Okay, my final conclusion is that the NuWave dac actually does sound better than the DS. The DS does not provide the air, openness, depth, transparency, and especially the transient responses like the NuWave. Center imaging on the NuWave is virtually identical with the DS running snowmass.
The DS may sound quieter, and maybe clearer but just lifeless in comparison. In addition, there seems to be an equalization emphasis in snowmass where lyrics on the lower frequencies of female vocalist at times, are not all that audible.
Just to mention, the W4S I traded in for the DS was not one of my favorites either. It was rather thin sounding and lacked body big time. Just to clarify, if it makes any difference, it was the MKll, Version 2, SE. I don’t even know if there was a MKll version 1 SE?
In any case, I guess one would have to have a NuWave non DSD version on hand to actually make the comparisons.
Don’t get me wrong the DS is extremely smooth and clear, but just not my cup of tea, unless its broken, but doubt it.
I don’t believe if I ever liked the characteristics of a piece of gear that was transformer coupled. However I will admit that I have very little knowledge of the DS internals, and may be wrong about its design.
All I can go by is what I am hearing. I am However, a very talented listener.