Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ted_b

Article: exaSound e28 Multichannel USB DAC Review

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Ted, great review. I've always appreciated your writing style and this continues with your review of the E28. I don't know if I'll ever go DSD multichannel due to storage complexities, but you never know. Ergo, look forward to your article on storage.

 

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Kal (and Mark). Folks, Kal will have his E28 review asap that will blow mine away...but he is da man, so that's ok by me. :)

 

I've been asked whether the iFi USB power was necessary. Yes! ? Why? Aren't exaSound DAC USB chips self-powered and well-isolated? Yes, but in my case I needed the iFi for a very different reason...I needed the extra length it and its umbilical gave me to connect from the lower rack position that I gave up to the CAPS to the top temporary position where the E28 sat . :) And it sure doesn't hurt.

 

I've also been asked whether I tried the SPDIF inputs. Sadly, no, sorry. I wanted to test multichannel DSD and hirez multichannel PCM, both via USB. By the way, my USB cable (from the iFi) was the Paul Pang III (black) cable, with the DH Labs .5M acting as an umbilical from the CAPS to iFi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure whether to compliment you on a great review or to simply say "damn you!" for bringing this to my attention. This would slide into my system sooooo easily and handle all my DSF and FLAC multi-channel files. This will be high on my list once my gear budget can handle it.

 

Russ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've also been asked whether I tried the SPDIF inputs. Sadly, no, sorry.
I tried the SPDIF input on the e18 but there was nothing out of line to report. Sounded good but the HD/Mch stuff over USB kept me from using it much. I would assume that the e28 would be as good or better and, I suppose, I could try it. So could you. ;-)

Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ted

 

Thank you for a well written review. I have been watching for it daily since you said it was forth coming shortly.

 

Can you tell us what multi channel analog preamp you are using ?

Did you do any comparison listening to your EMM and the Exasound in 2 channel ?

 

 

Stew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stew, thanks. I am switching between using the Sony TA-P900ES multichannel analog preamp and the MSB MVC. Most of my listening was done with the Sony.

 

No I did not compare the Meitner MA-1 to this Exasound. As I stated in the review, for strictly2 channel I liked George's E20 slightly better than this E28, and likely due to the fact that it uses one DAC chip for 2 channels (four channels each side) as opposed to splitting them up to their eight channels. Dunno. But the MA-1 and the E28 are for two different setups, anyway. This is first and foremost a multichannel DAC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha!

Ted, thanks for your insights.

I'm currently scratching my head - on a daily basis - wether I should hit the "buy me" button on the E28, or ...

 

It would be a dream gettin' true to have a solution for all formats in either way, so I'm very tempted ;-)


Esoterc SA-60 / Foobar2000 -> Mytek Stereo 192 DSD / Audio-GD NFB 28.38 -> MEG RL922K / AKG K500 / AKG K1000  / Audioquest Nighthawk / OPPO PM-2 / Sennheiser HD800 / Sennheiser Surrounder / Sony MA900 / STAX SR-303+SRM-323II

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What bothers me in this review is the DSD vs DSP statement. Even Sabre chip does DSP on the DSD (digital filter and volume control)...

 

But maybe it just meant that JRiver doesn't have such.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Ted,

 

I enjoyed your comprehensive and user friendly review. In particular from the perspective I employ and value for my own writing style which you describe as: "...I thought I’d add that my review style is non-technical and more from the listener/user perspective than from the details of the specific reviewed unit per se. You can look up specs from the mfg’er website..."

 

With appreciation over the years for what I have taken away with me that you have generously shared with us that is both instructive and values the enjoyment of music.

 

Music's the thing; the equipment seduces,

 

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the nice comments.

 

Miska, I am sorry my DSP comments bothered you. I'm not sure what part of it you don't like. I was explaining that in mch setups you need to deal with channel trims (easy enough, do in preamp or on driver console), bass management and possibly channel delays. The latter two currently require the DSP menu to be activated in JRiver (if you have a better multichannel player and fewer options, great) which only gets processed when in PCM, not DSD. I explained what to do in that case. What did I error with?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surprised no mention of its suitability for diy active 4-way speakers. I'd guess there'd be many more people interested in it for this reason than for for multichannel music?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review Ted. I have been to the exaSound website several times and dreaming about my future purchases. For now all I have is my Korg MR2000S to play my DSD files even though I own the Auraliti PK90, which could be upgraded to play DSD, as well as several Windows and Mac computers that could be used when I ever get an external DSD DAC.

 

Do you know if Auraliti has any plans to support multichannel DSD64/128?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ted,

 

I just felt it wasn't entirely clear that "However, if you know anything about DSD you know that DSP is not available. Argh! Now what do we do? In the case of DSD delays, there is no real current solution" was specifically about JRiver, not about DSD & DSP in general...

 

Because of course there are current solutions to that elsewhere...


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sam, thanks. Yes, my Sp Tech Revelations are the mains, and their massive top half (Continuums) are the center and dedicated music surrounds. I use wall-hanging Alon Centris dipoles for my 7.1 movie setup, but that's an entirely different signal path and amplification.

 

composite.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

b.d: That's what I personally find very interesting and would like to use it that way, including DSD material. Because that has been one of the major problems so far. I don't want PCM conversion and I don't want extra A/D/A loops either, but I want digital X-overs.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AZ, thanks. I am not aware that Auraliti has any mch plans.

 

Jussi, No problem, looks like I wasn't clear enough. Are you saying that HQPlayer can do both multichannel delays and bass management while staying in DSD, and yet also in PCM?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ted,

 

Multichannel delays and levels. Plus convolution engine is available that can be used for DRC and X-overs. Signal re-routing is to come later along with multi-way loudspeaker X-over support. When doing DSP on DSD I recommend also doing up-sampling at the same time to increase output dynamic range - similar effect like using higher word length output on PCM (32-bit DACs).


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ted: Just out of curiousity, what preamplifier are you feeding the exaSound into? Your signature only appears to show your 2-channel setup. I have a Magnepan-based surround setup that I love, but haven't yet added a multichannel DAC in the hope that someone would come up with a high quality multi-channel DAC/preamp combo in the way that Classe and Bryston have implemented a 2-chennel usb DAC solution into the SSP-800 and SP-3, respectively surround pre amps.


Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO M4000 Win10>Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>Fiber Switch>Sonicorbiter SE (NAA)>REGEN>Oppo BDP-105D>Bryston SP3>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I answered that earlier today (12:06) on this same thread. The Sony TA-P9000Es is my main multichannel preamp (then fronts go to my Concert Fidelity CF-080) but I also dabble with an MSB MVC (multichannel volume control) I picked up.

Edited by ted_b

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Surprised no mention of its suitability for diy active 4-way speakers. I'd guess there'd be many more people interested in it for this reason than for for multichannel music?
I am not really interested in DIY active speakers (and I doubt that there are more people interested in that than multichannel music) but I'd really like to hear about the e28's suitability for this.

Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

George Klissarov is on holiday, but will chime in later in the weekend. We can ask him to dive into the active crossover scenarios.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...