Understanding NuPrime - great article from New Zealand dealer Totally Wired

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daniele_g

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Based on that article, CDP9 appears to be "better" (let me simplify, please) than the CDT8+DAC9 combo: I thought the opposite, sound wise. Is it so ?

Westerwälder

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I'm sorry about it,
your statement is still a bit inaccurate.
What does it mean better?
I'm listening with CDT-8 and DAC-10 / ST-10.
The DAC of the CDP-9 is equal or very close to DAC-10.
DAC-9 makes a warmer sound. My opinion: better for tube lovers.
So the combination of CDT-8 and DAC-9 would be preferable for any owner of a DAC-9.
Unless he wants to hear a neutral rendering.
The CDP-9 is preamplifire and DAC in one.
So only the EVO One attached, and the amazement never stops.
I heard it, and I am absolutely thrilled.
It's not that easy to find the absolute combination for your own preferences via the internet.
That's why it's so important that the end user meets distributors who understand the concept.
And for that from a modest end user kudos to Totally Wired
And of course to the NuPrime team.
Fantastic work. Even if the end users do not always make it easy for you.
Together we get bigger and better.

rustydoglim

CDT-8 is a pure and extremely good transport.
CDT-8+DAC-9 or CDP-9 will be mostly depending on personal preference.

RafaPolit

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That said, the article does point to the CDP-9 as having a DAC with better characteristics.  That is their opinion, as Daniele has correctly interpreted it.

What is ambiguous is that better characteristics are not always better sound.  A clear example is THD.  A DAC / pre can measure lower distortion while another has more, but that is in the form of the benign 2nd harmonic which would yield a warmer sound which a lot of peolple prefer.

So, again, better stats not always translates into better sound.  We read someone here not too long ago that reverted from the CDP-9 DAC to the DAC-9 saying it was orders of magnitude better (for him).

That is solved easily by listening, alas some of us do not have that option where we live and we have to relate on other's ears to be our research. :(

JackD

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In my situation the CDT-8 was the better solution as I haven't used a players built in DAC section in years as I like the ability roll it separately and not have to pay for one not used. For now it's via I2S to the Directstream DAC.

JLM

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  • The elephant normally IS the room
Eliminating a cable (CDP-9 versus CDT-8 Pro plus DAC-9) should be an advantage, all else being equal. 

And in my understanding jitter would be all but eliminated where no cable is involved, true?

audio.bill

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In my situation the CDT-8 was the better solution as I haven't used a players built in DAC section in years as I like the ability roll it separately and not have to pay for one not used. For now it's via I2S to the Directstream DAC.
Would be interesting to compare the sound with your DSD to the NuPrime Evolution DAC. Haven't seen many comparisons with the Evo DAC which seems to have great potential.

RafaPolit

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I am extremely curious as well Audio.bill.   The Directstream DAC is class leading with custom FPGA instead of off-the-shelf DACs.  Under $5k, the only ones that can claim that feat are PS Audio and Chord (I have my eyes on the Qutest).

That's why I said elsewhere that, while many of NuPrime's products have no competitors at their price range, the EVO line now fights in the heavy weight category where there are a lot of very well established products, so, even more so for the Evo line, it would be great to see some comparisons / reviews out there.

rustydoglim

I think the discussion here and elsewhere on NuPrime forum shows the biggest benefit of this community where you guys offered your opinions to discuss the merits of each product and system compatibility.
I don't know about other manufacturer, we don't do a lot of comparision.  As an engineering focus company, we mainly plan out where we can take the technology over the next 2 years.  Yes, I see and hear things that are 1 year out, he he he.

My take on where the tech for the following products go from here:

DAC - DAC chip performance pretty much reached the satuation point a few years back, we are looking in very small improvement from ESS 9018 to 9038 because we are down to the THD that doesn't matter.  Here we are talking about decoding capability, not some new encoding format such as MQA ( whether it sounded good or not there's a huge debate).  So we have been focusing on improving everything else outside the DAC chip. 

Class-D amplifier - every time I think we hit a limit, our chief engineer Kevin brings up some surprises. In terms of pushing the technology limit, these are the areas that we are leading: 1) switching frequency where Evo One is up to 700kHz and no one else is capable doing. This is a hard problem; 2) 1M Ohm input impedance - it is easy to do but hard to make it sound good; 3)  changing the sound charasteristic. Lots of tricks to use Class A transistors on the input stage of Class D design to create amps that sounded like, well, Class A devices.  I will be giving a short lecture about this topic at High End Show in Munich, Germany next week.  The "lecture" time is 3pm, May 10.   

The big league amps are practically all class A or A/B designs. I think with the Evo one and future designs, we are really to enter the big league.

RafaPolit

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That is great news! Good luck on the conference.  For those of us unable to attend, it would be nice if someone filmed it (even wi a cellphone) so we can hear it afterwards?

Regarding DAC chips and all having reached its peak, and mostly depending on implementation, I fully agree.  Furthermore, the entire world uses one of two brands, that all.  That is why I think the future is FPGA approaches that allow much higher flexibility and it is no longer down to implementation of a chip made by others, it's much more flexible as you can design chip and implementation as you see fit.

Maybe it's a place NuPrime may venture in the future?, but this requires software side as well as hardware, so I can see that this approach will require a change of paradigm on NuPrime's structure.

Anyhow, good luck in Munich, looking forward to hearing about your products and lecture.

Best regards,
Rafa.

rustydoglim

To be honest, our small team is mainly good at hardware.  I think FPGA implementation of DSP will be nearly impossible for economic reason.
For big firm like Samsung (which owns Harmon International and all the high end brands under it), they could afford to hire a DSP engineer but no sensible corporate manager would put a highly paid engineer on a project like this with no ROI (remember they have consumer TV and mobile phone business that dwaft the high end audio business, which probablly will wither and die over time).
And small firm like NuPrime can never afford to hire such a talent to work on a chip that sells just a hundred units (if we are lucky) per year.

kaka89

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To me NuPrime is all about (affordable) power amplifier.