Denafrips Gaia DDC With Direct Stream DAC

Yes maybe. But there are many, many Matrixes around and nobody has ever reported a problem with pairing it to the DS, no matter how old it was. That is strange indeed.

Denafrips DDC’s have no problem pairing to any Directstrream or other DAC that I’m aware of. Plus it sounds much better then the Martix and includes a great power supply and superb noise isolation.
It took me 10 minutes to setup my Hermes.

Well, you are absolutely right. And in case there is a problem, support from Denafrips is excellent.

I have had users state different switch settings to make it work correctly so there must be some differences in versions.

If you are lucky

After roughly 250 hrs of constant operation I am really satisfied with the DDC. Compared to a fully tricked out Matrix/Farad combo it is not night and day. They are in fact really close in my opinion.
In my setup Gaia delivers a tiny bit more bass texture and attack. And soundstage widens a little bit more. But hey, that said, I am on the edge of my hearing skills.

And I‘m sure Gaia benefits from more burn-in. It has not yet fully reached the „magic“ of the Matrix combo (I have no other vocabulary for that), but it is getting closer every day.

Last but not least some practical advantages:

  • one box solution
  • superb build quality
  • versatility

So in my opinion Gaia, and I‘m sure Hermes as well, can be a worthwile alternative to a Matrix with external PSU!


Hi @gb-70 ,

Thank you for sharing your experience and for your evaluation of the Gaia DDC! I am glad you’re satisfied with it at 250 hrs. Yes, burn-in is for real, and it could be good 400 hrs.

Today in the morning my Gaia was delivered.
I only get reversed signal, which setting I select.:thinking:
And it will not work with Roon at the moment.
I had the same Matrix/Farad combination that you wrote about and was as well very satisfied!
In the moment it is a big gap soundwise but the Gaia is very young…

For the reversed signal see post #53.

And I am not a Roon-user, but as long as your PC „sees“ Gaia as a USB device, it should work also with Roon. Have you installed the USB-Driver from the support site (only for Windows)?

Danke für deine Hilfe!
I have a streamer with Euphony OS (Lunux) so I did not need a special USB Driver. It worked with the Matrix. I contacted Alvin and am shure he will answere.

1 Like

Roon is running with Euphony, Roon Core only :grin:
Now I am waiting to fix the left/right channel dilemma.
Sound is improving day by day…

Hello, after some mail exchange and adwise by Alvin Chee of Vinshine Audio the Gaia is working well.
Now it has to run 24/7 and time will tell if it outperforms my former Matrix X-SPDIF 2 with FARAD LPS.

Glad to hear it works for you as well! And I’m kind of relieved, that obviously I was not the only Gaia-owner running into the I²S-compatibility trap. In the meantime I thought maybe I am too nerdy or nitpicking…

But it’s worthwile waiting for support from Alvin.

And the performance is getting better every day. Have fun!

I had not to setup new sw. After we did find out, which mode was working, he gave me a sollution how to change the channel in DSD. PCM in Mode 2 was channel right before.
Nice weekend

1 Like

With DSD DAC there was 1 mode ( in my case mode2 ) where PCM was right and DSD was wrong channelwise.
The tip came from Alvin Chee from Vinshine Audio!

Play DSD channel test tone
Press setup button
Press coax button once
Toggle opt button to swap the DSD channel
Now it works fine

1 Like

Thanks for sharing. This might be very useful for others!

I had changed the power cable of the DDC to compare copper versus silver.
So I detected that my channel setting is not stored in the memory of the Gaia.
Now I will get as well a sw from Denafrips to solve the problem😉

Hello Everyone,

I’ve been reading about DDC’s on HeadFi & StereoNet in Australia, normally in conjunction with R2R Ladder DAC’s…which did get me thinking about a possible change of DAC from my DS Jnr :grimacing:

I also remember a few posts a while back about moving from the inbuilt bridge, back to USB & using the Matrix to convert to COAX?? This didn’t appeal at the time but as I’ve now been bitten by the upgrade bug…maybe I could achieve the same by moving to USB output from my Innous Zen Mini streamer, into a DDC & into the DS Jnr via I2S?

The Denefrips GAIA is out of my price range at this stage but the Gustard U18 at just over $700 AUD could be a risk free option

Has anyone used the Gustard U18 with a DS Jnr, what was your experience like? The U18 is getting a huge following in Australia.


Hi Matt

Just reviewing the specs, it should do the job. It has most of the usual features and configurable I2S. The only thing it has over the Matrix is the external clock.

Thanks Watchdog,

& Gustard make x2 versions of a 10 Mhz clock, the C16 which retails for about $900 AUD or the C18 which retails for about $2K AUD. I’m just keen to know whether anyone has stopped using their Bridge & have integrated a CCD, outputing an I2S signal into their DS Jnr with great results?