Newbie PWD DAC owner

I’ve had my PWD for about two weeks now and it has approximately 30 hours on it. Experience has proven that first impressions rarely hold true with new audio equipment. Compared to the DL3 Cullen circuits stage IV unit the PWD…is a bit dry and lifeless sounding. I’m looking for opinions on the break-in period, what to expect in time, and how long I should wait before I begin experimenting with the software.

Thanks in advance for your input,


Give it at least 250 hours; some folks here would say more like 500 for maximum sound quality. I know that’s a long time, but I think you will find the wait worth it. Dry and lifeless are descriptions not usually associated with a PWDcool.

what PWD firmware is on your DAC?

you can check from the front screen.

Brian, is it a Mk.I or a Mk.II? Curiosity for that one, but in either case Magister is right with the recommended cooking time. Gordon’s question about the FW is important as well - the PWD can sound a bit different depending on what FW version you’re using.

Thanks for the info guys.

I have a PWD MKII and the firmware is 2.4.3

And the break-in continues on.


Brian, my own method is to try and change only one thing at a time. Since you’ve got 2.4.3 installed I’d say keep that in place as you’re putting hours on the PWD. It will act as a standard around which you can hear how things are changing as the unit burns in. Also keep in mind that if you have a source you can keep running 24/7 you can do that into the PWD and it will speed up burn in. Assuming you have it hooked up to a powered up preamp you’ll be fine; all is has to do is dump into that. If you have the PWD hooked directly to an amp then I’m not sure. I never used my DACs that way so I don’t know if you’ve have to have the amp on to really draw any current out of the PWD. Anyway, once you get some hundreds of hours on it and you feel you’d like to try a different FW the one that many people have liked as an alternative to others is 2.0.2/2.0.3. 2.0.3 is the same as 2.0.2 but fixes a very minor bug - no impact on the sound. I’m not saying 2.0.2/3 is the best FW out there, but many used it for quite some time as preferred over the 2.1.x / 2.2.x era of changes. I seem to recall liking 2.4.3 as a good step up from 2.0.3, but there were still small enough changes to where one might prefer one over the other.

It is not necessary for the preamp or power amp to be turned on. The input presents same load whether the unit is on or off.

500 hours is not an unreasonable time for burn in for a PWD. I would give it at least 400 hours. What I did was to continuously play recordings of ocean waves as background sound when I was not listening to music. These ocean waves sound a lot like the signal produced by the Hagerman FryBaby burn in unit, so I figure that they should be good for burn in as well as a pleasant ambient soundtrack.