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HOLO Audio Spring DAC - R2R DSD512

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Does the Holo audio Spring DAC play native DSD at DSD512 sample rates?


nuckleheadaudio.com

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Feel free to read my review here. Both Linux (ie microRendu) and Windows supports DSD512 natively (i.e no DoP needed). It's my go-to.

Ted, is the interface clean? Meaning do you have any loud pops or ticks with the Holo Spring in DSD 512 native?


nuckleheadaudio.com

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Thanks Ted, I was hoping for a different answer but am not surprised. With HQplayer on Windows upsampling DSD512 native to the IFI microIDSD, if I am disciplined I can boot and play music without any loud pops, and only have to put up with ticks when track resolution changes. The most important thing is wait until the DAC is back in PCM mode once DSD play is finished. I can hear this mode switch as it causes a small tick. Once done, HQplayer operations are safe.

 

I don't use an NAA, and when I do it's on Linux and always ends in disaster. Actually anything Linux ends in disaster.

 

The T+A DSD DAC 8 is completely clean with native DSD on Windows, so it can be done.

 

I dread trying out a new DAC. The Holo Spring DAC is interesting, but I'll wait until it is better integrated.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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The loud pop sounds that happens in Linux OS when playing back DSD in native mode as opposed to DoP is caused by the 'digital silence' at the starting of the track. I believed we have found culprit...

 

[PATCH] ALSA: usb-audio: Eliminate noise at the start of DSD playback. — ALSA Devel

Thanks for sharing this. This is great news! We can finally dump Windows and create a truly great DRM free OS environment for Roon/HQplayer!


nuckleheadaudio.com

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It will be great to hear Jesus R's take on this.

 

I've lost yet another morning simply trying to clone a Windows hard drive and am sick of wasting time with this crap.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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The IFI microIDSD is an Xmos DAC and does DSD512 beautifully. I read that IFI developed their own Xmos drivers.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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20 hours ago, Bimmer100 said:

5a1da203e6764_CyanDACAMP(4).thumb.jpg.f4ccc6853543e9defbb98b5d6480b682.jpg5a1da200bb09f_CyanDACAMP(2).thumb.jpg.8a2019ddc0c66326fd48118ecf55c786.jpg5a1da2030e9a7_CyanDACAMP(3).thumb.jpg.380432668cb4a63596fa604ea2797094.jpg

 

We are now accepting orders for the HoloAudio CYAN. I've got the go ahead that they are not officially ready to ship. I can't wait to get my own for my desktop, however my wife will likely take mine once it arrives! it's a compact all in one solution that takes a small footprint on a desk. Discrete R2R with a very capable balanced Headphone Amp!  

 

However, for those who want the DSD module version... please note that it is ONLY a dac and does not have the headphone amplifier enabled... you may ask why???

Here is important note of information, the DSD signal is essentially cannot be digitally processed. So when a studio mixes the signals, it actually transforms/converts to PCM then do digital mix then transformed back to DSD. That's why DSD is accused in the audio industrial and potentially abandoned or less popular. Anyway, there are SACD available in market and it has a much higher bitrate than CD. So SACD is better resource still. Also, when you see a DSD dac chip that claims to be able to do digital volume control, then it must be transformed to PCM internally within the dac chip. Like ESS and AKM etc.. all their chips can support digital volume control in DSD. They actually transformed to PCM internally.

 

well DSD cannot have volume control...DSD is always @ 100% when in native... the amp would be at 100% volume all the time and will blow your ear drums or headphones IF we were to have an amp hooked up to the amp and volume control knob on the chassis..... so the headphone amp is not able to function. The Cyan with the discrete r2r DSD dac module is simply a pure discrete native DSD R2R Dac!!! no headphone amp... This version will be slightly less cost (approx 100usd cheaper) since we will end up not including the components for the headamp inside the chassis...yet the volume knob will be just decoration and no volume control function. For those who understand how DSD works, this doesn't need to be explained to why we have done this. Basically if you have volume control on DSD than the signal must be converted to PCM.  Our DSD dac module is pure native DSD and no conversion is done. Our discrete R2R resistor network is processing pure native DSD with NO conversion to PCM!   This DSD module version of the CYAN will be ideal for those who are DSD enthusiasts and want something quite special for a much more affordable price with excellent pure native DSD512.  The cyan will have the XMOS XU208 USB module as well.  Also a nice attractive remote control available ;) 

5a1da206d15f4_XU208USBmodule.thumb.jpg.f9dc4573f8f524e0ad4d002e21320ffa.jpg5a1da1ff416a1_CyanDACAMP(1).thumb.jpg.f269492a9a82b39f0b96bc74727762e7.jpg

Another interesting side note. The Cyan dac module is 28bit and due to the fact it has a digital volume control and the need for more bits will deliver optimal sound quality with zero compromise. The Cyan will surely impress everyone and I think it may be darn near impossibru to find a better dac/amp for the price which is targeted to be estimated in the range of 1000usd for PCM version and 100usd less for DSD version (no headamp) (final pricing will be announced begining of December/ This week!)

5a1da2058765f_CyanPCMModule.thumb.jpg.0482ce2d3c1870d9618a0d7deaf05b33.jpg5a1da2049c62a_CyanDSDModule.thumb.jpg.8ce2b5191d1acbd9f63cf9a2928cf213.jpg

Anyhow, we expect to sell the PCM version of the Cyan as about 80% of sales since it will allow the quite capable balanced headamp to pair beautifully with the Discrete PCM R2R Dac module. And it will include an SRC(sample rate converter) that allows for DSD to play, however cannot compare to the quality of the Discrete R2R DSD dac module... It may be hard for some to choose which version they want to order... just get both if you can't decide! ;)

 

 Full specifications of the Cyan will be released shortly. PLEASE NOTE: The Cyan does NOT have linear compensation like the Spring dac... Cyan Dac module is 28bit discrete R2R with digital volume control and NOS! beautiful analog like sound that flows effortlessly and with no fatigue.  Analog performance is approximately around 22bit and this is much higher than average NOS or OS R2R dacs on the market. This is a key feature for the Spring dac and one of the many reasons the Spring dac stands out on its own and capable of stellar sound quality. HOWEVER, we have worked very hard on the Cyan dac module and once we release specs you'll likely be quite surprised with its specifications and measurements of the dac and amplifier.  Personally i'm getting one of these for my wife and another one for my other office. This is a very compact neat and tidy solution for incredible value and sound quality all in one small chassis that won't take up much desktop space.  I'm getting a PCM version myself.  We should have a PCM Cyan and DSD Cyan available in the near future for reviewers and auditions.  Please contact us via our webisite if you are interested to preorder or discuss any details and questions. I've officially received an email from Jeff this morning saying they are now ready to ship!  

 

As of now there are no plans for any KTE versions of the Cyan. This is a dac/amp designed for moderate budget audio enthusiasts who are not willing to compromise on sound quality.. Both dac's are NOS and deliver very natural analog like sound with excellent detail and soundstage. But to clear up the most common question.... "How does this compare with the Spring dac?"   well.... the Spring dac is still on another level considering the Spring dac has Linear compensation and the Discrete dac module also has dedicated DSD r2r ladder dacs and dedicated PCM r2r ladder dacs. However it will be very hard to find another product that compares with the Cyan @ it's current entry price point!  The DSD version will be slightly less like i've stated and all official pricing will be posted on the website this week.

 

I'm sorry for the long reply. I've not had any time to reply to many of those who have asked me about the HoloAudio Cyan Dac/Amp.  We are EXTREMELY excited to release this product to everyone and are very proud of how it's turned out. We think everyone will see this as a real success.  This may be the first time anyone has been able to release a discrete NOS R2R dac with integrated powerful balanced headamp 

 

Thoughts?

I'm having a hard time getting my head around the concept of a ladder DAC and DSD. I understand how a resistor ladder works with PCM.  I also understand how a shift register can be used in a discrete DSD DAC.  But how does a resistor ladder work with DSD?  What am I missing? Is it just that the signal increments or decrements at the top of the ladder and is pushed down the ladder at each cycle?

 

Thanks, Larry


nuckleheadaudio.com

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