Jump to content
IGNORED

HOLO Audio Spring DAC - R2R DSD512


Recommended Posts

21 hours ago, barrows said:

But the DAC does matter in this for sure.  This difference is more marked in DACs designed really well for DSD, like ones using DSD direct mode on an AKM chip, or really good discrete DSD converters with no processing other than conversions

This indeed matters, and I just have to add that in addition to the internal digital conversion / processing, the last output analog conversion stage on the DAC is critical as well.

 

21 hours ago, barrows said:

This kind of noise may be responsible for some of the differences people hear between different DACs: the noise goes to the amplifier, or preamp, and may create problems there,

As you well say once noise is injected you can't get rid of it, and this is why the last analog conversion stage (including linearity, analog filtering, signal amplification etc) is so important. I know I will be accused of "simplistic" but pre processing the digital signal using computer software (developed by a known Finland based developer) and feeding this to any DAC ($300 - $20000) will yield excellent results as long as the analog stage is well designed. The Holo products it is my understanding are excellent well designed around this analog last stage.

 

21 hours ago, barrows said:

this could be an answer to those simplistic DAC "reviews" at ASR, where they just measure the output of the DAC, and then declare it "perfect"

This comment is brilliant because it addresses exactly that difference between measurements and actual SQ that people notices, but I would not say the entire review is simplistic, I think at ASR they (he) does a good work with the process and his methodology, now the results are sometimes misinterpreted or simplistic and pragmatic conclusions are drawn, yet I personally enjoy reading these reviews and learning a few things along the way and filtering (what I consider) the crap out of it. And my last comment (this one) might be (again) simplistic but I think from the marketing standpoint ASR "has" to offer another "flavor" to its customer base, hence that divide that mostly happens between users at AS and ASR.

 

And I'm completely OT here, sorry

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, luisma said:

ast output analog conversion stage on the DAC is critical as well.

Indeed, i just take it for granted that everyone understands this.  Power supply design and implementation in the DAC is critical as well.  I remember the late Charlie Hansen, I miss him, ranking what is important in DAC design.  1=I/V converter and analog output stage, 2=Power supply design, and 3=Digital stages.  As one who has built around ten or more DIY DACs, with all kinds of different approaches, I would agree with that assessment.

To get back on topic, I suspect that the Holo Spring, and even more so the May, DACs are very good because the designer does pay a lot of attention to all three of those design aspects, and not just for the fact that they use discrete conversions.

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, mav52 said:

 

I must have missed it, but what is DSC-2 , thanks

DSC-2 is a DIY discrete DSD DAC, based on Jussi's (miska here) original DSC-1 design.  Variants of this same discrete DSD DAC topology are used in commercial DACs made by T+A, Denafrips, and Holo Audio, and perhaps others.

Mola Mola appears to use a distant relative of this design also for the converter stage of their DACs, although I believe Bruno Putzeys came up with Mola Mola's design independently of Jussi's work (perhaps brilliant minds think alike!)

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/2/2020 at 3:20 PM, SwissBear said:

Hi everyone,

 

I’m very interested in this DAC. Before making the plunge, I would like to know if some of you have an experience of feeding an SPDIF or I2S flow into it, clocked with a high precision clock like the Mutec Ref-10, and noticed that the DAC was using the external clock signal instead of its internal one.
Thanks.

Thanks again to @wouterkfor answering my question.

 

I have gone through most of the thread an I have noted the following:
- At the beginning (say Rev1 of the Holo Spring), some users have attempted to feed the DAC through its I2S interface, mostly with Singxer SU-1, and notices improvement in the sound quality. This was partly attributed to better galvanic isolation and partly to better clocks in the SU-1 than in the DAC
- From the beginning, some other users, @Miska in particular, have challenged this observation, publishing measurements of the jitter of the Spring in Rev 1 and saying that such improvements, if measurable, would be hardly noticeable
- @scan80269 has made an interesting experiment which tended to prove that the I2S input was using the clock signal sent by the I2S flow and not by the clock of the DAC
- Since Rev2 of the Spring, a new USB interface has been released, together with better clocks, and this has led to measurements of improvements of Rev 2 vs Rev 1. Since this release, the majority of users has reported having dropped their I2S connexion, in favour of direct USB connexion.
- I have noted that the last measurements published with a Singer SU-1 connexion were reporting a higher noise floor with the interface than without it, which does not favour this kind of feed.
- I have read that there was a sweet spot for using this DAC and this was in NOS, with input sampling frequencies of PCM 1.536 MHz or DSD 256 when upsampled via HQPlayer
- I have not read of any attempt to listen/measure to installations where the Spring would be fed by a more sophisticated USB/I2S interface, which would be clocked by a high precision clock like the Mutec Ref-10
It my understsnding correct ?
Questions:
1. Is there a link between the oversampling via HQPlayer and the reduction of jitter at the output of the DAC ?
2. Some users are reporting an even better experience with the Holo May than with Spring. Is this understandable from a technical/engineering PoV, in particular due to the fact that May is a dual mono DAC ? Under circumstances when listening these boxes at home is not feasible, is it worth the price difference ?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, barrows said:

I would not speculate that "dual mono" construction has much, if at all, to do with any improvement of the May over the Spring.  Although the argument, technically, for true and complete dual mono construction is sound, in practice, I have not found dual mono to actually produce better sonics: I have made DIY DACS with both full dual mono construction (fully separate power supplies for the L and R channels) and what I would call "pseudo dual mono" construction (shared transformer for L and R channels with separately regulated power rails), and as long as the capacity and impedance of the supply is kept low, their is no discernible difference in sonics between the two.

I would expect the improvements in the May to be mostly derived form better power supply design in general, and better analog stage design, as well as, perhaps, subtle improvements added to the conversion stages (most designers will learn something from iteration to iteration and incorporate subtle improvements with any new layout of a given design).

In any case, the May can be seen to perform better than the Spring, in a measurable senses nd in reported sonics, so for those looking for the best version of Holo Audio's approach to DAC design, the May is the clear choice.

Thank you @barrows for this documented response :-) 

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, SwissBear said:

Questions:

1. Is there a link between the oversampling via HQPlayer and the reduction of jitter at the output of the DAC ?

@Miska: Hi Jussi,

I observed that the jitter measurements you are posting are made with a reasonable level of upsampling in HQPlayer (PCM352, DSD 256 or DSD 512), and that you are sometimes precising that the measurements are made with your workstation, as an indication that there is no tuning on the music server side. Am I right ?

I tend to infer from it that HQPlayer upsampling has a positive effect on jitter reduction at the DAC, even when feeding the DAC via its USB input.

Could you kindly share with us some explanations about this ?

Thanks,

Pierre

Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Miska said:

 

Yes, that's the case.

 

 

There are likely multiple reasons. One is moving the processing out of the box and performing it asynchronously. Another is that generally higher rates lower the jitter because timing contribution of individual samples is less, the clock divisors are smaller and the distribution becomes different. Running actual conversion stage at NOS 44.1k is absolute worst case in many ways.

 

I'm not sure what is meant by the "even" part, because USB is best interface the DAC has. :)

 

Thanks a lot for your answer, which makes much sense to me :-)

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, hols said:

I have been using HQplayer(Taiko extreme Windows) and also HQP embedded(Linux system)to upsample to PCM1411 and I used to set it to 24 bits as T+ is a 26 bit DAC and there is no problem playing PCM1411 with T+. When I changed to May it returns some clearly distorted sound. The sound is normal if I play 705.6 but once I set to 1411 it returns some distorted sound. I tried setting it to 20 bits but sound is still distorted and finally I read through the threads here in AS and realized that Miska has illustrated that one has to turn it down to 16 bits before one can play PCM1411. And that is not the end of the story because if I use the Taiko extreme (set to 16 bits)to play PCM 1411 there is cracked high frequency sound but there is no such sound if I use Linux HQPe. We all know that there is a Windows Thesycon driver that comes with Holo but no Linux driver(usual practice). What's intriguing is that why with the Thesycon driver that comes with T+ there is no problem playing 24 bit 1411 with T+ but with the Thesycon driver that comes with May it can't even play PCM 1411 at 16bit in May? So is it a driver problem or is it the capability of the DAC ?  I still don't have an answer. But it seems it is a real pity that May cannot play PCM 1411 smoothly because when successfully played it gives an excellent sound as I shall briefly outline my impression below.

 

You need to make sure you use motherboard's USB interface for connecting May or Spring 2 in order to use 24-bit at those higher rates.

 

If you use HQPlayer OS or Ubuntu/Debian with my custom kernel for running HQPlayer Embedded it also works at 24-bit. As long as you use motherboard's Intel based USB interface.

 

On macOS you can get those 1.4/1.5M rates by setting DAC Bits to 16 in HQPlayer.

 

If you use suitable noise shaper at 16-bit, there is no performance loss compared to using more bits. In any case when using >16-bit, you should set DAC Bits to 20 which gives optimal results. I don't have Denafrips to test with, but I'm pretty sure the same or similar settings are applicable there too.

 

The reason for the behavior you describe is purely technical.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hols said:

Hi Matt,

 

It was purely a coincidence that one day before this post I have upgraded my L2 Holo Spring to L2 Holo May. As outlined in the posts in the other threads I have growing interests in playing PCM 1411 in my Denafrips Terminator Plus and it is quite natural to make a comparison with the other R2R DAC that can also play PCM 1411 i.e. Holo May(also the Spring2). I have been quite surprised that in the 10 months or so since the May was out there was not much talks about how its high sampling rate PCM sounded. And I finally understand why as it is not an easy job to play PCM1411 in Holo May.

 

I have been using HQplayer(Taiko extreme Windows) and also HQP embedded(Linux system)to upsample to PCM1411 and I used to set it to 24 bits as T+ is a 26 bit DAC and there is no problem playing PCM1411 with T+. When I changed to May it returns some clearly distorted sound. The sound is normal if I play 705.6 but once I set to 1411 it returns some distorted sound. I tried setting it to 20 bits but sound is still distorted and finally I read through the threads here in AS and realized that Miska has illustrated that one has to turn it down to 16 bits before one can play PCM1411. And that is not the end of the story because if I use the Taiko extreme (set to 16 bits)to play PCM 1411 there is cracked high frequency sound but there is no such sound if I use Linux HQPe. We all know that there is a Windows Thesycon driver that comes with Holo but no Linux driver(usual practice). What's intriguing is that why with the Thesycon driver that comes with T+ there is no problem playing 24 bit 1411 with T+ but with the Thesycon driver that comes with May it can't even play PCM 1411 at 16bit in May? So is it a driver problem or is it the capability of the DAC ?  I still don't have an answer. But it seems it is a real pity that May cannot play PCM 1411 smoothly because when successfully played it gives an excellent sound as I shall briefly outline my impression below.

 

Although both T+ and May are R2R DAC the character of the two can be said to be totally different and I am only focusing on PCM1411. T+ gives a very transparent and detailed yet very natural sound. You can imagine its like you are amongst the musicians in the orchestra. You can literally hear 80 or so musicians making music together while in May you are hearing a very smooth sound with a group of violins or cellos playing in tutti. The phrasing is well displayed in both DACs but the T+ tends to give you a "let the music speak by itself" feeling while the phrasing from May is more emotional or a little more exaggerated than the real thing. The brass and woodwinds are obviously more rich in timbre in May than in T+ but surprisingly you can definitely hear more details with T+ because there is some really excellent inner clarity. It clearly represents two vastly different philosophy of sound and there is no right or wrong and both can achieve an excellent outcome although at this juncture I would say I prefer T+ to May. This is clearly an early impression of May since it is only sounding for little more than 2 weeks. I am sure it will further improve and hope that I can solve the problem of playing it smoothly in PCM high sampling rates. 

I am not commercially associated with both DACs. YMMV. 

 

 

May1.jpg

 

Thank you @holsfor this update, much appreciated ☺️

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, hols said:

I have been using HQplayer(Taiko extreme Windows) and also HQP embedded(Linux system)to upsample to PCM1411 and I used to set it to 24 bits as T+ is a 26 bit DAC and there is no problem playing PCM1411 with T+. When I changed to May it returns some clearly distorted sound. The sound is normal if I play 705.6 but once I set to 1411 it returns some distorted sound. I tried setting it to 20 bits but sound is still distorted and finally I read through the threads here in AS and realized that Miska has illustrated that one has to turn it down to 16 bits before one can play PCM1411. And that is not the end of the story because if I use the Taiko extreme (set to 16 bits)to play PCM 1411 there is cracked high frequency sound but there is no such sound if I use Linux HQPe. We all know that there is a Windows Thesycon driver that comes with Holo but no Linux driver(usual practice). What's intriguing is that why with the Thesycon driver that comes with T+ there is no problem playing 24 bit 1411 with T+ but with the Thesycon driver that comes with May it can't even play PCM 1411 at 16bit in May? So is it a driver problem or is it the capability of the DAC ?  I still don't have an answer. But it seems it is a real pity that May cannot play PCM 1411 smoothly because when successfully played it gives an excellent sound as I shall briefly outline my impression below.

Thank you @hols for this report and what you describe, me without being an expert or owning the May or T+ but being an owner of a T- :) and HQPe I remember the inconsistencies playing especially when source content switched resolution or format with former Amanero and then Terminator's new board which eventually after some firmware updates were smoothed, now I don't know how frequent are firmware updates on the May but this looks like a good question for Holo's development team.

 

Thanks again, I have to say quite a few people not having the chance to compare all this equipment side by side and throwing in HQP in Windows and Linux is definitely a very good review.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Miska said:

 

You need to make sure you use motherboard's USB interface for connecting May or Spring 2 in order to use 24-bit at those higher rates.

 

If you use HQPlayer OS or Ubuntu/Debian with my custom kernel for running HQPlayer Embedded it also works at 24-bit. As long as you use motherboard's Intel based USB interface.

 

On macOS you can get those 1.4/1.5M rates by setting DAC Bits to 16 in HQPlayer.

 

If you use suitable noise shaper at 16-bit, there is no performance loss compared to using more bits. In any case when using >16-bit, you should set DAC Bits to 20 which gives optimal results. I don't have Denafrips to test with, but I'm pretty sure the same or similar settings are applicable there too.

 

The reason for the behavior you describe is purely technical.

 

Thanks for all the info Miska. That explains why I can only get 16 bit to function because I was using a Jcat USB XE card in my NAA computer. I have now tried to use the motherboard's USB ports and yes it can now play 24 bit 1411. But to use the USB card or not probably needs further evaluation as there are PROS and CONS of using it.

 

But one further question is I can't understand why with the Taiko extreme using the onboard USB ports and the Windows HQplayer desktop with or without NAA there are some cracked high frequency sound with PCM 1411 (20bit or 16 bit) in Holo May. Is that also something technical or something related to the driver or anything else since this is not likely to be customized kernel issue? And it is persistent in all recordings. What I can't understand is with the same settings there is no problem with T+ but there is problem with May? And the sound of May is quite normal without high frequency cracks when played with Linux server. Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hols said:

But one further question is I can't understand why with the Taiko extreme using the onboard USB ports and the Windows HQplayer desktop with or without NAA there are some cracked high frequency sound with PCM 1411 (20bit or 16 bit) in Holo May.

 

I don't really know, since I don't have any of such or know how it is set up...

 

T+ and Holo use different kind of implementation for the USB interface, this makes a bit of difference in this respect. The one used by Holo is more efficient, but more picky about the system details. So not black and white.

 

2 hours ago, hols said:

That explains why I can only get 16 bit to function because I was using a Jcat USB XE card in my NAA computer. I have now tried to use the motherboard's USB ports and yes it can now play 24 bit 1411. But to use the USB card or not probably needs further evaluation as there are PROS and CONS of using it.

 

I prefer to use Gigabyte motherboards with their DAC-UP2 USB ports, it is on the pro's side. Especially when partnered with Seasonic Prime Titanium PSUs (fanless or hybrid).

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Link to post
Share on other sites

i had a problem with distorded sound with my spring dac in PCM mode 2 but unfortuantly it happens also with 16/44 playing so

i had to return my unit for checking ,   bad luck for me 😑

PC audio /Roon + HQPLAYER / HOLO Spring 2 / / DIY AD1 SET tube amp  /  DIY Altec 2 way horn Speaker

Link to post
Share on other sites

I ordered a Holo Spring 2 with the goal to upsample PCM 1.5M rates using my windows server and JCAT USB. Given the report from @holsand Miska's response, it seems I wont be able to upsample to PCM 1.5M unless I use i) motherboard USB and/or ii) linux. Is this issue across all Holo DACs or just with May?

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, juanitox said:

i had a problem with distorded sound with my spring dac in PCM mode 2 but unfortuantly it happens also with 16/44 playing so

i had to return my unit for checking ,   bad luck for me 😑

 

Sorry to hear that. Was this only happening for PCM but not DSD? Also, are you using windows OS and motherboard USB?

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, shahed99 said:

I ordered a Holo Spring 2 with the goal to upsample PCM 1.5M rates using my windows server and JCAT USB. Given the report from @holsand Miska's response, it seems I wont be able to upsample to PCM 1.5M unless I use i) motherboard USB and/or ii) linux. Is this issue across all Holo DACs or just with May?

This seems like an epic fail for the (not inconsiderably priced) JCat USB card?  Really?  If I had purchased this card and encountered that a MoBo port was working better, i would be demanding the JCat card be fixed or my money be refunded.  What does JCat say about this?

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, barrows said:

This seems like an epic fail for the (not inconsiderably priced) JCat USB card?  Really?  If I had purchased this card and encountered that a MoBo port was working better, i would be demanding the JCat card be fixed or my money be refunded.  What does JCat say about this?

 

JCAT provides only "Supports all lossless formats and sample rates".

What are the highest sample rates for PCM and DSD with Sonore?

Thanks

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, shahed99 said:

 

Sorry to hear that. Was this only happening for PCM but not DSD? Also, are you using windows OS and motherboard USB?

 

yes i am using my asus motherboard USB ,  and the problem was only in PCM not DSD and only on one channel , so it must be an hardware problem.  i am in touch with the wilsdim guy and a my Dac card will be replaced soon .

PC audio /Roon + HQPLAYER / HOLO Spring 2 / / DIY AD1 SET tube amp  /  DIY Altec 2 way horn Speaker

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, matthias said:

 

JCAT provides only "Supports all lossless formats and sample rates".

What are the highest sample rates for PCM and DSD with Sonore?

Thanks

 

Matt

Matt, I only know for sure what I can test.  Sonore USB outputs are rated to work up to DSD 512 and PCM 768, beyond that I do not know because I have no DAC capable of accepting higher rates.  I suspect higher rates are possible, but cannot confirm.  I can only report rock solid function with DSD 512 and PCM 768.

@Miska, is USB 3 required for DSD 1024/ PCM 1536?  I would think that USB 2 should be fine, but without a DAC capable of testing this I cannot say for sure.  I will ask if Jesus has tested higher rates and report back.

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...