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Posts posted by motberg

  1. Interesting comment on the D90. Thanks.

    (Similar to post 858 at HF Bifrost 2 thread.)

    I have a D50, had a D70, would not recommended either of those.

    Maybe the D90 will break in though, or could try a warmish i2s DDC such as Gustard U16, though need be real careful on compatibility.

    Having had a D70 and regular user of HQPlayer, I think it would be worthwhile to try some HQPlayer filters on the D90 in your big system.

  2. I think this is a great question.... how to get xTB of cheap storage that sounds good without doing the Ethernet/switch/NAS thing ...

    I am using an original Intona Industrial isolator between a HDD docking bay and a control PC.

    This works fine, but I think the isolator needs to be bi-directional, maybe Alex can comment.

    I am not sure if the Intona helps much for SQ, but after the Intona, I am using a Matrix element H Hi-Fi USB 3.0 Interface Pcie card and I am pretty sure that helps (I compared with/without the Matrix, but not with/without the Intona).

    The docking bay is powered by LT3045 x 4 regulator after LPS and the Matrix by LPS.

    This docking bay/isolator/Matrix card sounds better to me than an internal SSD, powered by LT3045 LPS.

  3. I had a situation with HQPlayer vol. control, where I tried upsampling at a rate that was incompatible with my DDC, resulting in full vol. static. So I think even if the software vol. control is stable (HQPlayer works great) ..... with digital signals, and various hardware and software being involved, maybe potential incompatibilities should be also considered.

  4. 8 hours ago, DuckToller said:

    Bonjour, Audiobomber.
    Short question about miniDSP, do I assume correctly, that the signal for your Subs and your speakers will run through ADC-DAC conversion at 24/96 during the DSP? Please feel free to correct me about my assumption
    I do have a 2x4miniDSP somewhere in the closet and may start testing during the confinement  period...
    Cheers, DT

    I am also using the MiniDSP for subs... subs only, monitors running full range... the miniDSP 2x4 HD version was an audible upgrade from the prior model in my system.

  5. 2 hours ago, WilliamWykeham said:

    All parts have arrived and I’m nearing completion.  I plan a full recap of the assembly process and a review once done but am stuck on two things:


    1 - How to connect the Keces P8 to the 6 pin DC power intake on the HDPlex 400W DC-ATX.  Imagine I need a cable or an adapter, however I can’t find anything online.  Am trying to avoid having to make any cables myself as I have no experience.  Once I do get the correct cable or adapter, how should I route this into the computer? Should I send it through the back plate where the AC cable plug would otherwise go?




    I am pretty sure Ghent can make that for you.... just send him an email...




  6. 4 hours ago, barrows said:

    Sorry, i guess I was not clear.  In no way do i mean to suggest that those who design preamps are trying to add colorations.  What I am saying is that any component addition (like a preamp) can only result in loss of fidelity; by adding a preamp, where one was not present before, the only possible result is that doing so adds more distortion and noise than there was before.  If one then prefers the sound with that preamp in place, what that person is preferring is the coloration added by that preamp's noise and distortion profile.


    And, of course no system is 100 % transparent to the recording (electronics can get very close these days, but certainly not speakers!), but to me it is the goal of a good system to be as transparent to the recording as is possible.  Adding unnecessary components to the system is counter-productive to that goal.

    But I think to use software volume control, you need modify the source file digitally. So isn't the choice digital manipulation of the source vs. analog manipulation of the DAC output?

  7. I just ran AO on the HQPlayer Win2019 GUI NAA machine...


    Wow.... I was shocked how good this software volume control is using HQPlayer. I have tried other softwares years ago and recently the built in volume control on a Topping D70 and a Gustard A20H without major success (the Gustard was pretty good though).


    I have not run through all my normal test tracks yet, but my preliminary observations indicate the HQPlayer vol. control has no major audible drawbacks in my system.


    Thanks to everyone who helped get me this far.... much appreciated....

  8. 36 minutes ago, sandyk said:

     I suggest that you do some research for yourself for a change. There is plenty of information available on the subject .

    I have not seen any valid study done where the THD was reported detected at less than .5%. That is why I was asking, since you seem to be sure 0.25% is audible.


    In any case, it certainly is not the bottleneck in my system.


    And now that I got HQPlayer setup direct out, I am more convinced that the Lightspeed is more representative of the direct signal than any other preamp I have heard in my system.

  9. 4 hours ago, sandyk said:


     Your idea of audibility may not be the same as others who may have more revealing equipment.

     A Preamp/PA often has distortion levels well below that of most volume controls and many attenuators.

    For example, both my DIY Class A Preamp and 15W/Ch. Class A Power Amplifier have distortion figures of well below .0006%


    https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/analog-line-level/80194-lightspeed-attenuator-passive-preamp-373.html#post2386530  # 3726 

    The quoted figures are far from inaudible when combined with a low distortion Preamp/P.A. 

    " 0.25 % THD for -20 dB of attenuation."  

     I saw also that George HiFi also went on the defensive

    Get your head out of these finite distortion measurements, and listen to what your ears are telling your brain" 

    what is the threshold of audibility ?

  10. 57 minutes ago, sandyk said:



    IIRC, some years  back, Nelson Pass posted some measurements in DIY Audio highlighting this problem .

    The maker has posted also his distortion calculations and seems really low to me....

    Not sure if the PS has any effect, but mine is powered by mains regenerator into LPS into 4 x LT3045 regulator

    The Lightspeed has been on Stereophile Recommended Components list and gets great comparative reviews.

    It certainly subjectively was much clearer to me than my Schiit Saga + in passive mode. (already sold the Saga +)

  11. 8 hours ago, Miska said:


    Suitable range setting depends on how you use the volume control...


    Here is real world configuration:


    Using @ericuco suggestion (thanks!) I set max vol to -10 db

    my normal volume level will be a couple db less than max.


    So - at 44.1/16 -> 176.4 K, HQPlayer vol set at -12db, what am I losing in terms of dynamic range?

    Are there any settings available to optimize this (such as increasing bit depth) ?

  12. 7 hours ago, Miska said:


    Suitable range setting depends on how you use the volume control...



    with a good passive pre in my system (Lightspeed LDR), I am guessing I usually use less than 25% attenuation

    Speakers are very inefficient, DAC is 4 x PCM1704UK per channel, possible to 768KHz

    I do not think I would damage anything if the DAC full level hit the amp


    my question is, when using HQPlayer, how to adjust the settings to arrive at the most optimal "bit saturation".

  13. On 3/7/2020 at 9:11 PM, Miska said:


    It depends on the DAC too, but it certainly helps since it allows more resolution and especially with noise shaping curves increase of dynamic range beyond that of output word length within the original bandwidth.



    OK!  I am testing this with my NOS DAC, HQPlayer 3, dual PC, just got a Windows NAA working on Server 2019 GUI and it is sounding great so far.. For HQPlayer, how is best to manage the "gain staging" of the digital volume control? I am upsampling to 384, within the rate family, and have Min Vol set at -60 and Max Vol set at -3.. would this be optimal ?




  14. Hi, The AK4497 DAC's I had were the Topping D70 (OK but no dynamics) and the Gustard A20H (AOK).


    They were fed by a pretty decent dual PC setup, both fanless, using full ATX LPS's and all peripherals (PCIE cards, SSD's, etc) fed by separate LPS's, most with outboard LT3045 regulators.  USB output is from a JCat USB* card to a Singxer UIP-1* isolator to a WFS Recovery* reclocker (*these all powered by separate Uptone LPS-1/1.2 super-capacitor PS and followed by LT3045's).  Software is WIN10 on control PC and WINServer 2019 GUI on the audio PC, using JPlay and AO.


    Preamps and DAC's are powered by 220V mains power regeneration units.

    Preamps used for comparisons were Lightspeed LDR attenuator (dead neutral) or Audio-GD Master 1, C-2, or NFB-1AMP (all SS and generally neutral).  AMP is Audio-GD Master 3 (Neutral-warm SS)

    Speakers are Mark Daniel Ruby monitors (pretty flat but a couple +5db peaks after 10K in-room measured)


    All cables good quality but nothing crazy; interconnects are pure silver litz or Morrow, USB are Paul Pang, HDMI i2s is Wireworld, power cables are generic audiophile style, DC cables by Ghent, lots of MuMetal shielding scattered about.

    Small, dedicated, single chair, amateur-acoustically treated, lights-out listening room.


    My impression was that the AK4497 has very natural tonality, good sound-stage, and very black background (especially the D70).

    These were both generally bettered by my Audio-GD NOS 7 (PCM1704UK, 4 per channel), which has similar attributes but adds a more realistic weight or texture (much more expensive also..).


    Both these AK4497 DAC's's had some problems with occasional pops when trying DSD. I tried the USB inputs - and also a Gustard U16 DDC i2s for the Gustard A20H. For the Topping D70 I had trouble using i2s DDC's - neither the Gustard U16 or Singxer SU-1 would work via i2s. But I did not really try to much to troubleshoot this DSD problem. I asked my Gustard supplier about this popping and they replied it was inherent in the AK4497, but that answer was probably just weak customer service and not accurate. So if you are looking to use a lot of DSD files, you may want to double check that popping stuff with the AK's.. I only have a few DSD albums, but also had trouble with HQPlayer oversampling to DSD. (I have a Topping D50 and a quick check showed my DSD files works OK with the Sabre Topping) This problem was probably due to my configurations, but it would be a good point to investigate on the exact DAC you are considering, if you will be using DSD or changing sample rates within a playlist.


  15. I have recently tried 2 Dual AK4497 DAC's from different makers.

    One was pretty good overall, and the other obviously lacked dynamics.

    So I think the implementation of the chip in the DAC as a whole will have a greater influence than the chip itself.


    I think it is a good idea to have both tube and solid state options at home! But maybe the MP DAC alone, especially with the 4497 and all the tweaking options available will offer a big enough dose of the tube good stuff (I would check that first before getting a tube pre and amp).


    I would think tube rolling will offer much bigger differences than AK vs. Sabre.


    You may be surprised at the extra sound quality you can gain through a dedicated source  such as:



    I have not heard an AK4493, but if you like the reviews of that Topping model, I have read the chips share the same general family sound signature.


    I notice the DX3 Pro uses a 15V power supply, which seems to me a somewhat uncommon voltage.

    Only you can decide if the extra expense of a fancy power supply is worth the sound quality difference to you.

    I think most DAC engineers put a high value in the power supply design.


    The Topping D50 (Sabre) gets some good reviews and uses 5V, which should give you more power supply options. For travel I would use an iFi (these seems to be being upgraded so check carefully).




    5V also can try a USB battery power pack source which may give a different presentation and may be great for travel (would need check the amperage draw, but maybe no so bad with the display shut down). For home, there are many 5V options including the used market.


    The iFi is also available in 15V for the Topping DX3 Pro, which may prove a very nice combination for the money.






  16. 8 hours ago, Nenon said:

    This is interesting. In my tests, the EPS connector is the most important to the sound quality. Can you please share what motherboard and CPU your friend used in his testing? I remember that on low powered motherboards the 5V made bigger difference and benefitted by oversizing the power supply a little. The reason for that might be that the oscillators might be using that rail, but that is just a guess. 

    Yep - he was using a small server MB, not sure the model but it was one of the small Supermicro server boards....


    I am using a dual PC setup now, but have enough extra stuff to build up a nice single box for Euphony trial, so am following this closely ... and of course thanks a million for all your posts from the other thread...

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