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  #1  
Old 03-09-2021, 07:48 PM
AudioFi AudioFi is offline
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Default DACs In the Lumin T2 League

I need some advice for finding a DAC to use my Lumin T2 as a streamer.

I like the detailed and a bit clinical sound of the T2 w sbooster in my system, but sometimes I would like to use it just as a streamer, and find a good USB DAC with a warmer and more relaxed sound with a comparable or superior quality of the T2.

It's curious how the perception of music is so subjective, and sometimes after a long day or feeling just tired a sound too detailed can be fatiguing.

I set up an Eq in my MA8900 lowering a little bit the 10k and 2k knobs and works well, but I would prefer to try a Dac that sounds liquid and relaxed with no EQ.

The DA1 DAC module in the MA8900 is warmer sounding but sounds inferior to my ears.

All your suggestions are well appreciated.

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Last edited by AudioFi; 03-09-2021 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 03-09-2021, 09:02 PM
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doggiehowser doggiehowser is offline
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I'm always partial to FPGA/discrete DACs so my pick would be the Chord Hugo TT2. It doesn't have a streamer though, so you need to factor that in.

If you don't need balanced outputs, the Qutest is even more of a bargain.

Both step up to another level, IMHO even outperforming the DAVE on its own, when you add the MScaler.

Another DAC that I quite like - but with a totally different architecture is the Aqua range. The one with the tube (la Scala) is simply stunning. More traditional R2R sound with discrete stages.
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Old 03-09-2021, 10:14 PM
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You didn't give a budget but just based on personal experience a used Directstream Sr. or Aqua La Voce S3 fit the bill. For less the Matrix Audio X-Sabre is supposed to be on the warmer side.
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Old 03-09-2021, 11:14 PM
AudioFi AudioFi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doggiehowser View Post
I'm always partial to FPGA/discrete DACs so my pick would be the Chord Hugo TT2. It doesn't have a streamer though, so you need to factor that in.

If you don't need balanced outputs, the Qutest is even more of a bargain.

Both step up to another level, IMHO even outperforming the DAVE on its own, when you add the MScaler.

Another DAC that I quite like - but with a totally different architecture is the Aqua range. The one with the tube (la Scala) is simply stunning. More traditional R2R sound with discrete stages.
I guess I can use the T2 as the streamer for the Hugo TT. I am not very familiar with the sound of chord Dacs but I’ve always heard good things. Is the Mscaler an upsampling device?
M
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Old 03-09-2021, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMD View Post
You didn't give a budget but just based on personal experience a used Directstream Sr. or Aqua La Voce S3 fit the bill. For less the Matrix Audio X-Sabre is supposed to be on the warmer side.
Very nice ideas so far !

My budget is around $5500, I have been curious about Denafrips Terminator, the web is full of good comments about it, but I haven’t find specifically if it is bright or warm sounding.

The x-sabre looks well designed and very interesting for the money! Have you had the chance to listen to it compared to a T2? That would be very helpful.

Seems that you have experience with the directstream. I like the DSD concept of it and I’ve read that ps audio uses a very high quality clock in its architecture. Unfortunately I have not auditioned it yet. How do you describe the sound?

M

Last edited by AudioFi; 03-12-2021 at 03:16 AM.
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Old 03-09-2021, 11:57 PM
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It is on the warmer side of neutral and definitely not harsh sounding. I have owned the DS SR. for almost four years. Same goes for the Aqua which you can buy new for your budget and used for a bit less. I personally haven't heard the Matrix but have a friend on another forum that has it and he describes it as warmer and not harsh. As to the Terminator I have read that between it and the Plus the original is the less forward of the two. Also in that group would be the Holo May KTE which I am getting ready to order. If you are willing to venture into tube DAC's the Lampizator Amber 3 would fit the bill as would the new Baltic but it may be over your budget.

There is a mint Aqua La Voce S3 on Canuck Audio Mart right now for a good price. Also multiple DS Sr.'s listed on HiFi Shark.
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Old 03-10-2021, 12:13 AM
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A few years ago I took a shot on the Holo Audio Spring KTE DAC and have been extremely happy with it. The Holo Audio May KTE mentioned above is on my 2021 hope to get list.
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Old 03-10-2021, 10:28 AM
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I've found that DAC's with well implemented FPGA filters and R2R implementations have the most relaxed yet detailed presentation. The Chord DAC's , Schiit Yggdrasil, Denafrips Terminator (also has D/S converter for DSD), etc.
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Old 03-10-2021, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doggiehowser View Post
I'm always partial to FPGA/discrete DACs so my pick would be the Chord Hugo TT2. It doesn't have a streamer though, so you need to factor that in.

If you don't need balanced outputs, the Qutest is even more of a bargain.

Both step up to another level, IMHO even outperforming the DAVE on its own, when you add the MScaler.

Another DAC that I quite like - but with a totally different architecture is the Aqua range. The one with the tube (la Scala) is simply stunning. More traditional R2R sound with discrete stages.
Agree with that - I own the Qutest for that reason. And, Chord offers streamer attachments, reasonably priced, that work with the Hugo or Qutest. I am using the SoTM Neo 200 to turn the Qutest into a Roon-ready endpoint (Roon 'sees' the Qutest directly with the SoTM Neo in the chain). Painless set-up.
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Old 03-10-2021, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioFi View Post

The DA1 DAC module in the MA8900 is warmer sounding but sounds inferior to my ears.

-
Have you thought about swapping out the DA1 for a DA2? I cannot comment on the DA2 yet (just place an order for the C2700) but it may be less inferior to your ears and still give you the warmer sound you are after. Not to mention for a lot less cost. Just a thought.
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