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Experiences with Prism Titan or Orpheus?


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Hello.

 

I'm looking for an 8-channel DAC to directly drive amps. Sound quality is the most important factor for me. I received a suggestion about the Titan (similar to the Orpheus), but I don't find any posts here referencing either one. And I wonder if their sound is not on par with leading edge audiophile DACs or maybe they are just too pro-audio and get neglected.

 

Any input would be most welcomed!

Roon Server: general purpose Gigabyte GA-Z170X UD5, i5 6600, Crucial MX200 SSD, HyperX 1x16GB RAM, Win 10 Pro, convolving in Roon digital xo + DRC + upsampling. Output through ethernet.

Roon Client AudioPC: Uptone etherRegen (with LPS 1.2) into Intel S1200KPR, Xeon E3 1265lv2, Crucial V4 SSD for OS, 8GB ECC RAM, Streacom FC8 Evo case, lab linear PSU, Windows Server 2019, AudioPhil's Optimizer, Acourate (digital xo, room correction)

Rest of Chain: Lynx Hilo as 8-channel DAC, McIntosh MC275 MkIV for mids & treble, Hypex UcD400HG for midbass into DIY dipoles 18" midbass/2x8" mids/AMT tweeter, 2 DIY 12" Rythmik subs, Equi=Core 1800 balanced power, dedicated power lines, room treatments

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Exasound has an 8 channel DAC: E28

 

Product Link: exaSound Audio Design > e28 > Overview

 

Its has 8 channels. On RCA or mini-XLR outputs. Capable upto DSD256 32/384 PCM. Running on ES9018 Sabre32 reference DAC chip. It has also a (82fs) Femto Clock option.

 

There is a dedicated thread here also: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6-dac-digital-analog-conversion/exasound-e18-e20-e28-info-and-experiences-post-all-here-17190/

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Thanks Mickey. I'm aware of it. In fact, I bought the e22 to test it and like it doing DSD with HQPlayer, but my Metrum Octave + Audiophilleo beats it playing PCM, and it's PCM I'm most interested in as I want to do DSP/DRC with Acourate and it works on PCM only.

 

My multichannel DAC shortlist got the e28 knocked out because of sound and the LIO-8 because it's Apple only. Lynx Hilo is a candidate, but I really need 8 channels and the Hilo has 6. I'm now looking into pro-audio stuff, like Prism Titan and Lynx Aurora.

Roon Server: general purpose Gigabyte GA-Z170X UD5, i5 6600, Crucial MX200 SSD, HyperX 1x16GB RAM, Win 10 Pro, convolving in Roon digital xo + DRC + upsampling. Output through ethernet.

Roon Client AudioPC: Uptone etherRegen (with LPS 1.2) into Intel S1200KPR, Xeon E3 1265lv2, Crucial V4 SSD for OS, 8GB ECC RAM, Streacom FC8 Evo case, lab linear PSU, Windows Server 2019, AudioPhil's Optimizer, Acourate (digital xo, room correction)

Rest of Chain: Lynx Hilo as 8-channel DAC, McIntosh MC275 MkIV for mids & treble, Hypex UcD400HG for midbass into DIY dipoles 18" midbass/2x8" mids/AMT tweeter, 2 DIY 12" Rythmik subs, Equi=Core 1800 balanced power, dedicated power lines, room treatments

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The Horus and Prism would be top 2 candidates. If you plan on using Acourate, the exa is disqualified due to lack of analog input.

 

Why 8 channels? What kind of setup are you planning? Active speakers? MCH surround?

 

Hey Dallas. I know you have listened to your fair share of multichannel DACs. Have you heard any of these?

 

Yes, I plan on using Acourate and actually Uli suggested the Prism Titan, but he provided no context for the suggestion and that's why I'm asking.

 

The setup is a pair of 3-way stereo speakers driven without the passive XO, so those need 6 channels, plus two subs. Hence the 8 channels.

 

I understand the benefits of time-alignment and multiamping, but what is really hard to figure out if those benefits outweigh those from a top-notch audiophile Stereo DAC plus preamp. Such a hard life is that of audiophiles! :)

Roon Server: general purpose Gigabyte GA-Z170X UD5, i5 6600, Crucial MX200 SSD, HyperX 1x16GB RAM, Win 10 Pro, convolving in Roon digital xo + DRC + upsampling. Output through ethernet.

Roon Client AudioPC: Uptone etherRegen (with LPS 1.2) into Intel S1200KPR, Xeon E3 1265lv2, Crucial V4 SSD for OS, 8GB ECC RAM, Streacom FC8 Evo case, lab linear PSU, Windows Server 2019, AudioPhil's Optimizer, Acourate (digital xo, room correction)

Rest of Chain: Lynx Hilo as 8-channel DAC, McIntosh MC275 MkIV for mids & treble, Hypex UcD400HG for midbass into DIY dipoles 18" midbass/2x8" mids/AMT tweeter, 2 DIY 12" Rythmik subs, Equi=Core 1800 balanced power, dedicated power lines, room treatments

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Sorry to hear that. Only things that come to mind aside from Emmlabs are:

 

DAD AX24

DAD - AX24 AD/DA Converter

 

and Merging's Horus

 

Merging Technologies Horus Audio Converter

 

Thanks for the input. Have you heard any of these?

 

I came across the Horus before, but honestly never quite understood it. It is a real pro-audio unit and I can't help but wonder about the many features I would be buying and never using. But also know is very customizable. Would really like to know how it sounds compared to similarly priced audiophile DACs.

Roon Server: general purpose Gigabyte GA-Z170X UD5, i5 6600, Crucial MX200 SSD, HyperX 1x16GB RAM, Win 10 Pro, convolving in Roon digital xo + DRC + upsampling. Output through ethernet.

Roon Client AudioPC: Uptone etherRegen (with LPS 1.2) into Intel S1200KPR, Xeon E3 1265lv2, Crucial V4 SSD for OS, 8GB ECC RAM, Streacom FC8 Evo case, lab linear PSU, Windows Server 2019, AudioPhil's Optimizer, Acourate (digital xo, room correction)

Rest of Chain: Lynx Hilo as 8-channel DAC, McIntosh MC275 MkIV for mids & treble, Hypex UcD400HG for midbass into DIY dipoles 18" midbass/2x8" mids/AMT tweeter, 2 DIY 12" Rythmik subs, Equi=Core 1800 balanced power, dedicated power lines, room treatments

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I would get the Prism. I doubt you'll regret it. I haven't heard one though.

 

I'll be there with you some day. My system is partially active. I'll go fully active some day.

 

My experience with using this type of gear with Acourate for crossover, driver linearization and DRC is that one can no longer evaluate each box on its own. There's really no answer to your question because of the application. IMO, if you and Uli come up with excellent filters in a fully active system, you'll be blown away and there wouldn't be any DAC on earth that can compete with that. :-)

 

Michael.

 

 

Hey Dallas. I know you have listened to your fair share of multichannel DACs. Have you heard any of these?

 

Yes, I plan on using Acourate and actually Uli suggested the Prism Titan, but he provided no context for the suggestion and that's why I'm asking.

 

The setup is a pair of 3-way stereo speakers driven without the passive XO, so those need 6 channels, plus two subs. Hence the 8 channels.

 

I understand the benefits of time-alignment and multiamping, but what is really hard to figure out if those benefits outweigh those from a top-notch audiophile Stereo DAC plus preamp. Such a hard life is that of audiophiles! :)

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

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I would get the Prism. I doubt you'll regret it. I haven't heard one though.

 

I'll be there with you some day. My system is partially active. I'll go fully active some day.

 

My experience with using this type of gear with Acourate for crossover, driver linearization and DRC is that one can no longer evaluate each box on its own. There's really no answer to your question because of the application. IMO, if you and Uli come up with excellent filters in a fully active system, you'll be blown away and there wouldn't be any DAC on earth that can compete with that. :-)

 

Michael.

 

Thanks for the encouraging words. I admit it does take a bit of courage to let go of the beaten path and venture into those woods. I can't help but wonder about going fully active vs. the regular path with really good components. There is actually no way (for me) to know, so I have to pick one and get going.

 

Achieving a fully active system is going to take me at least a couple of years, though. I hope the journey is fun! As soon as I get the multichannel DAC I will be able to do without the preamp (a dreadful day in my books :( ) and time-align the subwoofers with the main speakers. Then I will need to get two SS monoblock amps for the woofers and time-align those. Finally getting another amp for the tweeters and do the same. All that with the logistics of getting these things to Argentina, in and of itself a challenge.

 

Oh, and then I day-dream about building my own speakers :)

 

So a very significant departure from the beaten path and I'm right at the crossroads...

 

BTW, a variation of this path could involve using the Lynx Hilo, like yours, for a while until I really need 8 channels which is like in 18/24 months. Much easier to ask someone to bring it for me in his/her bag, half the price of the Titan, and would allow to do it all except the 8 channels. How do you like its performance as a DAC?

Roon Server: general purpose Gigabyte GA-Z170X UD5, i5 6600, Crucial MX200 SSD, HyperX 1x16GB RAM, Win 10 Pro, convolving in Roon digital xo + DRC + upsampling. Output through ethernet.

Roon Client AudioPC: Uptone etherRegen (with LPS 1.2) into Intel S1200KPR, Xeon E3 1265lv2, Crucial V4 SSD for OS, 8GB ECC RAM, Streacom FC8 Evo case, lab linear PSU, Windows Server 2019, AudioPhil's Optimizer, Acourate (digital xo, room correction)

Rest of Chain: Lynx Hilo as 8-channel DAC, McIntosh MC275 MkIV for mids & treble, Hypex UcD400HG for midbass into DIY dipoles 18" midbass/2x8" mids/AMT tweeter, 2 DIY 12" Rythmik subs, Equi=Core 1800 balanced power, dedicated power lines, room treatments

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The Hilo with Acourate is a combo that's better than any other DAC I've heard. The Hilo is also among the best for subwoofer integration. I am confident there won't ever be a DAC, on its own, that can better the Hilo+Acourate combo.

 

Warning: the hilo mixer is not documented. I think Uli has a handled on it after some trial and error. :-)

 

 

Thanks for the encouraging words. I admit it does take a bit of courage to let go of the beaten path and venture into those woods. I can't help but wonder about going fully active vs. the regular path with really good components. There is actually no way (for me) to know, so I have to pick one and get going.

 

Achieving a fully active system is going to take me at least a couple of years, though. I hope the journey is fun! As soon as I get the multichannel DAC I will be able to do without the preamp (a dreadful day in my books :( ) and time-align the subwoofers with the main speakers. Then I will need to get two SS monoblock amps for the woofers and time-align those. Finally getting another amp for the tweeters and do the same. All that with the logistics of getting these things to Argentina, in and of itself a challenge.

 

Oh, and then I day-dream about building my own speakers :)

 

So a very significant departure from the beaten path and I'm right at the crossroads...

 

BTW, a variation of this path could involve using the Lynx Hilo, like yours, for a while until I really need 8 channels which is like in 18/24 months. Much easier to ask someone to bring it for me in his/her bag, half the price of the Titan, and would allow to do it all except the 8 channels. How do you like its performance as a DAC?

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

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The Hilo with Acourate is a combo that's better than any other DAC I've heard. The Hilo is also among the best for subwoofer integration. I am confident there won't ever be a DAC, on its own, that can better the Hilo+Acourate combo.

 

Warning: the hilo mixer is not documented. I think Uli has a handled on it after some trial and error. :-)

 

Can the Hilo analog volume control adjust all 6 analog out levels simultaneously? This would be needed for me to use as intended. Come to think about it Mitchco must be using it that way because he uses a configuration like what I envision - unless he's using a digital volume control...

Roon Server: general purpose Gigabyte GA-Z170X UD5, i5 6600, Crucial MX200 SSD, HyperX 1x16GB RAM, Win 10 Pro, convolving in Roon digital xo + DRC + upsampling. Output through ethernet.

Roon Client AudioPC: Uptone etherRegen (with LPS 1.2) into Intel S1200KPR, Xeon E3 1265lv2, Crucial V4 SSD for OS, 8GB ECC RAM, Streacom FC8 Evo case, lab linear PSU, Windows Server 2019, AudioPhil's Optimizer, Acourate (digital xo, room correction)

Rest of Chain: Lynx Hilo as 8-channel DAC, McIntosh MC275 MkIV for mids & treble, Hypex UcD400HG for midbass into DIY dipoles 18" midbass/2x8" mids/AMT tweeter, 2 DIY 12" Rythmik subs, Equi=Core 1800 balanced power, dedicated power lines, room treatments

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Can the Hilo analog volume control adjust all 6 analog out levels simultaneously? This would be needed for me to use as intended. Come to think about it Mitchco must be using it that way because he uses a configuration like what I envision - unless he's using a digital volume control...

I use the Acourate Convolver which features a 64 bit FIR volume control with a shaped dither output, among other things. You could also use the player's volume control.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

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The Horus and Prism would be top 2 candidates. If you plan on using Acourate, the exa is disqualified due to lack of analog input.

 

Why? I do my Acourate measurements with one interface (usually Focusrite Forte since it's compact) and then do the normal playback with other gear. (I export the filters for use in HQPlayer's convolution engine since that way I get DSD processing too)

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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My multichannel DAC shortlist got the e28 knocked out because of sound and the LIO-8 because it's Apple only. Lynx Hilo is a candidate, but I really need 8 channels and the Hilo has 6. I'm now looking into pro-audio stuff, like Prism Titan and Lynx Aurora.

 

If you are fine with just 192/24 PCM, RME Fireface UFX is one option. With USB set to class-compliant mode, should work on Linux too (I don't have it yet, so not tested)

 

RME: Fireface UFX

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Check out the 16 channel Dac from Illusonic.ch

 

An 8 channel version is in development.

 

A 4 channel verson was just released.

 

The OP wants to know about MCH units. The illusonic is an all-in-one box. It doesn't appear to capable of working with Acourate or similar server side software with multiple channels controlled in the server. I could be wrong since I can't find a manual. But sales literature talks about EQ in the box, etc.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

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Why? I do my Acourate measurements with one interface (usually Focusrite Forte since it's compact) and then do the normal playback with other gear. (I export the filters for use in HQPlayer's convolution engine since that way I get DSD processing too)

I think the OP is only interested in buying 1 unit. I can only think of disadvantages to measuring with one unit and playing back with another.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

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Jussi,

I have the older HQP version so I don't know what the new version looks like. Is there a matrix or something straightforward in HQP as far as assigning channels with specific convolution filters? Also, what is the format? .cfg files, .wav? I don't use the Jriver convolution engine primarily due to the source forge format needed. I can set it up for 2CH filters in Jriver. But I don't trust it for MCH.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

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Why? I do my Acourate measurements with one interface (usually Focusrite Forte since it's compact) and then do the normal playback with other gear. (I export the filters for use in HQPlayer's convolution engine since that way I get DSD processing too)

 

I did check with Uli on that and he said it can be done with different devices, at the expense of a steeper learning curve and maybe some sonic shortcomings, although he did think the latter might be minor.

 

But Miska, several days ago I PM you asking about how you were using the e28 with Acourate and HQPlayer and played DSD, but dropped the notion as I got no answer back. The edge I can envision with the e28 is only when playing DSD upconverted and played thru HQPlayer. But Acourate works in PCM, so the e28 wasn't worth much unless I had a way to run Acourate, XO, and upconvert with HQPlayer in multichannel. This is why I said I dropped the e28 because of sound.

 

BTW, are your suggestions based on them sounding better than the Prism or Lynx, or Horus, or another criteria?

Roon Server: general purpose Gigabyte GA-Z170X UD5, i5 6600, Crucial MX200 SSD, HyperX 1x16GB RAM, Win 10 Pro, convolving in Roon digital xo + DRC + upsampling. Output through ethernet.

Roon Client AudioPC: Uptone etherRegen (with LPS 1.2) into Intel S1200KPR, Xeon E3 1265lv2, Crucial V4 SSD for OS, 8GB ECC RAM, Streacom FC8 Evo case, lab linear PSU, Windows Server 2019, AudioPhil's Optimizer, Acourate (digital xo, room correction)

Rest of Chain: Lynx Hilo as 8-channel DAC, McIntosh MC275 MkIV for mids & treble, Hypex UcD400HG for midbass into DIY dipoles 18" midbass/2x8" mids/AMT tweeter, 2 DIY 12" Rythmik subs, Equi=Core 1800 balanced power, dedicated power lines, room treatments

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I have the older HQP version so I don't know what the new version looks like. Is there a matrix or something straightforward in HQP as far as assigning channels with specific convolution filters? Also, what is the format? .cfg files, .wav? I don't use the Jriver convolution engine primarily due to the source forge format needed. I can set it up for 2CH filters in Jriver. But I don't trust it for MCH.

 

I'm working on more flexible channel routing for cross-over filters and such, tentatively targeting 3.6.0 version. At the moment channel mapping is 1:1, so mostly useful for room correction. But since 2.x versions, there has been possibility to load 8 filters, one per each channel. Format is mono-WAV.

 

Has been working fine for me with Acourate generated room correction filters.

 

I have not yet decided how the setup will be for the more flexible routing, most likely it is expected to be in form of XML that one can write in Notepad or such. Graphical editor would be either limiting or very complex, so a XML could be used as description language and then later it would be possible to create GUI for it. This would also allow other applications to export suitable configurations straight.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Horacio,

Something I forgot to mention. If you plan on using your next converter with Acourate, the converter needs to have a mic pre to set mic level and supply 48v to your measurement mic. The prism has a great mic built in. Whereas the Lynx requires an external mic pre unit. I use a Sound Devices USBpre2 run off a 5v battery for mic pre. It works well but it's expensive. Just something to consider when looking at various price tags.

Michael.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

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The OP wants to know about MCH units. The illusonic is an all-in-one box. It doesn't appear to capable of working with Acourate or similar server side software with multiple channels controlled in the server. I could be wrong since I can't find a manual. But sales literature talks about EQ in the box, etc.

Did you see this: Illusonic Room Equalization - ILLUSONIC

 

and

 

IAP 16 - ILLUSONIC

 

and

Music in the Round #64 | Stereophile.com

 

Illusonic Immersive Processing

 

From Facebook page:

 

We just released Immersive Audio Processor (IAP 16) firmware update Version 3.0:

 

These are the main novelties and improvements:

 

– breakthrough room equalization system, including the new IAP Calibration software

 

– improved IAP Controller software

 

– more sound settings presets with more settings, including bass/treble control (with gain and frequency)

 

– virtual inputs for more flexibility and easier usage

 

– up to 2 subwoofers are supported

 

– added new infrared control codes

 

– remote control is faster and more reliable

 

– major HDMI firmware update

 

All for free for IAP 16 owners!

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I think the OP is only interested in buying 1 unit. I can only think of disadvantages to measuring with one unit and playing back with another.

 

Well, I can only think of disadvantages of having both in the same, because you will end up with quite restricted set of playback devices and other unavoidable compromises.

 

I don't see any advantage of using one unit, as long as the units are not grossly misdesigned and have flat frequency and phase response exceeding frequency response of the loudspeakers.

 

I chose Focusrite Forte as measurement device because it had best specs for the job and was otherwise suitable as being portable and reasonably priced.

 

If you want, RoomEqWizard can playback and record using different devices for the measurement. I don't remember right now if Acourate was able to do the same. But with the open source DRC-FIR you can also do this without issues.

 

 

IOW, in all cases I've tried, the difference between two subsequent measurements using the same hardware is so much bigger that telling two different pieces of converter different has been impossible.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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