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Sacd transport to a DAC


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Majority of SCAD titles come in hybrid discs that have both SACD and CD layers. It only depends on the player to read which layer.

 

You may check out the dCS Scarlatti Set that comes with a CD/SACD transport and a DAC. They employs proprietary links (cables and protocols) for playing SACD materials.

 

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just checked the manual of the oppo online: "PCM – SACD Direct Stream Digital (DSD) data is converted into multi-channel, high- resolution PCM data. The converted PCM data is then output through HDMI or the internal DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) for the analog audio output ports. If you use a receiver that supports HDMI v1.1 to listen to SACD, please select this option. You may also want to select this option if you prefer the sound quality of the DSD-to-PCM conversion."

 

Not clear to me what Oppo means by "high-resolution PCM data", i.e. whether this means converting DSD to 24/192 or 24/96. The coaxial and optical digital outputs presumably don't allow any of this, or do they?

 

Are there any good HDMI-coaxial or HDMI-AES/EBU interfaces out there? If yes, this might allow us to listen to SACDs or DSD recordings (for example with a Korg 2000s) first converted to high-resolution PCM audio and then passed on to our favorite DACs. This could be interesting..

 

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If you read through history of digital audio interface, then you will find the S/PDIF protocol, based on the AES/EBU protocol, has some flaws one of which is that it encodes clock and data signals altogether. This results in a higher jitter level in audio reproduction.

 

Modern digital interface designs choose an alternative approach. However, the 2-link configuration allows the AES/EBU or S/PDIF to carry the clock signal on a separate line (master-slave) which is similar to the HDMI link.

 

Is The AES/EBU & S/PDIF Digital Audio Interface Flawed ?

by Dunn & Hawksford 1993 ( pdf )

 

DIGITabilis: crash course on digital audio interfaces

 

See > Table : DisplayPort Compared Against LVDS, DVI and HDMI

 

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@bordin

 

I maybe wrong, but I thought HDMI had greater jitter levels that SPDIF (generally speaking).

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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There are modifications that can be made to permit S/PDIF output from SACDs. I have a 980 that has 3 s/pdif outputs for mch at 24/88.2.

 

Now, recording one for L/R(stereo) is easy. How do I record all three?

 

 

 

 

 

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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PCM directly off the chip and send it out via multiple SPDIF's. Kal, John Kotches and others have had the older Swiss DVDUpgrades boards for some time. Shawn Fogg (I've posted about his board here before) has a 4 spdif board he'll mod to the Oppo BDP-83 for like $400-430. For that mod on the Oppo you set SACD to output PCM (not DSD) and the board will capture the 24/88.2 conversion. Without the board that conversion is only available to HDMI or the analog outs (i.e not the optical/coax standard digital output). Another option is coming in the mail to me on Tueday. It is the Atlona HD570 HDMI "de-embedder", a $250 box that supposedly takes HDMI audio and strips off up to 24/92 digital and send it to an optical digital out. This would mean I could try this box with my Oppo and see if the Weiss (or LIo-8 when I get it back) can grab 24/192 BluRay PCM stereo (Neil Young anybody) or maybe the 24/88.2 converted SACD. We'll see....I'm skeptical (30 day trial). Stay tuned.

 

Native DSD is another issue all together. There are a few DIY modders on the Net that have successfully grabbed the DSD before it converts but it's a one-off thing. Then the bigger issue is DSD-capable DACs. :)

 

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Hi!

 

Kal wrote:

"Now, recording one for L/R(stereo) is easy. How do I record all three?"

 

It depends on how much you are willing to spend for some (or one) capable interface.

Three ESI [email protected] Cards might do the trick, as linked RME cards will do.

 

One problem is, that the most digital audio-interfaces use multi- AES/EBU digital inputs instead of S/PDIF connections.

 

Cheers

Harald

(using a Audiopraise board)

 

Esoterc SA-60 / Foobar2000 -> Mytek Stereo 192 DSD / Audio-GD NFB 28.38 -> MEG RL922K / AKG K500 / AKG K1000  / Audioquest Nighthawk / OPPO PM-2 / Sennheiser HD800 / Sennheiser Surrounder / Sony MA900 / STAX SR-303+SRM-323II

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I've modified a couple of SACD players using a custom board from a small company in the Czech republic. I've got it setup to output 24/176.4 from DSD, which is reportedly the best mathematical down conversion, according to pro friends I know and some back of the napkin calculations.

 

That's captured using an RME Fireface 800 on digital I/O setup for S/PDIF levels, using Wave Editor as the recording and track editing program. Max is used for metadata tagging. I can produce very high quality CD output from this tool set also, better sounding than the commercial disks on RBCD. (I know, in many cases, that's not saying a lot... like the James Taylor Hourglass, for example, which is a very nice recording in the single layer SACD and rather mushy and lacking on the CD).

 

Written out this way, the process is straightforward, but it did take some time and work to come up with this. I have a large SACD collection, including many many single layer titles from Sony releases, and I rather think it has been worth the effort. Conversion is still ongoing, it's like taping vinyl, only worse, as the tracking and metadata tagging takes time, too.

 

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I have the Oppo BS-80 connected to the Atlona 570, feeding a Wadia 830. It works pretty well for SACD and for PCM data on DVD's and DVD-A's...with one cavaet - the TV needs to be on in order for it to "work". Not sure why, but it seems that there's a need for an "active" HDMI link in order for the digital audio to be separated.

 

I find that the SACD conversion to PCM data is decent, but not fantastic. I don't know if this is an inherant weekness in the conversion process, but as a matter of convenience I can certainly live with it. It's not the silver bullet to replace a top end player with SACD, however...but definately worth doing.

 

Five (or so) in heavy rotation:

 

Van Halen - Studio Albums 1978-1984 (24/192) | The Eagles - Hotel California (24/192) | Robbie Robertson - S/T (MFSL) | Tord Gustavsen - The Well (24/96) | The Beatles - Rubber Soul (24-Bit)

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elrod-tom wrote: "Not sure why, but it seems that there's a need for an "active" HDMI link in order for the digital audio to be separated."

 

Yup. Apparently, the Atlona does not maintain the proper EDID without a monitor. Some processors have the same limitation but the "better" ones have no problem with it. For example, the Meridian HD621 has no problem doing a similar task without a monitor.

 

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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to be at least better than the 80's analog outs into a decent hi-end analog pre?

 

Jonmarsh, I'd love to hear more about your SACD 24/176 mods (whether off line via PM/email or here publicly). Have you had a chance to hear the Shawn Fogg boards (24/88.2 for SACD via Oppo 83) or the Atlona solution, albeit 2 channel? Is your 24/176 a function of the players internal SACD-to-PCM downconversion (i.e did you pick a player that does conversion that high cuz many do 24/88.2) or yours?

 

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Which is the best solution I've found so far.

 

I have not heard the Shawn Fogg boards or the Altona solution. The down conversion occurs in the custom FPGA, using the DSD signals that are exposed on the SACD/DVD board in the DV79AVi. It uses relatively steep anti-aliasing and has about 33 kHz bandwidth with the 176.4 sampling rate. Upside is low ultrasonic stuff compared with many SACD solutions.

 

Presently I'm using this with a Berkely Alpha DAC; the results are much more satisfactory than the Marantz SA-11 I own, which in turn is a nicer player than my original top of the line first gen Sony. Of course, in it's time the Sony was pretty good...

 

I'm looking forward to seeing how this works with the LIO-8, have one on order with Steve which I'm expecting by mid June.

 

Of course, this whole workflow is something of a kluge, but less so than many I've heard of. One issue is finding an interface that will do single wire quad rate S/PDIF input. The Fireface 800 ignores SCM bits. I haven't found a unit cheaper than the Fireface 400 that I know will work; it's possible that the TC Impact Twin, which has S/PDIF I/O up to 192 kHz will work, but I haven't tried it.

 

Installing the board into the Pioneer is a bit of a PITA; not for someone new to electronics, and really benefits from a good magnifying visor, given the board density and component size on the Pioneer where you have to make connection. I've been working on another player mod this weekend for a friend.

 

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ted_b,

 

To be clear, it's the digital signal is what I'm listening to, fed into my Wadia. There are analog outs on the Atlona, but I'm not using those.

 

I find the PCM to be flawless. I've got an Eagles DVD "Farewell Tour I" that sounds fantastic, and it's not even high res. Some of the DVD-A's are spectacular.

 

I'm going to need to do some more extended listening with SACD to give a truly informed opinion. I've not listened to much, but my preliminary opinion was that it was decent but not fantastic.

 

Five (or so) in heavy rotation:

 

Van Halen - Studio Albums 1978-1984 (24/192) | The Eagles - Hotel California (24/192) | Robbie Robertson - S/T (MFSL) | Tord Gustavsen - The Well (24/96) | The Beatles - Rubber Soul (24-Bit)

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which can present DSD or PCM-based decodes, versus the Atlona-Wadia solution (which for SACD is downrez'd PCM only, albeit likely a much better DAC and analog stage). I wasn't asking whether you use those miniplug analogs on the Atlona. thx

 

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Hi John!

 

To add some of my findings to yours:

 

I'm using a RME HDSP9632 card (PCI on a Windows PC) for the task, and this also does a very good job for transfering my SACDs to harddisc.

 

've also tested a ESI [email protected] card, a TC StudioKonnekt48 which also have worked (but I haven't got the TC Software to stay reliable ...).

 

An older RME Digi 96/8PAD and my EMU 0404USB, and a Marian PCI card refused to work with the Audiopraise board, maybe because of some level mismatching (the Audiopraise board uses transformer-coupled S/PDIF).

 

I only use the 88,2/24 setting, because I think that, because of the quite heavy filtering above appr. 32 - 33 khz, there is no need to go further. But it might be, that some DACs would like the higher setting, and perform better this way!

 

Cheers

Harald

 

Esoterc SA-60 / Foobar2000 -> Mytek Stereo 192 DSD / Audio-GD NFB 28.38 -> MEG RL922K / AKG K500 / AKG K1000  / Audioquest Nighthawk / OPPO PM-2 / Sennheiser HD800 / Sennheiser Surrounder / Sony MA900 / STAX SR-303+SRM-323II

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If you don't want to go quad rate. There are many 24/96 interfaces that will work if you're going with 24/88.2. The much harder problem is finding those that will do 24/176.4 on S/PDIF input!

 

Perhaps it is unnecessary, but with the DAC I use, and considering "future proofing" the files, and inputs from pro's I know, 24/176.4 is what I settled on.

 

As they say down south where I used to live, "you pays your money and then you takes your chances..." ;^)

 

Will get back to your email, soon, but though it's a holiday, I'm working today- I work for a multi-national Deutches company, and the problems don't necessarily go away on a US holiday! ;^)

 

 

 

 

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Hi Jon!

 

Yepp! Nothing more to say on the matter ;)

 

"Perhaps it is unnecessary, but with the DAC I use, and considering "future proofing" the files, and inputs from pro's I know, 24/176.4 is what I settled on. "

 

This is why I keep 192/24 files from DVD-A for future use.

And I keep (most) of my SACDs too, just in case ...

 

Cheers

Harald

 

Esoterc SA-60 / Foobar2000 -> Mytek Stereo 192 DSD / Audio-GD NFB 28.38 -> MEG RL922K / AKG K500 / AKG K1000  / Audioquest Nighthawk / OPPO PM-2 / Sennheiser HD800 / Sennheiser Surrounder / Sony MA900 / STAX SR-303+SRM-323II

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it seems to me that the Atlona HD570 HDMI is an interesting solution as it would allow us to use standard players without modding, however the Altona does more things than needed if the goal is pure 2 channel high-def audio (sorry Kal). Also, did I see right that it has only optical digital out?

 

Is it possible to connect an Oppo to a computer via USB and then simply drag files over to the computer's hard disk? From there conversion to PCM would be simple.

 

Anyway, now that Sacd is practically dead perhaps restrictions will start to disappear.

 

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