A Skeptics Digital Upgrade Journey

2 months ago I argued against the benefits of high quality digital cables. It’s just 1’s and 0’s right?

My Bluesound Node (N130) was a convenience - decent SQ for casual listening (SXM radio and Tidal). Focused listening sessions were vinyl only.

Back surgery forced me to take another look at digital - the records were too low to for me to get and my wife was doing enough without taking requests.

I started looking at DACs, and Denafrips was on my list. Thanks to @drmuso I ordered the LSY PSU with LPS ($280) from BEATECHNIK also run by Alvn Lee from Vinshine Audio.

I added a tube DAC from Black Ice and they arrived on the same day along with a Coax cable from Analysis Plus. Interconnects to amp were Nordost Purple Flare. Hard wired Blue Jeans ethernet.

  • The PSU+LPS on its own made a huge, immediate difference. If you have a Node and it’s out of warranty or you don’t care about voiding the warranty, this is a big bang for the buck. Customer service was top notch.
  • Adding the DAC improved the sound but I was underwhelmed even after over 100 hours on the tubes. I switched from the AP Coax to the supplied USB cable and things got better but highs were still a bit too bright/harsh.
  • I ordered Zavfino interconnects (Arcadia OCC) and USB cable (Majestic OCC) - immediately things warmed up. Sent the AP Coax back.
  • Lastly, I replaced the Svetlana tubes that came with the DAC with some NOS Mullards from Brent Jesse - let them warm up for 24 hours and WOW - now the digital source was warm and rich and sounding more like my much more expensive analogue rig. It's still early days on the tubes.

Very pleased with the outcome and I think the all in cost of $2,570 is pretty reasonable.

  1. Node $600
  2. PSU/LPS $280
  3. DAC $900 (on sale direct from Black Ice, list is $1,200)
  4. Cables: $340
  5. Tubes: $450

Lessons learned: everything matters including digital cables, apparently it is not just 1’s and 0’s. Serious listening library expanded exponentially.

Thoughts on my choices/path? Any one else done something similar?


@macg19 consider a fuse upgrade.  I added a QSA yellow with nice improvement. If you don’t mind ordering from Aliexpress they have a fuse as good and probably better for $20 delivered.


It’s physically and electrostatically impossible for a cable to make any difference whatsoever! 

Ha!  Just kidding.  For those of us who actually try things and listen over and over, we are part of the cool kids club.  Good job going through the process, because it’s fun AND rewarding.  I get so much enjoyment from music every single day.