Prefer Native compared to NativeX with 2.4.3?

So recently I changed firmware over to 243 in my PWD II. In general, I thought the sound was more detailed, cleaner but with reduced bass and more importantly less dynamics. I ended up switching my long preferred filter setting of 3 to filter setting 5 because this seemed a little more dynamic, music had a little more punch with 5.

On a whim, I decided to try different setting and was shocked to hear how much better plain old “44” sounded with CDs. Experimenting a little more with standard redbook as well as high rez stuff (16/88, 24/192 etc) I found that the native rate without the “benefit” of SRC or the lens sounded MUCH better. Leaving the setting on “Native” compared to “NativeX” results in MUCH more dynamics but also greater timbral accuracy.

With the native setting, it just sounds a lot better. Now horns have that blatty sound that they can have, drums kick you back, instruments sound more like what they are. Dynamics are just on a different level.

NativeX now sounds dull, smaller, homogenized. The sound is akin to what I hear from a lot of cheap “audiophile” power conditioners with lots of ferrittes, ie cleaner, smooooother, smaller, more focused but ultimately more boring.

I do not remember hearing this when I first got my PWD II, my recollection was that NativeX was clearly superior to Native and the rest of the settings. I did add a dedicated Bryston BIT-15 sound conditioner for my PWD II but nothing else has changed in my system. Very strange.

If you are running 243, try some redbook 16/44 and try listening to “44” then compare to NativeX. See what you think, I initially thought there was a 1.5-2.5db volume discrepancy between the two setting (with NativeX being quieter).

I just end this by saying that I find myself much more involved with my music now, the PWD has so much flexibility that you are bound to find some setting that makes you happy. :slight_smile:

May i ask how you connect to the pwd to where your music is ?


There is a reason some of us don’t use 2.4.3…

May i ask how you connect to the pwd to where your music is ?



PC with JRiver connected to PWD II via 1.5m USB cable. PC runs off separate AC outlet, PWD II plugged into Bryston BIT-15.

I have preferred Native over NativeX for a while now too. It seems to be better balanced, focused, etc albeit also a little drier. On that note I have been running NativeX again for no other reason than experimentation. I tend to make changes and leave them alone for awhile to let overall impressions form. I will try to come up with some further details of the differences I hear when I go back. It’s hard to understand why NativeX wouldn’t easily trounce Native on the USB input. I would love to hear others weigh in on this. I am running USB from a Mac Mini with 2.0.2 on the PWD.


Do you have a bridge. As not 2.4.3 is not my favorit firmware. Without a bridge installed USB and I2S have reduced bass.

Sorry guys, I do disagree. Although, that is not to say anyone is wrong. When I listen to Native I don’t get the natural deep soundstage where the walls disappear. I use 2.4.3 and I wouldn’t go back to other fmwr versions.

Sorry guys, I do disagree. Although, that is not to say anyone is wrong. When I listen to Native I don't get the natural deep soundstage where the walls disappear. I use 2.4.3 and I wouldn't go back to other fmwr versions.

I also use 2.4.3 I think it is the best sounding firmware, but I have a bridge installed.
I use the I2S input not the bridge at the moment.
When I pull the bridge out. Than the bass reduces on the USB and I2S inputs. The 2.4.3 is not the best firmware for me without a bridge installed I prefer 2.0.2 than.

So I reinstalled the bridge for the use of this firmware with the I2S inputs :)

Wow , now that is strange. I do not use the bridge either , but it is installed. I use the i2s input as well

From my offramp. It’s is hands down the best I ever heard this dac sound. It is overall just a different dac.

Al. D

Perhaps the preference for Native is for the USB input…? I know with I2S input I’m very happy with NativeX.

Maybe. But my offramp bests the bridge and the transport hands down. I think the dac is very good but is sensitive to synergy , possible this is cause for the changing view of the sound for different people.


From reading all the discussions on this site about different firmware, I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s a " To each…there own". Everybody on this site has a different audio set up, and each update is going to sound different on different systems. So I would say pick the best one that sounds good on your system, and get over it. : ) To me, 2.4.3 on my system, the midrange is so prevalent that it’s like someone took an ice pic to my ears. I’ll stay with 2.4.0. That’s why I say again…“to each there own”.

Agreed. It is akin to arguments over headphone sound signatures and which is best.