Lumin D2... Could it be a perceivable upgrade in sound quality?

(Peter Lie) #101

My previous comment on DSD upsampling (applicable to A1 / T1 / D1 / D2) is here:

I’ll leave the questions to other users to comment. There are a few related posts right above yours.

(Martin Kelly) #102

As per Peter’s post above, I have tried upsampling to DSD by the Roon Core/Nucleus, to be ‘fed’ as DSD to my A1.
I think there is a noticeable improvement in SQ doing it this way, but I think any perceived benefits may be system, and even source-file dependant.
I’d be happy to hear how you find it :grinning:

#103

…and perhaps also mood dependant! I seem to prefer DSD for relaxed headphone listening and PCM on my speaker setup…the only small fly in the ointment for me is the click moving between the formats (which unfortunately is more irritating over headphones).

#104

@wklie, Peter, could I please just confirm the output voltage on the D2 XLR outputs? Thanks.

(Peter Lie) #105

D2 / D1 / S1 / A1 / T1: 4V rms on XLR, 2V rms on RCA.

X1 and T2 are different.

#106

Thanks very much!

#107

I’m looking at getting the Lumin D2 to replace my exaSound e20 mkii DAC and exaSound PlayPoint renderer streaming from a QNAP NAS. I use Roon with Tidal and my DAC does not do the final unfold of MQA files. As much as I like my exaSound units, especially the PlayPoint, it annoys me that I can only use it with their own DAC. I like the thought of an all in one unit like the D2, that I can add a DAC to in the future if I wanted to. I am feeding them through a DSPeaker anti-mode 2.0 > Simaudio i7 integrated amp > Anthony Gallo Ref 3.5 speakers. Can anyone advise if this would provide any noticeable improvement in SQ?

(Peter Lie) #108

You may use the balanced XLR analog output of D2. For connecting to an external DAC it outputs digital audio to BNC-SPDIF but not to USB audio.

T2 can output analog, or digital signal to BNC-SPDIF or USB audio.

We have customers using Lumin and Simaudio amplifiers together.

#109

The Sbooster MK II Linear Power supply and the connector kit arrived for the D2 today. It’s a nice piece of kit, and includes all of the hardware and tools needed for the upgrade. It’s a pretty easy install with clear directions: remove the cover, unplug the old power supply from the Lumin circuit board, remove the internal power supply, and remove the old IEC connector. Then screw the new IEC connector into the D2, plug into the Lumin circuit board, and pop the cover back on. The Sbooster Linear power supply then plugs into the new IEC connector, and you turn on or off the Lumin using the power button on the Sbooster. Took me 20 min as I am always slow and careful.

Only odd thing was a need to snip one wire that connects the Lumin power switch to the old IEC - while the stock power switch remains, the IEC comes out, hence the need to snip the wire. This means if you need to reinstall the old power supply, you’ll have to get out your soldering iron and some heat shrink. The older D1 didn’t have this requirement and was completely plug and play.

The stock Lumin switching power supply is tiny compared to the large case of the Sbooster that is housing a large toroidal ps and capacitors. The DC cable from the circuit board to the Sbooster is nice, and the Sbooster features a standard IEC connector so you can use your favorite power cord (I had a Cardas Golden Reference unit on hand). Everything about the Sbooster is polished and it looks like it could have come from Lumin.

Sbooster recommends 40 hours of burn in, so I am not forming any strong opinions. I couldn’t do an A/B comparison, but spent a bit of time listening to my 5 favorite review tracks before the switchover.

At this stage, let’s just say the D2 is making wonderful sounds with more observed authority, especially on the low end. I’ll comment more once I’ve had more time, but so far it’s quite lovely. The stock D2 is no slouch either, so this will be fun to hear in week.

I know Lumin thinks highly of its switching power supply, and I certainly heard nice things through the D2, but I do think the upgrade is a positive step forward, and I am hoping it brings the same performance as the highly regarded D1 and Sbooster combination.

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(Peter Lie) #110

Looking forward to your further report on this.

I’d like to remind other users that any Lumin that needs to be shipped back to repair has to have original parts inside and intact.

(Martin Kelly) #111

IMO ‘snipping wires’ and soldering bits inside a perfectly-formed Lumin is utter sacrilege! :worried:

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#112

Yep, I fear that without plug and play solutions this could be considered an expert-only tweak…

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(Martin Kelly) #113

I just wouldn’t do it myself?
I trust Peter and the rest of the team over at Lumin to produce the best player they can, budget permitting.
Rather than pull-apart a D2, why not just step-up to a T2, etc?
I’m not criticising those who do these things - everyone to their own, and all - but I think you would have to be convinced of any such improvements before using the wire cutters! :thinking:

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#114

I do agree…
I also trust Hudson, I always found improvements with PSU so I cannot doubt of this…
But to my experience these have always been “by design” upgrades.

In particular I’m speaking of Aires Mini PSU and the Musical Fidelity MX Vynl PSU.
Own both, both external, both seamless improvement. Both with cash-back option if snake-oil:upside_down_face:

I’m very happy of my D2 but, if I need soldering tools only to listen if I can improve it… I’d rather look elsewhere.

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#115

For clarity, no soldering is needed to install the PS. Just to reinstall the stock PS should you need to. And it is one wire that connects to a common on-off switch, not to anything sensitive.

I agree it would be better have a plug and play solution, but the removal of the stock IEC socket is the reason this snip is required. If you haven’t ever soldered a wire together - well let’s just say that I consider that one of those life skills everyone should have in their toolkit, like changing oil on a motorcycle or knowing how to work a chainsaw. But I see where not everyone would have that experience and might be loathe to learn on their D2 power switch, which is probably just a $1 part.

The PS was about $425, so the move up to the T2 would have been more than I paid for my demo D2. Otherwise I’d be tempted to upgrade.

I’ve got just a few listening sessions since the swap and I’m not convinced the PS has fully broken in. Nonetheless, I’m hearing some very clear improvements in three areas: bass authority, soundstage, and dynamics/slam. If you love the detailed but somewhat laid back presentation of the stock D2, this upgrade is possibly not for you. If you love the sheer musicality of the D2 but wish it had more authority and presence (without losing its inherent warmth and tone), you might wish to experiment as I have.

At the very least, if you don’t like the upgrade, you’ll be required to add a life skill to your tool chest.

More to come when I find time to listen more critically without interruption and when the PS has some hours on it.

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(Dale Clark) #116

How much real improvement is the new power supply really adding? Do you feel like you are getting $400 worth of improvement?

#117

It would help to have a stock D2 for comparison as I am unable to do an a/b comparison for the reasons discussed above.

Is the upgrade worth $400? My initial reaction is yes. I hear clear differences that I deem improvements, especially in the three areas described above. The bass slam and authority is the most noticeable. It’s like the D2 has a “dynamic” button that juiced up the overall presentation, but didn’t lose the essential goodness of the D2. The PS is very good quality too.

I will say that I think the switching PS in the stock unit isn’t bad. I loved the stock D2 out of the box, and the upgraded PS just improves on areas where I assumed were innate sonic attributes of the Wolfson DAC chipset (I have the same chipset in a portable A&K player and just thought the Wolfson chips were inherently mellow and tamer - adding the power supply reveals otherwise). After the upgrade, I felt the D2 moved a bit closer to the Chord Qutest in terms of overall dynamics, but without the Chord’s slight tendency to be a bit too dynamic in some instances. Hope that analogy makes sense.

In an ideal comparison I’d demo a stock D2 vs my upgraded D2 vs a stock T2. That would really demonstrate where the best value proposition is.

(Peter Lie) #118

If you decide to upgrade to T2, you may be able to reuse the power supply upgrade too.

Note that there is a difference between WM8740 and WM8741 (two chips used in Lumin D2), with the latter having better specs and is more expensive.

#119

So just some facts to share about the stock Lumin power supply. It is a Mean Well RS 25-12, about $9-11 purchased in bulk. It is a medical grade power supply, and it has a switching frequency above 30khz andis fairly efficient, which is one reason why Lumin likely chose to deploy it, as any switching “noise” falls outside of an audible range. Here is a link to the specs: https://www.meanwell.com/productPdf.aspx?i=392#1

The Sbooster build specs are also very good for the price. It uses a toroidal mains transformer, choke filters, and polypropylene caps, and various filters, among other improvements. I am guessing it is about $150-175 at wholesale, and probably $75 in raw parts and build costs to Sbooster. So roughly 10x the cost of the Mean well power supply before profit, and the Meanwell is likely 4x+ the cost of an inferior wallwart switching power supply used in the likes of the Chord Qutest. Rob Watts doesn’t believe the switching PS in their wallwart degrades the sound of the Qutest, but I had strong doubts which is one reason I chose to focus on the Lumin.

The inclusion of a high quality linear power supply in the Lumin as a stock part would likely increase the cost of the D2 to a much higher level.

For comparison, I also have a custom built power supply for my older SB3 that was twice the cost of the Sbooster ($900 in 2006 dollars) and used very high grade Jensen and black gate capacitors. To achieve that level of quality today would be over $1500 at retail. My older Tri-Vista 21 DAC has a massively regulated power supply with chokes and upgraded caps, and in today’s dollars would be closer to the T2 retail.

In that light, I think Lumin did a fine job optimizing their power supply choice to achieve the level of quality at a target price point. At some point, the law of diminishing returns applies to audio, and to achieve a noticeable improvement via the power supply upgrade starts to interfere with other design choices like analog output stages or DAC configurations.

But if those power supply cost constraints are lifted, I would absolutely expect notable improvements to occur with a higher spec power supply. The Sbooster is a reasonably cost effective upgrade, although you could easily double or triple this cost on a very high end, highly spec’d power supply.

So on that scale, $400 seems to be a good value for a mid grade power supply.

#120

Well… Sorry… But what you’re writing is different from your incipit.
As far as understand from the sentence above soldering is needed to release stock PS.

I’m pretty skilled with soldering tools, I’ve successfully rewired my old Lenco L75s (tonearm and output RCA) and fixed other old electronics. Anyway (to make a comparison) I’d never attempt on opening my Luxman PD171A…