There are a few things that might have been happening.Last weekend I had the chance to listen to the Dutch & Dutch 8c at a local dealer (I am thinking about selling all my loudspeaker, amplifier, cables, SACD player and other stuff to buy the 8c because of the interesting package, DSP and the positive reviews). We listened to the loudspeaker in three different settings and one setting was far better than everything else:
Test track: Wagner from Qobuz in 24 Bit / 48 kHz and as normal CD in 16 Bit / 44.1 kHz
- Qobuz stream from iPhone 12 (5G connection) connected with Lightning to USB adaptor into the dealers ridiculous expensive esoteric mono DACs. Then to the 8c using XLR connection --> was good.
- From dealers ridiculous expensive esoteric CD player using analog XLR outs to the dealers ridiculous expensive esoteric mono DACs. Then to the 8c using XLR connection --> was better than Qobuz stream.
- “Purely digital” (according to the dealer): From dealers ridiculous expensive esoteric CD player using digital AES outs directly into the 8c. So the 8c was using its own DAC’s. The result was one of the best performance I ever heard.
Compared to the other two setups the dynamic range was much higher and the flow of music was far better with more details and better sound stage. It is hard to describe but also the two other guys who where present besides the dealer and me clearly stated that this performance was by far the best.
To me it is an very interesting point because if I will decide for the 8c I want the best possible performance. Can anyone explain the technical background of why the result was (subjectively) so different? Especially why was the stream from Qobuz APP (in 24 Bit / 48 kHz) not better? The only thing that comes to my mind is the double conversion of the first two settings (digital from Qobuz / CD player to DAC and then analogue into the 8c with another round of converting in their internal DACs). But can this make such a big difference?
What I am thinking now is to purchase a network-bridge / streaming transport so that I feed the 8C with digital AES connection out to keep the “purely digital” path. It is hard to find some appropriate device that has AES output. What I read here in the forum (in terms of recommendation) is:
- Metrum Ambre
- Sonnet Hermes
- Lumin U1 Mini
- MiniDSP SHD Studio
So I have three questions:
- Has anybody experienced something similar and can explain the background?
- In order to get the best performance out of the 8c am I on the right track to play it as “digital” as possible? Can you recommend one of the above mentioned bridges or something else?
- Is it best to wait till the 8c's are ROON ready and let ROON and the 8c do the streaming?
Thanks for your support!
Qobuz and the CD may be different masters, so they could sound different.
Ridiculous expensive electronics are sometimes the least actuate hi-fi ever made, letting them do the analogue conversion might have messed up the sound.
But much more likely was that this was a sighted uncontrolled test, and you all imagined the difference.
However if I bought a pair of these I would be keeping things digital until it was inside the speakers, it's technically the best solution, and will ensure the lowest noise.