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TOTALDAC DAC

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by khaos974, May 12, 2011.
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  1. bmichels
    My first 2 questions about the TotalDAC SERVER:

    - Is the Music management Software convenient to use & easy to manage and create playlists.
    and more important
    - Is it possible to stream HiFi quality from QOBUZ or TIDAL with the TotalDAC SERVER (without the use of an exyernal PC/MAC of course). If YES, then is the QOBUZ or TIDAL interface easy to use ? 

    Those "Streaming" questions are very important for me since more and more I stream instead of playing local files.
     
    thanks in advance for your answers
     
  2. yellowblue
    As recommended on TotalDACs homepage I use MPaD on my Ipad with the D1 Server. Most users use it with NAS, I am using a SSD with an OWC enclosure (driven by a 5V battery). That version is easy to use and the sound is fantastic.
     
    If you want to use Tidal or Qobuz you have to install Ipeng 8 on your Ipad. You will find Tidal and Qobuz preinstalled in the "App-gallery" in Ipeng. I had to go into the Logitech Media Browser (you reach it via "cubox:9000" in the Safari-browser) and change some settings first (important: change the audio quality settings to "best - but slowest"). I never heart Wimp (which is the same as Tidal in Germany and Scandinavia) that good.
     
    BUT you have to install a different firmware on the D1 Server first if you want to use Tidal or Qobuz. It takes some time to install it (plus hours to download it - 16GB!) and you have to change the micro-SHDC card in the server, but it´s not complicated. If you then want to hear from your NAS or extern harddisc again you just have to switch to MPaD on your Ipad (you have to press the "switch off" bottom in Ipeng first). Very easy and everything works fine.
     
    I have two SHDC cards though and I change them when I want to hear via Ipeng/Wimp because the "only-MPaD" firmware sounds best. This is the only drawback with the D1 server. If you want to hear Tidal/Qobuz but at the same time you don´t want to compromize about sound-quality - you have to change the cards. And that means it can take some time to preload all your music files again.
     
    But overall sound quality is the best i have heart, miles ahead my old CAPS server with Auralic Vega DAC.
     
  3. bmichels
     
    thanks a lot for your long and detailed answer.  very usefull...
     
  4. arnaud Contributor
    I thought I should report on my feelings toward the D1-dual as time evolves.
     
    I received a D1-dual a week ago or so, and had a few days to get to play with it.
     
    The initial honey moon phase was excellent, I posted here about it: http://www.head-fi.org/t/439657/headamp-blue-hawaii-special-edition/6765#post_11278411
     
    After some time though, going through my record collection with some less stellars than others, I started to notice some hardness to the sound when listening at moderately high volume levels with the SRM727/SR009 combo. Of course, I had already noticed the issue with the old dac but, suffice to say, the D1 is not the kind to polish a turd of a recording and make it all shiny... I saw myself just turning the volume down a notch in these instance, just to bring it back up the next tune around.
     
    Now, as you may now, there is an FIR filter built into the dac that compensates for the high-frequency roll that is inevitable result of the "brickwall" reconstruction filter used with 44.1k material using a non-oversampling approach. Fortunately, the DAC designer offers the user a choice to engage / disengage the treble compensation filter (pretty much a 3dB boost at 20k with minimum added ringing).
     
    While I was initially leaving it on with all my "audiophile" recordings, I am now finding myself just getting used to it being turned off as it makes the not so great recordings more palatable and does not actually feel like there's any drape being cast in front of the music. It is still surpremely dynamic and detailed while it never stops from sounding organic / music just flows with no dynamic restriction / no compression whatsoever.
     
    Otherwise, the boomy bass I noticed from day one is still very much there, which makes me impatient for the upcoming amp upgrade. I have a feeling the stock SRM727 is indeed the weak link in the chain now and probably the culprit for the poor bass control and tendency to sound shrill if pushed to excessively high loudness levels...
     
    As of now, I still have absolutely no regret with the absurdly crazy expense this D1-dual was. I tried to play back again the Yamamoto DAC, I could not stand it for me than 15 min.
     
    I will post updates as my feelings evolving, be it frustrations or enjoyments. Probably that helps people make up their mind with their purchase decision....
     
    cheers,
    arnaud
     
    zare and Anda like this.
  5. darkless
    I also run with the FIR filter disabled on my Totaldac, as I find the slight ringing it introduces a bit fatiguing.
     
  6. arnaud Contributor
    So, I was listening to Qobuz stream last night, some classical music actually (Sibelius): http://www.qobuz.com/fr-fr/album/sibelius-symphonies-nos-2-5-minnesota-orchestra-osmo-vanska/7318599919867
      7318599919867_600.jpg
     
    And well, it did not sound bad, not bad at all, to the point I just turned off of the light and let myself be transported, right there, right in that concert hall, right at that time. The depth, the layering, the dynamics, the extension, the texture, the weight, ALL was there. 
     
    It's certainly a long road to get to a system that synergies well and it's pretty difficult to get something that sounds good on bad music and excels on great recordings. But I feel like I have made a pretty good leap forward in the direction I was heading for. I crave for these attributes I described above, and it's difficult to imagine I could get so much with headphone listening (i.e. the bass presence and the imaging), but somehow I feel like I just did :)
     
    cheers,
    arnaud
     
  7. bmichels
     
    Very nice tune you pointed . Thanks.
     
    I also do more and more Qobuz HiFi streaming in order to discover new songs.  Then I can download the best if I want...
     
    But.. what is your exact set-up that you describe as " synergies well " ?  Does it includes the Total-DAC ?  (I am asking this because TotalDac do not show in your signature)
     
  8. arnaud Contributor

    Fixed the signature... I thought I should wait until I was sure to keep the DAC...
     
    I just love Qobuz, such a breeze of fresh air in the music collection and I like their curated content to discover new stuff!
     
    Arnaud
     
  9. bmichels
    AH... and do you plan to have the TotalDAC-Server/recloker as your next upgrade to replace your iMAC ?  with iPeg8, you can also go on QOBUZ with the TotalDac server.
     
  10. bmichels
    Does someone has heard the totalDac D1-TUBE ?   For some obscure reasons, I still have this idea that a DAC with output tubes will sound better (to me) than a SS only DAC....
     
    PS: have you noticed that now the D1-TUbe is "mk2"....at the price of the D1-Dual !  Indeed in this D1-Tube, the discrete R2R ladder is doubled (like the d1-dual) [​IMG]
     
  11. Hun7er
    The ouput voltage is very low. Depending the amplifier and the headphone you might have not enough power. I owned it.
     
    Either you choose an MSB Analog DAC or Totaldac D1 or Briscati M1 or Lampizator or others you can't go wrong.
     
  12. yellowblue
    Maybe interesting to know that the integrated headphone amp in the Totaldac Dual sounds really good. I have a Master 9 and I the Totaldac headphone amp is nearly in the same class using it with my LCD-3F. Really clean and quiet! The Master 9 had just a little more open, wider and more holographic sounstage. Maybe even a little better dynamics.
    Vincent wrote that you have to buy a EC Balancing Act to hear a real improvement.
    But I think I will keep the Master 9 because it even works as a preamp for my 300B poweramp ( not balanced). As far as I know it´s not possible to use the Balancing Act as a single ended preamp.
     
  13. arnaud Contributor
    6 weeks have already passed since the arrival of the D1, time for an update.
     
    First, a repost from another thread about warmup: my D1 sounded pretty awful out of the box, best I can describe it is smeared, muffled and wet.
    I was a but concerned actually as i might have been fooling myself when I had a unit for a short while a year before.
    Now, it did take barely 4 hours to get everything setted. I haven't actually turned it off since but sound hasn't changed to my ears.
     
    Well, I did get spoiled and used to the sound though. I have switched back to my previous DAC once last week to make sure what I felt was a little more than than placebo due to price tag wink.gif.
    Turns out I did not leave the old dac on for 5 minutes, it was that obvious. Not that the old dac sucks (at least not to me ears and with my comparisons to similar priced gear in the past) but the D1 is just a whole another level of realism & resolution. While it has been claimed that NOS ladder dacs take treble off, the D1 does not feel lacking in the least, cymbal splash actually sounds much more realistic on the ladder dac than my other (delta sigma). Note: I am not engaging the compensation filter for treble roll off, I find it sounds more natural without.
     
    The other obvious difference is texture / body, everything gains weight and again realism. Last one is layering, I guess resolution helps to better hear room cues. 
     
    Stuff I have been recently listening to that did not sound half bad:
    1. Avishai Cohen - From Darkness (96/24 download from Qobuz): texture texture and more texture and so much dynamics
    2. Baptiste Trotignon - Hit (44/16 FLACs from Qobuz): again from someone who likes percussions, it's hard to not like this one (the avishai cohen sounds better recorded however)
    3. Vincent Peirani - Living Being (44/16 FLACs from Qobuz): this one takes accordeon to places I would never have imagined. Refreshing to say the least.
     
    The thing is that it's become a bit challenging for to discussion sound attributes for the DAC. It just sounds always so right, and transparent. If anything, I could spend all my time discussing how each recording sounds different from the other but the DAC seems to have just disappeared from the equation.
     
     
    I am waiting for a BHSE, any day now, and I think it will be a welcome addition the my rig though. The D1 throws such bass / impact that it's becoming a challenging from my 727 amp. I always felt its bass was not the specialty of the house but, with the SR009 and SR007mk1 at least, it was still tighter and more resolved than any dynamic phone I had owned in the past. But with the D1 arrival, the shortcomings of the amp are shining through I am afraid.
     
    Probably my next update will be with after the BHSE has settled...
     
    Arnaud
     
    zare likes this.
  14. arnaud Contributor
  15. Sorrodje
    Didn"t see that thread [​IMG] 
     
    It seems we're sharing some music tastes Arnaud. I will give a listen to Baptiste Trotignon.  
     
    arnaud likes this.
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