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Is there a way of doing this?


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I want to use (say) Audiolense for a 3 way active XO, speaker correction and room correction- the full works in other words.   I intend to use J River as the convolver engine.   My question relates to the 6 channels (3 stereo pairs) of digital output.   Let’s say the PC has 3 USB ports, A, B and C.   My understanding is that by default the 6 channels would be bundled into one data stream which could be then be exported via one of the USB ports.  I would then need something like a HiLo to separate out the 3 stereo pairs and convert them to analog signals.  (I understand I could use the analog out, the monitor out and headphone socket to extract the 3 stereo analog signals and connect to my amps.).     However, I want to use 3 external DACs of my choice to perform the digital - analog conversions.  Furthermore these DACs perform best when you use their USB input.    So what I would ideally like to do is connect the 3 DACs directly to the 3 USB ports of the PC and have J River send channels 1 & 2 to port A, 3 & 4 to port B and 5 & 6 to port C.    Is that possible is my question !    If not, is there a piece of interface kit that would separate out the 3 stereo pairs and export them via 3 USB outputs?

 

BTW don’t bother mentioning clock drift  - the 3 DACs will be clock locked together.

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52 minutes ago, Iansr said:

I want to use (say) Audiolense for a 3 way active XO, speaker correction and room correction- the full works in other words.   I intend to use J River as the convolver engine.   My question relates to the 6 channels (3 stereo pairs) of digital output.   Let’s say the PC has 3 USB ports, A, B and C.   My understanding is that by default the 6 channels would be bundled into one data stream which could be then be exported via one of the USB ports.  I would then need something like a HiLo to separate out the 3 stereo pairs and convert them to analog signals.  (I understand I could use the analog out, the monitor out and headphone socket to extract the 3 stereo analog signals and connect to my amps.).     However, I want to use 3 external DACs of my choice to perform the digital - analog conversions.  Furthermore these DACs perform best when you use their USB input.    So what I would ideally like to do is connect the 3 DACs directly to the 3 USB ports of the PC and have J River send channels 1 & 2 to port A, 3 & 4 to port B and 5 & 6 to port C.    Is that possible is my question !    If not, is there a piece of interface kit that would separate out the 3 stereo pairs and export them via 3 USB outputs?

 

BTW don’t bother mentioning clock drift  - the 3 DACs will be clock locked together.


Alternately, you could simply use the MiniDSP UDIO-8.

 

Check out this excellent Kal Rubinson review from Stereophile.

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Thanks for the suggestion.   Not my ideal solution though as I want use  the USB inputs of the DACs.  Also I note that it performs a sample rate conversion on the input.   In my experience the SRC in miniDSP kit degrades the sound (admittedly based on a subjective listening test but the difference was significant.)

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On 11/11/2020 at 2:47 AM, Iansr said:

So what I would ideally like to do is connect the 3 DACs directly to the 3 USB ports of the PC and have J River send channels 1 & 2 to port A, 3 & 4 to port B and 5 & 6 to port C.    Is that possible is my question !  

No its not possible, as far as I'm concerned.

 

You could do one USB out from the PC into one multi channel DAC, as you mention, or a device like previously described  (Mini-DSP) but from there you would have to change over to either AES Out or Spdif Out to continue feeding other DACs the channels you configured them to see. The list is pretty short on the market for DACs with a proper routing matrix to handle this type of connectivity though. I own a Hilo and use it as a central hub and traffic cop for everything else in my chain. Its one of the few games in town with as many options at its price point, but its not without its own flaws.

 

As far as I'm aware USB DAC's and the PC owning the USB connection only wants to "see" one endpoint (which can have many channels) but its via one physical connection to one physical USB port. These DACs want exclusive access to the USB port since the USB Bus system is very shared/tied together to each other on the motherboard. Most physical ports are just daisy chained off of other ports (Think Parent/Child/Grandchild tree structure). You would need at least 3 free/unused "Parent" USB Ports on the PC and in addition to that would need a piece of software on the PC capable of sending digital Output to those 3 Parent USB Ports. In short, I've never seen such a beast in either case

 

If you were willing to divorce your relationship with USB in terms of feeding these other DACs then your options open up for using something like the Lynx AES16e PCI Card or similar to feed these other 3 DACs you have.

 

Just my 2cents and opinion of course

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On 11/11/2020 at 9:32 AM, Iansr said:

Thanks for the suggestion.   Not my ideal solution though as I want use  the USB inputs of the DACs.  Also I note that it performs a sample rate conversion on the input.   In my experience the SRC in miniDSP kit degrades the sound (admittedly based on a subjective listening test but the difference was significant.)

I have used three Mytek DACs connected by USB to a single USB hub which is, in turn, connected by USB to a Mac.  Mac sees the three DACs individually, of course, but MacOS allows you to configure them as "virtual" multichannel DAC to which you can route the channels as you choose.  This was suggested by Mytek and I have not tried it with any other DACs.

Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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8 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

I have used three Mytek DACs connected by USB to a single USB hub which is, in turn, connected by USB to a Mac.  Mac sees the three DACs individually, of course, but MacOS allows you to configure them as "virtual" multichannel DAC to which you can route the channels as you choose.  This was suggested by Mytek and I have not tried it with any other DACs.

Kal, thank you that is VERY interesting!   That sounds like something that may be unique to MacOS - ?  

I can’t immediately see any reason why this wouldn’t work with other USB DACs as its the routing of the 3 stereo signals that is normally the problem.

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9 hours ago, cjf said:

No its not possible, as far as I'm concerned.

 

You could do one USB out from the PC into one multi channel DAC, as you mention, or a device like previously described  (Mini-DSP) but from there you would have to change over to either AES Out or Spdif Out to continue feeding other DACs the channels you configured them to see. The list is pretty short on the market for DACs with a proper routing matrix to handle this type of connectivity though. I own a Hilo and use it as a central hub and traffic cop for everything else in my chain. Its one of the few games in town with as many options at its price point, but its not without its own flaws.

 

As far as I'm aware USB DAC's and the PC owning the USB connection only wants to "see" one endpoint (which can have many channels) but its via one physical connection to one physical USB port. These DACs want exclusive access to the USB port since the USB Bus system is very shared/tied together to each other on the motherboard. Most physical ports are just daisy chained off of other ports (Think Parent/Child/Grandchild tree structure). You would need at least 3 free/unused "Parent" USB Ports on the PC and in addition to that would need a piece of software on the PC capable of sending digital Output to those 3 Parent USB Ports. In short, I've never seen such a beast in either case

 

If you were willing to divorce your relationship with USB in terms of feeding these other DACs then your options open up for using something like the Lynx AES16e PCI Card or similar to feed these other 3 DACs you have.

 

Just my 2cents and opinion of course

Thanks for that.   I had independently also  come to the tentative conclusion that I would have to use the AES 16E and use AES/EBU connections.  However Kal’s post about MacOS indicates there may be another solution . . . . 

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58 minutes ago, Iansr said:

 However Kal’s post about MacOS indicates there may be another solution . . . . 


I presume that is enabled by the MacOS 'built in' aggregation of devices.

 

If you have a PC, then I think you can achieve something similar with the ASIO4ALL software.

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1 hour ago, alandbush said:


I presume that is enabled by the MacOS 'built in' aggregation of devices.

 

If you have a PC, then I think you can achieve something similar with the ASIO4ALL software.

Even more interesting!!  I need to look into that.

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5 hours ago, Iansr said:

Would you mind expanding?  Why was it unsuccessful?

Cannot recall because it was a while ago and frustrating because it was so easy with the Mac.  Perhaps it wasalso due to my relative ineptness with ASIO4ALL.

Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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On 11/14/2020 at 11:33 AM, mitchco said:

This article on Ableton suggests that it can also be done with ASIO4ALL on the PC. I did not look closely and have not tried it myself: https://www.noterepeat.com/articles/how-to/101-ableton-live-using-multiple-interfaces

There used to be several digital audio interfaces that would work together to increase the I/O complement - most were PCI cards. The purpose of this was to enable multitrack recording back when affordable, high quality desktop recording was emerging for home and small studio use.

 

Here's a LINK to an excellent discussion of this topic from Sound on Sound, but it's 15 years old because this is not done much any more.  As they point out, M-Audio Delta devices supported use of 4 units together on Win, 3 on Mac, and 8 on Linux (using OSS drivers). There were also MOTU and ESI DAIs that worked in multiples.  But that was back when external / USB DAIs were less common and MC units were very expensive. Most musicians and others who record today just buy a MC USB DAI.

 

From this article:  "If you ever think you'll need more inputs and outputs than you have at present, the best approach is to choose an interface that already has multi-device drivers, such as the ones I've mentioned. Then, when you buy another compatible interface, your ASIO (Audio Streaming Input Output) compatible audio applications will simply see one larger interface. Most musicians find this runs like a dream, although in the case of multiple PCI cards, very occasionally the odd PC motherboard may throw a spanner in the works and prevent the cards from running smoothly alongside each other."

 

Using multiple 1 or 2 channel DAIs for simple MC playback is rather awkward for most audiophiles.  These devices are designed for recording, so the controls and layouts favor this.  Playback is a secondary consideration, as it's only there for monitoring. And, of course, you have multiple industrial looking devices and their interconnects sitting around. It's really not for most audiophiles.  The best approach for most is to buy MC equipment.  I know of no good way to send pairs of MC outputs to different USB ports.

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Hi @bluesman for sure. I use a multichannel AD DA converter in my triamp setup using digital XO's. For MC setups, I recommend a multichannel interface, like from this fine list: 

https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php/topic,126507.msg876687.html#msg876687

ASIO is recommended wherever possible.

 

What @Iansr was looking for is a specific solution for his existing 2 channels DAC's... Some 2 channels interfaces can be synchronised together with a word clock. As mentioned, ASIO4ALL will do it in Ableton, but I believe this is specific to Ableton's software.

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