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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

bigboss wrote:
Personally, I'm very happy with my Sonos. I haven't found it lacking in sound. Not heard the Naim; didn't feel the need to.

 

Agreed. It's fantastic, very close to a £2k CDP. 

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

The ZP90 (or whatever its called now) has relatively poor jitter performance. If I recall correctly, north of 250pS RMS.  In context, the Squeezebox Transporter (which has one of the best jitter numbers of any source) is 15pS RMS.

This doesn't matter one jot if your DAC uses some form of jitter mitigation, but it MAY matter if your DAC just slaves itself to the streamer clock.

The rule is "DAC with jitter mitigation - any old streamer will do, DAC without jitter mitigation - take care about your choice of streamer".

To be honest, the clock doesn't belong in the streamer at all, but we have Sony and Philips to thank for that.

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

BenLaw wrote:

Seeing as both can output a bit perfect signal, through the same dac they'll sound exactly the same. (ie options 1 and 2 will sound identical.) Don't let that stop anyone spending unnecessary £000s though. 

Yes, you'd hope so, assuming there isn't any nasty clock jitter in the ZP90. There are differing views on this. I'm minded to think it isn't a problem.

Demo results to follow later today or tomorrow.

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

I'm looking forward to seeing the results of this, it should be interesting.

I wonder if Brent at Fidelity Audio would loan you a modded ZP90 for comparisons, that really would be riveting :grin:

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

andyjm wrote:

The ZP90 (or whatever its called now) has relatively poor jitter performance. If I recall correctly, north of 250pS RMS.  In context, the Squeezebox Transporter (which has one of the best jitter numbers of any source) is 15pS RMS.

This doesn't matter one jot if your DAC uses some form of jitter mitigation, but it MAY matter if your DAC just slaves itself to the streamer clock.

The rule is "DAC with jitter mitigation - any old streamer will do, DAC without jitter mitigation - take care about your choice of streamer".

To be honest, the clock doesn't belong in the streamer at all, but we have Sony and Philips to thank for that.

But didn't some scientific tests show that a jitter of 400-600ps is needed to cross the audible threshold? In other words, you can't perceive jitter if it's less than 400ps?

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

Well, I must say it’s been a highly enjoyable couple of days messing around with the Superuniti in my study. Actually today I haven’t been doing much swapping and comparing: I’ve mainly been sitting back and enjoying the music. First things first, sonically the Superuniti is a lovely piece of kit, which I could happily live with, based on my experience in the last two days at least. But this is only the start of my research into kit at this level, so it’s no surprise that I’ve been impressed.

Just by way of reminder: I’ve been listening to ALAC files through the Sonus Faber Venere 1.5s. I’ve tried four set-ups:

(1) Superuniti taking music from a USB memory stick (=SU)

(2) Sonos via digital coax into digital ins of Superuniti (=Sonos/SU)

(3) Sonos into M-DAC into analogue ins of Superuniti (=M-DAC/SU)

(4) Sonos into M-DAC into Cyrus X Power (=M-DAC/Cyrus)

Both the SU and the M-DAC/SU set-ups dug up loads of detail, and both were an improvement on the M-DAC/Cyrus. The SU and M-DAC/SU both gave better separation of instruments in complex music than the M-DAC/Cyrus. The SU's timing is superb, and perhaps a fraction cleaner than the M-DAC/SU. Leading edges of notes are slightly sharper with the SU. As for dynamics, the SU showed a big improvement over the M-DAC/Cyrus, but little difference from the M-DAC/SU. The tone of the SU is sweet and bright playing strings, woodwind and brass. The M-DAC/SU set-up seemed to have a slightly darker tone than the SU. Both SU and M-DAC/SU reached high and deep, and seemed pretty neutral across the frequency range. Very nice bass control: better than the M-DAC/Cyrus. I have a bit of a problem with bass boom from my speakers with the M-DAC/Cyrus system. There were no signs of boom at all with the SU driving the speakers.

So to summarize: there was a small but significant difference in SQ between (1) the SU alone and (3) the M-DAC/SU. In particular, the SU produced cleaner edges and tighter bass. Predictably there was a pretty big step up from (4) the M-DAC/Cyrus (a system which is half the price of the SU).

I haven't said anything yet about set-up (2) Sonos via digital coax into the digital ins of Superuniti. That's because after two days' listening I couldn't discern any difference at all between the SU alone and Sonos/SU. This suggests to me that with kit at this level of quality (and bearing in mind that more revealing speakers might reveal a difference) the digital path in the Sonos ZP90 is perfectly clean enough. 

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

It's great to get your impressions, which were pretty much as I would expect......though it's impressive that Sonos -> SU (via dig. coax) sounded as well as SU on it's own.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

CnoEvil wrote:

It's great to get your impressions, which were pretty much as I would expect......though it's impressive that Sonos -> SU (via dig. coax) sounded as well as SU on it's own.

Yep, I wasn't expecting that. I was expecting Anne Robinson to leap out of the speakers with that annoying look on her face, saying "Sonos, you're the weakest link. Goodbye." I was also expecting Sonos -> Superuniti to be about the same quality as Sonos -> M-DAC -> Superuniti. In other words, I expected the M-DAC to hold its own against the DAC in the Superuniti. But it didn’t. Not quite sure why. Any ideas?

The big positive to come out of this is that I can see a clear way forward for my upgrade. The strong performance of the digital path in the Sonos ZP90 means that it makes no sense for me to buy an all-in-one device with streaming capability. Streaming is done very well by Sonos, which also has a better interface and more functionality than the SU and can correctly read the ALAC metadata generated in iTunes. So I'll be looking for a system consisting of Sonos feeding a DAC and amplification (and speakers, natch).

Having said that, I’m booked in for a demo on Thursday comparing the Superuniti and the Linn Majik DSM. Well, why not?

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

CnoEvil wrote:

It's great to get your impressions, which were pretty much as I would expect......though it's impressive that Sonos -> SU (via dig. coax) sounded as well as SU on it's own.

 

Why wouldn't it?

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

Preferences are often about synergy and taste, so not always easy to call.

How a Dac processes the signal, deals with clocking, and the implementation of the power supply, all can have an effect.

I am a bigger fan of Linn Streamers than their amps, but saying that, I was impressed when I heard the DSM with the Kef R series. The SF Venere may have a similar effect, as imo Linn amps need a touch of warmth in the speaker.

I think you are wise to try out all sensible options, and I look forward to your findings.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

BenLaw wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

It's great to get your impressions, which were pretty much as I would expect......though it's impressive that Sonos -> SU (via dig. coax) sounded as well as SU on it's own.

Why wouldn't it?

...because I think the transport makes a difference, and would rather see everything controlled in one box.....but that's personal.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

CnoEvil wrote:

BenLaw wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

It's great to get your impressions, which were pretty much as I would expect......though it's impressive that Sonos -> SU (via dig. coax) sounded as well as SU on it's own.

Why wouldn't it?

...because I think the transport makes a difference, and would rather see everything controlled in one box.....but that's personal.

In theory you'd say there could be a benefit in having a single (good quality) clock controlling the whole digital path. That's why in theory one might have expected the Sonos, which has a cheap clock that suffers from relatively high jitter, to perform less well. But in this case and to my ears there was no perceptible difference. Which, given my circumstances (i.e. I already have Sonos throughout the house) is a good result. :grin:  

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

CnoEvil wrote:

BenLaw wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

It's great to get your impressions, which were pretty much as I would expect......though it's impressive that Sonos -> SU (via dig. coax) sounded as well as SU on it's own.

Why wouldn't it?

...because I think the transport makes a difference, and would rather see everything controlled in one box.....but that's personal.

 

If the 'transport' outputs a bit perfect signal and has jitter below an audible level, then it will sound the same if it uses the same dac. Having said that, I have a hunch that you would have a heard a difference. 

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

BenLaw wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

BenLaw wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

It's great to get your impressions, which were pretty much as I would expect......though it's impressive that Sonos -> SU (via dig. coax) sounded as well as SU on it's own.

Why wouldn't it?

...because I think the transport makes a difference, and would rather see everything controlled in one box.....but that's personal.

 

If the 'transport' outputs a bit perfect signal and has jitter below an audible level, then it will sound the same if it uses the same dac. Having said that, I have a hunch that you would have a heard a difference. 

I agree (almost) entirely. I think I posted earlier in this thread that opinions differ on the SQ effect of the high jitter levels in the Sonos ZP90, but that I was inclined to think the jitter wouldn't be audible. And so it turned out to me on this occasion. Still, an interesting test, and a significant one given my circumstances.

This train … carries saints and sinners / This train … carries losers and winners / This train … carries whores and gamblers / This train … carries lost souls.

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RE: Superuniti vs Sonos

BenLaw wrote:

If the 'transport' outputs a bit perfect signal and has jitter below an audible level, then it will sound the same if it uses the same dac. Having said that, I have a hunch that you would have a heard a difference. 

Smile

There's no fight left in me to argue atm.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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