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HOLO Audio Spring DAC - R2R DSD512

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My pleasure.

 

Agree with fellow CA member identifying the opportunity to attract music loving Apple adherents (BTW, many pro audio/studio/creative people Mac users) to the May DAC. Including the drivers to allow for Native DSD on OSX (like Exasound has) would provide a significant attractiveness factor/competitive advantage to the May DAC.

 

Jussi, the man behind HQPlayer, once commented that the drivers would not be difficult or costly to develop. The man surely knows DSD and I believe he uses Macs and PCs in his systems.


Tone with Soul

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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.

 

Here's my understanding of the situation: As you say, OS X (now macOS) doesn't support native DSD, so absent custom drivers, we're limited to DoP.

 

If your Mac is sufficiently powerful and the DAC supports it, you can upsample to DSD256 and send to your DAC via DoP. (I can do this with my early 2009 Mac Pro and my shiny new loaded (4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7) iMac.

 

If you're Mac based and you want to upsample to DSD512, you might be able to do it with a DSD512-capable DAC, a sufficiently powerful Mac (I'm thinking/hoping I can with my iMac), and a Windows or Linux HQP NAA (so you'd then be able to make use of native DSD). The cheapest hardware option I'm aware of for this would be a Cubox-i with Miska's NAA image installed. For high rollers, a Sonore microRendu would serve the purpose.

 

I think I'm right about all of the above, but I hope someone will correct me if I'm not.

 

--David


Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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AFAIK you cant.

 

Core audio in Mac is limited to DSD128 and only custom drivers bypassing Core Audio can do 256. Like the Steinberg driver exaSound uses.

 

With Linux you cant yet officially do DSD512. If you have the right USB terminal, like Amanero, it can be patched to work with 512, BUT the Linux in the transport also needs to be patched. The officially released Linux does NOT yet support DSD512, but I keep hearing that it is coming soon.

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Core audio in Mac is limited to DSD128 and only custom drivers bypassing Core Audio can do 256.

 

Not true. See my post immediately upthread of yours.

 

--David


Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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I am not aware of DSD256 in Mac without bypassing Core Audio.

 

Evidence:

 

A+UpsamplingDSD256.png

 

HQPUpsamplingDSD256.png

 

--David


Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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More evidence:

 

A+DSD256Prefs.png

 

HQPDSD256Prefs.png

 

(This was all done on the "Office" system in my sig.)

 

--David


Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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David,

 

I too have an iDSD nano and micro. While you are correct, in a way, so am I partially. (I think)

 

They bypass core Audio AFAIK with firmware for the Xmos USB port.: Steps: Firmware Upgrade | iFi Audio

How to check Firmware version of iFi products on Mac OSX?

1) Click on the apple icon on the system bar.

2) Select “About this Mac”.

3) Click the “System Report” Button.

4) Find “USB” under “Hardware” and select it.

5) Find “iFi (by AMR) HD USB Audio” and select it.

6) Look at “Version:”.

 

micro iDSD – Firmware | iFi Audio

 

2) This enables DSD256(DoP) operation, which requires 768kHz PCM at the USB interface level.

• Nano iDSD and micro iDAC2 CANNOT decode 768kHz at the DAC level, but they can all be programmed to receive 768kHz PCM at the USB interface level hence enable DSD256(DoP).

• With 5.2A, the user MUST make sure to manually alter the PCM audio settings correctly (especially Mac), otherwise there will be no audio output at all.

• In other words, when playing PCM files, the sample rate must NOT set to be higher than 384kHz. Only set the sampling rate to 768kHz when one wants to play DSD256(DoP).

• There is no need to use this firmware if one uses ‘native mode’ (not DoP) to play DSD or DSD files are not played at all.

 

Or maybe I am completely wrong here. LoL

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All the previous posters are right in some ways just saying different things.

 

The main point is Mac doesn't do Native DSD so requires DoP. The problem with DoP is it requires a lot of overhead... of around 2 steps of magnitude. So a typical DAC that accepts 384khz PCM can only do DSD128 using DoP even if it can do higher with Native DSD.

 

The iFi Micro has relatively unusually high PCM rate of 768khz, so it can accept DSD256 over DoP from a Mac.

 

So if Holo Spring is limited to 384khz PCM it would also be limited to DSD128 over DoP on Mac. Unless they use some special Mac driver to enable Native DSD like Exasound does. But there's nothing to suggest that is the case.

 

To do DoP at DSD512 would require something crazy like PCM input at 1536khz.

 

Err... I think... please do correct me if any of that is wrong....


Mac Mini > RME ADI-2 DAC > Hypex Ncore monoblocks > ATC SCM-11 speakers & C1 subwoofer

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They bypass core Audio AFAIK with firmware for the Xmos USB port.: Steps: Firmware Upgrade | iFi Audio

How to check Firmware version of iFi products on Mac OSX?

1) Click on the apple icon on the system bar.

2) Select “About this Mac”.

3) Click the “System Report” Button.

4) Find “USB” under “Hardware” and select it.

5) Find “iFi (by AMR) HD USB Audio” and select it.

6) Look at “Version:”.

 

micro iDSD – Firmware | iFi Audio

 

2) This enables DSD256(DoP) operation, which requires 768kHz PCM at the USB interface level.

• Nano iDSD and micro iDAC2 CANNOT decode 768kHz at the DAC level, but they can all be programmed to receive 768kHz PCM at the USB interface level hence enable DSD256(DoP).

• With 5.2A, the user MUST make sure to manually alter the PCM audio settings correctly (especially Mac), otherwise there will be no audio output at all.

• In other words, when playing PCM files, the sample rate must NOT set to be higher than 384kHz. Only set the sampling rate to 768kHz when one wants to play DSD256(DoP).

 

So this is all to do with the DAC firmware. Nothing whatsoever to do with macOS or CoreAudio. Bypassing CoreAudio is something that would have to be done on the computer, in software, before any signal is sent to the DAC (e.g., exaSound's Mac ASIO drivers).

 

As @occamsrazor notes, @wisnon is correct that the overhead entailed in doing DSD256 via DoP requires a DAC to be able to accept a PCM rate of 768 (and iFi has enabled this on the iDSD nano pretty much just to be able to accept DSD256 via DoP). So @occamsrazonr's statement …

 

So if Holo Spring is limited to 384khz PCM it would also be limited to DSD128 over DoP on Mac. Unless they use some special Mac driver to enable Native DSD like Exasound does. But there's nothing to suggest that is the case.

 

… is exactly right, although in my mind it's important to note that a Mac user can get around this limitation by adding a Windows- or Linux-based HQP NAA (e.g., the Sonore Sonicorbiter SE or microRendu) to the system.

 

This statement from @wisnon

 

Core audio in Mac is limited to DSD128 and only custom drivers bypassing Core Audio can do 256. Like the Steinberg driver exaSound uses.

 

… is, as I pointed out originally, what I took issue with, and I still feel pretty strongly that this statement is incorrect.

 

--David


Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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The Holo Audio Spring Dac = PCM 768khz

 

Even better! I'm really looking forward to seeing and hearing the Spring this weekend.

 

--David


Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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Hi. Does one of the early adopter can share some comparison between Spring and Hugo TT? I'm hesitating between these 2 dacs. Thanks :)


Synology 1515+ --> micro rendu 1.3/LPS-1 --> Singxer KTE SU-1 --> I2S --> Holo Spring DAC KTE Level3 --> WA5 --> Focal Utopia, Mr Speaker Ether Flow C, ZMF Eikon

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Does one of the early adopter can share some comparison between Spring and Hugo TT? I'm hesitating between these 2 dacs.

 

At this point I haven't heard either one (I hope I'll hear both this weekend, though the Hugo isn't really the kind of thing I'm looking for), but I'll just point out that the Hugo TT goes for US$4,795, and the Spring (Level 3, Kitsune Tuned Edition) goes for US$2,399, so the latter is half the price of the former, at least in the US. Also, the Chord includes a headphone amp, and the Spring has no head amp or pre-amp. They're both DACs, but other than that, an apple vs. an orange, IMO.

 

This review compares the TT to several more similar DACs.

 

--David


Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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At this point I haven't heard either one (I hope I'll hear both this weekend, though the Hugo isn't really the kind of thing I'm looking for), but I'll just point out that the Hugo TT goes for US$4,795, and the Spring (Level 3, Kitsune Tuned Edition) goes for US$2,399, so the latter is half the price of the former, at least in the US. Also, the Chord includes a headphone amp, and the Spring has no head amp or pre-amp. They're both DACs, but other than that, an apple vs. an orange, IMO.

 

This review compares the TT to several more similar DACs.

 

--David

 

You are absolutely correct, and I'm aware of the price difference.

I should been specific that I was seeking opinions on the dac features only, with no considerations for the price.

Looking forward your feedbacks!

(Out of curiosity, why does the Hugo doesn't appeal to you?)


Synology 1515+ --> micro rendu 1.3/LPS-1 --> Singxer KTE SU-1 --> I2S --> Holo Spring DAC KTE Level3 --> WA5 --> Focal Utopia, Mr Speaker Ether Flow C, ZMF Eikon

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(Out of curiosity, why does the Hugo doesn't appeal to you?)

 

I'm looking for something that can handle DSD256 or preferably DSD512. At least for now, I'm in the "use HQPlayer to upsample everything to high-rate DSD" camp, and a lot of the scuttlebutt suggests that Chord, in general, focuses more on PCM. Also, I don't need pre-amp or head-amp functionality, and so a DAC where none of the costs go toward something I don't need is appealing to me.

 

--David


Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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Review up on the main page of CA..


Synology DS1515+ >  PS Audio P10 > Innuos Zenith Mk II running Roon Core > IsoRegen/LPS-1 > Lyngdorf TDAI 2170 > Tekton Double Impact Speakers

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