Windom: Sound Impressions

I love these kind of technical answers and reflections from Ted. I understand almost nothing but always get the feeling that I am in very very safe hands, and also my DS DAC. Perfect combo for wonderful listening sessions to come.

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Here I was thinking I was the only one who preferred Snowmass :grinning:

Gave Windom a good try but just wasn’t for me. Looking forward to trying the next release.

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I’d look forward to very different characteristics than richer/warmer and laid back top end. Let’s wait what happens :wink:

Yes I think it must be the other effects as the magnitude we hear differences between DAC”s probably won’t correspond with the magnitude of theoretical deviations from flat measurings.

I know this might sound somewhat controversial, but did everyone who was not happy with Windom allow it to burn-in? Dirk, who has two DSD dacs experienced how much better Windom sounded with close to 1000 hrs on it compared to another dac which wasn’t burned in. My own experience confirms this. Windom changed, and not in a linear fashion, over the course of 1,000 hours.

I guess I’m wondering why I would want to spend 1,000 hours waiting for something I don’t like the sound of to get OK. Been there with Huron, and I’m not eager to revisit that mistake.

Was at a friend’s last night who has two well-broken-in DS’s. The one we were listening to had Snowmass on it. He put in the other one, saying, “Not sure what is loaded on this one.” A few seconds after the music started, I said, “I would say Windom, if I had to guess.” It was. And while it isn’t fair to compare with a cold DAC, the essential nature didn’t change over time.

I get the differences, and I get what people like about it. I just don’t always end up feeling that “more” of X,Y, or Z (or perhaps LESS in this case?) is necessarily mo’ bettah overall or in the long run.

Yet on my 2 channel system, Windom is better than Snowmass and it was as soon as I got used to the differences.

You see, I hear the differences pretty much straightaway. But, I am not sure if those differences are better or not until I give myself some time to listen to them and adjust. Then I can really compare the two and pick the one I like better. What I got out of Windom versus Snowmass was more clarity (especially in the bass end of the frequency range) and better voice and instrument separation on the soundstage. Of course, I have tube-based line stage and amplification. So that may make a big difference compared to pure solid state setups or setups that are not full tube (rectifiers, drivers, power) setups.

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Due to the repeated discussions I took the time for fun today to shortly switch back to Snowmass and again to Windom.

No tonality changes in my setup except a deeper reaching bass with a smoother transition (less bump above) but same weight and otherwise as the main characteristic by far, clearly more ambiance Information and 3D, holographic rendering as well as dynamics and a better transient reproduction of Windom.

So just the same as at the initial comparison on my side. If Ted continues like this, everything’s fine for me.

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While I wouldn’t suggest anyone should like one over the other, I do get the sense that people don’t understand why someone would prefer Snowmass. Goes against doctrine or something. The inference would seem to be that something is wrong with your system, hearing or taste if you don’t prefer the oft-mentioned attributes.

Wait - just tried it again. Never Mind! Windom Rules! :metal:t2:

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Not all that surprising.

Paul tangentially touched on this in a recent “Ask Paul” video, where he answered the question: Martin-Logans or Wilsons? For Paul, the dynamics of the Wilsons outweighed the better transparency of the 'stats, which he dinged for a relative lack of dynamic slam.

Just depends on personal taste.

Dynamics is so important…and I agree, it’s not just a bit weaker with the planars.

Your reference to Paul’s preference sparked a thought. When I watched it I agree with him. I own Eggleston Works speakerS which could be considered kissing cousins to Wilson speakers. It is a matter of preference and thus that’s the hobby aspect of choices. However, when something is recorded, whatever type of music it may be, it had a “true” or accurate sound (notes played, Tone, dynamics, and so on). The performance may be great or not but it is what it is. Then in my opinion always goes downhill from there. Hopefully, and I’m skipping all the processes by which this can happen, it is not degraded too much. But it usually is and leads to, imho, most often wanting more of what I hear in better recordings. I doesn’t stop me from enjoying the music but it lessens the experience or performance that could have been.
Now to my point, if in our hobby our from a manufacturers perspective it is accurate reproduction of the recording then why do equipment offerings and preferences vary? Why can there be differences and yet these differences claim for example that Timbre is accurate?
I guess the answer is that no reproduction system will ever be 100% accurate but we within limits can all agree that if the system or piece of equipment is reasonably realistic, we can enjoy it. Though we my have our own preference they stay in the guidelines of high end acceptance.
In other words none of our stuff is dead on but through careful choices we come to a choice that is universally accepted as good by most while satisfying our own preferences. Thus I can listen to most high end systems and love what I hear but may only hear a few that would be my preference.

Hi Speed-racer,

May i ask you something about HQplayer icw Roon which i think (i read somewhere )you use.
Can you tell me HQplayer the settings you prefer?

I upsample all PCM and DSD tracks to DSD128 using the poly-sinc-ext2 filter and the ASDM7EC modulator.

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Snowmass is just to lean on my system. When I play the same recording on my Wadia CD Player at a lower volume level than either Snowmass or Windam, the sound coming from my CD system beats the hell out of the DSD Streamer. Very disappointed. Will have to save up for a Luxman or Mola Mola.

Hi stimpy2,

Good to see you visiting the forum pages as well as Paul’s Posts. :slightly_smiling_face:

You ought to give the latest firmware, Sunlight, a go. I found it opened up the sound a great deal more than did Windom.

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I forgot that they released one last firmware update. Thank you Mike! I’ll give it a try. It boggles my mind write a 22 year old CD player sounds better in so many ways than my DSD DAC/Steamer.

Hey Mike, when I woke up from a four hour sleep and saw your email I got really excited with your news but this morning I realized that I did install the Sunlight firmware. Windom was sounding less ‘in my face’ which seemed more musical. It did open the sound of though I took away the musicality to some extent which was not that great in the first place. For some unknown reason this is the only component in my system that takes a step backward from the system synergy that I was enjoying. The Windom does sound more musically neutral to my ears while still retaining balanced articulation. There seemd to be an edge and lean sound in the upper midrange and upper registers with both Snowmass and Sunlight that I don’t hear listening to my CD’s and Records. I am an acoustic jazz and blues freak and I also listen to early. Classical music for the most part. Vocals are a major like of mine as well So, this lean sound points the finger back at the DAC/Streamer. I’m going to reinstall Windom as an exercise after speaking to tech support at PSA or contact Paul to get his opinion and to make sure that Windom is backward compatible before I reverse the firmware. I won’t know for a while whether I’m doing the right thing or not but I will find out today.

I am not sure if You already know the components in my system… a combination of old and new. My newer equipment is a PASS XP-22 line stage and XP-15 phono preamp feeding an Audio Research VT 100 Mk III amplifier driving Maggie 3.6 R’s and Carver True Subwoofer. I also use a ROON Nucleus with QOBUZ. My sources are an original SOTA Sapphire TT with Goldmind Methacrylate platter cover and record weight and Graham 2.2 arm with a Lyra Lydian cartridge. Digital sources: Wadia 830 CD Player and PSA DAC/Streamer with a Bridge II. My interconnects are combination of Siltech RCA cables feeding my Phono inputs, Audioquest interconnects running to my Sub and Synergistic Research XLR Foundations for my digital inputs and pre to amp. I am also using a few additional cables from Audioquest and my power cables are from VH Audio,Harmonic Technologies and Audioquest. I am hoping to locate a gently used Audio Research Reference 110 and I am going to connect my subwoofer directly from my amp ouputs very soon and step up my speaker cables a bit. That will take some time and a few sets of lender cables to figure it out.

The face of my speakers are just over 5 feet from the front wall and I use plastic/fabric faced vertical blinds for diffusion and reflection. I also own a PSA P-12 Power Regenerator.
Hopefully that will give you some understanding as to what I’m running here. Oh yes, I also own a PASS Headphone Amp driving Quad Planer Headphones. Not a great photo but it will give you an idea of the way I have the room set up.

Thanks for the reminder last night, you brought some energy back into my body and mind to see if I can rectify the firmware issue.

Neil

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With my Alta Alec speakers, the PST, BHK 250, and Sunlight installed on the DSD, my system makes intoxicating music. I have to force myself to go to bed most nights when listening. One thing that really helped improve the sound of the PST and DSD was upgrading the stock HDMI cable to the audioquest Thunderbird 48.

Windom is back and I am happy once again. I have no idea why our listening preferences diverge In this particular instance. All the matters is that we are both happy.

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