DACs

Wyred4Sound DAC-2 AND STI-500 Integrated Stereo Amplifier

ARTICLE INDEX

Conclusions

I'm one of those people that have moved to having most of my music library stored in a lossless format on a server for quick access to everything. I love the convenience of it, but usually found that for really critical listening I would go back to playing the physical CD. With the Wyred4Sound DAC-2 I no longer felt that I needed to have the CD in the player to get the best possible sound. Music took on an extra dimension that it did not possess before, and was more relaxing and enjoyable to listen to for long periods of time. Installation into my system was transparent and once it was configured I never needed to go back and change anything at all on the DAC-2, allowing me to relax and enjoy the music.

I did notice the benefits of the DAC-2 far more when it was connected through the STI-500 or directly to the amplifier itself. Running it through a receiver caused a bit of loss in the detail, and the differences between the Touch and the DAC-2 were far more subtle. This made the flexibility provided by the HT Bypass mode all the more important, as it lets more people get the full benefit out of the DAC-2 by skipping over a weaker link in the chain. The performance of the pair was so wonderful as a stereo setup, that I actually reconfigured all of my other components (TiVo, Oppo BDP-83) for stereo mode, hooked up their analog outputs to the STI-500, and enjoyed a pure stereo system instead of a multichannel system for a couple of weeks.

For someone that is looking to get high quality music playback from their PC, or looking to take an existing digital component to the next level, the DAC-2 comes highly recommended. It supports all of the current high resolution material out there, integrates easily, and will be able to continue even if 24/192 music becomes the new standard. If you are looking to get the highest quality stereo performance out of your multichannel system, or just want a high performance integrated amplifier for your stereo setup, then I would certainly put the STI-500 on the list of components to audition as well. It has the power and control to drive any speaker you might have, and all the inputs and features you could ask for.