Using an outboard DAC with Lumin T2

I’m considering a couple things here and I’m not totally clear on how Roon control is affected.

The first is I’m thinking about trying a Holo Spring 3 DAC, USB input from the T2 USB output. How does this appear from Roon - does the T2 essentially get “replaced” in Roon by the Spring 3 or does the T2 show as a streamer with the Spring 3 as the DAC with associated setup, oversampling, volume etc settings? Essentially the T2 passing through the Roon to Spring 3 communication?

And if this is the case, could HQPlayer then be used (assuming support for the Spring 3) even though the T2 does not support it?

I’m just trying to get my head wrapped around how Roon communicates with an outboard DAC “through” a streamer.

Note: I realize the Spring 3 is not yet Roon certified but their other versions are so I assume this will be in the near future.

Cheers,
Robert

Ok, nevermind the HQPlayer part of the question. I did more reading and it appears I had a fundamental misunderstanding of HQPlayer. To use it I would have to have specific network adaptor in front of the DAC, and the T2 does not have this.

The question re: using an external DAC with the T2 and Roon control of it is still not understood.

Cheers,
Robert

Robert, I think you’ll have to go a long way to get a better DAC than what is in the T2, and I would seriously doubt that the Holo Spring is it. If you do use the T2 as a streamer, Roon will see it as the endpoint, but TBH I wouldn’t bother - I’d go XLR out to your amp.

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Thanks for your input Rockhound and I agree that the T2 is fantastic. But it’s my money, my ears and my hobby and therefore I like to judge things for myself. I’m really just looking for the facts so that I can understand my options. You may well be right and I’ll end up sticking with the T2. But sticking my head in the sand and not bothering to experiment with other things means I can never quantify WHY I like what I have best.

Cheers,
Robert

Yes, this would be the case even if you use an external DAC.

If you enable Lumin volume control, that will be applied to Lumin digital output.
If you disable Lumin volume control, you can send up to DSD512 to the Spring 3.

No, because Lumin does not currently support NAA.

This is not required for getting it to work.

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Thanks for the clear response Peter. I want to be clear also that there is zero disappointment from me with the T2 - I think it’s fantastic in every way. There has been a lot buzz lately about the better quality R2R DACs, particularly the true NOS capable ones. I’m simply curious about the sound and would rather try one that is on a similar level, at least from a price perspective, of my T2. All fun and games…

Cheers,
Robert

Yes I certainly get that, to the point that we actually tested Lumin compatibility with Spring 3 for a short time. We also have several users using Lumin U1 (MINI) with Holo May.

If/when you do get the Spring 3, please let me know your listening impressions.

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Totally get that - I’d be interested to hear your impressions of that pairing if you go that route.

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You can obviously spend your money of whatever you like, I think the point is you may be doubling up on features - a holo spring 3 could be fed with a simple raspberry pi and Ropieee for example, and still produce great results. Good luck, I’m also interested in reading about your findings.

“could”, yes… But would they sound the same? No, not even close…

Via USB? Mmm, I’d be interested in a listing test as well.

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I’d love to be able to demonstrate the differences in my environment, system! So, consider this an invitation, if you ever are in mid-Sweden! :smiley:

You’re on… I go to Stockholm every now and then :rofl: :+1:

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Just having an outboard DAC is doubling up on features. The point is to trial those features. Indeed, I have an excellent preamp in the chain as well and I don’t necessarily need that either with the T2, especially since I have no other sources, yet I enjoy the flavour it brings to the system. The Spring 3 also has a digital variable output or can be ordered with an actual analog preamp section - again, options to experiment with.

Of course the biggest difference will be the subjective one of whether or not I enjoy a NOS R2R vs an (OS by design) Sigma-Delta.

A Pi is not out of the question, the cost of adding that as an option is essentially a rounding error in comparison to a Holo Spring 3 KTE.

Cheers,
Robert

I’ll think, that the real problem with Lumin is, that they don’t have a DAC with digi in in there portfolio and so it’s hard to compare there streamers with standalone DACs.
My experience with many DACs is, that it’s hard to get a better SQ in using a DAC in the 3000€ area than using the T2 “alone”, but I’ve never heard the Holo 3 and my preferences can be different than the preferences from Robert.
In every case, it’s the best to test for yourself and I wish the best for Robert in finding his perfect system.

This is a very interesting discussion to me… I´ts been more than a year, since I became a happy Lumin T2 owner. I would like to share my honest opinion, with no intention to offend or try to mean I have the absolute truth. Just my thoughts after spending a considerable time with the T2.

As Robert points in his post, the T2 is fantastic, and I also agree there is no disappointment since the T2 does very well.

That doesn’t mean that the T2 is Perfect. There are a few things that could make the T2 much better (hopefully could be added with firmware updates). Other things, I guess are part of the T2 architecture and will remain.

The best of the T2:

  • Seamless integration to Roon
  • Upgradable via updates
  • Very good Native app
  • Solid Construction and finish
  • DSD 512
  • Excellent dynamics

What Could be Better (Firmware update):

  • NAA Compatibility
  • The capability of choosing different Filters
  • 705.6 & 768 kHz PCM Sample rate capabilities look to be restricted via Software and not due to any hardware limitation.

Lumin T2 benefits a lot from good upsampling, when playing redbook 44.1/16. To my ears every time I don’t upsample 44.1/16 PCM in the T2, the sound is edgy, kind off harsh and a little bit sibilant (mostly in the 8k band) compared to the times the t2 is playing upsampled music via ROON . Perhaps the ESS noise shapers and filters are the bottleneck of such a good Lumin implementation. ( Internal hardware upsample is below the overall quality of the product. not really an option if you use ROON)

DSD is a whole different story, the T2 does an incredible job playing any Native or Upsampled DSD.

I’ve tested it in my Speaker Rig (MA8900 +Sonus Faber Sonetto III), and a couple of HPA setups with The 4XX, 6XX, Verite Open and Aeolus HP.

So I just wonder why Lumin is not taking seriously into adding NAA capabilities, that could take the product into another level when using HQ player.

Not surprised that there is people thinking of getting a Spring 3 or May… I am heading in the same direction of having a different flavor and exploring a different approach of D/A conversion. That does not mean the T2 lacks SQ. Is just that when you hear the R2R sound, is evident there is another way with a different sound signature. Why not having the best of both worlds.

Please LUMIN add NAA Capability
Mau

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FWIW, I agree - this would certainly make me more likely to look to the T2 as a potential future upgrade from my excellent D2, though there may be good reasons why at least the former isn’t possible. The Lumin firmware, Roon integration and support are all utterly bulletproof which is a huge draw to stay with the brand (leaving aside any debates over the SQ). NAA compatability would be a welcome icing on the cake :grinning: That said, I imagine this could be quite a bit of effort for Lumin to attract what could be quite a niche user base.

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