Emm labs DA2 v2 upgrade

Ian B

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Oct 20, 2020
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My dealer just msg me say there is a new firmware update for the NS1.

Anybody knows what improvements are supposed to come with the new fw update?


Frankly, I'm enjoying the TX2 and DA2 combination so much I very reluctant to unplug the tpt to switch to the streamer unless it is really worth it.

Unless there is MQA support via the emm optilink, otherwise, hmm....,
It does not seem accessible yet, although maybe you can ask EMM Labs. I did actually ask them about upcoming firmware when I bought my NS1. What I was told was that it would support 352khz and DSD128 over optilink. Given that increase in bandwidth, and public pressure, I'd presume it has more complete MQA support.

I'm hoping it has support for the new Innous 2.0 OS/app so I'm not stuck between Roon and Connect.
 

Ian B

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Oct 20, 2020
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I downloaded an NS1 firmware update from the MConnect "Settings" tab. There is no documentation I've seen about this update, and I'm not actually sure what is in it. My NS1 still cannot do the higher sample rates over optilink, so I guess that remains further down the road. I can play fully unfolded MQA at least to 96khz over the optilink connection and it sounds fine.
 

Ian B

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Oct 20, 2020
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Kind of random observation listening to some MQA files vs FLAC/AIFF on the DA2. Every time I listen to MQA I get the sense that it actually fudges a lot of details and lacks the precision and clarity of regular old PCM, but has a really pleasant speed and flow to it. On the DA2 I came away with the same conclusions, the PCM audio quality was overall much better and the EMM Labs transient correcting filters did a great job at preserving the attack of and shape of transient sounds like kick drums and strummed guitars. And yet...MQA still seems a little more fast and fluid. It's a weird thing to say, but the MQA processing yields a little more DSD-like result than EMM Labs PCM-DSD upsampler.

Maybe the Meridian design is a higher bandwidth or even gentler filters because they break the Nyquist rules in PCM audio. It really gets me feeling like if the regular PCM upsampler had that same speed and fluidity this DAC would be on another level, and to me, just about perfect. I want my PCM to sound just as relaxed and fluid as real DSD.
 

johndoe21ro

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Oct 3, 2012
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Kind of random observation listening to some MQA files vs FLAC/AIFF on the DA2. Every time I listen to MQA I get the sense that it actually fudges a lot of details and lacks the precision and clarity of regular old PCM, but has a really pleasant speed and flow to it. On the DA2 I came away with the same conclusions, the PCM audio quality was overall much better and the EMM Labs transient correcting filters did a great job at preserving the attack of and shape of transient sounds like kick drums and strummed guitars. And yet...MQA still seems a little more fast and fluid. It's a weird thing to say, but the MQA processing yields a little more DSD-like result than EMM Labs PCM-DSD upsampler.

Maybe the Meridian design is a higher bandwidth or even gentler filters because they break the Nyquist rules in PCM audio. It really gets me feeling like if the regular PCM upsampler had that same speed and fluidity this DAC would be on another level, and to me, just about perfect. I want my PCM to sound just as relaxed and fluid as real DSD.
As far as I'm concerned, MQA is flawed. It's just a format designed to help entry-level digital systems sound reasonable or more analog-like. But it's lossy and it tricks the ears of the beginners into thinking it's better... It's not!
 
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Ian B

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As far as I'm concerned, MQA is flawed. It's just a format designed to help entry-level digital systems sound reasonable or more analog-like. But it's lossy and it tricks the ears of the beginners into thinking it's better... It's not!
I agree with this assessment, even without reading the literature. MQA lacks fidelity to my ears.

But I think it also demonstrates that "analog" sound in the digital world really comes from an extremely fast and relaxed presentation. What I like about EMM Labs is its speed, detail, and lack of fatigue. The R2R/NOS DACs can have a similar effect because of their simplicity and lack of digital processing.

But just thinking, with 16x DSD as the DA2 output format they should have the bandwidth to play lossless PCM audio considerably faster and more relaxed than MQA, but they aren't quite there. DCS is much farther behind and still sounds very digital to me.
 

Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Hi guys,

You might be interested in this recent comments by Fred Crowder (Dagogo: Stage III Concepts A.S.P. Reference Poseidon Power Cable Review, June 01, 2021):

"As noted above, I like the violin concerto [Szymanowski Violin Concertos, Tasmin Little] quite a bit, but it was not recorded in what I would consider great analog, so it has been an ongoing project to find a great digital version. I don’t know that this Chandos release is necessarily “it,” but the sound is super, at least on the current system. SACD can do such a great job with ambience and atmosphere. Chandos, in recent years, has refined their techniques in such a way that their recordings can be quite satisfying — indeed, extremely so, as this one was. The soundstage was very wide, extended well back, and with wonderfully transparent air in the top. Due credit must be given to the EMM digital front end, and to the Poseidon, which fed it. Another thing that I really enjoy about good SACD is that it can be very difficult to overload and there was nothing like overloading here. Crescendos never broke up at the edges. Finally, and one of the main reasons I wanted to try out this recording with the Poseidon, is that the music and the recording both stress the exoticism similar to what one would find in Scriabin or Rimsky Korsakov. I thought that the Poseidon might let me hear that to fullest advantage, and I was not mistaken."
 

Ian B

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Oct 20, 2020
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I've had some modestly critical comments about the DA2 in the past, but after I fixed some power system mismanagement (an extra unused Alpha NR cable plugged into my Denali and one too many PS Audio Noise Harvesters at the wall) the sound almost miraculously improved and I am very much satisfied with it. Now there is a fluidity and rhythmic motion that was dampened before, more power to the transients and bass, much more noticeable 3D effect, and a lovely "wholeness" and completion to the detail and resolution. What I had heard as a soft of muffled top end is liquid and sparkly and the whole soundstage has improved. This is the same character that drew me to DSD from the early SACDs, all recorded with EMM Labs analog to digital converters, but immensely detailed and spacious.

It goes to show what a little tweak can do, especially where power is involved.

My DA2+NS1 system has now reached a level where I know I can improve it downstream, but that actually DAC part that crucially generates the analog signal, I can't even imagine better. I can imagine equally good, and lateral moves, different character. But from any reference points I have ever personally heard, and what I can imagine, I can't conceive of a better DAC. Maybe it's possible it could have a tad more analog-tone and meat, but then that can probably be address with cables, amps and speakers.

It's a personal preference, I like the fluidity and detail of DSD, and I'm very much focused on eliminating "digital" sound without replacing it with some other heavy handed coloration (a la tube DACs). For me, this combo (also with Aural Symphonics optilink cable) and my Shunyata Sigmas, fixes digital, and balances low ear fatigue, high musicality, and richness, with transparency, detail, and speed. It crushes digital sounding DCS products I have encountered (to my taste). If I am every extremely wealthy I might want an MSB in a separate room, but man this is great. I think I am set for a long time on the digital end of things.

Moral of the story, it's all about the system supporting the DAC, so make sure you are feeding this thing and your amps the best power you can, and use cabling that emphasizes speed, clarity, and low noise. Also, use the optilink input and the best fibre cable you can.
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Hi guys,

If you love Prokofiev, this is one stunning disc to buy : Prokofiev, The 2 Violin Concertos, Arabella Steinbacher, Russian National Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko. (PentaTone SACD) I was transported to the Grand Hall of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory via the EMM Labs DV2. The performances were passionate and beautiful and with great precision. I especially love the underpinning high definition bass-lines via the Magico Q-Sub 15!
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Hi,

Yet another recommendation : Tchaikovsky Selections, Russian National Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev, PentaTone SACD. If you want to hear a symphony orchestra in all its glory, this is the disc for you! Huge soundstage, great clarity throughout, great precision, accuracy of timbres, awesome bass and dynamics, and yet no compression - the power of the orchestra was reproduced effortlessly!
 

Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Hi guys,

I have just finished listening to a cappella works by Copland, Durufle, Tavener, Vaughan Williams, Messiaen and Tallis, sung by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus, and directed by Norman Mackenzie (Telarc SACD)

Wow, this particular album is one of the best and most realistically recorded cappella works and a recording to die for! The excellent acoustic of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta was beautifully captured. I was transported to the venue! Not too long ago, this was not possible for digital, but many thanks to my EMM Labs DV2 V2, and the rest of the excellent components in my sound system, it is possible now. Very highly recommended.
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Another awesome recording: Veljo Tormis, Curse Upon Iron, Works For Male Choir by Veljo Tormis, Orphei Drangar (male choir), Cecilia Rydinger Alin, conductor (BIS SACD) Thrilling/beautiful voices, amazing hall acoustics (Uppsala University Hall, Sweden), awesome bass drum (Litany to Thunder) and shaman drum (Curse Upon Iron) and shimmering, silvery, sparkling, airy flute!
 

Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Desert Island Disc Revisited: Antonio Vivaldi - Rachel Podger, Arte Dei SuonatoriLa Stravaganza (12 Violin Concertos), Channel Classics SACD.

The listening was an intense and exhilarating experience. I am familiar with the sound of a string orchestra up-close. The same tangible presence was heard and felt in my room listening to this SACD. Intimate reverberation, exquisite instrumental timbre and despite the fact that there was only one bass player, the way the bass line blooms in the Polish church was very impressive. However, this level of detail was only possible with the inclusion of Ansuz Acoustics DTC Supreme and DTC2 signal cables.
 

Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Hi guys,

Another new great discovery: Weber Overtures by the Tapiola Sinfonietta, conducted by Jean-Jacques Kantorow (BIS SACD).

They are all light, but dramatic pieces, passionately played by the Tapiola Sinfonietta. This chamber orchestra punches above its weight, with great control and refinement! The acoustics of the Tapiola Hall must have played a part in this clear but vibrant sound-scape. The immediacy, and clarity of all the instruments (including the double basses and drums) were so satisfying.

This level of musical texture (I am referring to its tempo, melodic and harmonic materials) is possible, partly, thanks to the low self-noise of my entire sound system. I should mentioned that my Magico M2's monocoque enclosure is formed using multiple layers of carbon fiber, and an internal three-axis matrix framework along with three tension rods running front to back internally contribute to an extremely rigid enclosure which eliminates unwanted resonances and colorations. Also, all my electronic components rest on the Ansuz Acoustics DTC resonance controls footers. The Critical Mass Systems' Maxxum rack and amplifier stand also contribute to its low noise.
 

Addicted to hifi

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Hi guys,

Another new great discovery: Weber Overtures by the Tapiola Sinfonietta, conducted by Jean-Jacques Kantorow (BIS SACD).

They are all light, but dramatic pieces, passionately played by the Tapiola Sinfonietta. This chamber orchestra punches above its weight, with great control and refinement! The acoustics of the Tapiola Hall must have played a part in this clear but vibrant sound-scape. The immediacy, and clarity of all the instruments (including the double basses and drums) were so satisfying.

This level of musical texture (I am referring to its tempo, melodic and harmonic materials) is possible, partly, thanks to the low self-noise of my entire sound system. I should mentioned that my Magico M2's monocoque enclosure is formed using multiple layers of carbon fiber, and an internal three-axis matrix framework along with three tension rods running front to back internally contribute to an extremely rigid enclosure which eliminates unwanted resonances and colorations. Also, all my electronic components rest on the Ansuz Acoustics DTC resonance controls footers. The Critical Mass Systems' Maxxum rack and amplifier stand also contribute to its low noise.
I got this sacd and it is excellent.
 

teeraash

New Member
Sep 12, 2021
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Hi, I would like to thanks all the forum participants here. I've followed this thread for awhile as I am interested in DA2 and had it auditioned at my home. It sounded good but I were not that impressed probably because many components in my system are not up to it. I returned the dac 4 days ago and I've upgraded upstream components. I borrow JL Audio CR1 and it helps to integrate my Fanthom 112 with the main speakers, Sonus Faber Il Cremonese ex3reme. My listening room is quite problematic with strong peaks (80hz) and valleys and the CR1 is very beneficial tool to mitigate this problem. I also tried Ansuz D2 interconnect to see what Andy were talking about but I've to admit that my system had never sounded this good! The dealer will replace it with D-TC supreme about 2 weeks from now. The dealer also brought used Ansuz Mainz8 DTC with DTC power cable which was replaced last year by D-TC 2. He will give me good price on these used items. I'm not sure about Ansuz power distributor and cable and will try Shunyata Everest 8000 and Omega XC power cable to see which work best in my system.

Truth be told, now I've have less appetite for the DA2 or DV2 as the upgrades above make my Holo Audio Spring R2R dac sound so good.

Hope that I explained things clear enough as English is not my mother tongue language.
 

marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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Hi guys,

Another new great discovery: Weber Overtures by the Tapiola Sinfonietta, conducted by Jean-Jacques Kantorow (BIS SACD).

They are all light, but dramatic pieces, passionately played by the Tapiola Sinfonietta. This chamber orchestra punches above its weight, with great control and refinement! The acoustics of the Tapiola Hall must have played a part in this clear but vibrant sound-scape. The immediacy, and clarity of all the instruments (including the double basses and drums) were so satisfying.

This level of musical texture (I am referring to its tempo, melodic and harmonic materials) is possible, partly, thanks to the low self-noise of my entire sound system. I should mentioned that my Magico M2's monocoque enclosure is formed using multiple layers of carbon fiber, and an internal three-axis matrix framework along with three tension rods running front to back internally contribute to an extremely rigid enclosure which eliminates unwanted resonances and colorations. Also, all my electronic components rest on the Ansuz Acoustics DTC resonance controls footers. The Critical Mass Systems' Maxxum rack and amplifier stand also contribute to its low noise.
Wonderful album. Thanks for the heads up, Yuen.
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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If you want to show off your EMM Labs DA2/DV2 (and your sound system), this is one excellent recording to use: Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake, Dmitry Yablonsky, Russian State Symphony Orchestra (Naxos 2 SACDs). The orchestra sound has an arresting immediacy and purity. The soundstage is huge. You can also hear the excellent reverberant acoustics of the recording venue. This is a world-class orchestra. They played with great passion and refinement and with the greatest delicacy. And the orchestra at full power was handled with ease and with great clarity.
 

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