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What DAC Do Aurender Owners Use?


Jeff_N

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Hi All,

 

I wasn't sure if I should put this here or in the DAC forum. I have an Aurender N100C. I used it with an Yggdrasil with Analog 2 for a year or two and was happy with the combination. Then I added the Unison USB upgrade. Big mistake. When using the Yggy’s USB in port my stereo started emitting the occasional loud buzzing noise when I hit the fast forward button to advance from one track to the next. Aurender went out of their way to try to fix that issue, and they more or less did, but since then more trouble has popped up. Now, when I switch directly from internet radio to an internal HD or Qobuz track, I get the buzz again. It’s doubly frustrating because I can’t reliably reproduce it on demand.

 

Aurender recommended that I hit pause in between switching tracks, and that does stop the buzz, but sometimes I forget to do it, and it’s so damn loud I’m worried I’m gonna damage my speakers. I could use the SPDIF connection but I prefer the way USB sounds. Furthermore it drives me nuts that my stereo doesn’t work the way I want.

 

What DACs do you Aurender owners use? My system is N100C -> Yggy -> Plinius 9200 integrated amp -> Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers. I listen mostly to Dream Pop and Alternative, but also some jazz. It’s hard for me to say if I prefer digital or analog, but I bought a Yaqin MC-13S tube amp to play around with and I eventually went back to the Plinius solid state. Most of my owned files are Redbook FLACs, but I do have a few high res too. I have no DSDs. No interest in MQA. No interest in Roon. I don’t have a NAS, all my files reside on the Aurender’s internal HD. I’d like to stay below five or six thousand bucks.

 

I’ve been researching DACs like the PS Audio DirectStream, Matrix X-SABRE Pro, DAC 8 DSD, the cheaper LampizatOrs, etc., and if I see one more review that compares a DAC unfavorably to the Yggdrasil I’m gonna scream.

 

Finally, if I can’t find a DAC that’s equal to or better than the Yggy within my budget I’ll look to replace the Aurender. I’ve looked at Lumin, Innuos, and Auralic products, but that’s a whole new overwhelming can of worms I’d rather not open if I can avoid it. Thank you for looking.

 

Jeff

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7 hours ago, wklie said:

If it worked before the USB module upgrade, is it possible to get it downgraded?

I thought about that, but UPS charged me around sixty bucks for shipping and insurance to send the Yggdrasil to Schiit, then Schiit charged me $240 for the upgrade and shipping back. When I include the taxi fare to lug the thing to the UPS office I've already sunk over $300, and to get it downgraded I'd probably end up spending another hundred. Just thinking about it my blood pressure is going up.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have the N100 paired with a Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ and I’m very happy with the combination. 
I do have a high quality $1,200 Supercapacitor external power supply I use to power the Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, which really takes it up 10 notches. 
I also use a “chain” of two different USB decrapifiers that consists of the ISORegen (with LPS 1.2 Supercapacitor power supply) going into an ifi iUSB 3.0 (with second LPS 1.2) then going into Mytek DAC and also use high end DC cables for all the power supplies and also 3 pairs of custom made Cardas Y split USB cables so that I have a separate run for power and signal for each USB pair. 
From my experimenting and testing over a couple of years to finally get to this full Music Streamer / Server and DAC, I believe when it’s all paired together, that I’m getting very good results and sound quality for a not enormous amount of money given how crazy things can get in this hobby. 
I’ve also learned that you can really improve the level of performance with music servers and DACs by adding high quality external power supplies, USB isolators and USB regenerators, and high quality cables. 
Next for me will be to try adding an audiophile Network switch and audiophile grade Ethernet cables, I’ve been hearing they can really increase performance a great deal. 
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I dont know if this is helpful as I'm a rookie when it comes to digital anything.All I can say is I bought a Dac3 from Bel Canto about 10 years ago and it is very nice and you can use it as a preamp direct into the amp if your changing out preamps which I do alot......Merry Christmas,Bob

usblues

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@Jeff_N does changing the time interval between tracts in Conductor have any effect? I had a loud sound changing tracts, but changed that time interval from 0 to 1 and it worked for me. There is fade in/out too, but I have never used it. 

 

Sorry I didn't see this before. Hope you are past this issue by now. Cheers, Mark

I'm MarkusBarkus and I approve this post.10C78B47-4B41-4675-BB84-885019B72A8B.thumb.png.adc3586c8cc9851ecc7960401af05782.png

 

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@Jeff_N

 

Have you looked into something like a used Audio Research DAC 8?

 

For around that price range ($5-$6K) it should be on the short list, I'd imagine you can find a used one for less than that.

 

The newer DAC9 I'd also assume is in the same (and I suspect better) caliber but you'd need to stretch to $7500 new price which is why I suggest the slightly older version.

 

Ayre Acoustics' QB-9 and QX-8 are also top contenders.

 

There is a dCS Debussy on Audiogon for $6k. Try negotiating with the seller down to $5K. Game over!

 

Those would be some on the short list for me, based on your integrated amp's balanced XLR inputs and my experience with Aurender users and their DACs. There are a bunch of other exotic ones out there which are quite good (like the Lampizator stuff you mentioned) but too many people avoid the legacy/established brands to their detriment.

 

However, your comment

 

Quote

Finally, if I can’t find a DAC that’s equal to or better than the Yggy within my budget I’ll look to replace the Aurender. I’ve looked at Lumin, Innuos, and Auralic products, but that’s a whole new overwhelming can of worms I’d rather not open if I can avoid it. 

 

Leads me to also suggest alternative high performance integrated DAC/streamers like Naim, Linn, SimAudio Moon, T+A, etc. 

 

It is a can of worms you can avoid, but doing so may end up limiting you from ending up with something better suited to your particular system. And it's actually not all that overwhelming, once you begin to narrow down what you like.

 

Auralic, Lumin, Innuos , Aurender's own A10 and A100, are all moving in the direction of integrated DACs on board. There is a reason why - not to say one can't still achieve good results with outboard streamer and DAC - and a lot of it actually comes down directly to fidelity. I'd carefully consider each of these in addition to the other brands of mentioned integrated streamers. I've heard plenty (including Aurender's A10) outperform similarly priced server/DAC combos.

 

Just about all the options I mentioned include additional digital inputs so you can continue to use the Aurender N100C while exploring the integrated streamer offered by the manufacturer and decide which you prefer.

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Quote

Aurender recommended that I hit pause in between switching tracks, and that does stop the buzz, but sometimes I forget to do it, and it’s so damn loud I’m worried I’m gonna damage my speakers. I could use the SPDIF connection but I prefer the way USB sounds. Furthermore it drives me nuts that my stereo doesn’t work the way I want.

 

I'm curious what Schitt Audio had to say about this?

 

If you have not yet, or it was not suggested, you might want to ensure the cable between the DAC and the Aurender meets USB 2.0 certification. Many "audio" USB cables do not, and it can manifest in odd behavior like this. Worth a shot, at least I'd try it if you haven't.

 

Otherwise it seems to me the issue is within the DAC.

 

Your post is a reminder to me of why so many audio enthusiasts (and DAC manufacturers) are quietly moving away from USB and to integrated streaming. USB DACs were great, with AES67/Dante/Ravenna et. all beginning to be rolled out in consumer products I think the humble USB port will eventually be relegated to the audio dustbin similar to how Firewire, or ST-type optical were phased out and only used these days in very specific applications with legacy gear. 

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19 hours ago, MarkusBarkus said:

@Jeff_N does changing the time interval between tracts in Conductor have any effect? I had a loud sound changing tracts, but changed that time interval from 0 to 1 and it worked for me. There is fade in/out too, but I have never used it. 

 

 

Thanks Markus, Ari and I tried that but it didn't help.

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Just want to thank everyone for their suggestions. I went with the Matrix X-Sabre MQA Pro DAC. I have no interest in MQA, but this DAC sounds great. I haven't had time to do an ABX test, and I may never do one, because I could never get all the variables (volume matching, cables, having someone else do the swapping, etc.) done properly. But my initial impressions are that the Matrix, to me at least, has a cleaner, sharper, brighter sound than the Yggdrasil.

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You might be interested in this review:

 

As an owner of an N100H and an Innuos Zen mk3  I compared my Aurender N100H performance to the Innuos Zen. The Aurender is connected via USB to my Linn Selekt and the Innuos via Ethernet (directly as it has a second port). Software: Aurenders own App for playback and Roon player for Innuos as Roon Core.
I compared three songs, one of jazz, pop, classic.
If I heard a difference I could source it to the different hardware or the different cables used and even the different connections, but then, I could hardly hear any difference (via my Martin Logans). It seems like the Linn Selekt (Streamer/DAC/Preamp) is pretty immune to such things or my hearing is just not good enough.

Main System: Innuos Zen mk3 > Linn Selekt > Linn Akurate 4200 > Martin Logan Ethos

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On 12/25/2020 at 7:43 AM, Jeff_N said:

Just want to thank everyone for their suggestions. I went with the Matrix X-Sabre MQA Pro DAC. I have no interest in MQA, but this DAC sounds great. I haven't had time to do an ABX test, and I may never do one, because I could never get all the variables (volume matching, cables, having someone else do the swapping, etc.) done properly. But my initial impressions are that the Matrix, to me at least, has a cleaner, sharper, brighter sound than the Yggdrasil.

When I compare the Benchmark DAC 3 and the DAC in the Oppo 205 (both use the high-end SabreDACs) with the Chord Hugo 2 and the current Yggdrasil, both the Chord and the Yggy perform rings around them. Curious!

George

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4 hours ago, gmgraves said:

When I compare the Benchmark DAC 3 and the DAC in the Oppo 205 (both use the high-end SabreDACs) with the Chord Hugo 2 and the current Yggdrasil, both the Chord and the Yggy perform rings around them. Curious!

Not that curious really, if you accept there’s more to DAC implementation than just the chip used.  I have the 205 and agree that it’s far off SOTA, but then again surely, following the logic of your post above, it’s not a revelation that the Matrix as a current c.£2k dedicated stereo  DAC might also best the Oppo as a £1.3k multichannel all round AV player from a few years back?

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