Vivaldi DAC Upgrade Path?

Hi everyone! I would like to pose a question to this knowledgeable group: I added a Vivaldi DAC last December and have been astonished at how much better it is compared to my already world-class DAC (which shall remain nameless). Having tasted the sweet dCS audio ambrosia I am now thinking of my next upgrade. I am debating between the Vivaldi Master Clock and the Upsampler as my next move. For further background, I am running the Antipodes CX as my Roon Core and the Antipodes EX as the Roon endpoint (renderer). The EX connects to the Vivaldi DAC via a Cardas high-speed USB cable. Which of these two dCS products would give me the biggest bang for my buck? I expect that both will eventually find a home in my system but plan to add them one at a time. I have ripped my entire CD collection onto a SSD drive that lives in the Antipodes CX (with a backed up NAS copy) so I won’t ever be looking at a Transport. Thank you!

There is no universal answer to this question. The Vivaldi Upsampler has the best incarnation of dCS’ network player and if you use network replay ( as I believe you do) rather than a transport and silver discs then this should be your preference. Otherwise the clock IMO provides a more substantial, albeit on initial hearing more subtle, foundation to the sound than upsampling, should one care for the latter.


Pete’s right: no universal answer. But, as you already have the capability, ditch that crummy USB interface and go network. Upsampler first, and then start counting the days until you tell your dealer to go ahead and order the Clock.

Been there, done that. :wink:

1 Like

Hey guys, thank you very much for the input. Interestingly, my previous DAC had both an Ethernet and a USB interface and I found myself preferring the USB. Perhaps I should go back and have another listen, as it is still in my system? I also find myself listening mostly to new music streamed from Tidal via Roon running on the Antipodes. I have wondered if going direct to Tidal from the Upsampler would provide superior sound, but I think that I already know the answer to that question :wink:
It would be awesome if dCS would come out with a music server that would run Roon, that would probably be the “ne plus ultra” of music servers.
Ultimately, it’s a tough first choice as sound quality is my primary consideration at every turn. Maybe I should just go for both of them, my wife will understand won’t she :wink:
Thanks again!

1 Like

Yes, yes she will. :rofl:

On a serious note, not all Ethernet interfaces are created equal. But from Lumin to NADAC to TotalDAC to DirectStream to MSB, I’ll take network over USB any day.

And yes, a dCS server would be something interesting, though I doubt it’s in the pipeline. Separately, I think you will find that streaming “remote” from services like Tidal and Qobuz. I find those pleasant ways to surf and sample, but they’re not the same thing as LAN-based streaming. And often not as good as local USB.

See what dCS answered to somewhat the same question.

1 Like

Hey Greg; actually my wife has always been supportive of my audio hobby. In fact, our relationship started over a mutual love of music and from there a friendship developed. Now, 11 years and 3 kids later we don’t get as much time to listen together but the joy of listening is still there; and now includes the kids too. I think that I’m leaning toward an Upsampler as the next move, for the reasons given by Andrew in the link provided by ChrisK on this thread.

I can’t say that I’ve been able to hear a significant difference between remote streaming services and the files that live on the SSD on my music server, and I think that I have a pretty revealing system. In fact, I find that a streamed MQA file sounds quite a bit better than its corresponding HD file living on my SSD. But, of course I’m comparing apples to oranges there. The difference between a standard 16/44 file on my SSD and on Tidal is there but subtle, at least to my ear. Perhaps the difference will be more noticeable when I have the Upsampler?

As for my LAN, I have a long run of CAT 6 cable from my network switch to my music room. In the music room I have installed a fibre optic interface such that it is converted to fibre then back to a standard copper CAT 7 cable going to my music server. The purpose of this is to filter out the electrical noise coming from the network switch. Seems to have made a small but noticeable difference. Had I known what I know now at the time we built the room I would have run fibre from the network switch to the music room. Hindsight is always 20/20.

I have to say that I’m quite impressed with the willingness to share and help that has been exemplified on the dCS forum. Thanks again!

(System: Antipodes CX+EX server—>Vivaldi DAC—>ARC 40th Anniversary Pre—>D’Agostino M300 monos—>KEF Blades + 2 REL 212SE subs. Shunyata Triton v3 + Sigma, Alpha, Delta NR power cords. All Cardas Clear Beyond cabling. Custom built room with GIK acoustic treatments.)

1 Like

My wife is very supportive, too. Actually, she’s more than supportive—she doesn’t care what I do or don’t put into it, so long as she can enjoy it. But the joke is still fun!

P.S. Very nice system, but seriously, consider getting away from USB. Go with the Upsampler, you’l be glad you did. Or at least get a demo to give it a whirl.

I agree, the joke is fun. I’m sad for my friends without supportive wives :frowning:
I’m going to make a serious enquiry about the Upsampler, it’s only money, right?
Thanks again!

Just to clarify, it only costs money. The joy it brings is priceless. :wink: