Weiss Engineering INT 202 review posted on 6moons

Nicholas Bedworth

WBF Founding Member
May 7, 2010
312
0
0
Maui, where else?
#1
Fellows (gals?)... for those of you interested, my review of the INT 202 just came online over the weekend. Check it out at http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/weiss5/1.html

The device is very, very good, at around $2100 US. Haven't had a chance to try out the dCS USB interface, $5K, nor new products from Audiophilleo and M2TECH (both around $900).
 
Jul 1, 2010
8,713
1
0
#2
Fellows (gals?)... for those of you interested, my review of the INT 202 just came online over the weekend. Check it out at http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/weiss5/1.html

The device is very, very good, at around $2100 US. Haven't had a chance to try out the dCS USB interface, $5K, nor new products from Audiophilleo and M2TECH (both around $900).
Weiss makes great stuff, but they seem to have embraced not just the high-end market, but the high-end mark-up. One of the Weiss High-End products, the Minerva DAC, is exactly the same DAC they market to pros as the DAC2, with a different faceplate attached to the front and an extra 2 grand attached to the price tag. Caveat emptor.

P
 
Last edited:

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
3
0
#3
Nicholas-I tried to slog my way through your review. The majority of the review read more like a digital theory handbook than an audio review. You almost made it to the last page of your review before you started talking about what the unit actually sounded like. The pictures were nice and I take it those were pictures of your system in your house? If so, is that your main system? The room looks very small, with small speakers, and the only source of music was your laptop computer lashed up to an external hard drive. Is that the whole deal or just part of the deal?

Mark
 

RUR

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
647
0
0
SoCal
#4
Weiss makes great stuff, but they seem to have embraced not just the high-end market, but the high-end mark-up. One of the Weiss High-End products, the Minerva DAC, is exactly the same DAC they market to pros as the DAC2, with a different faceplate attached to the front and an extra 3 grand attached to the price tag. Caveat emptor.
Unless they've changed the price, it's a $2K swing ($3K vs. $5K). Daniel Weiss has made no secret of the fact that the two DAC's are identical, aside from aesthetics. The few folks I know who've purchased the Weiss sensibly opted for lower price, but if someone else chooses to pay for a nicer faceplate, who am I to argue?

Now, if only Weiss would follow suit with the DAC 202 i.e. produce a cheaper pro version..... But that's discussion for another thread.
 

Nicholas Bedworth

WBF Founding Member
May 7, 2010
312
0
0
Maui, where else?
#5
@mep

Glad you made it to the end. You think it was hard to read? It was very hard to write. The technical section was very well-received by some readers, and by others, obviously less so.

Because jitter is the key issue in making digital source well, in my experience, that's the reason for waxing prolix on the topic. What was in the article is a summary of several scientific and technical papers, and was an attempt to educate the readers and cut through the marketing fluff.

The room is actually reasonably big, about 12 x 20 x 10 ft. What you see is everything pushed together as a set for a photo shoot. Normally the listening position is several feet farther back.

The notion that small speakers are somehow inferior to 500 pound per side behemoths is one of audio's better-known myths. Sure, big speakers have tremendous bass, in some rooms, sometimes, but then there are all the other issues that the bass causes.

My system is set up primarily for reviewing equipment, so transparency, uncluttered by bass problems, is important. These are the Usher Be-718s, with the DMD "diamond" tweeters. I'm interested in the speaker as a transducer, not as furniture, so to speak.

Now, that being said, the Wilson Sashas are being shipped next week, so let's see how they do in comparison.

The laptop and external hard drive are used because they're the best digital source available. Once you have bit-perfect out, you're done. Sure, a purpose-built music server may offer a better UX, but the output won't be any different. The QSonix 205 is coming in a couple of weeks, possibly the Soolos as well.

My audio preferences are based on listening, and I've been quite surprised by cheap stuff that sounded great, and expensive stuff that didn't. I just go by my ears. BTW that external hard drive is 1.5 TB, from Seagate, and has a 5 year warranty. Oh, it cost $80 at Costco on Maui.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
3
0
#6
Nicholas,
I know all about cheap Seagate hard drives. The new computer I just built that I am typing this on has a Seagate 1.5 TB hard drive that I paid $79.00 for so I beat you by $1.00. I agree that once you have "bit perfect" out, you are done with digital. I have a purpose built computer for a music server for my stereo room. The problem is, I just never want to listen to it. I thought that ripping CDs to the hard drive and playing them back using Media Monkey was going to take me to new digital heights but it didn't. If that was all I had to listen to I think I would cry.

Mark
 
Jul 1, 2010
8,713
1
0
#7
Unless they've changed the price, it's a $2K swing ($3K vs. $5K). Daniel Weiss has made no secret of the fact that the two DAC's are identical, aside from aesthetics. The few folks I know who've purchased the Weiss sensibly opted for lower price, but if someone else chooses to pay for a nicer faceplate, who am I to argue?

Now, if only Weiss would follow suit with the DAC 202 i.e. produce a cheaper pro version..... But that's discussion for another thread.
I'm sure you're right that it's a $2k difference. I'll edit. Still a shocking price for a faceplate, but as you say, they aren't hiding it and if someone wants to pay that much for a faceplate, that's certainly their right. I wonder how many actually realize that's what they're doing though? And I also have to wonder if other Weiss High End products are priced under the same strategy. $2k seems an awful lot for a digital transport, for example. There are a few out there that are pretty difficult to find fault with for much, much less.

Of course the bottom line is any product is worth exactly what a sufficient number of people are willing to pay for it. Weiss isn't trying to deceive anyone, but the warning still stands: Caveat emptor.

P
 

Nicholas Bedworth

WBF Founding Member
May 7, 2010
312
0
0
Maui, where else?
#8
Mark,

But digital playback should, and can, sound much bettter than almost any CD transport, and in fact is increasingly regarded as SOTA by those who have heard just about everything in audio.

That being said, it isn't easy to get digital correctly. It took several months to get this listening room sorted out, but once it was, it's musical to the max, and a major distraction from getting real work done.

What are you using for DAC, amps, speakers?

BTW think about that Seagate drive... it works out to $20 a year while under warranty. That's pretty close to free, and it's not from an el-cheapo drive manufacturer... that's the promise digital: unlimited high-resolution storage more or less at no cost. That's disruptive and a path of least resistance to higher quality listening.

If your system sounds worse at higher bit rates, could very well be a jitter issue. Some of the highly-hyped $150 S/PDIF converters are OK, but only OK, and get worse higher up.
 

Nicholas Bedworth

WBF Founding Member
May 7, 2010
312
0
0
Maui, where else?
#9
Let's see if we can get Daniel to weigh in with some data... My impression is that the DAC 202, for instance, represents his latest thinking, regardless of market focus, and from my experience with it, combines the flexibility of pro gear with the polish and refinement of a consumer-facing product. Same for the INT 202 (the nominal topic for this thread :)).
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
3
0
#10
Nicholas-I never said it sounded worse at high bit rates. It does sound better, but I didn't get my socks knocked off either. My DAC is the EMU USB DAC that does 24/192. My speakers are Definitive Technology BP7000SC. My amp is the Jadis Defy 7 MKII. My preamp is the Counterpoint SA-5.1 that has had the line stage and phono stage rebuilt by the designer Mike Elliott. The music server computer I built uses an Intel MB, Intel I-5 processor, and 4 gigs of DDR3 1600 Mhz ram. Maybe if I didn't know better I would think it sounds great. Seems like the only time I use it is when I want to put some hours on a piece of gear and I can put it in shuffle mode and have it keep playing music forever. The fact that I don't want to sit down and listen to it says something.

Mark
 

Jeff Fritz

[Industry Expert]
Jun 7, 2010
434
5
16
#11
As a rule, do you find that in-room data tends to be higher?/QUOTE]

Certainly room gain will contribute some useful bass response. How much, and how linear it will be, will be dependent on the room and speaker.

The Usher BE-718 that we measured was extremely linear. It is a well-designed loudspeaker. I do think Joseph D'Appolito had a hand in that project. There are certainly quite a few other speakers in our tests that might claim better response, but don't cut it in reality. And in my experience it is a rare case where linearity improves overall in-room from that seen anechoic.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
3
0
#12
How do you assess how a component reproduces bass without speakers that reproduce bass?
Well, you can't do that which for me would disqualify monitor speakers for any reviewer who is reviewing full-range gear.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
3
0
#14
Nicholas-Are you really using $12K speaker cables on a pair of $3K speakers? If so, did you actually buy them or are they on loan?

Mark
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,021
1
0
Seattle, WA
#15
I'm sure you're right that it's a $2k difference. I'll edit. Still a shocking price for a faceplate, but as you say, they aren't hiding it and if someone wants to pay that much for a faceplate, that's certainly their right.

P
The extra cost is not for just the faceplate but to give extra margin to high-end dealers to sell the product. Unlike Pro channel, high-end dealers spend a lot of time hand holding their customers with generous auditioning and return privileges. As a result, they won't carry products below certain level of margin and hence the increased retail MSRP of such products.
 

Nicholas Bedworth

WBF Founding Member
May 7, 2010
312
0
0
Maui, where else?
#16
And products that are imported incur additional expenses (shipping, customs, etc.), plus the distributor who puts up the capital and orchestrates the flow of merchandise to the dealers needs to make a living, too. These costs are all prior to reaching the dealer, where the issues Amir described take hold.
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,469
1
38
#18
That's merely $7100 cables on the $3K speakers. However, the cables were purchased in anticipation of the roughly $29K Wilson Sashas that are arriving in a few days.
:)
 
Jul 1, 2010
8,713
1
0
#19
You guys are right about mark-up, of course, but pro dealers need mark-up as well, and pro products need to be imported and distributed. The majority of the additional dollars are, I'm sure, neither the faceplate nor the cost of distributing through high-end channels, but what the market will bear.

p
 

Nicholas Bedworth

WBF Founding Member
May 7, 2010
312
0
0
Maui, where else?
#20
The price had undergone serious inflation recently, rising from $7 to $12K (as stated in another post). :) But the cables have certainly made a huge difference, and will help me get the most out of the Sashas, where the ratio of speaker to cable price (25%) is more balanced.

@ mep... The price is for a 4 ft single bi-wire pair, this is possible because of the monoblock system configuation. Definitely a preferred arrangement.
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing