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HOLO Audio Spring DAC - R2R DSD512

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OK, I have it working now... turns out i had the wrong audio device selected (ahem) - in my defence, the pink faun just appears as another generic audio device....

 

So now I am fighting with Miska's NAA under Windows. It took me a while to figure out that NAA only supports ASIO drivers under Windows (some documentation would be nice), so I just installed ASIO4ALL and pointed it at the Pink Faun device, but NAA crashes when I start playing music. I've had enough for one night. I'll take a closer look and try again tomorrow. If I can't get it working quickly, I'll probably install Linux on another partition and see if I can get that working.

Great to hear! So how does i2s sound compared to USB?


12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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I just installed ASIO4ALL and pointed it at the Pink Faun device, but NAA crashes when I start playing music. I've had enough for one night. I'll take a closer look and try again tomorrow. If I can't get it working quickly, I'll probably install Linux on another partition and see if I can get that working.

 

If ASIO4ALL expects to get a window handle and doesn't check, then it may crash because it'll get NULL with the NAA binary (because it doesn't have a window).

 

Linux (minimal, without any GUI) is generally much better option. Windows or macOS for a NAA is kind of strange beast because both OS are so bloated. But sometimes it is necessary from driver support perspective. Pink Faun is based on C-Media's chip which I think should work on Linux too.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Wait, I recall the Pink Faun didn't support DSD -- and they had a write-up on thier page about how DSD sucks, etc. Have they added DSD support?

 

I2S is a PCM-only interface in first place. Since they at least now seem to use C-Media chip that is limited to 192k PCM you can get DSD64 over DoP or if the DAC supports also DSD128 over "2wire" mode (requires two I2S lanes for stereo).


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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OK, I have it working now... turns out i had the wrong audio device selected (ahem) - in my defence, the pink faun just appears as another generic audio device....

 

So now I am fighting with Miska's NAA under Windows. It took me a while to figure out that NAA only supports ASIO drivers under Windows (some documentation would be nice), so I just installed ASIO4ALL and pointed it at the Pink Faun device, but NAA crashes when I start playing music. I've had enough for one night. I'll take a closer look and try again tomorrow. If I can't get it working quickly, I'll probably install Linux on another partition and see if I can get that working.

 

My recommendation would be to start with a standard HQplayer setup first, so as to test all rates and situations with the PF, let alone rate the sound quality. Only then would I move on to a "dual pc" NAA setup.

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Thanks Jussi! Was not aware that Chord converts incoming DSD to 352.8 in the Hugo/Mojo, I wonder how they do it in the DAVE, as many have reported excellent DSD sound from DAVE; I believe DAVE also has a setting switch for DSD, so perhaps it is quite different from Hugo/Mojo.

 

The word from the Holo designer is a bit confusing, and the language barrier does not help. In one spot it appears he is saying it converts DSD directly. His language could also be interpreted as suggesting that there is a separate converter for the DSD stream, so perhaps it is like your DSC-1 as a discrete converter. It did not really make sense to me that a DSD stream would be sent to the R2R ladder either. The pictures of the Holo board are incomplete, as there are more parts on the underside as well.


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

                                   
                                                                            SONORE computer audio

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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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Guys, the designer of the Spring says what it does -- converts DSD to PCM.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile

 

OK, here is the bottom line. Separate discrete conversion network for native DSD streams, NO PCM-DSD conversion:

 

"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."


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

                                   
                                                                            SONORE computer audio

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Okay fine, I agree there are two resistor ladders now. But HOW does this PCM ladder network handle 1-bit streams? I just don't buy it. Does it transform into a virtual DS DAC similar to how Miska suggested?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile

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Okay fine, I agree there are two resistor ladders now. But HOW does this PCM ladder network handle 1-bit streams? I just don't buy it. Does it transform into a virtual DS DAC similar to how Miska suggested?

 

Based on that above description, it doesn't. There seems to be a second network that is the DSD converter. Download my schematics from the link above and you can see one way to do it.

 

You can make quite a number of variations around the topic, for example the TI/BB DAC chips give you four different conversion configurations to choose from.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Linux (minimal, without any GUI) is generally much better option. Windows or macOS for a NAA is kind of strange beast because both OS are so bloated. But sometimes it is necessary from driver support perspective. Pink Faun is based on C-Media's chip which I think should work on Linux too.

 

OK, so I decided to go straight to Linux tonight, and knowing that your binaries are based on Ubuntu, I tried to install Ubuntu Studio (as I did on my i7 computer). However, when I select the option to install Ubuntu, it boots to a black screen. >:(

Lots of posts on the net about this... tried removing "quiet splash" and adding "nomodeset nolapic" to no avail. It's strange because I have installed debian, wtfplay, and snakeoil-OS (which is Ubuntu based) on this same computer in the past. *sigh*, too tired to fight any more tonight. I'll have another attempt tomorrow. This is becoming rather tedious.

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OK, so I decided to go straight to Linux tonight, and knowing that your binaries are based on Ubuntu, I tried to install Ubuntu Studio (as I did on my i7 computer). However, when I select the option to install Ubuntu, it boots to a black screen. >:(

Lots of posts on the net about this... tried removing "quiet splash" and adding "nomodeset nolapic" to no avail. It's strange because I have installed debian, wtfplay, and snakeoil-OS (which is Ubuntu based) on this same computer in the past. *sigh*, too tired to fight any more tonight. I'll have another attempt tomorrow. This is becoming rather tedious.

I'm guessing you tried installing 16.10. Try with 16.04. I'd also forget about Ubuntu Studio if you are just going to use it for an NAA (unless I'm misunderstanding and this is not the NAA machine). If you want a GUI, Lubuntu works, or if you're comfortable with the command line there's Ubuntu Server. If this is not the NAA, I found the lighter weight Lubuntu to work slightly better on my quite old hardware running HQPlayer at high oversampling rates than Xubuntu. But if your computer is newer or you're not oversampling to DSD256 or DSD512, then you likely won't need to be concerned about this.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> wi-fi to router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Thanks Jud, indeed this id's only for NAA use. I'll try Ubuntu server tonight.

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

 

If you are going to go the Linux route perhaps check out AudioLinux? At least on paper it seems very interesting. I would have gone with it if I was not such as Linux idiot.

 

AudioLinux - The audiophile realtime plug & play operative system


12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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Thanks Jud, indeed this id's only for NAA use. I'll try Ubuntu server tonight.

 

*sigh*. Just installed "Ubuntu Server 16.04.1 LTS", which I understand is "xenial". Installation went fine but system boots to black screen (again); hmm. Anyway, i installed openssh_server, so i am ssh-d into the machine, installed the xenial version of networkaudiod_3.4.2-33_amd64.deb.

 

So far, so good. But when i use my other PC to look for the NAA, the NAA dumps core with "illegal instruction", which suggests some incompatibility between Jussi's binary and the server I installed.

 

$ /usr/sbin/networkaudiod

[/usr/sbin/networkaudiod] (2965): networkaudiod Copyright © 2011-2016 Jussi Laako / Signalyst. All rights reserved.

[/usr/sbin/networkaudiod] (2965): asoundlib version: 1.1.0

Illegal instruction (core dumped)

 

$ uname -a

Linux foxtrot 4.4.0-31-generic #50-Ubuntu SMP Wed Jul 13 00:07:12 UTC 2016 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

 

help!

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*sigh*. Just installed "Ubuntu Server 16.04.1 LTS", which I understand is "xenial". Installation went fine but system boots to black screen (again); hmm. Anyway, i installed openssh_server, so i am ssh-d into the machine, installed the xenial version of networkaudiod_3.4.2-33_amd64.deb.

 

So far, so good. But when i use my other PC to look for the NAA, the NAA dumps core with "illegal instruction", which suggests some incompatibility between Jussi's binary and the server I installed.

 

$ /usr/sbin/networkaudiod

[/usr/sbin/networkaudiod] (2965): networkaudiod Copyright © 2011-2016 Jussi Laako / Signalyst. All rights reserved.

[/usr/sbin/networkaudiod] (2965): asoundlib version: 1.1.0

Illegal instruction (core dumped)

 

$ uname -a

Linux foxtrot 4.4.0-31-generic #50-Ubuntu SMP Wed Jul 13 00:07:12 UTC 2016 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

 

help!

 

Is this an old computer? Illegal instruction can mean the program tried to use AVX or some other recent extension on a CPU that doesn't support it.

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Is this an old computer? Illegal instruction can mean the program tried to use AVX or some other recent extension on a CPU that doesn't support it.

 

Well, it is an old design (although bought recently): it's an Intel DN2800MT mboard (atom (i think N2800) CPU).

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Well, it is an old design (although bought recently): it's an Intel DN2800MT mboard (atom (i think N2800) CPU).

That CPU doesn't have SSE4 or AVX. I don't know if NAA needs those, but it's possible. Miska would know, obviously.

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Or...Linux is trash and should be avoided at all costs. Built my audio server using Windows 10 and Fidelizer Pro. Everything worked first time perfectly with 0 issues since including JRiver, HQPlayer and the million other Windows niceties such as rdp, HDtracks working properly, driver management simplicity, effortless access to all sorts of monitoring tools etc and so on.

 

Sent from my LG-H820 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

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Thanks Miska. Is that what the MicroRendu runs?

 

No, microRendu is completely different hardware (ARM Cortex-A9).


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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SSE4.2 is needed. But for hardware older than that, the 32-bit binaries/OS should work...

 

Thanks for that.

 

OK, so I left the 64-bit kernel installed, but added i386 versions of libasound2, libstdc++6, and libc6.

 

Then i found that Jussi has not included a 32-bit version of networkaudiod for xenial, so I installed the one for stretch.

 

 

Everything looks good: networkaudiod now runs and is seen by hqplayer desktop. Only one small hiccup: I am not getting any sound out of my DAC! ... but the DAC is changing samples rates as I change them on hqplayer, so at this point I am going to assume that the lack of sound is due to the fact that I have not yet configured ALSA, and not due to any binary mismatches...!

 

i'll go off and do some research into ALSA...

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Then i found that Jussi has not included a 32-bit version of networkaudiod for xenial, so I installed the one for stretch.

 

Yes, I don't have 32-bit Xenial installed anywhere yet. But I can probably update my old Trusty virtual machine and build a Xenial-specific package.

 

Everything looks good: networkaudiod now runs and is seen by hqplayer desktop. Only one small hiccup: I am not getting any sound out of my DAC! ... but the DAC is changing samples rates as I change them on hqplayer, so at this point I am going to assume that the lack of sound is due to the fact that I have not yet configured ALSA, and not due to any binary mismatches...!

 

Check volume control on both HQPlayer and your DAC/USB interface, both ALSA and HQPlayer use lowest volume setting for starters for safety reasons. Use for example "alsamixer" to adjust the volume, you can use "aplay -l" to list the devices and then for example "alsamixer -D hw:1" in case your DAC's device is "hw:1". Then you can store the mixer settings as defaults for next boot with "alsactl store".


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Yes, I don't have 32-bit Xenial installed anywhere yet. But I can probably update my old Trusty virtual machine and build a Xenial-specific package.

 

The stretch version seems to be running fine (despite the lack of sound!), so don't bother. Thanks for the offer though!

 

Check volume control on both HQPlayer and your DAC/USB interface, both ALSA and HQPlayer use lowest volume setting for starters for safety reasons. Use for example "alsamixer" to adjust the volume, you can use "aplay -l" to list the devices and then for example "alsamixer -D hw:1" in case your DAC's device is "hw:1". Then you can store the mixer settings as defaults for next boot with "alsactl store".

 

Ah, just came here to post an update after doing exactly what you propose above. In alsamixer, I can see the card and it is not muted, but all of the volume settings are locked to zero. I did find some posts from one person with the same problem, but no resolution was ever posted. Again, I'm speculating that some additional configuration may be required. I note that in /usr/share/alsa/cards there is a CMI8788.conf, but no CMI8888.conf.

 

I have emailed Pink Faun to see if they are able to offer any guidance...

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