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Bricasti M1SE or Denafrips Terminator Plus?


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I am considering two different DAC upgrades

 

The two DACs I am considering are the Bricasti M1SE with their new MDx  board and the  Denafrips Terminator Plus. My server/streamer is the Innuos Zenith MKII SE with the Phoenix reclocker. Since I’m committed to USB and I have the Phoenix I would not add the Denafrips clock. 

 

I value harmonic decay and warmth but I’m also looking for image density and detail. 

 

It’s a long shot, but I was wondering if somebody might have compared these DACS.

Transparent Audio ethernet cable>TP-LInk 1200 WiFi router>Transparent Audio ethernet cable>switch>Transparent Audio ethernet cable>EtherRegen>Transparent Audio ethernet cable>Innuos Zenith MKII SE> AudioQuest Diamond USB>Innuos Phoenix>Sablon 2020 USB cable> Mojo Audio Mystique Evo DAC> Wireworld platinum 8 balanced interconnect>Headamp GS-X  Mini>HIFi Man HE-1000se or Aesthetic Mimas> Audience SX speaker cables>Magnapan 1.7i. Synergistic Research Atmosphere Excite powers cords and Farad Super 3 PS for the EtherRegen.

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I havnt compared but own Bricasti M12 and very happy with it. Previous DAC was a Schiit Yggy. One reason to strongly consider Bricasti is their track record of upgrading hardware and software rather than build a new model. Outstanding customer service is big plus also.

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I owned the Bricasti M1SE for a year but not with the new board. I sold it to get the cheaper Dave which to my ears was better in all regards. I have never regretted the swop. I can’t help with comparisons to the Denafrips I’m afraid because the only one I have heard is the Ares 2.

Innuos Statement and Antipodes K50 - Sablon 2020 USB - MSCALER (Sean Jacobs DC4 power) - WAVE Storm bnc - DAVE (Sean Jacobs external DC4 power)

Pass Labs XA60.8 power amps - Spendor SP200 speakers

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The Terminator Plus is probably too new for anyone to have done a shoot out yet.  I have a M1SE with MDx and I love it.

It checks the boxes you are looking for.  Harmonic decay, warmth, image density and detail. 

And I second Bricasti support.  Joe even calls me on the phone to walk me through.

 

I always thought that FPGA DACs were the way to go because I thought all chip based DACs sounded the same.  I was wrong about the M1SE.  Very creamy holographic and deep fast bass.

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35 minutes ago, mrkoven said:

Plus instead of the pursuit to decrapify USB, I get to avoid that all together now. Personally I'm done w/ DACs that don't have network streaming built in, 

 

As someone who loves to simplify my system (and was very happy for one year once I had reduced the system to three smallish boxes - DAC/streamer/preamp + amps), I nevertheless ran an experiment to decrapify the ethernet input.   That experiment has worked very well even though it added boxes I didn't want.  I was pretty skeptical and only proceeded because UpTone has a 30-day trial period.  I started with UpTone etherREGEN, using its included SMPS.  Sounded great.  Of course, in usual audiophile style, once I started down that path I got curious about how to give the etherREGEN the best infrastructure to be its best.  My signature line shows the result.  

 

Just an FYI. 

 

Mola Mola Tambaqui > Mola Mola Kaluga > B&W 803 D3       Cables:  Kubala-Sosna

 

Streaming:  iMac/Roon/Qobuz > ... DXE filter > in-wall 6 UTP > DXE filter > Sonore opticalModule > UpTone EtherREGEN #1 > eR #2 + mini-circuits filter + Cybershaft OP13 clock > Tambaqui ( = DAC/Roon endpoint/volume control)

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On 8/19/2020 at 11:20 AM, ducatirider said:

The Terminator Plus is probably too new for anyone to have done a shoot out yet.  I have a M1SE with MDx and I love it.

It checks the boxes you are looking for.  Harmonic decay, warmth, image density and detail. 

And I second Bricasti support.  Joe even calls me on the phone to walk me through.

 

I always thought that FPGA DACs were the way to go because I thought all chip based DACs sounded the same.  I was wrong about the M1SE.  Very creamy holographic and deep fast bass.

 My two favorite legacy DACs were the Theta GEN 5 and Mark Levinson 360s and both  were chip based. I loved the warm but incredibly resolved character of those DACS, but neither had the USB that I required as I entered computer audio. I’ve been told the Bricasti has a character similar to Mark Levison 30.6 Referance DAC and I imagine that might be even truer today with the new MDx board. The Terminator Plus is appealing due its reputation and the fact that there is simply so much power supply engineering and awesome mass, if I owned it and it aged out to obsolescence it would make one impressive boat anchor.

 

Transparent Audio ethernet cable>TP-LInk 1200 WiFi router>Transparent Audio ethernet cable>switch>Transparent Audio ethernet cable>EtherRegen>Transparent Audio ethernet cable>Innuos Zenith MKII SE> AudioQuest Diamond USB>Innuos Phoenix>Sablon 2020 USB cable> Mojo Audio Mystique Evo DAC> Wireworld platinum 8 balanced interconnect>Headamp GS-X  Mini>HIFi Man HE-1000se or Aesthetic Mimas> Audience SX speaker cables>Magnapan 1.7i. Synergistic Research Atmosphere Excite powers cords and Farad Super 3 PS for the EtherRegen.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/19/2020 at 5:35 PM, Blake said:

You can't go wrong either way.

 

I have heard nothing but good things about Bricasti and they seem like a great company but unfortunately have no personal experience with them. 

 

I am exceptionally happy with my Terminator Plus and the distributor, Alvin at Vinshine is as good at customer service as I have ever experienced for any product of any type (audio or non-audio). 

 

I find the Terminator Plus is both highly detailed, with astounding clarity and also organic and analog sounding at the same time.  It is not warm and rolled off and it is not sterile or bright sounding- far from it.  Any sterile, bright or hard sounding equipment is an absolute non-starter for me and gets quickly ejected from my system.  I am finding the Terminator Plus to be very tunable in terms of getting your preferred sound quality.  You can run PCM or DSD, and then you also have NOS or OS with a multitude of input options.  Each input to the Terminator has bit different sound.  Finally, the Terminator Plus has so much clarity and detail, I am finding cable changes are even more noticeable than with any other audio product I have owned, so in addition to PCM/DSD, NOS/OS and the different sounding inputs, you can further tweak the sound with cabling.  

 

From your description, I think you would like USB straight in which is terrific, or if you are able to run i2s, I would suggest that you get a Tubulus Argentus HDMI and run things in NOS.  The Argentus is a very full sounding cable, lots of density but still detailed, and in NOS Mode, the tonal density is further enhanced.  OS Mode sounds relatively more airy and detailed with a bit larger sound stage and Argentus is a good combo with either NOS or OS.

 

I really do believe if this DAC was from a North American, U.K. or European company it would cost double or triple the price.  Anyway, hopefully someone can chime in that has had both DAC's in their system to compare.

I am still interested in Terminator Plus but nearly everyone is companioning the DAC with the Gaia. Did you notice a significant improvement with the Gaia? 

I have no room for a additional chassis or another AC outlet available in my AC conditioner.  The only way I could accommodate a Gaia would be to remove my Innuos Phoenix USB reclocker. The Phoenix USB reclocker provides a subtle improvement where most of the Gaia owners are reporting a night and day level of improvement so that might be something to consider. I would also have to imagine that the clock cables used to connect the Gaia contribute much to it's sound quality.

Transparent Audio ethernet cable>TP-LInk 1200 WiFi router>Transparent Audio ethernet cable>switch>Transparent Audio ethernet cable>EtherRegen>Transparent Audio ethernet cable>Innuos Zenith MKII SE> AudioQuest Diamond USB>Innuos Phoenix>Sablon 2020 USB cable> Mojo Audio Mystique Evo DAC> Wireworld platinum 8 balanced interconnect>Headamp GS-X  Mini>HIFi Man HE-1000se or Aesthetic Mimas> Audience SX speaker cables>Magnapan 1.7i. Synergistic Research Atmosphere Excite powers cords and Farad Super 3 PS for the EtherRegen.

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32 minutes ago, Vangelis said:

I am still interested in Terminator Plus but nearly everyone is companioning the DAC with the Gaia. Did you notice a significant improvement with the Gaia? 

 

Since you are committed to USB it does not make any sense IMO to consider the Terminator Plus AND Gaia.

Your Innuos combo has an excellent USB output and the TP an excellent USB input.

The TP alone supports higher PCM and DSD rates than as a combo with the Gaia.

You can save the expense for the Gaia and the connecting cables.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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3 hours ago, Vangelis said:

I am still interested in Terminator Plus but nearly everyone is companioning the DAC with the Gaia. Did you notice a significant improvement with the Gaia? 

I have no room for a additional chassis or another AC outlet available in my AC conditioner.  The only way I could accommodate a Gaia would be to remove my Innuos Phoenix USB reclocker. The Phoenix USB reclocker provides a subtle improvement where most of the Gaia owners are reporting a night and day level of improvement so that might be something to consider. I would also have to imagine that the clock cables used to connect the Gaia contribute much to it's sound quality.

 

I would think a TPlus + Phoenix will be an exceptionally good combo, but unfortunately I have no experience with the Phoenix. I would be very interested in your findings if you do go with a TPlus and combine it with your Phoenix.

 

Gaia isn't required for TPlus to sound very good.  However, it does allow you to take advantage of the I2S input on the TPlus, which has a bit different sonic presentation/flavor as compared to the TPlus USB- both are good and it could be down to personal taste which input you would prefer.  Adding a Denafrips D/D converter also allows the user to take advantage of the clock out feature of the TPlus which takes clarity/holography to another level and the difference is not subtle, but keep in mind, clarity and holography are still very good without the D/D converter, running USB in.

 

Clarity and holography are a really big deal to me, but others may not feel the same way, in which case there is no need to add the D/D converter.  Perhaps the Phoenix would work the same magic?

 

Clock cables do make a difference.  I experimented with very cheap, hifi, and uber-hifi clock cables and the differences were obvious as you scale up, but even with cheap clock cables, things are impressive.    

 

I am so happy with my Gaia, I ended up ordering an Iris for my Qutest for my "COVID" home office headphone setup (I share the home office with my wife so headphones are a must).

 

Anyway, these are just my personal experiences and I am not an authority here.  Others may have different views.

 

 

 

 

 

   

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 

 

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

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4 minutes ago, Blake said:

Clock cables do make a difference.  I experimented with very cheap, hifi, and uber-hifi clock cables and the differences were obvious as you scale up, but even with cheap clock cables, things are impressive.    

 

Not to go too far OT, but...can you mention the cables you tried and what qualities they brought?  Personally, I find that a $40+ (0.5 meter) clock cable is quite good.

Mola Mola Tambaqui > Mola Mola Kaluga > B&W 803 D3       Cables:  Kubala-Sosna

 

Streaming:  iMac/Roon/Qobuz > ... DXE filter > in-wall 6 UTP > DXE filter > Sonore opticalModule > UpTone EtherREGEN #1 > eR #2 + mini-circuits filter + Cybershaft OP13 clock > Tambaqui ( = DAC/Roon endpoint/volume control)

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/8/2020 at 5:24 PM, Blake said:

 

I would think a TPlus + Phoenix will be an exceptionally good combo, but unfortunately I have no experience with the Phoenix. I would be very interested in your findings if you do go with a TPlus and combine it with your Phoenix.

 

I am so happy with my Gaia, I ended up ordering an Iris for my Qutest for my "COVID" home office headphone setup (I share the home office with my wife so headphones are a must).

 

Anyway, these are just my personal experiences and I am not an authority here.  Others may have different views.

 

 

Appropriately I am listening to Temptation by Diana Krall  on Qobuz    "Temptation.....I cant resist"

 

I have a Statement and Terminator and it sounds amazing.....Yet I hear the Terminator is better with I2S.  Wondering if upgrading to the TP and adding a Iris or Gaia to input I2S with the TP's clocks is going to make me happy.

 

Have you compared the Iris and Gaia with the TP and clocks for I2S?  Does the Gaia do it better?  Any information on the Hermes?

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Hi Rickki,

You have a Innuos Statement server and the Termy which already is operating at a very high level. You could go 2 ways IMHO

1. Get a Gaia and team it with the Termy 

2. Get a TP (It has very good USB implementation btw)

 

In both options, I would love to be in your situation. The Innuos, though, I have not heard it before (I'm using Zenith Mk2) am sure is a beast of a server and if its coupled with a TP. Oh man, that would be exquiste I'm sure. 

Having said that, the Termy/Gaia (2 x OCXO clocks) combo is one which I really enjoyed too and it could be your first steps into what a good quality DDC can do.

Please do keep us updated. All in, you are already at a very high level and i guess diminshing returns will be in force as well. It comes down to the taste of your music and the presentation. It's a rabbit hole as we know. Whatever you do, enjoy the ride and music. God bless.

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Abyss Man,

Thanks, I pinch myself every day.  I was looking at the MK3 and a used Statement came up on Audio Mart and I think I lost my mind and went for it.  No regrets at all now.

I know the USB from the Statement is top class but I wonder if feeding an I2S converter such a good signal and using a converter like the  Iris or Gaia with the  two clock signals would better the USB from the Statement or mess it up.  I would need the TP for the clock outputs.  I have read there are differences with the sound of USB and I2S on the Termy and TP and that the I2S is better?

I was wondering if there is a difference with USB in and I2S out between the Iris and Gaia.  I don't need all the other outputs the Gaia offers. And I don't need the OCXO clock on the Gaia as the better clock on the TP will run the Iris or Gaia.

I am deep deep in the rabbit hole but still digging away.

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On 9/25/2020 at 10:01 PM, RikkiPoo said:

 

Appropriately I am listening to Temptation by Diana Krall  on Qobuz    "Temptation.....I cant resist"

 

I have a Statement and Terminator and it sounds amazing.....Yet I hear the Terminator is better with I2S.  Wondering if upgrading to the TP and adding a Iris or Gaia to input I2S with the TP's clocks is going to make me happy.

 

Have you compared the Iris and Gaia with the TP and clocks for I2S?  Does the Gaia do it better?  Any information on the Hermes?

 

My Iris has not yet shipped.  When it arrives I will compare to my Gaia.  Unfortunately I don't have any intel on when the Hermes will be released.

 

 

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 

 

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

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23 hours ago, RikkiPoo said:

I know the USB from the Statement is top class but I wonder if feeding an I2S converter such a good signal and using a converter like the  Iris or Gaia with the  two clock signals would better the USB from the Statement or mess it up.  I would need the TP for the clock outputs.  I have read there are differences with the sound of USB and I2S on the Termy and TP and that the I2S is better?

 

Going I2S from Gaia to TPlus, then engaging clock out on the TPlus upstream to the Gaia is just next level stuff.  Not essential, but if you are chasing for more clarity/detail/holography, it is an amazing combo.

 

In terms of how the TPlus and Gaia with clock out engaged fares against a usb fixer like the Phoenix, see page 4 of the 6Moons Avatar review for Srajan's findings:

 

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

 

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 

 

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

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I hope to try out the Hermes as soon as it hits our shores Blake. It should not be too far from now. Hint Hint.....

 

As for the Gaia against the Iris, without any help from the TP, the Gaia kicks the Iris right out of the battlefield, with the help of the clock from TP though, things get a little "complicated". Its quite a close fight, but I went with the Gaia, cause me being me, I know I will be kicking myself and 2 days later be wanting to get the Gaia. LOL.

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6 hours ago, Abyss Man said:

Blake,

Did I read right? The Gaia when clocked by the TP was better than the Phoenix? Wondering how it would do if the Phoenix had a Innuos server feeding the signal. 

 

 

 

Yes, you read that right.

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 

 

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

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14 hours ago, Blake said:

Not essential, but if you are chasing for more clarity/detail/holography, it is an amazing combo.

 

When it gets to the finer points of sound quality in these discussions that is when I miss not being able to pop over to someones house and listen whilst they point out the sound that they really like. What I mean is that "Clarity/detail/holography" can be danger words to me in some systems and signal noise artifacts but in others they can indeed be positive aspects. That's when this hobby becomes frustrating when we are trying to discuss it (especially when it gets expensive which is what it does at this level).

 

 

Innuos Statement and Antipodes K50 - Sablon 2020 USB - MSCALER (Sean Jacobs DC4 power) - WAVE Storm bnc - DAVE (Sean Jacobs external DC4 power)

Pass Labs XA60.8 power amps - Spendor SP200 speakers

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Blake,

 

Following up on Abyss Man's question about the Phoenix,  Does adding the Phoenix between the server/streamer have a benefit feeding a Gaia clocked by the TP?

I had a notion that just like feeding a DAC a lower noise/jitter signal (like the phoenix does) makes a DAC's analog output better, feeding a DDC a lower noise/jitter signal will benefit the DDC's digital output and thus further improve the DAC's performance.

Still chasing rabbits.....

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12 hours ago, RikkiPoo said:

Blake,

 

Following up on Abyss Man's question about the Phoenix,  Does adding the Phoenix between the server/streamer have a benefit feeding a Gaia clocked by the TP?

I had a notion that just like feeding a DAC a lower noise/jitter signal (like the phoenix does) makes a DAC's analog output better, feeding a DDC a lower noise/jitter signal will benefit the DDC's digital output and thus further improve the DAC's performance.

Still chasing rabbits.....

 

Hi, unfortunately I don't have a Phoenix so I am not sure.  My best guess is, I would think inserting a Phoenix (i.e. server > Phoenix > Gaia > Terminator Plus) would be overkill.  

 

 

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 

 

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

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