sorry for the tardy response. I still plan to audition the Simaudio 680, but I will share that I’ve come to recognize that the Vega G2.1 is very good and fully competitive with other units of similar price.
A few things worth sharing. I upgraded to an English Electric 8 network switch and Network Acoustics ENO filter and cable. Together, they made a very significant improvement in my system.
I have Nordost Tyr 2 balanced interconnects to connect my DAC to integrated amp. I auditioned the Nordost Tyr 2 USB cable to compare to the Auralic lighting link cable supplied (it’s an HDMI cable) and the lighting link was clearly superior in sound quality and allows the Aries and Vega to speak to each other and share some processing resources. The combination of the two, using this protocol is quite good - frankly it’s tough to surpass. Why do I say this?
I am a T+A owner and fan. I auditioned the SDV 3100 HV in my system. That unit is a DAC + streaming client + preamp. All these functions are considered by many to be state of the art, or close to it - even against much pricier units (and there aren’t too many above that price point).
Was the T+A better as a DAC/server than my Auralic stack? Clearly yes, but the difference was smaller than many here might guess. That’s not a knock against the T+A, but a kudos to Auralic. I’ve heard some dealers and people I respect suggest that DACs are maturing and that there’s diminishing returns there - better gains are to be found in the server/streaming function. I also think w/ the upgraded network switch and filter, I’ve optimized my digital such that performance gains by going further upstream are diminished.
Hope this helps some in your journey. Mine has been interesting and revealing in ways that have been unexpected and pleasantly surprising.