Aqua Formula - new upgrade, retrofittable!

Blue58

Active Member
Jan 20, 2013
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Hmmm, is the DAC doing the full unfold? That Roon setting I changed was on the system settings for the DAC. Is the LED light wrong? It went from 88.2 to 44. I’m totally confused.
By selecting Decoder + Renderer you’re telling Roon not to do the 1st decode and pass through the MQA as is. Now, the Aqua doesn’t decode or render the MQA so only sees the 44.1 stream. It’s a way of ignoring the MQA process, almost, but not quite as good as choosing the non MQA file in Tidal. That’s as far as I understand. Better still is to choose the hi-res option in Qobuz if you have the higher tier subscription. Better still to download the DXD file from 2L if at all possible and if your Mac Mini handles this sample rate.
 
Likes: asiufy
Jan 28, 2018
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By selecting Decoder + Renderer you’re telling Roon not to do the 1st decode and pass through the MQA as is. Now, the Aqua doesn’t decode or render the MQA so only sees the 44.1 stream. It’s a way of ignoring the MQA process, almost, but not quite as good as choosing the non MQA file in Tidal. That’s as far as I understand. Better still is to choose the hi-res option in Qobuz if you have the higher tier subscription. Better still to download the DXD file from 2L if at all possible and if your Mac Mini handles this sample rate.
Ah, I get it now, lol, thanks. I have the high tier option in Qobuz. I’m wondering if Roon let’s me easily find the Qobuz version from the Tidal version, it should. I’ll listen with that MQA option turned on and off to see if I hear any difference.
 

asiufy

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Ah, I get it now, lol, thanks. I have the high tier option in Qobuz. I’m wondering if Roon let’s me easily find the Qobuz version from the Tidal version, it should. I’ll listen with that MQA option turned on and off to see if I hear any difference.
Yes, it does. On the album page, look for the "Versions" tab. Right there, it should mention whether it has located Tidal/Qobuz versions of that album and also any local versions within your library.
 
Mar 16, 2019
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Just placed my order of Formula xHD through Edward.
Waiting now...
 
Jan 16, 2013
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Just placed my order of Formula xHD through Edward.
Waiting now...
Congrats! I love my xHD and really have no desire for another DAC with what is currently available in the market.
 
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Congrats! I love my xHD and really have no desire for another DAC with what is currently available in the market.
Thanks!!:) It will be the latest specs with updated analog board. ;)
 
Jan 16, 2013
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Nice! So, you’re buying a brand new unit and not just the upgrade?

I love my Formula, I think it sounds great. I don’t have room in my rack for a three box digital solution.
Yup! It is a brand new unit with 2019 specs!
 
Likes: LarryK
Mar 16, 2019
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For formula, RCA vs XLR output, which one is better?
 
Jan 16, 2013
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For formula, RCA vs XLR output, which one is better?
My answer as with most things, is that it depends. Meaning if you are going into a balanced preamp or dac you might prefer the balanced outputs because the receiving piece of equipment is more suited for a balanced inputs.

If you are going into an SE/RCA input then the RCA output would most likely be preferred.

With the new analog output board I use both RCA and Balanced outpus simaltaneously and I have no real preference. I am feeding the balanced into a completely balanced system. I am feeding the RCA inputs into a completely RCA, non balanced system.
 
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My answer as with most things, is that it depends. Meaning if you are going into a balanced preamp or dac you might prefer the balanced outputs because the receiving piece of equipment is more suited for a balanced inputs.

If you are going into an SE/RCA input then the RCA output would most likely be preferred.

With the new analog output board I use both RCA and Balanced outpus simaltaneously and I have no real preference. I am feeding the balanced into a completely balanced system. I am feeding the RCA inputs into a completely RCA, non balanced system.
Thanks!
Aqua will be going to Diablo 300.
Guess l will experience myself and see which one sounds better.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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Thanks!
Aqua will be going to Diablo 300.
Guess l will experience myself and see which one sounds better.
Regardless of what ANYONE says, including me, it really is system dependent and so yes trying both is the best way to know for sure. I would normally think the RCA out would be better beause the balanced out uses transformers, BUT in my several systems using the balanced output into balanced systems sounds quite good.
 
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Will report back. Aqua should be delivered in 3 weeks time. But I dont have identical XLR and RCA cables. Need to find one
 
Jan 28, 2018
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Thanks!
Aqua will be going to Diablo 300.
Guess l will experience myself and see which one sounds better.
I’ve read great things about the Diablo 300. I like Gryphon’s amplifiers and own a Gryphon Colosseum stereo amp, my dream amp and one I don’t expect to ever sell. What are your speakers? I have a pair of Cantatas. Let us know how it all sounds.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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I just got in a new preamp, a Pilium Alexander preamp https://www.piliumaudio.com/alexander-preamplifier-divine-line/, which is fully balanced all the way to the Pilium balanced amps. I connected both the rca and xlr outputs of the AF xHD to the Alexander.

I expected the RCA ouputs of the AF xHD to sound better.

They actually sounded very similar, hard to tell the difference in the system they were connected to. If I felt one sounded a bit more robust it would be the XLR outputs. That is in this specific system and so now I will run the xlr outputs into the Alexander and run the rca outputs to a Kondo M1000 or Jadis JP80 preamp.

It's really nice to have the dual ouputs that can drive two systems without having to connect/disconnect IC's.
 
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I’ve read great things about the Diablo 300. I like Gryphon’s amplifiers and own a Gryphon Colosseum stereo amp, my dream amp and one I don’t expect to ever sell. What are your speakers? I have a pair of Cantatas. Let us know how it all sounds.
I am using YG Carmel 2 with Diablo 300. Owned a Diablo 250 before that.
Compared to 250, 300 delivers more dynamic and more lively compared to 250. Previous I felt 250 sounds ‘dry’ especially the vocal. Now vocal is sweeter and I like it.

I haven’t heard Colosseum before. But listened to Mephisto before and the pure Class A is very good.
 
Mar 16, 2019
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Finally safely arrive from Italy.. Thanks to Mark, Edward and Cristian. Time to run in...
 

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Mar 16, 2019
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Side by side with MSB Platinum DAC VI Plus.

Just nice arrive before away to Japan. Should have fully run in when I return. :p
 

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Blue58

Active Member
Jan 20, 2013
481
150
43
London, UK
Installed the new analogue board into the Formula yesterday and initial impressions are that it’s changed the character completely from Italian romance to German teutonicness. I’m hoping a few days/weeks burn in (not the 600hrs please) will bring back some sweetness though I could also play with HQP settings at a later date.

Highlights include; much larger soundstage particularly front to back, increase in dynamics, another drop in noisefloor, and more resolved bass.
Downsides, hopefully temporary; in your face vocals, less organic presentation, not quite as ‘musical’ (more head than heart).

It could also be reacting to the temporary rollerball feet supporting it.

Anyone care to comment on how the first week progresses?

Cheers
Blue58
 

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