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jrobbins50

Setting up a multichannel DAC with miniDSP UDIO-8 device

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@Kal Rubinson, as you are the subject matter expert on this, hoping you will weigh in. 

 

I’m going to give it a go to hook three Musical Fidelity V-90 DACs together with a miniDSP UDIO-8 to make a multichannel DAC that I hope will sound better than my miniDSP U-DAC8 or running HDMI into my Marantz AV-7702 prepro.  

 

My question is about the DB-25 breakout cable with the UDIO-8. I’m assuming that the four marked in the manual for inputs (purple, blue, green and orange) are not used at all. The other four for output are yellow for 1/2, red for 3/4, grey for 5/6 and brown for 7/8. How do I know which is for front left/right, surround left/right and center/subwoofer?  Is there a standard or is it trial and error?

 

I take it that with this setup, I should use Roon to do the sound correction before the USB output from the server reaches the UDIO-8 and as the analog multichannel inputs on the Marantz don’t run Audyssey?  I trust you expect I should get a better sound this way even though my multichannel analog inputs are not as nice as your AV8802a’s. JCR

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52 minutes ago, jrobbins50 said:

My question is about the DB-25 breakout cable with the UDIO-8. I’m assuming that the four marked in the manual for inputs (purple, blue, green and orange) are not used at all.

That is correct (unless you have some digital inputs you want to play with).

52 minutes ago, jrobbins50 said:

How do I know which is for front left/right, surround left/right and center/subwoofer?  Is there a standard or is it trial and error?

1:  FrontR/FrontL

2:  Center/Sub

3: SurroundR/SurroundL

(4: RearR/RearL)

AFAIK, this adheres to the Tascam standard.

52 minutes ago, jrobbins50 said:

I take it that with this setup, I should use Roon to do the sound correction before the USB output from the server reaches the UDIO-8 and as the analog multichannel inputs on the Marantz don’t run Audyssey?

I never tried using EQ with Roon although I would do as you say:  Direct Roon output to DiracLive and use the UDIO-8 as the output for DL.  I used this mostly with JRiver where DL is implemented as a VST plug-in.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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I am deciding to upgrade from my  minidsp DAC8 to UDIO-8 so that I can hook up 3 DACs. Eventually I should probably get 3 DACs from same brand, same processing format but for now I only have 3 different DACs. Now I have 2 DACs I can use AES input but one DAC with only SPDIF. Can I use the provided Tascam AES inputs for 2 of the DACs and the third one I just use an adapter from AES to SPDIF? Would I actually damage the DAC ? I do have a AES to SPDIF external transformer that I can use (though it has its own clock and may screw up with the master clock of the UDIO-8. Many thanks for any advice. 

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10 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

Can I use the provided Tascam AES inputs for 2 of the DACs and the third one I just use an adapter from AES to SPDIF?

In theory, yes.  I have not done it nor do I recommend it. Same for unmatched DACs.   If your DACs do not have level controls, you will need to rebalance the outputs in the player solftware.

 

10 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

Would I actually damage the DAC ?

No.

10 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

I do have a AES to SPDIF external transformer that I can use (though it has its own clock and may screw up with the master clock of the UDIO-8.

Why would a transformerneed a clock?  Anyway, you can try it.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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Yah. that particular transformer has a reclocker. Usually they don't have clocks.

I manually rebalance the analogue audio output using both my preamps even power amp (there is a balance for L/R), though I guess I can do the rebalance from audio midi setup at the mac.

 

Also if I just link individual 2 or 3 DACs in the same USB hub, I am unable to assign each DAC to specific M-ch. The Mac just reads each DAC as stereo individually. Did you say there is a way for Mac to link them all for M-ch playback, so different channels can be assigned to each DAC ? 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Chopin75 said:

Also if I just link individual 2 or 3 DACs in the same USB hub, I am unable to assign each DAC to specific M-ch. The Mac just reads each DAC as stereo individually. Did you say there is a way for Mac to link them all for M-ch playback, so different channels can be assigned to each DAC ? 

"My earlier experiment with multiple Mytek DACs had required a special ASIO driver so that my PC-based server, comprising JRiver Media Center and Baetis XR3, would recognize the three Myteks, connected via an active USB hub, as a single multichannel DAC. This time there was no need for a special driver, but it was necessary to use a Mac rather than a PC, because the Mac OS's audio-device setup protocol supports the aggregation of multiple connected audio devices into a single logical multichannel device. As luck would have it, I was able to inherit an Apple MacBook Pro from my granddaughter, who was moving on to a new one, and I put it to work with the Myteks. I updated the Mac's OS to Sierra 10.12.2, installed JRiver Media Center 22, and connected it to a simple USB hub feeding the Mytek DACs. One DAC was set up as the Master, and its clock output was daisy-chained to the other two. Audio Device setup let me assign and each channel before attempting to play music. The three Mytek Brooklyns were connected to a multichannel input on a 7.1-channel Parasound Halo P 7 preamplifier with six Kubala-Sosna Anticipation interconnects terminated with RCA plugs."
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/music-round-84-multichannel-mqa#57kOol4BHeMMiFdf.99


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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Hmm. I tried Macbook Pro high Sierra but not using J River. Should I use J River to try? I was using audirvana, but that only detects individual DACs. I was trying set up with Audio media Setup but that does not work either. Or one needs a specific type of USB hub?  

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10 minutes ago, Chopin75 said:

Hmm. I tried Macbook Pro high Sierra but not using J River. Should I use J River to try?

I doubt that is necessary.  

 

10 minutes ago, Chopin75 said:

I was using audirvana, but that only detects individual DACs.

Of course.  It needs to be set up in Audio MIDI Setup.  Once AMS sees each of the three separate DACs, you create an "Aggregate Device" using all three.  Only once that is done, tested and working would you open your player (JRiver in my case) and only then would it see the "Aggregate Device" by whatever name you assigned to it when you created it.

 

You would still need to synch them.

 

10 minutes ago, Chopin75 said:

Or one needs a specific type of USB hub?  

Nah.  It is a plain-vanilla Belkin hub.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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Hi Kal,

 

Ok I did aggregate the 3 DACs, setup speakers. matching all the sampling rates but audirvana and HQplayer both cannot play it. 

 

Audirvana: stated about error with sound device, see attachment 

 

HQplayer only plays 2-ch and the other channels make strange noise.

 

Any thoughts ? What did I do wrong?

 

Adrian 

 

IMG_4403 (1).jpg

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5 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

Audirvana: stated about error with sound device, see attachment 

 

HQplayer only plays 2-ch and the other channels make strange noise.

 

Any thoughts ? What did I do wrong?

No additional thoughts (except suggested you try the U-DIO8) because I did not try either of those players.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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It finally works after much pain of setting up j river media. Annoying software, crashes often but it is the only software that can play the aggregate device! However I cannot use integrade or excess mode.

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10 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

It finally works after much pain of setting up j river media. Annoying software, crashes often but it is the only software that can play the aggregate device!

Mine never crashes.

 

10 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

However I cannot use integrade or excess mode.

I do not know what you are referring to.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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@Kal Rubinson, just reporting that three Musical Fidelity V90 DACs stacking with the UDIO-8 are sounding really good into the Marantz. I have worked with Thierry of Home Audio Fidelity to create customized filters for Roon’s convolution engine for bass management and sound correction.  The trick was Thierry creating filters just for the bass crossovers and then my measuring the effect in my system using REW sweeps playing out through Roon into the V90 stack, measuring each speaker in the array with the two subs. Thierry then combined the bass crossover filters with the sound correction filters and all of that is being done in Roon. My multichannel system has never sounded better. That UDIO-8 is a slick product. JCR 

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On 10/27/2018 at 1:23 AM, Kal Rubinson said:

Indeed.  I am glad that you are enjoying the results.

Hi Kal,

 

I just want to say thank you for the very valuable information you provide both here and at Stereophile. 

 

I am looking to use the UDIO-8 (that you recently reviewed) as part of an active cross over so that I can hook it up to 3 x DACs feeding a 6 channel Parasound HCA 1206 Power amp driving the Linkwitz LX Mini speakers. I will bridge two of the Parasound's channels to drive the LX Mini's woofers and also add a pair of active SVS SB 2000 subs (power amps obviously built in). If you have not heard these speakers, designed by the late great Seigfield Linkwitz, I highly recommend you seize the opportunity to hear them if it arises.

 

Not sure what DACs I will use but like you I am also an admirer of the Benchmark Media range of DACs and hopefully I can source 3 x DAC 2 HGC second hand at the right price, hopefully around US$1200 ea  (I already have a DAC1 HDR, which I will sell). Wonderful company with a focus on engineering excellence at an affordable price. 

 

No doubt I will move across to multi channel sometime in the not to distant future - too many reasons not to - but first I want to set up the LX Minis. I first heard them fed from a very basic system, which incorporated a Mini DSP 2x4 HD and they sounded brilliant. By chance have you ever had the opportunity to compare the sound quality of the Mini DSP 4x10 HD vs UDIO-8 + 3 x Benchmark DAC3? I have often wondered what the difference in sound quality would be like as the Mini DSP is incredibly cheap at $US500 for what it does.

 

Thanks again for taking the time and making the effort to share your knowledge and expertise. I have learnt a lot from you.

 

All the best,

 

 

Ajax

 

 


LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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On 10/26/2018 at 10:01 AM, jrobbins50 said:

@Kal Rubinson, just reporting that three Musical Fidelity V90 DACs stacking with the UDIO-8 are sounding really good into the Marantz. I have worked with Thierry of Home Audio Fidelity to create customized filters for Roon’s convolution engine for bass management and sound correction.  The trick was Thierry creating filters just for the bass crossovers and then my measuring the effect in my system using REW sweeps playing out through Roon into the V90 stack, measuring each speaker in the array with the two subs. Thierry then combined the bass crossover filters with the sound correction filters and all of that is being done in Roon. My multichannel system has never sounded better. That UDIO-8 is a slick product. JCR 

What computer software/hardware do you use? Macbook with J River ? or others? I will be getting my UDIO-8 tomorrow. 

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4 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

What computer software/hardware do you use? Macbook with J River ? or others? I will be getting my UDIO-8 tomorrow. 

You can use any Mac with a recent OS. 

"The MacBook Pro was running JRiver Media Center (v24.0.30) and Roon (v1.5, build 323), each of which identified the output device as "USBStreamer," with audio-processing attributes up to the maximum resolution of the U-DIO8: 24/192. I used my Mac's Audio MIDI Setup to check that the channel mapping was correct, and clicked to play a 5.1-channel file. "
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/music-round-93-minidsp-ripping-sacds#3c4wb3Hr0vVZJMGT.99


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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