I just finished with a major upgrade to my digital front end and am extremely happy with the results. I had a QB-9 DSD which served me well for many years but the Twenty upgrade seemed like such a bargain at $1500 I just couldn't resist.
For those interested - here is what the upgrade provides:
We’ve made a number of innovations since the release of the QB-9. Here is what has been improved with the Twenty update:
- Our Diamond output circuit improves musicality and bass response.
- A new JFET differential stage lowers the noise floor.
- AyreLock power supply regulation for better rendering of fine musical detail.
- New AC noise filtering for improved resolution.
- Custom Ayre Asynchronous USB technology further reducing electrical noise in the system.
- New ESS DAC chip for improved signal to noise ratio and spacial detail.
- Six layer board design for optimal circuit isolation.
- Proprietary reclocking to eliminate USB domain jitter.
- PCM play back up to 384 kHz
- Native DSD capability up to DSD256 (4x)
- HDCD decoding
The upgrade was not subtle IMO. Everything improved - blacker background, improved clarity and detail, and better bottom and top end. All of this contributed to a wider and more defined soundstage. I can't recommend the upgrade enough if you have a QB-9.
I was using a Mac Mini as a source streaming Amazon HD, Qobuz and Tidal to the QB-9, but got the itch to try something more dedicated as a source and was impressed with the reviews I've read not the Lumin U1 Mini so I decided to give it a try.
The combination of the U1 Mini and the Ayre is really something special IMO. The Lumin interface is fantastic and super intuitive. The SQ improvement took it up another large step over the Mac. My system has never sounded better. For anyone who is interested it's comprised of a Levinson 326s pre, Parasound JC1 mono's, Aerial 10T's and a JL Fathon 112V2.
Just wanted to pass along my experiences in case anyone else is considering this combination.