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Denafrips Gaia or Innuos Phoenix?


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I'm having a dilemma...
Not sure what I would like to do. Innuos Phoenix or Denafrips Gaia?
The Phoenix would be connected via USB to my Zenith MKIII then to a Topping D90 MQA DAC.
If I chose the Denafrips Gaia the connection would still be USB from Zenith III to Gaia but from the Gaia it would be I2s to the D90 MQA DAC.
Any thoughts anyone?

Amplifier: Feliks Envy (Performance Ed), Primaluna EVO 400 Integrated with Brimar CV4003, Singxer SA-1, Cayin C9 Portable Amp. DAC: Chord DAVE, Chord MScaler, LampizatOr Amber 3 DAP: Fiio M17, Fiio M11 Plus Ltd SS, DX 300 MAX SS, DX 300 MAX Ti, Cayin N6ii + A02 Line out + E02 Source: Silent Angel M1T, Forrester LPS, N8 Network Switch, InnuOs Zenith MK3, Pioneer PD-S904 Analogue: Rega Planar 2 > Rega Fono MM MK3, Pioneer CT-W806DR,

Cables: Wave Storm Reference, Phasure Lush ^2, AQ Coffee, AQ Ruby, Cable Talk 2, QED Silver Anniversary Speakers: Klipsch Forte III.

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13 minutes ago, Rune said:

Have you considered upgrading your DAC instead?


Good question.  

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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Hi Rune,

Yes. I was thinking the Gaia route as I was also contemplating the Terminator Plus later on.

Just wanted to know members thoughts on the Gaia with the D90 MQA via I2s.

 

 

Amplifier: Feliks Envy (Performance Ed), Primaluna EVO 400 Integrated with Brimar CV4003, Singxer SA-1, Cayin C9 Portable Amp. DAC: Chord DAVE, Chord MScaler, LampizatOr Amber 3 DAP: Fiio M17, Fiio M11 Plus Ltd SS, DX 300 MAX SS, DX 300 MAX Ti, Cayin N6ii + A02 Line out + E02 Source: Silent Angel M1T, Forrester LPS, N8 Network Switch, InnuOs Zenith MK3, Pioneer PD-S904 Analogue: Rega Planar 2 > Rega Fono MM MK3, Pioneer CT-W806DR,

Cables: Wave Storm Reference, Phasure Lush ^2, AQ Coffee, AQ Ruby, Cable Talk 2, QED Silver Anniversary Speakers: Klipsch Forte III.

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I would also invest in a cheaper and highly effective solution such as the ISO Regen and upgrade the DAC first, remaining system and room too, and only when things are very high level then consider upgrading the ISO Regen, if needed. I think it would bring higher returns.

1. ITX PC - Mola Mola Makua - Apollon NC800SL - Thiel CS3.7

2. LG 77C1 - Marantz SR7005 - Apollon NCMP6200 - Monitor Audio PL100+PLC150+C265 - SVS SB-3000

3. PC - RME ADI-2 DAC FS - Audeze LCDi3 - Neumann KH 80 DSP

4. Phone - TempoTec Sonata E44 - Moondrop Aria

5. PC - Meizu HiFi DAC - Moondrop Chu

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If you plan on getting a terminator I would simply wait and get that first.

My impression from reading the Gaia thread is that those that are most exited about it is not using USB, but other “legacy” digital connections that does benefit from the conversion.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/2/2020 at 6:02 PM, ConcreteCow said:

I'm having a dilemma...
Not sure what I would like to do. Innuos Phoenix or Denafrips Gaia?
The Phoenix would be connected via USB to my Zenith MKIII then to a Topping D90 MQA DAC.
If I chose the Denafrips Gaia the connection would still be USB from Zenith III to Gaia but from the Gaia it would be I2s to the D90 MQA DAC.
Any thoughts anyone?

 

If Denafrips Gaia or Innuos Phoenix will suit you best depends on which DAC you are going to use with it, or more correctly which type of digital input it has and sound best with.

 

With Gaia you get many different in and outputs SPDIF, TOSLink, AES/EBU x 2, I²S HDMI LVDS and I²S RJ45 LVCMOS but no USB out. With Innuos Phoenix you get only USB in and out.

 

A cheaper, but very good DDC solution that may suit you is the Audio GD DI-20HE.

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23 hours ago, Summit said:

 

If Denafrips Gaia or Innuos Phoenix will suit you best depends on which DAC you are going to use with it, or more correctly which type of digital input it has and sound best with.

 


Can someone explain why these two devices are considered equals?  The Gaia aims to do a lot more so it’s not clear to me how that’s a better approach than focusing on just improving USB.  Obviously if one needs a converter, the Phoenix wouldn’t serve that purpose.  But the inclusion of a FPGA in the Gaia makes me wonder if the Phoenix might have an edge when it comes to removing noise from the signal.  I could be wrong though.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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The Gaia has 2 ocxo clocks too Ken. It would certainly be interesting to compare both though. I have not had the pleasure of listening to a Phoenix but I have listened to a Gaia mated to a Terminator. I like the 3-D and holographic presentation. It’s very quiet too. 

 

Hope this battle comes to fruition soon. It will certainly be fun. 

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2 minutes ago, Abyss Man said:

The Gaia has 2 ocxo clocks too Ken. It would certainly be interesting to compare both though. I have not had the pleasure of listening to a Phoenix but I have listened to a Gaia mated to a Terminator. I like the 3-D and holographic presentation. It’s very quiet too. 

 

Hope this battle comes to fruition soon. It will certainly be fun. 

And how was your source connected to Gaia?

This is important info because else there might be drawn wrong conclusions.

 

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On 8/13/2020 at 4:25 PM, Summit said:

 

If Denafrips Gaia or Innuos Phoenix will suit you best depends on which DAC you are going to use with it, or more correctly which type of digital input it has and sound best with.

 

With Gaia you get many different in and outputs SPDIF, TOSLink, AES/EBU x 2, I²S HDMI LVDS and I²S RJ45 LVCMOS but no USB out. With Innuos Phoenix you get only USB in and out.

 

A cheaper, but very good DDC solution that may suit you is the Audio GD DI-20HE.

The first para is a true statement. The Denafrips DACs like i2S input. It’s recommended by them as well. Other DACs might like a different input. 

 

Don’t forget the Denafrips range of products now have a “eco” system of their own. Although the Gaia for instance, is catered for non Terminator Plus DAC owners with its own onboard ocxo clock, as a TP owner you can reclock the Gaia using the OcXo clocks onboard the TP.

 

 

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8 hours ago, kennyb123 said:


Can someone explain why these two devices are considered equals?  The Gaia aims to do a lot more so it’s not clear to me how that’s a better approach than focusing on just improving USB.  Obviously if one needs a converter, the Phoenix wouldn’t serve that purpose.  But the inclusion of a FPGA in the Gaia makes me wonder if the Phoenix might have an edge when it comes to removing noise from the signal.  I could be wrong though.

 

I would say that these two devices are considered equally good at what they are doing, which is improving the sound by purifying the digital audio signal. Denafrips Gaia and Innuos Phoenix both improve the sound by purifying the digital audio signal. They certainly do it in slightly different ways but am sure they are looking to achieve the same goal, which is a better and cleaner digital signal. Which device or protocol that is best depends on which DAC you have and to some degree also preference.

 

I do not think that there are so many today who actually "need" a converter because they don’t have any USB input, as it is people who thinks that their DACs and systems sound better when the digital signal has been converted to other protocols before the signal is sent to the DAC. Converting between different digital protocols can be done without penalty as long as we stay in the digital domain. At least that's what I think 🤩. The Chord Hugo M-Scaler converts the digital signal from USB to SPDIF, so in the end the signal that your DAVE or Hugo TT2 receives is also converted.

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I tried the Phoenix with my Innuos Zenith SE going into an Mscaler connected to a Dave. The Phoenix made a compelling improvement to the sound quality. I was very very impressed.

Owner Wave High Fidelity digital cables :

Antipodes Oladra + PhoenixNET + PhoenixUSB,

Mscaler + Dave + WAVE Storm dual BNC (Sean Jacobs ARC6 power)

Pass Labs XA60.8 power amps + Spendor SP200 speakers, ATC150 actives.

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59 minutes ago, Summit said:

I do not think that there are so many today who actually "need" a converter because they don’t have any USB input


Now this is interesting (and OT), cause I think you don’t purchase a converter, unless you have a (very) good DAC and lacking USB. I don’t call isoregen and similar a converter. Their mission is different. 
 

I would claim some old DAC’s (that lacks USB) is as good or better than today’s reasonable priced USB DAC’s.
 

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52 minutes ago, Summit said:

 

I would say that these two devices are considered equally good at what they are doing, which is improving the sound by purifying the digital audio signal. Denafrips Gaia and Innuos Phoenix both improve the sound by purifying the digital audio signal. They certainly do it in slightly different ways but am sure they are looking to achieve the same goal, which is a better and cleaner digital signal. Which device or protocol that is best depends on which DAC you have and to some degree also preference.

 

There are many devices out there that attempt to purify the digital audio signal.  Some are a lot better than others though.  The ISO Regen easily beat their earlier Regen, for example.  But I suspect that the Phoenix will blow the doors off of the ISO Regen.  The Phoenix may be at the top of the list right now as far as the "USB fixer" class of products given the reports so far.  We need some listening reports to tell us about how well the Gaia does at purifying the signal relative to these other devices.  I haven't seen any evidence yet that it belongs at the top of the list next to the Phoenix.

 

52 minutes ago, Summit said:

I do not think that there are so many today who actually "need" a converter because they don’t have any USB input, as it is people who thinks that their DACs and systems sound better when the digital signal has been converted to other protocols before the signal is sent to the DAC. Converting between different digital protocols can be done without penalty as long as we stay in the digital domain. At least that's what I think 🤩. The Chord Hugo M-Scaler converts the digital signal from USB to SPDIF, so in the end the signal that your DAVE or Hugo TT2 receives is also converted.

 

You seem to be agreeing that a converter is a different class of products.  Gaia to Phoenix is like comparing an apples to an orange. Gaia to HMS is like apples to grapefruits.  

 

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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1 hour ago, R1200CL said:


Now this is interesting (and OT), cause I think you don’t purchase a converter, unless you have a (very) good DAC and lacking USB. I don’t call isoregen and similar a converter. Their mission is different. 
 

I would claim some old DAC’s (that lacks USB) is as good or better than today’s reasonable priced USB DAC’s.
 

 

I have purchase a DDC and my DAC has USB. The OP has a Topping D90 MQA which also has USB, the Denafrips Terminator has USB. Many people that buy a Denafrips Gaia or other TOTL DDCs actually have USB on their DAC but think a good DDC enhance the sound. Of course some people, like you, may get a DDC because their DAC don’t have USB.

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1 hour ago, kennyb123 said:

 

There are many devices out there that attempt to purify the digital audio signal.  Some are a lot better than others though.  The ISO Regen easily beat their earlier Regen, for example.  But I suspect that the Phoenix will blow the doors off of the ISO Regen.  The Phoenix may be at the top of the list right now as far as the "USB fixer" class of products given the reports so far.  We need some listening reports to tell us about how well the Gaia does at purifying the signal relative to these other devices.  I haven't seen any evidence yet that it belongs at the top of the list next to the Phoenix.

 

 

You seem to be agreeing that a converter is a different class of products.  Gaia to Phoenix is like comparing an apples to an orange. Gaia to HMS is like apples to grapefruits.  

 

 

It depends on what you mean by different class of products. Different as in using different tech and protocols to enhance sound? Yes. Do I believe that it will be the best solution for all DACs? No I don’t think so.

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2 hours ago, Blake said:

I am also now of the view that some of these sonic enhancer products can have a pretty dramatic improvement, such that money might be better spent on one of these sonic enhancer products rather than a DAC upgrade.

 

I would take that statement with a pinch of salt. Maybe but just maybe you are right if the rest of the system and DAC is in the diminishing return of investment territory then I would consider one of those enhancement product.

Personally I would rather spend more on Speakers, amps and DAC in that order. And the price of the products in the subject will get you from Terminator to plus version or if you are looking at a cheaper DAC then it makes more sense to spend the money on a better DAC.

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