Aqua Formula - new upgrade, retrofittable!

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
3,182
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San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
Nice. Could you comment on what we will gain with the upgrade?
Larry,

It's the analog output board. So, much improved analog section :)

cheers,
Alex
 

darkfrank

New Member
Oct 29, 2018
6
0
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Officially announced on Aqua’s website and Facebook page.
Two boards (1105/1106) to replace and it’s only 2 bolts to remove the whole thing. Superb modularity.

Now who knows what ‘Macchina’ firmware is? Time to fire off an email I think.

https://www.aquahifi.com/tech_area.html
View attachment 53452
I heard that there is also a usb firmware upgrade available, but required to send the usb board back to Italy which is very inconvenience...
 
Jan 28, 2018
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I heard that there is also a usb firmware upgrade available, but required to send the usb board back to Italy which is very inconvenience...
Any idea what the firmware upgrade fixes? Sometimes my Mac Mini will not allow me to select the Formula in the Settings/Sound window. If I turn off the DAC and unplug and re-plug the USB cable, I can fix it.

Had anybody else seen this problem?
 

sbo6

Active Member
May 19, 2014
773
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Round Rock, TX
Jan 28, 2018
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Ok, I ordered the boards. As of now, it is in stock.

As for USB problem, Cristian suggested I try a high speed USB 2.0 of better quality so I ordered a Supra .7m USB cable.
 
Jan 20, 2013
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London, UK
Ok, I ordered the boards. As of now, it is in stock.

As for USB problem, Cristian suggested I try a high speed USB 2.0 of better quality so I ordered a Supra .7m USB cable.
Well done Larry, you’re quick off the mark. Let members know how it performs over the old board in your system.
Cheers
 
Jan 28, 2018
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Well done Larry, you’re quick off the mark. Let members know how it performs over the old board in your system.
Cheers
Will do. You know, I think it’s great that we have someone who is willing to upgrade existing units.

How are other people driving the Formula? At the moment, I’m streaming Tidal and Qobuz integrated under Roon, through the USB connection from a Mac Mini. Qobuz seems to have more higher resolution CDs than Tidal.

Any thoughts of how else I could best use my Formula? It has so many other inputs and supports a dizzying number of resolutions.
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
3,182
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83
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
Hi Larry,

You can use the other digital inputs to hook up a CD transport (SPDIF), for instance, or perhaps even a television/cable box (Toslink).
For the USB, you can get a nice upgrade in performance if you go for a dedicated server, such as the Innuos products or even Roon Nucleus. They unequivocally sound better than a Mac mini.
 
Jan 28, 2018
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Hi Larry,

You can use the other digital inputs to hook up a CD transport (SPDIF), for instance, or perhaps even a television/cable box (Toslink).
For the USB, you can get a nice upgrade in performance if you go for a dedicated server, such as the Innuos products or even Roon Nucleus. They unequivocally sound better than a Mac mini.
I don’t have cable TV, as hard as that is to believe, lol. I stream some things from Apple TV but usually listen to music or play guitar or piano.

As for the replacing the Mac Mini, I will look into it. It’s all about time and money, of course. Also, I like being able to stream from anything on the Mac Mini, including the Naxos Music Library, and I don’t like the idea of dealing with a Windows box. Plus, I ripped all 3000 of my CDs to Apple Lossless and Roon is set up to read that metadata in order to suggest new CDs. What would I do about all of that if I switched to a different computer frontend?

Oh, the boards showed up from Italy. Wow, what service! I’ll try to get it installed in the next few days. I just set up a Niagara 5000 to protect all of my components and I’m listening to that.
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
3,182
258
83
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
Larry,

If your Apple TV is old enough, it will have a Toslink output, which will allow you to plug it into the Aqua! Unfortunately the newer ones only have HDMI...
The servers I've suggested do not use Windows, and they're basically appliances, so you won't use them like a computer, but like a dedicated, music-playing, Roon-running device.
I know you're not going to like this, but I suggest re-ripping your CDs again, this time in WAV or AIFF, for best sound quality :) The Innuos has built-in storage and a CD ripper, so it'll make that job easier...
You can copy the files from your Mac mini to the new server, and use them, but as I said above, it'd be best to re-rip them for optimal SQ.


cheers,
Alex
 
Likes: sbo6
Jan 28, 2018
63
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Larry,

If your Apple TV is old enough, it will have a Toslink output, which will allow you to plug it into the Aqua! Unfortunately the newer ones only have HDMI...
The servers I've suggested do not use Windows, and they're basically appliances, so you won't use them like a computer, but like a dedicated, music-playing, Roon-running device.
I know you're not going to like this, but I suggest re-ripping your CDs again, this time in WAV or AIFF, for best sound quality :) The Innuos has built-in storage and a CD ripper, so it'll make that job easier...
You can copy the files from your Mac mini to the new server, and use them, but as I said above, it'd be best to re-rip them for optimal SQ.


cheers,
Alex
Well, AIFF is just uncompressed ALAC, which is what I ripped to, so I don’t think there is any difference in sound quality. WAV is too big.

No, I don’t really want to rip everything over again. I want to go back into the past and take back all my CD purchases. That would give me another $50k to spend on audio gear. :)

I’m not sold on these appliances because they’re running some operating system underneath, and, like I said, I like being able to stream anything to the Formula, Naxos from a web browser running Flash, yuck, but that’s what they force you to use, YouTube videos, whatever. I’m skeptical of special purpose boxes. I’ll look again and scratch my head about it.
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
3,182
258
83
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
Your Mac has an operating system running underneath :) Any reasonably complex device will need an operating system. Whether it's a simple, pared down one (Linux) or a complex (Windows/MacOS) is up for debate, but you do need one.

Most people, including myself, has been able to hear a difference between AIFF/WAV and FLAC (which is compressed). And ALAC just the same. There will likely be a difference, but I get it if you don't want to go to the trouble of ripping everything again. I'm talking out of experience, as I did the same thing. I had ripped a good 1000 of my CDs in ALAC when I moved to AIFF, and don't regret it.

BTW WAV and AIFF files are about the same size. ALAC/FLAC can be much smaller, depending on how much compression is applied. But again, I believe the file size increase is worth it, given the better SQ.

cheers,
alex
 
Jan 28, 2018
63
5
8
Your Mac has an operating system running underneath :) Any reasonably complex device will need an operating system. Whether it's a simple, pared down one (Linux) or a complex (Windows/MacOS) is up for debate, but you do need one.

Most people, including myself, has been able to hear a difference between AIFF/WAV and FLAC (which is compressed). And ALAC just the same. There will likely be a difference, but I get it if you don't want to go to the trouble of ripping everything again. I'm talking out of experience, as I did the same thing. I had ripped a good 1000 of my CDs in ALAC when I moved to AIFF, and don't regret it.

BTW WAV and AIFF files are about the same size. ALAC/FLAC can be much smaller, depending on how much compression is applied. But again, I believe the file size increase is worth it, given the better SQ.

cheers,
alex
Yes, everything has an operating system, I just like the openness of running OS X and the ability to stream anything to the USB connection to the Formula.

So many of my CDs are in the streaming libraries, I wonder how many of them I actually need to have ripped. It’s nice to have them all ripped because I downsampled all to 192kbps and they all fit on my IPhone with room to spare.

Best,

Larry
 
Feb 16, 2013
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Brazil
The friend of a customer in Miami recently upgraded to this new board. Cost was @$1200 and this is the fb he gave me

I've forgot to comment that the new 2019 analog boards looks physically identical to the old revision, just a few different resistors and caps, but the rest looks same. SQ is definely better: wider soundstage and the bass weakness we noticed before on the XLRs disappeared, Bass is now very impactful and digs low..

As an aside, it is worthwhile upgrading the mains fuse which is located in the little green box just inside by the iec inlet. They also felt that rca output sounded better than xlr though this will also depend on the topology of your amplifier(s).

Btw Fitting this board is a diy job. No shipping / downtime involved.
The bass sounding better and deeper is a very good news. And RCA sounding better is nice for me, a SET user.

Mark, can’t wait to get my new board!

Hopefully this month.
 
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