Help Building a Listening Post

Happy to continue the discussion, but we should probably take it to a new thread.

Hi Guys, I’ve split this out so you can continue here.

I have one of their integrateds the STI-500 and I really like it, it drives my Maggies 3.7 with great command and refinement.

Besides the W4S pre-amp (which I like just fine), I also have (but don’t currently use) an older-model W4S stereo amp, the ST-500. I think the ST-500 mkII is likely a great value, as are W4S’s other amps and pre-amps.

@xxx, if you’re looking at the big W4S monoblocks, you should also take a look at my current stereo amp. Not nearly as big on the raw power as the W4S mono’s, but great specs (verified by John Atkinson). And built in my home town (since you’re supposed to be an Upstate guy). Drives the Sophias with no problem — runs at room temp, and I’ve never seen the clipping indicators light up. If you’re looking for something completely neutral, this is it.

With respect to the W4S DAC, I’d be inclined to have a good look at the competition as well. Nothing against W4S whatsoever; it’s just that there are a lot of choices in that price range. Personally, I had my eye on the Mytek Brooklyn before I lost my mind and went for the exaSound combo.

1 Like

I like the concept of monoblocks. I’ve also been considering Red Dragon, both their monoblocks and un-baffled speakers. I don’t need a pre-amp, there’s only one set of balanced in/outputs.

If I get looser purse strings then maybe some Tritons, but that would be my upper limit, both emotionally and financially.

The Brooklyn DAC, coupled with LS50Ws, is also in my sights. Archimago, who has become my goto pundit, likes the TEAC 503.

All constructive opinions, suggestions, criticisms are welcome. Thanks.

1 Like

I wonder what Archimago has to say about that. :wink:

What!? Are you implying monoblocks are superstitious snake oil? Don’t know why that would be. :worried:


I guess it might be debatable to how much can be gained from true dual mono with individual power supplies. Diminishing returns I suppose. Not snake oil, that much is for certain.

PS) I own monoblocks.

Looks like Archimago uses monoblocks but doesn’t feel compelled to explain why they’re better.

I’d be curious to hear an explanation of why monoblocks are better than a dual-mono stereo amp of comparable quality. You can certainly make a case that if you have monoblocks, you need way shorter expensive boutique cables between your amps and speakers, but I suppose that’s not an appropriate argument in this context.

Individual power supplies would be one I suppose, but maybe some dual mono stereo amps have dual power supplies. Easier on a guys back is another reason. :grinning:

Yeah, the short connections, not necessarily uber expensive as I have a supply of late '80s 10 gauge MonsterCable (which they don’t make any more), is one consideration. Also, there’s the question of heat???

The monoblocks I"ve looked at are comparable in price for dual-mono amps. E.g. SX-500 - $1400; mAMP - $999 x 2. Red Dragon M500 - $750 x 2. Schiit Vidar - $700 x 2.

Generally, they probably not ‘better’ per se, but as always it’s where one wants to put their money.

1 Like

Probably out of my pay grade, but what monoblocks?

McIntosh MC301.

Mostly because the size of the MC452 wouldn’t work and was maybe a little overkill for my speakers. I barely ever get the MC301 up to 3 watts of usage.

1 Like

It seems like Wyred4Sound is by online sales only. Is this true? Their top of the line DAC ($3800) is special built and not returnable, which is a real consideration.

A bit off topic, but if was going to buy a DAC completely blind with no return it would be the Schiit Yggdrasil or if I was a little richer the Chord Dave. Both have way too many good reviews from press and more specifically users to be totally bad.

That’s about it, the rest would require an audition.

1 Like

Primarily online, but they have a few US retailers:

1 Like

exaSound has a pretty good return policy.

(Worth looking at the e32 (IMO) if one is planning on spending $3500 or so.)

1 Like

+1 on W4S amps, and integrateds. My STI-500 integrated amp and Multichannel MC7x250 have been absolutely trouble free for more than five years. Just parted with my original W4S DAC-2. Figured after six years, I was due for a new DAC…

I own a rather new (6 months) W4S DAC2v2. Not the SE one, but the ‘regular’ with the Sabre 9028pro. I bought it blindly from Europe, so that’s a big risk I guess.

Anyways, I like it a lot. Was about to go for the Brooklyn Mytek but changed my mind and went for the W4S. I can only say that these guys make some fine equipment for decent prizes. The DAC sounds awesome, and is a good step-up from my previous Rega DAC.

There’s only one thing you need to consider when buying a W4S DAC: they’re not capable of upgrading the firmware by USB. This is a huge bummer, because for example the W4S does only do DoP on Linux in stead of native DSD. If I’ve known that upfront I wouldn’t have bought it.


Why did you got rid of the W4 DAC ? Just upgraditis or because of some inadequacy? With what did you replace it? Thanks.

Yeah, I like the way the equipment is spec’t, but I’m having trouble with buying unheard and no return on the $3800 SE. The closest American dealer is 500 miles away. I would run under WIN10, which I think would do native DSD, if they have a driver. Interesting about the upgrade unavailability. I suppose one could always ship the unit back for an upgrade. The Brooklyn is always an option, but I wonder what was sacrificed for MQA, which I don’t care about.