Besides the above new USB Driver control panel, there is an original “Weiss Firewire Panel software” too, which only works with Weiss **FIREWIRE** connection. If you are using USB connection, the Weiss Firewire panel will show “NO device Connect”.
About the sound quality of DAC202U, it provides the same SOTA (state of the art) performances like DAC202. I patched to my rig and ran few test measurements on below. It helps me to verify my dCS 904 ADC has low level distortion on high frequencies. My measurements show limitation of the ADC (MetriHalo ULN8), rather than DAC202U. Daniel Weiss in Switzerland uses a modified Audio Precision SY2722 to generate set of measurement data on the DAC202U manual. John Akinston, Editor of Stereophile also using SY2722 to measure DAC202. “The Weiss DAC202 is the best-measuring D/A processor I have measured in my quarter-century career at Stereophile. It just doesn’t get any better than this!—John Atkinson
I would suggest to read his comments and measurements here:
These measurements are not come from a specially tuned DAC202(u), it is randomly picked from our stock. My measurements are based on USB connection to Windows PC.
1) Filter A / Filter B – frequency responses.
3) Dynamic Range
As I mentioned before, measurements cannot tell you how one product will sound, but they show how well one particular product is engineered. And the above measurement limitation is on the ADC, even though they are already superb.
When talking about CAS (computer as source), one particular area is how well(better) for the DAC to decode high bit resolution file compares to CD. One measurement is to feed both 16bit and 24bit word length test signal. (1kHz, -90dBFS dithered test tone). When the DAC decodes 24bit word length, the noise floor will dropped from 16bit (-90dBFS) to 24bit depth (theoretical -144dBFS). The more dropped noisfloor level shows the potential of high bit depth playback by the DAC. Weiss DAC202(U) is REALLY good in this area. This matches the results as more people can understand the benefits of hirez recording when using DAC202.
Here I share with you my comments of DAC202, and see if matches with yours when you have chance to audition one.
DAC202U is now fully support inputs from AES/EBU, SPDIF, TOSLINK, Firewire and USB. A digital HUB with SOTA conversion technologies.