Rockna Wavedream DAC: Awesomesauce

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. Saleh84

    Saleh84 Rando

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    Yes, with two cube audio sealed powered 12 inch subs.
    Using your power stations by the way ))
     
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  2. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    Awesome speakers, even without subs!

    Kudos for our P-Stations!
     
  3. animus

    animus Almost "Made"

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    Over the week of the spring break I had the once in a lifetime experience to not just hear the Wavedream, but compare it against the Bricasti M1, and against itself. This is a full documentation and review of the experiences I had listening to about $30k worth of DACs. Hope the rather lengthy read is enjoyable.

    Part 1: The Wavedream itself:
    [​IMG]
    Macbook Pro USB > Wavedream Edition SE > EC Studio A Bal out > Utopia

    In the picture above, Studio A is running a metal base GZ34, Psvane ACME 2A3s and a rando 6H3N-E. During the course of the listening however (and in future pictures) I received the GE5670s that I'd ordered almost a month back in the mail. Following all this listening, I also picked up an Ericcson 2C51 and a Bendix 2C51, though for the Wavedream Edition in particular the GE5670 remains my preference. The Ericcson is a close second, but is simply too lean for the already somewhat lean Edition.
    AES input was an option, but I specifically chose USB due to preferring the sound of it to my Lynx AES16e card. You heard that right, the Wavedream's SE beats out a dedicated PCIe card. Go figure.

    Going into the Wavedream Edition (aka the normal version), I expect a DAC not too dissimilar to what I heard from the Wavelight. Laidback, mellow, yet massively dynamic and nuanced with lightning fast transients and huge stage depth. Well, I got some of those things, but for the large part, I wasn't able to anticipate a lot of the Wavedream's sound.

    First off, I should state that these two DACs, at least with whatever firmware the Wavelight demo I heard was on, do not sound very alike, if at all. The Wavelight's relaxed nature has little presence with the Wavedream, as does the Wavelight's emphasis on liquid smooth microdynamics. Someone who likes these things in the Wavelight should not be seeking to upgrade to the Wavedream. If anything, the Wavedream sounds moderately incisive, not as liquid, and all in all, is more "normal" sounding than the Wavelight. The lack of tactility and the “piercing” nature to dynamic peaks that I experienced with Wavelight is nowhere to be found with the Wavedream. Tonal response is quite different as well. I described the Wavelight as being neutral-warm with some sweetness to it. The Wavedream sounds neutral, almost lean, and goes all in on the purity of timbre that seems to be consistent on all Rockna DACs.

    Perhaps my favorite thing about the Wavedream is its ridiculous ability to gradient dynamics. It's not as exaggeratedly smooth as the Wavelight in its microdynamic delineation, but retains all the same nuance, and then some. The Wavedream is extremely competent at differentiating dynamics at the very loudest peaks as well. The Bifrost 2, Soekris 2541, and virtually every other DAC I've heard, with exception of maybe the Wavelight, have a tendency to somewhat blur similarly loud peaks together as being of the same volume. The Wavedream is, in comparison, able to cleanly differentiate dynamic peaks like this in relative loudness. I'm not sure what aspect of design is responsible for this, but it's an absolute delight with orchestral stuff where even the biggest swells or crescendos sound nuanced and differentiated from one another.

    Another marked difference between the Wavedream and Wavelight is stage depth and overall presentation. The Wavelight's stage was huge and deep on an almost exaggerated level, like it was placing too much emphasis on stage depth and screaming "look at me, I can sound really massive and grand!". The Wavedream has a similarly deeply placed stage, but seemingly never draws attention to it. Perhaps this is in part because the leaner tone of the Wavedream sounds more congruent with the deeper stage, where the Wavelight's thicker and fuller tone clashes with what one might expect from something that sounds so deep. This ties in with my thoughts on the Wavedream Signature later, so keep this in mind. Similar to the Wavelight however, the Wavedream is nothing short of fan-fucking-tastic at anything to do with layering or separation. There is never a sense of confusion or congestion with the Wavedream, large orchestras and rock bands all sound cleanly separated and the sense of depth (at least with the linear filter) means that stuff never sounds too close for comfort or too far away and nebulous for its own good.

    As for transients, the Wavedream is just as awesome as the Wavelight at this, if not even moreso. Attack sounds undampened and unsoftened, while decay is somehow a combination of being fast and sounding full and nuanced at the same time. For a while now I've espoused that the decay speed has nothing to do with how natural or complete it sounds, and I think the Rockna DACs are a strong argument in favor of this. The Soekris 2541 (and the Bricasti M1 as well, but I'll get to that later) sounds slower in decay, but also sounds truncated. I think it's something to do with the inability to resolve low level detail (and within low level detail, decay behavior) as opposed to the actual speed of the transient iteslf, but I wouldn't be comfortable with making any definitive statements without hearing more gear.

    The timbre of the Wavedream is quite similar to the Wavelight, in that both of them have a seeming purity and clarity that leads to a sense of timbral "transparency". Again, I absolutely despise using this word, but it's very difficult to describe the Rockna timbre without sounding absolutely ridiculous. There is no grain, no cloying thickness, no plastickiness, no veil, no haze, nothing. It's kind of surreal to hear given almost every other DAC I know of has one of those problems or another. The Rockna DACs are about as close to a timbre that I would consider "perfect" as I've heard to date, and I'm not sure in what way a contender to the throne could beat them.

    In summary, the Wavedream was something I didn't quite expect, but I fully understand what famish meant now, when he told me that the Wavedream was a tier above the Wavelight the same way the Wavelight was a step above everything else I'd heard up until that point. Turns out, it's really not as much of an exaggeration as it may seem.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
  4. animus

    animus Almost "Made"

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    Part 2: The Wavedream against the M1:
    [​IMG]
    Macbook Pro USB > Wavedream Edition SE > EC Studio A Bal out > Utopia
    Lynx AES16e > Bricasti M1 SE out > EC Studio A Bal out > Utopia

    Balanced out was an option on the M1, but I specifically chose against it due to it sounding mushy and compressed thanks to the CMLI-15 trafos on the Studio A. This made my job harder too, since it meant switching between DACs involved both unplugging the RCA cables DAC side and swapping output devices in Jriver.
    You may also note that I opted for a Minimum phase filter here instead of the Linear. The M1 has about 14 or so filters, half of which are Minimum and half of which are Linear, but the Minimum filters all basically basically the same, as did the Linear filters. I found the Linear to double down on the inherent warmth of the Bricasti and add some topend rolloff, despite having a slightly sweeter timbre.

    First off, a disclaimer. During the time this shootout took place, the Wavedream had been on for about 2 days. I felt like the Wavedream units I heard warmed up to about where they should be within 12 hours to a day. Possibly because they'd already been pretty run in by the dealership, who knows. On the other hand, the Bricasti got zero warmup time, due to the Bricasti dealer being much stricter with loaners. It got about 2-3 hours of listening time, during which I can't really say I heard any real improvements with warmup. I do, however, know owners who attest to the M1 improving with about 3 days of warmup, so maybe I'm not hearing the M1 at its full potential. Maybe it's burnin and not warmup they're hearing. All I can report on is what I hear.

    Also, another disclaimer, but the unit I heard does not have the latest digital boards for the M1. It doesn't seem like too many people have heard or bought this board yet, so my impressions may be more in line with the commonly heard version of the M1, but notsomuch the latest and most up to date version. I can't say I know of any impressions regarding the latest digital board that I would consider reliable either, so consider me completely in the dark about what changes that brings.

    Alright, so here we have 2 radically different DACs. One is a R2R DAC that takes an almost bespoke, boutique approach to things. The other is a D/S DAC using a highly respected D/S chip and taking it to its limits. I should note that, regardless of how I may paint things here, both of these DACs are still awesome and way better than anything else I've heard before. With that said, let's get right into the comparison.

    The first and most obvious difference between these two DACs is tonal balance. One might expect the Rockna to be the thicker DAC here, and the Bricasti to be somewhat lean. Perhaps a reasonable assumption, but false. The opposite is true here. Compared to the Rockna's aforementioned leanness and purity of timbre, the Bricasti has a clear thickness in the lows and a level of meatiness to its timbre. I found this to be something of a mixed bag - while it was nothing short of awesome with the rock and metal tracks I threw at it, it sounded weighed down and overbearing with orchestral stuff, where the purity of timbre lended a cleanliness to strings which was much appreciated.

    After that, it would be presentation. The Wavedream, as described earlier, has a deep stage, very mild mellowness, and while not laidback, is definitely pushed a bit further out in terms of presentation. The Bricasti is nothing like this, it's upfront, punchy, and highly tactile. I suspect the added tactility on the M1 (and inversely, the lack of tactility with the Wavedream) may be a function of stage depth; more upfront stuff ends up sounding more tactile while more laidback stuff sounds too distant to truly be felt as it is heard. This is the main respect in which I think the M1 outdoes the Wavedream.

    A strange caveat with the differences in presentation is that it leads to the M1 and Wavedream having a strange stalemate of sorts when it comes to separation. The more upfront and aggressive presentation of the M1 lead to me perceiving greater separation for instruments towards the front of the mix, but seemed to oversimplify or fail to fully portray instruments further away from the mix. In comparison, the Wavedream wasn't quite as aggressively detailed and separated with instruments right up at the front, but had substantially better range of depth, and better fleshed out instruments further away in the mix. I feel like both of these DACs are essentially on par in this aspect, but end up shooting past each other in different regards due to the significant differences in presentation.

    But beyond this, the delta between the Wavedream and M1 slowly makes itself apparent. Let’s start with transients. The M1’s transient attack seems blunter than the Wavedream. I’m not sure if this is a simple fact of the transient attack itself, or if it’s in part due to the thicker and meatier tone the M1 has. In some ways, this does have synergies with the M1’s tone and timbre. Again, with metal stuff, when it comes to blast beat kickdrums, the slightly rounded nature works together with the fatter tone and stronger tactility to create an addictingly slammy and punchy sound. But on the other hand, it does sound comparatively soft with something like string pizzicato transients, perhaps too much so for my taste.

    Attack transients may be something of a give and take between these 2 DACs, but decay transients show a clear winner. The Bricasti, as mentioned earlier, appears to have something of truncated decay transients despite seemingly having longer decay in and of itself. The resonant sound of a sforzato played in unison by a string quartet seems to die out early, or not even show itself with the Bricasti. Or how about a cymbal’s crash, where the last millisecond of sparkle seems to choke out just slightly too soon. It’s not dissimilar at all to what I experienced between the Jotunheim 2 and the Studio A, and it has me wondering which decay is more “correct” and why. Is the decay on the Rockna DACs and my DHT SET amp correct, and everyone who’s ever run a solid state amp or D/S DAC or even a planar/electrostatic headphone has been hearing something as basic as decay transients wrong this entire time? Or is it the inverse - the more “full” and untruncated sounding decay is wrong, but is subjectively more pleasing? I can’t say I have an answer.

    I mentioned earlier the idea that decay may be a function of low level detail, and that inability to resolve decay properly may be a symptom of a weakness with low level detail as a whole. Whether this is true or not, I feel like the idea holds up taking into account the low level detail performance of the M1. While not terrible, I feel like a lot of the small details Wavedream had in spades are missing. The conductor making humming noises as he directs the orchestra, the cellist repositioning his leg and his instrument for better comfort, the sound of pages flipping in quiet movements of music, all this stuff that I know should be there in recordings I’m familiar with is seemingly either less obvious and more difficult to pick out, or simply not present at all.

    Another interesting thing to note here is differences in imaging. As mentioned earlier, the Rockna has the deeper stage and the Bricasti more upfront, but this is only half the story. I found the Bricasti’s images to be somewhat imprecise and diffuse despite its more upfront nature. Placing instruments in an orchestra wasn’t as easy with the M1, and it almost felt slightly hazy in terms of image precision. I should note that this has nothing to do with a haze over the music, which neither of these DACs have. But in comparison, even my Bifrost 2 outdid the Bricasti at this. I wonder if this is to do with upsampling filters, or if it’s something about R2R DACs. I won’t speculate.

    And now we come to what was probably the biggest deciding factor between these 2 DACs for me - dynamics. I was somewhat disappointed by the M1’s macrodynamics, as I expected something comparable to the Wavedream here. The M1’s lesser macrodynamics seemed to stem from both a combination of an inability to go as quiet as the Wavedream, and inability to go as loud and differentiate between loud peaks as well. And speaking of differentiating dynamics, we now come to the M1’s single weakest aspect: microdynamics. I felt like this was the area that I would consider the M1 to have been “bad” at, if any. Up until this point, DACs I’ve heard like the Bifrost 2 and the Soekris DAC2541, while not necessarily having the smoothest or most nuanced microdynamics, still would not fall under what I’d call microdynamically flat. The M1, on the other hand, seems to just run in place when dynamic movements aren’t “big” enough for it to properly resolve. At times, this came off as unengaging, but mostly, it just sounds lacking in nuance.

    Keep in mind, of course, that most of these impressions are written from the perspective of someone whose listening repertoire is largely classical music. For someone who listens to rock, or pop, or even metal stuff, microdynamics and decay may not play close to as large of a role as they do with the large majority of music that I listen to. Perhaps my fixations on these qualitiess are greatly overstating their relevance in the grand scheme of things. Regardless, I can't really change my preferences from what they are, and as always impressions of any sort from anyone should be taken with a grain of salt.

    But yes, if I couldn't make it clear enough, the Wavedream pretty handily won this shootout in my eyes. The M1, while a great sounding D/S DAC, basically sounded like nothing more than a great sounding D/S DAC. It didn't seem to come up with any real workaround for the limitations I've heard in D/S designs, and it didn't seem to do anything special with its platform either, while the Wavedream did genuinely try to work around and build upon the stereotypical shortcomings of R2R implementations. Maybe I've just Stockholm Syndrome'd myself into the multibit sound, but I really didn't come out of my listening session with the M1 feeling like I'd seriously consider buying it over my existing BF2. In short, a solid example of D/S without any strange quirks or caveats, but not for me.
     
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  5. animus

    animus Almost "Made"

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    Part 3: The Wavedream unto itself:
    [​IMG]
    Macbook Pro USB > Wavedream Edition SE > EC Studio A Bal out > Utopia
    Macbook Pro USB > Wavedream Signature SE > EC Studio A Bal out > Utopia

    At this point, things get start to get really silly. We're comparing 2 different versions of the same DAC, one of which commands a ridiculous price increase over the "regular" version. This is far beyond the territory of most sane people, and I recommend turning back if you still can. If not, proceed onwards.

    The first mistake one might make (and I myself made in assuming) with these DACs is the idea that the Signature is the same thing, but better. To a degree this is true, but in large part, the Signature was clearly tuned differently from the start. This is even apparent on paper; despite the essentially identical power supply and output stage, the Signature has nearly twice the voltage output of the Edition. It seems like there’s a fairly significant difference in design and implementation between the two ladder modules, and the jump from Edition to Signature is not comparable to something more minor and tweaky like the Kitsune tuning levels on the Holo DACs.

    In any case, the first and most apparent difference between these 2 DACs is presentation. I noted in my comparison to the M1 that the Edition (henceforth "Ed") was slightly too deep sounding for its own good, and perhaps a little distant sounding. In comparison, the M1 lacked any real stage depth, but had a wonderful aggression and tactility to it. If we place these two DACs as markers, then the Signature (henceforth "Sig") is somewhere in between. The stage is still deep, but not as deep as the Ed, but has equal amounts of nuance and range in terms of layering and spectrum of depth. It's still not quite as aggressive and tactile as the M1, but it comes close, and has a larger dynamic range to make up for that last bit of punch and slam it's missing.

    The best way to describe the Sig would be as an Ed with less stage depth, but with the presentation to put the dynamic range that Rockna DACs consistently have to good use. With the Sig, I no longer feel like I'm losing some level of slam or dynamic presence thanks to being overly pushed out. It seems like the higher up in the lineup you go, the more aggressive and more grounded sounding Rockna's DACs become, which I can appreciate a lot. I also feel like the Sig is, tonally speaking, slightly thicker and meatier than the Ed. with perhaps a little of that sweetness that the Wavelight had as well. Not warm to the degree of the M1, and certainly without sacrificing cleanliness of timbre. I don't feel like either of the Wavedreams are warm, and they certainly aren't as warm as the M1 or the Wavelight.

    These presenation differences, of course, seem to come with their own differences in layering and separation as well. The Sig seems to be no worse at layering of depth than the Ed, but also seems to have taken some (though perhaps not all) of the M1's preference for better separation upfront. I wouldn't want to call this an ideal compromise, nor necessarily a perfect goldilocks zone in between both DACs, because it really isn't. But I do think it's in a nice spot that bridges between the two, while not necessarily being as much of a specialist in either regard.

    Now, I think all this begs the question: is the Wavedream Signature really worth the extra premium it commands? Should you really be paying almost 50% extra for the Sig? From a pure price performance perspective, of course not. Then again, if you gave a single shit about price performance, you probably wouldn't be considering a DAC that almost touches (and actually does, depending on configuration) 5 figures. To a certain degree I think amp and transducer synergy could push one's preference in either direction; a more upfront amp and headphone/speaker system may prefer the deeper stage of the Ed, while the deeper stage on my Studio A pushes me towards the Signature's slammier presentation. Regardless, the Signature leads me to believe that the higher up you go in Rockna's line, the more upfront and slammy their sound signature gets, and the less emphasis there is on that laidback, mellow sound.

    I ultimately ended up going with the Wavedream Sig SE, if it’s not clear yet. For me, it was really either the Sig SE or the Ed BAL, and my experiences with how much worse the Studio A was with the Bricasti’s XLR outputs significantly pushed me into the direction of the Sig SE. That and the more aggressive presentation of the Sig SE playing to both my personal preferences as well as being a nice counterpoint to the stage depth and slight wetness of the Studio A. It does feel a bit strange having a DAC that costs nearly double of my headphone and amp combined though, and it’s also pretty clear that my transducer and amp are now the bottleneck in my system. I think I’m good on DACs for now.

    Extra: Some random thoughts:
    On filters:
    97% of my listening was with the Linear filter, but I did briefly listen to the others as well.
    Minimum phase sounded like shit. Timbre and transients were fucked. Spent 15 seconds with it and knew it was wrong. Immediately moved on.
    Hybrid was kinda odd. Sounded like it had worse timbre and splashier transients than Linear, but had thicker bass. Maybe attractive if you really think that the Wavedream is too lean, but why sacrifice the things it does best when you can just choose a more synergistic amp or even tubes?
    NOS was... well, I guess you could say it was just NOS, but this DAC is, funnily enough, my first real experience with NOS. The changes I noted were a massive reduction of stage depth (down to basically none), softer attack transients, and more compressed dynamics as well. It seems like the collapsing of stage depth makes stuff that should sound further away more close up, and therefore sound more "detailed", but I was constantly questioning if it was a realistic presentation of the music to begin with. I still kind of doubt it is one. But still, not terrible sounding if you're into this sort of thing.

    On inputs:
    As I said earlier, USB really is damn legit on this DAC. I unfortunately don't own an I2S source, and one day I'd like to compare something like the PI2AES and maybe even the Wavedream NET to the other inputs available. But I did find the Lynx AES16e slightly grey sounding in comparison to the USB, which also had the added benefit of a little bit of extra warmth and stage depth. I think most people without proper high end sources could get away with using USB on this DAC and not have to worry about nervosa or anything like that, though one wonders what someone who hasn't already thrown some money at digital source bullshit is doing near a DAC with this kind of price tag.

    On firmware:
    Firmware 100% makes a difference on this DAC. This is not PSAudio Directstream DAC bullshit where it's just people coping over a less than ideal purchase, it really does sound a fair bit different between firmware versions. To summarize the story behind this, the Wavedream Ed I initially heard was on firmware version 4.7. When I got the Wavedream Sig in, I noticed it was on 4.55, and asked the distributor if he was okay with letting me update it. He was, and when I updated it, I realized that the latest firmware was actually 4.8, not 4.7. This was a large factor in me getting the Wavedream Ed back in, so I could update the firmware on that too for a proper head to head comparison. But to summarize, 4.55 has noticeably more of the Wavelight fluidity and mellowness than 4.8, which is quite aggressive in comparison. I wasn't crazy about the Wavedream Sig on 4.55, but the 4.8 really did significantly push things in its favor. 4.7 and 4.8 more or less sound the same, at least from memory.

    On DSD:
    Don't do that. This DAC sucks ass at internally converting native DSD, sounds incredibly veiled and rolled off. I'd rather let Jriver do it and output 352.8khz instead, for the handful of DSD recordings I have anyways.

    On the Wavelight:
    In retrospect, the Wavelight is actually really colored sounding. It’s pretty warm, has the most of the sweetness I talked about, has an emphasis on a more mellow character, and has a really exaggerated stage depth with perhaps too much focus on liquid smooth microdynamics. The lack of tactility I experienced on Wavelight may very much be a side effect of the exaggerated stage depth on the Wavelight, as I noticed varying amounts of slam depending on how deep or close up the various Rockna DACs and their firmwares are. The thing is though, even with all this in mind, the Wavelight is very much still a Rockna DAC. You still get the crazy macrodynamic range with awesome microdynamic nuance, the super fast transients with near perfect decay, the purity of timbre (though maybe not as pure given the slightly sweet tone), the great stage depth and layering, it’s still a fantastic sounding DAC. I think a used Wavelight at $3000 is my favorite sub-$5k DAC I’ve heard (granted I’m missing quite a few from my repertoire, but from what I understand about the $2k pro audio DACs, they wouldn’t really be to my taste), and I think diminishing returns hit super hard when stepping up to either version of the Wavedream.

    Now, some caveats with my Wavelight impressions: I only heard it with the Lynx AES16e serving as digital source (I assume the Wavelight’s USB is just as good as the Wavedream’s anyways), and only with my old BHA-1 as the amp, which is obviously not quite what I’d call comparable to the Studio A. Furthermore, I’m unsure of what firmware the Wavelight unit I heard was on. I never got the chance to hear it at home, so I neither got to check nor update it. Given my experiences with the Wavedream’s firmware, it’s not crazy to assume a firmware upgrade with the Wavelight may have reduced the excessive mellowness and stage depth, and improved on tactility, or who knows what else. So I wouldn’t consider my impressions on the Wavelight to be perfectly comparable to the Wavedream, but they can still be taken as an idea of what the Wavelight tries to aim for in sound regardless.
     
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    I was led to believe that tie Wavelight was very very close to the Wavedream before I got my hands on the Wavelight. I found this not to be true. Wavedream is one or two tiers above it - to the point where I felt Wavedream was the better value (if there is such a thing among ORFAS gear).
     
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  7. Zurvv

    Zurvv Acquaintance

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    Thanks everyone for all you input in this thread.
    I've been thinking about getting the wavelight since last year.. but i have will power!

    In the end i got the wavedream balanced (15% off the price helped too) now the waiting game. It is unclear why it takes a month for them to ship it to the US, but so is life. I have a feeling that if i picked up the wavelight i'd always regret that i didn't step up to the dream. (the sig version is to much a jump for me.)

    As much as this buy has put me in freak-out-i'm-spending-to-much-money mode (which i was already in as I also just got the NAD Master M28) - i've been ordering other items to get the most out of this Dac.

    I ordered parts for Pi2AES.
    Order Pink Faun I2S bridge PC card <-- anyone play around with this before? Thoughts on the upgraded clock options?
    Singxer (which i'm trying to cancel now )

    I wasn't even planning to try the USB, but Anumus input has put that back in the mix for testing

    Some questions,
    Did the new firmware fix the issues with the Pi2AES <- i2s -> wavedream
    How does the wavedream handle multi inputs? (The wavelight seems to get confused when USB and i2s are connected.) This will be main output from my PC. (normal beeps and boops, youtube, music and gaming.) But when the PC is off i'd like to use the Pi2AES.
    If one doesn't want to use the pre in the wavedream, does one disable it or just set it to 100%?
    Does using I2s really require a super short cable? oh cables.. blah. i still think they do little (starting from a good base), but still buy fancy ones just in case - at least for analog.. but digital? hrmm.. it is just hdmi.. *shrug*
    I'm coming from a Yggdrasil a2 - i don't have to leave this on all the time, right? (which i'll likely do anyway because ... lazy.)
    the PL only inputs SE (and i have the XLR version of the wavedream) do i convert the XLR to SE or use the SE? (I have some moon audio RCA/XLR Adapters that i use with the Yggdrasil. The Yggdrasil souded much better using the XLR to SE than the default SE.)

    This is the chain i'm planning to use:
    PC or Pi2AES (qobuz / amazon) -> USB/i2s -> PrimaLuna EVO 400 integrated -> headphones: Focal Utopia / Meze Empyrean or speakers: Elac Vela 403.2

    Hopefully when the wavelight server finally comes out i'm able to trial it. I don't use CDs so the dream didn't seem worth it. I also need to chill with the spending. :D

    ... waiting for my bowl of awesome sauce :)
     
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    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
  8. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    I decided against Pink Faun card because it only has 1 clock which means for Redbook material, it's resampling. USB is pretty damn good as well. Further questions answered below.
    • Most recent firmware has options to pick between i2s specs so if you use the "p" variants, it'll work with pi2AES
    • Wavedream has no issue with all of the inputs being plugged in
    • Set the volume to 0db and it bypasses any processing (it's all digital volume anyway)
    • Because it's I2s over LVDS, it can handle any cable length under 2m or so without any significant impacts. I run one just long enough to get me from one shelf of my rack to the other.
    • I have gotten to the point where I leave mine on all the time out of laziness as well (mostly hated dimming the screen every time I turn it off), but sonically, it warms up within an hour or 2 (it gets pretty toasty if you cover the holes while it's on).
    • SE inputs sound great, I've tried doing bal conversion with various trafos, still prefer the sound of the SE direct.
     
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  9. Zurvv

    Zurvv Acquaintance

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    @famish99 Thanks for the info! Good point about the Pink.. ugh.. i didn't think of that.
    Any thoughts singxer? I need some option for the PC. (or i can just use USB - @animus seems to think highly of it in his comments.)

    oh the waiting game is going to suck :)
    (I also need to put the Yggdrasil to use some place too.)
     
  10. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    @animus That was a fantastic read, very engaging and well-written! Thank you for your contribution.
     
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  11. PavelDosko

    PavelDosko Rando

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    gentlemen, have any of you recently tried the functionality of connecting Wavedream (Edition BAL) and Pi2AES using I2S?
     
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  12. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    Worked fine the last time I tried with HDLink2. Be sure to set the right pin on the Pi2AES for LDVS.
     
  13. Zurvv

    Zurvv Acquaintance

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    I'm kinda bummed. I got my Rockna Wavedream XLR today (finally after 2 months!) - I knew i'd have a hard time "reviewing it" so i felt good that at least i could pop it open to get some clean inside shots of the unit. I think there is some worth in that - it could show if Rockna has been changing up part/design.
    sadly one screw just wouldn't come out!!! so poop.

    the unit is RD1-1.00 Rev 4.80xe

    Things of note - with it on for about an hour.
    1) the buttons on the face of the unit and stunning unresponsive. Not a big deal, but come on.
    2) With the PI2AES/Volumio/Qobuz there is random shuddering. I tried changing the clock (local/streaming) - but it didn't help. tested with i2s and AES.
    I might have to switch out the PI2AES to the bluenode 2i or a computer. (I have pink faun USB and I2S PCI-E cards.)

    I'm enjoying it so far, but does it sound any better than the Yggdrasil before it? I can't tell.

    After the unit burns in i'll play around with different equipment. It is likely unhelpful too that i have a lot tube equipment.
    I don't have a pre to play around with and don't like the idea of using the digital domain volume control of the Rockna.
    I did order a SPL Phonitor X but it isn't here yet (VU METERS!) and my denon x8500H is out getting an upgrade.
    I'd like to hear the wavedream on tubes and SS equipment.
    I have a few schiit amps around and a NAD M28.. but pre...

    The wife is already yelling it me for making a mess :(
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    Here's the inside of mine for eye candy.
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Fortee

    Fortee Rando

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    What fuse does the WaveDream use?
     
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  16. Fortee

    Fortee Rando

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    If one to choose between Edition Balanced(RCA&XLR) or Signature Unbalanced (RCA only), I would choose Signature as per Animus.

    If one is wondering if the price difference is worth getting a WaveDream Signature Balanced or Signature Unbalanced, I would recommend Signature if your whole chain of gear is fully balanced as I have had both.
    It also seems the latest Wavedreams come with plastic remotes while old ones came with metal remotes. However, the plastic remote is more responsive and easier to use than the “cooler” metal remote.
     
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  17. Zurvv

    Zurvv Acquaintance

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    ugh. I switch to another source (bluesound node 2i) via coax is it still dropping out and stuttering - but no pattern to when it happens. But i can't make it thru a song without some type of drop out.
    Anyone else have this issue?

    update:
    Red book stuff seems fine. It is just the HD from Qobuz that is dropping out.
    But to the DAC it is all PCM.
    Nope.. after a few songs in 16/44.. it a dropping out like crazy :(
     
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    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
  18. Fortee

    Fortee Rando

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    I use to have a bluesound Vault 2 with coax to WaveDream before with no issues with internal HD, Spotify, etc.
     
  19. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Have you tried the BNC on the PI2AES? It outputs a higher voltage than the RCA.
     
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  20. Zurvv

    Zurvv Acquaintance

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    Thanks for the Input Michael. I don't think the problem is with your sexy device.
    What is strange is one of the problem that I only seeing via pi2aes - the music slows down ... like very slow. *shrug* I tried wired/wireless and also jacked the buff up. Maybe it is with volumio/qobuz.
    But the drop out is randomly happening on both the bluesound and mr Pi.
    I shot Rockna an email too.

    When everything is working I'm very impressed. That said, i just got these speakers too.. i'm not clear which is bring the sauce. (Likely both) I'm heard a lot more fine detail and larger sound stage. The base is magical.. but the focal 2 x 7" woofers are clearly helping. :D

    I'm trying to think of a setup that my wife can help me A/B between the rockna and the Yggdrasil - but it isn't going to be ez. The Rockna xlr out is a lot hotter than schiits so it will be hard to match. (I'm pretty sure i read that some place.. )
    My bias is to normally assume i wasted money and the cheaper one is better!
     
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