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Totaldac D1 usb/filter review (revised for spacing)


JayDog
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First let me apologize for my previous post with spacing errors. It was modified when when I pasted it from my clipboard. I have asked the administrator to remove it.

 

This review is for the TotalDac D1 cable/filter. TotalDac is a French company that specializes in digital to analog converters. Their products have been reviewed by Audiostream and other main stream sites. I stumbled upon the D1 while purchasing a Chord EX. The sales representative told me about the D1 and highly recommended it, even though he did not carry the line. I was a bit shocked that he made a recommendation outside of his product line. It appears that there are still people out there that value the audiophile experience over the almighty buck.

 

 

Let me preface by saying that I was in high end audio and video sales for 6 or 7 years while working through college and have had the lucky experience of playing with some really nice equipment in the stores and customer homes. I am new to the computer scene. Over the past 6 months I have been shocked by the quality and convenience afforded by the computer as a source.

 

 

I have had three DACs in my system inthe past 6 months. I have used three USB cables including the D1. My comparison cable is an Audioquest Carbon. There is a substantial difference in price between the two cables but this is what I have onhand for comparison. The carbon is .75m and the D1 is three meters.The three meter length allows easy access to my laptop whilelistening. Vincent from Totaldac assured me the length was fine asthe filter portion is placed near the end of the cable. I assume that the filter technology plays a large part in the performance of the cable.

 

 

I have had the D1 in my system for almost a week, running a signal 24 hours a day. I could hear a substantial difference between the AQ and the D1 right out of the box. I do not have my audiophile dictionary or thesaurus handy so please take my descriptions with a grain of salt.

 

 

The performance of this cable is startling. Please keep in mind this is coming from a guy that bought into the simple 1s and 0s idea of a USB cable. The purchase was a hard pill to swallow as the cable sells for 330 to 390 euros depending on length. I only paid 800 dollars for my DAC so this was a leap of faith based on other reviews and advice as mentioned above. I am going to list the main improvements I hear with the D1, in order of my perceived significance:

 

 

 

  1. detail at all levels including instrument texture
  2. coherence
  3. three dimensional presentation
  4. liquid and smooth delivery
  5. enveloping sound in all planes
  6. huge bass scale and control

 

 

When listening I find I am literally “sucked” into the music. Clearly this is based on the quality of the recording and sound engineering. This cable will expose all aspects of the recording. Performers occupy distinct areas in the stage and the presentation is LARGE. Ambiance and air is amazing. I attribute this to the ability of the cable to pass along the detail of the recording. The music extends in front of, outside of, over and well beyond the plane of my speakers. As I mentioned I feel like I am enveloped by the sound vs a flatter presentation. I am not a big fan of forward presentations. Even though the presentation is somewhat forward it is well balanced by a deep rear soundstage.

 

 

In summary, even though the cable is expensive the increase in performance is on par with a component upgrade. I can truly say I have seen improvement in all areas withthe D1. The cable may improve over the next week but I am happy where I am, listening right now. I have a loaner scheduled from the Cable Co. for the Lightspeed. We will see if audiophile nervosa takes hold.

 

Listening system:

Rotel RDD-1580

Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum

Spendor Sp ½

SVS SB 1000 subwoofers

Nordost Red Dawn speaker cables and interconnect

Totaldac D1 usb cable/filter

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Nice write up JayDog. I have been using the TotalDac D1 for a while now and it is my favorite usb cable to date. Very happy with it and I would agree with your assessments. Michael Lavorgna of Audiostream compared the D1 to the Light Harmonic Light Speed and he preferred the D1.

 

Ted B, a contributor here on CA (he wrote the Chord Qute EX DAC review) has a D1 in for audition at the moment and will be writing a review. John Darko of Digital Audio Review is in the process of writing a review as well.

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I hesitated, then ordered "only" a PPA red (seem to be very closed from the Jcat usb), as I couldn't definitively spend the amount for the TotaDac cable/filter. Maybe psychological...

 

Would be very interested if someone compared 3 or 4 usb cables in this price range (about $300, more or less), like the TotalDac, RAL, Elijah, Jcat/PPA, Oyaide continental...

Roon / audio-linux / dual PC / I2s FGPA Dac / analog tube processor / analog tube crossover / active speakers / dual subs / absorption+massive diffusion / ugly cat in the room

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Nice write up JayDog. I have been using the TotalDac D1 for a while now and it is my favorite usb cable to date. Very happy with it and I would agree with your assessments. Michael Lavorgna of Audiostream compared the D1 to the Light Harmonic Light Speed and he preferred the D1.

 

Ted B, a contributor here on CA (he wrote the Chord Qute EX DAC review) has a D1 in for audition at the moment and will be writing a review. John Darko of Digital Audio Review is in the process of writing a review as well.

 

I am looking forward to read more reviews. I have learned so much from the information shared on these forums. Glad you are enjoying the cable too!

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Would be very interested if someone compared 3 or 4 usb cables in this price range (about $300, more or less), like the TotalDac, RAL, Elijah, Jcat/PPA, Oyaide continental...

 

There's a USB cable comparison thread on here, it's even gotten quite long. You should find it and read it. It compares all kinds of low, to mid, to high end cables. Many of them fall into that $300 category you just mentioned. And many of them are even those cables you mentioned.

 

As for this D1 review, ~very~ interesting to read. I'll have to keep an eye out for those other upcoming D1 reviews from Ted and Darko. I like those guys :-)

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There's a USB cable comparison thread on here, it's even gotten quite long. You should find it and read it. It compares all kinds of low, to mid, to high end cables. Many of them fall into that $300 category you just mentioned. And many of them are even those cables you mentioned.

 

Sort of, actually. For some reason there is almost no talk about the PPA or the JCAT cables here, and I don't recall any comments on the thread you refer. I even asked about them and got no answers.

 

I'm interested in the D1, PPA and JCAT for my Audiophilleo, but I'm having a hard time getting much feedback. If anyone here has some, I would really love to hear about it.

Roon Server: general purpose Gigabyte GA-Z170X UD5, i5 6600, Crucial MX200 SSD, HyperX 1x16GB RAM, Win 10 Pro, convolving in Roon digital xo + DRC + upsampling. Output through ethernet.

Roon Client AudioPC: Uptone etherRegen (with LPS 1.2) into Intel S1200KPR, Xeon E3 1265lv2, Crucial V4 SSD for OS, 8GB ECC RAM, Streacom FC8 Evo case, lab linear PSU, Windows Server 2019, AudioPhil's Optimizer, Acourate (digital xo, room correction)

Rest of Chain: Lynx Hilo as 8-channel DAC, McIntosh MC275 MkIV for mids & treble, Hypex UcD400HG for midbass into DIY dipoles 18" midbass/2x8" mids/AMT tweeter, 2 DIY 12" Rythmik subs, Equi=Core 1800 balanced power, dedicated power lines, room treatments

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Another professional review of the totaldac D1 usb cable/filter, this time from Steven Plaskin on audiostream.com:

 

"My initial listening was done with the USB input using the Totaldac USB cable / filter. This USB cable provides a shielded aluminum box with high performance filters that reduce digital noise from the computer or server. As Michael (Lavorgna) found with the Totaldac d1-dual DAC, the Totaldac USB cable sounded better to me than the Light Harmonic LightSpeed or the JCAT USB Cable. The LightSpeed sounded a little bright and thin compared to the Totaldac cable. The JCAT was not as detailed or large in terms of soundstage. I would highly recommend that anyone considering purchase of the Totaldac d1-monobloc consider the Totaldac USB cable / filter.

51814totaldac5.jpg

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Office:  Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE w/preamp module | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Raidho X-1 | REL T/5x sub

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I'm interested in the D1, PPA and JCAT for my Audiophilleo, but I'm having a hard time getting much feedback. If anyone here has some, I would really love to hear about it.

 

I have all three and am reviewing them in an upcoming article about 3 of the best boutique USB cables (I am sooo behind :( ). All three are tremendous cables in their own right, and in their own spaces (horses for courses).

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  • 1 month later...

Also looking forward towards any additional input on the Topic, I really want to upgrade from the Audioquest Coffe which I currently own towards a Totaldac USB Cable. Unfortunately, not many reviews are up so far...

Windows 2012 Server R2 with Jplay > Audioquest Coffee > Accuphase DAC-40 > Accuphase E-360 > Custom Cables, Chord Signature Jumpers > Triangle Signature Delta

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  • 1 month later...

John Darko of Digital Audio Review, review now up (see the link at the bottom of the page to see his full review on 6 moons).

 

http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2014/08/totaldac-d1-filtering-usb-cable-review-6moons/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=totaldac-d1-filtering-usb-cable-review-6moons

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6moons has also tested all the TOTALDAC family.

Have a ear on it.

Its not a dac, it's Music.

CloneAudio LPSU for QnapHS-251 fanless - UpTone JS2 for MacMini i7 (SD card only-CAD scripts-MMK fan kit-no disc inside- Audirvana2)- JS2 for REGEN - BelCantoRefLink-TotalDacD1tube(Mullard ECC82 NOS) //Halgorythme single end 300b EML //DiY Open Baffle & Leedh Elfe

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I have all three and am reviewing them in an upcoming article about 3 of the best boutique USB cables (I am sooo behind :( ). All three are tremendous cables in their own right, and in their own spaces (horses for courses).

 

I'll be looking forward to your review Ted. It's not easy comparing multiple cables in a review; pretty time consuming.

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

Steve Plaskin

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  • 1 month later...

Ted_b - any news on the review ?

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

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Ted_b - any news on the review ?

 

Adam, it will be in the 3rd part of my review series (where I explain the pieces/parts of the dual CAPS/JRiver/JPlay/AO system). I will do a review on AO, the TotalDAC D1 USB and the JCAT series of products (USB card, USB cable, SATA cable, LAN cable). I expect to have part one (intro and Auralic Aries) next week.

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I read the Darko review at 6 moons, and unfortunately the potted assembly of the Totaldac D1 meant that it could not be opened for examination.

Suffice to say it's either bus powered filter, or a passive filtering device, combined with special sauce ;) There's an issue with electrical filters in that if two are in the same path, you can end up with resonances, standing waves if you like. The TotalDAC d1 filter could react with the DAC's own filtering and affect the timing and the sound. It's happened to me twice with the iUSB and iPurifier on the PD MPD-3 DAC, and would venture to say the same would go for the likes of the Exasound E series/Meitner EMM, since they both substantial filter and control the USB packets in the front ends of the DACs.

 

The OP's DAC doesn't filter, or perhaps uses a RC filter to reduce the crud from the PC, so the results of adding a substantial filter are very much a clear cut standout in SQ, and that's terrific!

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My gess is the filter is potted to protect intelectual property. The designer of the TotalDAC has a lot of experience in high frequency transmission systems, so I wouldn't be surprised if he found a solution that noone thought about before. Sooner or later, some competitor will probably crack open the box to see how it works.

 

My Trinity DAC has a galvanic isolation on USB input (according to the tech drawings provided, the isolation takes place between the USB receiver and the DAC, so most likely on I2S lines) and I haven't noticed any adverse effects.

 

In fact, my preliminary listening I did yesterday night suggest, this is a very, very good cable indeed.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by 'control the USB packets in the front ends of the DACs'. My understanding was that Meitner uses a memory buffer to reclock the incoming data, which is placed AFTER the USB receiver, so most likely works with SPDIF or I2S signals, not 'USB packets'.

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

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  • 4 weeks later...

Pretty new here, and hope to be recognized as a fellow compadre :)

 

I have had the Totadac USB cable for a very long time, and it has performed wonderfully on every DAC I have tried it on. Truly head and shoulders above any of the others I have tried, including:

 

AudoQuest Diamond, Revelation, Jcat, Chord...

 

This cable really shines in tone density and inner detail like no other. It locks the artists in places really well, and just sounds right.

 

This cable was my gateway drug into Totaldac, and I now have the Totaldac Monobloc DAC's and Server/Reclocker. Everything I have gotten from Vincent has been the best in digital reproduction I have ever heard.

 

And what's up with the typing on this forum? I can't type faster than 1 letter per second. If I do, the letters do not register. Crazy

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And what's up with the typing on this forum? I can't type faster than 1 letter per second. If I do, the letters do not register. Crazy

 

I suspect that the problem is at your end. I can type as fast as I am able to without any problems. I haven't seen any complaints similar to yours.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Pretty new here, and hope to be recognized as a fellow compadre :)

 

I have had the Totadac USB cable for a very long time, and it has performed wonderfully on every DAC I have tried it on. Truly head and shoulders above any of the others I have tried, including:

 

AudoQuest Diamond, Revelation, Jcat, Chord...

 

This cable really shines in tone density and inner detail like no other. It locks the artists in places really well, and just sounds right.

 

This cable was my gateway drug into Totaldac, and I now have the Totaldac Monobloc DAC's and Server/Reclocker. Everything I have gotten from Vincent has been the best in digital reproduction I have ever heard.

 

And what's up with the typing on this forum? I can't type faster than 1 letter per second. If I do, the letters do not register. Crazy

 

Welcome, and thanks for the post.

 

 

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I read the Darko review at 6 moons, and unfortunately the potted assembly of the Totaldac D1 meant that it could not be opened for examination.

Suffice to say it's either bus powered filter, or a passive filtering device, combined with special sauce ;) There's an issue with electrical filters in that if two are in the same path, you can end up with resonances, standing waves if you like. The TotalDAC d1 filter could react with the DAC's own filtering and affect the timing and the sound. It's happened to me twice with the iUSB and iPurifier on the PD MPD-3 DAC, and would venture to say the same would go for the likes of the Exasound E series/Meitner EMM, since they both substantial filter and control the USB packets in the front ends of the DACs.

 

The OP's DAC doesn't filter, or perhaps uses a RC filter to reduce the crud from the PC, so the results of adding a substantial filter are very much a clear cut standout in SQ, and that's terrific!

 

From my experience with the Totaldac D1 USB cable and exaSound & Playback Designs DACs are far away from affecting the timing and the sound, but the contrary: no resonaces.

 

The cable designer talks about filtering RC from the computer and from external RF.

 

If you want "analytical sound" , like from the LightSpeed USB cable this is not for you, because I have already enough "analytical" from my ELS speakers, and/or I don't like a sound with more detail that in real life. Then, the Totaldac D1 USB cable is, to my taste, a musical cable: Nothing added, nothing removed (from music). It's very different from the iUSB and iPurifier.

 

Roch

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