TOTALDAC DAC
Oct 28, 2015 at 2:41 AM Post #316 of 581

romaz

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  Thats the one romaz, arent you in the studio queue?

Why is there a sudden inclination here towards directly connecting headphones to the dac instead of adding an amp? 

Yes, I am still in the queue.  The Studio is a special amp.  Should you get the chance to connect your headphone directly to your DAC, then you'll know why.  It has made my decision difficult.
 
Oct 28, 2015 at 3:01 AM Post #317 of 581

Rotijon

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  Yes, I am still in the queue.  The Studio is a special amp.  Should you get the chance to connect your headphone directly to your DAC, then you'll know why.  It has made my decision difficult.

Interesting, thanks for the advice, ill try and see if its possible with my dac.

I have a feeling that the difference between the twelve and monoblock is not small. As looking at the total number of resistors.

Dual (400), Monoblock (800), Twelve (1200)

You are probably in for another "OMG" moment with the upgrade. 
cool.gif

 
Oct 28, 2015 at 3:01 AM Post #318 of 581

romaz

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I respectfully disagree with respect to MPD :) I should probably say rightaway that I only use MPD to play music directly from hard disk straight to the audio hardware device (exclusive mode). I don't use Tidal or other streaming services. I'm also not aware of support for that within MPD. I could not discern any sonic difference between my Windows 10 running Roon versus Arch Linux running MPD, with the caveat of not being able to do a direct comparison because it's the same computer. Whether any difference is discernible if you try it on a d1-server or CAT, I have no idea.
 
I can somewhat agree that MPD and its clients could come across as not user friendly. Then again, I find the command-line client npmcpp the summum of usability, so I may not be your average user.

 
Anyone who listens to music off of a command prompt is definitely not your average user 
normal_smile .gif
.  
 
I meant no disrespect to MPD's SQ abilities when I called it 2nd rate.  With respect to SQ, it is excellent and so I know why Vincent and others have gone with it as their software interface of choice.  I find it a 2nd rate option compared to something like ROON and others in other important ways because it cannot stream Tidal and because it has frustrating bugs and because its developer appears to have no interest in developing it further.  It's last update took place in January 2014 so that should say something.  Try e-mailing the developer and see if you get a response.  My version is prone to locking up for the silliest of reasons. Try searching for something with an apostrophe in it and see for yourself what happens but maybe my iPad mini has gremlins in it.  Look at the interface for the Aries or the Aurender, both Linux machines, and this is what first rate software looks like to me.  
 
Oct 28, 2015 at 3:04 AM Post #319 of 581

romaz

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  Interesting, thanks for the advice, ill try and see if its possible with my dac.

I have a feeling that the difference between the twelve and monoblock is not small. As looking at the total number of resistors.

Dual (400), Monoblock (800), Twelve (1200)

You are probably in for another "OMG" moment with the upgrade. 
cool.gif

Having now experienced the difference between the dual and the monobloc, I'm afraid to experience how much better the twelve is.  
 
Oct 28, 2015 at 3:12 AM Post #320 of 581

Rotijon

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  Having now experienced the difference between the dual and the monobloc, I'm afraid to experience how much better the twelve is.  

The regret that would come with not trying despite being able to will be quite overwhelming. If it were me, i wont be able to live with looking at the monoblocks thinking how it could be better as a twelve.

If you can hear cables, this one should be a no brainer. If i am ever able to swing for a TotalDac 12 anytime soon.
 
Oct 28, 2015 at 6:27 AM Post #322 of 581

prot

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Interesting perspective.  It sounds like you have a personal problem with Scott so I will leave that one alone.  To my knowledge, the CAT has not violated any patents and is competing in this market legitimately.  I have tried to evaluate the CAT or any other piece of equipment I am looking at on its own merit, irrespective of whether its creator is a programmer, IT specialist, audio engineer or just tinkerer but at their core, to succeed, I believe they have to be a music lover who views himself as more of an instrument maker than a computer specialist.  I do find it helpful to know what I can about the company behind a product, to make sure they'll be around for a while and are responsive and easy to deal with.  Ultimately, I run from arrogance, from people who trash the products of others for their own personal gain.  If you have a good product, then you have a good product and so let it speak for itself.  If you have something for me to try, I will try it and I will judge it fairly.


That perspective is not only interesting, it is the correct one... but you may call it arrogance if you wish. And looks like you completely missunderstood my message ... could be my fault .. although if you wanted to know, you couldve simply PMed me.
To be clear:
* I do not sell anything and was only offering some free advice because I enjoyed your totaldac comparisons. People who asked got it already. For Free.
* Anyone with some IT background could easily trash that "work" .. but I specifically asked for PMs.
* I do not know and hope I'll never meet such CAT-like people. Btw, even with the catastrophic US patent system of today it is luckily still hard to patent things done by others.

Also, you asked for another product recommendation. Since you seem to enjoy spending money on shinny stuff much more than saving on a better product, here it is the perfect one for you: http://www.archivingvinyl.com/ams-analogue-music-server. It's just another copycat of the same "original", but I'm sure it'll be a better match for your expensive tastes .. and I bet they did research it for more than 4 years :)

Good luck and this would be all from me ... sorry again for my offtopic attempt to save you some precious resources.
 
Oct 29, 2015 at 6:11 PM Post #324 of 581

romaz

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  Hmm,

Have anyone here compared the MSB analog to the TotalDac? I cant seem to find any detailed comparisons on these.

jon

 
I have and it should be apparent which I prefer.  I find the MSB Analog to be an excellent DAC but overpriced once you have it configured properly.  Here is a thread devoted to just what you are requesting:
 
http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?11925-MSB-Analog-DAC-vs-Totaldac-d1&highlight=analog+totaldac
 
Oct 29, 2015 at 6:19 PM Post #325 of 581

negura

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I have and it should be apparent which I prefer.  I find the MSB Analog to be an excellent DAC but overpriced once you have it configured properly.  Here is a thread devoted to just what you are requesting:
 
http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?11925-MSB-Analog-DAC-vs-Totaldac-d1&highlight=analog+totaldac

 
Bar two posts that information being from before 2015 it can be disregarded pretty much. The latest Analog DAC firmware & Quad USB is a different animal, in a higher sound quality bracket imo. This is what many could be unaware of. Things will get even more interesting with the release of the network renderer module which skips USB completely and it's LAN to I2S.
 
For example some of the early posts talk about how the Analog is more energetic and the TotalDAC more balanced. I did not find the early Analog DAC sound very energetic... more like semi-meh for the price from this point of view. But surely some do like that.
 
I will do my best to compare the two if/when I get the chance.
 
Oct 29, 2015 at 6:28 PM Post #326 of 581

romaz

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Bar two posts that information being from before 2015 it can be disregarded pretty much. The latest Analog DAC firmware & Quad USB is a different animal, in a higher sound quality bracket imo. This is what many could be unaware of. Things will get even more interesting with the release of the network renderer module which skips USB completely and it's LAN to I2S.
 
For example some of the early posts talk about how the Analog is more energetic and the TotalDAC more balanced. I did not find the early Analog DAC sound very energetic... more like semi-meh for the price. But surely some do like that.
 
I will do my best to compare the two if/when I get the chance.

I agree.  Both DACs have been improved since then, maybe the Analog more than the TotalDac.  I look forward to your impressions.
 
Nov 1, 2015 at 3:47 AM Post #327 of 581

fabiodeluca

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Hi everyone!

I'm new to this forum and I'm not an headphone user...but I read entirely this thread and the significant Romaz posts...congratulations for the insights and impressions.

I registered on this website just to post my impression being a Totaldac user (thanks Vincent!): I own a d1 server plus a d1 dual DAC.

I fully agree on the opinion that d1 server is a 1st rate server with a 3rd rate software...I tried all the releases of the disk image issued by Vincent and with both MPAD and iPeng...sound quality was pretty good but an order of magnitude worse than using the digital input of the d1 server.
In particular I have just terminated to compare extensively the RCA and the AES/EBU input and the first one is much more musical and enjoyable than the second.

And regarding the signal to the d1 server comes my surprising experience: I found out that the best solution is not using the d1 server as a streamer/server but just as a reclocker!

Being clearer I used a Swedish Bladelius Mimer as a streamer connected to the router/internet managing NAS and Tidal contents. Basically I bypassed the Ethernet/USB input of the d1 server streaming music to the digital RCA input of the d1 server using the digital output of the Bladelius Mimer.

Hundred percent of the people listening to my equipment blindly preferred without any doubt this solution: external Bladelius Miner streamer vs usage of the d1 server with MPAD of iPeng. Moreover MPAD software is pretty rough and unstable...

Last comment is about substituting recently Bladelius Mimer with Aurender N10...one further giant leap toward musicality and realism!!! I would recommend N10 to anyone: finishing is great, Aurender app is simple and stable with the possibility to mix seamless music on the Aurender internal discs with Tidal contents, setup is no brainer and, obviously, SQ is amazing. Again I preferred digital RCA input of the d1 server.

Finally I have one question to the experts: does have any technical explanation the SQ improvement using the Aurender streamer connected to the d1 server and not directly to the d1 dual DAC, basically adding one piece of equipment more??

Now I go craving for the mono bloc and studying about the unknown Entreq Poseidon

Regards
Fabio
 
Nov 2, 2015 at 3:15 AM Post #328 of 581

romaz

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Hi everyone!

I'm new to this forum and I'm not an headphone user...but I read entirely this thread and the significant Romaz posts...congratulations for the insights and impressions.

I registered on this website just to post my impression being a Totaldac user (thanks Vincent!): I own a d1 server plus a d1 dual DAC.

I fully agree on the opinion that d1 server is a 1st rate server with a 3rd rate software...I tried all the releases of the disk image issued by Vincent and with both MPAD and iPeng...sound quality was pretty good but an order of magnitude worse than using the digital input of the d1 server.
In particular I have just terminated to compare extensively the RCA and the AES/EBU input and the first one is much more musical and enjoyable than the second.

And regarding the signal to the d1 server comes my surprising experience: I found out that the best solution is not using the d1 server as a streamer/server but just as a reclocker!

Being clearer I used a Swedish Bladelius Mimer as a streamer connected to the router/internet managing NAS and Tidal contents. Basically I bypassed the Ethernet/USB input of the d1 server streaming music to the digital RCA input of the d1 server using the digital output of the Bladelius Mimer.

Hundred percent of the people listening to my equipment blindly preferred without any doubt this solution: external Bladelius Miner streamer vs usage of the d1 server with MPAD of iPeng. Moreover MPAD software is pretty rough and unstable...

Last comment is about substituting recently Bladelius Mimer with Aurender N10...one further giant leap toward musicality and realism!!! I would recommend N10 to anyone: finishing is great, Aurender app is simple and stable with the possibility to mix seamless music on the Aurender internal discs with Tidal contents, setup is no brainer and, obviously, SQ is amazing. Again I preferred digital RCA input of the d1 server.

Finally I have one question to the experts: does have any technical explanation the SQ improvement using the Aurender streamer connected to the d1 server and not directly to the d1 dual DAC, basically adding one piece of equipment more??

Now I go craving for the mono bloc and studying about the unknown Entreq Poseidon

Regards
Fabio

Hi Fabio,
 
Welcome to head-fi and thank you for your contribution.
 
I had never before heard of the Bladelius Mimer.  This might be the first wall-hangable streamer I've seen and reminds me of Bang & Olufsen's products.  It is interesting that this 3,000 Euro streamer through the digital RCA input can sound better than the TotalDAC d1-server via USB.  Even though I have issues with the usability of MPD and iPeng, I always thought MPD had excellent sound quality and so it is saying a lot that you believe the Bladelius Mimer is that good.  It is also interesting that you prefer the RCA input to the AES/EBU input since with his DACs, Vincent has consistently believed the AES/EBU input is best although that might not apply to the reclocker.  
 
With the Aurender N10, I completely agree with you.  I would have been surprised if you would have said the 3,000 Euro Bladelius Mimer was equal to the N10 because that would really be saying a lot.  My N10 evaluation unit came in on Wednesday and I am now comparing it against 4 other servers.  I will have more to say on how it compares soon but it is every bit as good as I remember it to be.  Within the first 30 seconds, you knew you were listening to something exceptional.  
 
As to why you are noticing a SQ improvement with the Aurender connected first to the d1-server compared to directly to the d1-dual, the reclocker in the d1-server is obviously doing something good.  In my own testing, I had also found that the reclocker played a role in improving SQ in terms of slightly better detail, detail separation and less digital glare.  The d1-reclocker, with its asynchronous fifo memory buffer and internal clock is supposed to strongly attenuate jitter and then present this better timed signal to the DACs preferred input and that is the AES/EBU port.  With my more recent testing of sources, I brought back my Auralic Aries which I had previously found to respond very well to the USB Regen.  I compared the impact of the Regen against the d1-reclocker and the reclocker clearly had the bigger effect.  The interesting thing is when you combine USB Regen + d1-reclocker, the effects were now noticeably additive.  With the CAT, the USB Regen seemed to add very little to the reclocker.  
 
Nov 2, 2015 at 8:48 PM Post #330 of 581

paul79

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Hello,​
 
First post here, and hope to be welcomed as a fellow compadre :) I am not promoting anything for financial gain or anything else. There are a couple friends posting on this thread (romaz, a1uc), and I am a Totaldac lover, so I thought I would join the fun. I am 3 years intoxicated with Totaldac, and there is no hope or help for me... It started with the D1 Dual and Monobloc, and now, the Twelve. "I have seen the top of the mountain, and it is good"
 
The Totaldac D1 Monobloc to Twelve is also very substantial. It is not like the jump from the D1 Dual to the Monobloc, but I wouldn't say it is not as much of an improvement in other areas. Maybe even more important areas. Let me explain:
 
Going from the D1 Dual to the Monobloc is like listening to the D1 Dual on steroids. You get more of everything, and nothing that you don't. More separation, more dynamics, more bass slam, more focus, more refinement, lower noise floor.... More more more. Simply put, and is a very nice and amplified "plugged in" type of presentation.
 
What the Twelve brings is more intimacy, yet nothing is missing. Kind of hard to explain, but I'll try.... 
You go from a lively bold slamming presentation to more of  an "unplugged" presentation. Transparency is greatly improved. The noise floor is so low it is kind of haunting if never experienced. Image focus is crazy good, and approaches the best vinyl in this regard. To the point that I literally have 3D holographic images in my room, with air all around and behind the artists, making real presences before me. Spooky! Ambient resolution is also more on display, and I believe this goes hand in hand with creating the amazing hologram image focus. This allows our ears to hear and our brain to interpret more of the cues in the recordings, making a more realistic soundscape. This makes things more stable and easier for our brains to create the illusion. The Twelve is also more direct. As in you are seemingly getting direct mic feed playback. You hear all the inflections of the voice, the wood of the piano, the string plucks, drum smacks, metal and breath of the horns, etc. It all just sounds very real. It does all of this and never sounds digital, harsh, etc. It really is, magic.
 
Fear not though ladies and gents. The Totaldac Monobloc is the best DAC on the planet if you have never heard the Twelve  :)  I would put Monobloc, or the D1 Dual for that matter, up against anything, and have put them up against allot of heavy hitters. There is just nothing like a Totaldac, if you ask me. So, D1 Dual or Monobloc is not a bad place to be at all. It is also easier to integrate either of these into ANY system. They have tons of drive, drive headphones direct beautifully, and you don't need a preamp using them, at all. Enter "if you can believe it" after all my descriptors of the Twelve. That's how good all of the Totaldac products are! One does not think it can get better than, until you move up the Totaldac ladder (pun intended).
 
Which brings me to the one weakness of the Twelve. That is drive. It will struggle to drive the heavy load solid state amplifiers directly. Won't drive headphones directly. Though it will do a nice job of driving most tube amplifiers directly, I feel that it really should have a world class preamp backing it up for best results, no matter. So that is another thing. You have to set aside allot of coin for this preamp to compliment the Twelve.
 
Paul
 

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