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HOLO Audio Spring DAC - R2R DSD512

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The AK4137 Sample Rate Converter is limited to DSD256.

 

Matt

 

Hi Tim,

Actually, AK4137 can oversample to DSD512, the data sheet show it's limited to DSD256. But I've tested DSD512, it also works. But that is not writen in data sheet means it's not guarateed by official. So I don't want do that also.

 

 

Best Regards

Jeff Zhu

 

 

 

interesting! :D

 

 

also to those who wonder how his discrete resistor implementation is and how he has achieved such flawless linearity and ultra low THD. :D read this email he wrote me. :D

 

" About the resistor tolerance, his word is partly right, but not accurate. The msb of 16bits value only represent 32768, not 65536, all 16bits is 65535, but the msb is only 32768. There are techniques to reduce this requirement. For example, segment+r2r, using segment into the first few bits, then r2r for the rest of them. Rockna is segment+r2r, TotalDAC is all R2R. And you can see, Rockna's THD spec. is much better than Total. Total uses foil resistor, but they used the simplest architecture. That results an unsatisfied test performance. To my opinion, it's some kind of wasting foil resistors. Soekris also uses segment+r2r. MSB's old model is all r2r, but I don't know about their new models.

 

Anyway, There are ways to improve the performance, the segment+r2r is one way. Trimming is another way. There is an additional r2r ladder in Spring, it compensate the main r2r ladder. It works like trimming, but trimming is to change the resistor value. This additional r2r ladder are digital controled and is to compensate the resistor tolerance. For example, the msb of 16bits should have the value of 32768, but due to tolerance, it represent 32700 in real world. Then that additional r2r ladder will compensate 68 into it. Then it became 32700+68=32768.

 

Actually there are other ways to improve performance, I just told you two stories. There are more stories behind the design. It is really hard. I must count every via holes in layout, every pcb wire has it's impedance and must put attention on it. A via hole can be 50m Ohm, it is 1/20000 of 1K ohm, and you see, it covers 32768 which is the msb of 16bits. Also the switches has self-impedance which is about serval ohm to 30 ohms. If you find this issue. Maybe you will get crazy, it seem an impossible mission. But a good designer will overcome all these problems. It's our value.

 

All the resistor tolerance, switch impedance, line impedance, via hole impedance, finally reflect as linearity. There is a chart shows Spring's linearity, it's excellent. But I suggest you to look at THD performance. A bad linearity must result a bad THD performance. But a good linearity isn't mean to be a good THD performance. THD is dynamic performance, more critical than linearity which is a static performance.

 

If you look at the THD performance, you will find Spring maybe the best among those competitors. I'm applying a patent which contribute a lot of that performance. But I can't tell you how. It's confidential now.

 

 

Best Regards

Jeff Zhu

"


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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Does someone know if it's I2s input (HDMI connector) comply with the PS Audio standard?

 

yes, the HDMI i2s is PSaudio standard, I believe Audio-GD uses the same pinout too.

 

Gustard is one of the few that is quite a bit different.

 

But if you get a Singxer SU-1 you can be compatible with anything :D they were smart enough to add dipswitches to set the pinout!


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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As I wrote somewhere else (you know where), I prefer waiting for extra info, without jumping to harried conclusions

 

The SRC is not in the audio path when running in NOS mode. NOS mode is direct and indeed bypasses the SRC. This is my preferred listening method without question!!!! The Spring certainly sounds best in NOS. And DSD is a whole level of awesomeness in NOS too. Kind of interesting to know that a discrete resister network is processing the DSD data.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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Sorry for jumping into this thread. I had to since I didn't realize some of these emails made it onto the thread before I was able to update my site. (kitsunehifi)

 

But we will have most of them sold within the week the way things are looking. But i've been asked by one to do a review. I have my personal Level 3 Spring Dac that i'm happy to loan out and have a proper review done. I"m actually quite excited for what may be said about it!

 

I'm a NOS guy, so this particular Dac is the holy grail for me personally. I'll be comparing it to my NOS11 (audio-gd) and also my dual Soekris Dam1021.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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So way up this page there designer was quoted as saying DSD512 was off because there's no native content and Sony has given up on the standard in favour of DXD, and even then it's still looking sketchy.

 

But what people are doing now is running HQPlayer's upsampling engine and just converting anything to DSD512. Having that feature along with the rest makes this DAC attractive.

 

Is there anyone that could contact the DAC designer and explain that use case, how it's really gaining steam, and try to have it implemented?

 

Sent from my SM-N9200 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

 

 

I can contact Jeff again. I run KitsuneHiFi.com BTW.

 

Jeff is well aware that many are using HQplayer to upsample to DSD512. What are you saying is looking sketchy and i'll be happy to do my best to clear things up. Jeff has been most helpful in responding to all questions thus far and he is quite passionate about his work.

 

I do know his next dac, "may" will have this feature of upsampling to high rates. But I can keep asking him about getting support for dsd512 upsampling for spring. It just may not happen.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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That's what I was referring to about DSD looking sketchy. I meant Jeff's view of its longevity or whatever.

 

I also didn't know that May wasn't the month of May and that this was just a recently past response, but that actually 'May' is the name of a new DAC he's building. My guess is that May DAC is higher end?

 

Thanks for the 2 responses, guys. I'd be happy to hear DSD 512 was available on a cheaper model from Jeff, though yes, I know the iFi DAC exists for the truely price conscious.

 

 

I'm still asking Jeff about DSD512.

 

if you guys keep helping me out with suggestions, i'll relay everything over to Jeff. But the sounds of it, he will indeed implement oversampling to dsd512 in the MAY dac. :D and those who get the spring dac will be able to upgrade to MAY dac for a good price. At least this is what he is saying. I don't know if it's going to be upgrade, or if it's just a discount.

But either way, Kitsune would be happy to offer the MAY to those who buy the spring at a discounted price. If Jeff is saying it's so, i'm sure he will honor it. I will find out more details.

 

But currently I've got just a handful Springs left and discounted now with the solid silver Otype trafo.

 

ONE question I would like to know.... who is going to RMAF that would be having a booth to have place for the Spring Dac? If someone can convince me to send them a review dac unit and has a proper amp to pair with it...I will consider sending one to them for the show. Obviously keep in in like new condition and be responsible for it blah blah. Not to concerned as most of us Audio guys are borderline OCD with their own gear. :D

Basically i'd be shipping my personal Spring Dac to the guy who want to bring it to RMAF. and I could offer a perk for the guy who wants to do that. I think many others should have the opportunity to hear this amazing dac. I don't want to blow smoke anyones direction, but I do believe this dac will impress many of you guys. :)

 

You just need to hear it! preferably paired with an excellent AMP.

 

and MAY won't be released til sometime next year. The ONE thing i'm able to share with you on MAY is that there is no limit to the cost of the BOM. it will be considered very high end gear that will be able to keep up with the best of them. As if the spring didn't already do fairly well considering it's price point!


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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Well, that's the thing. I'm pretty sure Jeff's aim is to deliver a top grade product within the reach of most people in this hobby. So when I said no limit, I apologize as what I should of said is that it will be quite expensive, but I don't think it will go over 4K. I truly would be shocked. Let me discuss with Jeff some of your points, and a few others. As I know he has said that the BOM will be much more expensive, but at the same time he also has said to me that it's not going to be terribly much more than the Spring in price. And I believe those who already Own the spring will be offered some sort of discount for second customer. I may misunderstand the details of this, and I need to confirm the details of this with Jeff. But I know KitsuneHifi will be offering a bit of return customers discount on the MAY once it's released.

 

I totally agree there are too many dac's on the market that are INSANELY overpriced and I can only dream of owning them. I believe i'm in the same ballpark range of budget as you. And 4K is still on the ridiculous side of my max budget.

 

I'm going to see if Jeff has a target range of price in mind. This will truly help everyone understand where it will fall. Whether realistic or just another dream dac only for the select few who have deep pockets.

 

-------------

 

on a side note, I received a great email from Jeff that I would like to share. This shows a little about how much effort went into the spring dac. It's linearity is near flawless and it's THD is so very low for a NOS dac.

 

I had a customer ask me about r2r dacs and how many of them are not great due to their design and the resistors not being able to produce 16 bit let alone higher. Jeff responded to the and explains how his architecture is unique and even patented. More complex than then some of the infamous totaldac that cost over 30k!!! Anyhow, thought I would share this info. I found it quite a good read.

 

QUOTE BELOW FROM JEFF ZHU (HOLO AUDIO SPRING DESIGNER)

 

"About the resistor tolerance, his word is partly right, but not accurate. The msb of 16bits value only represent 32768, not 65536, all 16bits is 65535, but the msb is only 32768. There are techniques to reduce this requirement. For example, segment+r2r, using segment into the first few bits, then r2r for the rest of them. Rockna is segment+r2r, TotalDAC is all R2R. And you can see, Rockna's THD spec. is much better than Total. Total uses foil resistor, but they used the simplest architecture. That results an unsatisfied test performance. To my opinion, it's some kind of wasting foil resistors. Soekris also uses segment+r2r. MSB's old model is all r2r, but I don't know about their new models.

 

Anyway, There are ways to improve the performance, the segment+r2r is one way. Trimming is another way. There is an additional r2r ladder in Spring, it compensate the main r2r ladder. It works like trimming, but trimming is to change the resistor value. This additional r2r ladder are digital controled and is to compensate the resistor tolerance. For example, the msb of 16bits should have the value of 32768, but due to tolerance, it represent 32700 in real world. Then that additional r2r ladder will compensate 68 into it. Then it became 32700+68=32768.

 

Actually there are other ways to improve performance, I just told you two stories. There are more stories behind the design. It is really hard. I must count every via holes in layout, every pcb wire has it's impedance and must put attention on it. A via hole can be 50m Ohm, it is 1/20000 of 1K ohm, and you see, it covers 32768 which is the msb of 16bits. Also the switches has self-impedance which is about serval ohm to 30 ohms. If you find this issue. Maybe you will get crazy, it seem an impossible mission. But a good designer will overcome all these problems. It's our value.

 

All the resistor tolerance, switch impedance, line impedance, via hole impedance, finally reflect as linearity. There is a chart shows Spring's linearity, it's excellent. But I suggest you to look at THD performance. A bad linearity must result a bad THD performance. But a good linearity isn't mean to be a good THD performance. THD is dynamic performance, more critical than linearity which is a static performance.

 

If you look at the THD performance, you will find Spring maybe the best among those competitors. I'm applying a patent which contribute a lot of that performance. But I can't tell you how. It's confidential now.

 

 

Best Regards

Jeff Zhu"

 

-------------

 

So anyhow, the May dac will implement a lot of his hard work and knowledge in designing a great dac. I think highly of Jeff and quite excited for his company. Truly, I bought a dac from him when I first heard about this Spring and was so happy about it's performance I was curious about getting them to the USA and decided to start Kitsune Hifi to be a USA distributor for HOLO Audio, Singxer and a few other companies in the works. That's the short of it. :D My wife and I started Kitsune HiFi and we are just passionate about audio. Hopefully we will be accepted well by the community.

 

Thanks, I hope it's a real possibility for the Spring DAC vs. something he'd like to do but can't manage due to constraints.

 

 

Ok, so there still a bit I'd a wait for the May DAC. That will fit in with my timeline of when I expect to be able to fit a new DAC in my chain.

 

The second part of that sentence isn't a plus, though. There are more than enough esoteric DACs out there and none of them are something I'd be willing to swing. If it's ~$4k USD or less, that's possible, but going over that immediately takes it out of contention for my next purchase. Diminishing returns have long set in by then, after that I'll just be happy with one of the many other DACs in that price range or I'll spend a lot more money and buy something more useful or more memorable.

 

I can see wanting to make a statement DAC or to get your name out there, but I don't think the final returns would be high. Given how crowded the esoteric range already is with brands that have already proven themselves as sure bets for sonic returns AND for holding resale value, I hope that Jeff aims for the market that's more accessible and that can gain some traction for his company.

 

/end blurb


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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FYI, Jeff has emailed me to confirm that the spring dac will have the firmware updated to officially support DSD512 natively over HDMI i2S. He also is working on a usb module that may be "extra option" to support native dsd up to dsd512 as well. But otherwise, the factory models will now have dsd512 through hdmi i2s! that's great news imho!

 

Jeff has signed off and happy with the performance. So I'll update when I know more information.

 

and my wife and I are talking about the possibility of bringing one to the RMAF, but really no idea if we will have a place to put it on display. it's all so last minute. :D

 

one of our customers wrote a review, and albeit a bit excited imho... but it's something! :D


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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Are there any sources out there that can output DSD512 via HDMI I2S?

 

 

you're right, not many sources do this. That's why I believe Jeff Zhu is making a low cost usb device that will do just that, but will be optional. He is working hard on this now.

 

Also, I've been talking with LH Labs about testing support with their new Source, nothing is confirmed but I believe we will figure a way to get the spring dac to be tested with it and see if dsd512 can be sent over HDMI i2s.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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Does the Spring DAC offer volume control/remote?

No!

its a true 24 bit DAC and does not have extra bits for volume control or wasted bits for volume control. So you will need a quality preamp.

No remote either, as most all there is is nos/os modes and inputs

screen brightness, and most people fiddle for a day and never change again.

 

 

But but I understand the urge to have control over it. The May DAC will have a remote control! But still likely won't have volume for the same reason.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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Will the May dac have a lossless volume control or does it degrade by stealing 1 MSB bit from 24 bit every 6dB attenuation?

 

May will be like spring. A true dac, no volume control!


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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Too bad...who needs a preamp in an all digital music world?

 

Extra circuitry, tubes or transistors, cables...

 

DAC with no quality volume control equals an audio geek product in 2016 and a half, IMO.

 

Save the chat on the astounding amount of work needed to take a @2V signal and variable output a less than @2V signal to an amplifier...audio jewelry Kool-Aid drinkers! Yes, I know, some folks like the euphonics introduced by tubes...

 

 

Well, Delta Sigma dac's are mostly 32bit as they actually need the extra bits for volume control. But when you have a discrete 24bit resistor network, they are crucial. The spring's architecture is pure and very complex.

Jeff Zhu comments,

 

"I can’t say it’s 1 or 2 DACs inside. Physically, it is 1 DAC module, but it works in 2 different modes. Each mode uses different part of the module and also shared some parts. Spring is a 24bit DAC, bit23 is msb (most significant bit) and bit0 is lsb (least significant bit). Yes, you are right, more bits can be used for digital volume control. But Spring is a pure DAC without digital volume. Actually digital volume is no match for a good resistor attenuator. That’s why we need a dedicated pre-amp, rather than use digital volume in a DAC. I used digital volume in Sabretooth, for cost reason. PCM1704 is a very good chip. I used that in T.REX II for years. Spring is a successor of T.REX II. The chip became the bottle neck, so I have to build my own module. Actually few discrete R2R module can exceed the specification of the pcm1704k. Most of them, THD is only about -80db to -90db. But despite of technical spec. all discrete R2R can produce a very natural sound. "

 

Another random fact to share, Jeff commented about a question I had for him about voltage regulation... I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to designing power supplies that are ULTRA low noise (microvolt range) and super fast transient response and high psrr... he responded...

 

"The voltage regulator is very critical for R2R DAC. It's provides a voltage reference and that is the base for all technical specs. The regulator in Sping is a special designed one. 0.2uV noise and the dynamic response is extremely fast. It’s the basis of Spring to be able to provide a good specifications and performance. Best Regards Jeff Zhu"

 

-----------------

So yes, back to your comment...We are indeed in a digital world with 4 dollar delta sigma 32bit dac all over the place, including our phones, mp3 players, tv's, etc. But this is a pure design of discrete resistors. Not just the typical R2R design with segmenting. But a patented design where Segmenting and trimming is done together along with other patented technologies that make this dac unique when compared to other discrete R2R dac's on the market. And completely different that 1bit delta sigma IC's. This Spring dac basically has two resistor networks for PCM and two for DSD. This help's it achieve the absolute most accurate sound possible and able to surpass the performance of many of the IC's with laser trimmed resistors to achieve the required precision. Resistors used with the more significant bits must be proportionally more accurate than those used with the less significant bits.

 

Jeff comments on the issue of accuracy of resistor network dacs and how it's a problem/limitations with many of the designs on the market today. He created the spring from scratch with these issues in mind. Please take a moment to read his response to one of our customers questions about how/if spring dac can accurately product more bits with high precision.

 

Customers Question to Jeff...

""Regarding resistor tolerance, if you look at 0.01% resistors, the idea is that percentage is only 1 out of 10,000, but 16-bit has 1 of 65,536 possible voltage levels. 14-bit is something like 16,383, and 13-bit is something like 8191. If you think about the way multibit/R2R works, with the next resistor being half the previous value for the next bit, eventually you run into a scenario where you can't accurately guarantee resistor values because of how small the values are and thus can't guarantee bit accuracy. That's why the multibit/R2R DAC chips tend to use something like laser-trimmed resistors vs discrete resistors, because you can more easily guarantee accurate performance to 16, 17, or even 19 or 20 bits. Or so some claim...

On the other hand, I know there are various architectures that supposedly make up for this. The Soekris engineer says sign magnitude supposedly helps overcome this limitation. Or, in the case of Metrum's Pavane and Menuet, I know they split the 24-bit signal into 2 12-bit chunks via FPGA and have the more accurate portion of the DAC module convert the 12-bit chunks, then use analog attenuation to bring down the low-level signals, and finally combine it in the end for good linearity and good accuracy (in the form of general linearity plot, INL, and DNL).

I believe the TotalDAC designer and Soekris engineer both said they don't entirely buy into this theory, and they argue if their DACs were only 14-bit accurate, they wouldn't have such good noise, THD, SNR, dynamic range, and similar measurement figures. Or, in one case, I believe the TotalDAC designer mentioned his design may only have poor bit-level accuracy issues at max level signals."

-endquote from customer"

 

 

Jeff Zhu's response (owner/designer HOLOAUDIO):

 

" About the resistor tolerance, his word is partly right, but not accurate. The msb of 16bits value only represent 32768, not 65536, all 16bits is 65535, but the msb is only 32768. There are techniques to reduce this requirement. For example, segment+r2r, using segment into the first few bits, then r2r for the rest of them. Rockna is segment+r2r, TotalDAC is all R2R. And you can see, Rockna's THD spec. is much better than Total. Total uses foil resistor, but they used the simplest architecture. That results an unsatisfied test performance. To my opinion, it's some kind of wasting foil resistors. Soekris also uses segment+r2r. MSB's old model is all r2r, but I don't know about their new models.

Anyway, There are ways to improve the performance, the segment+r2r is one way. Trimming is another way. There is an additional r2r ladder in Spring, it compensate the main r2r ladder. It works like trimming, but trimming is to change the resistor value. This additional r2r ladder are digital controled and is to compensate the resistor tolerance. For example, the msb of 16bits should have the value of 32768, but due to tolerance, it represent 32700 in real world. Then that additional r2r ladder will compensate 68 into it. Then it became 32700+68=32768.

Actually there are other ways to improve performance, I just told you two stories. There are more stories behind the design. It is really hard. I must count every via holes in layout, every pcb wire has it's impedance and must put attention on it. A via hole can be 50m Ohm, it is 1/20000 of 1K ohm, and you see, it covers 32768 which is the msb of 16bits. Also the switches has self-impedance which is about serval ohm to 30 ohms. If you find this issue. Maybe you will get crazy, it seem an impossible mission. But a good designer will overcome all these problems. It's our value.

All the resistor tolerance, switch impedance, line impedance, via hole impedance, finally reflect as linearity. There is a chart shows Spring's linearity, it's excellent. But I suggest you to look at THD performance. A bad linearity must result a bad THD performance. But a good linearity isn't mean to be a good THD performance. THD is dynamic performance, more critical than linearity which is a static performance.

If you look at the THD performance, you will find Spring maybe the best among those competitors. I'm applying a patent which contribute a lot of that performance. But I can't tell you how. It's confidential now.

Best Regards

Jeff Zhu"

 

 

and I found that to be a great read and learned quite a bit.

 

Sorry i've posted this before, but it's also in regards to preserving a very pure sound this dac produces. A digital volume control is just not an option with a design like this. But works great for delta sigma IC's. The architecture between such dac's are miles apart. If you want a good R2R dac like the spring, consider to pair it with an excellent pre-amp. Maybe... I'll talk with Jeff and discuss the possibility of designing the May DAC to have a pre-amp built in. But this will increase the cost even more.

 

 

It's just different is all, so a preamp is needed. Sorry it's not the type of Dac for you if you want AIO solution. I'm super happy with the Audio-GD Master11. I own this dac/amp/preamp.. it's hard to beat for the price. and it's r2r too! just pcm1704uk :D


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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HoloAudio has a 3year parts and labor warranty that covers return shipping after the product has been inspected and verified for a warranty claim. Pretty good :) and I'm holo audio USA and can do some service work, firmware updates etc. so can save a bit on shipping depending on what the warranty repairs are. :)

 

I get this question a lot, so needed to post.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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I also hope you are able to listen to it's I2s input.

Waiting in suspense! :)

 

 

I'm going to try to get Ted a Singxer SU-1 in the mail soon.

it's hdmi i2s and compatible with all hdmi i2s pinouts.

 

But one of my favorite ddc's. It has it's limitation of dsd256 native unfortunately, but the sound quality is superb.

 

-----

 

on another note. My wife and I booked our airfare and hotel for RMAF and are now in search of finding someone to discuss bringing our gear to be setup with a system. We will have two, maybe three KitsuneTuned Edition Spring Dacs, and a bit of other gear too, several Holo Audio Products. We've never gone to RMAF but would love to meet everyone we can and hope to be well accepted. I would love to hear from anyone if they will be there and might be interested.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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Analog output stage is discrete class A output.

 

input has opamp

 

The output stage contains I/V conversion and LPF. These two parts use similar structure but different specs.

The opamp is used for input stage and class A discrete buffer component is for output stage. That discrete output stage is working in class a. So when you touch the PCB, you will find it’s very hot. The output voltage is 2.5Vrms for single ended output and 5Vrms for balanced output. The single ended is RCA. Balanced is XLR. They all use the same output stage. Yet XLR output is highly recommended if you plan to listen to DSD512 native.

 

maybe someone asked about the spdif....

The spdif receiver is AK4118A chip.

 

Ted which model are you demoing?

 

Can someone speak with authority as to the output stage? Is there any difference in XLR vs. SE?

 

Discrete output?

 

The spdif receiver is AK4118A chip.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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To refresh information on R2R versus Sigma Delta DACs, here are two links at CA that are of interest:

Were R2R ladder DACs really that good ?

 

Multi Bit DACs vs. Delta Sigma DACs

Head-fi Post

 

Reading between the lines from those threads, there's implementation issue at hand as to whether the SQ is right for your ears, whether SDM or R2R. Everyone is keen on a DAC that has a reasonable price, and the Holo falls right into the equation, so expectations are that this DAC should equal higher priced DACs since it uses R2R techniques and some other special techniques. Optimism is strong here, but let's take a step back and look, there's a May DAC in the wings, when the Spring has hardly reached a stage where feedback or a review is yet to arrive. Such rapid change in models really needs some caution in buying and one should wait for the dust to settle.

 

At Lampizator for instance, where the model count is out of control, including the options causing further confusion, there's a new model every few weeks now. Crazy. That's an extreme of course, but for a new player like Holo, i fear for it falling into the same path. Buyers don't need to be told their old DAC is obsolete and it's not even a year that's gone by.

 

 

 

The may dac is about 1.5+, maybe 2 years out? this isn't rapid change at all? It's preparing for the next product. It takes years to make a product like this. The spring is FINISHED, so on to the next project. We must make use of this time. Otherwise watching the Spring do it's thing is like watching paint dry. Why not keep painting? :D

 

Anyhow, our company motto is "Time will tell..."

 

so in time the Spring will fall into the hands of the people and more word will get out on how it is rated/compared/measured or whatever. We are confident it will do well. Next project is in the works because we know it will take longer than our estimated time frame anyhow. The spring was delayed about 6months or so past it's original date estimated for release. It took a very very long time to produce. :D care implementation and planning will deliver a product like the spring. :)

 

 

also wanted to share this letter from Jeff about those who want to know where the KitsuneTuned Edition Dac comes from. It's actually supported by HOLO Audio direct, and a USA specific model, or was the intent.

 

here is an email Jeff Sent to me as a statement he wants to be known.

 

"I have tried silver o-type transformer when designing Spring. It's better than the 7N OFC of cause, but for cost reason I choose the 7N OFC o-type transformer as standard configuration.

The Jensen cap is an official option, not mod. For the fuse, audiophiles always like to changed it. It’s a replaceable part, they can do whatever they want. About other modifications. Maybe those are not so cost effective, but they will not make things worse. Silver wire/Silver connectors can be an improvement. Mods in the Level 3 make smaller difference but will not hinder the original design, more likely improve performance slightly. Holo Audio and Holo Audio USA work together to bring you Spring Dac in the USA in three versions.

 

 

Best Regards

Jeff Zhu"

 

 

And though Jeff approves the mods we have done, we have done most of our listening testing without him involved. I like that he is very conservative in saying they are slight improvements. To me and our tuner, they are significant. But that's our opinion. We want to setup a reviewer with two dacs. One level 2 and one KitsuneTuned Edition so they can do a comparison. That's only fair to let the Dac speak/sing for itself. I hope this puts everyone at ease knowing that we are not just randomly tweaking or tuning. These are all carefully selected components added to the dac that present a level of HiFi performance we are proud to offer the USA market.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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In July at the beginning of this post, there was no DSD512. A little later came DSD512 over HDMI i2s, or perhaps a USB to HDMI i2S.

Further developments rendered a Windows certified driver for DSD512. So does the Spring DAC have the correct firmware to accept DSD512 now, or will that be a few months down the track, or is there something different again? I'm just trying to understand, with clarity, what the Spring DAC is capable of as a firm line in the sand, what it is now, and by say, 2nd Qtr 2017. Not even thinking about the Kitsune mods, just the raw basic product.

 

Understand about the May DAC, now this timeline is clearly explained, steeped in unknowns beforehand. Talk of which should not have been mentioned until that DAC is committed and ready for production.

 

 

TWO things have changed since release about two months ago....

1. Firmware update to support DSD512 native with i2s or USB input only(by request of the users on this very forum) You're welcome

2. We offer a 240V model for Australia. :D

The specs have been final, the only thing we are waiting on is the Windows 10 Signed driver, which is out of our control on release date. But we finally firmed up the date as microsoft gave us their blessing and we will have the final driver for windows available early October. Otherwise we have offered DSD512 native in windows with an evaluation driver from now until this date the Signed drivers are released. So Linux/Mac/Windows all support up to DSD512 native and DSD256 over DOP. Nothing is written in sand, this has been officially announced several weeks ago.

 

The May dac was announced as our next project. Many companies do this so we can collect information about what we should put into the next product. What features etc. It's a common thing actually. So we choose to listen to the people and what they want in the product rather than to create something random without careful planning and thought going into it. We do things differently than you'd like. But most of our customers appreciate the way we keep things open and transparent. They appreciate knowing what is going on without any fluff or mess.

 

We will consider your thoughts about "keeping quiet" next time we have a release, but it's likely we will still choose to keep our customers in the loop on what we are planning. For instance, we have some ideas floating around to release and entry level product for our company that will bring DSD512 to a market in a smaller package. But this is just on the drawing board still. We are happy to share this information, and love to get feedback along the way. The unknowns is the exciting part where the customers have an opportunity to shape the next product. We are completely capable of producing a product with any features, it's up to our customers to let us know what the next release will be. So far the May will likely have more features than the spring, potentially have a pre-amp integrated, remote control, and price is roughly stated to be 3-4Kish. but likely under 4K is the goal. The details will be released as they come out. On and a Half, sorry for ruining the surprise, but the May Dac is in the works, and it is on the drawing board right now. We never will stand still when it comes to designing products. Thank you for your understanding and patience. And I hope things are clear as can be for you now. Things are written in stone from here on out for the spring dac. And for those who want to know the specs of the KitsuneTuned Edition you can stop by our booth at RMAF2016 that we'll be sharing/co-exhibiting with Headamp. We will go over the specs of our Tuned Edition model. Otherwise, spec's will be posted shortly after.

 

"Time will tell..."


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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I'm admittedly a newbie when it comes to DSD (my current DAC is PCM only) so I could well be wrong but from what I had read Mac OSX didn't support Native DSD, only DoP. With the exception of certain DACs such as Exasound who have their own Mac drivers. So I'm wondering how this DAC manages DSD512 support on Mac.

 

 

Sorry about that, I'm not a Mac guy and overlooked that, thanks for the catch! But the dsd data for mac can be done over DOP. I will reconfirm with Jeff. I need to get my hands on a Mac. Thanks for catching that.

 

I know it's been confirmed that DSD512 native works with Linux and Windows.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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Please consider the following features:

 

>Remote to control integrated pre-amp/stepped attenuator

 

>Balanced circuitry with XLR outs

 

>State of the art USB input that filters out all the noises these scores of add on boxes have been designed to address, so one needs not acquire a new DAC and a box to fix its shortcomings

 

>Incorporate a true digital audio input like FireWire, still in use in the studios

 

Thanks and good luck with your products.

 

 

Awesome! thanks for the good ideas.

 

We have the idea of adding a pre-amp to the May Dac, and will spend a bit of time with this to do it right. and the remote controller is confirmed. very likely to be similar to the one we have for our Mammoth/sabertooth products.

 

Balanced circuitry is definite, as it's already carefully implemented in our Spring dac.

 

The usb is a great point, and I know we intend to use the newer XU208 or XU216 xmos. And discussing with Jeff what we can do about adding high end clocks and potentially a cicuit similar to intona or something. This I will discuss with Jeff, and think it's a great point to make.

 

i'm not sure about firewire, but will ask Jeff about it. i2s will likely be a given, I'm curious about doing something with ethernet. but again, it's so early and on the drawing board. Jeff has the technical ability. I'll run these ideas by him.

 

and thank you for you suggestions! they are truly helpful!


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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The Holo Audio Spring Dac = PCM 768khz


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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I wonder about the DSD512 implementation.

 

I'm not talking down and I think there's no way anyone can reasonably say no, but what I wonder is whether the 5-7 day turn around on making the DAC become native DSD512 compatible was optimal. Because before that it was relayed that the owner/designer didn't see a need for 512, then after some pushing it becomes available in 5 days.

 

I get that he was almost certainly working on it and checking it out before that.

 

What I'm saying is that I wonder whether it's optimised well enough and if there couldn't be some more time put in on it to refine it?

 

I'm hoping there're some revisions and updates to its DSD512 capability. Right now this is the most interesting DAC in the $2000-4000USD range and I hope it gets even better with some firmware revisions, like it already has.

 

 

The Spring dac was originally designed and intended to have DSD512 from the beginning. Yet due to drivers and cost of getting signed drivers, the DSD512 was put on the back burner until Ted actually stirred up some interest again to get back to finishing the DSD512 release. So the hardware is more than capable of doing DSD512. It was simply enabling it in the firmware to allow for it. But we were hesitant to use evaluation drivers to allow for the use of it. And the cost for signed drivers that all well over 2grand a year! But we did it anyways so that we could offer the full DSD512 native via windows 7/8 and 10! and with the microrendu in linux. My personal opinion, it sounds best in windows.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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Where is the website of the manufacturer?

 

Also Kitsune Hifi contact details on its website is not working......

 

I'd appreciate some contact info with pm with the company directly, need to find 230V version if it is available.

 

interesting, we have looked and tested everything and appears normal. we get contacts 20-30 a day and has been working fine. fields with asterisk needs to be filled otherwise won't submit. MAYBE? please test again, nobody else has let us know there is an issue with our contact form.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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There is a little confusion on Jeff's quotes. As he was mentioning how most dac's do DSD conversion and then jumps over to the Spring and how it does it. Well. the spring does it TWO ways. As it has a AK4137 that when in OS mode it will do conversion when upsampling from DSD to PCM or PCM to DSD. etc. But when in NOS mode that chip is completely bypassed. So the confusion seems to continue to forget that the Spring has two modes that are distinctly different.

 

side note: Signalyst HQ player has their own simple discrete component only DSD dac - Signalyst

 

There are two specific resistor networks that work in full balanced mode. It's not possible to share one network with PCM and DSD. Each network is different architecture and only possible with having two separate networks. The Module looks like this, TOP and BOTTOM.

 

d2d4cc31_top.jpeg

 

Jeff wanted to clarify with some words.

"Another issue is, some accuse the Spring is not pure DSD and must have converted to PCM before doing digital to analog conversion. That is wrong. The word ‘dsd native’ is to explain the way dsd stream is transferred via USB. It’s nothing to do with DSD PCM conversion or digital to analog conversion. This word is only describing the digital stream transfer method. When Spring working in NOS mode, there is no DSD PCM conversion and no up-sampling. It just uses the DSD stream directly doing the digital to analog conversion. If there need a word for it. Maybe ‘dsd direct’? or ‘pure dsd’? I don’t know. Maybe you can find out a word for it. So you need to let customer understand ‘dsd native’ is not describing the digital to analog process. Like Singxer SU-1. It can do dsd native also. But it’s only a DDC."

 

 

9c029b62_bottom.jpeg


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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For those that may be in the market for DAC and considering a HoloAudio Spring Dac.

 

Chinese new year special begins now!

from Jan6th through Feb 12th we are running the only special on the HoloAudio Spring KTE (L3) dac all year....

As many know, 2017 our price increased. But we are doing a special for Chinese New Year.

 

We are offering the original price of 2399usd during this time. And our best deal is if you do a combo deal with the singxerSU1 - also free shipping on everything. We will refund the 100usd off your combo order after you place your order.

We will give 100usd off the combo price and give a free HDMi i2S 0.3M cable. (cable does not need to be added to your order, we will simply include one)

I wanted to share this with you and maybe you could post this on the thread if you'd like. I know many people would like to take advantage of this deal as it's a pretty good combo deal.

Prices will go back up after Feb12th.

Also the Level 1 is discounted now at 100off for the price of 1599 free shipping

And the Level 2 is discounted now at 100off for the price of 1799 free shipping

 

If this post is inappropriate, i'll take it down immediately.


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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Hi, is there any special offer for one that already had the kte but would like to get the su1 from you?

 

contact us on our website to discuss this


Tim Connor

KitsuneHifi.com / HoloAudio USA

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