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Suggestions for a low-cost DAC?


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5 hours ago, Paul R said:

Unless of course, you guys are letting the music player machine go to sleep. If you do that, the iFi will switch to battery power and die off after 10 or so hours. So the answer is, just don't do *that*. Leave the music machine powered on 24x7.

 

Although one could do that, one could also hook up to a USB charging port. They don't switch off when the PC goes to sleep ...

Whether that sounds for the worse is an other matter, and it could even be for the better ...

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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8 hours ago, PeterSt said:

 

If you rephrase that a little I might be able to understand what you are saying there ... :)

 

I was just teasing Peter, and not meaning to talk about Phasure in this “low cost DAC” thread! The Pro-Ject is $399 and might not have good input isolation and is PSU sensitive. 

 

I haven’t tried to control XXHE with Roon, so I can’t fairly comment.

 

What I am discussing here is plug and play, turn it in and go without “fiddling”, and that the Pro-Ject S2M beats out the iFi Micro in this regard (not taking about SQ here). 

 

I dont think thst this is what the majority of Phasure *customers* are looking for for example a USB cable with an approaching infinite number of pluggable configurations ;) I will also say again that XXHE is a terrific bargain, does a terrific job at PCM upsampling and I encourage everyone to try it. 

 

I haven’t A/B tested the Pro-Ject S2D against my NOS1a. nor have the plans to. (The S2D is in my den and when the household commotion goes up, I plop on my headphones and keep working :) )

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7 hours ago, Jud said:

 

I haven't felt that XXHE is glitchy. 

XXHE itself isn’t glitchy, and is a terrific PCM option on Windows. Come to think of it, the place where I had difficulty — and ultimately gave up — was trying to get HQPlayer to play to my NOS1a — so to better clarify: the Phasure customers understand that it’s a someone unitary environment, which produces outstanding SQ, but works best with the full Phasure stack that @PeterSt has so laboriously optimized over the years. 

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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8 hours ago, Paul R said:

Difference is I am running the uRendu as Roon Ready. Has never failed so far. I suspect it is the software looking for something that causes the drop off the network. The only situation I can think of that causes the iFi to discharge it's battery though, is a loss of power over the USB port. Ah, I see - you have the drop-offs and Jabber has the battery drain. 

 

Heres what I mean by “overloading interface”. You switch the iFi from battery power to bus power by turning on and off. Gak. So suppose the power briefly shuts off ... my entire network and servers all come back up in an orderly fashion. 

 

But the iFi comes back up as battery powered and will then die despite being plugged into an active USB source ... and when it’s totally dead it seems to need a little fiddling to get it to work again — I’ve seen situations where $ lsusb doesn’t see the iFi so perhaps this is why?

 

In any case I’m seeing what @Jud sees to the point where I tried to upgrade the firmware only to find that the new firmware disables DSD512 in favor of MQA!!!

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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9 hours ago, Paul R said:

I know that ain't what you want to hear.  

 

Hi Paul - Nothing to do with what I want to hear; I'm happy it works in your situation.

 

Positioning the micro-iDSD as a semi-portable DAC with a battery, but one that is usually connected to power, creates the necessity for firmware that cuts off the power when the battery is sufficiently charged.  This adds complexity and allows the possibility of the buggy operation a number of us have seen.

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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As of today, awaiting shipment of a Pro-Ject S2.  @Miska, if you would be kind enough: I've read in a couple of places where you mention configuring the DAC properly.  There's not using the DAC's own filters and feeding it DSD512.  I've seen distortion compensation mentioned, but wasn't sure if that applies if the DAC's filters aren't used.  Anything else?

 

I'll be trying it with a battery pack (just a 24,000mAh phone charging battery, 5V/2.1A) and the LPS-1 for power.  Running it into my Spectral DMC-12 and controlling volume from there, so will leave the S2's volume control all the way up.

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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6 hours ago, Jud said:

 

Hi Paul - Nothing to do with what I want to hear; I'm happy it works in your situation.

 

Positioning the micro-iDSD as a semi-portable DAC with a battery, but one that is usually connected to power, creates the necessity for firmware that cuts off the power when the battery is sufficiently charged.  This adds complexity and allows the possibility of the buggy operation a number of us have seen.

 

Um - I kinda wonder if the "buggy behavior" is just a conflict of interest. If the DAC is running on battery power, then plugging in a  USB cable cannot be allowed to trigger a switch to bus power. Elsewise, in the portable world, you will be draining people's iPhones very quickly. But you should not be seeing that behavior. 

 

Dropping on and off the net is a protocol issue with the software driving the DAC, not an issue within the DAC itself. 

 

-Paul 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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1 hour ago, Paul R said:

 

Um - I kinda wonder if the "buggy behavior" is just a conflict of interest. If the DAC is running on battery power, then plugging in a  USB cable cannot be allowed to trigger a switch to bus power. Elsewise, in the portable world, you will be draining people's iPhones very quickly. But you should not be seeing that behavior. 

 

Dropping on and off the net is a protocol issue with the software driving the DAC, not an issue within the DAC itself. 

 

-Paul 

 

 

Or just perhaps, a device should remember its settings despite power cycle. Or perhaps don't overload the power/volume knob with a change in battery vs bus powering. I see this as a UI issue. The Pro-ject S2D UI is vastly better.

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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1 hour ago, Paul R said:

Dropping on and off the net is a protocol issue with the software driving the DAC, not an issue within the DAC itself. 

 

My first thought too, until I read both Miska and jabbr mentioning frustrations with the iFi firmware specifically.  When the Pro-Ject arrives, I guess we'll see.

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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@jabbr , I'm intrigued by your signature, and can't decide if it's meant as a joke or not.  I suppose sound-deadening room treatments to lower ambient noise would be extremely useful for open-back headphone listening, so that could be what you mean?

 

Sorry for the off-topic post, everyone!

请教别人一次是5分钟的傻子,从不请教别人是一辈子的傻子

"I know I chatter on far too much...but if you only knew how many things I want to say and don't, you'd give me some credit!"  -Anne of Green Gables

 

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3 minutes ago, Jud said:

 

My first thought too, until I read both Miska and jabbr mentioning frustrations with the iFi firmware specifically.  When the Pro-Ject arrives, I guess we'll see.

 

I am pretty sure those frustrations are the same as mine - mostly dealing with losing DSD512 in a trade off for MQA processing, and the new filters that are always on. It is quote annoying. Even more so since I cannot get mine to go back to 5.2 software. Ah, the joys of dealing with higher end audio! :)

 

The power behavior has always been there, and while frustrating, is easily handled the way you and I both did, by just powering the unit continuously.  To drop off the net, the software holding exclusive access on the net has to see one of two things; either the USB power drops and the unit depowers, or the interface is not held open and times out. The first is hardware, the second is software in the driver. This is a bugaboo of software that holds exclusive access on the port. 

 

Just as an experiment, you might tryin releasing the exclusive access of the port, and see how that affects the stability. (It will cause other problems, but that is the primary one.) 

 

 

 

-Paul 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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3 minutes ago, Paul R said:

I am pretty sure those frustrations are the same as mine - mostly dealing with losing DSD512 in a trade off for MQA processing

 

Paul, jabbr already said in this thread his frustrations mirrored mine, and do you really think Miska would update firmware unaware of the contents of the update?

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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58 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

update firmware when unaware of the contents of the update (as an April Fool's Day joke)

 

Some of us get a thrill out of gambling ...

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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3 hours ago, Jud said:

 

Paul, jabbr already said in this thread his frustrations mirrored mine, and do you really think Miska would update firmware unaware of the contents of the update?

 

I know your frustrated, but I am not challenging you. I just think the iFi may not be a good choice for you because of the way you want to use it. 

 

Hell, *I* updated the firmware here without realizing it was going to zap some functionality I wanted, and I am certifiably paranoid about firmware updates breaking things. Nobody is perfect.  And, I admit, iFi was on my list of "I don't need to be too paranoid about these people...".  Past tense. 

 

All it takes is letting one of my guys bring down one measly entire enterprise with a Cisco IOS patch, and I thought I had learned my lesson... ;)

 

 

 

-Paul 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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10 hours ago, Jud said:

As of today, awaiting shipment of a Pro-Ject S2.  @Miska, if you would be kind enough: I've read in a couple of places where you mention configuring the DAC properly.  There's not using the DAC's own filters and feeding it DSD512.  I've seen distortion compensation mentioned, but wasn't sure if that applies if the DAC's filters aren't used.  Anything else?

 

The DAC has some pre-configured "Audio Quality" profiles, but those are wrong. Instead it needs to be manually configured, so "Audio Quality" setting ends up being "User". Set "Distortion Compensation" to "Enabled". And I recommend selecting "Fast Rolloff" filter, point being to select one of the ESS' built-in filters.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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4 hours ago, Miska said:

 

The DAC has some pre-configured "Audio Quality" profiles, but those are wrong. Instead it needs to be manually configured, so "Audio Quality" setting ends up being "User". Set "Distortion Compensation" to "Enabled". And I recommend selecting "Fast Rolloff" filter, point being to select one of the ESS' built-in filters.

 

 

I'm supposing if "Fast Rolloff" is selected and DSD512 is received, there's no internal SRC applied?

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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7 hours ago, Paul R said:

I know your frustrated, but I am not challenging you. I just think the iFi may not be a good choice for you because of the way you want to use it. 

 

Yep.

 

7 hours ago, Paul R said:

 Hell, *I* updated the firmware here without realizing it was going to zap some functionality I wanted, and I am certifiably paranoid about firmware updates breaking things. Nobody is perfect.  And, I admit, iFi was on my list of "I don't need to be too paranoid about these people...".  Past tense. 

 

My list is zero organizations long.  😄

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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57 minutes ago, Jud said:

I'm supposing if "Fast Rolloff" is selected and DSD512 is received, there's no internal SRC applied?

 

Yes, it affects only lower PCM input rates. 705.6/768k PCM inputs also bypass those. Sabre has separate three DSD noise filter options, but this S2D doesn't expose those, so it just has one selected always. Not sure which one.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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8 minutes ago, Jud said:

But company is coming tomorrow, and you know that's the acid test - it's always when you have people over that things go wrong!

 

An important corollary of Murphy's law.

 

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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2 hours ago, Jud said:

Had the Pro-Ject for a couple of days now, and no dropped connections yet.  But company is coming tomorrow, and you know that's the acid test - it's always when you have people over that things go wrong!

 

Really enjoying the sound, too.  Have Paolo Pandolfo's "Improvisando" playing, and it's just luxurious.

 

If acid is right, everything in this world will sound just perfect.

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