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MaxPlumage

Node 2i DAC vs Marantz PrePro

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10 hours ago, MaxPlumage said:

Just in case anyone's interested. I prefer the coax to the analog - there is a very, very subtle increase in detail (most discernable on the highs) when using the coax of the Node 2i to the pre-pro, compared to the analog. The Node sounds 'softer' - maybe some will see it as less sibilant, neutral - maybe rolled off on the highs a tad more.

Just keep in mind that connecting the NODE 2i to an external DAC that is not MQA certified will not provide a full MQA unfold. The highest resolution available in this case will be 24/96 as opposed to 24/192.

At the same time, depending on the quality of the external DAC, some may find (such as yourself) that the sound is preferable. As always, A/B comparisons are recommended.

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On 12/09/2019 at 10:12 AM, jakeyb77 said:

This is an impossible question that will only be solved by you A/B listening. I could write either one and you might think the opposite. 

The Node 2i DAC is no slouch as is often reported but I prefer it running into my Klein DAC. 

Play them both to help you decide 

@jakeyb77 do you prefer running toslink or spdif from the node to your Klein?  Just curious as i am looking to do the same once i decide on a dac.

 

11 hours ago, MaxPlumage said:

Just in case anyone's interested. I prefer the coax to the analog - there is a very, very subtle increase in detail (most discernable on the highs) when using the coax of the Node 2i to the pre-pro, compared to the analog. The Node sounds 'softer' - maybe some will see it as less sibilant, neutral - maybe rolled off on the highs a tad more.

You really have to listen for it :) either way both options sound superb but if I had to pick one it would be the coax.

@MaxPlumage This is a good outcome for you.  I have a node 2i also and run it via analogue to my amp but am looking to bypass its dac and run to an external dac.  If i am not mistaken running spdif out to your pre/pro you are hearing the dac of your pre/pro and bypassing the node 2i dac.  Depending on how you use the node just be mindful that unless your pre/pro can unpack MQA (assuming you have Tidal subscription also) that you'll need to disable the MQA setting in the BlueOs app to allow your pre/pro to unpack it.  If your pre/pro does not unpack then just let the music flow but you'll get flac quality basically not Tidals MQA.   I am looking for an external dac and have tidal but have decided im not worried if i cannot unpack MQA via whichever dac i choose and if there is an MQA album i'd like to hear i'll simply switch back to the Node 2i and use its dac - but that thinking process on MQA is entirely another thread and discussion as some love it and some dont.  Im impartial but the choice of dacs is minimised when shopping specifically for an MQA compatible dac.

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Thanks folks for all your input. Some quick answers or clarifications you might find helpful:

1/. I find myself caring less about MQA. I only use tidal tracks that display 'CD' on the node which is the highest quality (44.1/16 bit). The more I read about MQA the less I'm impressed (it's lossy and in theory MQA is supposed to sound as good as the CD quality when you don't have a MQA capable DAC - it has never met this requirement for me). As I 'only' prefer CD quality, coax to the prepro suits me just fine.

2/. On SPDIF I learned through some videos that this completely splits the various components (clock/timing) using the source DAC and will need to be reconstructed on the target DAC - and this process is apparently not as perfect as one would hope, potentially causing distortion. Maybe I don't understand it well enough.

3/. On TOSLINK I avoid that based on articles that suggest it introduces more jitter.

Ultimately I believe sticking with coax should be a good step at this time

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