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New Dirac series from minidsp


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Dirac Series | MiniDSP

 

Two models, one with analog in and out, the other with digital in and out.

Comes with calibrated mic and Dirac built into the box.

 

$899 each, so in terms of software, mic, and hardware, it is quite competitive.

digital model accepts up to 216k signal, processes at 96k.

 

Will definitely think about this, even though it means all my files would essentially be converted to 96k. Would like to hear from a few reviewers/users who have heard it first.

 

Interesting question: buy the digital version, inserted between PC and DAC, and input all PC music output to it? That means giving up on DSD playback unless I convert the DSD to say 24/176 on the fly. Or, buy the analog version and put it in the chain between my DAC and my amp? That will allow me to continue to play DSD, but will mean all files will undergo DAC>ADC>DAC before the amp.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Can it be combined with other software to create digital crossovers?

 

they said on the minidsp forum that the manual will be published tomorrow, so you can dowload it and read exactly what the capabilities are.

 

You can also go there and ask on the forum.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Windows only. This has been a major problem for me with their new devices. I love my 10 x 10, and would happily buy the icePower amps and this if I could run the software.

Flac audio (MBP) to miniDSP 10x10 running REW and active crossovers to ADCOM GFA 555 and 2 QSC GX5's (Tri Amped). Using Paradigm Studio 100 V.2 Speakers modded for the Active Crossover and stereo Velodyne HGS12 subwoofers.

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Well, user manual is posted. Looking at the digital in/out version, I see something very strange. Use USB to measure for correction filters and set them up, but then for music playback there is no USB input, only AES (XLR), toslink, and spdif. Am I reading this wrong?

Doesn't make sense not to have a USB input for computer audio.

 

I tried to register at their forum, but it keeps telling me that I have to enable cookies, when they are already enabled in my browser.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Windows only. This has been a major problem for me with their new devices. I love my 10 x 10, and would happily buy the icePower amps and this if I could run the software.

 

Hello alexwgoody,

 

as a Mac user you may be interested in this sentence from the miniDSP support:

 

For the time being, it's indeed correct that the unit will only be compatible with PC for the configuration process. There is a layer of communication (USB DLL) which right now we've only compiled for Windows and tested extensively under that environment. It's however at the top of our list to work out a Mac DLL as well since it's as important to us than it is to you (we love mac.. :) )

 

Ciao, Flavio

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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Well, user manual is posted. Looking at the digital in/out version, I see something very strange. Use USB to measure for correction filters and set them up, but then for music playback there is no USB input, only AES (XLR), toslink, and spdif. Am I reading this wrong?

Doesn't make sense not to have a USB input for computer audio.

 

I tried to register at their forum, but it keeps telling me that I have to enable cookies, when they are already enabled in my browser.

 

It's not a USB streaming music device.

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Hello alexwgoody,

 

as a Mac user you may be interested in this sentence from the miniDSP support:

 

For the time being, it's indeed correct that the unit will only be compatible with PC for the configuration process. There is a layer of communication (USB DLL) which right now we've only compiled for Windows and tested extensively under that environment. It's however at the top of our list to work out a Mac DLL as well since it's as important to us than it is to you (we love mac.. :) )

 

Ciao, Flavio

 

I sure hope so. I'd buy the Dirac box and the IcePower amps right now - if I could actually use them. I hope you won't mind my stupid questions in the Dirac forum when miniDSP finally makes this product usable for me.

Flac audio (MBP) to miniDSP 10x10 running REW and active crossovers to ADCOM GFA 555 and 2 QSC GX5's (Tri Amped). Using Paradigm Studio 100 V.2 Speakers modded for the Active Crossover and stereo Velodyne HGS12 subwoofers.

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Well, user manual is posted. Looking at the digital in/out version, I see something very strange. Use USB to measure for correction filters and set them up, but then for music playback there is no USB input, only AES (XLR), toslink, and spdif. Am I reading this wrong?

Doesn't make sense not to have a USB input for computer audio.

 

I tried to register at their forum, but it keeps telling me that I have to enable cookies, when they are already enabled in my browser.

 

Well, at their forum verified that USB is for control only not for playback. Means the digital in/out model isn't useful with a music server like a CAPS. Sort of a strange design choice, if you ask me. Leaves me to contemplate only the analog unit, which means doing DRC through a double DA-DA conversion.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

Link to comment
Well, at their forum verified that USB is for control only not for playback. Means the digital in/out model isn't useful with a music server like a CAPS. Sort of a strange design choice, if you ask me. Leaves me to contemplate only the analog unit, which means doing DRC through a double DA-DA conversion.
Why not run DiracLive on the CAPS?

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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Why not run DiracLive on the CAPS?

 

Sure, you can do that. But I was hoping for a box that would allow USB input, so you could run a fairly low powered CAPS, with few services running. Running Dirac Live on the CAPS means you need a pretty powerful CAPS setup and more applications running in the background.

 

BTW, Kal, I'm assuming (hoping) you will be reviewing these new Dirac units at some point, as you seem to be the most knowledgeable and most enthusiastic reviewer of DRC at Stereophile.

 

One of the things I always want to know when I read write ups of HW solutions for DSP is how they perform simply as an audio component. That is, does it seem to have an effect on the SQ just as a box? The Dirac unit is essentially also a preamp, so does it change the sound just as a pre/DAC, irrespective of the DRC results?

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

Link to comment
Sure, you can do that. But I was hoping for a box that would allow USB input, so you could run a fairly low powered CAPS, with few services running. Running Dirac Live on the CAPS means you need a pretty powerful CAPS setup and more applications running in the background.

 

BTW, Kal, I'm assuming (hoping) you will be reviewing these new Dirac units at some point, as you seem to be the most knowledgeable and most enthusiastic reviewer of DRC at Stereophile.

 

One of the things I always want to know when I read write ups of HW solutions for DSP is how they perform simply as an audio component. That is, does it seem to have an effect on the SQ just as a box? The Dirac unit is essentially also a preamp, so does it change the sound just as a pre/DAC, irrespective of the DRC results?

The other advantage of running DIRAC on a separate box is it allows easier integration of other sources...

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Sure, you can do that. But I was hoping for a box that would allow USB input, so you could run a fairly low powered CAPS, with few services running. Running Dirac Live on the CAPS means you need a pretty powerful CAPS setup and more applications running in the background.
I agree but miniDSP seems to be going in two different directions. These Dirac boxes are based on their previous configurations using analog or S/PDIF in/outs, like the 10x10HD I reviewed a little while ago. At the same time, I just got an HDMI in/out EQ from them (nanoAVR) but it uses their traditional firmware configuration (not Dirac).

 

BTW, Kal, I'm assuming (hoping) you will be reviewing these new Dirac units at some point, as you seem to be the most knowledgeable and most enthusiastic reviewer of DRC at Stereophile.

Not sure. Up to the editor.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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Why not run DiracLive on the CAPS?

Exactly. I don't see the big advantage to the digital version of the minidsp, especially since it's USB apparently can't be used for music. It would be cheaper and easier to download DIRAC Live on a server and go out USB to DAC of choice.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

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  • 3 weeks later...
Exactly. I don't see the big advantage to the digital version of the minidsp, especially since it's USB apparently can't be used for music. It would be cheaper and easier to download DIRAC Live on a server and go out USB to DAC of choice.

 

If you need USB, I don't, add the MiniDSP USBStreamer product!

Chuck Elliot

 

Emotiva XDA-1

Sony BDPS560 (Bluray)

SA 8300HD DVR (Time Warner)

Onkyo 808 (spot reserved for Emotiva XMC-1)

Emotiva UPA-5

Emotiva UPA-2

Anthem MCA-20 (Sub Amp)

Klipsch Heresy III - L/R

Klipsch Heresy I - C

Klipsch Heresy I - L/R Surrounds

JBL HLS-810 L/R Rear Surrounds

NHT 1259 Subs 2-Homebuilt

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Any user reviews somewhere yet?

 

From miniDSP forum

Quote "Another update. Now that I had the mic USB cable firmly attached I re-ran the procedure. This time I made sure to measure a larger area, a bit wider than 3', as well as putting the mic higher and lower. When this filter was added things were much improved. There is a better sense of space and none of the slightly clinical sound the first filter had. Very impressive now!"

Unquote

 

my unit has arrived and hopefully I will have it up and running on Tuesday. The living room is very asymmetric, lots of hard surfaces, large french windows, tiled floor, no room treatment at all

 

Sonos > DDRC-22D > NAD D3020 > KEF LS50

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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Flavio, did you yourself already tried it? I'm especially intrested in the analog version to use between pre and power amp.

Mus say I will seriously need to be convinced about this product having very bad experiences wit MiniDSP dsp cross-overs...

 

Hello Leeuwarden

no, I have not tried it yet... I'm confident that you would be happy with it but I think that in any case all the problems that you had with miniDSP crossovers should be solved first and I'm sure that miniDSP will fully support you, may I know which are the pending issues?

 

Ciao, Flavio

 

p.s. being this OT may be you can send me a message so that I can submit them to miniDSP

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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Thanks! Looking forward to read your opinion.

It's 2:30 am, so just a quick summary

- if you are doing a sofa measurement you absolutely need a boom mic stand, a photographers tripod is very in efficient to adjust. I found it very difficult to be accurate with consistent fore and aft distances

 

- I ran the standard optimization, had great sound stage, much better clarity, very clean / tight base (gives my old Maggie's a run for the money for being boom free), but some magic / emotion was gone. I did a 2nd filter where I limited the left speaker correction window to 500 Hz and the right speaker correction to 1,000 Hz. The magic is back :-)

 

it's quite a bit of work, but it's not possible to replicate the results any other way (speaker distances are un equal)

 

the system now sounds like there is a sub hooked up !

 

I will post the graphs later

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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What does this mean?

 

Let me try to describe how my sound perception changed between no DRC, full DRC and partial DRC, and then speculate why it might have happened.

 

My chase / holy grail is sound bites that give me goose bumps. Magical moments are

a) micro details audience coughing, artist breathing, fingers sliding over guitar strings

b)the sweatiness of the tone, the blend of the harmonics. Female voices and violins most frequently dish up these moments for me.

c) great realistic bass

 

The degree of magic loss is comparable to the sound of car audio with and without the motor running. The goose bump quotient drops dramatically with the background noise, your brain is distracted by the noise. However the more I think about the Magic loss I experience with DRC, I don't think there is a higher noise floor with DRC that is causing this. All the details are there, if anything clearer than before, but the tonal spectrum seems to have changed. An example, the audience whistling in Hotel California. The whistle is there but with full DRC the whistle sounds sterile, processed / filtered

 

So it seems that DRC applied to frequencies higher than 300 Hz ? - 500 Hz ? negatively affects / damages the harmonic structure of the instrument note or vocal sound.

 

What would be nice would be a DRC attenuator control which would allow you to vary the degree of DRC over the frequency spectrum. 100 % from 20 Hz to 90 Hz, tapering to 50 % by 300 Hz and tapering to 0 % by 500 Hz

 

For me the effect of low frequency only DRC makes the miniDSP Dirac series a keeper

 

An interesting side observation. In my mini van which has a 2.1 setup there is an Alpine head feeding an Alpine DSP unit which is load with filters using Audessy software. The system is about 4 years old. That systems seems to sterilize the harmonic structure much less than the full DRC with Dirac. What bothers me about the Alpine / Audessy system is the way mass strings sound - jumbled up, can't distinguish the individual instruments. Full Dirac DRC does not appear to do this on casual listening

 

hope the above is helpful !

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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