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I wouldn’t consider myself to be an audiophile. I love music, and I love gear, but I don’t believe you have to spend vast amounts of money to get the most out of both.
That all being said, I recently purchased a DAC WOW from Dave over at Hotaudio. It seemed to fit my 95% perfect for 20% of the price rule.
I had been using it for a few weeks and had some questions, so I emailed him. Through a little back and forth, he offered to ship me one of his hand made Wood DAC’s so I could do an unbiased listening comparison for him.
I have two systems that I use in my house. Both were built with a desire to have as few components between source and speaker as possible.
First is my everyday work/gaming computer desk. It’s simply setup with one of these two DAC’s directly connected to a set of Audioengine A5+ speakers. I use custom built RCA cables.
My other system is very custom. I designed and built a set of infinite baffle line arrays.
The speakers consist of:
• Dayton Audio PT2C-8 planar tweeter (4 per side)
• The Pioneer 4” buyout nicknamed NSB (16 per side)
• Dayton SD270A-88 10” DVC Subwoofers (2 per side)
Gear consists of:
• Crown Com-Tech 800 (2) and Com-Tech 200 amps
o Low and Midrange = 800
o High Frequency = 200

• Behringer ULTRADRIVE PRO DCX2496 speaker management system
• Custom RCA->XLR cables
• One of these two DAC’s
If you want speakers with extremely low distortion and amps with enough power to make you feel like you are at a live concert, this is the system for you. It is capable of creating a soundstage that kind of freaks a lot of people out the first time they hear it.


Individually, these DAC’s are both great products. That being said, they are each great products in a different set of circumstances, or for a different type of audience.
The Handmade wood DAC is a great looking product. It looks like it would be just as comfortable sitting on a desktop, or on a shelf in a living room beside other high end stereo gear. The one I received is stained a nice natural wood color. Unfortunately, the speakers in my system that it sits on are the black Audioengine A5+. If I owned the Bamboo versions it would blend in beautifully. I would feel terrible if I dented or scratched it. It’s that nice.
The DAC WOW is a non-descript black box that you stuff behind your computer. It’s functional and tough. In the process of doing this review I must have knocked it off my desk 4-5 times and never felt bad about it, or worried about breaking it.
I generally listen to alt rock/classic rock/live recorded music. I have also been known to dabble in other genres such as electronica, and metal.
All my source music is coming from Tidal Hifi streaming service.
Here is a list of some of the music I auditioned. These were all picked because I know them all very well, they serve as a good mix of genres and music that a wide range of people listen to, not necessarily because they represent the greatest recordings ever.
- Foo Fighters – Dear Rosemary
- Coheed And Cambria – Pearl of the Stars
- Crash Test Dummies – The Ghosts that Haunt Me
- Incubus – Dig
- Blue Rodeo – 5 Days In May
- AC/DC – Moneytalks
 

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Unbiased comparison, huh? Not an audiophile? BTW, what is "stereo imaging" and how would a DAC have an effect on that? DACs decode data. They don't move sound sources around. I'm afraid you need to learn about hearing bias.
 

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Unbiased comparison, huh? Not an audiophile? BTW, what is "stereo imaging" and how would a DAC have an effect on that? DACs decode data. They don't move sound sources around. I'm afraid you need to learn about hearing bias.
This sort of answer is why people such as myself have a hard time finding a community to join to talk about stereo gear.

I wrote a review. Took a lot of time and effort to do it.
You don't like what I said or the particular words I used to describe what i heard. Thats fine. All audio is is opinions and you are more than entitled to yours.

Instead of trying to be constructive to someone who is making a first stab at writing something, you just dismiss it out of hand.

So, thanks for nothing FMW. Your opinion was neither helpful or constructive.

If anyone else has any comments or opinions about what I have written, or how I wrote it, I would be more than willing to have as indepth of a conversation as you want.
 

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This sort of answer is why people such as myself have a hard time finding a community to join to talk about stereo gear.
What other forums gave you such answer? I would like to take a look.
All audio is is opinions and you are more than entitled to yours.
Sound reproduction system, such as DAC, speakers, amps...etc are created through the science of acoustics and electric. One cannot avoid delving into science aspect when talking about these electronic products.
Instead of trying to be constructive to someone who is making a first stab at writing something, you just dismiss it out of hand.
You could ask him why he did it. Who knows, there may be something to discover.
 
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