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Old 03-24-2016, 12:51 PM
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Default Wyred 4 Sound Recovery Review

by J. Dan Daniell

WYRED 4 SOUND RECOVERY USB RECLOCKER





It has been a month and half since I offered to review the Wyred 4 Sound Recovery USB reclocker. After their busy introductory rush to fill the many Recovery pre-orders, I now have a Recovery USB reclocker in house. I feel obligated to disclose my initial skepticism about the Recovery USB reclocker. Previously I expressed reservation about the Recovery’s ability to deliver improved sonic performance via USB to a first class DAC. Since my initial comments, I have researched the Wyred 4 Sound Recovery and read much of what Wyred 4 Sound CEO and chief designer EJ Sarmento has said about the design and function of the Recovery. I now have a clearer understanding of how it performs its tasks and why its presence in the USB signal path ahead of the DAC is beneficial.

It is easy to think digital audio is simple. There are plenty of good intentioned individuals who think a laptop or Mac Mini, some software, a USB printer cable, and a DAC puts you in business. True, this will get a person up and running but this simplistic approach leaves a fair measure of performance undelivered. To begin with, computer power supplies are notoriously noisy and can impact a DAC’s input timing. Timing errors mean jitter. In addition there are multiple background functions a computer continuously performs while transmitting music files via USB to a DAC. These constant background functions often play havoc on a consistent and uninterrupted flow of data. Of course there are specialized music servers developed for the sole purpose of delivering music files via USB to a DAC, and there are a wide variety of high-end USB cables that attempt with various wire schemes to improve data flow and voltage isolation along the cable length. When combined, these dedicated music servers and premium USB cables make good strides toward improving the reproduction of high-end audio but there is still much to be gained as emphasized by Wyred 4 Sound’s latest contributions.

Enter the Wyred 4 Sound Recovery USB reclocker. To briefly reiterate EJ Sarmento’s comments on what is taking place inside Recovery, it intercepts the signal between the computer and DAC to supply a more precisely clocked data flow using a Femto grade clock for the USB signal while at the same time providing isolated clean power. This results in pre-conditioning the signal before the DAC. It makes sense that reducing timing errors and jitter before the DAC, while at the same time delivering ultra-quiet power, allows the DAC to perform its tasks more accurately. In addition to Recovery’s unique circuit design, only premium level parts are used to build it. This ensures the Recovery remains on high ground when compared to competitor’s similar USB offerings.

The Recovery is an attractive and diminutive device. Its aluminum case is 2.6" x 1.7" x 0.9" (L x W x H). Included in the shipping box is a switch mode power supply that plugs into a wall receptacle to produce an isolated 9 volts output. Also supplied is a short six inch USB A to B cable for connecting Recovery to the DAC. The Recovery is quite light in weight and seems perfectly capable of being supported by the USB cables without issue. The A and B USB connections are firm and secure. Connecting it is as simple as plugging your laptop USB cable into the Recovery, plugging the provided USB cable into the Recovery and DAC, and connecting the 9 volt isolated power supply plug. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Recovery is USB 2.0 compliant so no drivers are necessary. I ask Wyred 4 Sound’s Tony Holt about break-in and he suggested 50 hours minimum but said 100 hours would be better.

Once the Recovery was unpacked I immediately installed it in my office headphone rig between the HP desktop computer and my Wyred 4 Sound DAC2 that feeds the analog signal to my Sennheiser HDVA 600 headphone amplifier and HD800 headphone. This was as good a place as any to get the break-in hours behind me. When I plugged the 9 volt power supply into the Recovery two small green LED’s on the input side lit, one to inform me there is signal lock and the other letting me know that my USB is type 2.0. If your USB is type 1.0 then this LED remains unlit.





Time for some music. I opened JRiver Media Center 21 on my desktop computer, clicked on Charlie Haden Quartet West – Sophisticated Ladies, selecting one of my favorite tracks “Ill Wind” with Norah Jones. Her voice and piano instantly filled my Sennheiser headphone with wonderfully rich sound. Having played this particular song at least 30 times between the studio system, living room system and my headphone rig, I am intimately familiar with the sound of this recording. My attention was quickly captured by the sensation of greater space around Norah’s voice and piano, with plenty of breathing space for the vibrant wood tones of the acoustic double bass. Brushes slowly swirling across the drum skins were consistently true sounding with fine texture. The entire presentation flowed more relaxed. This was impressive, especially considering there was less than 10 minutes on the Recovery at that moment. The plan was to follow Tony’s break-in recommendation and allow the Recovery to reach at least 100 hours before critically evaluating its performance. Naturally, I made plenty of time to eavesdrop on the break-in process as the hours accumulated.

Using the Repeat feature in JRivers Media Center I allowed the Wyred 4 Sound Recovery to play continuously through my office headphone rig from Saturday at 12:00 noon until 6:00 PM Wednesday evening for a total break-in time of 102 hours. During the first day I listened to the Recovery with my headphone for nearly 6 hours. I just could not seem to take them off my head. I played rock, jazz, female vocals, a violin concerto, and more, all without any hint of listener fatigue. In the days that followed I spent a couple hours listening each morning and the same in the evenings. From the first minutes until the Recovery had approximately 30 hours I heard very little if any sonic change. It’s presence in the USB signal path continued to render a very smooth presentation. By Tuesday morning, with 70 hours of break-in logged, I noticed a new found richness that more easily captured my attention. I felt myself being pulled deeper into each song. The break-in was progressing nicely.

Wednesday evening I relocated the Recovery from my office headphone rig to the studio sound system, installing it between my Sony Vaio laptop and the Esoteric K-03 DAC’s USB input. I used a 3 meter Wireworld Platinum USB cable from the laptop to the Recovery. I used the short USB cable supplied with Recovery to connect it to the DAC. The sound system for this review included a McIntosh C1000C/P preamplifier, a pair of McIntosh MC2301 power amplifiers, an Esoteric K-03 SACD/CD/DAC player, a Sony Vaio laptop computer with JRiver Media Center 21, and the Sonus faber Amati Anniversario speakers. The system is connected entirely with balanced Wireworld Silver Eclipse interconnects, Wireworld Silver Eclipse speaker cables, Wireworld Silver Electra power cables and the Wireworld Platinum USB cable. The short USB cable provided with the Recovery proved itself to be quite transparent. It must also be mentioned that all recordings used for this review were 24Bit/88.2KHz, 24Bit/96KHz, or 24Bit/192KHz FLAC music files. All recordings were downloaded from HDTracks. No Redbook CD files are on my hard drive so the audition was performed in total with high resolution music files.








With the Recovery installed in the studio sound system and 102 hours of break-in completed, I began my listening session. First up, Bonnie Raitt – Slipstream, “Million Miles”. This slow soulful blues tune begins with Bonnie’s guitar, electric bass, and some strong foot peddle strikes on a bass drum. My ears instantly sensed greater definition in the guitar riffs, a more resonant tone to bass, and Bonnie’s earthy voice had a more pronounced existence in the center of the soundstage. When she began to work her guitar chops with her slide on the Fender’s neck I felt goosebumps popping up on my arms and neck, always a good sign. The last piano notes during the final moments of the tune hung and diminished in the air like I have not heard before on this recording. Another positive clue, I could not stop the recording after just one song. I let it play right into “You Can’t Fail Me Now”. What I sensed with the Recovery was a more holographic soundstage, an alluring human essence to voice, and generously developed instrument sounds that were engaging, hypnotic, and utterly believable. There was a fresh effervescence to the sound that elevated my excitement causing my foot to tapped a bit quicker and my head to bob and weave more readily. Did I mention my big smile?

I moved to a second recording, Curtis Stigers – Hooray For Love, “You Make Me Feel So Young”. The opening notes on the acoustic double bass and muffled trumpet literally leapt into the room as though the musicians were standing right in front of me. The duet between Curtis Stigers and Cyrille Aimee felt truly lifelike and earthy. Closing my eyes, it was effortless to imagine myself sitting at a small table in a dimly lit jazz club with the artists on stage less than 12 feet in front of me. I really wanted to catch that waiter’s eye and order another Tanqueray and Tonic with lime. Seriously, I have listened to this fine recording many times and never experienced quite the same “you are there” feeling. The Wyred 4 Sound Recovery was certainly working its magic.

Selecting another recording I clicked on Yellowjackets – A Rise In The Road, “When The Lady Dances”. This Grammy award winning jazz group knows how to groove. As the first volley of drum beats and piano splashed from the Amati Anniversario speakers into the room I was nearly motivated to jump up and dance. That’s never a pretty sight so I forced myself to remain seated, perfectly content to be rocking my head side to side, tapping my foot and grinning. The twin horns, piano, and drums in this recording were presented in a wide and deep soundstage without any encroachment on each other’s space. The Recovery contributed remarkable definition to the horns, piano, bass, drums, and cymbals. The drums’ dynamics had convincing attacks, while the cymbals shimmered faithfully, their metallic sustain hung and diminished unchallenged by smearing or other distractions. I bumped the volume up and played this track twice.

I played Louise Roger – Black Coffee, “Alright Okay You Win” from a 24Bit/192KHz download. Louise’s voice is enticing and her trio of jazz musicians are talented. This tune is upbeat with the acoustic double bass behind Louise at center stage, the hollow body electric guitar to the left and the drums to the right. Listening to this recording without the Recovery reveled an extremely well mastered performance. Straight from the Sony Vaio to the Esoteric K0-03 produced a fine presentation that seemed to want for nothing. Installing the Recovery into the K-03 end of the USB cable raised the bar. The rich acoustic double bass sounded more resonant, while the soundstage grew more three dimensional. The whole performance was improved with a fresh sense of being present at the original recording.





What I am hearing with the Recovery is an enhancement to the system’s performance without any sense of timing errors managing to degrade the sonic integrity of the recordings. In fact, the intrinsic quality of a live performance seems to radiate unimpeded with the Recovery in the USB signal path. After playing these four recordings and allowing a number of additional tracks to play, I stopped the music, removed the Recovery from the USB cable and plugged the Wireworld Platinum USB cable directly into the Esoteric K-03 again. I rebooted the laptop, started JRivers Media Center, and played all four songs noted above once again. The most apparent difference I noticed was feeling as though I had been relocated a few rows back from where I was previously seated. I also noted that the piano in Curtis Stigers recording and the Yellowjackets recording did not seem to have quite the same crystal clarity in the upper octaves. The bass in all four recordings seemed to lose a pinch of firmness that had been apparent through the Recovery. I am confident that when I listen to more recordings I know like the back of my hand, I will discover additional hidden gems of sonic improvements the Recovery has on tap. I read that EJ said 200 hours was his idea of a full break-in period for Recovery. With only 108 hours now on this Recovery, I have already become enamored with its ability to deliver improved bass tautness, greater soundstage dimensionality, and finer definition of micro details. My initial unsubstantiated skepticism about the Recovery has vaporized into thin air. Our old cliché of another veil being lifted is shopworn to say the least but somehow seems appropriately accurate here. The Recovery’s ability to reduce jitter using the Femto clock to reclock the USB signal before it is presented to the DAC, plus the delivery of ultra-quiet power, free from the grunge a computer‘s power supply routinely transmits down the USB cable, makes the Recovery a serious enhancement to digital audio playback. Who would have thought such a tiny little black box at this remarkable price point ($250.00) could elevate high-resolution playback so conveniently with such astonishing success. In less than five days my attitude concerning the Wyred 4 Sound Recovery was transformed from assuming it to be just one more USB toy to understanding and thoroughly appreciating the Recovery’s positive and valuable strengths for elevating USB playback to new levels. Wyred 4 Sound continues to deliver unique audio products that improve our audio experiences without destroying the bank account. The Recovery hits that bullseye dead center. Needless to say, this little jewel has found a new home.
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell Never Connected PSU, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC452, MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A

Last edited by jdandy; 01-17-2018 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:20 PM
Randy Myers Randy Myers is offline
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Excellent review Dan. You have heard exactly what I was hearing in my somewhat lower end system than yours. It proves that the Recovery will give appreciable benefits to most any system, no matter what level of equipment is being used!

I am continually amazed at how much of an improvement can be achieved for a relatively low amount with these amazing add in products from EJ and crew!
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Old 03-24-2016, 04:17 PM
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Dan, great review as always! You missed your calling as a professional writer.

I have one issue with the reclocker; why would they use a noisy switching power supply when the whole goal is to minimize noise that ultimately affects timing?
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Old 03-24-2016, 04:19 PM
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Well done as always Dan! You have me wondering.
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Old 03-24-2016, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cohibaman View Post
Dan, great review as always! You missed your calling as a professional writer.

I have one issue with the reclocker; why would they use a noisy switching power supply when the whole goal is to minimize noise that ultimately affects timing?
Mike.......I have been told most of the noise filtering happens predominately inside the Recovery. It has been discussed in other threads that there may be some advantage to using a linear power supply or the iFi iPower 9 volt power supply. Quite frankly, the audible improvements I experience wouldn't cause me to jump up and change anything at this point.

I also asked the question about USB cable length between the Recovery and the DAC, especially since the provided cable is only six inches long. Tony Holt told me that a USB cable up to one meter will be fine. I read another comment where EJ said the shorter the cable the better because part of the performance improvement comes from correct impedance matching between the Recovery and DAC.

I will most likely order a short Wireworld Platinum USB cable to replace the one provided by Wyred 4 Sound. I want my USB output cable to match the quality level of my USB input cable. Wireworld offers the Platinum USB cable in 0.3 meter (1 ft.) and 0.5 meter (20 in.) lengths and longer.
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell Never Connected PSU, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC452, MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A

Last edited by jdandy; 04-08-2016 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 03-24-2016, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
Excellent review Dan. You have heard exactly what I was hearing in my somewhat lower end system than yours. It proves that the Recovery will give appreciable benefits to most any system, no matter what level of equipment is being used!

I am continually amazed at how much of an improvement can be achieved for a relatively low amount with these amazing add in products from EJ and crew!
Randy.......Thanks. I read your comments about the Recovery when you first installed it. I now appreciate what you were saying.
__________________
Dan



STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell Never Connected PSU, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC452, MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A

Last edited by jdandy; 03-24-2016 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:03 PM
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Dan... what can I possibly say, perhaps thank you! I just placed an order with W4S for enough Recovery units to fill my personal system needs.
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Analog Rig: CLEARAUDIO INNOVATION WOOD w/ OUTER RING & CLAMP, UNIVERSAL ARM w/ Da VINCI' CART, 2nd UNIVERSAL ARM w/ GOLDFINGER STATEMENT CART, KLAUDIO RCM, HRS-MXR REFERENCE 4V RACK-GLOSS BLACK w/ M3X 1921 SHELVES, AESTHETIX RHEA SIG PHONO-PRE, PS AUDIO PPP, RGPC 1200, WIREWORLD PLATINUM ECLIPSE CABLES & PLATINUM ELECTRA PC'S
Reference System: BURMESTER 911MK3 AMP(3), 088 PRE-AMP, 089 CD PLAYER, 100 PHONO PRE-AMP LOADED, 948 POWER CONDITIONER, AVID ACUTUS REFERENCE SP TT, GRAHAM PHANTOM II SUPREME ARM, BENZ MICRO LP-S CART, ESOTERIC GRANDIOSO P1/D1 STACK, G01X RUBIDIUM MASTER CLOCK, N05 NETWORK PLAYER, SILENZIO, HRS-SXR CUSTOM 2V-3V-2V RACK w/ M3X 1921 SHELVES, STILLPOINTS, SONUS FABER AIDA SPEAKERS IN RED VIOLIN FINISH, JL FATHOM F113(2) SOUND ANCHOR SUB STANDS(2) ASC ACOUSTIC PANELS & BASS TRAPS, GIK PICTURE PANELS, PS AUDIO P10, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES & PLATINUM ELECTRA PC'S

Library System: ESOTERIC GRANDIOSO SYSTEM M1 MONOBLOCK AMPS(2), C1 LINESTAGE PRE-AMP, K1 CD/SACD PLAYER, G1 MASTER RUBIDIUM CLOCK, E02 PHONO-PRE, SILENZIO, SONOS ZP90-W4S MOD, AERIAL ACOUSTICS 20T V2 SANTOS ROSEWOOD, AERIAL SW12 SUBS SANTOS ROSEWOOD w/ BASES(2), CANTON REFERENCE K3, DALI EPICON 8 RUBY MACASSAR, VPI HRX TT w/ SDS POWER SUPPLY, ORTOFON CADENZA BLACK CART, FURUTECH SILVER ARROWS PHONO CABLE, KLAUDIO RCM, SHUNYATA PS8, RGPC 1200(2) STEVE BLINN COMPLETE CUSTOM RACK, ASC STUDIO TRAPS, WIREWORLD PLATINUM ECLIPSE IC'S & PLATINUM ELECTRA PC'S
Bryston/Esoteric System: ESOTERIC C02-X PRE-AMP, P-02X TRANSPORT, D02-X DAC, G02-X CLOCK, BRYSTON 28B CUBED MONOBLOCK AMPS, BIT-15(2) AMR-DP777-SE DAC, SILENZIO, TAD REFERENCE ONE MK2 LOUDSPEAKERS, QUADRASPIRE RACK, WIREWORLD PLATINUM ECLIPSE IC'S & PLATINUM ELECTRA PC'S

Cape Cod: New Accuphase System Coming...
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:05 PM
Randy Myers Randy Myers is offline
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Thank you Dan. I did replace the power supply because a very good one, the iPower is only $50. I also got a 1 foot Wireworld cable to match the one coming into the Recovery. Obviously I have a much lower WW cable than you ... I can't remember which version.... hmmm the purple one .. both made subtle differences, a little, not as much as the Recovery did.... but for a little bit it was worth it to get those improvements.
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:06 PM
Randy Myers Randy Myers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterlu View Post
Dan... what can I possibly say, perhaps thank you! I just placed an order with W4S for enough Recovery units to fill my personal system needs.
You will appreciate the improvements!
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterlu View Post
Dan... what can I possibly say, perhaps thank you! I just placed an order with W4S for enough Recovery units to fill my personal system needs.
Ivan.......The Wyred 4 Sound Recovery is the real deal. I am confident your sound systems will benefit from what I described in the review. It is worth every cent.
__________________
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell Never Connected PSU, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC452, MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A

Last edited by jdandy; 03-24-2016 at 05:20 PM.
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