Will a Paganini DAC be a noticeable SQ upgrade vs a Puccini with U-Clock + NWB used as a DAC?

Have a hard time to find anyone on the internet that has described the SQ difference between a Puccini with a U-Clock used as a DAC fed by NWB vs a Paganini DAC without a Master Clock and the rest of the Paganini stack fed by a Auralic Aries Femto Streamer.

Paganini DAC is Spec wise identical to Puccini and Debussy, also even the Scarlatti, but Scarlatti got one more transformer for the analog stage. )

This is on paper, and i know the Paganini and Scarlatti got the possession of a more advanced DSP firmware in the Ring-DAC, with more filter options, than debussy and Puccini for starters.

So to the question; is the Paganini DAC alone fed from a non dCS streamer ( Auralic Aries Femto) source, without using Mastermode sync on the Paganini word.clock out, superior in SQ quality to the Puccini inkl U-Clock fed by a Network bridge, if anyone have tried this or can make a estimation based on experience?

A very specific question, but a very valuable info for my friend who is out for buying one of these alternatives.

( Both units got the latest FW 1.3x on Paganini and 1.4x on Puccini )


// Fredrikt

Firstly your friend needs to establish which software version is installed on the Paganini he/she is buying. For example the full filter set is only available from revision v.1.10. Perhaps more important as you friend wants to stream to the Paganini DAC is that it has no USB input . I am unfamiliar with the Auralic piece but assume that USB may be required for streaming. In the Paganini range a basic USB input was originally on the upsampler but it was later placed on the wordclock ( has to be Wordclock 2 ) which I recall provided a wider range of format processing more suited to the current streaming world.

So your friend needs to find a Paganini DAC with software versions 1.10 or later and a Paganini Wordclock 2.

As for the difference between the Paganini and Puccini I was a long time owner of the Paganini stack. I have heard the Puccini but that was a long time ago and before the subject of streaming entered my consciousness. So I only heard the two using silver disc sources. However I doubt that the a change to a streaming source would alter the fundamental sonic difference between the two. Although the two share technology and there is a family resemblance of sound I remember finding the Puccini sounding significantly flat and less interesting to listen to in comparison. Given any permutation of supporting equipment the Paganini will always outshine the Puccini.

The NWB does, of course bring a lot to any of the combinations under consideration. It would remove the necessity of finding and buying a wordclock 2 with the Paganini and, it being a streamer used with Mosaic, makes the use of the Auralic Aries redundant.

As no transport is mentioned as a requirement in the Paganini based setup I am assuming that the CD/SACD capabilities of the Puccini are not of interest to your friend. In which case my personal recommendation would be to sell the Auralic Aries and see if the total available funds would then stretch to buying a Bartok ( sans headphone amp) even if it required a period of saving money towards it.

Thanks for your informative answer!

The technical , connectivity and FW bits, is not an issue there is the latest version in both units, and they are Manufacture re-furbished at dCS last year.

The question is more if someone has owned a Puccini and used it as a DAC for streaming and compared / upgraded that to a debussy or a Paganini Dac, only conected to a non dcs streamer without word.clock, and can shade your thoughts.

To sum up:
Is the stand alone Paganini DAC with non dCS source better SQ wise than Puccini with U-Clock + NWB is the direct question?

That is difficult to answer as one of the competing combinations involves a non dCS source which may be worse, equal or better then the NWB.

Everything else being equal then as I said :

The difficulty is I have no idea how we ensure everything else being equal ( including connectivity) :slightly_smiling_face:

Having checked the spec for the Aries it looks like the availability of all formats that it can process, including DSD, are only available from the USB output. All other digital outputs are limited to 24/192. So it were me I would want a DAC with a USB input that could handle the majority of formats that the Auralic can process. However if your friend only wants PCM >24/192 then the Paganini’s AES or S/Pdif inputs will work.

I appreciate that this does not fully answer you as I have no idea how the NWB compares to the Auralic Aries from an SQ point of view. I can only assume that one way or the other they do not sound identical.

I would agree with this recommendation too. You would get much more satisfaction for the next 6-8 years, rather than 3-4 years, and the eventual trade up value will still hold well.

The Aries USB output could be connected to the Puccuni U-Clock’s USB input. The Puccini will then take the DoP upto DSD64 via it’s coax inputs.

Thanks of your concerning about the connections etc.:wink:
we change the question; is the Paganini Ring-DAC processing better than the Puccini regardless of whats connected?

Yes or Equal ?

This i think dCS @Andrew can answer to ?

Fredrik, my understanding is that the electronics - including ring dac - on the two ranges are essentially identical. The only difference is that in the Paganini they are split up into several boxes, with benefits coming from the multiple power supplies, physical separation and presumably lower noise. There may be some statements about this in old online reviews, and the specifications and descriptions of Paganini and Puccini archived on the dCS website. PAR might be able to say more. I am a Puccini owner.

Yes i know the most about the dCS tech and got a Puccini + U-Clock + NWB in one setup
I like the sound in both systems.

So now my friend have ordered a Paganini DAC and according to dCS Technical support Martin R. the paganini DAC should be noticeable better over the puccini, so it would be fun to hear if anyone else got the same experience and now more technical on whats different in the technical design aspect.

More dampening and separate transformer and different FW , or does it posses more DSP power in the Ring DAC than puccini, these questions are interesting