I compared it against my excellent Lunin T2 streamer I’ve been using for the last few years.
Overall sonically very similar. However I like the Holo better in these respects:
Better clarity and decay. On the Christian McBride album For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver (Octave Records) the first track has the brass coming in all together in staccato, the sound is cleaner and the decay is tighter. Also I noticed that the brass blends better on the Holo with the rest of the music and on the Lumin it stands out more (not in a good way)—I hadn’t noticed that before when playing on the Lumin
Tighter bass. Played the Toccata from Art of the HiFi - Bass (Octave) album. When the deep notes of the organ come in, the lumin is more muddy.
Cleaner attack. Played David Bowie’s Let’s Dance where the drums come in, the attack is neater. Also the claves are cleaner and more subtle with I like.
And lastly, I played a recent marvelous Bruckner Symphony 9 with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra (Channel Classics recorded in DSD256). The first movement is labeled solemn and mysterious, I just listened for the mood and not specific sonic attributes. It was very close, but if I had to choose I’d pick the Holo. I think all the above differentiating characteristics combined together to create a subtly nicer sounding.
All except the Bowie were played in native DSD256 with nothing in the signal path from source to the DS DAC. The Bowie was in 24/192 PCM.
I haven’t tried USB yet. All this is on i2s.
In summary, to be honest, there’s no reason for me to keep the Lumin. (Anyone want it? )
If someone already with a DSD Mk2 gets his or her Red first, looking forward to hearing their impressions.
Your post above just compared the DAC in the Lumin to the DS Mk1. Not the Red vs. the Lumin as streamer. To compare streamers you really need to use the same DAC and input. Can you compare digital out of your T2 into the DS vs Red into the DS?
Unless there is something wrong, and I’ve gone through that circus as well, differences in streamers are significantly less than differences between DACs. That’s why only changing the streamer is important in these comparisons.
That helps. Not having Roon, and with no plans to add it the Holo Red may work if I can stream Qobuz native. I recently switched from Tidal, and am still adjusting to Qobuz. Having am Innuos Zenith Mk III my bias is for an Innuos Pulse, which is rather pricey compared to the Holo Red.
I actually think the Red is OK and likely a conversation starter piece. The way your system is setup looks like you ample room to put it on footers on the floor at the rear of the rack then will be completely out of sight. Off of the top of the DAC probably wouldn’t hurt either
Thanks for sharing the excitement and your impressions of the Holo Red! And a picture of how it sits with the Directstream too - that is quite a looker of a unit!
Sounds like a very capable unit if it can best the T2 on streaming duties. I think it’s a good thing you’ve got it now so you can get a feel for what changes the Red brings and then, of the DS2 in a bit.