The new Weiss Helios DAC

Although I never managed to meet Daniel Weiss over two days of trying—his son, Joschka Weiss (above), even took me to the company's booth to show me the discrete analog operational amplifier used in the new Weiss Helios DAC ($18,000) and introduce me to his dad, who was elsewhere—I was mighty impressed by what I heard.

Through a system, assembled by WOD Audio, that consisted entirely of unfamiliar components—an Ypsilon CD transport feeding the Weiss Helios DAC, Alieno amps, and ultra-limited-edition speakers from Cessaro—a CD of Eva Cassidy singing "I Know You By Heart" possessed beautiful warmth and pristine clarity. It was quite a good showing.

I wanted to hear more, but Joschka whisked me off. At the booth, I learned that the Helios, based on Weiss's successful series 50 components, contains all their DSP features and includes a Roon streamer. What's new is its analog stage and discrete operational amplifiers.

"It's an 8-channel D/A converter with four DACs per channel," the younger Weiss explained. "The housing is fully anodized aluminum. The 502 that Stereophile reviewed also has four channels, but they're split between the speaker feed and the headphone feed. The Helios has four channels on the left and four on the right. What's most significant, however, is the unit's analog stage, whose new discrete operational amplifiers are of the utmost importance."