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About Abtr

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  1. MiniDSP SHD Studio indeed seems to be the way to go. You will be stuck with the miniDSP's volume control though, which may or may not be a problem. I suspect that the insufficient sound quality of the miniDSP 2x4 (HD) is mainly due to a lacking implementation of the analogue output circuitry (power supply/voltage regulator/output stage). When this is done well, it could be used in principle as a quality preamp. For example, I replaced the LM317 based voltage regulator circuit of my active Xkitz LR4 analogue crossovers with an LT3045 based circuit and the SQ improvement is remarkable. Best preamp/buffer I had sofar for my Schiit Vidar stereo power amp and KEF LS50 main speakers + active sub! And it also performs very good with a pair of JBL LSR305 active (internally bi-amped) monitors which rival the passive KEFs for a fraction of the price. The bass response with the JBLs may even be superior. The JBLs have the advantage of an ADC > DSP > DAC induced group delay of about 10ms which is approximately equal to the analogue LR4 induced low pass delay. So impulse response of the JBLs and subwoofer are more in line and I think this is audible..
  2. Possibly. I successfully use an active LR4 for crossing my main speakers and sub, but I never tried bi-amping a tweeter and a mid/bass driver. I'd probably use something like a miniDSP for that.
  3. But with a BW3 crossover HF and LF output will be 270 degrees out of phase at the crossover frequency and it introduces a group delay for the LF output. One could avoid/correct that with a digital crossover and a FIR filter.
  4. What do you mean by "improper driver timing"? Phase errors or impulse-response errors or both?
  5. Great review. Do you think the SPK4 demo speakers will sound better than KEF-LS50's with a sub and a decent active crossover (e.g. at 100Hz and 24dB/oct) to reduce IMD?
  6. When Tidal is set to 'exclusive mode' and 'force volume', then 44.1/16 audio (CD quality) and max 96/24 (in case of MQA) will be streamed. The Mac's USB audio class 2 drivers will send lossless PCM to your DAC. Any OS-level sound settings are ignored. I don't think Spotify currently has an option for streaming lossless CD quality audio, so in that sense Tidal hifi is better than Spotify. Whether you will easily hear the difference is another matter.
  7. Yes. Basically it's the audio system described in my signature/profile. First, an Airlink (balanced) mains isolation transformer isolates the computer power supply and general mains noise from the rest of the system. Secondly, a Schiit Eitr DDC galvanically isolates the computer USB output *and* the USB receiver from the actual DAC circuitry. Thirdly, an Uptone LPS-1 fully isolated power supply provides the 5V USB power for Eitr, with its SMPS plugged in before the mains isolation transformer. Currently I use a Delock (DLCK-62790) coax to toslink converter (also powered by LPS-1) between Eitr and DAC which further improves SQ. I'm not sure how this works. The converter may optically isolate USB receiver noise that gets through Eitr's transformer-based isolation and coaxial connection, and/or it may reduce jitter by a superior PLL implementation, thus reducing noisy PLL processing inside the DAC. Some other (LPS-1 powered) coax to toslink converters I tried give significantly less improved SQ (if at all) indicating that jitter is the problem. If so, Eitr may also benefit from improved coaxial output. Anyhow, most of these measures are aimed at reducing electrical noise and jitter resulting from digital processing in computer and DAC. IF Tidal sounds better than Qobuz (or vice versa) in any given system, then I think it must be due to dissimilar electrical noise generated by different digital processing in the computer source. Both players will of course produce bit perfect PCM.
  8. I think Tidal may have fixed this. I still check after each update but the settings didn't change with the last 4 or so updates..
  9. Interesting, thanks! Now 3 reports in this thread (from different members with different audio systems) indicate that Schiit Gen 5 USB benefits from clean power.. Not sure why you don't hear an improvement using Eitr. The coaxial s/pdif interface between Eitr and your DAC might have an electrical noise isolation problem. May I suggest you try a decent coax to toslink converter.
  10. Softky states in his article: "Even the best CDs can only resolve time down to 23 microseconds [44 kHz]." That's a myth. Even though he mentions Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem several times, he doesn't seem to be aware of the implication that with a sampling frequency of 44 kHz and enough encoding bits per sample, a continuous-time signal which is bandlimited to 44/2 = 22 kHz, can be reconstructed/interpolated almost perfectly by a good DAC, with a time resolution in the order of nanoseconds rather than microseconds.
  11. In the end they say that for version 1.6 build 475 they "resolved storage access & media keys issues on macOS 10.15 Catalina." That sounds like a simple permission key problem which typically doesn't require extensive code changes and testing. But who knows..
  12. 1) I use this: https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/various-adapters/usb-b-adapter-cable-for-55-21mm-female-power-supply-p-8332.html I think it ships to the US. You may also be able to build something similar yourself. 2) I didn't try the iFi but I might check it out. Apparently, the quality of Toslink implementations is quite variable. I think both the Toslink receiver of my DAC and the transmitter of the Delock are pretty good. I think the sonic differences between the devices I tested can only be caused by different amounts of jitter. The audibility of this surprised me.
  13. 1) Open Terminal (Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal) 2) Run: sudo /usr/sbin/softwareupdate --ignore "macOS Catalina" 3) Enter your login password if asked, hit Enter and you should get confirmation that “macOS Catalina” updates will be ignored. When you want to allow the update again, you can run: sudo /usr/sbin/softwareupdate --reset-ignored
  14. Lately I've been experimenting with some coax to toslink converters to connect Eitr's output to my DAC. These are active devices and I tried four different converters that take 5V DC power, so that I can use a single Uptone LPS-1 to simultaneously power a converter and the USB interface of Eitr. In my system, two of the four converters give an audible improvement over Eitr's coaxial output. One device (Delock DLCK-62790 coax to toslink converter) clearly stands out, with improved bass and no trace of 'graininess'. These results make me wonder what might be going on. Is toslink providing additional isolation of HF noise that may get through the transformer-based galvanic isolation and coaxial output of Eitr, and/or is jitter reduced by superior PLL circuitry of the coax to toslink converter, thus reducing electrically noisy PLL processing inside the DAC? An explanation may also shed light on reports of audible differences between Eitr and an on-board Gen-5 module..
  15. I’d say digital source (frontend) and analogue output (backend) basically both account for about 50% of overall subjective sound quality (regardless of used cables and power supplies which may shift this somewhat).
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