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The Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC

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1 minute ago, Music Enthusiast said:

No it’s not a stepped attenuator either. As I have said many times it’s called a digital rotary encoder. 

 

Anyways that system isn’t 100% drawback free. Which is why the digital control in the Tambaqui is claimed to be superior. 

I can say whatever it is; it's incredible.  The sound (or not) of the Tambaqui is truly special.  


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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3 hours ago, Superdad said:

 

Are you sending yours to you-know-who for measurement?  Otherwise how will you know if it's better than a Topping? :P

Happy New Year Jason.

--AJC

Very good point because every ASR fan knows for a fact that anyone who spends over $500 on a DAC is an idiot. 

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40 minutes ago, Music Enthusiast said:

Very good point because every ASR fan knows for a fact that anyone who spends over $500 on a DAC is an idiot. 

I'm not the biggest fan of that site, but I think testing various units (not just DACs) in terms of their actual output is a useful service - if the measurements are done correctly. 

Archimago sometimes does the same type of thing at his site.
 

It doesn't mean all units sound the same, or that expensive DACs are for idiots, but I think it is useful data to see that sometimes more modestly priced components measure as well or better than more expensive ones, and that some of the tweaks that audiophiles think are so important actually don't seem to make a difference at all at the output.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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25 minutes ago, firedog said:

I'm not the biggest fan of that site, but I think testing various units (not just DACs) in terms of their actual output is a useful service - if the measurements are done correctly. 

Archimago sometimes does the same type of thing at his site.
 

It doesn't mean all units sound the same, or that expensive DACs are for idiots, but I think it is useful data to see that sometimes more modestly priced components measure as well or better than more expensive ones, and that some of the tweaks that audiophiles think are so important actually don't seem to make a difference at all at the output.

I think it's far more misleading than it is of service. Because people are going to go off of his recommendations when buying a DAC. And there's a good chance that they won't like what they hear. 

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19 hours ago, Superdad said:

(Though a lot of folks over at ASR do seem to espouse the opinion that if a $250 DAC measures the same as a $20K DAC then they will sound about the same. O.o)

 

Do you really mean to suggest that they might not? 😕


"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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On 1/2/2019 at 9:26 AM, firedog said:

It doesn't mean all units sound the same, or that expensive DACs are for idiots, but I think it is useful data to see that sometimes more modestly priced components measure as well or better than more expensive ones, and that some of the tweaks that audiophiles think are so important actually don't seem to make a difference at all at the output.

 

I'm most worried about the expensive gear that measures badly... I sometimes wonder if the manufacturer ever measured their creation...

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Just now, Miska said:

 

I'm most worried about the expensive gear that measures badly... I sometimes wonder if the manufacturer ever measured their creation...

 

Probably not. Probably voiced by ear to "sound good", which could include lots of euphonic distortion.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Shortly after the Mola Mola Kalugas settled in, I started thinking about a DAC that would be their equal. And I wanted to get the best sound with the fewest boxes and cables.  My DAC wish list included:

 

·     Synergy with Kalugas – sound, connectivity, aesthetics

·     Significantly better sounding than a PSAudio DirectStream (using Snowmass OS)

·     No preamp required

·     No streamer required 

·     Sounds excellent with all sources: medium-resolution internet radio, Redbook and high-resolution downloads/streaming

·     User friendly

·     No power conditioning required 

 

Then the Mola Mola Tambaqui became available for an in-house demo.   Based upon the demo, I purchased a Tambaqui about 5 weeks ago. 

 

Current setup:  Bryston BDP > AES/EBU > Tambaqui > XLR > Kaluga.  Once the Tambaqui is Roon certified, ethernet will run straight to the DAC and the BDP won’t be needed.  I’m curious to hear the difference using the Tambaqui’s ethernet input.  I found that powering the Tambaqui straight from the wall and using an XLR cable (vs RCA) yielded the best sound in my system.  

 

What does it sound like? A lot like live music – exciting and engaging.  I thoroughly enjoyed the DirectStream for many years, but the Tambaqui is on a different level.  You could dissect the differences, but that would be missing the gestalt.  The Tambaqui’s purpose is to let you truly hear the musicians and rediscover every recording.  I should add that my previous DACs didn’t ever sound right to me with high-resolution files.  The Tambaqui makes the most of them.  Which is great since high-res Qobuz is available in the U.S. now, is accessible/integrated with Roon and sounds amazing.     

 

With the included Apple remote for volume control and switching among sources, the Tambaqui is easy for my wife to use with her favorite interface – a Logitech Touch (and her Pandora stations sounds great).  The Tambaqui smart phone app also controls those functions and adds the ability to assign 4 presets to outputs as well as a balance control (if needed) and information about the version of firmware, etc.   If Apple designed high-end equipment, the result would be the Mola Molas.  

 

Price comparison (retail):

PS DirectStream - $6,000

Mola Mola Tambaqui - $13,400

 

Purchasing Experience:

PSAudio – online purchase. 

Mola Mola – Bill Parish (GTT Audio) is the US Distributor.  In the high-end, you aren’t going to find a more responsive, knowledgeable or fairer person than Bill.  


Roon / Mola Mola Tambaqui / Kubala-Sosna XLR / Mola Mola Kaluga / KS biwire / B&W 803 D3

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I’ve been really enjoying my Tambaqui since I got it in December.  Tonight I upgraded the firmware to their latest Version 1.0.  A pleasantly surprising enhancement in performance.  Improved clarity and depth of soundstage  Highly recommended.  

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David,

Thanks for the heads up.  So do you connect via USB to computer and use app to update?  Thanks.

 

 


Roon / Mola Mola Tambaqui / Kubala-Sosna XLR / Mola Mola Kaluga / KS biwire / B&W 803 D3

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I have the Mola Mola App, which you can download off of their webbsite, on my iPad.  The app can set all of the Tambaqui functions, control volume (i’m running Direct since I use a presmp) and download software.  The Tambaqui communicates via Bluetooth with my iPad, so there’s no need to connect the Tambaqui directly to the internet for new software.  Clever design...

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For Tambaqui fans:  The firmware upgrade includes Roon certification, meaning that you can run ethernet straight into the DAC.  

 

David, thanks for the suggestion to use the Bluetooth update process.  Took all of 4 minutes.  It is a clever and convenient design.


Roon / Mola Mola Tambaqui / Kubala-Sosna XLR / Mola Mola Kaluga / KS biwire / B&W 803 D3

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I updated mine on Monday!

 

 

IMG_AC074D7063C9-1.jpeg


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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Roon Ready working well!

 

 

tamb.PNG


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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jtwrace,

Did you use the DIGIN download to update your Tambaqui?  The image of the About screen on the app shows DAC Firmware of 1.1 and DIGIN Firmware of 1.2.  I did NOT use the DIGIN download and have versions 1.0 and 1.1, respectively.  The firmware is 1.0, the same as what you show, after the update.  Thanks.  


Roon / Mola Mola Tambaqui / Kubala-Sosna XLR / Mola Mola Kaluga / KS biwire / B&W 803 D3

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20 minutes ago, PYP said:

jtwrace,

Did you use the DIGIN download to update your Tambaqui?  The image of the About screen on the app shows DAC Firmware of 1.1 and DIGIN Firmware of 1.2.  I did NOT use the DIGIN download and have versions 1.0 and 1.1, respectively.  The firmware is 1.0, the same as what you show, after the update.  Thanks.  

Yes, you have to use the DIGIN to update the dac on top of using the App.  

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ucaca9aauicy4bv/Manual - How to get the Mola Mola Tambaqui Roon Ready.pdf?dl=0


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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On 1/4/2019 at 12:53 AM, Miska said:

 

I'm most worried about the expensive gear that measures badly... I sometimes wonder if the manufacturer ever measured their creation...

 

 

We all remember the Stereophile Playback Designs MPS-5 measurements ... and the manufacturers response...

 

https://www.stereophile.com/content/playback-designs-mps-5-sacdcd-player-manufacturers-comment

 

As we are always researching new ideas, the next-generation algorithms may very well make these kind of measurements even worse”. 

 

Full response at link above.

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1 hour ago, Em2016 said:

We all remember the Stereophile Playback Designs MPS-5 measurements ... and the manufacturers response...

 

https://www.stereophile.com/content/playback-designs-mps-5-sacdcd-player-manufacturers-comment

 

As we are always researching new ideas, the next-generation algorithms may very well make these kind of measurements even worse”. 

 

Full response at link above.

 

Well, I don't think it measures badly... SNR could be better, but I don't see big faults. Would be nice to get my hands on Playback Designs Merlot DAC. I've heard the Nagra Classic DAC running at DSD128 (from HQPlayer) and it sounded really good, and Andreas Koch is one of the designers behind it. Hoping to hear the HD DAC X at Munich, but unfortunately probably not through HQPlayer.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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5 hours ago, Miska said:

 

Well, I don't think it measures badly... SNR could be better, but I don't see big faults. Would be nice to get my hands on Playback Designs Merlot DAC. I've heard the Nagra Classic DAC running at DSD128 (from HQPlayer) and it sounded really good, and Andreas Koch is one of the designers behind it. Hoping to hear the HD DAC X at Munich, but unfortunately probably not through HQPlayer.

 

 

I’ve also heard the MPS-5 and Merlot DAC (latter directly driving my headphones) and it was incredible.. in fact I can still remember how the music sounded and the feeling. And that was even after reading those measurements. Whether I enjoyed more distortions or whatever, there was something quite special.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Em2016 said:

I’ve also heard the MPS-5 and Merlot DAC (latter directly driving my headphones) and it was incredible.. in fact I can still remember how the music sounded and the feeling. And that was even after reading those measurements. Whether I enjoyed more distortions or whatever, there was something quite special.

 

Only "fault" JA complains about is random background noise. If you can hear it, it is just like tape hiss or radio background noise. Important thing is that it is not correlated with the music. But the distortion levels are low.

 

Sometimes I tend to disagree with JA's conclusions. For example if you look at this:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/kalista-dreamplay-one-cd-player-measurements

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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After a month of using the ethernet input, I can say that it yields great results.  Upgrading the ethernet cable to a Purist Audio Design cat7 and re-inserting the Acoustic Revive RLI-1 (passive filter) both helped the purity of the sound.  

 

Even a good-resolution internet station, such as The Jazz Groove, yields what I consider CD-quality playback when the source material is decent. 

 

Since I'm using Roon straight to the Tambaqui, it functions as a streamer/DAC/preamp.  That saves a lot of boxes, cables and $$$.  

 


Roon / Mola Mola Tambaqui / Kubala-Sosna XLR / Mola Mola Kaluga / KS biwire / B&W 803 D3

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