The NWD is high-end all the way
The NWD features the latest fully balanced generation of 192kHz 24-Bit resolution Burr Brown engines with 123dB dynamic performance and rated THD a stunningly low 0.0005%. It comes with differential outputs, an 8 times oversampling filter, Native mode, XMOS asynchronous USB processor, new low jitter clocks providing exceptionally lifelike audio. Our engineers based the NWD around a solid high-performance DAC engine, state-of-the art XMOS processor and then designed an all new input circuit based on the PerfectWave low jitter clocks, a 100% discrete output stage and a huge power supply to finish it off. This is true high-end. You won’t find any chip op amps in this product.
The NWD allows you to stream bit perfect digital audio in a number of different ways, including music stored on your computer. Featured in the NWD is the choice of Native mode or upsampling mode. Native Mode decodes any resolution audio from 192khz/24bit and down, to it’s full integrity with no processing added by bypassing the NuWave’s upsampling processor completely; the resulting improvement to sound quality sets new levels of performance for DACS anywhere near this price. Should you wish to upsample, it’s no problem. A new high-performance upsampling engine and low jitter clocking mechanism has been added to the NWD providing 192kHz 24 bit performance for any input and any incoming sample rate, lowering jitter at the DAC to vanishingly low levels.
192kHz 24 asynchronous USB
The NWD features our new high-resolution USB path based on the same XMOS technology found in our PerfectWave DAC. Asynchronous and capable of 24 bit 192kHz performance, the NWD USB input sounds every bit as good as the best digital audio is capable of. Using a high quality USB cable between the NWD and your computer you create an instant media server that can be controlled through any number of hand held devices like an iPod, iPhone or Android using a 3d party controller program. Your entire music library can be managed by iTunes, J River, eLyric, Windows Media Player, Foobar, Pure Music, Bit Perfect, Media Monkey or Ammara (to name a few) for ease of use. And, if you haven’t experienced the pleasure of scrolling through your library of hundreds, perhaps thousands of tracks with full cover art on an iPad or Droid, you really haven’t experienced what so many are enjoying. With the NWD and a USB cable you can join the fun of streaming audio, up to 192kHz 24 bit resolution, using nothing more than your computer and a hand held device to control and play your entire music library.
Active vs. passive filtering
Once the digital audio data have been processed through the NWD’s input stage it’s time to turn them into music and this is the job of the analog filter and the output stage. Most DACS use an active filtering system to clean up the output of the internal DAC but this can add a harsh bright sound to the music. In the NWD we use all passive analog filtering and discrete current to voltage conversion giving our output a sweet open sound unencumbered with harsh digital artifacts.
FET discrete output stage
The real challenge to keeping the music open and analog-like is staying away from chip op-amps and current to voltage converters. Chip op-amps are used by the vast majority of all high-end DACS and while good, they just don’t have the openness and sweetness of an all discrete, high voltage class A circuit. The NWD features a 100% class A discrete, high voltage, FET based output stage. Here we use luscious, analog sounding FET’s at the input and low noise powerful bipolar transistors for the gain and high current low impedance output stage. Everything is direct DC coupled so bass is stunning in its power and impact as well as the all important midbass region where the human ear is sensitive to any alteration in sound quality.
The NWD is a class A fully balanced design that uses an output stage configuration similar to that of a power amplifier. This is important to the sound quality of the DAC because driving even medium lengths of analog interconnect cables can be a sonic challenge if this critical stage is not designed properly. Offered on the read of the NWD is both balanced XLR and single ended RCA cables, driven from this high current low impedance output stage.
The all important power supply
If you want high-end performance you need a high-end power supply.
Inside the NWD is a huge transformer, coupled to many thousands of microfarads of capacitance, Linear Technologies regulators and high speed, low noise diodes. We have taken every effort to make the NWD as good as it gets through careful power supply design.
It is here, in this all important power supply region, where voices and instruments take on what is known as proper “bloom” and give us the illusion of being right in the room with us. The last thing you want is an anemic sounding musical presentation – but with the right power supply, you get the fulness of the music in all its glory.
Used with any music management software like iTunes, Bit Perfect, Amarra, or J River and an iPhone or Droid controller, the NWD becomes your entry into the world of high-end streaming digital audio.
- Three digital inputs
- 192kHz asynchronous USB
- RCA and XLR balanced outputs
- High current class A output stage
- Native mode
- 192kHz selectable upsample
- Low jitter PerfectWave clocks
- Class A fully balanced discrete analog electronics
- Burr Brown 24 bit DAC chip
- Hang on to your USB convertor. Review by jumping
Quality Price Value
The M2Tech HiFace still provides a significant improvement over the USB interface built into the NWD, This is most evident with prolonged listening. The higher frequencies still have a brittle quality that contributes to listener fatigue. With the M2Tech HiFace interface, this is much improved. If you use your computer to stream music, hang on to your USB convertor. I would still get the NWD. Hopefully a digital lens is in the works that will take care of this problem. In the meantime, their are plenty of USB converters out there. (Posted on 12/1/12)
- a quantum leap from the DLIII Review by jumping
Quality Price Value
The USB input sounded like a bunch of cats in heat. I solved that problem with an M2TECH HIFACE interface, but I had some expensive headphones (Sennheiser HD 800) that just didn't measure up to their hype.
Bass was anemic and sound stage sounded like it was is another room. From what I read, that seemed to be a trait of the HD 800's. Not so.
Right out of the box, the NuWave blew away the DLIII. The usb input worked flawlessly. Running the Nuwave in native mode revealed that there was nothing wrong with the HD 800's. Suddenly, they had excellent base and an immediacy that had been lacking previously. For the first time, I had a system that I could find nothing wrong with.
I realize that my setup, streaming digital content from hd storage through usb to an x-can heaphone amp and HD 800 phones is not going to appeal to everyone, but I figure if the NuWave made that much of a difference to my little system, it should be an improvement in any system.
Now my only problem is deciding whether to try and sell my DLIII with mods and the M2TECH HIFACE interface or just settle.
Sorry for the lack of technical detail, but I know when something sounds good. (Posted on 11/24/12)