Mola Mola Tambaqui Roon vs Separate Streamers

I'm currently using my Mola Mola Tambaqui with Roon streaming Tidal.

Has anyone added a separate streamer such as the Auralic Aries G2/2.1 or the Lumin U1?  If so, was differences did you hear with the streamer addition?  Is it worthwhile?  

I'd love to hear feedback from other Tambaqui owners.




Very interesting history.  I use FPGA chips (maybe even the same chips; that's how flexible they are) in certain industrial applications related to the oil field. They are great for small scale production because you can use the same chip lots of different ways and (as the "field" part says) alter them for bugs on the fly even after deployment.  Very useful for prototypes, too.  This is why a lot of high end audio people use them -- there are just not that many units being sold, so a custom-designed chip is not practical.

The problem with them, however, is they are general purpose.  It's like a a really good adjustable crescent wrench. It's excellent and can be used for whatever, but just isn't as good as a wrench or ratchet just for that particular bolt.

I'm not joking that I probably use the same exact chipset in a giant rotary directional drill that is used in a nuclear missile, the Nagra HD DAC X, a Lamborghini, and your favorite bespoke DAC.

They are also energy hogs, hot, and (with some exceptions) very electronically noisy.  All that can be compensated for, but can poise problems on implementation, especially in audio equipment.

Anyway, long way of saying, all things being equal, I'd take a custom chipset over a FPGA set, any day -- assuming I have a chip set that fits my bolt, so to speak (which is a giant assumption, as that may not be practical when you make 100 units of something).





@fastfreight I have not heard anything about those 2 new DACs. Now I have something to read while I waste time at work.

good stuff @yyzsantabarbara ! Thanks.

What do you know of the new products by Master Fidelity, the Nadac D and Nadac C?  Reviews are over the top.

The FPGA based DAC was first created by Andreas Koch at Playback Designs. Everyone else is following his coattails. Nagra decided to just buy the boards from PBD instead of creating their own, such as PS Audio (Ted Smith). I read somewhere that Ted spent time with Andreas to learn how to do FPGA.

These 2 videos are informative on the history of digital.

E89: Andreas Koch and Digital Recording (

E93: More with Andreas Koch! (

I think doing digital correctly is complicated and I question the credentials of almost every company charging an arm and a leg for their DACs. At least with Andreas I can justify paying for his knowledge.

One reason I bought the Schitt Yggi+ LIM and the OG was because of the long digital history of the designer, Mike Moffat.

I will get one more DAC in the future and that will be either a PBD or Rockna, because of the designers.

BTW - the implementation of the Tambaqui was first done around 2006 by Bruno P. This was for the Makua preamp’s optional DAC module. The Tambaqui was the result of customers asking for an external DAC.

There was in interview on ASR web site were Bruno said this



Nagra DACs get PlayBack Designs digital boards. They also do not get the best PBD boards. Those are saved for the cheaper PBD DACs (relative to Nagra). I

That wouldn’t surprise me at all.  Although, looking at the specs (on a phone), I think (“think” being the key word here, not “know”) this refers to the old Nagra DAC, not the DAC X.  The DAC X has a FPGA of unknown origin, spec’d and programmed to Nagra’s design.  That could be PBD, but it doesn’t look to be on the surface.

still the FPGA is not how you’d think they would design a world class DAC, which is both of our’s ultimate point.

what is surprising is the Nagra IS world class and sounds awesome and is consistently ranked in the top contenders of DACS in pretty well thought out shoot outs by very disparate reviewers and sophisticated users.  The top several are almost always (in no particular order) :   An MBS; one of the top dCS (Bartok or Vivaldi), the Mola Tambqui (which comes in at a fraction of the price of the others), the Nagra HD DAC X, and then the fifth spot more variable.

missing from the “top” lists I note are some of the most expensive, such as WaDax Reference or Atlantis.  So it’s not just a price list.

And the Nagra gets its sound from the expensive components:  32 (or something) independent power supplies, true dual mono set up, literal hand made custom transformers, etc thst take the fragile converted analog signal and pass it on.

All while using spectacularly implemented, very nice, but otherwise unremarkable digital conversion.

While the others use exceptional and novel digital conversion (eg especially the Tambaqui) to get similar results.

If Nagra could license the Tambaqui (or similar) tech, stick two of these superior digital front ends into its dual mono design and stunning analog side, it would have something that is the unquestionable market crusher.

But alas.

Nagra DACs get PlayBack Designs digital boards. They also do not get the best PBD boards. Those are saved for the cheaper PBD DACs (relative to Nagra). I read this in an interview with the PBD designer Andreas Koch.

@davetheoilguy The SD 3100 HV is T+A’s reference level standalone DAC with streamer, which will save you $3K or so if you don’t need the preamp in the SDV 3100 HV. That said, the preamp in the SDV is a performance equivalent of T+A’s $23K reference preamp, but the SDV has less ins and outs. You may be able to get farther if you were open to trading / selling your preamp and cables and jumping to the SDV instead, but in either way, both the SD and SDV are amongst the best DACs I’ve ever heard. The built in streamers are also very good and approach the quality of my Aurender N30SA (not quite, but close), so you may not even need the Lumin. 

I have very limited experience with Nagra, unfortunately. I have a client with the Nagra CD player with a built in DAC (not a higher level one), and it sounds decent. Unfortunately Nagra is a brand that doesn’t appear much at shows, and I haven’t yet had a client trade in a Nagra such that I could demo one. There is also a dealer not too far from me that sells Nagra, so it’s not a brand I can take on. Maybe it’s a good thing that they don’t get traded often, though I also don’t know many people who own their digital equipment. I know the reel to reel and amps are more common. 




Lumin has a slightly more detailed/analytical sound, so you should be looking potentially at more harmonically rich DACs. I am an authorized T+A dealer, so take this with a grain of salt, but if you’re looking at the DCS Vivaldi Apex, one unit to consider is the T+A PSD 3100 HV.

Thank you for the post.  I looked pretty hard at the T+A SD 3100 HV, but never tried it, due to not knowing where to find one to listen to.  (Or, more accurately, not being able to figure out how to get to a place to go listen to one.)  So I may need to hunt you down.  I'm not in a hurry, as the Esoteric DAC is not offensive, at all.  Is that also a good choice among the TA line?

When you say "more harmonically rich DAC", what do you think (and I know I'm asking about a competitor) about the Nagra HD DAC X?  I am just flat in love with my Nagra HD pre, and the scant reviews of the Nagra DACX are good, but there is little technical information about the DAC itself.  It looks like an exceptionally fantastic power supply and "analog side", but the actual DAC looks to be a pretty off-the-shelf (albeit very nicely done) FPGA, just based on how little anyone talks about it.

@saurabhgarg That’s great to hear! And the N20 is a wonderful streamer to pair with the Tambaqui as well - it’s very tonally rich for a streamer.

Let us know what you find with the voltage settings. In most cases a higher voltage of 4V or 5V won’t clip, overload or distort, but you should be able to switch through them easily and choose the one that pairs best with your amp. 


@blisshifi I changed the stock cables to AQ hurricanes and added a power conditioner. Also, changed from RCA to a really nice XLR intercomnects. That has definitely helped with the harshness. I am getting more fuller and bolder sound with all the separation etc. So far I really like this N20/Tambaqui combo. 

I will play around with the voltage setting. DAC is feeding to Luxman 509z. Not sure wif the amp matters for different voltage outputs. 

@davetheoilguy Lumin has a slightly more detailed/analytical sound, so you should be looking potentially at more harmonically rich DACs. I am an authorized T+A dealer, so take this with a grain of salt, but if you’re looking at the DCS Vivaldi Apex, one unit to consider is the T+A PSD 3100 HV. It does have the preamp built in as well, but for MSRP $22K, the quality of its DAC nears the $39K reference SDV 3100 HV. T+A HV Series DACs are well known for their harmonics and organic presentation and are denser/richer with improved effortlessness, decay and air compared to their renowned DAC 200. 

Other DAC brands to consider may be EMM and MSB. 

@saurabhgarg The Tambaqui is a “zippy” DAC in my experience, and I’ve found it fatiguing in some configurations. Have you played with the voltage settings? If you increase the voltage to 4 or 5V output, some of that fatigue may go away. 

Using a dedicated streamer instead of the one built in will also help, in my opinion, as well as good cabling. Feel free to PM me and I’d be happy to provide additional guidance. 

The best advice I can give is to try the U1X with another DAC and then you can more readily identify the Lumin sound. For me, it added too much coloration to the sound of the Mola Mola to my liking.  This description likely isn’t helpful, but I would describe the Lumin as sort of a laser like sound which was too much of a contrast to the more neutral Mola Mola presentation.

I don’t have any in-depth experience with the DCS DACs, so I can’t comment on them here. I will reiterate how much I love the U1X with the Holo Audio May KTE DAC. Both the May and the Tambaqui have excellent imaging, with the May being slightly softer and warmer in presentation. For whatever reason, that combination works in that system to my ears.


Thank you.  I’m kind of doing the reverse search — finding the DAC that will match of with my Lumin U1x.  I have Tidal and everything all set there and don’t feel like reinventing my playlists outside of the Lumin software.

i wonder if the dcs Vivaldi apex would be a better choice.


what specifically about the Lumin U1x/Tabaqui combo was not ideal?  I understand both to be on the analytical side.  I’m actually OK with this bc my preamp is Nagra HD pre which is extremely precise and fast but also warm. 

@davetheoilguy - I have a Lumin U1X in another system that I added to my system with the Mola Mola Kula which includes the Tambaqui module.  Although I noticed an improvement in the imaging and possibly width of the soundstage, the upgrade from the internal Tambaqui streamer wasn't enough for me to keep the U1X in my Mola Mola system.  I've since put the U1X back in the other system where it pairs fantastically with a Holo Audio May KTE DAC.

I'm still looking for a better streamer match for the Mola Mola and am considering a Grimm MU1 next year.  I love the Lumin products, but the Lumin house sound wasn't a great compliment to the Mola Mola (for me) and the quality of the Mola Mola streamer was better than I was anticipating.

Hi @davetheoilguy , I have a Tambaqui and have use it with Network, USB and AES inputs.  All work well.  Some streamers are optimized one way or the other.  For me, AES works best with my Grimm MU1 streamer and is a match made in Audiophile Heaven.

I currently have a neglected digital side.  I have a Lumin U1X streamer I like very much and (I think) is pretty comparable to other streamers.  I use the DAC on my Esoteric K-03XD (a really nice TEAC transport).  The DAC is nice, equal to most all the other Esoteric stand alone DACs, but I'd like to step it up.

Debating between the Tambaqui and the dCS Vivaldi Apex.

Does anyone know if the Lumin U1X would be acceptable with the Tambaqui?

yet another reminder that one person's 'aggressive top end' is another person's 'it's just right' 

which is why one must at some point stop reading others' comments and make the effort to try a target component in ones' own system at length

room, setup, ancillaries, not to mention how each person hears the music determines the outcome and happiness

I have the Mola Mola Makua with installed DAC (Tambaqui).  My opinion in my system is the DAC presentation does not have a bright nor aggressive top end.  I have found that cabling, including power cords, IC's, and ethernet cables do have some influence on my sound presentation of my Makua.   Though I have not listened to a stand alone Tambaqui in my system instead of my Makua, I have read postings from others that a fine preamp, such as the Makua, has been beneficial over Tambaqui stand alone direct to amp(s).   I have an Antipodes K50 G4 and listen to streaming from it via Roon, Roon with Squeeze Player, and Squeeze for both server and player as well as Roon Ready via ethernet on the Makua DAC.  I also vary using USB and AES/EBU from my K50.   All provide different presentations.  I could live with only one choice, but enjoy all of my alternatives.   

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Has anyone encountered slightly brighter sound from Tambaqui, specially on rock music..

I recently upgraded from Holo audio May to Tambaqui DAC feeding into Luxman 509z and BW805D4 speakers+Rels. 

I didn't face this with Holo May DAC which was more warm I guess. I see that most of the well recorded pieces are very nice, however anything not recorded well and specially rock music is fatiguing to listen to. 

Anyone faced similar issues ?? 


We just had a client compare the Grimm mu1 to our Aeon $7800 vs 12800 grimm with 2tb ssd

Client preferred the Aeon over the grimm

if you are looking for a Roon core and endpoint and 100 percent upgradable construction our 432Evo servers are very hard to beat


To date beat aurender n10 and 12

Beat grimm 

Matched Innous statement with upgraded psu

to date the only server we lost out to was 25k vs ours at 7800

we offer  the highest performing servers on the market for this reason we offer a 2 week in home trial for 100% cash back on a return 


Dave and Troy



In a month or so, we will know what the Grimm MU2 sounds like in one box, and whether it'll beat Aries 2.2 + LPS + Tambaqui.. which totally comes to around a similar cost if not more. 

Yes he uses the Aries G2.1   I understand he now has both the Grimm MU1 and the Aries G2.1 in his showroom.


I also have a Playback Desing Plink fibre streamer. Getting a Playback Designs DAC in the next few months. The fibre cables in this streamer are different from what is used in the Sonore and Lumin X1 gear. I believe it is considered industrial grade fibre.

The PLink should be rather good.

BTW - when I was considering the Tambaqui about 4 years ago. the distributer at GTT Audio told me the Aries streamer is a better streamer than the Network streamer in the Tambaqui. He also said when he demos the unit he uses the Aries streamer.


Hi @rolandas_stripeikis,  I have not compared Aries G1 series with Aries G2.  I know there is lots of trickle down tech in Auralic, but just assume the G2.1 is better, and that is what I have been told.

Someone once said this to me (paraphrased):   "You have a Lamborghini of a DAC and without a separate good streamer you are feeding it regular gas".

I think the Aries G1 would improve things, but I also think Tambaqui is so good it should have the Aries G2.1.  Like me, I think several people are upgrading again to the Grimm MU1 to pair with the Tambaqui. That is why you see the Aries G2.1 available.  I will likely list mine as well after the Grimm comes.

@fastfreight Hello. I had auralic aries g1 with hoer wege power supply upgrade, i liked it very much, but sold and bought new mola mola tambaqui. but now I have possibility to take back same auralic aries g1, i have idea to connect it with mola mola tambaqui, more option with auralic, but is it worth extra money for sound improvement? you have aries g 2.1, yes? it is much better than aries g1.. so its not the same to compare.. what do you think, is it worth to connect aries g1 with tambaqui?

the optical rendu is legit (excellent at doing what they say it does)... as is the swenson uptone ether-regen (and the network acoustics passive stuff)... allows users to achieve a superb level of cleanliness and clarity in the digital feed into a streamer or dac for a (fairly) modest cost ... etherregen has an added benefit of allowing an outboard 10mhz clock to further solidify the signal

some upper tier integrated streamer/dac makers build in some of these capabilities into their units these days, making the abovementioned pieces potentially duplicative... but i have felt on the integrated units it is somewhat hard to tell what is doing what as you can only hear the end result processed through the combination of built in ’stages’

I’m well beyond satisfied that my Optical Rendu SE provides the very best streamer my budget can support. Further, I’m excited to get my Tier 1 Rendu upgraded soon to the Tier 2 which will feature their Turbo power supply and improved damping which Sonore states is next level. AND….within a few weeks I’m told Sonore will release their newest firmware which the owner claims is “glorious.”  So I’ll be sending my unit back once they’ve got the firmware sorted out. Better to do it all at once. 

@krell_fan1 I have been singing the praises of the Sonore Optic streaming stuff for a while. I had 3 OpticRendu's but sold 2 recently. Reason being is that I got the Lumin X1 DAC which also has fibre streaming, along with 2 output streaming. 

I did a comparison of the fibre stream of the X1 vs the opticalRendu and I preferred the Sonore a bit more. The sound was a bit more refined with the oR while the X1 was aggressive and fast. Both have their merits and place. However, when you consider the price delta between the 2 units, the oR is a great buy.

Helllo,  @rolandas_stripeikis,  I have the Tambaqui and it is amazing.  But put it with a quality streamer and it is even better.  I have the Auralic Aries G2.1 and it improved everything.  Then, like you are thinking, I added an better power supply.  I went all in with a custom Sean Jacobs PS and it improved things yet again.  It should at its cost!  If you look at the Innuos Statement, that is what they have done, adding an upgraded power supply.  I now have my eye on the Grimm MU1 to use as a my streamer.  Contact me if you want to further discuss.  Ken

Guys, what do you think - mola mola tambaqui with auralic aries g1 with hoer wege power supply is it better than only mola mola with ethernet?

I am late to this thread but here goes. I just acquired the Mola Mola Tambaqui amd all I can say is OMG. I had been using the PS Audio DSD. After 8 years was ready for a change. 

3 months ago a friend suggested I consider a Small Green Computer to replace my Mac Mini as my music server. It comes with the Roon core installed. I more than love it. Super fast, zero latency and built like a tank. And I’m using the Sonore Rendu SE as my streamer and in my view, tough to be their fiber optic approach to music. So I’m using my Sonore to stream to the Tambaqui and it’s MAGIC. At “only” 5k for the Sonore SE and  the STi5 I have for about $1200  we are looking at $6200, about half as much as the Grimm. Now, all that said, I’m sure the Grimm is fantastic. But given it’s twice the price as my combined two units, is it twice as good for twice the price?  I sincerely doubt it very much.  

@low325 How is your Grimm MU1 and Tambaqui working out?  Did you keep your Lumin X1 to compare?  I'm curious to hear your findings! 



thanks! The plan is to use the AES. But been reading positive findings with really high end AES cables. Will be using something on the lower end price wise and maybe move up. (This never ends !!/$&@#).  My unit has a SPDIF out too. 

@low325 @fastfreight Congrats. You'll want to use the AES output or, on the newer units, the spdif output should also carry the Grimm's reclocked signal. Do not bother with the USB output (no benefit there).

Hi @dayglow sounds awesome!  Let us know.  I have had my eye on the Grimm as well for my MMT!  Will you use USB?

I just acquired this the duo of a Grimm MU1 and Tambaqui. The MU1 is ‘burning in and the MMT is on its way. Will make that have a proper break in as well. Quite excited for this.


I was going to “just” use my Lumin X1 into the Tambaqui but MU1/Tambaqui duo design philosophies were intriguing not to ignore should the opportunity present itself.

Yes!  Immediate noticeable improvement.  Blacker, more lifelike, Richer, fuller.


@fastfreight Did you get your Sean Jacobs?  Did you hear an obvious improvement?  I'm curious to hear your findings....

I had the Tambaqui for a short while and compared its internal streaming with my reference Aurender N30SA server/streamer. The N30SA is night and day better than the built-in unit of the Aurender in terms of organic presentation, body, timing, and resolution. And this is also through the use of an AES cable, meaning the clocking used was that of the Aurender, which is simply exceptional. 

i tried an auralic streamer fairly early in my streaming journey, iirc, they prefer wifi for noise reduction purposes, but of course this assumes that the signal is strong and stable (which for many it is decidedly NOT)... back then i had not run the hardwire lan into the listening room and the auralic worked very well for me over my wifi

FWIW, a long while back when I changed from a small USB hard disk for my files to a NAS I had to decide whether to rely on wi-fi or drill a hole for ethernet.  So I bought a cheap 50 foot ethernet cable on ebay and tried it against the wi-fi.  The cable clearly outperformed the wi-fi.  So I bit the bullet, drilled the hole and have ben satisfied with a relatively short cable ever since.  As usual, YMMV.

So here is a question:  A main advantage of wifi is by avoiding possible noise that ethernet cables can aquire.  To get wifi downstairs in my audio roo0m, I need th run a ling cable down there for a wifi extender, or a mesh wifi satellite.  Isn't the ethernet wire to the wifi station just a likely to acquire noise as the wire to my streamer?

jjss49, Thanks for those links.  

I am aware of the options and pros / cons of wifi vs wired.  Wifi has always been spotty in my house, but better now.  I have an Eero mesh system with three wired points.  I might try wifi to compare.  Currently my ethernet is wired through both an Ether Regen and a Network Acoustics Muon filter,