We have tested over 60 different digital front ends from
$50K and down. Three manufactures stood out for sounding toe tapping musical
and not sounding digital. Total dac with the Total dac server and a very
expensive AES cable in-between the 2 pieces to get them to communicate with
each other. Total dac was very nice but cost after shipping, exchange and duty
is $17000 for one of the less expensive Total Dac and server set ups.
I own an audio distribution company in Canada and occasionally people come over
to hear my set up. I personally now run a Lumin A1 and a D1 server with their
built in dacs. I set up the A1 for people at the $6000-$7000 range and the D1
for people under $3000.00. First of all I want to say that after 6 months of
use, the Lumin product has worked flawless. I even accidentally unplugged my power
on the server and it was back up and playing in less than one minute later. The
Lumin app is spectacular, no tech support needed. The Lumin in my opinion, is
the most simple server to set up that I have experienced.
Now let's talk sound; When you test as much digital as we have, you come the
conclusion that dacs that are super expensive are really about system matching. Same
goes for digital cables. We tested the Lumin A1 and D1 using their own dacs and
then added several outboard reference dacs to the 2 servers to hear the
difference. Our conclusion was, there was no outboard dacs that were better in
our reference system than the Lumin own dacs at their respected price point. Truth
be told I have heard dacs costing 2-3 times more that were not in the same
league as Lumin's own dacs. We believe that one reason for this conclusion was
because when you add the outboard dac, you are adding jitter and a digital
cable in the scenario. We also added a reclocker and this helped but the Lumin was still better just doing it's own thing. Where you can make huge gains with the Lumin product is
adding a product like Core Power technology balanced power cord on the power
supply. I went from liking the Lumin, to being shocked at how good this all in
one unit could sound. Is my A1 with CPT cord as good as my previous Total dac
set up; slightly different flavors but with my reference system, they are darn
With all good things there is bad and the Lumin is no different. The Lumin is
not a stand a loan dac and you cannot plug any other devices into it. You must upgrade the stock
power cable. It must be directly plugged into your router. They need a
real 250 hours of play to open up but 500 hours is better. The D1 unit needs
some sort of isolation but the A1 is already isolated properly.
If you can get past these things than this is a world class digital device at
an incredible price. Is it a TT, no but we are getting very close. I would also
say that anyone that is looking at a $3000-$4000 dac, should really look at the
D1 and add a CPT cord with some isolating cones.
For the record, I just plug my hard drive and USB stick
directly into my Lumins but they do sell a matching NAS set up, that works off
the same Lumin app.
We have tested over 60 different digital front ends from $50K and down. Three manufactures stood out for sounding toe tapping musical and not sounding digital. Total dac with the Total dac server and a very expensive AES cable in-between the 2 pieces to get them to communicate with each other. Total dac was very nice but cost after shipping, exchange and duty is $17000 for one of the less expensive Total Dac and server set ups.
I own an audio distribution company in Canada and occasionally people come over to hear my set up. I personally now run a Lumin A1 and a D1 server with their built in dacs. I set up the A1 for people at the $6000-$7000 range and the D1 for people under $3000.00. First of all I want to say that after 6 months of use, the Lumin product has worked flawless. I even accidentally unplugged my power on the server and it was back up and playing in less than one minute later. The Lumin app is spectacular, no tech support needed. The Lumin in my opinion, is the most simple server to set up that I have experienced.
To be honest I have not had a S1 in for evaluation. The main reason is that the 9018 chip has not been my fav over the past few years due to the hyper detail. My understanding is that Lumin has really done some stunning things with the 9018 but for me the A1 is already world class. Total dac is no joke and until Lumin, Total dac was playing at another level compared to everything we had tried. When I first heard Total dac I thought it would take manufactures a couple of years to catch up but Lumin is already there.
I did have another NAS but the L1 with the Lumin app is a no brainer. Sound wise it is as good as I have heard. Again everything is subjective and system dependent so I refuse to say anything is the best but it is the best I have heard in my system. I just plug my hard drive and DSD stick directly into both my Lumins. I did have the NAS but my buddy begged me for it so I need to buy another Lumin L1.
WorldwideWholesales is spot on with his evaluation. And I don't know him from Jack. I am just here reading treads and came across this. I had a Lumin D1, and upgraded to the A1 within a few months, sold my SACD player, ripped all my CDs and SACDs to a Synology NAS (one of the options recommended by Lumin), and haven't looked back. It really is that good and a game changer as far as I'm concerned. And I am not biased for digital, I still spin two TT and own a boat load of vinyl.
The really nice things about this server is it's not fussy, clean in design and to look at, sounds great (it doesn't even sound like it's digital), and you have a universe of music options (internet radio is free, TIDAL DSD, and you own music library (my CDs are boxed up in storage). BTW, my CDs sound better than they ever have ripped to my NAS and streamed to my LUMIN via a CAT 6 cable.
I use Wireworld hi-quality balance cables, a hi-quality after market power cable and Stillpoints for isolation.
which input of Lumin provides better sound quality - Ethernet or USB?
I have a Lumin D1 for a month and is very happy with its performance. It plays flawlessly, and in many ways better than my $4000 tube CD player. It has pin point imaging with great width and depth. Sounds very analog to me. Noted that I also replaced the factory supplied switching PSU to HDPLEX Linear PSU.
I recently installed a NAS drive (Synology DS-216+ with 4TB Seagate drive) and minimserver for streaming. To compare the sound quality between Ethernet and USB inputs, I ripped a few CD to both NAS drive and USB thumb drive. After spending an evening of critical listening of the two inputs with the same test tracks, I think the USB input sounds more dynamic and has better imaging. Not a big difference but noticeable. My NAS set up is only a week old, and perhaps it needs more time to burn in?
I would appreciate if you can share your Lumin experience about NAS drive Ethernet streaming vs USB thumb drive.
Ripping CD to USB drive should be very similar to NAS drive.
In my case, I use dbpoweramp to rip CD to my PC. The file directory folder structure is typical \artist name\album name\track name. I ripped CD in FLAC lossless. I then coped these music folders in both USB and NAS.
In my set up, I inserted both the USB stick and Ethernet cable to the Lumin. The Lumin app on my iPad shows the album artworks from both sources. I can play the same tracks from both NAS and USB stick to do an A/B comparison. I also ripped WAV and AIFF in separate folders, and they all show up in my Lumin perfectly fine.
So you guys are suggesting that a Lumin will sound as good as an outboard dac. That is very interesting. I use a Bricasti into a HAL MS-2 server/computer using JRiver. Could the Lumin compete with the likes of a Bricasti?
Also, does Lumin have their own music playing app or could I use JRiver, whose interface I really like?
I think the Lumin sounds better than many outboard DAC. The Bricasti is a great sounding DAC, no doubts in this camp.
However, I have heard it with a MAC mini setup, Esoteric SACD, and the Aurender N100 Network Streamer. The Lumin sounds better than the MAC mini, Esoteric & Bricasti - - - and is on par with the Aurender & Bricasti. If you did not know, the Aurender requires an outboard DAC, the Lumin does not.
Good choice Glory. You will never look back. For me the ease of operating and daily use of my LUMIN has been a godsend. The sound quality it really still nicer than anything digital I have heard out there. And while it's not analogue, the sound quality is very, very close. The only downside to this technology is cost of entry, which I am sure is a nonstarter for many.
I too am looking for relatively simple one box setup to stream Tidal maybe my CD collection if I ever get around to ripping them. One of the servers I have been considering is the Aurender A10. Anyone compared the D1 to the A10? The D1 with an attached USB drive would give me the same functionality as the A10 at a significant savings....though technically I guess if I got a USB drive it not be a one box solution. Is the Aurender worth the extra money? Would there be a significant difference between playing files from the A10s internal drive and a USB drive attached to the D1?
Let me tell you about a Fantastic addition that takes the already excellrnt Lumin D-1 player,streamer and puts it ahead of the A1 .Linear tube Technologies Sells with upgraded connecting cable for $735 retail their incredible power supply. The D-1 you also swap out the 2 fuses , 20, mm,1.6 amp, fast blow. In this case The High tuning Supreme fuse are lighter in perspective then the Synergistic Black fuses. And the PS is a bit faster . Also the Synergistic are 120 each ,the high tuning half that.we are talking within 5% of the top dog S1. That ssys a lot very Very Natural and analog sounding.
depending where you you are located . Mike at Audio Archon s very informative. i first heard the D1 on its own , the S booster power supply for $350 is a very big improvement . but the Linear tube Audio supply is far superior to that ,with upgraded supplycable about $90 and hifi tuning 1.6amp ,20mm fast blow fuses more musical in my opinion the the big Aurender for around $2400 a No brained and does Everything well ,and the best app I have ever seen.
Thanks for the suggestion. Since my original post I have been postponing a decision to upgrade my streaming options. While I am considering my choices I am using a Bluesound Node 2 to stream both Tidal and NAS files. The BS is really quite impressive! Eventually I will probably move it to another location in our house as a part of a second system...which brings me back to considering an upgraded streaming option. I am still considering the Aurender A10 as well as the Lumin D1. What about the Lumin T1? I see very little mention of it in any of the audio forums I have visited. There is a lot to be found about the D1 and the A1 but relatively little about the T1. How would the D1 with upgraded PS compare with the T1 with Lumin's own external PS?