I’ve been trying to read more about Lumin gear as they seem well reviewed and customers are happy with the product.
Feels like the upgrade bug is biting.
Could I get some opinions? I’m currently using a Cambridge cxn v2 playing Roon/tidal/Spotify, output to a benchmark dac3b which then goes to a Benchmark HPA4 and AHB2 amp (benchmark stack).
Option a. Leave it as it is.
Option b. Swap out cxn v2 for Lumin transport and feed the Benchmark stack.
Option c. Remove cxn v2 and dac3b and then use a Lumin as transport and dac, feeding to HPA4 and ahb2.
I am actually really enjoying the CXN V2. No hiccups, good app, good radio channels, nice colour screen etc etc. But if a Lumin is a big step up in SQ then I’d be willing to make the change.
Hi, Gavin. If it is only the transport you want to chnge, I have been using a Lumin U1-Mini for a little over a year and it’s been a delight. I use it with a network connection in and USB out into a Meridian 818v3 mainly to play DSD format natively and 176+ PCMs. Soundwise it is very close to direct streaming via the ID41 card in the 818v3 when comparing streaming at the same resolution; I have a very small preference for the ID41 but that may be because I am more used to it or Placebo or it could be because feeding through the Meridian naturally favours synergies with the proprietary component! If you like your Benchmark DAC (and presumably there are synergies with the rest of the stack), I am sure the U1 Mini will work very well as a transport without needing to pay for an extra unused DAC. I chose Lumin over other transport alternatives because they are well established and with a good dealer network and support and I don’t regret it. The U1 caps at 256 DSD but if you don’t upsample and keep your existing it will not matter and still be largely future proof.
A big plus is that if you have any issue that can be addressed online, Peter always answers and helps whatever serious forum you post on. That is really outstanding service and he is by definition more knowledgeable than any dealer and will usually allow you to address any issue quickly.
Integration with Roon and MQA is seamless. The Lumin app is good and reliable (you only need it for setup if you use Roon); I have an issue using the Lumin app from Android (from my Samsung S10+) but on iOS always fine. If you want to use the Lumin app you need to be able to install Minimserver for access to your music on your network. If you have a large music library, the process to update it when you add new music isn’t the fastest but none of this matters if you are using Roon. Having an alternative is always a good thing nevertheless.
The compact form will also go well with your Benchmark stack! The power supply is integrated which my be an issue if you like tinkering with that sort of stuff (there are mods available I believe although they probably invalidate your warranty). Note that the back is designed to partially hide cables but also means that some proprietary power cables with a very large connection won’t fit.
@Happycy thanks for the reply! I admit I did not look at the U1 range. Thanks for pointing it out.
I don’t have much high res music; essentially I rely on Tidal and Roon, and send upsampled music via hqplayer to my endpoints. As I understand it, Lumin products at present can’t act as an NAA for hqplayer.
The above is just an observation. My current setup with cxn v2 is also not hqplayer naa capable.
The U1 looks good in that it can upsample. My cxn v2 does “internal upsampling” to 384khz but is not dsd or MQA capable.
Will do some more reading up tonight! Thanks buddy.
You are welcome, Gavin. The U1 Mini does upsampling for PCM and I believe upsamples also to 2xDSD (DSD128) I believe. I haven’t tried the DSD upsampling as my DAC won’t take more than 1x. Can’t comment on HQ Player as I don’t use it. I am not a specialist on upsampling but I would say that better a product that carries and receives your data flawlessly with limited upsampling than one that shines on upsampling and doesn’t do the basic work as well and bad recordings sound bad even when upsampled. Meridian does upsampling automatically (“apodising” which involves more than just upsampling) and I have found it effective. Other upsampling I have found to be of limited benefit although for classical upsampling to DSD is sometimes marginally better when well done (my headphone amp/DAC offers 8x DSD upsampling). If you are going to upsample to top DSD via HQPlayer you will in any case need a very powerful dedicated PC as opposed to letting the U1 mini do it for you. I didn’t audition the U1 as opposed to the U1 mini as I felt it would be overkill for its place in my set-up, but if you are going to look at the top of the Lumin chain, I would certainly want to audition and/or home test it, particularly to see if the internal DSD upsampling would offer an alternative to a setup with HQP.
When using Roon, I recommend disabling Lumin internal re-sampling.
The DAC3 B does not support DSD128 or higher, so further DSD upsampling is not relevant, let alone playback of DSD128 and DSD256 music files. That’s one of the reasons why I recommend the T2 that accepts DSD512 instead of the U1 MINI.