Lumin X1 latest Review like we have been saying




For many years we have been touting the Lumin products as being one of the best sounding and best implimented paths to creating a fantastic sound in your system.

We sought to be a Lumin dealer after the A1 came out and pretty much got rave reviews as being the best sounding streamer out there, each successive product was better the new T2 is amazing at its price point and challenges $7k streamer/dacs/

The lastest review https://hometheaterreview.com/lumin-x1-network-player-reviewed/

sums up Lumins history and even offers a comparison of the X1 vs the Total Dac, and DCS and the Aqua Formula, we actually have tested the upgraded Formula V2 with the Statement and it does sound even bettter.
 
Summation the best sound the reviewer ever accheived was with the X1.

We sell some of the worlds best dacs, including T+A, Light Harmonic, Aqua Hif, Naim, Mytek, Bricasti, and with the X1 you have to spend $30-50k to better the X1, it is nice to see that other people are agreeing with exactly what we have been saying all along.

If you are looking for the best sound for the money, rock solid reliability, a fantastic feature set, Tidal, Qbouz, Spotify, Apple Airplay to play Youtube or Soundcloud, OTA upgrades, Roon endpoint, full Mqua, DSD and High data rate upsampling, upconversion and playability, solid build quality, built in volume control, the Lumin products are hard to beat.



Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Lumin dealers
audiotroy
Hi Guys 

Having auditioned a variety of streamers I listened to a Lumin T2.  Simply it blew everything else at or anywhere near the price point away. Suffice to say I bought it. Now I'm considering replacing my (20 yrs old) Bryston integrated amp. Should I stick with Bryston or should I go with the Lumin amp? Thanks
I recently bought a Lumin X1. I have owned the Chord DAVE/Blu 2 (and M Scaler), Mytek Manhattan II and Ayre QX5 Twenty, amongst others.
The Lumin is easily the best DAC I have owned. I was looking for something more satisfying than the Chord DAVE/M Scaler, which over the long term I found rather fatiguing: thin sounding and - with the M Scaler - a little bright and tonally bleached.

The Lumin X1 is at the other end of the spectrum to the Chord. It is warm, rich, tonally dense but also dynamic and very fast. Chord makes a big deal about the reproduction of transients, but to me the Lumin presents transients more realistically and more dynamically. Listing to cymbals, for example, the Chord sounded papery and flat. The Lumin presents cymbal sounds with depth in a realistic three dimensional space, but they also sound tonally correct and fast.

I should mention also that the X1 took the better part of a month to burn in. At the end of the first week I was ready to return it - it sounded thin, monochrome and two dimensional, and took quite a while before it started to sound good. So if you do get to demo the X1, make sure it has been fully run in. I also found that the fiber optic input is significantly better than the ethernet input.

I would have loved to have heard the DCS Bartok at the same time, but from comments on various forums I suspect I have made the right choice. The DCS sound is reported to be more analytical, and less "musical". I can't comment from experience (yet) but the Lumin is definitely at the "musical" end of the spectrum, while giving up nothing in detail and other "hi fi" attributes.
very happy with my Lumin T2...the Lumin app is pretty easy to use, my only wish is that the software would organize my Qobuz catalogue by artist not just date added....if I adopt Roon, that will solve that issue.
We love the pairing of the Lumin T2 with the Innous Zen or Zenith feeding an ultra low noise repacketed data stream via its ethernet port to the Lumin T2.

As the Lumin T2 works woderfully well with Roon as the device is a certified Roon endpoint.

Take your Tidal or Obouz data stream to DSD 512 on the T2 and boy are you in for a treat, you have the option of running the uncoversion in the Lumin or at Roon’s DSP setting.

We have yet to find a combination at the price that can beat these two which are great used separately but make real magic when used together.

For 2020 we will be doing a shootout of the Lumin T2 vs the $2,000.00 more expensive Bricasti M3. The Bricasti M3 is reported to sound fantastic and does have digital inputs, and a pure balanced analog volume control, the M3 also has dual dacs technology meaning that PCM plays through a dedicated PCM dac stage as well as a true 1bit DSD dac stage for ultra pure DSD decoding

For most people a pure streamer is ideal we are testing the Bricasti as a possible option for those people who want thouse features also the M3 has an optional $500.00 headphone stage that should also be smoking.

We have many clients with the Lumin gear it is so nice to see that other people agree with our findings.

Rosbit we agree with you and your choice for the X1, add a set of Isouacoustics footers and a good power cord for even better sound.

We compared a DCS Pucchini  CD player/Dac many years ago as we had a client who wanted to move up to streaming, and we orchestrated a trade for a Lumin A1, the Lumin was $7k vs the DCS which was a $18k product the A1 was signfigantly more musical and nearly matched the DCS’s resolution, both has a big soundstage, but the A1 was clearly more involving.

The Lumin X1 and T2 are so much better than the original A1 but the demonstration was very informative.

Dave and Troy
Audio Docto NJ Luimin dealers
Happy 2020 leveryone!



Part of the X1 secret is the class A Lundahl output transformers. Makes for a more musical approach.

The ESS9038 pro chip is also contributing to the stellar end result you are hearing.
This reads more like an advert for Audio Doctor NJ.
I don’t think DCS has been standing still, yet isn’t this wonderful that we have so many choices in better and better sounding digital gear !!!
@audiotroy 

Out of curiosity, and since you're also a dealer, how close does the T+A DAC 8 DSD High End D/A Converter (at 1/3 the price) get to the sonic quality of the Lumin X1's DAC ?  
Nice commercial for Lumin and for you.

sure, sure...we get it...you don’t intend to do it and your “audio salon” stays away from sales tactics. Yet, you did it. 
You are not objective, you did not ask a question, you are not opening a topic for discussion. You are shilling your expensive wears.

Is this part of your new 2020 social media demand creation program...?...😆...;-)...
@audiotroy Please stop with the ads. Thx!
Typical sales pitch. Have you ever heard this guy recommended d something that he doesn’t sell
@grahamsphillips Your 20 year old Bryston will sound a little more bright than the latest cubed series from Bryston.

@rossb Thanks for the post. I was wondering how the Chord stacks up against the Lumin. That Fiber optic input is enticing.

I want to do a comparison of the Denafrips Terminator and the Lumin X1.
Post removed 
How is that a review? There weren’t even any comparisons. The only thing I took away from it was that it sounded good. Seemed more like a paid ad?
Good evening gents, hello Liamowen, and gohelz.

It is funny that our little group of haters doesnt utter a peep when another dealer makes the same kind of post note this is on Dec 7

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/magico-a5-official-announcement?highlight=Magico%2BA5%2Bofficial%2BAnnouncement

Rhbesterno, you don't read so good, we have in previous posts recommend products we don't sell, we did point out that one of our favorite rooms at Axpona and CAP were using Wilson speakers, we have also recommend Rockport.

We have also recommend Focals and have said that the Grande Utopia EVO at Axpona was one of the best sounding rooms, guess what we are not a Focal Utopia dealer either. 

In a preamp post

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/reference-full-function-tube-preamplifier

we recommended CJ we are not currently CJ dealers but did previously sell the brand, we also said that the Vac preamps were excellent as well as Backert,

We don't sell CJ, we don't sell Vac, we don't sell Backert.

Here is the quote:

You can look at a Conrad Johnson preamp or a Vac, or possibly a Zesto or dozens of other preamplifiers, we heard the Backert Labs preamps and they were also stunning.

As per the review it does kind of look like an ad with the exception is that everyone who has head an X1 has been blown away by its performance it is quite close to the best digital front end for 1/2 to 1/3 thre price and hence the reviewer said the Lumin X1 was the best source he has ever heard. 

Hifi Plus:

t puts it in direct competition with products that cost several times as much and take up a lot of shelf space in the process.

Audiophile

It is without doubt the streamer that in my system has developed the most structured sound stage.

Computer Audiophile:

It has air, detail, liquidity, slam, and the appropriate amount of analog vibe that makes the Lumin X1 something to behold. The X1 is a true accomplishment for the Lumin team and a must-hear for eager audiophiles worldwide.

Major is you recently bought a DCS the Bartok is excellent the Lumin X1 is a warmer sonic signature but if we had a DCS Bartok it is very unlikely we would want to switch either.  

The DCS products are excellent the tonality is different, so are the MSB dacs. It really comes down to what creates synergy in your system.

We do we post this is for the very reason that many people here discuss DCS or MSB or Esoteric without thinking that Lumin is in this level of sound quality with the X1 which is a huge step up from anything they have ever built before.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Lumin dealers


I won't be buying a streamer + dac combo any time soon. Prefer separates.
Talking about streaming, i thought that my aurender N10 was cutting edge but this segment of market moves even faster than Dacs. From reading on forums, seems best streamer hands down atm is SGM extreme, then very closely is pink faun 2.16x.  Saw some people claim that the latest aurender W20SE can't touch those. Dont know what to believe on forums anymore))
Well, as a personal experience,  a friend recently bought a hand built streamer from some guy who is building them out of passion (couple of such builders out there experimenting out there with various power supplies, CPUs, motherboards, network cards, USB cards etc), and it did sound much better than my "industry standard" N10!! What do we know...
USB is getting a whole lot better as well vs spdif/fancy clock high end streamer approach.
Well the N10 is still "fine", and i decided I'm holding on any streamer upgrade for a year or two. Lets see where this direction is moving and if the typical contenders will up their game!
Troy do you have the top of the line NAIM streamer / DAC and power supply? I believe you are a dealer ? Comparing that to the subject of the post would be of some value, at least to me.

surprised you parted ways with CJ, great gear, well engineered, long standing firm with upgrade paths, real service department, etc... sorry to hear that :-(

to be frank, and this is just my theory, some of your “ on our radar “ enthusiasm is meant to pre sell part of the initial order...

a happy 2020 to you
@saleh84,

Thank you for you post. As you know, the streaming / server segment is much more crowded and competitive now than what it was in 2015 (N10 release date).

Don’t know about you but I cannot see myself spending $29K for Taiko, $22K for W20SE, $15K for Pink Faun 2.16x or Innuos Statement.

No doubt, N10 is somewhat dated but still remains a very fine streamer. My N10 is not going anywhere until another streamer comes along that outperforms N10 in SQ and aesthetics under $10K 😊
What a total douche thread this is....

”Haters”...?...please...
Tomic our on the radar is just that these are products we are going to be getting in for evaluation. We do have to buy them however, in most cases we have a right of return so there is no risk.

If you read most of our posts we explain the reasons why a product line or product is of interest.

You are correct that the CJ gear is excellent, they have been almost non existant in terms of doing shows, advertising, and for years they did not update their products offerings.

Zesto is a very interesting company because their prices are good their best amplifiers the Eros 300 monoblocks are $20 vs CJ are $40k, Zesto's best preamp is $10k vs $24 for CJ.  They get fantastic reviews, they do shows, the people behind the company are really nice. 

Add to that the Zesto Leto Utlimate has an amazing feature set as well as balalnced ins and output which CJ's gear lacks, home theater bybass, adjustable gain for inputs, a unique tone eq, and their designs are all about creating a very musical product that is well designed for the price rather than just being overbuilt and jacking up the price for these reasons the line is worth testing out.

As per the Naim 555 streamer, although we have heard this piece at shows we do have the NDX 2/XPS 2 combo which is nearly $14k on display and the combo is very good, in our opinion the Lumin X1 is far better. The Naim NDX 2 is a very good sounding piece but we tend to sell it with a Naim system. For the high price of the Naim 555 streamer the combo is close to $30k we just can't seem to wrap our minds and hearts around that piece for that price point when we allready have the $35k Light Harmonic Davinci as well as the T+A SDV 3100 dac/preamp which is also a $35k piece, we also have the Aqua Hifi Formula V2 which is a huge improvement over the last version at $16k, and now we are looking at Bricasti starting with the M3 as a possible dac/streamer with digital inputs if that piece is excellent than it is possible we would evaluate their $16k M21 dac/preamp as well. 

Saleh you Aurender N10 is still an excellent piece we recently did a shoot out of the N10 vs an Innous Statement and the Statement was better however the N10 still sounded very good. the N10 is showing its age and Aurender really needs to do a major overhaul in terms of technlogy the N10 probably is close to five or more years old at this time and clocking and anti jitter technlogy has been improved since then. 

As per an Aurender W20Se not sounding as good as any other server it is going to be about system matching as well. It would almost be impossible at this point if you are spending $20k or more on a server to get a bad one, the Taiko extreme is super expensive, and is it really that much superior some people in Europe have tested it vs the Innous Statement and found the Taiko to be a bit better but hardly worth the gigantic price difference, the Pink Faun does look to be a contender but the company has done a very poor job of getting the product in front of people so is it better just as good hard to say. 

For world's best servers we would in no particular order look at Innous Statement, Pink Faun, Aurender and Antipodes the Taiko is just crazy expensive. The Memory Player in our tests vs the Basetis and Statement was a good sounding and very analog piece but it is a bit clunky to use.

Hope that helps you understand our postioning we are always lookng at the market for 2020 here is what we are testing:

Hegel H390 just got that in
Zesto Monoblocks on order,
Vimberg Tonda and Amea on order
Bricasti M3 on order.
Unison Research hybrid tube solid state integrated amplifiers the Unico 150 and Due.

Who knows what else we will test this year we are also looking at importing a fascinating set of speakers from Europe.as we are renaming our company to reflect our import company as well as our retail side.

Tomic we do a lot of testing of products that interest us, we want to keep the lines fresh and always find products which represent our core values

1: Musicality, tonality, soundstaging,
2: Techologically advanced designs.
3: Fair pricing for what you are getting.
4: Feature set.
5: Hopefully visibility in terms of marketing and doing shows.
6: Plays well with our loudspeaker lines
7: Reliability
8: Ease of use, ease of servicing, resale.

You are welcome to come in for a visit if you are ever in our neck of the woods, we have one pretty cool little shop with many of todays hottest products on display if you notice in our 15 year history we have added and subtracted many lines as we are not wed to the manufactuer we are wed to the concept of finding the best products for our client and these products need to reflect our core values as listed above.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ




@audiotroy   Just wondering if you missed my above question to you about the T+A DAC8.  I'm truly curious of your take.  Thanks.
I have owned the Lumin A-1 and the X-1.  I will never buy anything else.  The Lumin X-1 is just that good.  Money is not an object for me and I could have any Streamer that I want.  I am not bragging.  I just find the sound, the look and the ease of use is simply outstanding.  I was able to sell my Emm Lab DAC because it was no longer needed after having the X-1.  I have no reason to be offended by Audiotroy telling the world about this amazing streamer. You don't have to buy from him, but it is worth checking Lumin out at your local dealer.  
Post removed 
Dtrandall, we have every right to post, if you don’t like our posts please don’t read them.

As per pitching our products like most dealers we are all fighting for our survival. Too few people will openly reach out to a dealer first, even in the case of shopping here many times a dealer can come close with a demo or display product vs a used one, and you have the benefits of working with someone who knows the products.

What working with a great dealer can do for you is to help you not make mistakes, we are advising a client now who was sold a $26k set of reference grade floor standers for a titanicly large room and he is blowing them up, we have that experience with those loudspeakers and would never have sold them to him. He is going to take quite a loss because he received poor advice.

Too many people are here just to sell something, we are not. We are in the business of selling products, however we are also in the business of making our clients happy, and in most cases very happy.

We do this by constantly evaluating and revaluating the market and moving into the best sounding products due to extensive testing of new products.

If you compare our post vs this one it is fascinating that nobody here is making a rukus over this post

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/magico-a5-official-announcement?highlight=Magico%2BA5%2Bofficial%2BAnnouncement

This post even mentions every line that this dealer sells, notice not one peep?


Look at it another way, do people learn things from our posts?

Do many people comment favorably? Yes we get emails all the time from people who have read our posts and received great advice.  We have our enemies those people who don’t like our position or our outspoken demenor.

The point is we have tons of experience with many of the products people here really want to purchase because we sell most of them, if we published out\r line listing most people would be shocked by the sheer varitety of what we carry.

Do we have real experience by having the products on the shelf vs many "dealers" who have a gigantic line listing yet you ask for a demo of the product and they don’t floor it, how would you know really how good that product is? You can see photos of our shop and actually see the products that we carry and recomend.

Have you ever read a similar post and wanted to check out a product that you were not aware of?

In the case of Lumin their products are really excellent, as we stated before one reason for calling attention to the current X1 review was to hammer home the point that the Lumin products are in the same league as the big boys, DCS, MSB, Esoteric, and at usually less money for the fantastic sound quality they bring.

Are Lumins products always the best or right product for everyone the answer is no, Lumin has a singular vision if you want digital inputs or headphone amp or an analog volume control, or analog inputs this will not be the product for you.

We gave Tuberist advice on how to set his Lumin T2 which he didn’t get from us and now he is getting far better results. Did he help this person or not?

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


There are a number of dealers and manufacturers that post in this forum regularly that are considerate and treat this forum as a community of enthusiasts and offer a lot of great information.  Those are the kind of people whose businesses I would be happy to support if I had a need.

On the other hand, there are some who only post to forward their interests, not to help the community.  No matter how many times they are told by community members that their shameless sales pitches are unwelcome, they continue the behavior and often argue with or become combative with community members.  Those are the kind of people I would not make a purchase from if they had the one thing I desired most and it was the only place on earth to get it.

There are those that pay it forward and share freely with no expectation of anything in return, and there are those that are takers, only interested in themselves.  In general, audio enthusiasts are a fairly smart bunch and will quickly spot which you are.  

I'd suggest someone invest time in learning more about the decorum of using social media.
Couldn't have said it better big_greg. 
Haters? Yep. If you don't like the thread, don't read it, no one is holding a gun to your head. As someone looking to buy a quality streamer in the near future, I get a lot of information from a thread like this. Do I think Audio Doctor has a dog in the fight? Sure. Does that mean their post is without value? Not hardly. 
Thanks, Dave and Troy.
Haters? No but take a look at a recent thread titled "Need tips to better my sound." Don't see audiotroy chiming in helping that poster! 
@builder3 you are missing @big_greg’s point. As a recent victim of the OP derailing my own thread, it only seems appropriate to call out his shenanigans when he posts something like this. He won’t learn, that much is clear, but at least we can help others understand he’s not writing posts to further the community. He is only writes posts to sell products. 
purchased my first streamer recently. auditioned aurender n-10, studied auraulic (sp?), ayre, and a few others. for a couple years. was in paralysis. ease of use was Very important. purchased the Lumin T2. i think it's just perfect. the unit is just beautiful, also. got the black one. like black glass. very happy guy here. my first input / recommendation on a-gon. good luck....
Quite interesting how three_easy_payments question has been ignored, not once, but twice. If OP has no experience with a comparison between his Lumin product and T + A DAC 8 DSD, why not politely say so. I too am interested in an answer. I pair my T+A DAC 8 DSD with Signalyst HQ player and upsample all of my music to DSD 48x512. I can't say I'd never buy another DAC but I can say it won't be any time in the near future because I'm constantly blown away by the SQ I receive from my system. I looked into Lumin products before purchasing a new DAC but decided on the T + A because, if I understand things correctly, I'd still need a computer to download music from CD sources to the Lumin. And maybe that's the thing, Lumin is perfect for streaming. I'm not a streamer. Even if this is the case, politely say so. Having said all that, T + A and Signalyst can be partnered with ROON for a superior listening experience. So @audiotroy, how does Lumin compare to the T+A DAC 8 DSD and Signalyst HQPlayer and ROON set up? If you don't know, please just say so. From ROON's partner page:
https://roonlabs.com/partners.html
it seems both Lumin and T+A are on the list. I'm also open for responses from others who have had experience comparing these 2 systems.
We will be writing an in depth follow up to this question later.

Long story short dac 8 running dsd 512 sounds somewhat close X1 is still better.

The Dac 8 if run on a stable servcr at dsd 512 dramatically improves the sound quality however the more expensive dacs also improve dramatically.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Mayor we hardly derailed your thread we suggested based on critical analysis of the Nucleus plus vs the Innous product to try the Innous, we even offered to send you one to evaluate if your local dealer will not lend you one.

We do a lot of testing so far we havent found a server line that we like better.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
 And you say the DAC 8 DSD @ 512 is somewhat close to the X1? I’m not wealthy or even well off. I’d have to say I think I’m doing more than quite alright bang for buck. Should T + A ever upgrade to 1024, it’s possible the DAC 8 could run neck and neck with the X1. (Just saying).
Audiotroy,
I currently have a Antipodes DS GT music server that allows me to rip CDs to its harddrive. Would it makes sense to replace my Dave DAC with the Lumin X1,  because I would keep my music server?
Thanks for the advert Audio Doctor Guys! Next time I have $14-15,000 in coin lying around I’ll consider grabbing one!
Come on guys....consider Lumin X1 is a bargain of the century as one have to spend $30-50k to better the X1 😎

The reality is that an X1 is an aspirational product, it is among the best pieces of digital in the world and actually compares with many much more expensive front ends.

The price of gear is no different than any performance item is a $30k watch a good deal or a $24k Hermes coach bag?

The reality is many expensive high end audio products are extremely expensive to make and are sold in limited quantities hence the high sticker.

 The higher end T+A dacs are even better, the Lumin X1 is still a very noticable step up as the X1 sounds more like a much more expensive digital front end then it does compared to other units at a similar price and feature set or straight dacs.


Yes Ricridi you can use a Lumin X1 with an Antipodes the Lumin is a full Roon endpoint so it would appear as such being fed from your server.

The Lumin X1 is a different sound than the Chord, the Lumin tends to be a bit warmer and more melodic the Chord sharper and a bit faster sounding. It will come down to taste someone here had both units, we are not a Chord dealer although that may change as they are warming up to us again.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Lumin dealers


@mewsickbuff and @audiotroy 

Thanks mew for helping to get some perspective from @audiotroy.  I figured they are in a unique position to really weigh in on the performance of these units head-to-head as they are dealers for both.  I sensed the T+A may be a better value and was curious about the performance "distance" between the 2 products.  

Can't disagree with this:

The T + A DAC 8 DSD at $4000 vs the Lumin X1 at $14,000? And you say the DAC 8 DSD @ 512 is somewhat close to the X1? I'm not wealthy or even well off. I'd have to say I think I'm doing more than quite alright bang for buck. Should T + A ever upgrade to 1024, it's possible the DAC 8 could run neck and neck with the X1. (Just saying).

@three_easy_payments, you're welcome. I can't afford the X1, but to any who can, I say, go for it. That's the joy of this hobby...VARIETY.
@audiotroy, wouldn't you agree the Lumin should have a bunch more going for it than the T + A DAC? After all the X1 costs 3.5 times more than the T + A. I wouldn't even call it a fair comparison, but interesting nonetheless.  Both components hit above their price range. Thanks for your honesty. Maybe the next question should be how does the T+A DAC8 DSD compare to the comparable $4500 Lumin T2...


The Lumin T2 to T+A DAC 8 comparison is both a more illuminating one as the Lumin T2 can be run by itself although will still sound better through a server, while the Dac 8 requires a server, than the Lumin T2 is acutally the better deal.

We will have to re do a test between the Lumin T2 and the Dac 8. We run the outstanding Innous Zenith with our Dac 8 and unfortunately the DAC 8/Innous combo will not do DSD 512, we are getting in a Lumin U1 Mini and that will do DSD 512 so we will update you in the comming weeks to see how that combo will sound.

Mew you hit the nail on the head both the Lumin line as well as the T+A Dac 8 hit well beyond their price point. We have compared the Lumin T2 to a few $7k dacs and most of the time the clients pick the Lumin as being superior sounding as well as costing considerably less money.

The Lumin X1 challenges a lot of $25-50k digital front ends so it to offers a level of sound quality that is very high for its price point.

With the addition of Bricasti we will have one terrific selection of dacs and streamers including: Mytek, Bricasti, Naim, Lumin, T+A, Aqua, IFi, Lumin, NAD.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ




Dave and Troy - thanks for the info on the new upgraded LUMIN product line. I have been streaming via my LUMIM D1 for 5 years, and I am very happy with the sound quality and the LUMIN app to run the system via my I pad mini. Great sound and support from LUMIN as I get multiple software updates over the last 5 years for free. I now stream via Tidal HiFi with MQA available. This was a great step change in sound quality for me. I am considering an up grade to the T2. Is the Sabre DAC that much better than my wolfson DAC in the D1? I am sold on a streamer and DAC in one box - the simpler the better for me. Is there a market for a 5 year old LUMIN D1 - it has run flawlessly and still works great . Any feedback would be great.
Dave and Troy: I’m curious if you can help me with a theory.  My suspicion is that the streaming/server function is at least as important as the DAC.  This can be tested by taking the digital out from the Lumin X1 into a separate DAC and comparing to the X1’s analog out.  Is this a comparison you’ve done?  I’m sure both functions w/in the X1 are terrific, but I wonder if the streamer or DAC is the greater contributor to the overall success of the unit.  

Thoughts?
Best,
mgrif
Tom 8999, yes the Sabre dac is much better than the Wolfson DAC in the D1. I’ve owned the A1 and D1 as well as a few other Wolfson dacs from EAR, Exposure and others. I also have had a number of dacs using the current Sabre chips - the X1, Mytek Manhattan II, Ayre QX5 and Exasound e32. The latest generation of Sabre dac chips really are superb and a significant advance on their previous generation, and a very big jump from the Wolfson chip.

mgrif104, I have done the comparison you are referring to. I have the X1 as well as the U1 Mini, and have run both into my Mytek Manhattan II. I always thought that the U1 Mini was a superb streamer (which it is), but the X1 as a streamer is significantly better again - greater clarity, deeper tonal colours and less "hash". However, even when using the X1 as a streamer, the Mytek is a noticeable step down from the Lumin dac. The streaming section of the X1 will not suddenly turn a lesser dac into an X1 equivalent.
Has anyone auditioned the Lumin amp? Having bought a Lumin T2 I'm fully in agreement its stunning... so now to upgrade my amp..
@grahamsphillips we have the Lumin AMP here, normally paired with the Lumin X1 but of course it can accept any line-level source. If you like the Lumin sound, particularly the ESS-based units with output transformers, then I would expect you to like the sound of the AMP as well.

@mgrif104 I'm not aware of a similar ES9038PRO + Lundahl LL7401 DAC implementation, against which you could perform a comparison. Even then that's just two primary components of an overall design. But you could probably test your theory in the other direction, but picking some other DAC as your constant and using multiple network streamers to feed it.
Audio doc have you evaluated $2k Teac NT-505?

i have been told it destroys $2.3k LUMIN D2 (no contest) and is just as good as $4.5k Lumin T2.
My guess is you will say you haven’t heard Teac.

Teac is parent of Esoteric so yes in digital they have access to superior tech than Lumin.
NT-505 at $2k is amazing and if add Teac external clock for total of $3.5 k for both performance jumps that much higher and still 1000 saved over T2

Teac even compatible with LUMIN app so interface is identical between the two under comparison
Kren we were Esoteric dealers for years, the NT 505 is considered a competitor to the Lumin D2 and some people may prefer one or the other but these two units are of a similar level of sound quality.

As per the Lumin T2 it is dramatically better sounding then the D2 in every way, The T2 is closer to the X1's design than the older D2, the D2 by the way still sounds extremely good even compared to more expensive dacs. 

As per Esoteric having superior tech than Lumin the fact that Esoteric can't even engineer an app and went to Lumin for their app shows what exactly?

The Lumin X1 is $6k less expensive than the Esoteric NS 01 and most people who have compared the two prefer the Lumin.

We did a comparison of the Lumin A1 vs the KO3 and the Lumin A1 was nearly as good for 1/2 the price and in terms of musical engagement the Lumin was more engaging even setting both to DSD. 

Lumin is a company of broadcast engineers they use a totally different design standard in how they design their products, every aspect of the circuit, every part is evaluated to how and to best utilize that part. 

The Esoteric is in a huge case that is not necessary to make it look more impressive, that case is made out of plate metal, vs the Lumin X1 is machined out of billet aluminium the X1 uses an outboard power supply which is quiet and located outside of the case, Esoteric puts the power supply internal. The X1 use SFP to remove noise from transmission  Esoteric didn't even think about this, the design of the X1 shows a remarkable attention to putting money into areas where you will get the best performance for the dollar, and in every test the X1 has been considered to match or exceed digital front ends that are $25-50k.

In our shop you have to go up to an Aqua Formula/Statement package or a T+A SD 3100 or a Light Harmonic Davinci/Statement package at $30-50k to really move into something  better. It is interesting to note that the Esoteric NS 01 has not been lauded as a giant slayer nor a product to compete with many more expensive digital front ends. 

If you look at the Lumin X1 it has been lauded around the world as being one of the best sounding products on the market and true reference digital for far less than the competition. 

Does that mean someone might find something else they may like more in their system? Anything is possible but the Lumin X1 has a totally engaging sound, throws a huge sound stage, has excellent resolution and hits the tonality side with a big warm musical presentation, a great feature set, OTA upgrades, MQA, Roon, Airplay, from a company with a track record of producing streaming/dacs which are what is held up as the gold standard to which everything is compared against. 

Kren go listen to an X1 and judge for yourself.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Lumin dealers
T2 vs NT505 was the question and you quickly tried to change subject by changing to D2 which uses 13 yr old dac and then to X1 which is different level.

The nt505 competes with T2 is what I’ve been told by people who’d compared them and costs less than half as much.

I’d never spend $14k in such a rapidly advancing area where will be obsolete in 3 yrs. much different than amps or speakers where change is slower. I prefer to spend $2k and get dac just as good as $4.5k Lumin
Kren we have never done a shootout between these two, however, all the reviews on the NT 505 find it a good sounding dac but none of the reviews on the piece we have ever seen, have said that the NT 505 is a giant killer, it is on the recommended list of John Darko we do believe.

The NT 505 will be a good piece in the same way the Lumin D2 is also really good, which one you would prefer is up to your tastes and system preferences, these are two very different products with the Lumin being a dedicated streamer vs the Teac piece which is also a headphone amp.

On paper the NT 505 offers more, how ever as noted by Nutella the D1 as noted by Nutella sounded extremely good in his setup:

"The lumin D1 outperformed Benchmark and Chord dacs in my setup. Don’t discount having a one box solution. Dac tech has slowed down while streamer tech seems to be seeing the most room for improvement. That lumin humiliated the blue sound I was using as a streamer only. "

Your preoccupation on the dac chip of the Lumin is rather silly, the chip is just one aspect of the sound of a dac, in the case of the Wolfson Dacs Lumin uses that chip with the D1/D2 platform because this chip in this hardware produce an exceedingly musical sound.

This is no different than other dac designers using a 30+ years old Philips TDA 1541 double  crown chip because they love the sound of this particular chip, there are other companies using Burr Brown 1792A chips even in 2020 there are designers using the ESS 9016k which is a far earlier version of the ESS Sabre chip series including the 9028 and the 9038pro. 

As per your feeling that the NT 505 with an outboard clock would sound better then the Lumin T2 is again just speculation, just because you use an external clock doesn’t mean the sound quality of one product will necessarily sound far better the sound will be different.

The fact that the Lumin D2 and the T2 continue to be the Gold Standard to which all modern streamers are generally being compared to.

In our shop we have tested the Lumin D2 vs the Nad Blue sound, as well as the Cambridge Streamers and the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge and the Ifi DSD pro, most people love the sound of the D2 even in comparison to all of these fantastic dacs and dac streamers.

The Lumin T2 is receiving rave reviews from everyone who has heard it again in our shop we compare the Lumin T2 to other dac streamers which are $6.5-7k products which makes the T2 a bargain compared to these more expensive products.

Lumin is a very sophisticated company and they have world class engineering, when you are talking about all of these products your personal preferences and system synergies all come into it.

As per your comments about not wanting to spend more than $2k on a piece that is up to you, the reality is that the difference in digital front ends can make a gigantic difference in the overall sound quality and level of performance a system.

Lets say you have a $20k pair of loudspeakers and a $10k set of electronics on a great $2k dac do you think the overall system’s sound quality will be fantastic and you will be able to derive every bit of performance from the rest of the components, or is it very likely that the system’s sound will not necessarily be outstanding until the level of quality in the source is brought up to a similar level of performance.

This is the perfect example of the weakest link, if you have great components you need an equally good source component, and if you really think there are no differences between a $2k dac a $4k one and dacs that are $7k and above you need to visit a good store and really experience this for yourself.

As mentioned we specialize in digital audio and have played with dacs from the $500 Node to the $35k Light Harmonic’s Davinci and the oustanding T+A SD 3100HV which Robert Harley just reviewed and said it is one of the best dacs on the planet, a better source can make the difference between an expensive bunch of components making sound vs the same components making real music.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Lumin dealers