Hi everyone! I am currently trying at home an Aurender UC-100C which is a DDC (digital-digital converter) little spoken about on the internet and I’m very ambivalent about it. The rig goes like this: cheap no name router --> cheap no name, soon to be replaced Ethernet cable --> borrowed Cisco 120-8 switch with diy power cord (I’ll get one for myself as soon as possible) --> cheap short Ethernet cable --> desktop (Windows 10) --> Supra USB cable --> Aurender UC-100C --> Supra digital coaxial --> coax input of the Accuphase DP550 SACD player with diy power cord --> Accuphase E-470 integrated amplifier --> Martin Logan ESL 11A speakers, generic power strips for now, all the other cables are Copper Line from Clearer Audio.
The Aurender brings a very welcome fullness to the sound, especially in the midrange. More tonal density, more "analogue" sound, closer to the real sound of the instruments and also brings the tone & timbre of the streaming content closer to the original CD as played by the same Accuphase player. Very addictive! BUT: along with these advantages comes a reduced sense of air, slightly less sparkle, the bass is comparatively more bloated and less articulate, the music "breathes" less, seems less dynamic and there’s less sense of a venue. Even the soundstage might be slightly narrower, I’m not sure. Not huge differences, but all together they create the feeling that with Aurender there is a more natural tone & timbre, while without it the detail, space and dynamics seem more natural.
I’m open to the idea of a streamer, but I’m somewhat discouraged because I preferred, to my own astonishment, the direct USB connection (slightly looser but richer, fuller and clearly more natural) to a Lumin U1 mini --> same USB cable --> Accuphase player (maybe a bit more detailed, very well controlled sound but more clinical, sterile).
So I don’t know what to do. Try the Audio-GD DI20HE? Try another, much better coax cable with the Aurender? Metrum Ambre? Mutec MC-3+ USB? Please suggest me something that would meet my requirements:
- similar tonal advantages to the Aurender UC-100C
- at least as good detail and dynamics as the direct USB connection; also, upper treble should be at least as sparkling, more would be welcome
- can be USB to coax (DDC) or Ethernet to coax (streamer), but in the later case I have some specific requirements: connected by wire with no or defeatable wifi, bluetooth etc., controlled by PC, I need Tidal and Qobuz but I’d like to avoid Roon or extra yearly expenses (Volumio)
- I’d like to keep it under, say, 1200 Euro (I’m E.U. based) and I’m mainly looking at new gear because I need to try at home before buying
Thank you very much!