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Impressions of Lumin T2?


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I'm thinking of pulling the trigger on the T2 streamer/Dac. I've been asking on various forums about T2 Owner's impressions. I have heard from many that the T2 is closer to the X1 than the D2. In fact, many have said the T2 is miles ahead of the D2 in sound quality. The T2 is approx $2k more than the D2. I do not need the ability for dac inputs, so this unit seems ideal and will last a long while. In fact, If I ever wanted, down the road, to use a different Dac, the T2 has a USB output. Plus, the unit has balanced outputs which will be a new requirement moving forward.

 

If you have heard, compared or own the T2, please let me know your impressions and how the T2 stacks up to other brands with similar units.

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  • 1 month later...

I am tardy in responding to your inquiry, so my comments might be irrelevant at this time.   In late April, I purchased both a Lumin T2 and a Roon Nucleus+ core; buying those two devices has given me the opportunity to better assess the pros and cons of the T2.

 

As you know, the only way one can truly determine how a new piece of gear will sound in one's system is to try it in one's system.  That option was not available to me, and so most of my research was done by attending the AXPONA show in Chicago a couple of months ago.  At that show, I was able to see essentially all the major manufacturers of music streamers/DACs.  At the end, I was down to two choices: the Lumin T2 and the Cary Audio DMS-600.  Besides the $1,500 price differential, the factors which swayed me to the T2 were:

     1. Lumin's sole business is music streamer/DACs, whereas Cary Audio is known for its analog products; its DMS-600 is an outlier.

     2. The T2 uses dual ESS Sabre 9028 DAC chips, whereas Cary Audio uses two AKM 4497EQ DAC chips.  Once upon a time, I was a financial advisor to ESS, and so I "sort of wanted to " own a product which utilized their DACs after hearing from ESS's CEO how fantastic they were.

 

I own multiple DACs, including one resident in my Theta Casablanca IV preamp/processor which is board-based rather than DAC chip-based.  Consequently, I am able to operate the T2 as both a standalone music streamer and as an integrated music streamer/DAC.  The differences are enlightening.  Using its Sabre 9028s, the resultant sound is very accurate, very detailed -- as is said, very "clinical".  For certain recordings, that sharpness is a real plus, as one can everything that was in the digitized recording.  On the other hand, the sound is hardly warm; there is an absence of fullness or bloom -- almost as if the lowest frequencies within an octave were truncated.  The best I can describe the difference is like a "crack" to a "boom".  Both can be the sound of a howitzer; the individual has to decide which seems more authentic.  In contrast, using my Casablanca IV, the sound is more rich and full, but perhaps with a tad less detail.

 

Depending on the recording, sometimes I prefer the integrated sound and other times the standalone T2 streaming with my Casablanca IV performing the digital-to-analog conversion.  If a person lacks that system flexibility, it is important to know the "tilt" of the T2 towards clinical accuracy.

 

In terms of operation, the T2 is a breeze.  It sets up easily, has a good app for seeking and downloading Tidal files, and offers a number of different settings, including upscalings, and PCM to DSD conversions.  Finally, although customer support is provided via various enthusiast websites (Audiogon, AudioShark, etc.), that support is really quite outstanding.

 

I hope I've been helpful.  Please let me know should you have further questions.

 

 

 

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On 6/29/2019 at 2:59 PM, AVphile said:

I am tardy in responding to your inquiry, so my comments might be irrelevant at this time.   In late April, I purchased both a Lumin T2 and a Roon Nucleus+ core; buying those two devices has given me the opportunity to better assess the pros and cons of the T2.

 

As you know, the only way one can truly determine how a new piece of gear will sound in one's system is to try it in one's system.  That option was not available to me, and so most of my research was done by attending the AXPONA show in Chicago a couple of months ago.  At that show, I was able to see essentially all the major manufacturers of music streamers/DACs.  At the end, I was down to two choices: the Lumin T2 and the Cary Audio DMS-600.  Besides the $1,500 price differential, the factors which swayed me to the T2 were:

     1. Lumin's sole business is music streamer/DACs, whereas Cary Audio is known for its analog products; its DMS-600 is an outlier.

     2. The T2 uses dual ESS Sabre 9028 DAC chips, whereas Cary Audio uses two AKM 4497EQ DAC chips.  Once upon a time, I was a financial advisor to ESS, and so I "sort of wanted to " own a product which utilized their DACs after hearing from ESS's CEO how fantastic they were.

 

I own multiple DACs, including one resident in my Theta Casablanca IV preamp/processor which is board-based rather than DAC chip-based.  Consequently, I am able to operate the T2 as both a standalone music streamer and as an integrated music streamer/DAC.  The differences are enlightening.  Using its Sabre 9028s, the resultant sound is very accurate, very detailed -- as is said, very "clinical".  For certain recordings, that sharpness is a real plus, as one can everything that was in the digitized recording.  On the other hand, the sound is hardly warm; there is an absence of fullness or bloom -- almost as if the lowest frequencies within an octave were truncated.  The best I can describe the difference is like a "crack" to a "boom".  Both can be the sound of a howitzer; the individual has to decide which seems more authentic.  In contrast, using my Casablanca IV, the sound is more rich and full, but perhaps with a tad less detail.

 

Depending on the recording, sometimes I prefer the integrated sound and other times the standalone T2 streaming with my Casablanca IV performing the digital-to-analog conversion.  If a person lacks that system flexibility, it is important to know the "tilt" of the T2 towards clinical accuracy.

 

In terms of operation, the T2 is a breeze.  It sets up easily, has a good app for seeking and downloading Tidal files, and offers a number of different settings, including upscalings, and PCM to DSD conversions.  Finally, although customer support is provided via various enthusiast websites (Audiogon, AudioShark, etc.), that support is really quite outstanding.

 

I hope I've been helpful.  Please let me know should you have further questions.

 

 

 

After I listened to the T2,  I just decided I would keep my A1 and D1.   I just like the way they sound.

The Truth Is Out There

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20 hours ago, mav52 said:

After I listened to the T2,  I just decided I would keep my A1 and D1.   I just like the way they sound.

 

I'm contemplating a move from the D1 to a T2 and would be grateful if you could explain more on why you prefer the A1/D1 to the T2.  Thanks!

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2 hours ago, EMMM said:

 

I'm contemplating a move from the D1 to a T2 and would be grateful if you could explain more on why you prefer the A1/D1 to the T2.  Thanks!

The sound, I like the way Lumin uses the Wolfson dacs.  The T2 was a little more bright/more detailed that I expected.  The A1 and D1 just sounded a lot more like my LP's, a little warm. .  Personal taste I guess.

The Truth Is Out There

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@mav52, thank you.  Like you, I am particularly fond of the sound of my D1 and would love to get more detail without sacrificing any of its warmth and analog-like sound.  It looks like the T2 may not be the way forward for me too.

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 As an owner of a T2, I am wrestling with that problem -- the absence of warmth and analog-like sound -- myself.  I experimented with different interconnects, but the improvement, if any, was hardly easily discernable based on the cables I employ, as they are all relatively neutral.  I have the ability to bypass the T2's resident Sabre 9028 DACs and instead use my Theta Casablanca IV do the D-to-A conversion; this weekend I shall explore -- much more extensively than I have done previously -- to what extent this option modifies the sound in a positive way.

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1 hour ago, AVphile said:

 As an owner of a T2, I am wrestling with that problem -- the absence of warmth and analog-like sound -- myself.  I experimented with different interconnects, but the improvement, if any, was hardly easily discernable based on the cables I employ, as they are all relatively neutral.  I have the ability to bypass the T2's resident Sabre 9028 DACs and instead use my Theta Casablanca IV do the D-to-A conversion; this weekend I shall explore -- much more extensively than I have done previously -- to what extent this option modifies the sound in a positive way.

I even added a tube pre-amp which did help a little, but !.

 

AV keep us updated. 

 

Chris

 

 

The Truth Is Out There

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Great info. First I heard the T2 leans a little on the clinical side of neutral. That is how I always pictured the sound of Benchmark Dacs. I wonder if the Teac by 505 is a bit clinical as well. Yes, I know it’s half the price of a D2. 

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I recently auditioned both the T2 and the Auralic Vega G1.  Both were a significant improvement over my previous set-up: Sonore Micro Rendu and Ayre Codex.  Going in to the audition, I expected to prefer the Lumin, given the reviews I had read, but both my wife and I strongly preferred the Auralic Vega G1.  In our system (ARC LS17SE, Aesthetix Atlas Signature, Magneplanar 3.7i), the T2 sounded too dark and "thick" (i.e. slightly muddy).  The Auralic had greater clarity and detail and a more realistic soundstage.  We bought the Auralic, but I'm sure that some others auditioning both would prefer the Lumin, given the characteristics of their system and musical tastes.

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On 7/14/2019 at 2:58 PM, hlkaye said:

I recently auditioned both the T2 and the Auralic Vega G1.  Both were a significant improvement over my previous set-up: Sonore Micro Rendu and Ayre Codex.  Going in to the audition, I expected to prefer the Lumin, given the reviews I had read, but both my wife and I strongly preferred the Auralic Vega G1.  In our system (ARC LS17SE, Aesthetix Atlas Signature, Magneplanar 3.7i), the T2 sounded too dark and "thick" (i.e. slightly muddy).  The Auralic had greater clarity and detail and a more realistic soundstage.  We bought the Auralic, but I'm sure that some others auditioning both would prefer the Lumin, given the characteristics of their system and musical tastes.

Great info. I agree...much is system dependent. Do you use Roon? If so, any issues setting up the G1 for such?

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hlkaye's post regarding the Lumin T2 vs. the Auralic Vega G1 underscores how one's entire audio equipment and cabling configuration as a system does indeed, as arcman states, influence's the sonic signature of a single component.  In my system, music streamed through the T2 initially seemed far too bright and hyper-realistic. even when upsampled to DSD 512.  My T2 now has about 150 hours of usage, and that "edginess" has mitigated somewhat to the point that well-recorded/mastered tracks are very listenable.  That is a marked contrast to hlkaye's description of the T2 as sounding too dark and slightly muddy. 

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I have now run my T2 300+ hours.  I also have it plugged into a Shunyata Denali 6000S power conditioner, use a Shunyata Venom 14 power cord, and finally use Kimber Kable's Silver Streak Balanced analog interconnects into my Theta Casablanca IV preamp.  Lastly, I have upgraded my interconnects to my power amplifiers with Wireworld Equinox 8 balanced cables.

 

I believe, and a number of my audio friends who have recently auditioned my system share my belief, that a wide variety of music -- vocals, classical, new age, jazz, country, etc. -- sounds really wonderful with this configuration.  Insofar as the T2, all I can say is that it takes hours and hours and hours to break in, but, having done so, I am very pleased with it as a music server.

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  • 5 weeks later...

AVphile,  I have martin logan esl 13a's. You posted about the Lumin T2 being on the bright side. I am considering a T2 and prior to buying am already finding that my speakers are already on the bright side. I am trying to solve that problem and not compund it with the T2. I am told that the D2 does not sound as bright. Thoughts?

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On 10/2/2019 at 6:49 AM, Audio4me said:

I have martin logan esl 13a's. You posted about the Lumin T2 being on the bright side. I am considering a T2 and prior to buying am already finding that my speakers are already on the bright side. I am trying to solve that problem and not compund it with the T2.

 

Some dealers may be able to loan the T2 to you for trial.  After you get a Lumin, burn it in for as much time as the trial allows, and experiment with non-upsampled music or try upsampling to DSD(128).  If you're a Roon user, you may turn off the Lumin upsampling and use Roon DSP Engine to upsample DSD512 if desired.

Peter Lie

LUMIN Firmware Lead

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  • 7 months later...

bringing this back from the dead - I borrowed a friends new T2 and after 4 days decided to eschew my Yggy/SOTM or Yggy/U1mini for the T2.

 

Early on the T2 was not sounding great as it had a glare that got in the way of relaxing into the music. My friend had not run this in and just played it a few hours. I've run it continuous for 72+ hours and man has it improved. There are still areas of the Yggy that I may prefer like a more layered stage and the image is set back slightly like 10th row vs 5th row of the T2. The T2 has this insane ability to bring stunning dimensionality to the music bringing me from a 2d yggy image to a more 3d image. 

 

the total costs are very similar for the 2 box yggy plus streamer vs the T2. It also avoids audio nervousa from which cable and type of digital out should I use from the streamer to the dac. Lastly direct wiring from the streamer to the dac inside the T2 box must bring some benefits.

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I am glad that you are enjoying your T2.  As for the T2's placement of the sonic image, I have found that the longer I have owned mine, the more depth appears to be present (if it existed on the original recording).  I also have found the brightness has lessened noticeably, resulting in a most melodious listenability.  May I make a few suggestions which may further still your listening enjoyment:

  1. Consider purchasing a Roon Nucleus +.  It simply opens up the vast world of digital recordings available on Tidal, Qobuz, etc. in a way that Lumin alone cannot.
  2. Besides buying the Nucleus +, consider purchasing a linear power supply for that Roon device.  I obtained a reasonably priced Teddy Pardo unit and have been very pleased with it.
  3. Make sure you cables are commensurate with the quality of the T2. (a) As power cords, I use Shunyata Venom 14s; for Ethernet cables, I use Wireworld Chroma 8s; and for analog interconnects from the T2 to my preamplifier, I use a pair of Kimber Kable Silver Streaks with WBT 114 copper terminations.

The usage of all these components in my system has made me a "happy camper".  Seriously, listening is never tiresome for me, and I find that the streamed recording is as good as, if not better than, my CD playback sub-system.  As for that constant controversy of which is better/more authentic, etc. between digital and analog, in my audio system I just don't know.  They are clearly different, and each is uniquely satisfying in its own way.

 

Experimentation is part of being an audiophile.  We make little upgrades here and there until incremental improvement plateaus and then we start working on a defensible rationalization for that "real" major upgrade.  At $4,500, the T2 is almost a bargain.  For me, the next step up would be either the dCS Bartok or the Lumin X-1.  However, given the quality of what I now hear, I am uncertain the discernable potential improvement in my system's sonic reproduction of streamed music will justify the expenditure of many thousands more dollars necessary to get there.

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12 hours ago, AVphile said:

 

  1. Consider purchasing a Roon Nucleus +.  It simply opens up the vast world of digital recordings available on Tidal, Qobuz, etc. in a way that Lumin alone cannot.
  2. Besides buying the Nucleus +, consider purchasing a linear power supply for that Roon device.  I obtained a reasonably priced Teddy Pardo unit and have been very pleased with it.
  3. Make sure you cables are commensurate with the quality of the T2. (a) As power cords, I use Shunyata Venom 14s; for Ethernet cables, I use Wireworld Chroma 8s; and for analog interconnects from the T2 to my preamplifier, I use a pair of Kimber Kable Silver Streaks with WBT 114 copper terminations.

 

Hi, thanks for the suggestions! 

 

I have built up a Roon nucleus clone that I've been using for a while based on the specs on the Roon site. The integration of Qobuz into Roon is outstanding, although I do miss folder browsing. 

 

I have not found power to the Roon as critical as upgrading my router to an etherregen - YMMV

 

I am using very similar Kimber balanced interconnects and have a bevy of power cables to choose from. I have gone relatively low brow with a AQ cinnamon for my ethernet connection from the etherregen to the T2

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

well after about 200 hours of play the T2 I am very satisfied with the sound of the T2. It is more open and neutral sounding than the Yggdrasil that it replaced. Having had the Brooklyn plus and qutest in the house recently I think the T2 is also a step up sonically from either of these as well. Given the streamer/dac capabilities it is imo a reasonably good audio deal for the MSRP. It would be very difficult if not impossible to beat the sound with separate streamer and dac at this price point.

 

The bass is just so deep and detailed that is one of the first things that struck me when I first received the T2. I have found the top end very open but not brittle or bright sounding. Mids are gorgeous and late night headphone sessions with Vanessa Fernandez or Norah Jones are a great way to shake off a tough day.

 

I wound up doing the sbooster PS upgrade. It was easy to do and I already had the sbooster. I am not certain that I am hearing enough of a difference to warrant recommending this diyish solution. I have a friend close by with a stock T2 so at some point well shoot out stock vs sbooster. This will have to wait until after covid as his wife is not keen on audiophile playdates for now. 

 

All and all I would highly recommend this as a great sounding plug and play solution. I wanted to clean up my rig downsize the number of boxes and crap used to get good sound. The T2 did all that and provided better sound and listening enjoyment as a bonus!!

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