• Lenovo T420 -> Uptone Regen -> Chord Hugo/Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2 -> Kimber Kable Silver Streak RCA -> Pathos Aurium -> Abyss AB-1266

Notes on the Uptone Regen (Amber):

  • I had my doubts about this seemingly gimmicky device but the W4S DAC-2 sounds completely different with the Regen…in a great way.  You get much more body and warmth, a touch more of the organics. Without the Regen the DAC-2 sounded thin, flat, and sterile. It lacked much needed dynamics and came off a bit harsh. It’s underlying strengths in detail retrieval, effortless resolution, and transparency is still there but misses all the important pieces without the Regen. I will be doing further analysis and testing of the Uptone Regen. What an incredible device.

The Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2 doesn’t need an introduction. It has graced many high-end audiophile speaker setups for the past 5 years. It is known as a extremely transparent and resolving DAC. I got this DAC a few months ago but felt it was a bit too analytical for my tastes. For that reason it was stored away until now. I wanted to revisit it and compare it to a DAC I really enjoy, the Chord Hugo. Below are my raw notes from the session. I find these types of notes are more honest as they are written down as I A/B.

Raw Notes:

Michael Jackson – Black or White (Remastered)

  • DAC-2
    • Sounds a bit thin/leaner, but very detailed
    • Precise and lots of clarity
  • Hugo
    • The vocals are much better on the Hugo, more human. The W4S is a bit more strident/edgy.
    • More musical better warmth
    • More impactful bass.

Linda Ronstandt – Blue Bayou

  • DAC-2
    • Very tight, not as much impact as Hugo
    • Very precise and “matter-of-fact”
    • Extremely revealing
  • Hugo
    • Much warmer, more sub-bass presence.
    • The mids for the W4S sound a bit recessed in comparison.
    • The W4S has a blacker background but doesn’t sound as cohesive
    • More organic

Jay-Z (ft. Justin Timberlake) – Holy Grail

  • DAC-2
    • Vocals are crystal clear but lack a bit of organics
    • Not as much depth as the Hugo
    • Bass is tight and quick
  • Hugo
    • The dynamics far exceed the W4S
    • More cohesive (back-up singers)
    • More bass

Rodrigo y Gabriela – Foc

  • DAC-2
    • Detailed to fault sometimes
    • Bright at times
    • Leaner
    • You could hear the textures of the guitars, very detailed, black background, but the other actors don’t seem to be in the same room.
  • Hugo
    • Definitely warmer
    • Soundstage a bit wider
    • Sounds like humans are playing
    • More musical
    • Hugo much more enjoyable

Famoudou Don Moye – Immm (Live Version)

  • DAC-2
    • It has a very lean characterisc, not as holographic as the Hugo
    • There’s not a lot of body/weight to the sound
    • The drums don’t have that visceral impact
    • Sounds like a sound test with a mix of instruments all around…not cohesive
  • Hugo
    • So realistic it gave me goosebumps

Eiji Oue – Mazeppa, TH 7 – Mazeppa, Act I: Gopak

  • DAC-2
    • A bit too lean, lacks the warmth, but details are there though.
  • Hugo
    • A lot more engaging, sounds like a real concert
    • The CH sounds so much better

Paramore – Emergency

  • DAC-2
    • Vocals are more separated from the rest of the music, not a bad thing.
    • A bit sterile for my tastes
    • Not as organic and not as much depth
    • Separation isn’t as good
  • Hugo
    • More engaging

Regina Spektor – Fidelity

  • DAC-2
    • Don’t think the intention was to have it sound this lean/thin
    • Might work better with warmer/darker speakers
    • The vocals definitely have a brighter tinge to it, not as organic
  • Hugo
    • Very engaging and organic
    • Her voice sounds more natural, you could hear her breath


The Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2 is an amazingly detailed DAC. It is capable of giving you an X-ray of the recording, almost to a fault. The actors/instruments are all resolved effortlessly and there’s a lot of grip across the spectrum but it lacks a bit of warmth and cohesion. I believe this makes it a bit less engaging and enjoyable to my ears. The Chord Hugo, I have to say, is in another league. It sounds more like what I would expect the artist’s intentions were when mastering. The layering is better on the Hugo, without a doubt. I think the W4S DAC-2 would pair well with warmer/darker speakers/headphones, such as the Audeze LCD-3F.