Combo Review: Euphony PTS - Matrix X-SPDIF 2 - Keces P8

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by project86, Dec 5, 2017.
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  1. Ales75
    HI
    well too much readings for me lastly (devices, geras, reviews blablabla) and.. as it normally happens now i am confused.. may i ask your help ?
    with a 1500/1600 $ :disappointed_relieved: max budget, what's the best stack (combination of dac/psu/pst etc..) for headphone only listening ?

    Thank you
     
  2. dcguy73
    For those of you using Roon with your Euphony music server, I have run into a problem with Roon crashing often, due to the Euphony server not accepting the Roon update from version 1.4 to version 1.5.

    I emailed Arthur about this, and he said that Euphony system version 2.0 (which will be released next week) will address that issue, as well as provide a number of enhancements and new features to the server -- including an embedded version of HQPlayer!

    Really looking forward to the update.
     
  3. Benny-x
    That's fantastic news! It's pretty lucky that a few of us here recommended that to Euphony and they were able to reach some success with it. The PTS server is seeming like a better and better investment.

    Right now I'm still having Linux integration issues with my DAC, so I'm trying to work with the manufacturer to update the firmware. Once that happens, the PTS will come back on my radar and I'll very likely be picking one up.

    You'll have to let us know how everything goes once the update rolls out. I'm also thinking this update is going to shift away from an MPD backend and over to Euphony's in-house music app?
     
  4. Benny-x
    By the way, is your current chain like this:
    Euphony PTS -> iGalvanic -> SU-1 KTE -> Spring KTE -> iCan Pro?

    If so, can you talk a bit about the effects of running the chain with and without the iGalvanic as well as why you don't go direct from Euphony PTS -> Spring KTE ?

    Thanks :)
     
  5. dcguy73
    It's been awhile since I got the iGalvanic, so I went from one DAC to the other with it, without testing my system without. Most high-quality DACs these days have galvanic isolation built-in, but the Spring KTE does not, so there may be some value there.
    My reason for not going direct USB from the Euphony PTS to the Spring KTE is that I purchased the SU-1 KTE for my old DAC, the LKS MH-DA004 (which did not have galvanic isolation built-in either), as that made an improvement in the sound versus going directly from the Auralic Aries Mini server (which I was using at the time) to the LKS via USB. When I bought the Spring KTE from Tim at Kitsune Audio, he advised me to continue using the SU-1 KTE with the Spring KTE because the sound was better via I2S (from the SU-1 KTE) than via direct USB connection. That may change, as the most recent versions of the Spring KTE (including the one I got) come with an updated USB board. Supposedly, Tim is going to release updated firmware for the USB board that will improve on its capabilities. Once that happens, I will test using a direct USB connection versus the SU-1 KTE/I2S connection.
     
  6. Benny-x
    Thanks. Alright, I follow the logic there. I've also been listening in on Kitsune Hi-fi as they released new products or updated the firmware in the Spring, like back when they enabled DSD512 via the USB and I2s inputs.

    I did forget, however, that a few owners have reported that the Spring's USB input is not the best and the I2s even as the same sample rate does sound "better". So this is also the idea that you're going with. I wonder how the iGalvanic pairs with the SU-1 vs. going PTS -> SU-1? I've heard good things about the iGalvanic and all the configuration swapping and testing are tiring to go through.

    Just to confirm, this is your chain:
    Euphony PTS -> iGalvanic -> SU-1 KTE -> Spring KTE -> iCan Pro
     
  7. dcguy73
    Yup, that's my chain!
     
  8. project86 Contributor
    Quick update here - I've got a sneak peak at the new Euphony 2.0 update. So far so good... lots of tweaks to process, mostly small but some are pretty significant. I've actually been on it for a couple weeks now, and there have already been several updates (including one just today). So the team is very active. The look and feel of the web controls are similar enough to where it didn't require much effort to use. It's no longer MPD based, but rather uses their own creation called Stylus.

    Stylus playback.JPG

    First off, I don't use HQplayer, and therefore do not have a license I can plug in to test. I see the option in the menu though, and it looks easy enough to get going. If you are serious about this option, I'd contact Arthur and discuss options for a customized powerhouse system. This little fanless i3 probably won't do the more extreme options. Arthur mentioned he build a beefy i7 system for a customer just recently, but I don't have any more specifics. If you just want to upsample to DSD64 or maybe DSD128, the standard i3 system should be able to handle it... unless HQplayer is less efficient than Roon in that area.

    HQplayer.JPG

    HQplayer2.JPG

    Next up, Tidal is integrated into the main player now. You can choose your own library, or Tidal (you'll have to log on, obviously), or Web Radio. The latter option is simplistic but works well enough - I sometimes stream 320k classical or jazz as background music, so that's nice to have.

    1.JPG

    2.JPG

    I'm spoiled by Roon so I'm still finding Tidal a bit tough to navigate. It doesn't seem to let me browse the entire catalog from scratch, but it does pull up my favorite artists or albums easily. I might just be doing it wrong though.

    I did try a Tidal Masters album which comes through as hi-res (MQA) in Roon. Stylus only plays it in the standard CD quality rate (which still sounds fantastic!) so my quick impression is that MQA is not integrated yet. Which makes sense, as it took the crew at Roon many months to finally get it working. I know MQA is a hot topic and I honestly don't have an opinion about it one way or the other....

    MQA.JPG

    Anyway, the actual playback quality through Stylus is exceptional. I feel like it's a small upgrade over the prior MPD-based release, though I realize that might just be wishful thinking. I don't have both here on the same hardware to compare, but from memory I do seem to notice an improvement in treble refinement as well as layering of the presentation. That comes when listening carefully on a ~$25k system, so don't expect night and day differences on a more basic rig. I'll mainly be using it as a Roon server anyway so the difference doesn't really matter to me, but it's worth noting regardless.

    Playing back a hi-res PCM album still uses very few system resources. I don't know if Stylus is even more efficient than MPD, but this is sure impressive to look at while playing a 24/192 release:


    CPU.JPG

    Remember, this is a minimalist, silent/fanless design, not some powerhouse desktop gaming PC.

    Anyway, will spend more time messing with it and report any further noteworthy discoveries. I'm not sure the exact release date as far as when 2.0 will go live for everyone, but I believe it is coming very soon.
     
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