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BlueOceanBoy

Experience with Auralic Vega G1/G2 vs PSA Directstream

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Hi Fellow SNAs,

I'm interested to hear about member's experience/views with recent streamer/DACs, namely Auralic Vega G1/G2 vs PS Audio Directstream Bridge II. My listening experience is via HeadFi, ethernet streamed MQA via Roon. One tube setup WA22 and one SS via PassLabs HPA-1. HPs are ZMF Verite, Atticus and LCD-3. I've had Rosson, HE1K, Senn etc.

So how do people feel about SQ signatures between Auralic and PSA? Have people combined Vega G2 with Aries G2? Or Leo GX clock?

How about other MQA decoder streamer/DACs like Mytek Manhattan/Brooklyn, Lumin or dCS? Or others I've not thought about?

Do people feel that it's always better to split the processing? Streamer to DAC?

Lightning DS vs Roon?

Understand that YMMV and some are not keen on MQA vs FLAC. Thanks 

BoB

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Hi Neil,

 

I’ve auditioned at home recently both The Vega G2 and the Directstream with Bridge II.

 

One of the cool things about the PSA model is it’s upgrade path. I could have upgraded from PWD to DSD, upgrade the Ethernet bridge etc and likewise as future releases come out you can continue to do that.

 

PSA Directstream does have a warm smooth vinyl SQ about it. I also felt like it’s very firmware dependent. I did not like the latest firmware Windom at all. It sounded dull and dark to me. When I went back and tried some older firmware, Snowmass for example I was like ahhh this is more like it!

 

Vega G2 which I have just purchased has a completely different presentation. The imaging and separation of sounds and instruments in the mix is outstanding. Still very natural sounding (it’s not cold) and crystal clear.

 

I’m a metal head and for some of the complex compositions where there’s a lot going on It was easier to hear deep into the mix with the Vega, and the attack and detail of bass was better. The Directstream sounded fuller in the bass department but less distinction between bass drum and bass guitar for example on some tracks whereas the Vega really separated those lower bass notes better. The Directstream I listened to was fully broken in, whereas the G2 was brand new.

 

‘Directstream is more forgiving by virtue of having a warmer, softer sound signature. Very easy to listen to. 

 

Both really impressive. It’s a bit like picking your favourite child lol. Very different personalities but you love them both.

 

Unlike my kids however, I couldn’t have both I had to pick one.

 

I just felt like something a bit different for my digital playback. When I want that vinyl sound, I can listen to my vinyl collection, so I went with the G2. :)

 

 


 

 

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Hi DD,

Good description of the respective SQs - thanks. Your experience is reflected in some of the other blogs and reviews I’ve seen. I like that fact that PSA is upgradeable (quite regularly it seems) but then as you say quite firmware dependent. Like Apple! Auralic use ESS Sabre to their specification but have moved slightly away from MQA and have their own decoding now. PSA use R2R DAC ladder like Chord but much warmer SQ. I find Chord too bright. 

Really caught between the two children as you point out. I like Lumin streaming but not DAC (still using 9018) and Mytek but haven’t tried Manhattan II. dCS, I haven’t heard and can’t afford. Bartok at $22K supposed to be awesome but  should be at that price. 

Anyone got any other views?

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3 hours ago, BlueOceanBoy said:

PSA use R2R DAC ladder like Chord but much warmer SQ. I find Chord too bright. 

I think you mean FGPA not R2R. 
what about Denafrips Terminator- that is R2R. 

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Thanks for the correction frankn - you are correct of course. I haven’t any experience with Denafrips but gets great reviews on this forum and others. My caveat is MQA which I really like. I’ve done lots of A-B rig testing FLAC vs MQA and whilst it can be album dependent, I prefer the flexibility of ethernet MQA vs USB FLAC. Streaming MQA vs FLAC is better to my ears. Some say ROON is better than Tidal for MQA but I prefer the DAC to do the unfolding.

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currently running an Aries G1 with a Mytek Brooklyn.  Mostly FLAC from a NAS over WiFi.  A bit of Tidal.  Roon is the control source.    The Aries and Brooklyn connected via a Curious USB.  I let the Aries upsample, although I am not convinced I can hear it.  I have tried the Lightning DS app and can not hear any difference.  Others can and prefer Lightning

 

I love the sound and have no reason now to consider any form of upgrade in the digital domain.  The Mytek is compact and has the advantage of headphone amp. 

 

Fabulous combo IMO

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Hi Jamesrc,

Have you found any discernible SQ difference in your FLAC vs MQA (or Tidal FLAC)? I like the idea of an Auralic streamer and Mytek DAC. A great combo as you say. Did you experiment with your connection between Mytek and Aries? Like AES? Also, are you using ethernet to Aries? I have Lightning DS but have found it to be a bit laggy and nowhere as good (for me) as Roon. 

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On 14/12/2019 at 4:37 PM, BlueOceanBoy said:

Hi Jamesrc,

Have you found any discernible SQ difference in your FLAC vs MQA (or Tidal FLAC)? I like the idea of an Auralic streamer and Mytek DAC. A great combo as you say. Did you experiment with your connection between Mytek and Aries? Like AES? Also, are you using ethernet to Aries? I have Lightning DS but have found it to be a bit laggy and nowhere as good (for me) as Roon. 

To my 60 yo ears there is no difference in sound between the FLAC from my NAS and the Tidal versions of the same. I have tried to distinguish but cannot,

 

i did not experiment with the connection. Straight to USB, but i should try that.  I have a robust commercial style wifi mesh in the house and almost impossible access for ethernet cabling to the music corner,   The wifi has been solid.  I have had a few jitters when Tidal streaming, so my preference is owned music on the NAS

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