A tale of 3 digital transports (shootout with Unison USB and AES)

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by rlow, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Friend

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    Thanks for the comparisons! Is the NUC running Windows? Is it possible that the OS could have an influence on Unison?
     
  2. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Should have mentioned that as well. It’s running Roon Rock OS, which in case you don’t know is a minimalist custom Linux-based OS that basically just runs Roon Server/Core and handles a few basic peripherals and networking and optimizes the performance. Although it’s only an i3 6th Gen Nuc, I’ve actually never heard the fan run ever (could be that it does when I’m playing music of course, but never otherwise). I’m also running pretty standard config with Roon with only a couple of zones, no DSP, and a relatively small library of less than 1000 albums between NAS files and Tidal.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    LOL, it could be that he's an old school engineer and really doesn't want to take the time to make a mountain from molehill. Audio neurosis isn't as fun when you get older and start to actualize that life is too short. Allo seems to cater more to the computer audiophile, recommending two power supplies, and offering options for battery, Shanti LPS, 5V, etc.
     
  4. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    So far, I've preferred using the switcher PSUs Allo provides on their site for my DigiOne Sig. The LPSU I have and 18650 battery pack just seemed too soft, mushy, thick, and wiped away what seemed like good transient control and speed.

    Why would this be? Are batteries a bad choice? Does my LPSU suck (probably does, TBH)? Is the softer sound actually more accurate, with the extra sense of incisiveness from the switchers actually some type of artifact?

    Mind you, I'm not using NOS DACs here, but nothing "ultra revealing" that would benefit from having treble nasties clobbered or extra thickness tacked on in the low-end.

    I've been curious for a while exactly what's at play here, but not enough time, money, or knowledge to really do much beyond trust my ears yet wonder nonetheless.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Perhaps a battery that uses a different type or brand of battery. Could be that alkalines are too soft, and you need metal Li-ion deals for a sharper sound. The recommended Shanti LPS and a Shakti stone on top of that might help.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  6. ogodei

    ogodei Friend

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    I've found that for a shakti stone to make a difference you really need two, one above and one below the unit. With that its night and day.
     
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  7. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Try one over each eye - then it's day to night!
     
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  8. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Whoa, maybe I've been doing it completely wrong but I thought you were supposed to put them in your mouth like a lozenge? Geez, I'm an idiot, all these years.
     
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  9. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    The other advantage with the over-the-eye method is that all your impressions are double-blind.

    Ok, sorry, I'll stop now.
     
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  10. Jeffjazzer

    Jeffjazzer Acquaintance

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    I have read on another site (I believe it was Audiophilestyle forums) that Moode sounded better than Ropieee. Don’t quote me though. I have compared Moode to PiCorePlayer. They all sounded slightly different. I preferred Moode. GentooPlayer is also becoming a very popular software player. I also have the Yggy2 with stock power supply on Pi2AES. I am really enjoying the sound and AES does sound best to me. I have compared all inputs on the Yggdrasil with various cables. I’m happy enough at this point that I don’t think I will swing for the Unison USB upgrade. That’s a $500 board and the only way to better Pi2AES is to interface the Unison with sMS-200ultra $1400, according this test. Too rich for my blood. I’d rather play with different software in the Raspberry Pi4 to see what can be gained there for cheap. I do appreciate the comparisons. It appears those last few percent of gain cost some big bucks, just like everything else in audiophile-land!
     
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  11. lehmanhill

    lehmanhill Almost "Made"

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    @msommers - If you have the Onyx with i2s, you definitely need to try that path. Its a small, but sweet step up. Metrum charges $139 for the i2s module for the Onyx. That's a choice only you can make.
     
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  12. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Who you calling old! I’m pretty sure my wife says 60 is the new 30!

    Cheers,
    Michael
     
  13. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Yes I've had my eye on that for awhile and since the Ambre is just silly expensive. Recently was laid off at work though so "fun" purchases these days are going for pho at my favourite Viet spot once a month LOL
     
  14. Unkgd

    Unkgd Rando

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    Have gone through the various thread on the Unison USB and did not see a suggested price.

    Is the price of the Unison USB going to be $500 as noted above? Just looking at factors in the decision as to whether to go with USB from the USBridge Signature or switch to AES with the Pi2AES.
     
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  15. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    I don’t think Schiit has released any price for Unison USB upgrade. For Gen 5 it is $150 with factory installation. Not sure if Unison will be in same ball park.
     
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  16. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    Do you already own a USBridge Signature? What DAC are you using? If Gungnir MB then I suspect the Unison upgrade will cost at least $50 more because you need to have factory install and firmware upgrade.
    The take home message from everything above is the cheapest route to great sound might be Pi2AES with stock Meanwell switcher.
     
  17. Unkgd

    Unkgd Rando

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    Already have the USBSignature asI have a few RPI/DACs, PSAudio DlinkIII and a used Yggdrasil inbound.

    I hope you a correct the Unison is $200 or so, then I can try it out and see how it works with the Yggdrasil,
     
  18. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    I tried the ifi, the stock PSU and my LPSU/batterypack.
    The Ifi sounds sounds less soft than the stock PSU again. Less difference than between the LPSU and stock PSU, but still noticeable.The same thoughts have crossed my mind. Which one is "more" correct?
    Measurements would indicated that the Ifi is the cleanest of them all. Not just according to some rando dudes, but @atomicbob.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
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  19. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    CD Transports are great, but they are just ticking time bombs before the lasers goes out. Even for some models good luck trying to get a CD tray replacement. I love CDs, but at this point it's hard to get another transport and etc.

    But damn I love the CD73 when I heard some in the past.
     
  20. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    @rlow was the AES input used for the Yggdrasil using the Pi2Aes for the shootout? I ask because it made a difference for me vs. bnc or lower connections. Pi2Aes's i2s implementation is still the best.
     
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