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The Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC


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8 hours ago, Ran said:

For 14k I expect this to support more than one network protocol. 

You can expect whatever you want. Every company has decision criteria. If theirs don't match yours, buy a different product.

There are certainly all sorts of options on the market. Even more expensive DACs that are "only" DACs. Imagine that....

I guess no one will buy one.

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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Since we are in Audiophile Style forums, talking about an expensive audiophile DAC, I suppose it was given that Roon is the most commonly used interface among audiophiles, not general public. At least it's what Mola Mola must have thought.

1. Sonore ultraRendu - UpTone ISO Regen - Mola Mola Makua - Apollon NC800 SL PRO - Thiel CS3.7

2. RME ADI-2 DAC FS - Apollon NC502MP - Monitor Audio PL100

3. Hidizs S8 - Audeze LCDi3

4. TempoTec Sonata HD - 1More Triple Driver IEM

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There is another possible reason why Mola Mola chose to only include Roon RAAT support for their Network interface: perhaps they found that the Roon RAAT format was technically superior to other Networking formats for audio purposes.  After all, there is a reason the Roon folks decided to develop their own Networking protocol rather than just implement existing standards (DLNA, etc).

 

It also should be considered, that the built in Ethernet input in many DACs does not perform as well as the best external Renderers.  By no means am I suggesting that this IS the case with the Tambaqui (as I have no direct experience with it here), but I have heard reports from some users that the Tambaqui performs better via a top level external Renderer via its USB input than by using its onboard Ethernet interface.  This is no criticism of the Tambaqui, indeed I would own one if I could!  Point being we are in the early days of network interface DACs, and making a really good Network interface is not a trivial endeavor.  In the rush to add Networking capabilities to their DACs, many manufacturers are taking short cuts right now: this is no different than what we saw during the early days of USB interfaces.

ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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23 minutes ago, barrows said:

There is another possible reason why Mola Mola chose to only include Roon RAAT support for their Network interface: perhaps they found that the Roon RAAT format was technically superior to other Networking formats for audio purposes.  After all, there is a reason the Roon folks decided to develop their own Networking protocol rather than just implement existing standards (DLNA, etc).

 

It also should be considered, that the built in Ethernet input in many DACs does not perform as well as the best external Renderers.  By no means am I suggesting that this IS the case with the Tambaqui (as I have no direct experience with it here), but I have heard reports from some users that the Tambaqui performs better via a top level external Renderer via its USB input than by using its onboard Ethernet interface.  This is no criticism of the Tambaqui, indeed I would own one if I could!  Point being we are in the early days of network interface DACs, and making a really good Network interface is not a trivial endeavor.  In the rush to add Networking capabilities to their DACs, many manufacturers are taking short cuts right now: this is no different than what we saw during the early days of USB interfaces.

 

I do know that the USA distributor of the Tambaqui, GTT Audio, told me the input he uses to demo the Tambaqui is the USB since he feels can hear a difference between that and the RJ45. However, he said the RJ45 is very good but the USB is the best. You can see examples on the YouTube videos GTT Audio has for the Tambaqui. All of them use the Aurelic G2 Streamer.

 

Here is one example (@3:30 in the video direct comparison with USB and RJ45)

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=mola+mola+tambaqui+dac+review&docid=608041174495333470&mid=36D019BDAB504D0DAB3636D019BDAB504D0DAB36&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

 

 

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I was also thinking that the eR would be something to consider for any RJ45 streaming DAC. There was some bad press about it on the ASR site and I forgot about the eR. I try to read that site with a grain of salt.

 

I forgot if the Tambaqui has a I2S input but if it did the new Denafrips GAIA D-2-D convertor maybe something that would sound good. The GAIA can connect directly to a computer like I have in my office or other USB streaming sources like a Sonore Rendu. It has that re-clocking stuff that was mentioned in the GTT video for the Aurelic.

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34 minutes ago, yyz said:

I forgot if the Tambaqui has a I2S input but if it did the new Denafrips GAIA D-2-D convertor maybe something that would soundgood. The GAIA can connect directly to a computer like I have in my office or other USB streaming sources like a Sonore Rendu. It has that re-clocking stuff that was mentioned in the GTT video for the Aurelic.

 

It does.  From the mola mola website:

 

I/O

Optical (Toslink)
S/PDIF (Cinch)
AES/EBU (XLR)
USB type B
Ethernet (Roon Ready)
Bluetooth (SBC, AAC, APTX, LDAC) 
I²S over HDMI 
Balanced output (XLR)
Headphone output (6.3mm Jack, Balanced XLR 4pin)
2 programmable trigger outputs (3.5mm Jack)

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

Ethernet:  iMac/Roon > ... in-wall 5e ... > Sonore opticalModule [Sonore 5V LPS] > UpTone EtherREGEN + Cybershaft OP13 [UpTone JS-2 LPS] > Tambaqui ( = DAC/Roon Endpoint/preamp)

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1 hour ago, yyz said:

I was also thinking that the eR would be something to consider for any RJ45 streaming DAC. There was some bad press about it on the ASR site and I forgot about the eR. I try to read that site with a grain of salt.

 

I forgot if the Tambaqui has a I2S input but if it did the new Denafrips GAIA D-2-D convertor maybe something that would sound good. The GAIA can connect directly to a computer like I have in my office or other USB streaming sources like a Sonore Rendu. It has that re-clocking stuff that was mentioned in the GTT video for the Aurelic.

If you have no legacy sources and use Roon then a eR make most sense not a Gaia. Why should I2S as an external interface be better than Ethernet or USB?

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6 minutes ago, Rune said:

If you have no legacy sources and use Roon then a eR make most sense not a Gaia. Why should I2S as an external interface be better than Ethernet or USB?

I have not investigated if it would on the Tambaqui but on the Denafrips Terminator (and Plus) the I2S by-passes a conversion that all other inputs go through to get the signal to the DAC engine.

 

This results in a different sound on the I2S that most folks seem to think is better.

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20 hours ago, barrows said:

Yeah, not really...

 

I2S is the native, internal data path to a DAC conversion stage (chip or discrete).  But the I2S between box connection is not that same I2S.

The I2S between box connection (carried on an HDMI cable) is actually a balanced version ( AKA LVDS) of the normal I2S signal as is used by the DAC conversion stage.

 

So, for example, if one uses the I2S input on say, the Denafrips, this would be the path with conversions (I will keep this example to a USB source for simplicity, but one could use any source):

 

USB receiver-single ended I2S-LVDS chip (converts single ended I2S to balanced)-I2S on HDMI cable-LVDS chip (inside DAC, converts balanced I2S back to single ended)-DAC conversion stage (chip or discrete).

 

Note that in the above example, we have a D-D converter which creates the original I2S signal from the USB input.

 

Now, let's consider the path when we use the USB input inside the DAC:

 

USB cable to DAC-USB receiver (converts USB audio to single ended I2S)-DAC conversion stage.

 

As one can see, there are LESS conversions by using the USB input inside the DAC, because the signal has no need to be converted to and from a balanced format to a single ended one.  Also note that the LVDS chip conversions add jitter, typically in the three digits of pS range.

 

 

 

 

My statement on the I2S on the Denafrips is based on comments by Alvin the Denafrips distributor in Singapore.Alvin also has some posts on this forum stating the benefits of using I2S. Not going to get into a discussion on the technical side of the DT since I did not design it. I could email Alvin and ask him but I have already bothered him a little too much on the DT+.

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The problem I have with the recommendations of DD converters like Gaia is that often those advocating the use do not use a USB or RJ45 source which I do.

So for someone like me considering a new DAC reading that the T+ requires a Gaia to perform its best.

Then it price gets much closer to a Tambaqui. Then the decision is not so easy in favor of T+

 

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The $2.5K  GAIA is not really needed for the TP+. The TP+ has the same internal clocks as the GAIA so buying the GAIA with the TP+ makes the GAIA clocks redundant. The $450 D2D Iris is supposed to work well with the TP+ for I2S connectivity. It does not have the internal clocks like the GAIA, the TP+ clocks are used with the IRIS.

 

My source to my DAC is my computer. It is a crappy machine that is noisy and I want my D2D to isolate some of that computer, RJ45, and USB noise from my DAC. All the DACs that I have owned in the last 5 years all needed the Sonore microRendu to sound better than direct connectivity via USB. That cost me about $700 5 years ago. 

 

I was considering the GAIA because I would have 2 DACs and both would be able to connect to the singel GAIA.

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Why not use an Uptone ISO Regen or EtherRegen to isolate the noise? Even adding an UltraCap LPS-1.2 and better DC cable, both are way cheaper than a Denafrips Gaia and its cables.

1. Sonore ultraRendu - UpTone ISO Regen - Mola Mola Makua - Apollon NC800 SL PRO - Thiel CS3.7

2. RME ADI-2 DAC FS - Apollon NC502MP - Monitor Audio PL100

3. Hidizs S8 - Audeze LCDi3

4. TempoTec Sonata HD - 1More Triple Driver IEM

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3 hours ago, yyz said:

Sorry u said cheaper not better.

Yes, as I have not tested both in the same system to know for sure. But I would (and did) spend more in the DAC and use a well known and we'll regarded filter from Uptone, rather than spending less on the DAC and more in an yet to be evaluated converter.

1. Sonore ultraRendu - UpTone ISO Regen - Mola Mola Makua - Apollon NC800 SL PRO - Thiel CS3.7

2. RME ADI-2 DAC FS - Apollon NC502MP - Monitor Audio PL100

3. Hidizs S8 - Audeze LCDi3

4. TempoTec Sonata HD - 1More Triple Driver IEM

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