Steve Huff Reviews the Weiss DAC204

Last year, or perhaps two years ago, I reviewed the Weiss DAC501 and was enamored by its performance, ultimately acquiring it for my system. While the DAC501 boasted features like DSP and various equalizers, my main affection lay with its exceptional DAC. Despite the impressive DSP functionalities, my preference resided in the DAC’s quality. It had a sleek screen, headphone amplifier, and elegant packaging reminiscent of higher-priced counterparts.
I had a thought at the time: Could there be a more streamlined, affordable DAC version, devoid of the extra features? As an owner of the original 501, I was intrigued by the DAC204’s arrival.
This compact gem, the Weiss DAC204, is a minimalist’s dream. A cube adorned with tactile switches, it abandons menus and screens for simplicity. At $2800, it’s significantly cheaper than the 501. To my astonishment, the DAC204’s sound quality rivalled the 501’s, resonating like a $9000 DAC. It cast aside frills such as a display, remote, preamp, and headphone amp, channelling its essence into impeccable sound.
Upon integrating the DAC204 into my system, its sound transported me back. It conjured memories of the immersive studio master tape sound, crystal clear and teeming with intricate details. It didn’t actually slow down the music, but the precise clarity created an illusion of depth and layers. The DAC’s magic lay in capturing each nuance with an abundance of texture.
Over the past few years, I’ve evaluated numerous DACs, spanning a wide price range. The DAC204’s impressive detail and holographic soundstage delivered a sonic experience akin to its pricier rivals. Some argue the DAC204 is good for its price range, yet I firmly believe it’s a contender in the $9000 territory.
In my reference system, this DAC has left an indelible impression, exuding a richness that is anything but analytical. Daniel Weiss, a Grammy-winning designer, elevates this DAC with his expertise. His commitment to creating DACs that capture the artist’s intent earned him a 2021 Grammy for Technical Merit.
As of mid-year, I declare the DAC 204 my hi-fi audio product of the year. It offers a remarkable value proposition, delivering $9000 sound quality for $2800. The Weiss DAC 204 is unparalleled. This little DAC is not only a game-changer but also a testament to the artistry that can be achieved when craftsmanship is complemented by innovation. It’s a testament to quality over quantity and will forever resonate in my audio journey.
Steve Huff Photo & HiFi, July 2023


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