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"Audiophile" SD Card Transport?

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Another interesting though significantly more expensive AliExpress find:

R-005 D7 HiFi AC110V/220 Input 24bit 192K Digital Output Home Audio Digital SACD/DSD/HIFI lossless Music Player

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/D7-Hifi-Home-Audio-Digital-Lossless-Music-Player-24bit-192-k-Digital-Output-AC-110V-220V/1070003_32816466710.html?spm=2114.12010608.0.0.5c1e3d37Zf7t1a

 

This one is transport only (no DAC) and quite flexible (NO USB out though!).

Shove a 2.5" HDD right into the slot in the back or an SD card in the side.

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4 minutes ago, Doak said:

Another interesting though significantly more expensive AliExpress find:

R-005 D7 HiFi AC110V/220 Input 24bit 192K Digital Output Home Audio Digital SACD/DSD/HIFI lossless Music Player

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/D7-Hifi-Home-Audio-Digital-Lossless-Music-Player-24bit-192-k-Digital-Output-AC-110V-220V/1070003_32816466710.html?spm=2114.12010608.0.0.5c1e3d37Zf7t1a

 

This one is transport only (no DAC) and quite flexible (NO USB out though!).

Shove a 2.5" HDD right into the slot in the back or an SD card in the side.

Neither indicate the DSD rates however.


Forrest:

Win10 i7 3770k HQPlayer>Win10 NAA

DSD512>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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Have you looked at the QLS players? I believe they are highly rated, and a reliable brand but I haven't tried one...

A better bet -  I'd be wary unless you can find someone who has tried the Aliexpress ones

http://www.qlshifi.com/en/index.htm

 

http://www.qlshifi.com/en/wzcapi/qa661.htm


Tidal Streaming only: ATL DC Blocker > Topaz 2.5Kva Isolation Transformer > Sine SA5 Cryo 5 power strip > Aqvox 8 port network switch > Antipodes Dxe roon core> PS Audio Directstream Junior Dac 'Windom' > Decware SE84UFO3 Mono Amps > Omega Super Alnico Monitors.

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25 minutes ago, tapatrick said:

Have you looked at the QLS players? I believe they are highly rated, and a reliable brand but I haven't tried one...

A better bet -  I'd be wary unless you can find someone who has tried the Aliexpress ones

http://www.qlshifi.com/en/index.htm

 

http://www.qlshifi.com/en/wzcapi/qa661.htm

Great, will look at it carefully.

One striking, to me, aspect of ALL of the Chinese SD card players/streamers is the LACK of USB out.

Is USB truly on its way OUT??

 

qa661_3b.jpg

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2 hours ago, Doak said:

Great, will look at it carefully.

One striking, to me, aspect of ALL of the Chinese SD card players/streamers is the LACK of USB out.

Is USB truly on its way OUT??

 

No, it is just that USB out requires the machine to be a full host--thus processor card, OS, etc.  I have not looked closely at how they are implementing the SD-card slot and tracking reading, but the SD-card interface is very simple so perhaps they are keeping things simple on purpose.

Besides, wouldn't a USB output sort of defeat the whole point of this sort of player?!

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20 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

No, it is just that USB out requires the machine to be a full host--thus processor card, OS, etc.  I have not looked closely at how they are implementing the SD-card slot and tracking reading, but the SD-card interface is very simple so perhaps they are keeping things simple on purpose.

Besides, wouldn't a USB output sort of defeat the whole point of this sort of player?!

Gotcha Alex, thanks.

This is the kind of info I was hoping to get by "going public" with my quest. 

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The FLAC spec here is not encouraging:

QA661 User’s Guide

AIFF :16/24bit,44.1~192KHz; 

FLAC :16/24bit,44.1~48KHz,compression level 0~8;

APE :16bit,44.1KHz,compression level Fast & Normal;

ALAC :16bit,44.1KHz;

MP3 :16bit,44.1~48KHz,Code rate 96kbps~320kbps,CBR、VBR、ABR encoding;

DIFF :DoP v1.0,DSD64 encoding, 1bit, Stereo;

DSF :DoP v1.0,DSD64 encoding, 1bit, Stereo;

SACD :SACD ISO mirror files,DoP v1.0,DSD64 encoding, 1bit, Stereo;

CUE :WAV/AIFF/FLAC/APE/ALAC can be related to CUE,ANSI、UNICODE、 UTF-8 encoding

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29 minutes ago, Doak said:

The FLAC spec here is not encouraging:

QA661 User’s Guide

AIFF :16/24bit,44.1~192KHz; 

FLAC :16/24bit,44.1~48KHz,compression level 0~8;

APE :16bit,44.1KHz,compression level Fast & Normal;

ALAC :16bit,44.1KHz;

MP3 :16bit,44.1~48KHz,Code rate 96kbps~320kbps,CBR、VBR、ABR encoding;

DIFF :DoP v1.0,DSD64 encoding, 1bit, Stereo;

DSF :DoP v1.0,DSD64 encoding, 1bit, Stereo;

SACD :SACD ISO mirror files,DoP v1.0,DSD64 encoding, 1bit, Stereo;

CUE :WAV/AIFF/FLAC/APE/ALAC can be related to CUE,ANSI、UNICODE、 UTF-8 encoding

 

Seams like it doesn’t have the power to decompress higher bit rate flac or alac as neither list > 48


Roon Rock->Auralic Aria G2->Schiit Yggdrasil A2->McIntosh C47->McIntosh MC301 Monos->Wilson Audio Sabrinas

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Digital audio sans computer, WiFi, networks, iOS, Windows, Android, etc. is feeling more and more appealing to me, as it is appearing more and more doable. When considering all of the k-rap that gets lost in that process ....like a dream come true? 

No doubt it will have its own hassles, but tired of "dicking with" and wasting time with the "technology."

Simplify, simplify, simplify (as long as it still works). 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Doak said:

tired of "dicking with" and wasting time with the "technology."

 

Most of my listening lately has been via SD Card or thumbdrive on the Mirus and UPL.   I really don’t  find  it a hardship to load up and navigate a card or stick.  By contrast I lost several hours of my life the other day trying to work out (unsuccessfully so far)  why a network share had stopped working.

 

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I have been using the ECDesigns UPL exclusively for the past few months (as Norton mentioned: local player using USB sticks, no network). I do miss sometimes being able to "stream" any album, and am still trying to figure out whether to put my entire collection on USB sticks, or simply copy files as needed (which is what you are doing, Norton, if I understand).

 

I have a chromecast which I plug into one of the inputs of my preamp, and that lets me stream and listen to the radio when I want background music.

 

The SQ of the UPL is significantly better than any other streaming solution I have tried (and others who came to listen thought so as well), that it makes up for the inconvenience. At this point, my feeling is that you just cannot "have it all". Computer based network streaming simply does not offer the quality that you can get from this type of solution. Perhaps we will get there someday - until then...

 

Whether other card readers (such as the QLS) will offer the same quality, I am not sure.

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@Norton & Hopkins: You Guys have reinforced that I’m heading in the proper direction. Wish I had the hours, probably hundreds, that I’ve lost when I could have been and wanted to be listening to music. Glad you are enjoying and happy with your solution.  Not sure where my quest will lead or end, but here we go! 

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It would be very interesting to compare either version of the SD Trans to the EC Deisgns UPL. 

 

One thing to keep in mind, is that the sound quality seems best when using both the UPL and ECDesigns' MOS DAC. The very low interference of the source is "preserved" with the MOS DAC: use of toslink input, custom designed PLL to handle the incoming toslink signal, build in battery power supply, novel mirror DAC architecture, etc.. Some of it is explained on ECDesigns' website, but most in that long DIYAudio thread you mentionned.

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On 2/2/2019 at 2:38 PM, tapatrick said:

Have you looked at the QLS players? I believe they are highly rated, and a reliable brand but I haven't tried one...

A better bet -  I'd be wary unless you can find someone who has tried the Aliexpress ones

http://www.qlshifi.com/en/index.htm

 

http://www.qlshifi.com/en/wzcapi/qa661.htm

Taking a close 2nd look at this player after carefully studying a lot of players from competitor Shinrico.

The only thing I don't see on the QLS is an I2S out, plus the apparent need to convert FLAC to WAV (or other format) to use it for high resolution music files. 

Thanks for the pointer.

 

 

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18 hours ago, gstew said:

The Granddad of SD card players is the SDTrans384. You can see the large thread on it at DIYAudio here:

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-source/142562-microsd-memory-card-transport-project.html?highlight=sdtrans384

 

AND info on how to get one when the infrequent group-buys are run here:

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/group-buys/260565-gb-sdtrans384-micro-sd-card-digital-transport.html?highlight=sdtrans384

 

BTW, Tachyon is doing a run of the units right now, with the last price I saw about 43,000 JPY (about $400 USD).

 

I've been running one as a digital source for 3-4 years now, feeding a wildly modified Soekris DAM DAC. I modified the SDTran too last summer. It's been the main digital source in one of my systems for about 2 years now and I listen to it on a daily basis. 

 

Here's my setup as of a couple of years ago before my latest mods to both the SDTrans and the Soekris DAC and my latest power scheme:

 

685520_2017-09-22GASSDTrans-SoekrisDAM.thumb.jpg.56c2ee37a3a38378bc1f67ffada909d9.jpg

 

The SDTrans384 was designed by pretty fanatic Japanese audiophiles. The unit, like most digital audio gear, performs better with very good power. At one point they were using large light bulbs to feed solar cells to power the player and their related DAC. Most recently they have been using a fairly extensive set of AC-connected supplies... see picture. I power mine with 2 Uptone Audio LPS-1.2's with each feeding 1/2 of an MPAudio MD-HPULN power supply and the outputs of each half paralleled to provide a lower output impedance (the current draw of the player is less than 500mA). It has S/PDIF, PS Audio-styled LVDS I2S over HDMI, and logic-level I2S outputs and will play up to 384 & DSD256. The SDTrans384 does not decode FLAC or other compression schemes (that's how limited the FPGA is!), the TiNaHiFi one does some.

 

MusicBird20170212.jpgIMG_0799_JPG_3f25eaf9ae366be6df30fd4f08c6b840 Small.jpg

 

Ok, it is my favorite and best digital source. AND I suspect the much less expensive one in the TirNaHiFi thread will challenge it after appropriate mods, though I also suspect applying the same mods to the SDTrans would keep it ahead of that challenger. I have a couple of the TirNaHiFi ones here from regular Ebay to modify & compare. BUT the best output of the SDTrans384 is the I2S AND that is the only output of the one on TirNaHiFi, which doesn't do you a lot of good, Doak. 

 

I looked strongly at the QLS QA661 when it first came out and have followed ECDesign's monster TDA1541 DAC DIYAudio thread for years, where he chronicles his DAC developments over the years and occasionally drops hints on his SD Card players. I my thoughts, after digging into the QLS units as much as I could without having one, was that the SDTrans384 was probably a better sounding option the way I would use it.

 

I'd say anything by ECDesigns would be top of the heap, with the SDTrans384 a good strong second along with possibly the TirNaHiFi player. BUT they are DIY projects with no USB output. 

 

Alex nails it above. Getting USB output would require a full computer of some sort... and you'd be back in USB optimization world. The SDTrans384 uses a fairly dumb FPGA for processing, the TirNaHiFi card a small ARM processor. I don't see anyone doing that in the near future, playing off SD Cards is super hair shirt and it took me awhile to get a sufficient amount of my library on SD Cards to keep me satisfied 90% of the time. Most people won’t put up with that AND no streaming… not a sufficiently large market.

 

BUT given the Lampizator’s DIY roots, you might ask what it would take to modify it to accept an I2S or I2S over HDMI input, especially if they could retain any other existing digital source selections. That MIGHT give you a chance to have your cake and eat it too, for a price.

 

Still, the limitations of SD Card playback alone (AND I don’t stream at all) have me trying hard to get my other main I2S sources (mostly Raspberry Pis) up to the SDTrans384 level. I was heartened that when I modified one with linear regulators replacing the on-board DC-DC converters and with a dual LPS-1.2 / MPAudio power supply as above, it was about as good as my SDTrans384 setup with a lower-quality power supply. I now am watching what Allo.com is doing to make some improved SBCs… that might be what puts them over the top. OR once the EtherRegen is available, maybe the expected isolation of any prior network gear may push what I have now into that same level. We will see!

 

In the meantime, I’m buying a 2nd SDTrans384 so I can further modify the one I have and have a backup if I break it!

 

Greg in Mississippi

Hello Greg,

Detailed info is much appreciated. I've perused the ongoing thread though decided that it is way more than I can or am willing to take on. Pretty much seeking an off the shelf solution and with more in an out options. 

If you get a chance, would appreciate your take on this "solution"

http://www.shinrico.net/en/produce_view.asp?id=632

 

BTW: I'm 'right next door' in SE LA. (Lousiana - that is)

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Doak,

 

Good to know you are near. Not a lot of other Audiophiles that I've found here in MS... especially wild DIY'ers AND especially in the rural northeast MS. I DO get down to the MS coast 1-2 times a year, will reach out to you!

 

BTW, I vaguely remember you may have been the one who sent me a sheet of Dynamat Extreme for damping the bottom of a Well-Tempered-Lab turntable back in the late 1990's or early 2000's. If that was you, thanks again!

 

No I2S on the QLS player puzzled me... then I checked and it was the QA660, currently out of stock, that had I2S output. Looks like they discontinued that model.

 

On the QA661, I2S IS surely available on the board somewhere, maybe inquire if they can provide information for modifying it to bring it external?

 

I'll look at the Shinrico unit.

 

Later!

 

Greg in Mississippi


2 systems including...

AC: Audio gear on DIY AC filters/PSAud P10/P300; misc gear on separate AC w/DIY AC filters

Analog: Well-Tempered Refs or U-Turn Orbit Plus->DIY or Lounge LCR MkII phono stages

Stand-alone Digital: Sony HAP Z1-ES, Oppo 870, Panasonic S47, SDTrans384/Soekris DAM DAC

Networked Digital: Zotac PI320-W2 LMS Server -> switch + WiFi router as access point -> FMCs -> R-Pi/Allo Kali/Soekris DAM DAC, R-Pi/Allo Kali/HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro, or R-Pi/Allo Kali/Mamboberry

Volume Control: SE Passive shunt, S&B TX102 TVC, K&K Balanced shunt, DIYHiFi AVC

Amps: dual mono'd Hypex NC400, EVS 500M B&0 IcePower, FirstOne

Speakers: Eminent Tech LFT-VIII, LFT-IV, or Gallo Ref 3A

Tuning: Various stands/vibration control, noise filters on digital power and Ethernet cables, audio cables MIT reg or Shotgun, ALL gear modified or DIY'd, MOST supplies linear or LPS-1s (DVD players & amps have SMPSs)

 

Everything Matters!

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10 minutes ago, gstew said:

Doak,

 

Good to know you are near. Not a lot of other Audiophiles that I've found here in MS... especially wild DIY'ers AND especially in the rural northeast MS. I DO get down to the MS coast 1-2 times a year, will reach out to you!

 

BTW, I vaguely remember you may have been the one who sent me a sheet of Dynamat Extreme for damping the bottom of a Well-Tempered-Lab turntable back in the late 1990's or early 2000's. If that was you, thanks again!

 

No I2S on the QLS player puzzled me... then I checked and it was the QA660, currently out of stock, that had I2S output. Looks like they discontinued that model.

 

On the QA661, I2S IS surely available on the board somewhere, maybe inquire if they can provide information for modifying it to bring it external?

 

I'll look at the Shinrico unit.

 

Later!

 

Greg in Mississippi

Hey,,, although I do not specifically recall the "DynaMat incident" that has "me" written all over it. 

I did the same on my Well Tempered in the 90's, so there ya go.

Using the WTA now and loving it.

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My continuing search and survey of off the shelf devices that will play digital music from an SD card, and often additional storage mechanisms,  with no reliance on a computer, network, WiFi, etc. has developed several products that fit the bill. The candidates I've located range in cost from approx $250 to $1400. It makes some sense that this type of digital music transport exists since universal access to technology is not a reality. 

My intention is to get one or more examples in house in the coming weeks. In the meantime I would very much appreciate hearing and learning from anyone has experience with such, particularly those who are using or have used them in their audio systems. 

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The post below appeared on the "Super Best Audio Friends" Forum (offshoot of Head-Fi) in June 2016. IMO "Hands" has it right:
"So, instead of dumping a ton of research, effort, and money into a million different PC builds and tweaks, then pairing it with multiple USB decrapifiers and SPDIF bridges, or even a PCIe SPDIF card, I thought my money would be better spent on something like the D100. $850 isn't cheap, but it's still less than trying to screw around with PCs and devices spun off from that, not to mention a whole hell of a lot easier to setup and run. That's also MUCH less than you'd pay for almost any other device with similar specs and capabilities. I mean, shit, look at Aurender...you can do a whole lot worse than $850.

Again, I know some are tied to PC setups for one reason or another. Some of that it just because of particular software options, some out of convenience, etc. I also won't pretend that the D100 doesn't have a few minor quirks, just, for me, nothing that really gets in the way whatsoever or bothers me. If I really need gapless playback, I re-rip my CD and get the cue file. The UI is surprisingly good once you work your way around it but, no, not always as perfect as easy as a KB/M with Jriver Media Center. There are worse things in life, and it's worth the sound quality to me.

Will repeat myself over and over and over that tastes vary and the D100 could sound worse on another DAC. It could also be bias. Yada yada blah blah."
Hands
H
 

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