Holo Audio May KTE Digital Input Selection?

ACHiPo

Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2015
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Pleasanton, CA
I'm trying to decide on which digital input to use (and thus cable to buy) on the Holo Audio May KTE coming in a few weeks.

I've found that USB sounds best with my Aurender and Gustard DAC. AES supposedly is faster, but it does not sound good to me (at least with my DAC and cable).

What are the pros/cons on different inputs? Should I plan on using more than one (I have a variety of digital formats including DSD, PCM, etc.)? Are there some basic guidelines on the relative merits of different digital formats?
 

audioarcher

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2012
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Seattle area
I use an Intona Ultimate USB cable on mine. You will need to use USB or I2S input to play DSD files. I have not tried any of the other inputs yet on the May. I did use Spidf on my Spring Dac with good results. Using a different server now so can not test it on the May.

I would just try both input options you already have and go from there. What digital cables do you currently have?
 

ACHiPo

Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2015
427
236
175
Pleasanton, CA
I use an Intona Ultimate USB cable on mine. You will need to use USB or I2S input to play DSD files. I have not tried any of the other inputs yet on the May. I did use Spidf on my Spring Dac with good results. Using a different server now so can not test it on the May.

I would just try both input options you already have and go from there. What digital cables do you currently have?
I have a Black Cat Silverstar USB, a Triode Wire Labs 2-into-1 USB, a Triode Wire Labs BNC/RCA coax (I bought the coax to use with my Oppo CD player, but I need a TV to enable the digital out, so that is yet another job), and myriad XLRs for AES/EBU. The 2-into-1 USB I've had intermittent issues with--not sure if it's the cable or the USB socket on my Aurender (one of the sockets feels a bit loose, so I suspect that's the culprit). I'm debating on the Intona USB 3.0 and whether to try the Intona USB cables if I do. I have an UpTone ISORegen that seems to make things a bit better going into my Gustard, but it's not a huge impact if it's anything at all. I'd hope that an expensive server like the Aurender and DAC like the May would not need galvanic isolation, but people claim benefits on Taiko servers which are 10X the cost of the Aurender, so who knows. I don't like the AES input on my Gustard DAC, but that may because I'm using a Mogami Gold XLR? From what I've read AES should be "better" than USB?

The May site says that all digital inputs support DSD (DoP).
 

audioarcher

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2012
1,393
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Seattle area
Yeah, but if you use DoP you can only go up to half of the sample rate that the dac is capable of.

I have the Intona USB 3. It did improve the sound when I used a low end Windows 10 computer. When used on my Small Green Computer SonicTransporter I9, the sound is slightly worse. So I just use the Intona cable by itself now.

I have no experience with the digital cables you own.

I think it depends on the server you use, whether or not AES will be better than USB.
 
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roberto

Well-Known Member
Hola Chicos,

I use the Lush ^ V3. This is a fantastic USB cable with a lot of possibilities to change the sound. There is a general consensus of how to get the best of it:


And I also do like better the USB connection from my computer to the Holo.

Happy listening!
 

roberto

Well-Known Member
Please note that there is a new version: 3

Happy listening!
 

roberto

Well-Known Member
Yesterday, a friend brought to try an I2S device. I connected via HDMI to the Holo and pressing the selector switch to I2S immediately they were on. The sound? I played for three hours my files or Qobuz with it, and yes it did sound good. Then went back to my USB and in this Holo dac the USB sounds fantastic. There is not need to use the I2S. I did not find any benefit with it. I rather buy more musical files for my hard drives than spend my money in this device.

My friend, who owns a Terminator Denafrips, said: this is the way to listen to digital...try it, you might like it as I do...and my ears decided with this unit, not necessary. USB is fantastic with the Holo.

Enjoy those magical tunes!
Happy listening!
 

Tuckers

Member
Nov 18, 2020
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I have a Singxer U2 Kitsune tuned DDC, and have compared it converting USB to AES and AES into the May VS going direct USB into the May. I found very little difference, but preferred the USB slightly.
 

ACHiPo

Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2015
427
236
175
Pleasanton, CA
I have a Singxer U2 Kitsune tuned DDC, and have compared it converting USB to AES and AES into the May VS going direct USB into the May. I found very little difference, but preferred the USB slightly.
I don't have a Singxer, but I also slightly prefer USB. I could definitely live with my DHLabs AES connection.
 

RikkiPoo

Active Member
Nov 5, 2020
92
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25
Yesterday, a friend brought to try an I2S device. I connected via HDMI to the Holo and pressing the selector switch to I2S immediately they were on. The sound? I played for three hours my files or Qobuz with it, and yes it did sound good. Then went back to my USB and in this Holo dac the USB sounds fantastic. There is not need to use the I2S. I did not find any benefit with it. I rather buy more musical files for my hard drives than spend my money in this device.

My friend, who owns a Terminator Denafrips, said: this is the way to listen to digital...try it, you might like it as I do...and my ears decided with this unit, not necessary. USB is fantastic with the Holo.

Enjoy those magical tunes!
Happy listening!
I have a Denafrips Terminator Plus and use I2S input. I have an Innuos Statement and the USB output is very good but using a DDC to I2S makes it better with the Terminator.

The I2S cable is very important just like a USB cable. Like USB the clock of the I2S device is very important. My DDC is clocked by the Terminator Plus. Amazing drop in noise and improved timing. But even without clocking the DDC the I2S sounds better in my system than USB.
 

roberto

Well-Known Member
I have a Denafrips Terminator Plus and use I2S input. I have an Innuos Statement and the USB output is very good but using a DDC to I2S makes it better with the Terminator.

The I2S cable is very important just like a USB cable. Like USB the clock of the I2S device is very important. My DDC is clocked by the Terminator Plus. Amazing drop in noise and improved timing. But even without clocking the DDC the I2S sounds better in my system than USB.
Yes, my friend also has the Terminator, and definitively the I2S is better than the USB. The resolution and the transparency is evident. Also, it offers a much better and wider stage.

On the May, the USB is very good, and my ears tell me to stay with it. There isn't (my liking and my ears) a benefit. He also said the same thing. The Denfafrips is a very good DAC too. I love the Construccion too.

Happy listening!
 
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