I am looking for some ideas where I could go with a better DAC…

To which external DAC did you upgrade? I am looking for some ideas where I could go with a better DAC…

First i had a Chord Qutest on demo. I think this was a huge step forward.
Second i tried the Holo Audio Spring 3 level 2. This one i kept.

The Holo is very, very different from the internal dac. I find it to be much more spacious and closer to reality. The soundstage is behind the speakers and bigger in stead of between the speakers and smaller. It feels like the music is totally separated from the speakers.

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I have an H390 and also upgraded it by an external DAC. My choice was the Holo Audio Spring 3 as well, but the KTE edition instead of the level 2. In case you want to use USB to connect your DAC to your Roon Core, I highly recommend the KTE edition of the Spring 3 as its USB module is just amazing! I even bought the additional preamp module for the Spring 3 KTE so that I litarally downgraded the H390 to a simple poweramp, switching its XLR analogue inputs to fixed level. I do not regret the path that I took!

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What are you using now?

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A Hegel H120 internal dac, and I have to say my rega p3 lp player makes the music much more appreciable… :sweat_smile:

Very interesting, thanks for the tip. I found a good deal on a rme adi 2 dac fs and i always liked the rme products a lot, did anyone test that one yet?

Is there something particular that you don’t like about the internal DAC?

Maybe a Rega DAC, then? The Saturn MK3, perhaps? Can you describe what the characteristic of the P3 is that you like that’s different from the H120?

The Hegel DAC is supposed to be pretty good, though. It’s very difficult to “improve” on a modern DAC, because that tech is all figured out. And with an outboard DAC you’d lose the Roon Ready advantage of the Hegel, wouldn’t you?

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@Bill_Janssen the P3 is a turntable so has nothing to do with the DAC. Or am I missing something?

I own the Lumin T2 and RME ADI 2 FS (plus the DA2 integrated in my McI preamps)
The RME is a fantastic DAC, sounds great, the amount of features you get with that device is just amazing, many filters, parametric EQ for room correction, adaptive loudness.
In addition the RME is a fully functional Preamp.
Highly recommended.

I tested the Qutest against the RME a couple of years ago, I went with the Qutest. Simple reason, it sounded slightly better out of the box for me. I know RME will sound better with some adjustments, but I wanted to avoid myself spending too much time playing around with all the adjustments instead of enjoying the music!

I just bought the H390 a few weeks ago and I hear very little difference between the on-board and the Qutest, so I am selling the Qutest. Then again, I want simplicity and that is why I am biased and “don’t want” to hear too much of a difference.

The H390 DAC is very different from the H120, so I think you will hear a improvement with the RME.

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I was thinking that maybe Rega has a “house sound” which the OP likes. So maybe the Rega DACs have the same preferred sound.


I think you could be right that Rega DACs may have some “engineered” house sound added into the mix.

Certainly the Rega Apollo CD player I owned had a very similar tone to the Rega P2 I had at the same time.


You may be just experiencing the difference between digital and analogue. I am bias but I generally prefer my turntable.
It may be worth finding an analogue ‘sounding’ DAC. @Bill_Janssen has a point with rega. I would get an audition first.


Three posts that generally agree? Is this a first??


Outside of the CD players Rega produce (which are excellent) I’m not sure the make any standalone DAC? The absolutely excellent Brio-R ,Elex-R, Elicit amps don’t have internal DACs.

Would actually like to see them make a DAC to be honest, or have I completely missed them making one?

Can pick a second hand DAC R up that could be passed on again without making a loss.

The Rega Saturn MK3 has a full complement of digital inputs, including USB. So one needn’t use the CD transports, if one doesn’t play CDs.

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Thanks for all the responses - the RME ADI 2 FS sounds great!
A surprisingly big update in sound. There is more sound in every way, incredibly detailed and most important: it sounds organic and pulls me right in. My DALI Rubicon 2 sounded sharp, especially on higher volume. With the ADI it sounds incredible and all the sharpness is gone. I am very happy, it is a great sound update.

But it comes with some drawbacks, finally got ROON ready on the Hegel and now I am back on USB and Macbook as a bridge. It was too good to last…

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I am very happy with the ADI, thanks for your post!