I recently read a stream about a Hermes DDC in front of a Directstream. I have looked into DDC units before but I was told that since I’m strictly Redbook I wouldn’t get any benefit. So that’s what I have believed for a long time.
Lately though, I have seen a few reviews where the reviewer has used a DDC between a transport and a DAC and really liked the result. The latest one I saw featured my transport, (a Jays CDT2 MK3) coupled with a Hermes DDC into a Terminator via I2S. The reviewer was reviewing the Jays CDT2 MK3, so I figure he probably felt it necessary to make sure not to badmouth the review unit and instead, make sure to write something good about the Jays. This is because he removed the Hermes from in between the Jays and the Terminator, and noticed something was missing.
Here are his exact words:
“The system as configured demonstrated an impressive ability to resolve such complex material and confirming that the CDT2-MK3 serves up solid timing. I then played the same tracks with the transport connected directly to the Denafrips DAC, without the Gaia DDC/re-clocker in circuit. Sound staging and low-end performance fell back as might be expected, jitter being particularly damaging to these two aspects of performance, but on its own the Jay’s still proved no slouch – evidence that the transport’s own internal oven-controlled clock does a very good job of minimizing jitter”.
I’m thinking of trying a used Hermes in my system to see if there actually is a tiny little improvement in sound quality. I could try a Gaia but the Hermes would fit my shelving better. I don’t need much in the way of an improvement, just a little bit more realism when listening to singing voices. I figure if I get a nice Hermes on the used market and the experiment is a failure, I can pretty much turn around and sell the Hermes for close to what I paid.
I noticed that Gaia DDC units are not compatible with P S Audio I2S, unless they are built after October 2019, (I think that’s right). I thought I read somewhere that Hermes units were all programmable to P S Audio I2S. Does anybody know if that’s true? If not, do you know how to tell a Hermes unit that is compatible with P S Audio I2S?