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Topping D90 great but question future

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5 hours ago, barrows said:

I had a D-90 here for a few weeks, I opened the chassis and confirmed it has a linear power supply.  Being a rather compact DAC (tiny) the power supply is rather small and limited, but it certainly is a linear power supply.  There is a switch on the underside of the chassis for changing the input voltage from 115 VAC to 230 VAC.

 

thanks...the link about the 30K dac in comparison to a $800 dac was less helpful....(grin).

It doesn't seem like there is anything that competes with the topping d30 or gustard a18 in that price range for features and components.

The only other dacs in that price range on my short list are the bifrost multibit unison and rme adi-2....i had the bifrost multibit gen5 before and it sounded very nice for the money, but i wanted something that would do native dsd...have been looking for a nice dsd dac under $1k for quite awhile that had galvanic isolation, and have been out of market for a couple years, but back to looking.  Seems like $1k will get you quite a bit more today than 2 years ago.....

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3 hours ago, beerandmusic said:

 

thanks...the link about the 30K dac in comparison to a $800 dac was less helpful....(grin).

It doesn't seem like there is anything that competes with the topping d30 or gustard a18 in that price range for features and components.

The only other dacs in that price range on my short list are the bifrost multibit unison and rme adi-2....i had the bifrost multibit gen5 before and it sounded very nice for the money, but i wanted something that would do native dsd...have been looking for a nice dsd dac under $1k for quite awhile that had galvanic isolation, and have been out of market for a couple years, but back to looking.  Seems like $1k will get you quite a bit more today than 2 years ago.....

The D-90 does not appear to have any isolation of its USB input from the rest of the DAC.  I only used the D-90 in "DAC mode", with DSD 256 input and it did sound very good using it that way.  But one has to remember that "DAC mode" defeats the volume control, so you will need a preamp or integrated amp to pair with it.  I found it to be a little lacking in dynamics and presence-which I surmised was due to the rather diminutive power supply, or perhaps the lower current capability of the output stage vs. what my DIY/ESS DAC uses.  Of course if one uses it with a good preamp, perhaps the lower output current will be a non-issue.

Still, all that said, for $700 the D-90 is an exceptional DAC.  And, because it is in high demand, one can purchase it, try it, and sell it for just a small loss if one feels it is not quite what they are looking for.  I just wanted to audition something with the new AKM 4499 chip and direct DSD mode, so I just picked it up, and then sold it after a few weeks.


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.                                                        
                            

                                   
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| The D-90 does not appear to have any isolation of its USB input from the rest of the DAC. 

 

Uh oh... Maybe need to look into USB cleaners again. Am currently going straight USB from my MacBook Pro with Roon. As you say  PCM-DSD256 in Roon sounds fantastic on this DAC - I told a friend of mine that listening to REM Life's Rich Pageant this way reminded me for of hearing this LP this first time in his dorm room. To me, the 2X max upsampling does not sound as good, but I have seen others post a preference for it.

 

Of course if one uses it with a good preamp, perhaps the lower output current will be a non-issue.

 

I get a strong "audiophile intuition" that a good preamp is needed for this one. Maybe it's the diminutive size. Glad to be plugging it in into a hefty integrated amp.

 

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2 hours ago, all300b said:

| The D-90 does not appear to have any isolation of its USB input from the rest of the DAC. 

 

Uh oh... Maybe need to look into USB cleaners again. Am currently going straight USB from my MacBook Pro with Roon. As you say  PCM-DSD256 in Roon sounds fantastic on this DAC - I told a friend of mine that listening to REM Life's Rich Pageant this way reminded me for of hearing this LP this first time in his dorm room. To me, the 2X max upsampling does not sound as good, but I have seen others post a preference for it.

 

Of course if one uses it with a good preamp, perhaps the lower output current will be a non-issue.

 

I get a strong "audiophile intuition" that a good preamp is needed for this one. Maybe it's the diminutive size. Glad to be plugging it in into a hefty integrated amp.

 

As per measurements is so clean, but you find skeptical opinions all the times. If you wan to see if its clean or not try optical input and the USB and if you didn't see a different then that it

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On 5/14/2020 at 6:52 PM, barrows said:

Please note this is specifically referring to the D-90 in "DAC mode" with DSD 256 input from a Signature Rendu SEoptical, with a Synergistic Orange fuse in the D-90.

 

It is a giant killer.  Not the best I've heard, but very, very good.  It probably needs to be paired with a good preamp to really shine, as the "DAC mode" defeats the volume control, and I do not think the output stage is quite beefy enough (current headroom) to drive amps directly, but at the price, heck, it is a no brainer.

 

There are better DACs, but the ones I know of all cost 10x as much or more...

 

@ Barrows, I'm enjoying using the the D90 in DSD mode - thank you for that recommendation.  It made all the difference.  I'm kind of toggling between 128 and 256.  Yes, I clearly hear superior definition and insight into the music at 256 - but my Sonic Transporter i5 is apparently limited to DSD 128 so I'm a little uneasy about pushing it to 256 for long periods.  Anyway, even at 128 it's good.  

 

You were/are also a huge proponent of the Chord Qutest and at one point made a similar statement on this website about it being as good as anything up to around $7000.  What are you thoughts about D90 vs Qutest?

 

 


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@OldBigEars,  I have never made any direct comparisons between the D-90 and the Qutest. M y brother owns a Qutest, and I get to hear it when visiting with him, but he lives far away.

My suggestion would be that the Qutest is a great option for those who mostly play PCM material, and the D-90 is a great option for those who mostly are interested in oversampling everything to DSD.

The Qutest also has higher level of build quality, with a nicer case, and is not made in China, and has reliable distribution and warranty service all around the world, so if one cares about those kind of things, the Qutest has an advantage there.

 

I am not really a fan of external power supplies, but the Qutetst can be improved by adding a really, really good external power supply, where with the D-90 one is limited to the onboard power supply, which is just OK.

 

They really are very different DACs, and regarding all the above differences, i would expect them to appeal to audiophiles with very different needs. 


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.                                                        
                            

                                   
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@ Barrows, thanks for more insights.  

 

Just to unpack this...I think you're saying that - if you ignore country of origin, brand, design, service issues (not that you should or shouldn't) - then the SQ of the D90 (upsampling native DSD 256) is close enough to the Chord Qutest with standard power supply (upsampling PCM) that you would be hard pressed to confirm a preference, without hearing them back to back.

 

Not meaning to put words in your mouth - just to clarify. I'm thinking about trying a Qutest to do that direct comparison.  Or maybe one of the Denafrips models.


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1 hour ago, OldBigEars said:

@ Barrows, thanks for more insights.  

 

Just to unpack this...I think you're saying that - if you ignore country of origin, brand, design, service issues (not that you should or shouldn't) - then the SQ of the D90 (upsampling native DSD 256) is close enough to the Chord Qutest with standard power supply (upsampling PCM) that you would be hard pressed to confirm a preference, without hearing them back to back.

 

Not meaning to put words in your mouth - just to clarify. I'm thinking about trying a Qutest to do that direct comparison.  Or maybe one of the Denafrips models.

Well, i do care about build quality for example, and I also believe build quality contributes (in most cases) to sound quality, at least in terms of vibration control...  So i cannot divorce this factor from my overall assessment.

 

But, yes, to evaluate these two DACs one would need to hear them side by side.  To me the D-90 is not really anything special with PCM, where it becomes a bit special is when one feeds it DSD 256 in its "DAC Mode", where the onboard processing is bypassed.  On the other hand, the Qutest is best with PCM input, so these factors are going to matter in the evaluation.


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.                                                        
                            

                                   
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I am enjoying my D90 for a couple of months now. I did swap the standard power cable that came with the device but that was more because I had a 'better' one lying around. However the comments about the fuse earlier in the thread interested me. Are we talking about the fuse in the supplied kettle lead or one internal to the device?

 

Anyway, it sounds great as is, and I am using it in DAC mode using HQ Player to unsample to DSD 256 so pleased others are using and enjoying similar settings.

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I’m fascinated by the emphasis on the D90’s performance with DSD 256 (specifically).  Wish I understood more clearly what’s behind that.  Yes I can hear a difference vs DSD 128.  It’s definitely got an edge, in terms of clarity and separation.  But the cost in terms of CPU is heavy, which causes me a certain amount of stress that I’m going to overheat my server and cause damage to something. I’m toggling back and forth, trying to decide the best option. 


Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> AQ Vodka --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> USPCB --> Schiit Eitr --> AQ Coffee --> Hegel HD25 --> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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1 hour ago, OldBigEars said:

I’m fascinated by the emphasis on the D90’s performance with DSD 256 (specifically).  Wish I understood more clearly what’s behind that.  Yes I can hear a difference vs DSD 128.  It’s definitely got an edge, in terms of clarity and separation.  But the cost in terms of CPU is heavy, which causes me a certain amount of stress that I’m going to overheat my server and cause damage to something. I’m toggling back and forth, trying to decide the best option. 

Funny you should mention this.  Not ten minutes ago, I was noticing how hot my own pc was running, exacerbated by environment because it's in a nook built into my desk.  I had to pull it out of the desk to give it some air. 


Living room:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7> Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch > EtherRegen > Sonore Signature Rendu SE Tier 2 > Wyred4Sound 10th Anniversary DAC > Wyred4Sound STI-500 > Revel F32 Concertas

 

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Not sure this is the place to get into this, but this is an issue because I have been running the D90 at DSD256 with Audirvana and Roon. 

 

I just ran Roon for just a few tracks with DSD256 upsampling enabled, to take advantage of DSD mode in the Topping.  I then shut down playback and ran the CoreTemp application to get a look at the CPU temperature.  Here's what's it shows.

 

The exterior of the computer case is quite warm to the touch and the fan is running very loudly. 

 

Am I stressing out my computer excessively by using such aggressive playback settings?

Capture.PNG


Living room:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7> Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch > EtherRegen > Sonore Signature Rendu SE Tier 2 > Wyred4Sound 10th Anniversary DAC > Wyred4Sound STI-500 > Revel F32 Concertas

 

Basement:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7>Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch >TrendNet FMC>Sonore OpticalModule> UltraRendu > NuPrime IDA-8 > KEF LS50's

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4 hours ago, Mike Rubin said:

Not sure this is the place to get into this, but this is an issue because I have been running the D90 at DSD256 with Audirvana and Roon. 

 

I just ran Roon for just a few tracks with DSD256 upsampling enabled, to take advantage of DSD mode in the Topping.  I then shut down playback and ran the CoreTemp application to get a look at the CPU temperature.  Here's what's it shows.

 

The exterior of the computer case is quite warm to the touch and the fan is running very loudly. 

 

Am I stressing out my computer excessively by using such aggressive playback settings?

Capture.PNG

Three songs into a Roon session.

 

 

Capture.PNG


Living room:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7> Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch > EtherRegen > Sonore Signature Rendu SE Tier 2 > Wyred4Sound 10th Anniversary DAC > Wyred4Sound STI-500 > Revel F32 Concertas

 

Basement:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7>Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch >TrendNet FMC>Sonore OpticalModule> UltraRendu > NuPrime IDA-8 > KEF LS50's

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Hi @Mike Rubin, I have a 9700 cpu too although it is overclocked to 5ghz. I also run the D90 upscaling to DSD256 using ASDM7EC but I have my PC (which runs HQ Player) water cooled (on off the shelf solution for my CPU, not GPU, a Corsair H115i). I usually run it at its quetiest e.g. least agressive settings (and 'balanced' in the software) and my PC (I can select three settings) stays pretty cool. I am just running a few songs as you did as a test, see results below (I will leave it run for a while to see if things change much)

 

Could you look at improving the cooling possibly?

 

image.png.a891795ffaf5f3bae936cc85bf205e63.png

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Thanks, Rossco.  My Dell XPS 8930's cooling is tough to alter beyond changing the CPU fan, which I am reluctant to do after ruining the CPU in my last computer trying to do that.  However, I figured out that I can reduce the temperatures by throttling the CPU to 95% in Windows' power management settings. I don't mind giving up some performance to avoid destroying the CPU.  I will run Roon upsampled on shuffle overnight and see how the temperature changes.  If it still is too hot, I will look at cooling options more closely. 


Living room:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7> Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch > EtherRegen > Sonore Signature Rendu SE Tier 2 > Wyred4Sound 10th Anniversary DAC > Wyred4Sound STI-500 > Revel F32 Concertas

 

Basement:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7>Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch >TrendNet FMC>Sonore OpticalModule> UltraRendu > NuPrime IDA-8 > KEF LS50's

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Just a quick update, I have left running for a hour or so - currently the temps look like this

 

image.png.c301fc924a09db46b851397c8cd6b88e.png

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Here's mine after six hours at 95% processor power.   Throttling seems to do the trick.

 

Moral of this story:  if you want to take advantage of the D90's DSD256 capabilities, be sure you have enough processing horsepower.  This is a 9th Generation i7 with 16gb RAM and it's barely able to keep up.

Capture.PNG


Living room:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7> Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch > EtherRegen > Sonore Signature Rendu SE Tier 2 > Wyred4Sound 10th Anniversary DAC > Wyred4Sound STI-500 > Revel F32 Concertas

 

Basement:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7>Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch >TrendNet FMC>Sonore OpticalModule> UltraRendu > NuPrime IDA-8 > KEF LS50's

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@Mike Rubin,  I am surprised you have these struggles with Roon oversampling to DSD 256?  My I5 Mac Mini runs Roon oversampling to DSD 256 with the 7th order CLANS modulator, all day long, for a couple of years now, with no issues, and fairly low processor activity.  Roon oversampling is not very processor intensive.  This machine is just a 2.8 GHz, I5, with 8 Gb of RAM.  I do set it on some random cones to allow for a little additional airflow around the chassis's and the room ambient temperature is never above 70 D. F.  The fan rarely runs doing this.

Are you also running other things which are effecting your processor activity, room correction/EQ, etc?


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.                                                        
                            

                                   
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6 minutes ago, barrows said:

@Mike Rubin,  I am surprised you have these struggles with Roon oversampling to DSD 256?  My I5 Mac Mini runs Roon oversampling to DSD 256 with the 7th order CLANS modulator, all day long, for a couple of years now, with no issues, and fairly low processor activity.  Roon oversampling is not very processor intensive.  This machine is just a 2.8 GHz, I5, with 8 Gb of RAM.  I do set it on some random cones to allow for a little additional airflow around the chassis's and the room ambient temperature is never above 70 D. F.  The fan rarely runs doing this.

Are you also running other things which are effecting your processor activity, room correction/EQ, etc?

Barrows, *nothing* else going on except a download during the times the CPU was running so hot.

 

I have some ventilation issues because the computer is in one of those built-in CPU niches next to the desktop kneehole, but I have had computers in those for decades without overheating.  I am sure that doesn't help, though.

 

Googling "Dell XPS 8930 overheating" shows both that this model has heat dissipation issues and is difficult to retrofit with coolers unless you want to start chopping holes in the case.  Most complaints come from gamers, but one I found came from a video editor.  

 

Maybe the solution is to find a NUC (or something else that runs Windows) that I can dedicate to audio and that I can put on a corner of the desktop.


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Basement:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7>Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch >TrendNet FMC>Sonore OpticalModule> UltraRendu > NuPrime IDA-8 > KEF LS50's

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Well, for sure a computer for running as a server which is tasked with oversampling should be a dedicated machine not doing anything else, and of course video editing is very, very processor (and memory) intensive activity, especially at 1080p and above, so no surprise there.  For sure my Mac Mini is a dedicated machine.

Why not actively ventilate your computer niche with a hole cut in the back, at the top, fitted with a fan to draw hot air out the back and top and cool in through the bottom?


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.                                                        
                            

                                   
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I just tried turning the cpu speed back up to 100% because the case was cool and the fan wasn't running.  Within one minute, the fan started up and the cpu core temps were in the 70's.  Turning the cpu back down to 99% shut the fan off immediately and brought the temps into the 40's and 50's again.  I guess I am running this at 99% from now on.

 

Clearly, this is an anomaly in my computer and not a "Topping needs DSD256" so I'll be quiet from this point.  Might take it up with Dell.


Living room:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7> Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch > EtherRegen > Sonore Signature Rendu SE Tier 2 > Wyred4Sound 10th Anniversary DAC > Wyred4Sound STI-500 > Revel F32 Concertas

 

Basement:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7>Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch >TrendNet FMC>Sonore OpticalModule> UltraRendu > NuPrime IDA-8 > KEF LS50's

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7 minutes ago, barrows said:

Well, for sure a computer for running as a server which is tasked with oversampling should be a dedicated machine not doing anything else, and of course video editing is very, very processor (and memory) intensive activity, especially at 1080p and above, so no surprise there.  For sure my Mac Mini is a dedicated machine.

Why not actively ventilate your computer niche with a hole cut in the back, at the top, fitted with a fan to draw hot air out the back and top and cool in through the bottom?

I've already started to look into that.  Thanks for the suggestion!


Living room:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7> Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch > EtherRegen > Sonore Signature Rendu SE Tier 2 > Wyred4Sound 10th Anniversary DAC > Wyred4Sound STI-500 > Revel F32 Concertas

 

Basement:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7>Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch >TrendNet FMC>Sonore OpticalModule> UltraRendu > NuPrime IDA-8 > KEF LS50's

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9 minutes ago, Mike Rubin said:

I've already started to look into that.  Thanks for the suggestion!

For sure ambient air temperature has a big effect on component running temperatures, not just for computers.  I really cringe when I see high end audio components inside cabinets which have no through ventilation, even if the front door is open when in use.  This kind of set up is just asking for trouble, and not just for power amps either, DACs, servers, and renderers all should be placed in a location where ambient air ventilation is provided.

The Signature Rendu SEoptical, and opticalRendu, for example should never be placed in cabinets with solid un-ventilated walls, and most audio component manuals recommend against this type of enclosed space for any component.


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.                                                        
                            

                                   
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Yeah, I get that.  My living room audio cabinet has doors, for the sake of WAF, but it has an entirely open back and is at some distance from the wall, so I've never had heat issues with it of which I am aware.

 

I just got off the phone with Dell, which told me that they are aware of this cpu issue and that there is a new BIOS that the tech had me download.  (I check for driver and BIOS updates at least weekly, using a scheduler, but this new one has the same version number as the earlier one that I presently use, so the Dell Support app didn't detect that I didn't have the latest installed.)  The tech guy assures me it should allow the cpu to work at the 100% setting, but I will believe that when I see it.  I'll test this afternoon.

 

In the meantime, I am looking at NUC as an option for a dedicated server. I need something with a really small form factor if I am going to place it on the desktop next to LPS, microrendu, and DAC boxes.

 

Apologies to all for getting the thread so far off the rails.  :)


Living room:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7> Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch > EtherRegen > Sonore Signature Rendu SE Tier 2 > Wyred4Sound 10th Anniversary DAC > Wyred4Sound STI-500 > Revel F32 Concertas

 

Basement:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7>Roon/Audirvana/JRiver Media Server > ASUS AC-87R Router > Netgear GS348 Switch >TrendNet FMC>Sonore OpticalModule> UltraRendu > NuPrime IDA-8 > KEF LS50's

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No disrespect to anyone enjoying their D90's, but after 4 weeks I think I've reached the end of the line with mine.  We've had our good times, and I can see how she would appeal to many.  But I'm not feeling it.

 

Before I pack her up....I'd love to hear any mitigating factors. I've probably put around 120 playing hours on my D90.  Could I expect any further changes in the future? She's definitely mellowed since new, but still has a slightly irritating voice.  I do use the standard USB cord and, of course, the basic fuse. 

 

@Barrows was right about DSD - even 128.  Amazingly wide soundstage and detail.  But I'd question whether it's a pleasing DAC to live with over the long term - there just has to be more refinement out there, without spending silly money. Maybe I'll try an NOS model, such as the Orchid or Troubadour.


Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> AQ Vodka --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> USPCB --> Schiit Eitr --> AQ Coffee --> Hegel HD25 --> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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