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1 hour ago, Huubster said:

 

@hopkins: I think your U192 is an important test case for them, I understood your U192 is received and already upgraded, and will be the first 'modified' version to be delivered.

 

Not sure about that. From my correspondence with John (translated from Dutch):

"The U192ETL modification regards a band-limiter circuit that decreases PC disturbance (that enters the U192ETL via USB) with a factor of approx. 250 before the signal is passed on to the DAC. Thereby the source dependance and related degrading should just about be solved."

 

And upon my question whether I received the new version:

"De U192ETL that you received is the new version with band-limiter circuit."

 

I will check with John in due time.

 

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24 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

And upon my question whether I received the new version:

"De U192ETL that you received is the new version with band-limiter circuit."

 

That will be true Bodiebill, then you received the version of the latest batch. I meant to say that Hopkins' version is the first original one being upgraded to the latest version. 

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11 hours ago, hopkins said:

...realistic music reproduction

I get what you have been posting about recording quality now. I listen to a lot of live recordings and with the U192/Fractal DAC some project a convincing realistic ambience and others less so. At the extremes it is as if they are either a whole sound or are hollowed out. This has probably got a lot to do with processing in the studio, but whatever it is recording quality is more exposed in a way I have not been so aware of before.

ATL DC Blocker > Topaz 2.5Kva Isolation Transformer > Sine SA5 Cryo 5 power strip > EtherRegen switch powered with Ciunas Supercaps 7.5v LPS > Laufer Mini Memory Player> EC Designs U192 USB Transport plus Fractal DAC > Decware SE84UFO3 Mono Amps > TNT UBYTE-2 Speaker cables > Omega Super Alnico Monitors. PH SR4 & Ian Canada UConditioner Ultracap 5V power supplies. 

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12 minutes ago, tapatrick said:

I tried streaming through a macbook pro laptop to test further if the U192/Fractal DAC is really source independent. Well ( in my system) there seems to be a noticeable difference between the laptop and my Antipodes music server. Laptop = hints of harshness that I hate with a flattering of the sound. Antipodes = holographic, full of ease, subtle details and no real contest.

 

I also tried powering the DAC with a clean 5v from a Paul Hynes SR4 and not a lot of difference between this and supplied power supply. I'm keeping the 5V USB injection on the U192 though.

 

John explained his new Power DAC project in an email today. This is an exciting development - he states it will completely eliminate the analogue signal path, will be virtually free of any distortion that will be able to drive 90db sensitive speakers and upwards. Due early 2021.

 

Thanks for the feedback. I am now getting a little confused about the so called "source immunity". Could you report this back to John and ask him what he thinks ?

 

It will be interesting to compare the U192 with the UPL to at least see if they provide similar SQ...

my blog

 

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1 hour ago, tapatrick said:

I tried streaming through a macbook pro laptop to test further if the U192/Fractal DAC is really source independent. Well ( in my system) there seems to be a noticeable difference between the laptop and my Antipodes music server. Laptop = hints of harshness that I hate with a flattering of the sound. Antipodes = holographic, full of ease, subtle details and no real contest.

 

Thanks for sharing, exactly what I expected.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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2 hours ago, hopkins said:

 

Thanks for the feedback. I am now getting a little confused about the so called "source immunity". Could you report this back to John and ask him what he thinks ?

 

It will be interesting to compare the U192 with the UPL to at least see if they provide similar SQ...

I will do the test a couple of more times, with different tracks just to make sure and put things in perspective. These are relative distinctions I'm making between two very good sounding solutions and John did say there might be minor distinctions. I look forward to hearing your impressions too.

ATL DC Blocker > Topaz 2.5Kva Isolation Transformer > Sine SA5 Cryo 5 power strip > EtherRegen switch powered with Ciunas Supercaps 7.5v LPS > Laufer Mini Memory Player> EC Designs U192 USB Transport plus Fractal DAC > Decware SE84UFO3 Mono Amps > TNT UBYTE-2 Speaker cables > Omega Super Alnico Monitors. PH SR4 & Ian Canada UConditioner Ultracap 5V power supplies. 

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From my reading of comments on the new EC Designs products I get the impression that they offer very good value for money. I wonder though if expections are perhaps a little unreasonable. Providing a streaming source from a device costing as much as a small car will I'm sure deliver some increase in SQ.

Comparisons can kill satisfaction in hifi as I'm sure we've all found.

As good as John's engineering is, these products are built to a certain budget - happily one that many normal mortals can afford. Maybe at twice the price some further minor improvements could be made to filter nasties from streaming sources.

It's all about diminishing returns though isn't it.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, tapatrick said:

 

 

The only way you can tell for sure is in your own system and I highly recommend you try if you can - if you are looking for a cost effective, refreshing sound quality.

 

I am indeed a fan of EC Designs producs having bought the UPL16 and MOS16. I am just wary of spending again when I have owned their previous products only a year. I am happy though that the MOS16 sounds better - in particular more natural than my old Schiit Mobi MB. 

I may try making an electro-tos type lead to see what more performance I can wring from the DAC.

For serious listening I tend to go to my vinyl but I am excited that EC Designs are making these strides in improving digital audio. Good mc cartridges aren't cheap!

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4 minutes ago, Michael L said:

For serious listening I tend to go to my vinyl but I am excited that EC Designs are making these strides in improving digital audio. Good mc cartridges aren't cheap!

Yes, no one is an audiophile to save money ! :)

I can appreciate the fast moving conveyor belt of EC products must be frustrating for current customers. Not sure what the solution is to this but maybe a time limited upgrade program is needed. I have been tempted to go back to vinyl over the past year but have put this on hold now...

ATL DC Blocker > Topaz 2.5Kva Isolation Transformer > Sine SA5 Cryo 5 power strip > EtherRegen switch powered with Ciunas Supercaps 7.5v LPS > Laufer Mini Memory Player> EC Designs U192 USB Transport plus Fractal DAC > Decware SE84UFO3 Mono Amps > TNT UBYTE-2 Speaker cables > Omega Super Alnico Monitors. PH SR4 & Ian Canada UConditioner Ultracap 5V power supplies. 

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3 minutes ago, Michael L said:

I may try making an electro-tos type lead to see what more performance I can wring from the DAC.

 

Some people experimented with that on DIYAudio. I had the chance of getting my (previous) UPL modified by John to implement the ElectroTos interlink and it was a clear upgrade from the toslink interlink (both in my system with the MOS16, and playing the UPL on a Terminator DAC at a friends') - now that I have had a chance to listen to the newer models, I would say that change was more akin to "fine tuning" whereas the new models are in a different league IMO.

my blog

 

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Thanks @tapatrick for this very clear and informative feedback. 👍 

 

The previous version of the U192 did not quite provide, to my ears (and I think Norton's as well) the "magic" of the UPL with the Fractal DAC. So this is very encourageing, and I hope to confirm that by the end of the week. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

my blog

 

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3 hours ago, bodiebill said:

Best SQ I have had so far with PC as a source.


For a few €000 extra and a bit of time prepping USB sticks, you might want to consider the UPL too, now you are near “all in” with ECD.  To my ears the DAC/UPL96 combo is often just astonishingly good (like now with RBCD of Solti Mahler 2). With further listening and reflection, I don’t think I’ve ever owned or heard digital products that represent such a step change in SQ.  Unfortunately, I still can’t compare yet with the revised UPL192, but I’d be surprised if there really was no difference at all.

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8 minutes ago, Norton said:

but I’d be surprised if there really was no difference at all.

I'm looking forward to hearing about surprises.... :)

ATL DC Blocker > Topaz 2.5Kva Isolation Transformer > Sine SA5 Cryo 5 power strip > EtherRegen switch powered with Ciunas Supercaps 7.5v LPS > Laufer Mini Memory Player> EC Designs U192 USB Transport plus Fractal DAC > Decware SE84UFO3 Mono Amps > TNT UBYTE-2 Speaker cables > Omega Super Alnico Monitors. PH SR4 & Ian Canada UConditioner Ultracap 5V power supplies. 

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1 hour ago, hopkins said:

 

My upgraded U192 is on its way home, so I should report back soon (a few days).

 

Curious to hear more! 🙂

 

Quote

 

@bodiebill, curious to hear more! 

 

I will soon leave for a short trip, until Sunday, so it will probably be next week.

 

First impressions, in addition to what I mentioned above:

The U192ETL/DA96ETF combination is not source independent. This is what I expected and neither do I see this as a problem.

I now have stellar SQ with (1) a minimalist SATA-less PC with a small Optane NVme drive fed by a Paul Hynes SR4 19V running wtfplay from a usb stick.

I also tried (2) playing from an external usb HD (with 5V LPSU) and then (3) streaming to the same PC running Gentooplayer mpd/upmpdcli, but in both latter cases SQ is not good enough. (Yes, we are getting spoiled.)

So I do have great SQ with  PC source, but only when I detach the network and the external usb drive. This means there is some inconvenience as I need to copy files to the Optane drive. On the other hand this enables me to convert flac to wav while copying (I am using xrecode3)  which gives a slight improvement.

This setup seems to equal the stand-alone HXMelody HX500 SD transport with the Terminator. Of course sound signatures are slightly different. More about that later.

 

@Norton I am already imagining the ultimate battle between the SDTrans384 (mine has just cleared customs, so I hope to pick it up soon), the new U192ETL and the new UPL192ETL, but it is all going a bit fast now, so I will first await @hopkins's report.

 

By the way, does anyone know whether it is possible to feed the U96ETL with I2S using some conversion? Then I could find out how the SDTrans sounds with the ECdesigns combo vs the Terminator.

 

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20 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

By the way, does anyone know whether it is possible to feed the U96ETL with I2S using some conversion? Then I could find out how the SDTrans sounds with the ECdesigns combo vs the Terminator.

 

Here the answer from ECD to a similar question on diyaudio:

 

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/79452-building-ultimate-nos-dac-using-tda1541a-767.html#post6274638

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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12 minutes ago, matthias said:

 

19 minutes ago, hopkins said:

Thanks. I don't think there is any way to feed your SDTrans into the U96ETL. 

 

I was rather thinking of an external converter / DDC: I2S to USB. Unlike the opposite direction, this seems rare. There may be some studio devices doing that involving AES. I think I will let it go... 🙂

 

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