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I don't doubt it. And I see that MacMini as giving additional performance over and above the transports that were used in my review. I think it was pretty clear from my findings that I described the Tranquility SE as having a 5-star sound and that even more sonic performance could be had by adding a MacMini as transport. What more do people want? I stand by my review "findings" and I believe that both my Squeezebox Touch (USB output) and my MacBook Pro are perfectly valid transports with which to test any DAC - the Tranquility SE should be no exception. I spent a considerable number of hours listening and changing system components to check and re-check conclusions.However, my "complaint" is that db Audio Labs themselves and others suggest that the starting transport with the Tranquility SE should be a MacMini and that not to use one doesn't reveal the true potential of the DAC. This may well be the case, but it doesn't make my findings with lesser transports any less valid.Eric told me via email that a) he pretty much insists that buyers of the Tranquility use a MacMini and b) he was "VERY concerned" that I was not using one in my review. If these two points don't illustrate that a MacMini is part of the db Audio Labs ethos, I don't know what does. And that's FINE - really it is - but it needs to be declared upfront and on the db Audio Labs website so that potential customers are aware that this particular DAC requires the db Audio Labs USB cable and a MacMini as transport.
I don't see why people are taking such issue with the review, either. For a long while I was using a linux-based Asus EEE netbook with the original Tranquility to great effect. It may be true that the Mac Mini was a step up in improvement, but I don't know why the Mac Mini should be REQUIRED. It's fine to recommend, but sheesh, can't people make up their own minds a bit about their source selection. I like that the review demonstrates that the Signature Tranquility has exceptional performance even without the Mac Mini. You might get a different impression that a Mac Mini is truly necessary from some of the comments on this thread and also by dB Audio, and I think that would be a shame. That said, I also recommend a Mini for ergonomics and ease of use as much as sound quality.What I'm more interested in is the comparison to the Red Wine unit. Does anyone else have any comparative impressions to offer between the Red Wine approach and either of the Tranquilities?~Ben
How would the Auraliti feed a Tranquility DAC? The device is advertised as AES or S/PDIF output only, as I understand it, through the ESI Juli@ card, though I see no reason why they couldn't send USB out as well. Lynx was going to be an upgrade option but Linux support was not so good. While I understand the logistics issue, it sure would also be nice to review a fully optimized Mach2Mini with the SE DAC and USB cable, which is apparently the best possible combo. I think what many are finding is that you really need to consider the whole computer/playback system together to get the best measure of sound quality. Obviously, setup and synergy matter a lot in this realm.
As for the Auraliti - yes, it's S/PDIF out on the Julia card so a like-for-like comparison with the MacMini as a transport (when feeding the Tranquility SE) won't be possible.
Just to add my 2 cents... From my experience, the Mac Mini thing isn't exclusive to the Tranquility. I found the Mac Mini to be the best transport for computer audio in general. I have the Wyred4Sound DAC-2 and the optimized Mac Mini sounded the best on that as well. I tried optimizing Windows 7 on a PC, Windows 7 on the Mac Mini, and Mac OS X on the Mac Mini, and the Mac OS X / Mac Mini combo offered the best sound quality, from my listening - for both the DAC-2 and Tranquility SE. I don't think the solid construction, isolated components and efficiency of the Mac Mini only benefits the Tranquility alone, it benefits any DAC that uses it. The effects may be greater on the Tranquility, but the Tranquility in general offers a higher quality experience so you'll notice the quality in source gear even more.
Hi JohnEvidently it can do both USB and SPDIF - a guy has written to them conforming it. Now I have got one (I have just got the confirmation of it being shipped) I will write to the manufacturer just to double check what other have said - namely it can do USB out and Apple lossless.ThanksBill
I don't think that Eric has ever said that the Mini is REQUIRED.
Eric is very open and enthusiastic about the MacMini as transport.He said in an email to me, "You should realize that I darn near demand that my customers don't use computers that fall way short of delivering details. The DAC purchase would just be a waste of money otherwise. And, used Mac Minis only cost a little over $300 here in the states."...and yet I heard wonderful things from my MacBook and Squeezebox and don't myself consider the DAC purchase to "be a waste of money" with these transports at all.Like I have said in previous posts, a follow-up with a MacMini will eventually be forthcoming.
Jack just sent me a note last night that said "no" to USB output on the LK100, however they do have another USB output specific player coming. They also customize their own version of MPD for Voyage so it's not Voyage MPD.
Thanks darn good advice to know there for anyone owning a PC. I won't be wasting my money on a Tranquility Dac then. Thanks for the heads-up!
Interesting. I sent a note to confirm it but he has't got back to me yet. Another guy I know claims he said it was supported:http://www.stereo.net.au/forums/showthread.php/30306-Auraliti-MPD-Transport/page2'Ok. Response back from Auraliti. I2S is possible, but would apparently require a driver stage to get it up to a usable level, so it's not something they've decided to offer. So DIY only. USB audio is supported. Apple Lossless (not AAC) is supported.'And the supposed direct copy of the reply:Hi Dave, We support USB audio class 1 off the motherboard USB connection. So 24/96 is okay. Better USB is coming soon. Remembered you stated the DAC also has SPDIF input. We think our present SPDIF solution tends to sound better with most DACS we have tried that offer both SPDIF and USB inputs. I would suggest trying both and deciding for yourself. On the other hand if your DAC receives and processes 24/176.4 and 192 KHz files then I think you owe it to yourself to get a few of these albums in super high resolution and have a listen through the SPDIF input. Our experience and that of our customer's would indicate you will not be disappointed.ThanksBill
I had a play with the Auraliti today - what a sweet little device. We had a bit of an impromptu DAC shootout (Tranquility SE included - more on that soon) and all three DACs used were simple plug n play via USB. Didn't even need to reboot the Auraliiti.
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