Questions from a new owner of Vivaldi Apex Dac

Have owned Bartok for about a year, just got a good deal on a dealer demo of Vivaldi dac with Apex upgrade, the sonic difference between Bartok and Vivaldi is huge. Since I only have the Vivaldi dac itself, I have some questions hoping you guys can provide answers:

1, I use Aurender N30sa as a streamer/sever connected to a Ideon Time clock via usb, then connected to Vivaldi via usb. I don’t think I need a Vivaldi stack. I couldn’t find a way to use Mosaic to control Vivaldi, the only thing I can do is to use front panel or remote. Is there any app to control the Vivaldi dac remotely?

2, I find the only thing the remote can do is to change the filter and volume, it can’t change the input which is important to me, because I also have a CD transport connected to Vivaldi dac.

Very appreciated your help


It is a very good move, the Vivaldi is a fantastic Dac.
The Aurender must be very good too, however when your dealer has a very good deal fir a Vivaldi Upsampler, if you can, don’t hesitate, and you will enjoy the maximum your dac can achieve, you won’t regret it.

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Thanks. What will gain if I add Upsampler to the stack? I’ve read some posts in this forum suggesting that the Upsampler is not adding any true benefit.

I am afraid that the straightforward answer to your question is, in fact, that you really do need a Vivaldi stack as you need a way of adding network control for which, as I am sure you understand, you need to incorporate Mosaic and for which you require the Vivaldi Upsampler. A year or so ago you could have used a Network Bridge ( no need for the Aurender) but that is NLA.

Sorry to bang on but as I have written several times in the past, buying single Vivaldi components ( even if offered an attractive price) inevitably turns out an expensive option as you will find that need or want some or all of the other boxes. Remember that Vivaldi was designed as a digital replay system.

So what else can you do? Yes, practical remote Vivaldi DAC control requires either Mosaic or IR; both costly choices. However if you can get access to a dCS Universal IR handset then you may be able to also get hold of a learning IR handset and copy the dCS codes to it. Nevertheless this is now a less easy option, nearly into 2023, as their availability is markedly reduced compared to a few years back.

Hi Pete, thanks for your reply. What is the most important aspect do I miss if I don’t have Mosaic to control the dac? What can Mosaic do but not accessible on the front panel? My understanding is that Aurender can do all the digital source work just as Upsampler does, or do I miss something?

You need Mosaic to select Clone Mode but this will not affect you currently as you have no upsampler.

I thought that your concern was basically with your inability to select inputs remotely . Mosaic solves that for free. However if you are actually happy to work things from the front panel then do that.

As you do not have an upsampler that is about it. However the preferred digital input to Vivaldi DAC is network and USB ( which your Aurender means that it is what you use) is generally held not to be as good sounding.

I am unsure what streaming services Aurender Conductor offers but the online information seems to suggest it is less comprehensive than Mosaic ( what i have seen shows only Tidal and Qobuz, no Deezer, Spotify or extensive streaming radio services).

There are two things the Aurender cannot do.

  1. Get the clock of the dac and the streamer synchronised. That you can do with the Vivaldi Dac and Upsampler.

  2. with the Upsampler the Dac shall always get data at the highest rate as possible 24/384 or so.

You get the very best of your dac with the upsampler connected.

Actually, unless I’m mistaken, he will be able to have both; the Aurender N30SA has a Word-Clock input, which he can connect to the Vivaldi DAC’s Word-Clock OUT (with the DAC set to it’s internal Master Mode), and while he won’t be able to upsample with the Aurender, it does support DXD source, and DSD128 via DoP as well, including Dual AES between the Aurender and Vivaldi DAC.

Without Mosaic, you won’t have the ability to upgrade the DAC’s firmware, unless your dCS dealer provides you with the dCS firmware on a CD (which they don’t do much these days).

On remote control though, you might want to explore Aurender’s “dCS-USB-to-RS232” dongle, which I believe gives the Aurender App the ability to control some aspects the dCS unit, including Volume control, but I’m not sure what else.

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Just my suggestion, with no negativity intended:

-Sell the Aurender
-Replace with Roon Nucleus
-Use the profits to purchase Vivaldi Upsampler
-Connect Nucleus to Vivaldi Upsampler via ethernet

Since Vivaldi and Rossini isolate/buffer the incoming network stream, I remains skeptical of “high end” music servers.

Just MHO.


For best sound quality it is highly recommended to use AES (110Ω) or SPDIF coax (75Ω) to connect audio to the Vivaldi.
Aurender N30SA supports sampling rates up to 24bit/192kHz and DSD (DoP) via AES and SPDIF outputs.

Do you connect the audio outputs of the Aurender N30SA to the Vivaldi or the outputs of the Ideon Absolute Time, which also works as a reclocker?
The Ideon Absolute Time is obviously intended to ‘improve’ the USB signal.
Just my suggestion: sell the Ideon Absolute Time and sync the Aurender to the Vivaldi.
Personally I use a Mutec MC-3+ USB as a reclocker / word clock generator. Essentially to sync units without word clock input (e.g. CD transport).

With the original dCS remote you can also change the input (DAC In), the phase (Phase) and mute the unit (Mute) plus the filter (Filter) and Volume.
For all other settings you need to use the front panel.

This option is not available on the Aurender N30SA (only on the W20 / W20SE).

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You probably never listened to an Aurender N30SA

I connect Aurender to Ideon Time via usb, then Ideon Time to Vivaldi dac via usb. The intended idea doing this way is described by Ideon like this:
" USB & SPDIF re-clocking at the highest possible performance level

The Ideon Audio Absolute Time was conceived, designed, and manufactured as an ultra hi-end audiophile device, re-clocking, re-energizing, and re-driving the digital signal with correction at both the input and output stages.

It improves the digital signal quality to what is currently an absolute level.

Addressing digital playback challenges.

Conceived and designed in-house, the Ideon Audio Triple Distillation USB input comprises a proprietary three-stage noise eradication circuit that eliminates digital noise from the input signal.

Figuratively speaking, we have declared war on linear & non-linear distortion and noise!"

Is skipping Ideon time and syncing Aurender with Vivaldi dac directly will produce better result? How to sync them?

I did read the description on Ideon’s homepage.
However, dCS pioneered asynchronous USB in 2009 and later opened up their innovation to everyone.

"The DAC’s USB interface works in asynchronous mode. This allows the clock inside the DAC to control the delivery of data from the computer, avoiding the use of the computer’s inaccurate and jittery clock.“ (see page 12 of the Vivaldi user manual)

Therefore the Ideon Absolute Time is of absolutely no use in your configuration.

Basically you can sync the Vivaldi to the audio inputs from the Aurender and a CD transport.
Use AES single input from the Aurender and possibly SPDIF from the CD transport.

AFAIK the word clock output from the Vivaldi only supports 44.1kHz, so it cannot be used to sync the Aurender (via Vivaldi’s Master Mode), when source material is based upon 48kHz.

You are correct! No one has. That’s because it is a storage device, responsible for only pushing 1s and 0s into the Rossini/Vivaldi buffer.

; )

Well I A/B’d the N30SA vs the Taiko Extreme about a year ago and the Aurrender (I have never been a fan) outperformed the Taiko by a great deal. I was there to possibly place an order for the Taiko but came away deciding to wait to see if Taiko is ever ready for Prime Time.

You may not think you aren’t hearing that storage device but……….

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I’m not the resident expert on this topic, but from page 36 of dCS Vivaldi DAC manual:

“Word Clock Output on 1x BNC connector. In Master mode, a TTL-compatible word clock appears on this output, not temperature compensated. The word clock frequency is either 44.1 or 48kHz, depending on the incoming data rate.”

More info on pages 26 and 31

Not just a storage device, also a streamer. And a great user friendly reliable interface.

Would never sell it for a Roon nucleus

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I’m sure it is. And to be clear, I’m definitely not trying to insult anyone’s gear. It was merely my suggestion given the user’s current setup.

Roon + Vivaldi Upsampler + Vivaldi DAC probably costs the same, solves the described connection issue (USB->Ethernet), and would likely unlock addition performance.

I’m in favor of a simple signal path, but that’s just me!

Since Vivaldi and Rossini both buffer the incoming data stream, I do find it odd that any streaming device, regardless of brand, that is not also a DAC, can claim sonic benefits that the DAC is responsible for. For example, how can a device, pre-buffering, pre-D2A conversion, and pre-clocking, claim to reduce jitter?

I’m open to all sensible explanations.

This is what the Rossini manual says. Buffer: “Set to On, the digital data is delayed before being presented to the Ring DAC – this is the usual setting. The delay is 0.72 seconds with 44.1kS/s data and 0.16 seconds with
192kS/s data. The delay gives the DAC time to detect changes in sample rate or clock frequency and mute before the change causes audible clicks or other noises.”


You are right.

Vivaldi DAC Manual V01


"The Sync Mode setting must be set separately for each input that is used. This
arrangement is necessary to allow a mixture of clocked and un-clocked sources to be
used in the same system.“

"You can use Master Mode ONLY if your source equipment can lock to a 44.1kHz word
clock and the DAC is receiving data at 44.1, 88.2, 176.4 or 352.8kS/s or DSD. If the
system is not set up correctly and fails to lock, you will hear clicks / noises from the
speakers and the signal may be distorted.“

Remark: I’m sorry I was misled by the above section.

"To select Master Mode, open the DAC’s menu, navigate to the Settings > Sync Mode menu
page. The button sequence is: Menu, ►, Menu, and then use the Menu button to select
the Master Mode icon.“


"When the unit is set to Master mode, the DAC uses its internal clock instead of locking to the data or
one of the Word Clock In puts, then the Word Clock Out connector (S) carries a word clock at the same rate as the single-wire input rate. This MUST be connected to the source equipment, so that the system can lock.
Word clock is used for synchronisation only, it does not carry digital data.“


"Master – The DAC uses its own stable clock while the Word Clock Out put carries a
clock at the same rate as the incoming data, so that the source can lock to the DAC. For
correct master mode operation, the source equipment MUST be locked to the DAC. This
is the recommended setting if you have a Vivaldi Transport, but not a Vivaldi Clock. The
SDIF-2 input does not support this mode.“


"Word Clock Output on 1x BNC connector. In Master mode, a TTL-compatible
word clock appears on this output, not temperature compensated. The word
clock frequency is either 44.1 or 48kHz, depending on the incoming data rate.