Vivaldi Upsampler - Any Benefit For CDs?

What’s the best configuration for the cd transport? SPDIF to Upsampler or upsampling directly from the Transport?

I seem to recall that some years ago one of the dCS techs wrote that there is a theoretic advantage in upsampling at the transport. If so the number of choices however are limited to PCM to DSD or DXDx2. Vivaldi Upsampler gives a wider choice of PCM output sample rates if that is of interest to you.

Whether the choice results in a significant audible improvement to you either way I will leave to you.

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I upsample at the transport and disabling the pcm outputs on the transport provides a noticeable improvement. Although I recall @Anupc saying he prefers doing it via the upsampler.
I don’t have the upsampler to compare although I do upsample to DSD with an old school dCS from my current streaming solution.

I would suggest trying out the several options to see what works best for both Aurender and transport regarding sq and ease of use.

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Hello everyone.

I’ve been finally able to audition the Aurender N20 connected to the dCS Vivaldi Upsampler via AES-EBU and it sounded great!

The problem that I am now facing lies with the dCS Vivaldi Transport.

When the dealer came to my place today, we’ve listened to some redbook cds with the dCS Vivaldi Transport both upsampling music from the Transport itself as well as upsampling from the dCS Vivaldi Upsampler connected to the Transport via SPDF cable (Transparent Reference) and concluded that, although the SPDF connection was superior to the other one, SPDF was clearly inferior to the AES-EBU connection in terms of SQ.

Knowing this and knowing myself, I fear that, if I keep things as they current stand, I would most probably stop listening to cds. While I believe that I could potentially rip all of my cds collection, I’m not sure whether it’s worthwhile (I own more than 1000 cds). Also, I have never A-B compared a redbook cd out of the dCS Vivaldi Transport connected via AES-EBU to the Upsampler vs the same track on a ripped cd from the the Aurender N20 connected to the Upsampler via AES-EBU.

I wish that the Vivaldi Upsampler had at least one additional AES-EBU input for external units!

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Franco

Thanks, Franco for sharing results of your evaluation. You came to exactly the same conclusion I did.
Like you, I doubt I can give up the single AES/EBU connection from the Transport to the Upsampler since I also have a large cd collection and it is my preferred format. So I will either swap cable connections when using my Aurender or settle for a less satisfying sound using S/Pdif to the Upsampler from the W20SE. I haven’t decided which option. I, too, wish the Upsampler had 2 AES/EBU inputs or that upsampling on the Aurender was as good as upsampling on the Vivaldi Upsampler. And I did try the suggestion made by August (thank you!) to upsampler using the Transport and shut off PCM outputs to improve sound. Unfortunately, at least for me, the AES/EBU on Upsampler wins.

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I responded to a similar wish earlier in regard to Vivaldi/Rossini DAC. I link to the thread.The situation in regard to Vivaldi Upsampler is much the same. I doubt that any such amendment is either technically or commercially feasible particularly having regard to the time that the range has now been in production. However it might be a consideration for the eventual replacement lines.

I will not comment on your subjective opinion on your experience of S/Pdif v. AES/EBU. For CD the data transmitted for either format is identical. It is unlikely that the superior CMRR of AES would have much practical advantage for circa 1m lengths. However it may not be the case that the S/Pdif and AES cables have identical sonic characteristics subjectively and you preferred one.perhaps it was this that you found?

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@PAR, would it be possible to connect the CD transport to the Upsampler using the AES 1-2 output? In my system I am currently using that connection. From the transport to the dac to SACD playback. Thanks. Franco

Franco, it depends what you want. Transport’s AES 1and 2 either send DSD from SACD or upsample PCM to DSD x2 or DXD. So if you want this output you could try connecting to Upsampler and I think you need to set it to output the same sample frequency as the input as you cannot upsample further. Otherwise you have to use AES3 or S/Pdif to enable a “clean” feed from Transport to Upsampler or straight to DAC.

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Oops, I forgot that Upsampler has only a single AES input and DSD or DXD are too fast for that. So, the answer to your question is no.

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Yes, unfortunately that’s what I realized. This is a big miss for the Vivaldi system IMO.

One caveat comment for folks thinking of connecting the Aurender to the the Vivaldi stack via Dual-AES:

If you want to retain Mosaic Control management of the full 4-element Vivaldi stack, including EasyPlay, then the Vivaldi Transport Dual-AES output has to be connected to port 1+2 on the Vivaldi DAC, and the Upsampler+ Dual-AES output has to be connected to port 3+4 on the Vivaldi DAC.

Unless I’m mistaken, any other combination will mean you lose Mosaic Control of the stack because the dCS command & control information embedded in the Dual AES interfaces won’t flow properly.

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That was exactly how my VIvaldi stack was connected. I would like now to add an Aurender N2= and concluded that the best connection is by far the AES connection. Unfortunately, since the Upsampler has only a single AES input, this forced me to connect the Transport through another connection (S/Pdif) but I’m not happy since the quality of the AES is far superior IMHO. Wish the Upsampler had at least two separate AES inputs.

Well, I’ve played around with Aurender W20se at home a couple of years go, I really don’t know what the fuss is about compared to the dCS Upsampler + Roon/MinimServer; there was absolutely no sonic benefit to the Aurender. It does not do a better job of converting Ethernet streams to AES3 compared to the dCS Upsampler+. Arguably, Aurender Conductor is better that Mosaic, but not better than Roon.

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I would still advise trying out the upsampling on the transport with the PCM outputs disabled. This improved the sound quality for me.

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Hi Anup. From what I’ve heard so far, the Aurender N20 with the AES connection is slightly superior to the “dry” Vivaldi Upsampler both in terms of hi-res files playback and streaming. The Conductor app is much easier than Mosaic (which, quite frankly, is pretty poor for a product of this type) and far superior to Roon (which I purchased but rarely use since it colors music). Of course, all of the above is in my opinion and from a few days of auditions.

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dCS has 20 years more experience in properly handling AES than Aurender (not to mention actually inventing some of what’s in the AES3 standard). Coupled with dCS’ upsampling know-how, which again is decades ahead of Aurender, you’ll have to excuse me for preferring dCS :wink:

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Not a problem Anup! I only wish that the Upsampler had more AES inputs!

Just to add that as dCS were the UK distributor of Aurender for several years the product and its capabilities are not a mystery to them and they are fully aware of the standards to be attained.

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