Computer Audio..Stream or download?


Fellow Audiophiles,

Until now, i never cared for music streaming or downloads, simply because of compression. I owned fairly large selection of CD's, SACD's, DTS and DVD audio discs. DTS and DVD audio are long gone and SACD's are now pretty much limited to classical titles. I have been watching the digital trend pretty closely..it seems that we have evolved from digital downloads to now streaming. For sake of convenience, i have installed Sonos in couple of rooms. In my HT setup, Sonos just couldn't live up to high standards set by Krell and Raysonic. The streaming from Spotify, Amazon and Rhapsody is just average (flat and dull most times).

I am looking for ideas and feedback based on your experiences with high-res downloads. I am only interested in listening to high-rez / DSD64 or DSD128 files.

Please respond with your recommendations on DSD software and DAC's/Players.

MY Equipments:
Classe SSP-800 / CA-2200 / CA-5200
Krell Cipher
Raysonic CD-128
B&W 803s/804s/HTM2s/SCMS
Audience Au24 SE - IC's, Speaker, Power and Digital Cables
Audience AR6-TSSD/AR2-TSSD
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To really see what streaming can do you must try Tidal. CD quality streaming. If you like classical you can try Classicsonline from Naxos. They stream up to 24/192. I don't buy downloads any more and don't really care for DSD.
I use a Metrum Hex Dac fed from a MacBook Pro using USB. The Hex does not do DSD
Alan
I stream all day, every day at work. Going through a 192 Musical Fidelity V Link to my Schiit Bifrost. The quality is usually amazing. Tidal is really clean and detailed. Some radio stations stream in high def as well. Some claim to stream in high def but I always lose the signal. Other stations that are not high def still can sound amazing when compared to Amazon or Spotify.
+1 for Tidal.
Alan,

Thank you for your feedback. That's one heck of DAC you got, I am going to check out Tidal soon. The market is flooded with DAC'd and everyone seems to claim theirs as 'best'. I am hoping for couple of more recommendations before I make my purchase.

Someone also recommended to check out Ayre QB-9 DSD.
The Cambridge audio 851N you were asking about is a 851D with a cxn streamer built in. As of now it does not support Tidal but should in the near future. This is a very nice DAC for the money... I have run Tidal via Sonos through a number of different DACS with the P.S.AUDIO direct stream being the best that I have used. The Cambridge Audio will support dsd via its usb input
Dennis
disclaimer I am a Cambridge Audio Dealer
"Someone also recommended to check out Ayre QB-9 DSD. "

Ayre makes some of the best sounding digital products I've ever heard.

I have a question for you regarding your goals. You say that you have a good collection of music already. Are you looking into something like Tidal to listen to the same music you already own on other formats, or to listen to music that you don't already own?
"I have a question for you regarding your goals"

I don't plan to stream music I already own. The idea is to explore without shelling out $15-20 for SACD's or CD's.

It seems lot of folks have good experience with Tidal.
"The Cambridge audio 851N you were asking about is a 851D with a cxn streamer built in"

Sonos provides great functionality and convenience but from what I read so far, the issue lies with it's mediocre Cirrius Logic CODAC and the associated high jitter clocks. I am tempted to try out Wyred 4 Sound mod for $550.00 before I dive into Azur 851N. I don't think any external DAC would help the sound until digital out path is upgrade within Sonos.
Agree. I just got the Wyred modified Sonos and the sound is superb running through the DAC in Aesthetix Romulus.
Well, it better be...that's a 10K CD/DAC player. Since I already own two red book players, I wouldn't consider Romulus. But, Pandora signature begs for consideration :)

I would be try out the Sonos mod first and run it through my Classe pre-amp.

Here is my top five pics for a DAC-
Aesthetix Pandora
Playback Designs MPD-3
Ayre QB-9 DSD
BMC Pure DAC
?
Thank you for your feedback, much appreciated.
The DAC in the Romulus is the same as the Pandora
Much less than 10k without Signature and volume control
Got a question about Tidal streaming. How do you do it??

I have a wireless HP PC. Do I use that as the "receiver" and then hook my PC up to the DAC in my DEQX PreMATE?? Check my system for details on my gear.

Btw, if I have to use my PC to stream Tidal, does that detract from the sound quality? If so, is there a better way to get the music into my analogue based system?

Sorry for the simplistic questions. Still catching up to the 21st (twenty-first) century.

Cheers and thanks,

BIF
Install Tidal on your PC. Then run a USB cable from your PC to your dac. You should be good
Alan
cool. I like the responses above about Tidal. Thnx
I have signed up with Tidal yesterday. The HIFI service is bit expensive, $16.99/mo. if you sign up for 6 months. Otherwise, you pay $19.99. I did notice bit more transparency and overall robust sound in A/B comparison with Spotify. Overall, I was quite impressed with the Tidal sound. Looks like I am going to stick with Tidal and dump Spotify.

I am sure matters would improve with a quality dac or Sonos Connect mod.

Thank you all for great feedback.
I dumped Beat Music to Tidal 6 months ago for $10 more and it worth every penny. Best deal ever.
Hello,

Are you streaming Tidal wirelessly to your HT? I reckon, connecting my laptop to a DAC via USB cable would be ideal way to get the best sound. What can I say, I have been spoiled by the convenience of controlling my Sonos through iPad

I recall someone once told me that you can control your laptop from IPad..not sure if that's true?
I recommend (and own) the Ayre QB-9 DSD. Best I have heard except for Wavelength gear for DACs. Only drawback is USB input only. Streaming sound quality is suspect (imo) but have not tried Tidal. Easier to build a digital music library with external hard drivers and running via MAC/PC (using a macbook pro late 2008 model). Switched from ITunes to Decibel as software a while ago, but looking into Audio Nirvana as upgrade in future.
I stream Tidal wirelessly and wired. It sounds a little bit better with hard wire, either from my pc or phone to DAC with and OTG cable.
One very interesting find was that when I used Tidal on my phone via bluetooth to a chord hugo the sound was simply phenomenal. No need for a wire there. Granted, the bluetooth receiver was the Audioengine with the x technology which is much better than most bluetooth.
Just wanted to recommend checking out Tidal through an Auralic Aries music streamer which was a surprising leap in refinement and overall sound quality over the Mac Mini it replaced.
I have been auditioning Azur851N since this Friday and very pleased with the sound.

In case, anyone wants to know, this is how I hooked up Sonos -

Sonos - Azur851N via Digital Coax
Azur851N - SSP800 via XLR

Streaming music through Tidal HIFI
Hey JI35,

You may already know this, I just found out that Aesthetix ready to ship Pandora with 'Eclipse' upgrade. The retail went up 3K from Signature Edition.

Here is the article -

We are pleased to announce the official launch of Aesthetix Saturn Eclipse components. Saturn series are classic, high value components, and their performance has risen to new heights with the amazing StealthCaps capacitors as found in their IO Eclipse and Callisto Eclipse.

Saturn Eclipse components include
Calypso Eclipse line stage
Janus Eclipse full function preamp
Rhea Eclipse phono stage
Pandora Eclipse DAC
Romulus Eclipse DAC/CD Player

StealthCap Capacitors:
Highly regarded for their ability to dramatically reduce reflections, resulting in a quieter sonic background, richer and more detailed spatial imaging, time focused musical coherence, and a broader more impactful dynamic range.

Acoustically-Damped Chassis:
Delivering new levels of articulation and clarity by improving the damping of the audio chassis and the transformer/power supply cover.

Enhanced Transformer Isolation:
As a result of our recent research into internal power supplies, the Saturn Eclipse utilizes a new mounting for its multiple transformers, enhancing isolation to further increase dynamic range.
Lalitk - I stream and download and have the following setup

iMac,
- using iTunes for library management and playback controls
- using Audirvana for actual digital streaming of digital files
>>> Audirvana will either play DSD files or convert on the fly and since my DAC does not do DSD I simply allow it to convert
- Ethernet cables - not wireless

Remote control of iTunes via a Droid app - Retune
- nice display that replicates iTunes views of tracks - by artist, album etc...

USB into a v-link192 usb-spdif converter

SPDIF into a Schiit Bifrost DAC

Extremely high quality analogue and digital IC's from KLE Innovations

My own DIY power cables - extremely good

Special split USB cable with separate cables for USB power and data joined at the DAC

The quality is outstanding and every bit as good as my analogue rig

Even digital radio stations sound very good

Hope that helps :-)
Thank you for the detailed setup....and WOW!! You're really jumping through some hoops to get the digital music right.

I just bought Cambridge Azur 851N...it's pretty much plug n play and a very decent sound.
Tidal rocks. I feel for those who have not discovered it yet. I got my new absolute sound this month, sat in front of the rig with a glass of wine. Every recommendation of a song I read was on Tidal and I got to play it, uncompressed, while I was reading the article. TOO COOL.
There are three ways to use Tidal. You can use the web player and usb to your dac (I found this was the poorest way as it was dependent on throughput, pecularities of the OS, traffic, etc). The 2nd way I found is to download the todal player, which allows you to stream without using your broweser (chrome), which is more stable against dropouts. I have found the BEST way is through a 3rd party player with a 3rd party app, such as ickstream. I am suing a Logitech transporter (reclocked, upsampled) and its killer. The auralic is pretty sweet as well and I can't wait to here the uber high end intros (brumester, etc). Tidal, my friends, rules.
I agree, Tidal streaming is pretty awesome.
I also like listening to Tidal Streaming music because it is easy to use and I love the variety. Of course, the best part is their excellent uncompressed sound quality. In addition, I can change my mind on an album and quickly find a different album to listen to. The flexibility and sound quality of Tidal is a big listening plus for me.

Tidal also offers various play lists you can select or you select your own album. Another advantage with Tidal is that you can select an album and then page down to see additional albums by that artist. Tidal Streaming is ONLY available on the Chrome browser so I installed it on my MAC Book Pro computer. I highly recommend Tidal Streaming.

My MAC Book Pro computer is connected (Wireworld Cable Technology's Platinum Starlight 7 USB cable) to my Ayre QB-9 DSD DAC. As suggested above, I also recommend you demo the Ayre QB-9 DSD DAC. It is excellent and highly recommended.
Auralic Aries Extreme w/Duel Femto Clocks and Proprietary Linear Power Supply USB into my Bricasti M1 DAC is heaven.

It's excellent and only costs $1,599.00 and it steams Tidal over their iPad Lightning App and sounds Fantastic.

Auralic were one of the early adopters of Tidal and they do a great job with it. The app has gotten "much" better and is stable it keeps improving. I find it excellent and have only had it for a few weeks but this is still early in the game for this product and it will keep getting better and better as they keep supporting and updating it.

For speed and ease of use I set up my Tidal playlists and favorites and such on my lap top and they are all instantly on my iPad. It is killer!

It sounds MUCH MUCH MUCH better than a computer or mac. I own them both. It actually destroys them really and for the price that is rather extraordinary really.

I have listened to the same albums on Tidal that I own as Hi-Rez downloads from HD tracks and they are quite close. Too close to even bother with my downloads really but I still do of course ;).

This streamer is an excellent unit and it only cost a bit more than my USB cable. Very reasonable for the excellent quality and versatility.

Another very cool thing is solid SQ quality bump you can get from thinking outside the box a bit by employing a solid state external hard drive, a split / duel headed USB cable and a portable USB 5V Battery cell phone charger.

The Auralic Aries has 2 - USB outs.

1.) for your music that I hook into my Bricasti and the other

2.) for an external Solid State Hard drive.

For hooking the external hard drive I went with a split / double headed USB cable.

Hook the single end into the Aries and hook the end with two ends: 1.) The DATA leg into the External Solid State HD and the other 2.) The POWER leg into the USB port on the portable battery Cell Phone charger.

The external hard drive is now powered fully by nice and clean battery power. It offers a nice and relaxed yet fuller and bolder sound. Nice improvement actually to what was already a very good sounding unit. Heck it even sounds great running via WI-FI even though I use an Ethernet cable to hard wire.

Tidal is excellent and is nothing like Pandora or any of the other mainstream mp3 services. Tidal is like NETFLIX but with music for audiophiles. A must have and for this short money dump your pc or mac and try one. Trust me you will be happy you did.

The better the DAC or the system the better but that goes the other way also. If you have a reasonably priced DAC it will sound like a great one. This really surprised me how much improvement there is over a computer or mac.

Man I had no idea how important the transport really is but I sure now...
Auralic Aries Extreme w/Duel Femto Clocks and Proprietary Linear Power Supply USB into my Bricasti M1 DAC is heaven.

It's excellent and only costs $1,599.00 and it steams Tidal over their iPad Lightning App and sounds Fantastic.

Auralic were one of the early adopters of Tidal and they do a great job with it. The app has gotten "much" better and is stable it keeps improving. I find it excellent and have only had it for a few weeks but this is still early in the game for this product and it will keep getting better and better as they keep supporting and updating it.

For speed and ease of use I set up my Tidal playlists and favorites and such on my lap top and they are all instantly on my iPad.

It sounds MUCH MUCH MUCH better than a computer or mac. I own them both. It actually is not even close and for the price that is rather extraordinary really.

I have listened to the same albums on Tidal that I own as Hi-Rez downloads from HD tracks and they are quite close. Too close to even bother with my downloads really but I still do of course ;).

This streamer is an excellent unit and it only cost a bit more than my USB cable. Very reasonable for the excellent quality and versatility.

Another very cool thing is solid SQ quality bump you can get from thinking outside the box a bit by employing a solid state external hard drive, a split / duel headed USB cable and a portable USB 5V Battery cell phone charger.

The Auralic Aries has 2 - USB outs.

1.) for your music that I hook into my Bricasti and the other

2.) for an external Solid State Hard drive.

For hooking the external hard drive I went with a split / double headed USB cable.

Hook the single end into the Aries and hook the end with two ends: 1.) The DATA leg into the External Solid State HD and the other 2.) The POWER leg into the USB port on the portable battery Cell Phone charger.

The external hard drive is now powered fully by nice and clean battery power. It offers a nice and relaxed yet fuller and bolder sound. Nice improvement actually to what was already a very good sounding unit. Heck it even sounds great running via WI-FI even though I use an Ethernet cable to hard wire.

Tidal is excellent and is nothing like Pandora or any of the other mainstream mp3 services. Tidal is like NETFLIX but with music for audiophiles. A must have and for this short money dump your pc or mac and try one. Trust me you will be happy you did.

The better the DAC or the system the better but that goes the other way also. If you have a reasonably priced DAC it will sound like a great one. This really surprised me how much improvement there is over a computer or mac.

Man I had no idea how important the transport really is but I sure now...
For a few years I've been thinking about the basic Aurender server, to replace my Macbook loaded with Amarra. But I haven't really heard anyone say that there is a clear winner.
"Auralic Aries Extreme w/Duel Femto Clocks and Proprietary Linear Power Supply USB into my Bricasti M1 DAC is heaven"

I wonder why do you need spend extra $600 bucks for Aries w/Duel Femto clock when all of your data and clock buffering are handled within your DAC insuring the lowest possible jitter levels?

Lalitk

Great Question: Here is why - we really have no clue about how our brains / hearing works and what makes something sound better. We measure jitter and distortion and linearity but we are throwing darts and totally guessing if that is what's actually making it sound better. More so with digital.

We are now making some huge strides. Just a year or ago or maybe a bit longer the pc or mac was the way to go. It was better or as good than a good cd player and way easier and def more convenient but the pc / mac in any modded form is old hat now.

Just like that bamm... Extinct - obsolete... Next please...

We have moved onto streaming and dedicated transports that are realty just specialized / focused computers optimized for sound but are SO MUCH better.

Guys I can not overstate the improvement over a pc / computer.

I am sure a base model Auralic Aries will be great also but def not as good.

I can tell you the type of USB Cable used with this combo still really matters, the type of footers and clamping / damping mods for it REALLY matters.

I think when you really dial your system in to the point where it is very resolving it gives you this sort of microscopic view into your chain and it is this where the weak like is really exposed and all the different tweaking comes into view. I can tell you when I went with just going with batteries powering my external hard drive that was a nice upgrade.

Here it is in nutshell. I love my Bricasti M1 and learning a lot about it and how it can be improved but my opinions are evolving via first hand experience. The transport and its abilities are maybe even more important than the DAC, maybe not but I never fully appreciated how important their role was until not that long ago.

Going with my Bricasti M1 and a computer / mac to my Aries was a bigger improvement than getting the Bricasti itself.

I am still amazed at the level of improvement this $1,599 is I am sure you will love the $999 one also.

I love mine so much that I am having Vinni Rossi from Red Wine audio now of Vinne Rossi audio with his all new LIO line build me a custome battery power supply with duel batteries that can provide pure battery power to replace the linear power supply and drive both the USB cables on the ?Aries for both the music USB and solid state hard drive.

I am hoping this makes it legit compete with the 10k-15k transports because I can't afford one of those but knowing now about how much improvement is to be had from the transport i'm drinking the mod and improve transport koolaid :)

Lalitk

Great Question: Here is why - we really have no clue about how our brains / hearing works and what makes something sound better. We measure jitter and distortion and linearity but we are throwing darts and totally guessing if that is what's actually making it sound better. More so with digital.

We are now making some huge strides. Just a year or ago or maybe a bit longer the pc or mac was the way to go. It was better or as good than a good cd player and way easier and def more convenient but the pc / mac in any modded form is old hat now.

Just like that bamm... Extinct - obsolete... Next please...

We have moved onto streaming and dedicated transports that are realty just specialized / focused computers optimized for sound but are SO MUCH better.

Guys I can not overstate the improvement over a pc / computer.

I am sure a base model Auralic Aries will be great also but def not as good.

I can tell you the type of USB Cable used with this combo still really matters, the type of footers and clamping / damping mods for it REALLY matters.

I think when you really dial your system in to the point where it is very resolving it gives you this sort of microscopic view into your chain and it is this where the weak like is really exposed and all the different tweaking comes into view. I can tell you when I went with just going with batteries powering my external hard drive that was a nice upgrade.

Here it is in nutshell. I love my Bricasti M1 and learning a lot about it and how it can be improved but my opinions are evolving via first hand experience. The transport and its abilities are maybe even more important than the DAC, maybe not but I never fully appreciated how important their role was until not that long ago.

Going with my Bricasti M1 and a computer / mac to my Aries was a bigger improvement than getting the Bricasti itself.

I am still amazed at the level of improvement this $1,599 is I am sure you will love the $999 one also.

I love mine so much that I am having Vinni Rossi from Red Wine audio now of Vinne Rossi audio with his all new LIO line build me a custome battery power supply with duel batteries that can provide pure battery power to replace the linear power supply and drive both the USB cables on the ?Aries for both the music USB and solid state hard drive.

I am hoping this makes it legit compete with the 10k-15k transports because I can't afford one of those but knowing now about how much improvement is to be had from the transport i'm drinking the mod and improve transport koolaid :)

First off, congratulations on putting together an impressive system (WOW!!). Totally dig your dedication and investment. I agree with you that a well built cable is a must to attain overall coherence and transparency.

I am planning to try Auralic aries with Modwright Elyse DAC in very near future.

It seems that we have very limited options on components that can turn your dedicated DAC into a full blown 'audiophile' streamer.

I prefer to control my music through my ipad, so airplay option is a must.

Mind you, i am still learning about digital streaming. From what i have learn, it seems there are only two ways to 'gel' digital music into your rig.... a pc/mac connected to your dedicated dac via USB cable or a component like Auralic aries that turns your dac into streamer via USB cable.

Please keep in mind before you reply, I am only seeking high-end solution to digital streaming through a dedicated outboard DAC in a 2 channel or HT setup without any intervention from pc or mac.

If anyone else have any other suggestion, please feel free to chime in.
Folks,

Just came across Aurender N100H....Network streamer along with 2 TB of SSD drive. Looks like a very nice option for non pc/Mac users.
Hey Lalitk,

The Aurender products are very well liked and are excellent. I have heard the Aurender and it is very nice.

I have a friend that thinks their stuff is the very best. It is quite slick and offers a real hi-end feel and build.

This brand is Prob the best out there for looks and build. Sound wise there are some other good one's out there such as Antipodes and Baetis. Baetis has their special and great coax output that is killer.

If the money was similar these would all be preferable choices choices to the Aries but the price vs performance of the Aries really can't be touched. If you have extra money to roll these are great options and I am sure will sound a bit better.

On the Aries I am going to go with an upgraded Red Wine battery power supply but there is also an interesting company in Europe SBooster that make a great linear power supply upgrade for about $350.00 that is better than the one in the Extreme.

The Auralic Aries with Modwright Elyse DAC will be a great combo. Thanks for the kind words. I have been so impressed with the transport's ability to improve my Bricasti DAC sound quality that I even just took a chance and grabbed a W4S Recycle to use for my Cable Box. My System (2-Channel only and always) is hooked to my Panny Plasma GT60 so hoping maybe the TV sounds nicer. Maybe - maybe not but checking. I have heard good things about it and anything I can do to improve what goes into my DAC is worth IMO based on all the good results I have been getting.
Lalitk, I suspect that soon cds will not be issued, I doubt that streaming will ever amount to much either although it may be very convenient. I have many HD downloads and they are better but PCM is not the way to go either. So what is the answer? I am fortunate to have many old SACD, mainly from Japan and now have them on my SSDs in native DSD and have a music server that plays them now in double DSD and soon in quad DSD. I realize that this is basically pro gear, but it is so much better than what else you can buy. I must say that I also have a Polish Stereo192 DSD dac with I good many modifications within. What you really need is a very low latency computer with built in SSDs.

I know all of this is pie in the sky stuff, but I suspect mainstream companies will soon go this way if someone finally moves to true HD downloads. Reputedly, SONY is transferring all of their master tapes to quad DSD files. Now all we need is for them to be made available. There are also companies recording now in double DSD but what I've heard none are of top musicians or singers.

One thing is certain CD players are a dying component. I should say, however that ripping cds to my hard drives and playing upsampled to double DSD pushes the filter out so far that you can hear the full information on CDs. 44.1 is midfi.
Tbg LOL !!!

"I doubt that streaming will ever amount to much"

Oh man - Streaming is what the entire world is evolving too.

Not just for HI-FI but streaming is pretty much revolutionizing how we share information with everything.

Not too long in the future there will be no need for any physical media and it will all be streaming...
Fsmithjack, you may be right right for people accustomed to earbuds. I need realism rather than 24/7 noise. Frankly when I'm at the club, I have to wear ear plus to keep the racket out (what some think is music. But I do agree that CDs are going to pass away. I wonder where streamers will get their music. I doubt if streamers can do much more than 44.1 sampling rate. I listen at nearly 3 million sampling rate.
Fsmithjack, I just committed to a Aurender N100H. I should have in-house by end of next week. I thought it would be good start. I will post feedback by end of August.

Tbg, like yourself I am hanging on to my SACD's and CD's. I realize CD players are a dying breed, but some Hi-end manufacturer still continue to churn out CD player that cost thousands of dollars....I guess some purist still buying those players. I am quite content with my Krell Cipher SACD/CD player.

Cheers!
If you are going to do a lot od DSD playback or use HQP to upconvert all to DSD, i would strongly recommend looking at Lampizator. Used, as DSD only L4 Lampi will run you about $2,500.

I think the DHT versions will give you even more and a Lite 7 is the cheapest entry point there. Lampi uses "chipless" DSD and its unlike anything else in digital to me. Lots of guys with deep pockets and SoTA setups are jumping for the top model, the Golden Gate, but its quite pricey at $18K approx. They are also pairing that with the new Lampi server, the DSD Komputer which is a maxxed out CAPs style server for about $7K or so.

I myself have a Big7 and am delighted by it.
Lalitk - Great Choice !!! Those are sweet and you are going to love it.

Congrats!!!!

I love those! I am enjoying playing around with my Aries and improving it but I have my eye on either an Aurender or Antipodes and I am sure one of those will be on my short chase down and tackle list soon enough.

Awesome choice. I know for sure their sound is excellent and one of the best but they are hands down the best looking, best build and slickest units out there. Very cool...

Wisnon makes a good point about the Lampi's in that used price range for their DSD but I really like the DAC you were leaning toward already the Modwright Elyse DAC.

I like the Modwright stuff and I think it will be a fantastic match to your great transport choice!!!

I love the build concept of the Elyse and his approach to his power supply design. A power supply that uses the natural sounding tube rectification but ties it up tight with dual-discrete solid state voltage regulation. That is a nice approach to combo both strengths into one power fine supply. I like it.

Then he adds in the sweet Lundahl tranny coupled inputs which will tether up your transport the right way and then he doubles down with the Lundahl tranny coupled outputs so no preamp will be needed with his pure Class A / zero feedback implementation of the 6922 in the output stage. This tube which let you tailor your sound better than any other tube I know IMO. Love the 6922 who needs the super tube anyhow. Now you just need to get yourself a pair of Upscale / Platinum / Cryoed / Pitched Waist Amperex PQ's and a Mullard Blackburn Factory built circa mid 60's GZ34 rectifier Tube (get the Hammond organ labeled ones and save some scratch for exact same tube) and you are good to go. You will be first rate all the way!!! Congrats again and great choices ...
Fsmithjack,

I am really looking forward to Elyse DAC. I just installed a pair of KWA150 SE, they are powering up my 800D's in bridged mono configuration. Hands down, one of the best amps I have heard in a while. They outclassed my Classe M600, actually smoked them!

I thought about Auralic Aries a lot but the build and SQ quality out weighs the $1100 price difference. The way used market is, who wants to risk reselling Aries at $1K range in couple of months.

As far as the tube mods go, Dan already recommended following tube replacements -

(2) Electro Harmonix 6922 TUBES - Stock Tubes
- Recommended Upgrade (that they use at the trade shows) Tungsram PCC88 / 7DJ8 - http://www.upscaleaudio.com/tungsram-pcc88-7dj8/
(1) Sovtek 5AR4 - Stock Tube
- Recommended Upgrade, NOS 1970 Philips 5R4GYS - http://www.upscaleaudio.com/philips-5r4gys

I plan to listen the DAC with stock tubes first and then swap them out with recommended tubes. The DAC being shipped with both tubes.
Modwright makes very good stuff, but the DHT tubes are incomparable. I have played around with ECC88s, ECC40, ECC81/82/83 of all kinds of exotic old brands from my local tube guy and they are great, but the, 345s, 45 triodes (mesh plate), the 101ds, 300bs, 6A3s, etc combined with the big bottle rectifiers do it for me.

I have (as rectis) metal base Philips GZ34, Mullard GZ37, vintage 5u4g, 5AR, new production 274b, military spec double mica 5r4gy, etc, all from the 1940s to 1960s. When combined with the big bottle DHTs are a quantum leap over the small signal tubes and especially for DSD.

I have NOT tried the uber expensive 300bs like from WE vintage, Takasuli, Elrog, etc nor the EML anniversary 45 globe (unobtanium). people say these are worth the high pricetag.
Wisnon - I totally agree DHT Tubes are the very best of the best. You get nothing but agreement here but those would prob match my system a lot better than Lalitk's. I love DHT - I have switched my "entire" system around and provided an entire and radical system refit so I can feature the DHT tubes. I live for my 2A3 custom amp so I am all in on that program. His system is a lot different with those great beasts of speakers.

Lalitk

Regardless what any one else even the designer tells you I promise you and you can write this down (lol...that's what I am doing) and put me on record saying if you buy the tubes I recommended and then you buy the ones he recommended you will listen and prefer my recommendation 10 to 1 min more like 100 to 1 but that's just my opinion but tubes are tubes.

The better tubes the better they sound and the combo I recommended is the best there is IMO. I know he will quote synergy but that's crap.

The pinched waist PQ Amperex will obliterate that Tungsram in any system any time any place IMO. The main reason anyone uses the Tungsram tubes is because it is super quiet and super clean. I own a few of them. They are dry, sterile, thin yet uber detailed and super duper clean and quite fast while ultra quiet but trust my word and anyone else will agree if you are getting the best platinum matched from upscale then the Tungsram will be like a NAD/Rotel/Adcom tube and the Amperex PQ is a Vitus/Bumester/Gryphon.

There is nothing a Philips 5R4GYS can do against a Mullard GZ34 IMO. But buy his recommended tubes and enjoy and then when some time goes by go get the ones I listed and when you plug them in and listen you will be wholly smokes.

Better tubes go a long - long - long way! Truly great tubes (i like the blue label 6201 Valvo's also just not as warm) are def worth the added expense IMO for sure!

Awesome stuff though. I am surprised that KWA150 SE bettered the those killer M600. I assume the M600 is warmer. Maybe the more warmth you like less. Either way the tubes I listed are better at everything in every regard but they will warmer than the Tungs so you could go with the blue label 6201 Valvo over white label PQ Amperex pinched waist 6922 either will be incredible and much better than the Tungs. Good luck !!!

Fsmithjack,

Thank you again for making some great and thought provoking recommendations. I never dared myself into experimenting with tube mods. I bought Raysonic CD-128 with class A triode vacuum tube (4x6922 triodes tubes - Russian) few years back. And left it as is cause it sounded pretty good out of the box. As of last year, I added components that are bit more revealing. I have been trying to build a system that is musical, tonally accurate and dynamic.

I added M600's earlier this year to my 803s, nice upgrade from CA-2200. The CA-2200 was more than adequate for 803s; M600 was purchased in anticipation of next big thing. Adding 800D2's was a huge step and quantum leap. To my surprise, despite of its good virtues M600 tapped out in the bottom end with 800D's.

I looked at Krell, Pass Labs, Simaudio and Ayre before settling down with Modwrights. Like M600, KWA150 SE treble is open, detailed and natural. The sound is consistent across a vast array of frequencies. What separated KWA from M600 is its deep bass, that is just tuneful, agile and full in level.

Like you suggested, I am going to spend some time with Elyse and venture into the exciting world tube mods in near future.

Let the fun begin!
Hey Fsmithjack,

My Aurender dealer tells me that I need to slave a PC or Mac to rip music and download hi res files? I prefer to stay away from PC or MAC in my HT setup but it looks like I don't have a choice if I want to rip music.

Aurender N100 is capable of streaming DSD files, so why do I need to download DSD files?

Just to recap, I am putting together following digital setup -

Aurender N100H - equipped with 2TB SSD drive
Modwright Elyse DAC

I also own a Olive 4HD that have about 1TB of music. At some point I would like to transfer music to Aurender internal drive and dispose off Olive. I don't see any point keeping Olive with subpar audio.

Do you have any suggestions on how to transfer off music from Olive? I have all the music backed up in a portable USB drive (FAT32 format). Not sure if Aurender is capable of reading music from USB drive. I guess I will find out once I have the Aurender in-house.
Don't worry your computer won't be in the signal path at all you just need to keep it on your network preferable via Ethernet to manage your music and to keep running sever software in the background.

There are work arounds but this is the easiest way I know but are many others I am sure. I run my files via a solid state hard drive that is hard wired right to my aries via the aries usb out for hard drive hook up but it is all still driven by my JRiver dlna server. I have jriver set up via dlna and the solid state hard drive is what jriver is pointing at but its playing through the Auralic lightning app. The lighting app plays everything and nothing goes through my computer but the jriver manages it all nice and easy.

There are plenty of other server software solutions out there and jriver maybe overkill for how I use or how you will use it but it is simple and works great.

Yours will be the same except you have a built in hard drive so you don't have to worry about the usb solid state drive like I do but you will still need server softwhere to drive the aurender app. Too much money for them to create their own when 3rd party solutions like jriver will be perfect and it cost $25.00 and does tons.

One of the great things about jriver is the robust network server software. It will be a breeze to grab all the music on your olive and drop it onto your aurender via the jriver music dnla server software running your computer and then dump the olive.

You can copy all the music on the olive and dump it on the aurender and dump the olive. You see with jriver you can get at any and all music on your network on any storage device and move it to where ever you want. You could even play the music that's on your olive from your arender just by pointing at it via jriver. If you are not familiar with jriver you should get it and work at learning it.

There is a learning curve but its the best and allows so much. Its kinda like iTunes but works with everything not just apple stuff and sounds a zillion times better and does so much more and its a great server software.

There are plenty of others out there but its the one I know and use so its the only one I can speak to. If this sounds complicated its really not its actually real easy and they have tons of resources to help and they have a super active forum to support it. You always want a computer to manage any network but thats what you will be doing is managing your music via dnla server softwhere. You will want it to buy and download music and many other reasons to have a computer on any network but its just not playing the music it is doing other good work behind the scenes so you music server can do what it does and that's sound great playing music. It's why I like them better than say CAPs servers because they are not there to really do anything but a focused job and thats the best audio it can. The less a music player can do the better. My Aries is the same way. Does tons but lets the computers do the dirty work in the background out of the signal path. Hope this helps a bit and clears some things up for you.

Let me know I'm glad to help.
Hello again,

What a relief to know that I can capture all the music off my olive and transfer it to Aurender.

After reading your feedback, it's given that you cannot eliminate pc or Mac from a typical setup if you want to manage your music library. I am sure it will all make sense once I have all the hardware together.

I am leaning towards Mac-mini solution for its small size and aesthetics. I love the apple look. Mac mini and USB drive will look cool with rest of my 'silver' components.

I found this article at ps audio - http://www.psaudio.com/ps_how/how-to-build-a-music-server/

Check out the JCAT USB cable.

Thanks again for taking the time to demystify the complexities of digital world.