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CAPS server, Lynx AES16 and a S/PDIF DAC?


ghook2020
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Am finally getting delivery of a Naim DAC this week. It is S/PDIF only, with RCA, BNC and Toslink inputs.

 

Am very interested in following Chris's blueprint for the CAPS server, but would appreciate advice on sound card options.

 

This DAC supports 24/192 input, so I'd rather not settle for the 24/96 limitation of the Lynx Two. The Lynx AES16 was obviously made for AES/EBU DACs, but at least one forum member appears to have had success mating a HD26-to-XLR cable with a Canare 110-to-75ohm impedence transformer.

 

My question are:

 

* Is this too many conversions? Will the Lynx AES16's digital output suffer? And is this a *safe* option? Would hate to fry my new DAC.

 

* Do you think Lynx has a new 24/192 version of the Lynx Two coming anytime soon? (Have left multiple voice and emails for Lynx sales, but no reply yet).

 

* Am I better off with a different PCI solution with S/PDIF output (e.g., Xonar ST, [email protected])?

 

* Or should I bag the whole PCI idea, and go USB (Hiface? Off Ramp?)

 

The rest of my system is Naim Nait XS/Flatcap XS and Harbeth C7s.

My goal is best fidelity at a budget that is appropriate to the rest of my setup. But I do buy in to the whole "source first" philosophy, so am willing to stretch my budget to do this right.

 

Thank you all very much for your advice!

 

Hook

 

Hook[br]Minneapolis, MN

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An RME HDSP 9632 would be a good alternative to the Lynx which will provide both an SPDIF output along with AES if you ever change your DAC.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Great suggestion - thanks Eloise!

 

The reviews of this card are all extremely positive. It appears to check all of the right boxes!

 

One more question: any thoughts on how it would compare on input to, say, to a Benchmark ADC1? I love my vinyl collection, but would really like to start converting to high resolution digital.

 

Thanks again!

 

Hook

 

Hook[br]Minneapolis, MN

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was going to ask on the Naim forum but I can't log in for some reason so will ask you here...

 

Have you compared the RME card to Naim DAC via Optical as well as via custom cable?

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Hi Eloise -

 

I ran with the OptiChord Toslink cable for a couple of days before the Redco cable arrived. When I first installed the D-sub9 to BNC cable, I did not hear much of a difference at all. After a couple hours, I had a feeling that the BNC cable was slightly warmer, a little less bright. Nothing dramatic, just a feeling.

 

Yesterday I swapped back to the Toslink cable and the change was a bit clearer. The Toslink sounded a bit more detailed, a bit more emphasized in the treble. Upon going back to the BNC cable, I felt it had a more balanced overall sound.

 

Again, these are very subtle differences that I did not immediately detect. Took an hour or so of listening to multiple, familiar albums in order to form the opinion. Am certainly no golden ear -- too many rock concerts during my misspent youth -- but I detected just enough of a difference to develop a preference.

 

As you know, Naim recommends Toslink for noisy sources like computers. My guess is that the RME 9632's "ground-free transformer coupled" digital output must be doing a good job of preventing noise from entering the DAC.

 

Please do get that Naim forum login issue fixed! Your contributions there (and here) are much valued. Thanks again!

 

Hook

 

 

 

Hook[br]Minneapolis, MN

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