Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

To Hans Wetzel,

Interesting article [about power-DACs], and it is a trend among more experienced audiophiles. I see this kind of product being more oriented to people who have already had too much of the high end and just want to set up something simple and excellent sounding and forget about it all. Curiously, I see newer audiophiles going the opposite way, wanting to try separates, choosing tested and trusted products and trying to match them themselves.

P.S. How would you connect an active speaker to a power-DAC? Aren't there too many amps in your dream system?


That is an interesting observation, Ayrton, and most certainly curious. Speaking rhetorically, why would neophytes elect to go the complicated route over a more consolidated, less-expensive one? It seems counterintuitive. I suspect part of it may have to do with the way in which some dealers market their gear to listeners. Sure, this one-box solution sounds really good, they might say, but if you want really good sound, you need these expensive wires, and separate components. The truth, I think, is in the listening, and I believe both of the power-DACs I mentioned in the article can hold their heads up high when compared to significantly more expensive separates.

As for the active-speaker comment (referencing the Definitive Technology Mythos ST-Ls being what I would buy right now), there's something to be said for a partially active speaker in any system. When the bass section of a speaker such as the ST-L uses a built-in class-D amp, and the passive midrange and tweeters are fed by whichever amplifier (or power-DAC!) one chooses to use, the argument would proceed that you effectively have two different circuits running the same pair of speakers. No, I would agree with the implication that it's not exactly ideal. However, at the end of the day, it's a loudspeaker with a very small footprint, thanks to the DSP-inspired bass section obviating the need for a large cabinet. It's also tunable, and basically full-range, despite being really manageable in size. A Devialet or Wadia, then, with the ST-Ls, is what I'd buy because I don't have interest in fiddling with my system all the time. I would set it all up, take some care with positioning, and then forget about it and simply listen to my music. To me, if not to a lot of listeners, the music is more interesting than the equipment and how it's set up. .  . . Hans Wetzel