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New D/D Converters from Denafrips


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26 minutes ago, Ben-M said:

Any updates on the Western Front? 

 

I've got my eye on a Gaia for the DSD512 i2s output too, but I'm really wondering where to get a clock that covers these frequencies as well as the more common 10MHz one, and like 8 outputs...

 

I ordered it on May 10th.  Alvin thought it would ship by the end of May, but they had a small delay caused by the chassis supplier.  He thinks my Gaia will ship out in about 10 days.

 

In the meantime since we have no Denafrips in house so far and following on the comments about the Berkeley Alpha, I will say I loved mine and within the limitations it is likely still one of the best you can buy regardless of price (for example, Berkeley still sell this Alpha, no need to update it).  AES/EBU out was the best solution in my use.  I would still have mine but for my change in DAC where I want to use my DAC's i2s input (via my Sablon 2020 rj45 ethernet cable).

 

To bide our time until we see some Denafrips action, for those interested in the Berkeley, here is a link to Elberoth's classic USB converter shootout which most here may already be familiar with, but just in case you are not, here it is.  My tiny (pathetic) contribution was a small 4 unit shootout at post #198:

 

 

 

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Gaia-1.jpg

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

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Arnold's personal live-in chef just arrived, ready to serve him some tasty tunes! 

 

This thing is built like a tank and rather heavy for its size.  Great packaging and build quality.  

 

 

Terminator.jpg

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46 minutes ago, richard_crl032 said:

 

Hi Blake,

 

Congras !

 

So Gaia arrived or Terminator also arrived ?

 

Cheers.

 

Richard

 

Thanks Richard!

 

Gaia arrived yesterday, Terminator Plus will arrive in around 3 weeks.

 

 

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

Home Office: IsoRegen+LPS1.2 | Denafrips Iris | Denafrips Venus 2 | Blue Circle Audio SBT preamp|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

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On 7/22/2020 at 10:34 AM, Summit said:

 

I wonder if you prefer SQ with or without ultraRendu now that you have acquired a Gaia?

 

I stream from Tidal and Qobuz and my Melco server also connects to the UltraRendu via an EtherRegen so in all my use cases the UltraRendu is in the chain.

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Office:  Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE w/preamp module | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Raidho X-1 | REL T/5x sub

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13 hours ago, Summit said:

 

Okay I'm a little slow does it mean that the ultraRendu enhance the sound of your audio system both with the Gaia and without the Gaia?

 

Hi @Summit no worries mate.  The way I have things setup I am unable to listen to music without the Ultrarendu in the chain so unfortunately I can't provide any input on that question.

 

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

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Office:  Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE w/preamp module | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Raidho X-1 | REL T/5x sub

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On 7/26/2020 at 10:56 AM, ted_b said:

Blake, great thread, thanks.

 

So for those of you who have used the Gaia (esp with non-Denafrips dacs) are you saying that sending it's I2S output to, say, the Holo dacs is not worth it due to the misuse of clocking with I2S?  I'm more than a little confused...thx.

 

Hi Ted, I am not sure I am following your question here.  Perhaps I missed a comment in this thread or somewhere else.  Could you provide some further detail?

 

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

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Hi Richard,

 

Sorry, I should have responded earlier but my work schedule has been off the charts.  I will indeed do a comparison that bypasses the Gaia-  so....  UltraRendu > usb > TPlus.  Unfortunately I don't have any other source to try AES/EBU, or other input options.  

 

I am intentionally holding off on comments to the TPlus and associated comparisons (TPlus alone, TPlus with Gaia but no clock sync, TPlus with Gaia with clock sync, and TPlus+Gaia I2S via LVDS vs LVCMOS) until the TPlus is fully burned in, along with the attached cables. 

 

It will be at least two or three more weeks before I will be comfortable that things have settled in.  And then I have to find the time to do all the A/B stuff.  When I am done I will be posting my thoughts in your TPlus thread.

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

Home Office: IsoRegen+LPS1.2 | Denafrips Iris | Denafrips Venus 2 | Blue Circle Audio SBT preamp|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

Office:  Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE w/preamp module | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Raidho X-1 | REL T/5x sub

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4 hours ago, R1200CL said:


Hi Blake

It’s a bit confusing this double up DDC chain. 
However I was thinking there may be some analogies to Ethernet switches. As dual etherRegen is said to be better than one. 

 

To bad neither the Berkeley Alpha or SU-1 has other digital in like an AES/EBU. Or the Gaia USB out. Then one could test the hypothesis. 

(I don’t expect much improvement adding your Berkeley upfront the Gaia).

Maybe dual Iris will outperform one Gaia 😀

 

On the other hand, if this Gaia is this good, one should expect an improvement in front of almost any DAC.
 

Did you discuss with Alvin the differences between Iris vs Gaia if one only was after “normal’ USB to SPDIF converter (or AES/EBU). To me specs seems equal. So maybe an Iris will do ?
 

Do you know anything about Hermes ?

 

I must say it’s attempting to replace my SU-1. I still hope one day I can trow all usb out, and only use Ethernet as digital interface, or a DDC that has Ethernet in and AES/EBU out, so I still can use my old DAC. 

 

Hi @R1200CL

 

Your "double etherRegen" analogy might be accurate. Srajan on 6Moons was posting similar "doubling up" comments in some recent D/D converter reviews and previews. And @austinpop's outstanding eR review showed that doubling up yields additional sonic benefits.

 

@Abyss Man might be able to chime in on your Iris question, as he has had both the Gaia and Iris in his system, and I think he might have also owned a modified SU-1. 

 

I don't know of any Hermes details as I don't believe any prototypes or production units are out to the public.  However, I am almost positive I spotted one in Alvin's system 😁

 

Based upon my experience with the Chord Qutest, my response is definitely yes, Gaia will improve non-Denafrips models as well.  The Gaia took the excellent tone/timbre qualities of the Qutest and injected steroid levels of 3D holography, clarity and detail.  If I would have had a Qutest (with LPS)+Gaia combo 6 months ago, I would have ended my DAC explorations and lived very happily with that combo for the foreseeable future.

 

That is obviously an incredibly small sample size though.

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@sig8

 

My first thought is, it could be a pin-out issue.  I think I2S for the Holo Spring is HDMI, and not RJ45, but I could be wrong.  Does the Spring have user configurable pin-outs?

 

Pin-out info for the Gaia is in the owner's manual:

 

 https://3beb070f-8ca8-434d-b6b3-76002990adfa.filesusr.com/ugd/4b933e_5bbf9137820542c6bc30d47b697ef750.pdf

 

Did you trying using any other connection type between the Gaia and your Spring DAC?  That might help to isolate the potential issue.

 

 

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@bernardl

 

You may want to check out the Denafrips Terminator Plus review on 6Moons as he does experiment with Gaia, and a different D/D converter (but not MC-3+) and he also mentions the Mutec REF10.

 

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I was hoping Srajan at 6Moons would compare the Phoenix, Gaia and some other D/D converters.

 

https://6moons.com/audioreview_articles/denafrips6/4/

 

 

While the review is not yet finished, in his review of the Denafrips Avatar, Srajan notes that he did compare the Phoenix, Gaia and through extrapolation to another review, the Mutec MC-3+ USB.  While the comparison was not perfect in that he compared Phoenix going to the Terminator Plus usb input, whereas the Gaia was going in to the Terminator Plus I2S input (there was no way around this since Gaia doesn't have USB output, and the Phoenix only has USB output), the ranking of best sonic performance was:

 

1. Terminator Plus + Gaia with the Terminator Plus "clock out" feature engaged upstream to the Gaia.

2. Terminator Plus + Phoenix

3. Terminator Plus + Gaia without Terminator Plus "clock out" feature engaged. 

4. Mutec MC-3+ USB 

 

 

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Enjoyed reading your report @Koso.  Glad to hear the Gaia is working out so well!  

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

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First, welcome to AS @Jazzman7

 

You have a very nice system.  I do have both the Iris and Gaia and used both with the Qutest.  The problem is, when I used Gaia + Qutest, that was in my speaker system.  Iris + Qutest has been in my headphone system which is in another room and as a result I haven't done any meaningful direct A/B testing with both in the speaker or headphone systems.  I will say, in each case, I found that the performance of the Qutest was improved as compared to USB direct and for me it was obvious and worth the money.  Your mileage may vary.  In both audio systems I go USB in to the Denafrips DDC's.

 

I intend to do some A/B comparisons in the near future.  The problem is, I've made a number of recent system changes and I am currently burning in a new DAC and usb cable that just arrived.  I would want to let the new stuff settle in and establish a base line before posting any A/B impressions.  I probably won't get around to doing any comparisons on the Iris-Gaia for the next week or possibly two.  Feel free to pm me if you want my input and don't see any updates here within that time frame. 

 

To complicate matters for you, Hermes is now in pre-order status, so you now have 3 options.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, Jazzman7 said:

Prior to acquiring the Nucleus a Node 2i was my principal source, and an AQ Vodka Toslink was my preferred input.  

 

For some additional detail, in my headphone system I have also been running the AQ Vodka Toslink from Iris to Qutest (Sablon 2020 USB to the Iris... yeah, the USB cable cost more than the Iris 😄).

 

In my speaker setup I was using Kimber D60 spdif from Gaia to Qutest (again with Sablon 2020 USB in to the Gaia). Qutest was then moved to my headphone system.

 

 

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Hey Matt, interesting question.  I just re-installed the Gaia in the speaker system and unfortunately the way things are physically configured in that system it takes some work to pull some heavy things in and out and swap (getting access to the back of my power regenerator).

 

Next time I am moving stuff around I will give it a try.

 

 

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

Home Office: IsoRegen+LPS1.2 | Denafrips Iris | Denafrips Venus 2 | Blue Circle Audio SBT preamp|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

Office:  Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE w/preamp module | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Raidho X-1 | REL T/5x sub

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Based on your options listed above, if it was me, I'd go Venus 2, combined with Iris or Hermes, so I could run I2S. 

I have owned the original Terminator, but never heard the Pontus.

 

   

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

Home Office: IsoRegen+LPS1.2 | Denafrips Iris | Denafrips Venus 2 | Blue Circle Audio SBT preamp|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

Office:  Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE w/preamp module | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Raidho X-1 | REL T/5x sub

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48 minutes ago, jomsjoms said:

Thanks sir. So for scenario1, you would go for Venus2+iris. How about for Scenario 2? 

 

I no longer have the original Terminator to directly compare to my Venus 2, and it has been 5 months since I had the Terminator so it is hard for me to give an answer, unfortunately.  I am super happy with the Venus 2 + Iris though. 

 

If I had to venture a guess using my old, stale memory from 5 months ago. I would probably go with the Venus 2 + Hermes/Gaia option, but take that for what it is worth.

 

  

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

Home Office: IsoRegen+LPS1.2 | Denafrips Iris | Denafrips Venus 2 | Blue Circle Audio SBT preamp|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

Office:  Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE w/preamp module | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Raidho X-1 | REL T/5x sub

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