Hi everyone, this is my first post here although I have been a Roon user, on and off, for a while.
I currently own a pair of Dynaudio Xeo 6 which I use with the Dynaudio Connect connected to a Mac Mini over USB as a Roon endpoint.
I have recently been messing around with putting some different affordable DACs into the chain, running into the analogue in of the Dynaudio connect. This might seem counter-intuitive as the Connect then has to do ADC > wireless to speakers > DAC in the speaker BUT there is a perceptible difference in sound when I do this with the Dragonfly Cobalt and the Meridian Explorer 2 e.g. the DACs do impart their flavour to the music.
Having said that, I have switched back to the direct USB connection this morning and, to be honest, it would be impossible to say that any of these options is perceptibly better than the other.
In looking at possible major upgrades I could do, without having to scrap the whole system and start again, it has been recommended to me that I should look at adding a dedicated transport (without DAC) as the front end to my system instead of the Mac mini. This would appear to make very good sense however I am slightly sceptical.
The product that has been recommended to me is the Aurelic Aries G1. Are there any other Roon users out there who have experience of running a different transport, connected digitally (either by USB, optical, coax) who could share their experience?
A £2,000 transport is obviously a significant investment to make into the front end when I will be using the existing wireless comms to my speakers and the internal DACS.
Any real world experience would be greatly appreciated, either with Dynaudio or other DSP speakers.
I also own a pair of Dynaudio Xeo6 for which I am using an Allo USBbridge running DietPI OS as a transport for Roon and am very happy with this setup. The Allo is connected via USB to the Dyanudio Hub (not connect, as I wrote originally). I don’t think that the Xeos would benefit at all from adding an expensive transport or DAC to your chain. The limiting factor is Xeo 6’s internal restriction to 16/48 and the fact (already mentioned by you) that you can’t bypass the Xeo’s internal DAC, wich would make any hi-res approach useless in the end. Even a standard Raspberry Pi without a dedicated USB out (as in the Allo) running RoPieee should be sufficient here.
If your Mac may continue being placed in the same room as the Xeos I wouldn’t change anything in your setup. Rather save the money until you can invest in better speakers (plus DAC and Amp, if needed) than the Xeos. Other than that you could try to apply room correction in Roon in order to improve the sound.
Thanks for responding. Having the Mac mini there is absolutely not an issue - I have the M1 and the fan never goes on.
Due to the nature of the hub/connect even if my Mac did have to move it would still be fine.
The high res in thing is interesting. The sound is different when I run a high res capable dac into the analogue in of the connect even though we know there’s an ADC > downsample > wireless transmission > DAC in speaker. I would be really interested to hear what a high end DAC did just out of curiosity - I don’t think this process is necessarily as lossy as we assume it might be.
The argument/statement that has been put to me is that I will get more out of the DAC with a better transport regardless of the transmission being 16/48.
P.S. Most of the music I listen to is 16/44.1 anyway so this isn’t necessarily geared towards a desire for high res.
I guess a simpler question would be:
Does the transport make a difference to the sound that comes out of your DAC?
A new transport may very well sound different, but not necessarily better or worthwhile. Before getting a new transport, you might trial HQ Player on the mini. For me, that made a far better difference in sound in comparison to the transport (Roon Nucleus) I tried for awhile in place of the mini.
I have similar set up to you with a 2014 Mac mini connected to a pair of the XD speakers.
I’ve just gone down the HQ Player rabbit hole!
Thanks Sammie. I’ll have fun with this for a while.
Yeah, have fun with that for awhile and then check out some room correction software…
I did the whole room correction thing a couple of years back with roon and the UMIK-1 and to be honest I didn’t enjoy the sound afterwards. It felt quite lifeless.
I still have the mic so could give it another go.
OK. I just ordered that mic. I hope I have better luck… What room correction program did you use?
I can’t for the life of me remember. Let’s give it another whirl!
I’ve got an Audioquest jitterbug arriving today. Will report back on that.
Okay, I am pretty convinced that the jitterbug had a positive impact although you can guess from my wording that it’s subtle rather than revelatory. I’ve made quite a few changes in recent days so it’s quite difficult to attribute positive uplift to one particular thing.
Having said that I do feel that the jitterbug has given the sound slightly more clarity and a better articulation in the bass. The sound is just a little more weighty and more coherent. Definitely worth a try I would say if you’re running the Dynaudio Connect over USB.
Incidentally my mate is running a Meridian 568 into the analogue in on his Xeos and says it’s a big bump in SQ - which goes to show that running an external DAC might be worth experimenting with even though you are doing another ADC > DAC to get the wireless transmission.
I have a Chord DAC in my other system and am going to move it over just out of interest.
I connected a Chord Mojo to the analogue ins and the sound quality is hugely improved. Very very noticeably better.
Sorry to reactivate the topic after so long. I bought a few months ago for a second system on the farm a used XEO 5.
I use as a transport a Mac Mini connected to a Matrix Spdif interface (borrowed from the main setup) as I didn’t have a mini USB cable available. The Mac Mini is shaped for use with an external linear source.
Today I received a handmade USB cable, I connected it to the Hub and the sound seemed to have evolved consistently, I’m attributing to the fact that I extracted from the audio chain the common switched source that comes with the Hub das XEO, in this way the Hub is powered by the Mini’s energy and indirectly by the linear source that powers it. I found the reports of improvement with an external dac interesting, when I’m willing I’ll bring my PD Audio Directstream here to use with the XEO.
Thank you all for the reports!