What Types of Digital Components and Gadgets have made the Biggest Positive Impact in Your System?

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
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In my experience here's the order of most important:

1. Transport
2. Dac
3. Power Conditioner (minimum $7,500 to get reference-level sound)
4. Power Cords on DAC and Transport
5. Cable from Transport to DAC
6. Digital Switch
7. Second Switch
8. Ethernet Cable

How would you re-arrange this list based on your experiences?

What other gadgets would you add to the list?

Thanks in advance
 

docvale

Well-Known Member
Mar 22, 2011
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Briarcliff Manor, NY
Maybe not literally answering your question regarding rankings, but in my experience it’s been adopting a Bluesound Node 2i.
That little box brought a great deal in commodity on how to manage a high resolution music library directly from my phone (or tablet), without the need to have a computer connected to my system. For the price, it’s hard to beat IMHO.

P.S.: I use it as a mere digital transport, via its SPDIF coaxial output.
 

witchdoctor

Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2016
337
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1. My Onkyo DP-X1 DAP plays every type of hirez file (including MQA) and it is connected to my preamp via a 2.5mm to XLR cable. It sounds incredible.
2. Most Tidal Masters files do sound like the Master Tapes when played through my Onkyo DAP.
3. Treating my room to have it replicate a mixing stage/recording studio.

I am sure their are different streamers out there but my Onkyo DAP player sounds so good through the balanced out I don't want to change it.
 

Kingrex

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2019
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I say
Server/DAC. I have a hard time separating them. Or standing one over the other.

Proper power supply. Does not need to be a filter. But as much attention here as you put into amps and preamp. Behind the wall and in front of the wall.

Racking and feet under DAC and Server

USB cable between the DAC and Server

An audio grade switch with LPS

A good cable from switch to server

LPS for Switch, Router and Modem

Racking under these 3 and their PS.

Additional isolators such as extra switches or Gigafoil. Hit and miss. You may not like them.

I don't know where to put a power filter. Sometimes they are great. Other times they make it "Hifi" sounding. This filter could go to any of the above components. But you have to consider the environment and the equipment. It will change the way this stuff plays back. The impact is most apparent on the server and DAC. It is less apparent bit still heard on the moden, router and switch.
 

RikkiPoo

Member
Nov 5, 2020
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Better OCXO clock in my DAC and DDC and External OCXO clock on my network switches.

Removing all SMPS's.
 

Lampie519

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2021
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Hoofddorp, Holland
For me it was the transport, as i didn't expect this. I have modded many and was very happy with my TEAC P-10 (clock mod).
The upscaling transport i use now is again steps ahaed of the TEAC.
The DAC also must be of best quality otherwise we will not be able to benefit much with the transport change (I had to build one with 2 SPDIF inputs to get most out of my transport). Naturally all Power Supplies need to be extreemly clean (at least as clean as using batteries).
 

astrotoy

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May 25, 2010
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My A to D allows me very high quality digital access to just about all of my analog media. Pacific Microsonics Model Two (with Merging Technologies Pyramix Software).

Larry
 

Cellcbern

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Jul 31, 2015
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Dan Wright's (Modwright) modified Sony and Marantz universal and sacd players are all the digital I need. I've had all of them - Sony 999es, 9100es, 5400es, and currently Marantz SA8005. Each of them has been significantly better than its predecessor, and all of them have been good enough for me not to have to bother with a separate DAC and transport. With custom tube analogue output section, separate PS 9.0 power supply, built in Bybee Music Rails, Audio Magic Pulse Gen, and other upgrades, each was at or near the state of the art for its time period. I can tailor the sound by rolling the tubes in the player (6SN7's in the Sony 5400, 5687's in the others) and PS 9.0 (5AR4 and 5U4G family rectifiers). I'm off the source merry-go-round with the Modwright Marantz SA8005. Kept the Sony 54000 as a backup. Using 50's long black plate Tung Sol 5687's in the SA8005 and GEC/Marconi/Osram U52 5U4G's or Sophia blue 274B in the power supply.

Power cables and conditioning also make a difference - Echole Omnia PC and Lessloss CMARC 640X filter on the player and Echole Signature PC on the power supply, plugged into a Bybee Stealth Power Purifier with Nordost Qv2 and Qk1 plugins, which is connected to the wall via a custom Verastarr Grand Illusion HC PC with Oyaide "Armored" AP-004 connectors and CMARC 640X filter, Bybee IQSE's inside, and Quantum Physics Noise Disruptor on top of power conditioner and player.

Isolation and tuning also matter. The SA8005 player and PS 9.0 power supply each sit on a trio of ASI Topline feet, on top of a last generation Townshend Siesmic Sink air platform for the player, and custom corian/wood isolation platform for the power supply.

No digititis or electronic signature - just music. While I only use physical media, when my wife plugs a streaming device into the player via the front panel usb port the sound quality is more than good enough for casual listening since it benefits from all of the mods. May add a high end streaming device at some point but don't plan to switch to a separate DAC and transport.
 
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astrotoy

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May 25, 2010
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I also also have a Lampi Pacific, which is great and some mods done by Lucas (no server) which have been very positive. My two Symmetric Power System Units from 512 Engineering are also top additions to my system.

Larry
 
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BlueFox

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Nov 8, 2013
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The Lumin X1 file player, and assorted Shunyata cables, interconnects and power.
 
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Willgolf

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Jul 22, 2019
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Bud
I had a Lumin X-1 before the Lampi. I loved the X-1 and the app interface. It is definitely easier than Roon imo. The X-1 is a fantastic DAC / Streamer.
 

Brucemck2

Member Sponsor
May 10, 2010
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Houston area
Various forms of reclockers - going way (way) back PS Audio’s ground breaking “digital lens” was the first device I had that made much lower (at the time anyway) jitter so audible. A decade ago Steve Nugent’s Off Ramp and Synchromesh units delivered vanishingly low jitter (I had a dedicated 44.1 chain with the latter).

Clock and associated power supply upgrades to transports and DACs

DACs

Robust power supplies

Switches

Cables
 
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Jaytor

New Member
Dec 22, 2020
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1) Roon. I love how easy it is to manage my music library and find new music.

2) Denafrips Gaia DDC with i2s connection to DAC. This was a very noticeable improvement.

3) Denafrips Terminator Plus DAC. Beautiful sounding DAC.
 

DasguteOhr

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2013
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keep the latency of the network as low as possible. jitter is irrelevant there as it is a packet signal. a reclocker only brings something if the downstream dac has a resampling off mode. So the internal clock of the Dac can be switched off because otherwise the signal will be processed again. mains cables with a backward shielding effect have had a positive effect on the sound. Eupen ferrite power cord. Player software I have tested a lot, I stayed with Foobar in connection with Mutec 3 + usb Reclocker create a wonderful synergy.
 

VerdantAudio

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It all matters. Exact priority varies to may based almost on like a "WAR" rating. The "Replacement" device or cable is critical in terms of ranking.

Lately I have been swapping a lot of DACs and transports and the jump between levels can be pretty spectacular in some cases and not so much in others. .

For example, the move from a Hugo 2 to an Audiobyte Hydravox is a massive change. The move from a Hydravox to a Weiss 501/Rockna Wavedream/Chord Dave is no where near as big of a jump despite being a larger increase in terms of price.

Transports feel different and a big part of that is the split between renderer / server or if we mean actual disc transport. I rarely use discs anymore and will not discuss that. For renderer / server, I am finding the server has a HUGE impact. The jump from a computer (mac or PC) to a dedicated audio server is massive. The move up in terms of server quality is fascinating and not as linear or as obvious. A big part her comes down to clocking and connections. For example, Rockna Wavedream to Wavedream NET, because if I2S synergies has a bigger impact than other jumps of similar price.

I find the renderer side of this to be far less critical which is very much in line with Antipodes definition. Separating rendering out is not as critical as I thought it would be is the server is great. It makes a bigger difference on modest servers like a Roon Nucleus. It makes far less of a difference as you step up. I am quite happy with the on-board renderer in my Weiss 501 or the combo 2Go/2Yu. The Weiss is insanely good but I am not sure it is worth 3x the money vs. the 2Go/2Yu unless you need the DSPs and/or room correction.

Power conditioning is critical but I am not sure I agree with the price stated. I have seen some pretty incredible results from Inakustik and Puritan at more modest prices and the step up to that next level contributes far less than you would expect.

Cables make a difference. My experience is that not every cable makes things better. I have heard some perfectly dreadful, very expensive cables. I have been using Audioquest with my devices and have been pleasantly surprised with the quality of the digital cables they offer. For power I have tested AQ and Puritan and it depends on the device. I have used a few others that shall go unnamed that did not make things better despite high prices. I am going to try Inakustik later this year.

I am going to be experimenting with switches soon. I have a friend who just added one and he is raving about it so it sounds like it is time to dig into that segment.
 
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Willgolf

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Jul 22, 2019
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It all matters. Exact priority varies to may based almost on like a "WAR" rating. The "Replacement" device or cable is critical in terms of ranking.

Lately I have been swapping a lot of DACs and transports and the jump between levels can be pretty spectacular in some cases and not so much in others. .

For example, the move from a Hugo 2 to an Audiobyte Hydravox is a massive change. The move from a Hydravox to a Weiss 501/Rockna Wavedream/Chord Dave is no where near as big of a jump despite being a larger increase in terms of price.

Transports feel different and a big part of that is the split between renderer / server or if we mean actual disc transport. I rarely use discs anymore and will not discuss that. For renderer / server, I am finding the server has a HUGE impact. The jump from a computer (mac or PC) to a dedicated audio server is massive. The move up in terms of server quality is fascinating and not as linear or as obvious. A big part her comes down to clocking and connections. For example, Rockna Wavedream to Wavedream NET, because if I2S synergies has a bigger impact than other jumps of similar price.

I find the renderer side of this to be far less critical which is very much in line with Antipodes definition. Separating rendering out is not as critical as I thought it would be is the server is great. It makes a bigger difference on modest servers like a Roon Nucleus. It makes far less of a difference as you step up. I am quite happy with the on-board renderer in my Weiss 501 or the combo 2Go/2Yu. The Weiss is insanely good but I am not sure it is worth 3x the money vs. the 2Go/2Yu unless you need the DSPs and/or room correction.

Power conditioning is critical but I am not sure I agree with the price stated. I have seen some pretty incredible results from Inakustik and Puritan at more modest prices and the step up to that next level contributes far less than you would expect.

Cables make a difference. My experience is that not every cable makes things better. I have heard some perfectly dreadful, very expensive cables. I have been using Audioquest with my devices and have been pleasantly surprised with the quality of the digital cables they offer. For power I have tested AQ and Puritan and it depends on the device. I have used a few others that shall go unnamed that did not make things better despite high prices. I am going to try Inakustik later this year.

I am going to be experimenting with switches soon. I have a friend who just added one and he is raving about it so it sounds like it is time to dig into that segment.
Great and informative post. As I stated earlier, my Lucas Audio LMDS Music Server has resulted in the biggest change by far in my audio journey. I, too have swapped out a lot of PC's, and cables to the point of hoarding them. Not a big difference. Recently, I purchased the Townshend Podiums for my speakers. I have SR orange fuses and duplexes. None compare to the LMDS. The last tweak I am trying is 4 Quantum Science yellow fuses. I also have the InaKustic 3500 power conditioner. I guess I like it but I have not compared to others.
 

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