Rockna Wavedream DAC: Awesomesauce

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    It’s a DDC converter box - starts as USB.
     
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  2. gridmaster

    gridmaster Acquaintance

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is my understanding of it. Why doesn't a flac file have any data lose when you download it from across the globe via internet? It's TCP (connection) vs UDP (connectionless) transmission.

    Not sure if this concept is a new thing, or maybe just expensive USB DDC do it? I was under the impression when data was sent to the DDC via USB, it buffered the signal into sdram which is PLL'd with the master clock of the DDC.
    In this sense, the USB is almost used as a hub of shorts, not a complete connectionless signal (like a mouse would be).

    In this sense, weather you're using an ethernet streamer, or a PCIe card, it's all being buffered before release? The output of i2s in theory shouldn't be effected in this way between methods usb/ethernet/pcie. I very well could be wrong on this, it's just how I interpreted the design spec of my own SU-6.
     
  3. Saleh84

    Saleh84 Rando

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    There is a USB conversion happening as the input to singxer is via USB, it not same as a streamer/server that is using its internal hard drive or just recieving data over the internet then providing audio I2s output directly from its board.
    I could be wrong, but i despise USB for audio anyway.
     
  4. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    The problem is the "in theory".

    In theory, yeah, the SU-1 is probably all you would ever need, since it does all those basic functions and adds galvanic isolation.

    But then, why make a SU-6 with super capacitors, if the overall functional blocks are otherwise the same?

    In practice, power supplies matter, isolation matters, timing matters.
     
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  5. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    This is the wrong thread for this. I am making no judgement about DDC vs no. DDC - bottom line however is there is still a conversion happening here, with another box with inputs and outputs, another circuit, another clock, another power supply, another set of cables.

    For all I know, the Singxers kick the crap out of the sound of some ‘true’ I2S sources/transports - but bottom line, it isn’t one.
     
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  6. Hooncake

    Hooncake Mid-Fi Purgatory Redemption

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    Any single ended vs balanced comparison?
     
  7. Saleh84

    Saleh84 Rando

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    I'm using xlr. actually the only pair of decent interconnects I have is AQ Fire xlrs, so I can't even try out of curiosity.
    from what I read/understood; is you certainly want to use the balanced out to utilize two DAC modules per side, which is superior sonically than one module per side. if you have to use rca (if your integrated amp or preamp doesn't have xlr input), better buy the non balanced version, save some $$.
     
  8. Nikos M.

    Nikos M. Rando

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    You are correct....But with any one of the Rockna Dacs (either Se or Balanced ones) please use the best hdmi cable you can buy, if you intend to use their Net Players (either Wavedream or Wavelight ones) or a PS Audio transport. My ICs are also AQ Fire xlrs and the HDMI i am currently using is Wireword Platinum Starlight 7 hdmi at 1 meter. They do make a difference....
    By the way Saleh84, which version of software does your WD dac have ? The number shows up when you switch it on at the right lower side of the display.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
  9. Saleh84

    Saleh84 Rando

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    Hi Nikos,
    the version is 4.7. since I just received it, seems its the latest. I'm not sure there are frequent updates, Nucu mentioned he will let me know if a new version comes up :)
    well, being an AQ fan, I went ahead and got the Diamond HDMI (solid silver conductors), the highest level available cable from AQ. which sounded phenomenal out of singxer. actually I had a wel signature AES (3x the price) and the Diamond HMDI was better in all aspects with this dac. ended up selling it!
    will report back when ever I manage to get my hands on a wavelight server, or even an Audiobyte hub+zap. both still under development. I'm fully convinced now that this is the way to go.
     
  10. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Have to say those are some funny amazon reviews
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
  11. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Hehehe, epic :).
     
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  12. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    Not just the reviews, but the Questions section is great as well! Good stuff...
     
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  13. Nikos M.

    Nikos M. Rando

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    Hi Saleh84. You have the latest software. The next one will be 4.8 but it will take some time... The Diamond Hdmi is also an alternative to the Wireworld cable. Both excellent choice for the WD dac. Also the Audiobyte combo is worth considering. Please check on YouTube the OCD Hi Fi Guy for his preview. He is the USA distributor and one of the first ever to have a Hub unit for testing.
     
  14. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    I just hope he improves the remote functionality, switching inputs is a colossal pain, something I'm having to do more often due to all of these Zoom meetings...
     
  15. Saleh84

    Saleh84 Rando

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    those reviews at amazon are pretty funny, but they can have their laugh while I enjoy my fine cables :) honestly I feel pity for those who don't believe cables can improve the sound, cause the improvements are beyond placebo, even significant. just like using better tubes, better anything. but they are lucky sort off, they get so save $$$ and still be happy. anyhow, that's not this topic thread, so I apologize! each to their own.
    @famish99
    I was thinking the remote doesn't enable all features like on the front fascia buttons, but it does indeed. you press right or lift, you enter the menu. more right/lift you can cycle menu options, then volume up or down, you can change each sitting while its displayed on screen (input, filter, clock etc), then long press left or right to exit the menu. had to resort to Nucu himself to find that out - certainly the user manual needs to mention it, cause if you press every single button on the remote for a whole year, you would have never guessed how to exit/execute!
     
  16. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    While I too have found some differences across some cables, just a warning that cables (especially digital cables) are a bit of a 'third-rail' type of issue around here, so proceed cautiously and get ready for some pushback...
     
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  17. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    Yeah I know how to use it, but it doesn't make this acceptable by preamp standards. The whole numpad is unused, they could have easily mapped an input to each number. The fact they haven't done this means input selection can't be automated by a IR control system like the Harmony.

    Also the fact that if the display is off, it not coming back on whenever you use the remote is incredibly annoying. Volume buttons should always be volume buttons, not overloaded with some other functionality.
     
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  18. Nikos M.

    Nikos M. Rando

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    Well, at least you can mute the volume if you press the mute button on the remote... This is a useful function of a preamp!!!
     
  19. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

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    As promised,

    Comparing Rockna Wavedream Balanced Signature (latest FW 4.7) with the new board in the Denafrips Terminator known as BGA-DSP. I'm told it has various improvements over the previous one: - Intel Altera Cyclone IV FPGA with more IOs - Improved PCB layout - Improved components, i.e. ROE caps from Germany (copied from manufacturer email).
    Previous review of old board termi with rockna: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...-wavedream-dac-awesomesauce.8493/#post-277788

    [​IMG]

    Old and new board photo from the owner.

    Gear used varied through the day. I will mention the gear prior to a photo of the system followed by impressions.
    Rockna: NOS, linear filter, no dither
    Termi: NOS

    My friends system: he greeted me with espresso and an ABX challenge. Rockna or Termi?
    antipodes (roon and tidal) > magical curtain > Rockna or Termi > ps audio gain cell pre-amp > ps audio stellar m700 monos (class D) > scanspeak beryllium tweeter with RAAL ribbons + SVS Sub

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ABX are not my favourite. He introduced me to DAC 'A' which I straight up thought was better, the main difference was a very natural upper mid range, where as the DAC 'B' has a harsher and somewhat strident upper mid range which made it easy to identify.
    We switched back and fourth me leaving the room him switching (sometimes) and level matching then recording, he took this very seriously. I preferred DAC 'A' each and every time, they were close as far as staging, resolution, dynamics it was just the upper mids that gave it away. I was convinced DAC 'A' must be the Rockna as it sounded more 'correct'.

    As you probably guessed DAC A was terminator, which kinda shocked me. He kept saying "I told you Al, I was going to sell the damn thing then this new board came". His new board had arrived just after he had installed these new RAAL ribbons which he crossed over at about 3khz. I asked him to unplug the Raals and we try again.
    Thinking that perhaps the RAALs were playing better with the termi, since I felt the termi was soft last time - we tried the AB again.

    This time the mid range stridency was gone and the rockna shone through, more delicate, cleaner, more resolving but not by much. It was uncomfortably close. But here I preferred the rockna.

    I figured there are all kinds of stuff I don't know or like in this system so I wanted to try it on my own system.

    antipodes > rockna/termi > gain cell > a77x
    We also tried this from rockna > a77x using internal pre in the rockna which I preferred over the gain cell.

    [​IMG]

    In this room we had to boost the treble about 3 notches on the a77x. Hopefully if I ever go back to work I can finish the renovations and upgrade to a more serious speakers..

    The terminator, when I heard it with the previous board was soft, THICC, sluggish and muddy, this new board has improved it A LOT. It is cleaner, faster, has less body, staging is immense, increased dynamics and transients have some edge to them. It does not have the depth of resolution that the Rockna has, termi upper mids are slightly polite and muted and still too relaxed.

    With the Adams and without all the class D the Rockna takes the cake with ease.
    I think the RAAL ribbons are crossed over at 3khz but he is running the tweeter at the same time, this caused some cohesive issues particularly when using the Rockna which had more extended upper mid range (my best guess).

    So, the final test, headphones
    May as well bring the rack!
    sft-1 SE transport (because antipodes is a POS) > convert 2/ rockna/ termi > eddie current studio (tribute/acme/NOS RCA black, JEP Amperex) > hd800 sdr

    [​IMG]

    I did warn him I was going to bring everything!
    So I could not get the convert 2 to work with his antipodes, antipodes has a pronounced grey ground, he was running tidal through roon and I hate the watermark DSP crap that tidal has on many tracks anyway. So for headphones I used the sft-1 exclusively.

    So where does the new termi stand when it comes to headphones? Before it was total garbage (mid-fi at best) on my short dac break down here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...sil-watering-the-ash.4036/page-59#post-297431

    I'm going to say that with the board upgrade, Termi is actually decent, I would say better than mid-fi, it's still a bit polite and the upper mids are a bit dull. However it's not outright bad anymore. Maybe I'm being too kind as it is not a particularly remarkable DAC in any way. However, I felt it was very enjoyable and a lot more involving and less boring than my previous experience with it. It's not transcendal it's not a giant slayer, but I think it would edge out the bifrost 2 now.

    I compared the rockna to the c2 briefly earlier in the year and I don't really feel like much has changed for me:
    "rockna is less aggressive but is ultra nuicanced, perfect timbre and tone. Transients are quick but the leading edge is not razer sharp or emphasized. Its kind of a goldilocks DAC. Stage is better than c2 on speakers, c2 is faster and harder but less refined - some stuff on c2 kinda sizzles where rockna shimmers delicately". Rockna is just an incredibly well rounded DAC, it's not boosted or coloured but does come off a hair relaxed because of this. That doesn't mean it's not involving or have sufficent edge, it just that it doesn't have some of the sizzle and bite that the macro boosted convert 2 has. Once you spend a few months with a convert 2 everything else sounds relaxed..

    I also compared the SE vs balanced on the rockna and termi. Previously I said rockna SE was outright bad, that was on the old DAC with the MSB modules. Current Rockna use there own modules and I tried again with SE and have to say that it's not as good as the balanced but not gimped. Termi made virtually no difference between SE/Balanced with new board.

    TLDR. Termi on a really bright system sounds great.
    Termi with new board is not poop.
    Rockna still better in every regard in normal system.
    Convert 2 still cool shit that slams, rattles and sizzles like nothing else and has probably made normal good dacs sound boring to me for life.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
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  20. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Termi in NOS or OS mode?
     
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