Great review [of the Weiss DAC202), very commonsense and that is what is needed in reviews!
I am trying to figure out how far up the DAC price-point chain I need to go to hit the peak of the value curve ($2000 up to the $6700 that the DAC202 costs). There are not many dealers where I live so I have no opportunity to go listen to much, let alone make comparisons. I have Gemme Audio speakers, Brinkmann mono amps, and a Simaudio preamp.
Have you heard the Bryston BDA-1? Maybe it is a starting point on the curve, and I am wondering if I need to spend $6700 or if the value-curve peak is somewhere before that and diminishing returns start to take over?
Part of the value proposition of the Weiss is the built-in preamp. It is a state-of-the-art DAC, but when you add in the preamp section the value-per-dollar in a system is increased. If you have a digital-only system it could easily replace your Simaudio, making the purchase easier to swallow. The starting point on the value-performance curve, however, is clearly the Ayre QB-9. At $2750, it represents state-of-the-art sound in a sensible package that is easy to use -- a real no-brainer if you have only a single computer source. I've not heard the Bryston, so can’t comment on that, though their products are almost always well received. . . . Jeff Fritz