Debating I2S cables

I have read a few threads, but wanted to ask since we are already in mid Q2 2024. This will be for the DS Mk1, and the Dragon is just out of reach ATM, been thinking about either the RAL or used Firebird 48 in a 1.25M length. 1M might work but bend radius could be an issue.

Does the RAL bridge the gap between the Firebird and Dragon, or the other way around?

All input appreciated

The RAL is a good place to be. The Dragon a bit better. I have no experience with a Firebird. The RAL is so not suffering. If I unplugged my Dragon and switched to my RAL I would still be very happy.


Second vote for RAL. Runner up to the AQ Dragon. Best value at ~$450 used. AQ Firebird and Tubulus has some traction here but have not heard them.

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I am using Dragon but I had a Firebird before when I needed both to run different sources. If my memory serves me right, they have the same level of detail and frequency extensions. However, Dragon sounded more relaxed with a bit deeper soundstage. Otherwise they have the same sound signature.


Thanks for the input…I had started with a spare AQ Forest (older gen) and the DS sounded very good, but have discovered from the forums there’s alot to be heard with better HDMI cables with I2S.

I then removed my Vodka from the TV and that did increase resolution but seemed a tad bright, so I was reluctant to blindly purchase higher priced silver cables without asking.

I haven’t tried my AQ carbon yet but want to reach higher up as I hear the carbon is just ok.

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When the Matrix was the hottest upgrade on this forum, I tried a bunch of HDMI cables. My top three are 1) RAL, 2) WW Platinum 7 and 3) AQ Vodka 48. I have never heard the AQ Dragon.


There’s no good reason for I²S. Save your money.


Now back to espresso.


Other than streaming DSD bits from a transport without breaking SONY’s shhait and getting sued :stuck_out_tongue:

And even then, can you really hear the difference?

I tried $100/12oz coffee. It wasn’t 5x better than properly prepared $18/12oz.

I may continue with coffee analogies. :coffee:


Vince, in the mid-80’s were you into when Gevalia first started becoming available via mail order? At the time my wife and I started buying it mail order and thought we’d found heaven in a cup. Those good old days of innocence.

That’s soo funny that you asked me this today. Last night I was a concert and the couple at the table next to us were also into coffee. We were talking about favorite coffee’s of all time and Gevalia came up! All of us remembered it fondly. Interestingly none of us have had it in years. They roast their own, and I mostly explore roasts from the Pacific NW.

Man, that’s a crazy coincidence…or were you at the Lenny White - Buster Williams - Noah Haidu show in Portland last night? :thinking:

I wasn’t, but maybe I caught the vibe of you all talking about Gevalia from 3,000 miles away! :smile:

When I was living in the mid-Atlantic region I stayed primarily with locally roasted blends, with an occasional variety from either Whole Foods or Sprouts, and a rare batch of Royal Kona Private Reserve 100% Kona, or Heavenly Hawaiian Kona Silk or Kona Bold from a friend I have out there. But down here in Central FL I have yet to find a good local roaster. I think it’s primarily due to the beans most often used. I’m not a fan of coffees using typical Guatemalan or Peruvian beans.

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Have you heard of Mistobox?


For comparison, I have used the analog out on the Marantz SA8005 into my McCormack pre/amp, analog out from the Oppo 103D to the McCormack, SA8005 into the DS via Nordost silver coax…none remotely compared to the I2S from the Oppomodded 103D to the DS, and those are redbook CD’s.

I keep forgetting about media. It is not my way.


I don’t watch Shark Tank, but I’d heard of MistBox somewhere online. Didn’t generate much interest with me. :man_shrugging:

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It’s a decent service. I didn’t know they were on Shark Tank. It’s somehow connected with Clive Coffee. The selection of coffees is quite good and delivery is very prompt. I use bean cellars to age the beans in 20g single doses.

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Clive Coffee bought them out after they made their 15 minutes. The guy of the guy/girl pair who started it stayed on with Clive Coffee, I think. Maybe I’ll give them a try.

They sell this at the Bait & Tackle shop? Interesting. :wink:

The trick is to use a very small, sharp hook. Beans are tricky to setup for bait.

The Slippery Dick (Halichoeres bivittatus) is tricky to catch, but they do love their coffee.