Any user running a Lumin U1 into an Esoteric N-05?

any experience running a U1 into an Esoteric N-05? Connection suggestions welcome as well.

I think the DAC is strong in the N-05, but the streamer function not so much.

Looking forward to comments.


They are compatible.

For connection, you may either use USB up to DSD256, or coaxial up to DSD64 or 192kHz PCM.

However, if you are purchasing new equipment anyway, I recommend you check out our latest Lumin T2 or P1. Esoteric also has N-05XD which is two generation newer than the DAC you’re using.

Thank you for the response.

I was looking at a used U1 with plans to upgrade to a separate DAC at some point… Perhaps I won’t see much gain if the N-05 DAC is not up to par.

Seems like, as you suggest, I get a newer model streamer/DAC unit (T2/P1)? Or perhaps a separate DAC first? Though I believe the N-05 outputs digital to 192kHz PCM.

Getting confused now! lol

thank you.

Please check out our latest Lumin T2 or P1 and use its internal DAC.

In the future if you upgrade to an even higher end DAC, you may still use the Lumin as a streamer to output USB or BNC audio to an external DAC.

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Does the U1 have better internal streaming technology? I have some decision making to do!

Thank you for your help.

I can’t see any USB input on the Esoteric N05, but an AES/Ebu input and so you will limited to DSD64 or 24/192 PCM.
If you want only to use Roon, then I don’t see any advantage in adding a Lumin U1 to this system.
But a Lumin T2 can be a big upgrade in substituting the Esoteric streamer.

As i understand the N-05 is Roon Ready, what are you displeased with?

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I do see an USB input and two coaxial inputs, but no AES/EBU input.

Oh, it seems, that I’ve to take new glasses :sweat_smile:

By the way: USB accepts DSD256 and LAN only DSD128. So it can make sense to use an U1 or an U1 mini with the Esoteric N05.
Also if there is a need to use TIDAL connect or Spotify connect, then Lumin has some advantages over the N05.
But I can think, that an Lumin T2 is a better solution, than the U1/N05 bundle.

In terms of USB streaming functionally U1 T2 P1 they are the same (with the exception of 768kHz PCM which is generally not needed).

Of these three P1 has the best power supply, followed by U1, then T2. P1 also supports fiber network (better for network isolation). P1 is also unique in the Lumin family for supporting several types of digital and analog inputs.

Good question!

Using a U1 to feed an N-05 is nonsensical, IMO. You’re just duplicating the streaming function.

Either stick with the N-05, or pair the U1 with a great DAC.


Hi all,
Greatly appreciate the comments and discussion.

My end goal is to replace the N-05. It is more my indecision as to how to best proceed.

I have an opportunity to get a U1 at a great price. Though that leaves me with little funding for an external dac. So perhaps a great deal on something isn’t a great deal if it isn’t going to improve the situation.

I will try my best to answer questions raised, and keep it short. No offense intended if I missed a comment. Please indulge me while I think out loud. :slight_smile:

What am I not happy with?
I don’t feel I am getting sharpness to sound. Currently not bloated sound but more bass drum boom then pedal hitting the skin. Wanting more crispness in top end.

Agree U1 with N-05 is probably a waste as it appears the dac is not up to snuff. Thus my original question. IF I did go with the U1, I would need to accept the fact that I won’t be maximizing it’s potential until I divest of the N-05 and get an external dac. Money is a concern, so a dac could be a ways out. Meaning I would be living with a compromise for a long time. Meaning I probably wouldn’t be happy.

My internal debate goes DAC first. The N-05 only outputs digital to 192 (not that my aging ears would miss much above that). Thus not sure of the overall benefit of dac first. Then purchase a great transport later on.

Though separates can be costly. Well, in that vein, so can a streamer/dac! lol

Perhaps my own bias, but I don’t want to (or would prefer not to) spend money on a streamer/dac and then replace one part later on (ie external DAC) as in my mind that is spending to replace something I already spent money on.

I do get the point that the T2 as a complete unit is a very good option to replace the N-05. Perhaps I would be happy with that and no need to get an external dac down the road. The T2, at a price point that is comparable to the used U1 seems like a viable option. Plus, as noted, streaming options (I do use Tidal). Functionality wise u1 vs T2 I don’t see that I am giving up anything on the streaming side.

I hope I have captured/addressed all the feedback.

Another question; does the s booster make a difference with the T2

Thanks again!

Alrite… I do think you’re barking up the wrong tree if you expect another streaming solution to shape the sound in your favour. And, while i do like the Lumin products, they are (IMO) not the ones that highlight leading edges. (In the case they do have a built in DAC, not the case with the U1/U1 Mini)

Try another DAC? Matrix perhaps?

Thank you.

I hear you about the DAC. Perhaps that is the weakest link in the N-05 (several generations old now). Since the N-05 does output digital to 192kHz via digial out, i could easily use it as a steamer. I don’t think I would be losing much, output wise, in that regard.

I think it was Paul from PS Audio who said, buy the best speakers you can afford. If you already have those, buy the best DAC you can afford. Conversely…well, you get it. I ;think he went so far as to say, best DAC less expensive streamer beats best streamer and less expensive DAC. Apologies in advance to Paul if I miss quote.

Time to talk to Mrs. Santa!

Thanks again.

Hmmm, i’m not sure i agree fully here. I have a few DAC’s in use on a regular basis, as well as a few different “streaming transports”.
The undeniably biggest advance to my sound reproduction on the digital side was by replacing my Auralic Aries G1 with a G2.1. This change elevated my Denafrips Ares MkII, Audiobyte Black Dragon and Nagra HD DAC to a significantly higher level of sound quality.

I also use Raspberry Pi, Nano Pi Neo, Asus Tinkerboard along with SOtM sMS-200 Ultra Neo with it’s sPS-500 PSU and also dedicated Femto clocked USB output from my dedicated fanless Roon Core. All of those along with the Aries G1 was sounding fine and relatively similar, up until the Aries G2.1 “broke the glass ceiling” so to speak.

Lots of words here, and make sure they don’t come across as some form of truth. It’s just my truth, not anyone else’s. :slight_smile:


Fully understand that everyone hears and likes a different sound. So don’t worry, you won’t hear from my lawyer! lol

The quoted part in your response is something I have paraphrased by Paul from PS Audio. Putting that aside.

Though I was understanding you were suggesting or advocating DAC first (?). Is my understanding correct?

Difficult to beat the Ares II in that price range. :slight_smile:

Several contenders for streaming; Lumin, Aurender, Auralic, PS Audio, to name a few. As Queen sang “I want it all”!


:smiley: Sorry, i realize i was being unclear. If anything, let your ears decide in your own home, most dealers will provide that service nowadays. Regardless of whether you would want to try another DAC or streamer or a combined unit like the Esoteric.

What i’m saying is that if you are not fully content with the audio of the N-05 there are other flavours out there. A good streamer will elevate other aspects of the quality of reproduction though. If the DAC sets the bar regarding tonality and dynamics i’d say the streamer will allow for life size stage, depth and “you are there”-palpability.
And once again, all in my opinion, of course! :wink:

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Yes, I’d agree with this approach. In a Digital Transport/DAC combo, it is the DAC that makes the most impact. And with a good DAC in place, the transport will then elevate a good DAC to greater heights.

So IMO if the N-05 is going and you’re not looking at another streamer ‘combo’ to replace it, such as a Lumin T2 (or equivalent), then sink most of your budget in the DAC and then come back to refine the digital transport side when you have more funds.

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Thank you Martin and Mikael for your input.

Martin, yes, I think the N-05 will eventually have to go if I want to upgrade the SQ. I can’t justify a combo unit cost of the P1 or N-05XD. Which essentially leads to one component at a time.

Martin, that is the commentary from Paul that I was referring to. Thanks for digging it up, as it was a good refresh of perspective on a digital system. Which mine is.

This back and forth is also helping in regards to sounding things out.

In summary.
The used U1 would not be allowed to “sing” within the current DAC constraints of the N-05. As good of a deal as it is. It leaves me broke.
Streamer brands contribute to the SQ in various ways.

Use the N-05 as a streamer for now. The N-05 outputs digital via rca coax out at 192 kHz, which should suffice in most if not all circumstances when connected to a new external DAC. Until such time as a transport is purchased and N-05 sold.

To cause me grief, a T2 is on the market at an incredible price. Love it or hate it, I use Tidal and MQA, and the T2 does MQA. That of course means a DAC would need to follow later on. Mikael, not ignoring what you said about the impact of different streamers/transports.

Best worst case is, I can sell the N-05, get the best bang for the buck DAC, and add a Node streamer until such time as I can save up for a good and proper transport. Not slagging the Node. Had the previous version. Loved it. Slowly moved up the chain is all.

Sorry, no conclusion yet!

thanks for listening.

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Hi Makael,

Sorry, one last question.

I know this is your opinion. Always nice to hear what others have to say.

You wrote that the Lumin units with built in DAC won’t highlight the leading edges.

Does that mean that if I eventually went with a T2 and then at some point, an external DAC, that would not be the case? Thinking of affordability here.

Thank you.