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My current DAC/CD/SACD player is an EmmLabs XDS1v2. Does 192/DSD64. I love it.

 

Looking for an upgrade. A must is 384/DSD128. On my short list:

 

EmmLabs DA2

dCS Rossini DAC

Berkeley Alpha RS v2

TotalDac

 

Probably not Lampizators, I already have enough tubes around.

 

I have not listened to any of the above, although have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the EmmLabs.

 

Any recommendations?

mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

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My current DAC/CD/SACD player is an EmmLabs XDS1v2. Does 192/DSD64. I love it.

 

Looking for an upgrade. A must is 384/DSD128. On my short list:

 

EmmLabs DA2

dCS Rossini DAC

Berkeley Alpha RS v2

TotalDac

 

Probably not Lampizators, I already have enough tubes around.

 

I have not listened to any of the above, although have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the EmmLabs.

 

Any recommendations?

 

 

Wait until 2018 CES as the formats for hirez streaming playout

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Wait until 2018 CES as the formats for hirez streaming playout

That's a pretty sound recommendation! Pun intended.

 

EmmLabs has actually updated the Dac2x to 384/DSD128 (which is the same DAC as the DAC section of my XDS1v2). However, they can do this because the input board they designed for the DA2 can be used as the input board in the Dac2x. The XDS1v2 has a different shaped input board, and it is not clear to me they will bother to upgrade it (I have asked and it keeps getting pushed back, for over a year).

 

Nonetheless, I think your recommendation makes a lot of sense.

 

BTW, I am particularly puzzled by the lack of RoonReady in all of the high-end DACs I've seen. dCS says they will add it over firmware... but when? I also like NAA to my microRendu, so it's not a deal killer, but seriously...

mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

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That's a pretty sound recommendation! Pun intended.

 

EmmLabs has actually updated the Dac2x to 384/DSD128 (which is the same DAC as the DAC section of my XDS1v2). However, they can do this because the input board they designed for the DA2 can be used as the input board in the Dac2x. The XDS1v2 has a different shaped input board, and it is not clear to me they will bother to upgrade it (I have asked and it keeps getting pushed back, for over a year).

 

Nonetheless, I think your recommendation makes a lot of sense.

 

BTW, I am particularly puzzled by the lack of RoonReady in all of the high-end DACs I've seen. dCS says they will add it over firmware... but when? I also like NAA to my microRendu, so it's not a deal killer, but seriously...

 

Have you considered just upgrading a digital cable, power cable, or vibration control of your current DAC? As long as you get a 30 day risk free guarantee it can't hurt.

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Have you considered just upgrading a digital cable, power cable, or vibration control of your current DAC? As long as you get a 30 day risk free guarantee it can't hurt.

Ha! Yeah... Except for the power cord (although I am trying out a Wells Audio Looking Glass Reference power conditioner). Also tried many forms of rendering (mini's USB, Aries, microRendu).

 

Looking for a DAC that can do DSD128 over DoP well.

mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

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That's a pretty sound recommendation! Pun intended.

BTW, I am particularly puzzled by the lack of RoonReady in all of the high-end DACs I've seen. dCS says they will add it over firmware... but when? I also like NAA to my microRendu, so it's not a deal killer, but seriously...

 

What does RoonReady have to do with DAC's? Shouldn't it be the other way around? RoonReady ready for all DAC's? This RoonReady is getting out of hand, similar to MQA.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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What does RoonReady have to do with DAC's? Shouldn't it be the other way around? RoonReady ready for all DAC's? This RoonReady is getting out of hand, similar to MQA.

You can play Roon by connecting your DAC to your computer. That works for all DACs with a USB connection or via a USB bridge. RoonReady as I am referring to here means that Roon can play directly to the DAC over the network, avoiding all sorts of issues. Right now I do this with a microRendu - actually via HQPlayer over NAA. Some DACs and streamers with network connections should have this but they don't.

mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

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You can play Roon by connecting your DAC to your computer. That works for all DACs with a USB connection or via a USB bridge. RoonReady as I am referring to here means that Roon can play directly to the DAC over the network, avoiding all sorts of issues. Right now I do this with a microRendu - actually via HQPlayer over NAA. Some DACs and streamers with network connections should have this but they don't.

 

Or creating new issues. Do we really want a DAC to be subjected to a network receiver of a streamed content? My first thought would be to avoid such a DAC or at least avoid using this feature. Like my Hugo, I never use the Bluetooth. It's awful. I suppose for mobility this may be desired, where SQ is not as important?

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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Or creating new issues. Do we really want a DAC to be subjected to a network receiver of a streamed content? My first thought would be to avoid such a DAC or at least avoid using this feature. Like my Hugo, I never use the Bluetooth. It's awful. I suppose for mobility this may be desired, where SQ is not as important?

That's where the microRendu comes in. Point is: the simplest solutions don't sound as good.

mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

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That's where the microRendu comes in. Point is: the simplest solutions don't sound as good.

I don't disagree that the renderer/server/NAA should be roon ready, all are computers with capable software applications. But you said DAC? "The simplest solutions don't sound as good?" Says who?

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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Question: the main benefit of network transports is that they fully decouple USB from the chain while at the same time allowing for high bit rate audio, right? If so, I would expect high end DACs would have that functionality at least as an option.

 

If it's just another XMOS/Amanero DAC than you might as well just use a Chinese product and get much better value for the dollar.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile

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I don't disagree that the renderer/server/NAA should be roon ready, all are computers with capable software applications. But you said DAC? "The simplest solutions don't sound as good?" Says who?

Ok honey.. A bit feisty aren't we? Goodnight

mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

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My current DAC/CD/SACD player is an EmmLabs XDS1v2. Does 192/DSD64. I love it.

 

Looking for an upgrade. A must is 384/DSD128. On my short list:

 

EmmLabs DA2

dCS Rossini DAC

Berkeley Alpha RS v2

TotalDac

 

Probably not Lampizators, I already have enough tubes around.

 

I have not listened to any of the above, although have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the EmmLabs.

 

Any recommendations?

First, you have an incredible and clean looking system. It's one of my favorites here if not the best. To that end, if you like the EMM Sound why not just go for the DA2. However, if you want a change the Rossini might fit your Roon requirement. Although I've read that you do need the external clock for maximum performance. Getting rid of one box to add another is always a pain. Especially if you are trying to reduce footprint.

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Ok honey.. A bit feisty aren't we? Goodnight

 

Mig,

 

If you are looking for a SS Dac, with a min of 24/384, the the Ayre QX-5 or the Chord DAVE are your best bet.

The Aqua Formula only does 24/192 but is also highly rated.

 

Perhapsyou should also look at the Lampi Golden Atlantic, as it has a more SS sound (those 4P1L pentodes) than the Golden Gate and can do 24/384 and DSD256 as standard. You can also add a separate DSD512 board as an option.Fully loaded should be about $9K.

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Actually the Aqua Formula supports up to 24 bit / 384 KHz as shown on its webpage. Same now for their latest LaScala MkII Optologic DAC. Both also now support DSD64 and 128.

 

Based on the system profile of the original poster, the Formula looks like a perfect fit. I have the La Scala running into a Rogers EHF 200, so I have some notion of how the Aqua gear works with an all tube set up, which is quite well. Formula may be an even better fit, in addition to being an overall upgrade.

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First, you have an incredible and clean looking system. It's one of my favorites here if not the best. To that end, if you like the EMM Sound why not just go for the DA2. However, if you want a change the Rossini might fit your Roon requirement. Although I've read that you do need the external clock for maximum performance. Getting rid of one box to add another is always a pain. Especially if you are trying to reduce footprint.

I do like the EMM sound, and I agree that the DA2 might be the way to go. I have never auditioned the Rossini, but given dCS's reputation I would definitely like to. I will have to see if I can get one for a few days, auditioning a piece in a different system given the small differences we are talking about would not be meaningful.

 

Are there any other options I am not considering that I should? How about Nagra? PS Audio?

 

 

 

PS: Thx for the compliment!

mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

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Just in case the OP hasn't seen this review of the DA2.

 

EMM Labs TX2 Limited Edition CD/SACD Transport & DA2 Stereo DAC Review - Dagogo | A Unique Audiophile Experience

 

There are also some comments comparing it to the XDS1V2.

Yes, I had seen this. And Chris here has the DA2 under review as well. The XDS1v2 has the added advantage of having a transport, which I sometimes use, but I am willing to give that up.

mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

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MSB? Good network solution.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I can't speak for personal experience with Nagra but, I had a PS Directstream running Torreys (Latest OS) in my system for about two weeks.

 

I'll say that it's a great DAC and can be had lower than the MSRP and I've quite a few of them Audigon but, I had too many quirks with the USB input for me to purchase it. I don't mean to belittle PS audio but it's not in the same league as your current Digital Front end nor the products you are considering purchasing.

 

The companies you mentioned have a pedigree in Digital Audio but, I don't think PS Audio does. Again my opinion but, they certainly do make a product that is a great value with a great price to performance ratio.

 

I second the MSB Analog DAC suggestion here. Give that a listen in your system. EMM, DCS, Berkeley and MSB are all State of the Art Solid State Digital products.

 

I'm sure you can't go wrong with any of those brands.

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Actually the Aqua Formula supports up to 24 bit / 384 KHz as shown on its webpage. Same now for their latest LaScala MkII Optologic DAC. Both also now support DSD64 and 128.

 

I stand corrected. He can put it in the list then!

Nagra is tubed, so I thought that was not being considered.

 

Hearing good things about the new AYRE digital hub as well, QX-5 20.

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I stand corrected. He can put it in the list then!

Nagra is tubed, so I thought that was not being considered.

 

Hearing good things about the new AYRE digital hub as well, QX-5 20.

I will consider anything that sounds amazing. I meant that the Lampizator's (from what I have read) tend to already have a tubey character. Again, maybe it's just people seeing the big tubes on it... :)

mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

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