Network Streamer to Digital Coax Question

(Ron Hinson) #1

I just started using Tidal HIFI with Roon and so far I really like it.

I am in the market for a Roon ready network player and a possible DAC upgrade. I need to feed (3) analog outputs for my whole house audio and (1) digital output for a separate DAC in my theater

I was looking at the NAD CI580 and would use it this way:
-(3) Analog Audio Outs to whole house audio
-(1) Digital Coax Out (No USB available) to my DAC

I currently have a NAD D1050 DAC that uses USB straight from the PC that has my Roon Core (i5, 3.2, 4GB). I understand that with output from a PC the USB is the much better way to go from a clock management and jitter reduction standpoint. I have also read that there is benefit to getting the DAC off of the PC and onto a streamer, not sure how much this matters.

So I have 2 questions:

  1. Do I have those same clock management and jitter issues coming from a piece of audio gear like the CI580 versus a PC when I use the Digital Coax? Will the Digital Coax be a poor way to go to with a DAC upgrade in the $2- 3K range?

  2. I have a Marantz AV8801 that has fairy nice DAC’s inside. If I go with the CI580 should I forgo the new DAC and go Digital Coax straight into the AV8801? The AV8801 feeds a B&K Ref 2 channel amp and Triad LCR speakers. The room is fully treated.

I want to be smart and make a nice upgrade. I am willing to give up 2 of the analog outputs if the digital coax is a bad idea. I can get an analog line from the PC. Not the best quality but probably fine for whole house audio

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

#2

I thought BluOS had integration with Roon. But Roon isn’t mentioned anywhere for the CI 580 on NAD’s site, or in the manual for the 580. The ideal deployment is as a network streamer, and if it doesn’t directly integrate with Roon, I’d look to something else. It otherwise looks like a neat product, though would be even cooler if the analog and digital outputs were separate zones instead of mirrors of the four zones supported.

(Henry) #3

Ron, how big is your house and have you got it wired for Ethernet? Your approach is very “20th century”. A single device to feed a house is not the right approach. You need to be looking at multiple devices networked and tailored for each endpoint. With careful choices these can then be played to individually or grouped if that is what you want to do. What you spend is very much up to you and does depend on the sort of quality you need.

(Ron Hinson) #4

The CI580 is listed a partner on Roon’s site. So it should work well with Roon

(Ron Hinson) #5

Its a fairly big house and hard wired Ethernet everywhere. Thats one of the things I am trying to do is update my Nuvo but I don’t think I need to replace it.

The Ci580 gives me 4 independent zones.
From NAD site: CI 580 can be used to provide up to 64 zones, with each zone having the capability to be grouped together in perfect sync, or play individual streams in different zones simultaneously.

I like that I can put it the main equipment rack and it is out of the way.

Any thoughts on the original 2 questions?

(Henry) #6

On the original two questions, they aren’t Roon questions but NAD questions. I don’t know if you can use the full capability of the NAD with Roon because the multi-room capabilities are in conflict if I understand what you have written and what I see of the C 1580 specs. The C 1580 is a core device. So if you want to create a multi room setup using BluOs it is a viable device. I think Roon replaces this device. A NUC with Roon on it does the same core functionality. Connect it to your Ethernet network and put an appropriately configured endpoint where you need to connect to an output device.

(Ron Hinson) #7

OK I may have complicated my question with too much info on specific product.

My basic question is:

  1. Do I have those same clock management and jitter issues coming from a piece of audio gear (Any Roon Ready Endpoint) versus a PC when I use the Digital Coax? Will the Digital Coax be a poor way to go to with a DAC upgrade in the $2- 3K range?

  2. I have a Marantz AV8801 that has fairy nice DAC’s inside. If I go with (Any Roon Ready Endpoint) should I forgo the new DAC and go Digital Coax straight into the AV8801?

(Peter Lie) #8
  1. Although there are people who may disagree with this, generally an audio gear will perform better than a general PC. Digital coax is fine if your source is good. Some of our customers find that USB does not offer the best SQ with their DAC.

  2. A number of customers used our Roon Ready network players’ analog outputs to connect to an AV receiver reported a SQ improvement.

(Ron Hinson) #9

That is kind of what I was thinking.

Also in my situation I am using the DSP in the AVR for room correction and sub management, etc.

So if I use an outboard DAC I am going: Digital from Streamer to the DAC then analog XLR into the AVR to be converted back to Digital for the DSP then back to analog with the AVR’s DAC’s. Probably would negate any benefits.

I could use pure direct and bypass the AVR’s DSP but my room sounds better with it.

Also, if I don’t use a MQA external DAC I wont get the 2nd unfold of the MQA. Not sure if that’s a big deal as the vast majority of the Masters I have looked at in Tidal are under the 24/96 that Roon can handle with the 1st unfold.

Thoughts?

(Peter Lie) #10

The first sentence is correct. The second is not consistent with most reports I’ve read. Theory and subjective SQ determination often does not align.

(Daniel Beyer) #11

Yes, an Allo DigiOne (not the Signature) will work great. Network feed in, fantastic Coax feed out. Works like a champ and sounds fantastic.

(Ron Hinson) #12

I understand that the D2 comes with a DAC.

As just streamers are the U1 Mini and the D2 the same or is the mini better as just a streamer?

Assume the price is the same.

(Peter Lie) #13

For digital output to external DAC only, Lumin U1 MINI is better than Lumin D2.

For use with an AV receiver, D2 analog output is recommended. I have multiple customer confirmations that they feel D2 analog output is superior to the SQ from the internal DAC of their AV receivers. There is also a Lumin D1 review that the reviewer found to be superior to the integrated DAC of an audiophile brand integrated amplifier.