for posting your initial impressions of LIO DAC 2.0!
the realism of the harp knocked me back in my seat, not to mention the ease with which I was able to distinguish individual voices in the backing vocals ...
Improved micro detail and decay an separation is the biggest impression so far
Yes, DAC 2.0 certainly does a much better job with unraveling the layers in the music and subtle details/decays, and like Borelek mentions, has a sweetness (overall, just more natural with many genres of music) that keeps you wanting to listen for hours.
A few questions that have come up that I'd like to address about DAC 2.0:1)
Heat: The heatsink on the back of DAC 2.0 is supposed to get warm/hot. No worries, as the main input regulator on the other side is spec'd at operating temperatures much higher than what it runs at. Just make sure you attached the rear plate of DAC 2.0 to LIO's rear panel via the 4 hex nuts. Make them snug, but do not over-tighten as they can snap.
There is a lot more circuitry in DAC 2.0 that draws more current (generates more heat) than DAC 1.0: For example, the FPGA buffer/reclock circuitry, the dual flagship AKM d/a converters consume more power, and that Class A output stages consumes a lot more
power than an opamp output stage, and there are more linear voltage regulators used throughout. The heat is also spread out over 3 stacked PCBs instead of 2 PCBs.
Playing at higher sampling rates (e.g. upsampling to DSD512) also consumes more power = more heat. This is "normal."2)
Between switching digital inputs, you will find that there is some delay (a few seconds) with DAC 2.0 compared to DAC 1.0. This is also normal and due to the new data buffering / re-clock circuitry.3)
I understand that there are many audiophile USB cables, and some of you own them and want to try. That's fine - but just please keep in mind that if they don't comply with USB 2.0 specifications, they *might* have issues from drop-outs (especially at higher sampling rates) to not working at all.
I have used a 6 foot and 15 foot Belkin Gold USB 2.0 cables with no issues at 768kHz PCM or DSD512 (but keep in mind that your computer must also be up to the task of playback at these rates):4)
As for other devices in the USB path (isolation devices, regens, and the like), feel free to try them, but you might be surprised that you prefer LIO DAC 2.0 connected directly to your USB source. Try it and see what sounds better to you, and thank you for posting your findings here!
As many of you are now receiving your DAC 2.0s, I want to thank you all in advance for posting your listening impressions here (and follow-ups as your burn-in your DAC 2.0 and put it through its paces).
I'll have LIO Integrated configured with DAC 2.0 in two
rooms at RMAF in just a few weeks - I hope to see you there!