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Auralic VEGA with and without Sonore ultrarendu


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Dear all,

 

I have my an Ultrarendu powered by an Sbooster power supply connected through USB to an Auralic VEGA. I'm currently switching between the Roon and the MPD/DLNA mode for use with Audirvana, just to experiment a bit. Everything works very well, with a mac Mini used to host Roon and Audirvana.

Nevertheless, when I connect my VEGA directly to my mac using USB (Carbon from Audioquest) and using Audirvana, I can honestly say that the sound is not bad at all, and I sometimes have a more 'transparent' sound, by lack of a better word. More "headspace", if you will. 

As such, while the sound using Ultrarendu is of course very good, I feel that the extra cost of the Ultrarendu and power supply have not lead to a clear upgrade in sound quality. The sound is different, but not necessarily better. All is going through wired ethernet of course.

Given the almost universally good reviews of the Ultrarendu, I must ask: am I doing something wrong? Or is it maybe that the VEGA has very good jitter correction built in, surpassing the benefits of the Ultrarendu (does not seem likely)?

 

Any comments are appreciated!

 

Rodrigo

 

 

  

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I've used a Vega in many configurations and almost always heard the differences. Downstream components need to be of sufficient quality/resolution to detect these differences. Or, you're listening for one thing, but the difference is elsewhere, or not listening for a long enough period to make comparisons.

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The Auralic Vega has been my reference DAC for the past few years.  It sounds really good, especially with Exact clock mode set.  One particular aspect of Vega that has impressed me the most is how it elevates the sound quality of Redbook 16/44.1K recordings close to high resolution recordings att 24/96K or higher.  The Vega essentially eliminates the need to pursue high resolution PCM audio.

 

About a year ago I did an informal shootout between Auralic Aries and Sonore microRendu driving my Vega over USB.  The Aries bested the microRendu, with or without an UpTone USB REGEN connected to the output of microRendu.  The Aries & Vega combo has been impossible to beat in my setup, and I tried quite hard.

 

I believe the Vega upsampler DSP (Sanctuary processor) is the key to its good sound, more so than the ESS Sabre DAC chip (which is no slouch either).

 

I recently completed some modifications to the power supply section of my Vega and my friend's.  The purity of the sound was audibly improved.

 

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Dear all,

 

Thank you all for your comments!

I agree that the VEGA is a really excellent DAC. Just to be clear, I've listened for prolonged periods using either the Ultrarendu or the direct-USB connection, not just a quick A/B switching. It is not that the Ultrarendu sounds bad (of course not), it's just that it sounds different, and by extension maybe not on par with what you would expect spending the additional expense. Evidently I test with HQ recordings, and I have a Hifiman HE-560 for listening (no speakers in this setup) , which is not a bad headphone. I listen exclusively with headphones on an Auralic Taurus MKII headphone amplifier, also very good, using XLR cables of good quality.

Anyway, I'll further see what can be improved on the power supply section as you suggest, and I'll post an update then.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Rodrigo Salgado said:

Dear all,

 

Thank you all for your comments!

I agree that the VEGA is a really excellent DAC. Just to be clear, I've listened for prolonged periods using either the Ultrarendu or the direct-USB connection, not just a quick A/B switching. It is not that the Ultrarendu sounds bad (of course not), it's just that it sounds different, and by extension maybe not on par with what you would expect spending the additional expense. Evidently I test with HQ recordings, and I have a Hifiman HE-560 for listening (no speakers in this setup) , which is not a bad headphone. I listen exclusively with headphones on an Auralic Taurus MKII headphone amplifier, also very good, using XLR cables of good quality.

Anyway, I'll further see what can be improved on the power supply section as you suggest, and I'll post an update then.

 

 

 

I am quite aligned with your opinion of Vega and ultraRendu.  The Vega has a dynamic and engaging sound, though it is still sensitive to how it is being driven, especially over USB.  A Vega driven by a direct USB connection to a PC will not sound its best.  Since Vega does not use USB bus power, I've been using an Sbooster VBus2 isolator on the USB cable for Vega with slightly improved sonic results.

 

It's interesting you mentioned Auralic Taurus MkII headphone amplifier.  I also have one of these connected to the Vega and listen with my Sennheiser HD 800 with aftermarket balanced headphone cable.  I use Mogami Gold XLR cables.  My Taurus MkII also recently underwent modifications to its power supply section.  If you are interested in the changes, send me a PM.

 

I also have a Jensen PI-2XX isolation transformer sitting between Vega and Taurus MkII.  In addition to isolation properties the Jensen serves as a low-pass filter to attenuate ultrasonic frequencies coming out of Vega.  The benefit is mostly in smoother sounding treble.

 

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20 hours ago, scan80269 said:

I recently completed some modifications to the power supply section of my Vega and my friend's.  The purity of the sound was audibly improved.

 

scan, can you mention what changes you made?

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16 hours ago, Rodrigo Salgado said:

Dear all,

 

Thank you all for your comments!

I agree that the VEGA is a really excellent DAC. Just to be clear, I've listened for prolonged periods using either the Ultrarendu or the direct-USB connection, not just a quick A/B switching. It is not that the Ultrarendu sounds bad (of course not), it's just that it sounds different, and by extension maybe not on par with what you would expect spending the additional expense. Evidently I test with HQ recordings, and I have a Hifiman HE-560 for listening (no speakers in this setup) , which is not a bad headphone. I listen exclusively with headphones on an Auralic Taurus MKII headphone amplifier, also very good, using XLR cables of good quality.

Anyway, I'll further see what can be improved on the power supply section as you suggest, and I'll post an update then.

 

 

 

 

What does your ethernet chain look like when the ultraRendu is in play?

Streamer dCS Network Bridge DAC Chord DAVE Amplifier / DRC Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 Speakers Lindemann BL-10 | JL audio E-sub e110 Head-fi and reference Bakoon HPA-21 | Audeze LCD-3 (f) Power and isolation Dedicated power line | Xentek extreme isolation transformer (1KVA, balanced) | Vibex one 6R power distributor | Uptone Audio JS-2 | Uptone Audio EtherREGEN | Uptone Audio UltraCap LPS-1.2 | Sonore OpticalModule | Emo Systems EN-70HD | Jensen CI-1RR Cables Transparent premium AES/EBU, Nordost Leif Red Dawn analog RCA, Kimber 8TC speaker cables, custom star-quad with Oyaide connectors for AC, Ghent for DC and ethernet Roon server Mac Mini/i7/SSD/16GB/Uptone DC mod/ext. SDD via firewire, Catalina | Roon | Tidal | Qobuz 

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2 hours ago, kilroy said:

scan, can you mention what changes you made?

I replaced 12 surface-mount silicon rectifier diodes with Schottky rectifiers, and 6 large electrolytic capacitors with higher value and lower ESR models.  These components are all in the power supply section.

 

I also replaced two crystal oscillators on the USB daughterboard with Crystek CCHD-575.

 

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2 hours ago, Rodrigo Salgado said:

 

Ethernet goes like this: entry point router in the garage, then with Devolo Powerline dLAN 1200 to my office where another Devolo Powerline goes to a Netgear splitter, and from there to the Ultrarendu.

 

 

 

Well, there is your answer probably. There is a lot of information on these forums about getting a clean ethernet signal into your ultraRendu. Especially in the 'Networking, Networked Audio, and Streaming' section and in the Uptone Sponsored section (thread about SMPS and grounding). Focus there on the John Swenson contributions!

Streamer dCS Network Bridge DAC Chord DAVE Amplifier / DRC Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 Speakers Lindemann BL-10 | JL audio E-sub e110 Head-fi and reference Bakoon HPA-21 | Audeze LCD-3 (f) Power and isolation Dedicated power line | Xentek extreme isolation transformer (1KVA, balanced) | Vibex one 6R power distributor | Uptone Audio JS-2 | Uptone Audio EtherREGEN | Uptone Audio UltraCap LPS-1.2 | Sonore OpticalModule | Emo Systems EN-70HD | Jensen CI-1RR Cables Transparent premium AES/EBU, Nordost Leif Red Dawn analog RCA, Kimber 8TC speaker cables, custom star-quad with Oyaide connectors for AC, Ghent for DC and ethernet Roon server Mac Mini/i7/SSD/16GB/Uptone DC mod/ext. SDD via firewire, Catalina | Roon | Tidal | Qobuz 

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  • 2 months later...

I too found the sound of the ultrarendu (as well as bel canto renderer) to underwhelming, and I‘m not fond of usb straight to dac either.

 

Recently picked up a Vega G2 and have been feeding it Tidal and my files on an NAS via Ethernet. Best sounding digital I’ve ever experienced.

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