Waversa Wcore, WRouter, Streamer

paul79

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2014
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OK, USA
www.manymoonsaudio.com
I would like to shout out to John Ketcham, of Kevalin Audio and his line of Waversa products. Frankly, these products should be taken very seriously, and they don't get allot of talk on this side of the pond. They really should.

John exposed me to them by force darn near, and I am glad he did ;)
Not in a pushy way.. The guy is passionate for real, about music and the arts that get us there, and very knowledged due to his open character. I learned (learning still) allot from him.

John fit the products with Audiomagic beeswax fuses and SwissBit SLC (single layer capacity) microSD cards before sending them out. Thank you John.

I have the Wcore 1.0, the ROON Streamer, and the WRouter. I only have experience with these products so far.

The Wcore replaced my NAS after the first listening session. Something to be said about a made for audio product. The Wcore is relaxed, quieter, more refined, more organic. It doesn't sound soft either. It is swift and weighty along with its fluidity.
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The Streamer. Ethernet in to USB or SPDIF out. I have tried other endpoints similar in form, but this one delivers. If you are in the market for an endpoint, this one is a must try. I use it with an Sbooster MK2 power supply with excellent results. John sent me this for fun to play with, and to get my opinion. It will not be replacing my Totaldac Streamer, but the Waversa Streamer sounds wonderful in my system and for a fraction of the cost.
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WRouter. This was a real surprise. Not expecting much since I had tried using other switches, and also some routers, powered with linear supplies much the same way, with mixed results. For context, my room has wired ethernet from the modem located remotely. I previously had this internet run going to the Wcore's built in switch, which is located in the audio room. Streamer also plugged into the Wcore switch.



I put the WRouter in between the streamer and Wcore. The WRouter has a dirty side set of Ethernet ports (PC, internet, etc.) and a clean side of audio Ethernet ports. I put the Wcore and streamer on the clean side, and the internet on the dirty side. I got a very surprising improvement doing so. The background got even more black, any remaining tension totally removed, more focus. All with no tradeoff. It only improved every aspect of listening. This piece was much more of an improvement than all of my network tweaks combined. A truly amazing improvement.

Detailed review with measurements and testing translated:
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=https://www.hificlub.co.kr/ao/mall/ao_prod_view_n17.asp?sale_code=12757&hm_code=

The Waversa house sound based on my listening is simply, organic. None of the products sound electronic. Each product added made my system more at ease, inviting listening as long as I could stay awake, and I encourage you to reach out to John to try any of the Waversa products in your very own system.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...inaudio.com/&usg=AOvVaw3268lFubYo9zBOYlvPdwT2

Paul
 
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shapo

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The WRouter looks awesome, I'll be following this!
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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Is this the new dark horse/over performer for the price?
 

paul79

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Nov 3, 2014
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www.manymoonsaudio.com
I think they should be given the opportunity. Good ears made them, this I am sure. I don't wish to put them in a price performance type of thing, because the Wcore and WRouter are rather costly. They are a quality product for a price, of which I think is totally worth it.
 
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Yucca

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Nov 19, 2017
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I already own the smarthub, which adds nicely to the SQ of my system. I will buy the wstreamer with John very soon...and I think also about the wcore, who would simplify considerably my system (I’m using Roon only).
Waversa offers very high quality products, not cheap, but you can’t be wrong with them.
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
12,815
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Can I ask how these Waversa boxes link up? Esp the Streamer and Router/Switch.

I'm not necessarily looking at the Wcore NAS, since 99.9% of my music will be on Tidal or still be accessed by my cdp.

My audio room is hardwired w ethernet cbl from domestic router in lounge.

My alternatives are
1- to run ethernet into Innuos Zenith, thence USB to dac
2- to run Small Green Computer i5 streamer and Sonore MicroRendu renderer off a dedicated switch.
 

paul79

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Nov 3, 2014
205
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www.manymoonsaudio.com
Will you be using ROON for playback? If so, it has to be somewhere. Otherwise, it is all network connected, then USB or SPDIF to your DAC from the WRouter or the Waversa Streamer endpoint. The WRouter has the Renderer built in, so if you just get the WRouter, you will not need the separate streamer. However, I have not yet tried the Renderer in the WRouter, so I cannot say for sure how it performs compared to the separate streamer.
 
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ketcham

Industry Expert
Feb 29, 2016
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Paul is correct.

The Router has the Waversa Audio Processor and therefore it is recommended in this situation to use the Wrouter as the streamer. If you have a long run from your network, add in a Nextgear 5 port hub with a LPS which makes a new signal and eliminates jitter, use a 1.8 M (no more than 2 M) Ethernet cable to the WRouter.

The format supported, I believe are but I have not confirmed:

Coaxial - 44.1KHz ~ 192KHz / 24bit
USB - 44.1KHz ~ 768KHz / 32bit, DSD64 - DSD512



▲ WAP's analog correction algorithm technology




WAP (Waversa Audio Processor)

  • Estimate the digital value of the original signal through the before and after signals → Restore detail and harmonic information
  • Estimate correct digital value for each channel through left and right signals → Improve stage and focusing


WAP stands for Waversa Audio Processor and is an audio processor originally developed by Waver Corporation. WAP is designed to process vast amounts of data quickly and accurately with an intuitive circuit structure that is manufactured in a hardware way that is comparable to conventional DSP methods.

The built-in proprietary algorithm estimates the analog waveform in a way that is different from the existing algorithm. If the general algorithm technique uses interpolation interpolation method which increases the number of intermediate values, the waver estimates and restores the missing digital value by the before and after signals. In addition, digital values between the left and right channels are compared and analyzed, and if an error is detected, it is restored as a original signal. As a result, details and harmonics information are reproduced, channel separation is improved, spatial expression becomes accurate, and focusing is refined.Because this technology is a complex and complex process, you can control the estimation step. For example, W ROUTER is 3 steps DAC3 is 5 steps. The higher the step, the closer to the analog waveform.
 
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rau

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Aug 6, 2015
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I received my Waversa Wcore Router and Wcore 2.0 a few days ago , I installed a 2.5
SSD in the Wcore 2.0 . I am using a Belcanto
Black ASC2 system which has a built in streamer . I will be trying the Wrouter WNDR(Waversa Network Direct Render)which stands non-buffer transmission technology . So far just adding
the Wrouter made a very nice improvement to my system . I will post more once I have more time to listen . As for price I do not feel it’s out of line .
 

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rau

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Aug 6, 2015
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Yes I plan on comparing to the streamer in the Bel Canto , Yes the Wrouter/Wcore is a nice improvement . But even just using the Wrouter as a switch was a great improvement
 

paul79

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2014
205
21
223
OK, USA
www.manymoonsaudio.com
rau,
So glad you were able to purchase the Waversa Wcore and Wrouter to try, and is great to see another from the USA get a chance to experience these. I am still just enamored by the sound I am getting from these products.
 

bmichels

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Nov 30, 2012
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Very interested by the Waversa WCORE v2.

I just wonder if the Processeur I3 is powerful enough to corectly run ROON Core server. In the past I have hear noticeable difference between I3 and i7 ROON server !

Also, since there is no USB out, I suppose that the Waversa WCORE connects to the Streaming DAC via Ethernet, and to the network via another Ethernet port, leaving 2 free Ethernet ports available in case we need them ? Is it correct ?

Also, how much does the Waversa WCORE V2 really filter the Ethernet network and imude the DAC from the noise transiting on the Home Ethernet Network.

thanks
 

ketcham

Industry Expert
Feb 29, 2016
141
69
115
The I3 was intentional. Less noise was measured in comparison to the I7. I have the version 2.0 myself that feeds into a TotalDac setup. TotalDac is limited to 192kHz and DSD64. The Roon server downsamples on the fly without issue and I can not personally hear any sonic shifts compared to the same recording within the limits of 192/64. The LCD readout shows no increase in CPU usage during the conversion.

The Wcore 2.0 has dual LPS, internal galvanic isolation and OCXO ethernet clocks. It does a stellar job itself but there is added benefit from the Wrouter. Like any switch, you do not want to have a ton of competing traffic. I would not recommend running your TV through it. You can directly place your NAS. That said I use a 8 TB SATA3 SSD drive and there are 16TB and 32TB drives on the market. The 8TB drive was $650. I find the internal SSD sounds better than my external NAS.

North American version has 128GB internal SSD drive for the ROON software and library catalog data. This allows for those who have 20TB or larger personal libraries.

The unit itself is very stable. I keep mine on 24/7.
 

pilgerman

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2010
5
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My Stereo: A love story
Subtitle: A “Subjectivist’s” Review of the Waversa Wrouter, Wcore, and DAC3c


Part I: My Biases and Waversa

I thought I would share my experience with the Waversa products being discussed on this thread, mainly because my little essay might help someone else in their exploration of digital streaming, and because I’m grateful to John Ketcham of Kevalin Audio, whom I know through mutual friends, for being so enthusiastic about the new Waversa devices and introducing me to them. I did know about Waversa, though, because I own an Allnic D-5000 DHT DAC, for which Waversa designed the digital processing side. For the record, I have no affiliation with Waversa or Kevalin Audio.

My evaluation of music reproduced in my home is subjective. This is just a fact of life for me, since I am no audio expert, and entirely appropriate: my room is not an audio showroom nor intended for any other kind of public performance, nor am I professing to give anyone advice about what is “good” from some objective standard. My hobby is a great example of self-indulgent, disposable income facilitated private privilege; and as far as my audio hobby is concerned, I’m 100% biased toward my own satisfaction.

I’ve owned the Allnic D-5000 DHT DAC for years, and used it with a Theta Jade transport, then a Bryston BDP 2, followed by an Antipodes Core and Edge combination. My current system: 1) Ambience Reference 16 ribbon hybrid speakers; 2) Allnic L-8000 DHT preamp and Allnic M-3000 MK2 monoblocks; 3) Allnic H-7000 phono preamp; 4) Technics SP-10 MK2 mounted in a 90 lb, Jean Nantais multi-layer, Baltic birch plinth with an ebony armboard, upon which is mounted a 13 inch, magnetically suspended wand tonearm custom designed and built by a truly brilliant friend; 5) a couple of Allnic Puritas cartridges (with a Denon 103R as a spare). All power cords, speaker cables and interconnects are Allnic ZL Technology. The ethernet cables are custom made, recommended and supplied by John of Kevalin Audio.

I listen mostly to digital files, but I love vinyl. What I’ve been looking for is digital music reproduction that equals or bests my perception of analog music reproduction in my room. The Waversa gear maybe does it, at last; or it’s so close, or has a sound that offers such an enticing alternative that it doesn’t matter. In a nutshell, the sound I’m getting reminds me very much of the sound I heard in my friend’s 1912 vintage apartment in the mid-‘70s, only much more resolving and transparent, with no tape hiss/record noise to lift the noise floor but the same sense of coherence, “flow” and “richness”. The experience in that well-damped lath and plaster room so many years ago was derived from nearfield listening to a pair of Acoustat Xs (with built in tube amps) fed signal from the then current top of the line Audio Research preamp (can’t recall the specific model just now, probably a version of the SP-2) and a Revox B-77 reel to reel tape recorder. The tapes were always off the first play of albums on a variety of turntable set ups. Once an album was taped, it went to the used record store – not a lot of room in that apartment. Even some girlfriends thought it was pretty special. Oh man, wasted youth…

Since their arrival, I’ve been leaving the three Waversa units, Wrouter (in switch mode), Wcore, and DAC3c running 24/7 (40ft ethernet from modem to “dirty side” internet port on the Wrouter, and 10ft each ethernet from “clean ports” on Wrouter to Wcore and DAC3c). They all now have over 200 continuous hours, so they and the beeswax fuses that John Ketcham likes to equip them with should be burned in. They are certainly sounding like it. They all sounded pretty good “out of the box”, and each unit I added to the system created an improvement (starting with the Wrouter, then the DAC3c, then the Wcore, the latter with an 8TB SSD installed). In fact, though, in the last few days, their sound has taken a sudden, amazing jump up in performance. I’m surprised but I shouldn’t be; I’ve experienced this before, most recently with, for example, the Antipodes units, cables, and isolation transformers.

Suddenly, I was quite blown away by the sound coming from the digital side of my system. Cut after cut, with all types of music, I had the sense that I was being transported to the recording engineer’s conception of the actual space where the recording was made or the artificial space the engineer created for the music (it’s all “artificial”, isn’t it, since it’s not the actual performance?). I'm a soundstage geek. With electronica and techno, massed choir, orchestra and other types of music as well, it seemed the stage extended behind, beside and in front of the plane of the speakers, with wonderful height, completely enveloping me and providing a great sense of the “place/space” in which the music was recorded or which the recording engineer created because there was no “place” of performance – like being transported inside the world’s biggest headphones, but with superb image placement. With recordings apparently engineered to imitate an intimate space or recorded in one, the soundstage wrapped the same way, but its physical limits were still apparent from the ways sounds projected, decayed and vanished into silence or their own reflections and the sound of the next notes.

For me, the effect of raising the volume is somewhat but not entirely analogous to listening to a concert from outside the hall in the foyer with the doors to the hall open; then going through the door into the back of the hall; then moving toward the stage, to eventually landing somewhere in the best seats in the house, reasonably close to the stage, where the music envelopes you and where it’s tonally balanced from top to bottom. There is no “brilliance” exaggeration so that detail is maintained at low volume levels, usually translating for me as “too hot/edgy” and “can I please go home now” when the music gets loud. Instead, nothing is hyperbolized; as volume goes up, you get closer and closer to the stage and more intimate with the music and its performance. I suppose this effect might also be influenced by your preamp’s attenuation characteristics and, again, your room, and your ears, and who knows what else.

I had achieved these qualities, not quite to the same degree or with the same degree of apparent accuracy to the recording (I’m only ever guessing what a recording “really” sounds like), with various combinations of my previous DAC and players, then by adding the Wrouter, and then replacing the Allnic DAC with the Waversa DAC3c and, finally, replacing first the Antipodes Edge with the players in the Wrouter and the DAC3c, and then the Antipodes Core with the Wcore. The combination of the three Waversa devices is the most satisfying I’ve had in the house. The benefits of adding the Waversa devices were incremental, and were not only with regard to sound-staging.

Given what I’m used to, the greatest degree of improvement, though perhaps for some what would be the most subtle, is in terms of the realism, as I experience it, of the tone and timbre of voices and instruments. I can’t get over it; it’s a revelation, and the effect is greatest using Waversa’s alternative to Roon Ready, WNDR. You need to have at least one other Waversa device besides the DAC3c to use WNDR. I have the Wcore set up to see the Wrouter as its WNDR target, and the Wrouter seeing the DAC3c as its WNDR target. There is also the ability to select from 5 settings for the amount of buffering the Wcore and the Wrouter use in WNDR. The Waversa default is “4”, with the most buffering at “5” and the least at “1”. I have both set at “2”. If your network is unstable, it’s suggested you use the higher settings. I lost signal a couple of times on the “1” setting, though it came back quickly. There’s been no dropout with “2”. To my ears, there appear to be small differences in the audibility of low-level detail and “air” with going up and down among these settings, with transparency and clarity improving as buffering decreases. I did note that, in my system, the 4 and 5 defaults provided a little less of that “air” and, perhaps as a result, more of a sense of “warmth” and solidity. My system has plenty of that (all tubes, including the Allnic L-8000 DHT preamp, and/or long cable runs), so I’m liking a bit more transparency and air. “2” works best for me; others might be looking for more warmth and solidity.

I’ve gone back and forth between using the DAC3c as a Roon Ready DAC and as a WNDR processor (they appear as two different players – audio zones - in Roon on the iPad). In my system and according to my druthers, the WNDR is superior. But this is a place where one’s preference could be determined by personal taste and system factors, including one’s hearing, and even the physical space in which you listen. In my room, though with a more prominent top end, Roon Ready seems to me less organic, somewhat “disarticulated” by comparison; sonic images are slightly less lifelike, high frequencies are not as clear (cymbals have more “sizzle” but less accurate timbre, for example), and bass is as deep as it is with WNDR but not as articulate and varied, meaning that with WNDR some bass “rolls” along, under and through the floor; some swells and washes like a wave; some blossoms to fill the whole space; some bounces and thrums; some digs right into your body cavity and bones; and sometimes two or more of these at once, depending on the recording/instrument(s).
 
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pilgerman

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Jun 13, 2010
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Continued:

Another option is the choice of degree of “RES”, or “resolution”. The Wrouter and the DAC3c each allow you to choose from “Bypass” to 8 times “RES”. John Ketcham explains it this way: “RES BYPASS keeps the BIT length the same as source. RES 1x increases BIT length to 32 BIT and converts resolution to 44/48 kHz. Each option increases the sampling rate 2x the previous sampling rate. Please note that if the source is a higher sampling rate and you select a lesser sampling rate, you are selectively down sampling your source.” Perhaps because my speakers roll off gently at 18KHz and other factors in my system about which I’m not certain (including my ears’ high frequency sensitivity, which is not what it once was), I prefer to have both the units set high, with the Wrouter at 8X and the DAC3c at 8X. This is even though I don’t hear a difference with the DAC3c at 8x and the Wrouter on Bypass or any additional RES. I think this is because the maximum is still 8x since, from what I understand, the RES processing happens in the Roon endpoint/player, which is either in the DAC3c or the Wrouter (see my paragraph below on the players). The fantastic thing is, however, if it is more or less “conventional up-sampling”, what I have found to happen with units by other manufacturers does not happen with these Waversa products. There’s no loss of bass weight and midrange presence as one increases the resolution. I’m getting it all at every setting. I think this feature will provide users with lots of flexibility for tailoring to their system and preferences.

There is also a toggle on the DAC3c’s menu for “WUS” on or off. I prefer this set to “on”. John Ketcham explained it to me thus: “WUS” – Waversa Sound Processing. ON/OFF. WUS is a high frequency roll-off filter that when selected may bring focus and clarity by removing any extraneous noise or perception of ‘hash’ (sharped edge roughness) or ‘haze’ (smearing of detail and focus). However, auditory perception varies with the individual.” To my ears, the difference on the upper frequencies is similar to the difference between Roon Ready and WNDR playback, with WUS “off” similar to the former, and “on” to the latter.

I’ve tried the Roon endpoint/player in the Wrouter with ethernet connecting it to the Wcore and the DAC3c, as well as with USB from the Wrouter to the DAC3c. I used an Audience Front Row USB cable (I have tried a number of USB cables – I always went back to the Audience AU24 SE-I USB, until it was replaced by the Front Row). Using USB means that one is using the Roon endpoint/player in the Wrouter. However, the sound with the ethernet connections and the player in either the Wrouter or the DAC3c is superior to USB for my ears. Maybe it is a function of the USB cable. Using ethernet connections, I’m finding it quite difficult to hear much difference between the two players. I have a slight preference for the player in the DAC3c; it’s because of the bass, I think, which seems slightly more articulate than with the Wrouter. Unlike with the Wcore and the Wrouter, there is no menu option on the DAC3c to show CPU usage. I did note that using the player in the Wrouter raises its CPU usage from 5-6% to 50%-60%, depending on the RES selected. I suppose that’s because the Wrouter is handling both switch and renderer operations. Maybe that has something to do with my current, and suspect, preference, but I’m just guessing.

You can see photos of the Waversa equipment on this thread and Kevalin Audio’s and Waversa’s websites. It’s jewel-like: compact, solid and heavy. When you remove the bottom, you see the milled, solid block construction. The front displays are small, round and difficult to make out from a distance. However, I find now that I don’t need to go to them except to check IP addresses if I want to get into their webpages. I don’t have the optional remote, and I won’t bother with it, since I leave the equipment on all the time and don’t mind getting up every now and then. One interesting thing that happened was that, at first, I had to manually change the DAC3c’s setting from Roon Ready to WNDR and vice-versa to coordinate with the parallel audio zones on Roon. Somehow, that changed, and now if I select the Audio Zone, the DAC3c “gets it” and switches by itself. AI?

The English manuals are minimalist, but reasonably clear and there is nothing difficult to understand to get set up initially. As I spent time with the equipment, I did have some questions about WNDR and RES "up-sampling” settings. John Ketcham has been helpful, but for the most part, just trying the different options has worked to figure out what sounds best to me. Do be careful when you load music into the SSD memory on the Wcore. You might need to think about your directories on your main storage from which you are transferring music, and getting all of the music into the storage on the Wcore. This is something John Ketcham helped me with when I made a mistake with Carbon Copy Cloner and had to copy all my PCM files (about 4500) twice…

This rambling exposition is a long way of saying I think the Waversa digital gear I’ve acquired is exceptional in my experience, the best I’ve ever owned, and among the best I think I’ve ever heard; but YMMV. As always, we’re caught in and trying to make sense of a kaleidoscope of factors contributing to each person’s audio perception. John at Kevalin Audio has been very helpful, making the purchasing experience easy and offering useful suggestions for things like good brands of SD and SSD cards and how to install them, ethernet cables and tweaks, and loading music onto the Wcore. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the technical detail on the Waversa and Kevalin websites, but John responded well and patiently to all my questions.

BTW, if anyone is interested in “Part II”, I’m happy to post it (it's shorter but not necessarily more succinct). It’s not about the Waversa gear per se, but speaks to my perception of it by providing more context about my likes/dislikes, as well as my system and listening room generally. I admit that I got carried away – have been in self-isolation…
 
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Patatorz

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Aug 8, 2015
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patatorz.com
Thanks all for your valuable feedbacks. I tried to find more information on the wrouter but not easy. I think some of you own it : could you help me to understand how you use it as it seems it can integrate a mSata disk (limited to 256 go) and a m2. It means that on top of being a router with WiFi and ethernet functionnality (with split between noisy / no noisy ethernet) it is also a server with Roon and dlna with the support of the 2 SSD slots.
what is your feedback around stability of the os and SQ ?

thanks a lot for your supply
 

paul79

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2014
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www.manymoonsaudio.com
It can store some music, it is also an Ethernet to USB endpoint/streamer. It does not have the processing power to be a ROON server. I think I have this correct, but maybe John will chime in and confirm.
 

ketcham

Industry Expert
Feb 29, 2016
141
69
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Paul is correct. The Wrouter is a ROON endpoint streamer with both coaxial and USB output. It does have the advantage over the Wstreamer by integrating their in-house Waversa Audio Processor chip. Their WCore 2.0 was designed to handle the processing requirements of ROON. I have used mSATA up to 1 TB without issue (Samsung EVO860 - was $160). Dogfish makes a 2TB version but I have not used it personally ($388 on newegg.com). m2 cards can be up to 2Tb but very expensive. I have not tested them. It was much more economical to use SATA3 Micron 5210 which gave me 7TB of usable storage in my Wcore 2.0.

Waversa is very stable overall. I keep these three components on 24/7. Like all computers, they benefit from a hard reboot every month. I also check for firmware updates monthly as well. The engineers at Waver are constantly innovating and updating is an easy process. My impression of sonic benefits is improved clarity, reduced noise floor, more organic presentation.
 

moby2004

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2018
147
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I am also an owner of the Wrouter. When I bought it I had an Antipodes CX EX combo and I was using an « ordinary » switch ( and at that time there was much less choice in terms of « audiophile » switch.)
It s an excellent router/switch ( I am using it as a router) : lower noise floor,better tonality, less glare/harshness and it s allowing me to totally separate my audio network from the home network which is a big plus !
As a « server », I preferred Antipodes but it’s a nice addon feature.
Since,I have added a SOTM switch and the improvement was less spectacular than replacing an ordinary router /switch combo with the Wrouter.
Alex
 

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