Upgrading Dac or improving streamer

renjith lal

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Hi All,

My current source consists of sonic Transporter which act as Roon core and streamer is pi2aes. DAC I am using is not super expensive however it measures well and it is a recommended DAC in ASR forum. I am feeding coax output to my DAC, my present DAC doesn't accept I2S input.

I like sound of my present system however upgrade bug is biting me :(.
I would like to improve audio performance. I am thinking of two options.

1) Upgrading Dac to Holo Audio May Dac (Kitsune edition) or Terminator plus
2) Improve my source by adding ether regen (from Uptone audio) and an external clock like After Dark clock ( Emperor Double Crown) and linear power supply.

Please see link below for after dark clock.

Which will make a bigger impact or which one is a better bang for buck? I know both are two different directions and both needs to be addressed but still like
now your thoughts.

Thanks
Renjith
 
As others have pointed out it's a very tricky situation and not so easy to recomend.

Obviously as all have suggested investing in dac is always going to be safer and give you guaranteed improvement.

What I can suggest fron my side is which is again easier said then done that if possible demo a dac which is an upgrade from your current one and see what results you get.
 
Hi All,

My current source consists of sonic Transporter which act as Roon core and streamer is pi2aes. DAC I am using is not super expensive however it measures well and it is a recommended DAC in ASR forum. I am feeding coax output to my DAC, my present DAC doesn't accept I2S input.

I like sound of my present system however upgrade bug is biting me :(.
I would like to improve audio performance. I am thinking of two options.

1) Upgrading Dac to Holo Audio May Dac (Kitsune edition) or Terminator plus
2) Improve my source by adding ether regen (from Uptone audio) and an external clock like After Dark clock ( Emperor Double Crown) and linear power supply.

Please see link below for after dark clock.

Which will make a bigger impact or which one is a better bang for buck? I know both are two different directions and both needs to be addressed but still like
now your thoughts.

Thanks
Renjith
upgrade and invest to a better dac there will be huge improvement in sound
 
Hi All,

My current source consists of sonic Transporter which act as Roon core and streamer is pi2aes. DAC I am using is not super expensive however it measures well and it is a recommended DAC in ASR forum. I am feeding coax output to my DAC, my present DAC doesn't accept I2S input.

I like sound of my present system however upgrade bug is biting me :(.
I would like to improve audio performance. I am thinking of two options.

1) Upgrading Dac to Holo Audio May Dac (Kitsune edition) or Terminator plus
2) Improve my source by adding ether regen (from Uptone audio) and an external clock like After Dark clock ( Emperor Double Crown) and linear power supply.

Please see link below for after dark clock.

Which will make a bigger impact or which one is a better bang for buck? I know both are two different directions and both needs to be addressed but still like
now your thoughts.

Thanks
Renjith
A new streamer could help refine the sound. But a new DAC could be an upgrade…in other words DAC has more impact on the sound in general.
 
Upgrading Dac to Holo Audio May Dac (Kitsune edition) or Terminator plus
DAC has the most important impact on Final SQ, in the Digital Source chain. Maximum budget allocation should be done for DAC after the Speakers.

I Wholeheartedly recommend the Terminator Plus, as the connectivity options are innumerable and you already have a pi2aes transport capable of providing the I2s input to Terminator Plus. Do double check the i2s compatibility configuration with your chosen DACs.(SBAF thread on pi2aes clears lots of Doubts)
 
I solved the issue by purchasing a luminT1,it's a streamer,dac and pre, improvement in all aspects.i directly connected this to my Power amplifier, simple,but effective.

Simplicity is highly underrated in Audiophilia. Perhaps, we all like the journey so much more than the destination that we constantly want to be on the road.
 
From my own trials, I can strongly suggest that the bulk of your digital chain investment should go into the dac. That is where I found real differences in presentation and SQ. Of the several steamers I've tried, they've all mostly sounded the same , albeit with small variations. So dac first for me too .
 
Hi Renjith,
For me the biggest noticeable improvement has been the DAC. With accessories to upgrade the streamer you can hear some improvements but the major impact in SQ has always been the DAC.
Cheers,
Sid
Ok, thanks Sidvee for sharing your experience.
It is very confusing, for example DCS comes with DAC, then clock and resampler.
I saw a post in audiophilestyle and few users were praising Ether regen and an external clock combination a lot.
In this case they connect the external clock to Ether regen.

Thanks
Renjith

As others have pointed out it's a very tricky situation and not so easy to recomend.

Obviously as all have suggested investing in dac is always going to be safer and give you guaranteed improvement.

What I can suggest fron my side is which is again easier said then done that if possible demo a dac which is an upgrade from your current one and see what results you get.
Rikhav,

You are correct, it is better to audition at home and get convinced.
Let me see how to do that.

Thanks
Renjith

A new streamer could help refine the sound. But a new DAC could be an upgrade…in other words DAC has more impact on the sound in general.
Ok, thanks for your suggestion.

DAC has the most important impact on Final SQ, in the Digital Source chain. Maximum budget allocation should be done for DAC after the Speakers.

I Wholeheartedly recommend the Terminator Plus, as the connectivity options are innumerable and you already have a pi2aes transport capable of providing the I2s input to Terminator Plus. Do double check the i2s compatibility configuration with your chosen DACs.(SBAF thread on pi2aes clears lots of Doubts)
You are correct, I can email pi2aes guys and check the compatibility. I am thinking of making use of I2S connection on streamer as it is the best option as it undergoes less conversion. Pi2aes guys are very good in replying to emails.

Thanks

From my own trials, I can strongly suggest that the bulk of your digital chain investment should go into the dac. That is where I found real differences in presentation and SQ. Of the several steamers I've tried, they've all mostly sounded the same , albeit with small variations. So dac first for me too .

Ok, thanks Manohar.
I saw a video recently from PS Audio (Paul) and he was saying if inbuilt clock in DAC is very good then it doesnt need an external clock.
But if inbuilt DAC has an inferior clock then an external clock helps. Now if you see DACs like DCS, users say adding a good external clock helps in improving performance. Hence I guess it may worth a try depending on DAC.

But I agree with you all that most important thing is the DAC over streamer or external clock.
 
Ok, thanks Manohar.
I saw a video recently from PS Audio (Paul) and he was saying if inbuilt clock in DAC is very good then it doesnt need an external clock.
But if inbuilt DAC has an inferior clock then an external clock helps. Now if you see DACs like DCS, users say adding a good external clock helps in improving performance. Hence I guess it may worth a try depending on DAC.

But I agree with you all that most important thing is the DAC over streamer or external clock.
With DCs and also other companies like chord it's like an upgrade they sell external clocks.
Something similar like naim does for its amplifier with external power supply which is an upgrade to the existing one inside.
 
I saw a video recently from PS Audio (Paul) and he was saying if inbuilt clock in DAC is very good then it doesnt need an external clock.

Its same as integrated amp vs separates. An integrated amp of very high quality will surpass lesser pre power systems. But separates of a higher lineup will beat the same integrated amp. Its all about money.
 
Ok, thanks Manohar.
I saw a video recently from PS Audio (Paul) and he was saying if inbuilt clock in DAC is very good then it doesnt need an external clock.
But if inbuilt DAC has an inferior clock then an external clock helps. Now if you see DACs like DCS, users say adding a good external clock helps in improving performance. Hence I guess it may worth a try depending on DAC.

But I agree with you all that most important thing is the DAC over streamer or external clock.
Actually I don't think just adding an external clock to a dac will automatically qualify for a better sound. There definitely are gains to be had, if the clock has multiple outputs, and both the streamer and the dac can slaved to the same external clock.

When people compare a dedicated CD transport being fed into an external dac. And a dedicated CD player. Usually the dedicated CD player adding upto to the same price of the DAC + transport should sound better. As the lens reading mechanism output is running off the same internal clock as the DAC. Just my 2 cents :)

Its same as integrated amp vs separates. An integrated amp of very high quality will surpass lesser pre power systems. But separates of a higher lineup will beat the same integrated amp. Its all about money.
In my limited opinion, going pre+power at the same price point as a integrated is a downgrade. As we are basically paying for an additional external casing. But there might be benefits to be had, if the power amps are mono blocks , as it will lead to a better channel separation. But even then, there is still a big IF to the whole theory. Can someone hear the difference, I for one definitely cannot :D

Though femto clocks are all the rage these days. I find a twemcoclock to be more cooler :D

51Aic7Pye-L._AC_SX679_.jpg
 
Its same as integrated amp vs separates. An integrated amp of very high quality will surpass lesser pre power systems. But separates of a higher lineup will beat the same integrated amp. Its all about money.

I agree to your point in a broad sense.
There is one more point I want to highlight here, top of line product from a company can perform better than a
mid level product from a different company even though price point of midlevel product is higher than top of line product from other company.
 
I agree to your point in a broad sense.
There is one more point I want to highlight here, top of line product from a company can perform better than a
mid level product from a different company even though price point of midlevel product is higher than top of line product from other company.
I fully concur renjith :)

But there are a lot of idiosyncrasies in this hobby. When I was looking for my first ever taste of tubes, I bumped up on a ad in Newyork for the TAD 1000 mono blocks. They were something I've never heard of. The American designer of the amps, got them built in China to keep the costs low. And then would get them shipped to the USA, so he could do his own unique tweakery to the circuit, to avoid the Chinese cloning his amps. By the way..they are still rare to come by on sales sites, as most owners don't part with them. And that is how I got intrigued :)

The AD was posted by a Norwegian settled in USA, who actually conducts tours for rock bands touring Europe. So I realised that here was a guy who knew live sound all his life. So got talking to him, and finally bought the amps. They were hand delivered to me by him and his son, as they are really heavy.

So I came back home, and plugged them into my system, and Holly molly, they started spanking my krell pure class A 100 watter which itself is a kind of a beast in size. I loved that krell, till I got these. I previously had devialet and parasound halo amps, and the monstrous krell beat them. And these TAD's still remain the kings of amplification in my chain. Yes...their heat is a real bummer. But the music is worth it.

So the point of all the above was that...even brands don't matter, it the builder is passionate about audio, and price is never a reflection of the sound, but more associated with brands, and which boutique shops it is sold in , and the dealers margin. As my TAD's were sold directly by the designer, as his goal was to avoid the 40% of the dealer commission and overheads.
 
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I agree to your point in a broad sense.
There is one more point I want to highlight here, top of line product from a company can perform better than a
mid level product from a different company even though price point of midlevel product is higher than top of line product from other company.

Thats where value for money comes from. Coming back to dacs, lots of good dacs come with external clock input these days. If the external clock quality is superior to internal clock, definitely its going to sound better. There is no doubt about it. And a good dedicated clock should beat the internal clock any day, mind you clocks domt come cheap either. So my view will be to get those dacs that have external clock inputs, just in case an upgrade bug bites again in near time. Please also keep option for a good ddc and streamer also, they will also matter once the dac is good. Its like sitting in a high end mercedes, you will never know the difference till you sit for yourself. And once you have the experience and you can afford, it will be hard to go back to a basic car.
 
I fully concur renjith :)

But there are a lot of idiosyncrasies in this hobby. When I was looking for my first ever taste of tubes, I bumped up on a ad in Newyork for the TAD 1000 mono blocks. They were something I've never heard of. The American designer of the amps, got them built in China to keep the costs low. And then would get them shipped to the USA, so he could do his own unique tweakery to the circuit, to avoid the Chinese cloning his amps. By the way..they are still rare to come by on sales sites, as most owners don't part with them. And that is how I got intrigued :)

The AD was posted by a Norwegian settled in USA, who actually conducts tours for rock bands touring Europe. So I realised that here was a guy who knew live sound all his life. So got talking to him, and finally bought the amps. They were hand delivered to me by him and his son, as they are really heavy.

So I came back home, and plugged them into my system, and Holly molly, they started spanking my krell pure class A 100 watter which itself is a kind of a beast in size. I loved that krell, till I got these. I previously had devialet and parasound halo amps, and the monstrous krell beat them. And these TAD's still remain the kings of amplification in my chain. Yes...their heat is a real bummer. But the music is worth it.

So the point of all the above was that...even brands don't matter, it the builder is passionate about audio, and price is never a reflection of the sound, but more associated with brands, and which boutique shops it is sold in , and the dealers margin. As my TAD's were sold directly by the designer, as his goal was to avoid the 40% of the dealer commission and overheads.

Thanks for sharing your journey in getting the perfect amp. Happy to know that are very happy with the purchase.
In my case most of the time I never get fully satisfied.:(
Products sold directly by Designers are good value in most of the cases for sure.
I agree with you on cost part, distributor, duties, dealer and logistic costs may add up to more than 50%

Thats where value for money comes from. Coming back to dacs, lots of good dacs come with external clock input these days. If the external clock quality is superior to internal clock, definitely its going to sound better. There is no doubt about it. And a good dedicated clock should beat the internal clock any day, mind you clocks domt come cheap either. So my view will be to get those dacs that have external clock inputs, just in case an upgrade bug bites again in near time. Please also keep option for a good ddc and streamer also, they will also matter once the dac is good. Its like sitting in a high end mercedes, you will never know the difference till you sit for yourself. And once you have the experience and you can afford, it will be hard to go back to a basic car.

That's true, good clock costs a lot. If you look at brands like DCS their DACs are expensive and many users say if you add good external clock it
improves audio performance. DACs which accepts external clock input will be a good option.

Strength of the chain depends on the strength of weakest link, hence everything in the chain should be good to get best out of the system.

Do we need a DDC when we have a good streamer and DAC?
Most streamers dont give I2S output I guess, are you suggesting good DDC due to this reason?
 
Do we need a DDC when we have a good streamer and DAC?
Most streamers dont give I2S output I guess, are you suggesting good DDC due to this reason?

A ddc is basically a reclocker with better clocks inside. Generally i would say that a good dac, a good external clock and a good streamer is adequate and enough. A DDC is a flexible option for those who dont want to get expensive external clocks, those who play from pc or laptop, and those whose dacs dont accept external clocks. Mind that clocks are present everywhere in a digital system. Sotm sms200 ultra neo is a streamer and can accept external clocks also. I would say to start with a dac and then streamer. As time goes by, can experimemt with ddc and external clocks
 
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