HiFiBerry Digi2 Pro Impressions

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Woland, Mar 30, 2021.

  1. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    You’re getting close to splitting hairs territory with inputs, so it’s no surprise that you’re not hearing massive differences. Many people have trouble discerning sound differences between different DACs, let alone different inputs on the same DAC, and especially with all the signals being generated by the same source.
     
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  2. Woland

    Woland Acquaintance

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    Thanks Merrick!

    It may not be a surprise to you because of your experience, but reading forums and blogs or watching audio YouTube you'll find plenty of claims that the differences were significant to others. For example the Passion for Sound blog identified BNC as a superior input for a Gungnir Multibit when the source was a HiFiBerry Digi+.

    With BNC, a plausible argument is that the adapters and cables are set up for a specific impedance which will result in reduced signal reflections, and those reflections are important determinants of jitter.

    My experience is that the change to source made an audible difference, but the change to cabling did not.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  3. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    The more fine grain you go down the chain, the harder it will be to discern differences. That doesn’t mean differences don’t exist, but it may take ear training to hear them. Also consider that most reviews have to play up differences in order to discuss different products, and most honest reviewers will point out that the descriptions amplify the perceived difference.

    One exercise I would suggest. Don’t fast switch when comparing. Listen to one cable exclusively for a month, then switch to another cable, and the differences, if there are any, should be more apparent.
     
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  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Personally, I haven't heard jack shit difference between BNC and RCA coax on the Gungnir MB and a variety of sources (two CDPs, pi2AES, a PCI digital output card, etc.). However, I have heard a difference with sources which output AES3 using a Sescom 110-ohm AES to 75-ohm BNC transformer with the Gungnir MB though. Optical was far behind though. YMMV.

    With pi2AES:

    AES3 - Sescom Xformer - BNC
    <gap>
    BNC SPDIF (same as below)
    RCA coax SPDIF (same as above)
    <gap>
    <gap>
    Optical Toslink
     
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  5. Woland

    Woland Acquaintance

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    Thanks!

    Can you give a sense of where you'd rank USB inputs, ideally from a Pi4 or other above-average USB source? Some claim Unison is better than any SPDIF. Most of the older reports suggest early Schiit USB implementations were far behind optical Toslink..

    A specific problem I'm trying to solve is that I can get great Audio Unit DSP in Audirvana, but can't access Audio Units when streaming to Volumio or other UPNP/DLNA devices which tap the BNC/RCA connectivity boost.
     
  6. Woland

    Woland Acquaintance

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    After a week or so, I've noticed some things that surprise me.

    The enhanced sense of space from the source upgrade is selective and quite fragile. It's there for some recordings but not others. It collapses if I switch downstream components, the amp and headphones especially.

    The spacial clarity seems to be enhanced by binaural filters. I switched on Volumio's Bauer stereophonic-to-binaural DSP. Some recordings, like Miles Davis Sketches of Spain (2007 Japan SACD) are outright unpleasant without this kind of crossover added, but I didn't expect any synergy with the digital source. It's there and it's great.
     
  7. Woland

    Woland Acquaintance

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    @Michael Kelly before I hit the purchase button on an AES cable and Sescom transformer ( to BNC) for use with the loaner Pi2AES... could you verify @purr1n observations? Maybe also give a sense for how this differs from the built in Pi2AES circuitry for the BNC jack, please.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
  8. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Unfortunately that is beyond my skill set. I am pretty good at design, but my old ears can't fully appreciate my own products!
     
  9. mtavares

    mtavares Rando

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    @purr1n
    I became interested in your comment about using a tranformer from XLR to BNC with the Gungnir. You have used a SESCOM transformer. I am considering that you need to use an additional cable from the AES output to the transformer. When I was searching for this transformer, I found a Neutrik transformer that does not require this additional cable. Have you analyzed this option? Is this transformer installed closed to the Pi2AES or to the Gungnir? What cables brand/length have you used in your setup?

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...tVBmnYvqdBo7PmASQHv2Zs4pOIUEdkPYaArc8EALw_wcB

    Thanks in advance by your response.

    QJA

    Marcos
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021 at 3:12 AM
  10. Huhnkopf

    Huhnkopf Friend

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    What do you want with the erect penis version?

    Get the NADITBNC-F without the X

    [​IMG]
     
  11. mtavares

    mtavares Rando

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    I was concerned about the contact of the lock mechanism with the Pi2AES acrylic. Have you used this model?

    Thanks by your response.

    QJA

    Marcos

    P.S: The like button is not available to me anymore. Is it possible to recover it?
     
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  12. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    They changed to a little tiny set of thumbs up and thumbs down icons at the lower right of the post. I am not a fan since on my phone I often have to hit it two or three times and undo the unlike as often
     
  13. Woland

    Woland Acquaintance

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    Thanks for the response, all the same. I was half expecting you'd say the circuit already does the equivalent of a 110 to 75 transformer. It's great to be able to engage with the designer rather than the usual experience of products whose secrets are sealed so tight they might as well be alien artifacts..
     
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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
  14. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    I am a bit confused. The PI2AES has 110 ohm balanced aes and 75 ohm bnc output. Why would you need to convert from one to the other?
     
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  15. Woland

    Woland Acquaintance

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    Because of @purr1n 's experience of superior achieved output, as described above.

    "With pi2AES:

    AES3 - Sescom Xformer - BNC
    <gap>
    BNC SPDIF (same as below)
    RCA coax SPDIF (same as above)
    <gap>
    <gap>
    Optical Toslink"
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
  16. mtavares

    mtavares Rando

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    @Michael Kelly
    Thanks by the information. However, the thumbs up and thumbs down icons are still not shown at the lower right of the post.

    Has anyone else experiencing such behaviour.

    Best Regards,

    QJA

    Marcos
     
  17. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    Randos don’t get to contribute feedback.
     
  18. mtavares

    mtavares Rando

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    Thanks by your information.

    Best Regards,

    QJA

    Marcos
     

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