What next after Lumin T2

I have the Lumin T2 streaming DAC. I have been pretty happy with it so far. I am now thinking that I can do better on the DAC side of things. Is it a good idea to go from the Lumin to an outboard DAC of higher quality? Or should I look for a better streaming DAC. I listen almost totally  from Qbuz or Tidal. I have a hard wired connection from my router to the Lumin. Rambling a little, I guess the main question is what's the next best step up from what I have. I am using a Modwright KWH 225i, and Tyler Acoustics Woodmere II speakers. mid-level, older synergistic research cabling. And a Puritan Labs 156. Thanks, Allen.


You are at the stage that splitting the functions may be appropriate. Given where you are… there is lots of opportunities for improvement in both functions… and it sounds like over time you are likely to take advantage of them.

My rule of thumb is to always at least double the price in an upgrade… more if possible. You want to set yourself up for a real “wow, that sounds a lot better moment”. So I would recommend spending $5K or more on a DAC.

There are lots of good DACs… especially used at that price. I don’t see that you have posted your system under your user ID… that would be useful. I have been shocked at how good Audio Research DACs are… and have been for more than 20 years. My first choice would be a a used Audio Research Reference DAC. Incredibly musical and detailed.

There are lots of other good quality DACs available. You want to get one that matches you aesthetic.  I would not get anything older than five years or so. DACs… and streamers for that matter, have made big advances over the last decade. Berkeley and Linn are companies I would look at. 

One good thing about the T2 is you can just use it as a streamer and add another Dac. Streaming-wise, I'm guessing you will not find anything much better. You now can focus on finding the right dac.

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@backwash I agree that it depends a lot on what you are looking for in an upgrade. The X1 is certainly a significant hardware upgrade and for many also a significant sonic upgrade. If you want the best-of-the-best Lumin then of course you'd go with the X1.

But if you are looking for something that would lean in a different direction, then there are lots of different options. Don't rush to replace the T2, and instead try to compare its analog output to that of other DACs to see if there is (or there is not) one that you like better.

Dave/Troy, I was considering going from the T2 into a Bricasti M1. Just did not know if that was a good Move or not. Can I have more than one digital source into the M1. I have and OPPO 105 for disks I use from time to time. 

I wasn’t sure what your budget is but I went from a LUMIN T2 to a Weiss 501. The Lumin is very good.  the Weiss presents music in a very natural way and to my ears is head and shoulders over the LUMIN performance. I am a Roon user

Another upgrade option would be the Esoteric N-05XD.  I have been told it might even sound better than the Lumin X1, and is $3k less expensive.

Any input from Lumin T2 users that tried something different is greatly appreciated, thanks. 

I’ve had about 8-10 DACs since I had my T2.  My favorites (both of which I would characterize as notable upgrades) are the Denafrips Terminator And the Weiss 501.  The terminator requires an outboard streamer, the Weiss is Roon ready like Lumin.  I still prefer the Weiss overall.  

Yes, T2 is now discontinued due to the unavailability of a part.  I am curious to see what, if any, major differences in the T3.

I have had the Lumin T2 in on trade and spent about 3 weeks with it as an every day DAC and tested it against a bunch of devices including Bricasti.  If you were really happy with the T2, I would look at Weiss or Chord as alternatives.  Both the Weiss 501/502 and Chord Dave will keep you tonally similar to the the T2.  They are a bit different in their presentation but are both super engaging.

the Bricasti M1 SE is amazing but will be a bit warmer than the Lumin.  If you aren’t experiencing brightness or glare in your system now, you might find the Lumin a bit warm relatively speaking.  

i am not a Lumin dealer and can’t speak about how the X1 compares.  I am a Bricasti, Chord and Weiss dealer.  

Off subject a little, but I have an opportunity to purchase a lumin t2 at a large discount. Should I be concerned that it is old technology getting phased out? I would hate to purchase something for it to just be obsolete or not have the ability to replace parts in the future.

@james1911 the T2 may eventually miss out on some features in a firmware update but it isn't old technology in terms of parts or sound quality. If you can get a Lumin T2 at a good price, I would not hesitate to do so versus purchasing a new Lumin T3.