Which DACs are known to be sweet/rich/relaxed?

System is nicely transparant and detailed, but tends to get bright and harsh with certain (rock) recordings and at higher volume levels.

Nudge the system towards a sweeter, richer, more relaxed presentation.

Proposed solution / first step
Upgrade to a (tube based) DAC, budget $25-40k.

Current chain

  • ROON Nucleus
  • Mola Mola Tambaqui
  • Gryphon Essence pre amp
  • Gryphon Essence monoblocks
  • Focal Stella Utopia EVO
  • Full loom of Triode Wire Labs cables
  • Dedicated power line straight into Puritan PSM156 mains filter
  • System resides in the living room with some diffusors but no absorption other than sofas, chairs, and some rugs.

On my radar
Lampizator Pacific (or Golden Gate 2 since I heard it's more "tube-like")
Aries Cerat Kassandra 2 Ref or Sig

— What other DACs should I consider?
— Do you think upgrading to another (tube based) DAC will achieve that sweeter, richer, more relaxed presentation?


@verdantaudio thanks for your recommendations! Worth looking into.

I however don’t understand you remark about using a Nucleus as a server & player vs. just as a server. I don’t have local files, I play/stream from Tidal using Roon. My Nucleus is connected to a wireless access point with an ethernet cable. And my Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC is also connected to that same access point with an ethernet cable. I don’t use USB.

What makes you prefer the Aries Cerat (Kassandra?) over the Lampizator (Pacific)?

@audphile1 I don’t use USB. Nucleus and Tambaqui are both connected to the same wireless access point via ethernet. Cables are just 2-3 feet long.

I have not used the stock power cords. The Triode Wire Labs power cords I have, The Obsession, is supposed to be quite good.

I like the build quality of Aries Cerat better. I have liked the sound of systems with Aries Cerat DACs in them better than when I have heard the Lampizator. That said, I personally have never done a compare of the two in the same system.

Regarding server, when you see a device is "Roon Ready" like the Mola Mola it is a DAC and Renderer/Player when you connect to it via ethernet. This means that the renderer/player duties are not being handled by the Nucleus. This is optimal as this stage does not require a lot of processing power and noise can be introduced with too much processing power.

When you connect via USB, the Nucleus is performing as player and server. This is where it tends to underperform and sound mediocre. If you have a USB cable lying around, try connecting the Mola Mola to it via USB.  I bet you will hear a significant degradation in sound quality vs your current ethernet setup. 

The Nucleus is a stunning value when used as a server alone.  Best upgrade from a Nucleus for people connected via USB is not to get a higher end single box server but to get a separate player renderer.  

This is because even the best servers are not at their best when performing both tasks. It is just the nature of Roon to perform best when server/roon core are on a very high powered computer and the player is on a medium to low powered computer. This is why Antipodes adopted a dual computer approach and why Pink Faun recommends two units for absolute best performance.

Robert look at your source cabling , at times it easy to correct bright issues by trying cables that are not too revealing, Audioquest most do have good tonal balance. Agree Tellurium Cables are good.