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louisxiawei

HOLO Audio MAY DAC

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I will now start with more objective operational stuff and later on towards a bit subjective things.

 

For connectivity, it is a VERY HQplayer friendly DAC. The manual will tell you to install windows USB driver in order to support DSD1024 & PCM 1.536M playback, but it is not necessary. I strongly recommend you use to burn HQplayer NAA ISO image on the USB and plug onto your NAA, then HQplayer will recognize the MAY's end. I believe the ISO image is a customized linux kernal by Miska and allows your NAA to playback native DSD1024 on MAY. As I'm sick of windows OS for audio output, I can't be more happier for this.

 

However, I do find that there is a tiny pop during DSD manual track switch on MAY (no pop during gapless playback track switch) and Jeff told me that there should be no pop during switch track on Windows OS using the offered driver. For linux, he has little idea and cannot guarantee. I'm aware that this pop noise is quite a common caveat for DSD playback, but the latest custom T+A DAC8 DSD firmware has solved this issue after years of struggling and effort of Amanero. If only for the sake of perfection, it would be better if MAY can make this pop disappear. 😉


Software: Roon, Tidal, HQplayer 

HQplayer PC: i9 7980XE, Titan Xp; i9 9900K, Titan V

DAC: Holo Audio MAY L2, T+A DAC8 DSD, exasound e12, iFi micro iDSD BL

USB tweaks: Intona, Uptone (ISO) regen, LPS-1, LPS-1.2, Sbooster Vbus2, Curious cables, Certified HiSpeed USB cable

NAA: Logic CL100, Uptone JS-2

AMP: Spectral DMC 30SV, Spectral DMA 300

Speaker: Magico S3 MKII

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2 hours ago, louisxiawei said:

However, I do find that there is a tiny pop during DSD manual track switch on MAY (no pop during gapless playback track switch)

 

I read with interest because I had a Holo Audio Spring I DAC for a while before the Denafrips Terminator and was very satisfied.

 

I also have the problems you described with my Terminator 😉

 

On 12/27/2019 at 8:55 AM, StreamFidelity said:

Loud crackling when played for the first time.
Soft crackling on a new stream like from a turntable.

 

Does anyone know that? For a few weeks now I've been going directly fom Terminator to my T + A M10 power amplifiers via xlr. The sound is great and better than over preamp. The volume is controlled via HQPlayer. It is played via USB from the audio PC.

 

I've only heard the crackle since bypassing the preamp. They were probably always there, but dejected by preamp.

 

Miska replied the following, unfortunately this don't solve the problem:

 

On 12/27/2019 at 11:15 PM, Miska said:

 

Small DC offset in the DAC output, possibly output combined with mute relay? May be handled differently by a preamp DC block/servo than by a power amp, and at least attenuated by the volume control.

 

This is not at all unusual behavior for a DC-connected DAC output stage. Other alternative is a series capacitor in DAC output that is floating until actually gets connected due to DAC unmuting the output. So it's DC-block behavior only begins to settle after first unmute. Time constant can be like 1 Hz or 0.1 Hz, so it takes some time to settle.

 

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17 hours ago, louisxiawei said:

However, I do find that there is a tiny pop during DSD manual track switch on MAY (no pop during gapless playback track switch) and Jeff told me that there should be no pop during switch track on Windows OS using the offered driver. For linux, he has little idea and cannot guarantee. I'm aware that this pop noise is quite a common caveat for DSD playback, but the latest custom T+A DAC8 DSD firmware has solved this issue after years of struggling and effort of Amanero. If only for the sake of perfection, it would be better if MAY can make this pop disappear. 😉

 

@Miska do you have any DSD related pops with your Spring2, using your HQP OS image as NAA?

 

When using your headphones setup?

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1 hour ago, Hyde27 said:

No pop on my Holo May. iMac HQPlayer4Desktop

As I said, it’s more a Linux issue. Good to know MAC doesn’t have that hassle.


Software: Roon, Tidal, HQplayer 

HQplayer PC: i9 7980XE, Titan Xp; i9 9900K, Titan V

DAC: Holo Audio MAY L2, T+A DAC8 DSD, exasound e12, iFi micro iDSD BL

USB tweaks: Intona, Uptone (ISO) regen, LPS-1, LPS-1.2, Sbooster Vbus2, Curious cables, Certified HiSpeed USB cable

NAA: Logic CL100, Uptone JS-2

AMP: Spectral DMC 30SV, Spectral DMA 300

Speaker: Magico S3 MKII

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3 hours ago, asdf1000 said:

 

@Miska do you have any DSD related pops with your Spring2, using your HQP OS image as NAA?

 

When using your headphones setup?

 

Spring 2 is on my loudspeaker system, but the preamp has headphone socket as well. Spring 1 is on my headphone system.

 

If you mean start/stop pops/clicks, absolutely nothing on either. I cannot check again right now.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Another thing I like about MAY is its usb connection. Since it has a quite good USB galvanic isolation internally, I tried not using the USB dongle ISOregen and found the the sound "pure, clean" enough to be satisfied.
 

I’m sure someone can observe some differences/improvement if you plug these ISOregen-ish things back. But for me, MAY itself suffices. I enjoy more of the trouble-free operation. I’m a bit fed up with plugging dongle to the dac and powering the dongle with another LPS and then worrying about their disconnection from time to time. 😂
 

In my opinion, all DAC nowadays shall consider implementing galvanic isolation for its USB port or consider them outdated.


Software: Roon, Tidal, HQplayer 

HQplayer PC: i9 7980XE, Titan Xp; i9 9900K, Titan V

DAC: Holo Audio MAY L2, T+A DAC8 DSD, exasound e12, iFi micro iDSD BL

USB tweaks: Intona, Uptone (ISO) regen, LPS-1, LPS-1.2, Sbooster Vbus2, Curious cables, Certified HiSpeed USB cable

NAA: Logic CL100, Uptone JS-2

AMP: Spectral DMC 30SV, Spectral DMA 300

Speaker: Magico S3 MKII

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28 minutes ago, Miska said:

 

Spring 2 is on my loudspeaker system, but the preamp has headphone socket as well. Spring 1 is on my headphone system.

 

If you mean start/stop pops/clicks, absolutely nothing on either. I cannot check again right now.

 

I also don’t have start/stop pops. The pop I meant only occurres when switching to another track manually. Dac8 used to have this kind of pops and it might still have it on Windows OS.


Software: Roon, Tidal, HQplayer 

HQplayer PC: i9 7980XE, Titan Xp; i9 9900K, Titan V

DAC: Holo Audio MAY L2, T+A DAC8 DSD, exasound e12, iFi micro iDSD BL

USB tweaks: Intona, Uptone (ISO) regen, LPS-1, LPS-1.2, Sbooster Vbus2, Curious cables, Certified HiSpeed USB cable

NAA: Logic CL100, Uptone JS-2

AMP: Spectral DMC 30SV, Spectral DMA 300

Speaker: Magico S3 MKII

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2 hours ago, Hyde27 said:

No pop on my Holo May. iMac HQPlayer4Desktop

Are you able to achieve DSD 512/1024 on MAC, is there a supplied mac driver for Holo May?


Audirvana+3.0 / TIDAL HiFi / Mac Mini (256GB SSD - 16GB RAM)

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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23 hours ago, louisxiawei said:

I also don’t have start/stop pops. The pop I meant only occurres when switching to another track manually. Dac8 used to have this kind of pops and it might still have it on Windows OS.

 

That is not very clear case, because what happens depends on the tracks being played. If they are same sample rate it is pretty much gapless operation. If they are different sample rate, then it depends if output rate family is being switched or not. If output rate is being switched between tracks, then the DAC is stopped, reconfigured and started again. If the output rate/format doesn't change, then it is pretty much gapless operation from the DAC's point of view.

 

I have not noticed pops with DAC8 DSD on Windows either...

 

If you are on Windows, make sure you have HQPlayer's Buffer Time set to "Default" and that you have large/safe buffers set from the driver's control panel so that you don't get dropouts at the point when CPU's can hit 100% load momentarily.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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7 minutes ago, Miska said:

 

That is not very clear case, because what happens depends on the tracks being played. If they are same sample rate it is pretty much gapless operation. If they are different sample rate, then it depends if output rate family is being switched or not. If output rate is being switched between tracks, then the DAC is stopped, reconfigured and started again. If the output rate/format doesn't change, then it is pretty much gapless operation from the DAC's point of view.

 

 

Ok, let me make a simpler example:

 

When I dragged the same track time bar (e.g. from 1:20 to 2:45), there is a pop occurred on MAY (or DAC8 on windows). I remember I sent an email to T+A regarding this and they confirmed this pop noise and told me it's normal.

 

Yes, the buffer time was set to be default. Maybe you have a different firmware? 


Software: Roon, Tidal, HQplayer 

HQplayer PC: i9 7980XE, Titan Xp; i9 9900K, Titan V

DAC: Holo Audio MAY L2, T+A DAC8 DSD, exasound e12, iFi micro iDSD BL

USB tweaks: Intona, Uptone (ISO) regen, LPS-1, LPS-1.2, Sbooster Vbus2, Curious cables, Certified HiSpeed USB cable

NAA: Logic CL100, Uptone JS-2

AMP: Spectral DMC 30SV, Spectral DMA 300

Speaker: Magico S3 MKII

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7 hours ago, louisxiawei said:

When I dragged the same track time bar (e.g. from 1:20 to 2:45), there is a pop occurred on MAY (or DAC8 on windows). I remember I sent an email to T+A regarding this and they confirmed this pop noise and told me it's normal.

 

Ahh, I don't do that. But that is discontinuation in the waveform and will result in some kind of a glitch. Nothing big, something  within the normal playback volume.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Am I correct in assuming that MAY DAC has no volume control?


Audirvana+3.0 / TIDAL HiFi / Mac Mini (256GB SSD - 16GB RAM)

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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4 hours ago, mevdinc said:

Am I correct in assuming that MAY DAC has no volume control?

Yes, MAY has no volume control in either OS or NOS mode.


Software: Roon, Tidal, HQplayer 

HQplayer PC: i9 7980XE, Titan Xp; i9 9900K, Titan V

DAC: Holo Audio MAY L2, T+A DAC8 DSD, exasound e12, iFi micro iDSD BL

USB tweaks: Intona, Uptone (ISO) regen, LPS-1, LPS-1.2, Sbooster Vbus2, Curious cables, Certified HiSpeed USB cable

NAA: Logic CL100, Uptone JS-2

AMP: Spectral DMC 30SV, Spectral DMA 300

Speaker: Magico S3 MKII

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10 hours ago, louisxiawei said:

Yes, MAY has no volume control in either OS or NOS mode.

As I feared. That's a shame as I prefer all in one unit with my active. 'Less is more' I say. :)
Still, I can use the pre section of my existing DAC I guess if I decide to go for the Holo May DAC.


Audirvana+3.0 / TIDAL HiFi / Mac Mini (256GB SSD - 16GB RAM)

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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45 minutes ago, mevdinc said:

As I feared. That's a shame as I prefer all in one unit with my active. 'Less is more' I say. :)
Still, I can use the pre section of my existing DAC I guess if I decide to go for the Holo May DAC.

 

Can't you use Audirvana's volume control?


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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4 hours ago, mevdinc said:

As I feared. That's a shame as I prefer all in one unit with my active. 'Less is more' I say. :)
Still, I can use the pre section of my existing DAC I guess if I decide to go for the Holo May DAC.

 

I thought this too. Until I got a preamp for my active speakers. Since then I always use a preamp. It is a must. 

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Great.  We've got a new "DAC Flavor of the Month" for all the guys who just have to scratch that itch.


Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> AQ Vodka --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> USPCB --> Schiit Eitr --> AQ Coffee --> Hegel HD25 --> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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4 hours ago, semente said:

 

Can't you use Audirvana's volume control?

That's what I did when I used DACs with no volume control but a good DAC with a decent pre section gives much better results than using software volume control.
My current Musicbook has a very good analog volume control. I may just use it as a pre if I go for the MAY DAC.

Lossless Leedh digital volume control was talked about sometime ago, and Audirvana was going to adopt it too but haven't heard much about it for a while.

@damien78 , any news/info on this?


Audirvana+3.0 / TIDAL HiFi / Mac Mini (256GB SSD - 16GB RAM)

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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1 hour ago, ferenc said:

 

I thought this too. Until I got a preamp for my active speakers. Since then I always use a preamp. It is a must. 

What active speakers do you have?
 


Audirvana+3.0 / TIDAL HiFi / Mac Mini (256GB SSD - 16GB RAM)

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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