Hi-Fi News Reviews Weiss DAC501

Hi-Fi News Weiss Engineering DAC501 ReviewThis is a splendid piece of work. It’s a beautifully made item, with expertly machined steel casework. Our review sample was finished in an immaculate satin black, and really looked the part. I particularly like the DAC501’s small form factor, belying the wide range of facilities on offer.
As well as its ingenious signal processing options the unit has five digital inputs and an Ethernet port for its DLNA-compatible streaming.
As soon as you set ears on the DAC501 in the raw, it’s clear that this is a special sounding digital converter. It is uncannily open and detailed, replete with an impressively three dimensional soundstage. The device’s translucence has to be heard to be believed, stripping as it does any hint of haze, mist or fog out of a recording. Even compared to many more expensive designs, it is incisive and revealing of what’s in play.
It pulls you right into the mix – almost as if you’re the producer at the scene of the recording. Few digital converters give the same degree of clarity and focus.
The DAC501’s standout feature is its neutrality. It is able to unpeel the outer layers of a recording as easily as a monkey would a banana. This little box cast a whole new light on the proceedings, with vast amounts of detail coming forth.
It’s very good at stereo soundstaging too, and really excels in terms of stage depth. Indeed this is just another aspect of the way it so accurately separates out the mix into constituent parts. There’s no denying that the DAC501 is a fast and lithe performer; everything it plays comes injected with an adrenaline shot. This DAC gets right into the spaces between the notes and meters them very accurately indeed, meaning that nothing ever comes over in a disinterested and lackadaisical way.
In practice the treble is typically smooth, spacious and delicate. At the opposite end of the spectrum, bass guitar sounded strong and tactile, with seemingly endless reserves of thump. The result is a respectfully balanced but ‘up and at you’ sort of sound, and one that’s a usefully bracing alternative for any audiophile hankering after the life in ‘live music’.
Weiss’s DAC501 shows great consistency of sound across all inputs, and is an accomplished streamer too. Its headphone stage approaches the high standards of its line outputs – and the result is a fantastic DAC… well worth auditioning.
David Price, Hi-Fi News, December 2018

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