SBAF DAC Talk II

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Maxx134, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    @GoodEnoughGear
    I've searched around a bunch on device manager, sound devices, usb, blah blah. I don't think the culprit is in there, I suspect it's something buried in a power setting. I found it once on another machine, I think I had to edit something in a registry somewhere to even make the option show up. I just need to find it again. I will admit that turning off all the sleep settings that I can find does significantly reduce the blue screens.

    @Psalmanazar
    I think the Ultralite Mk4 is newer than the AVB? I've just had the avb sitting in my wishlist on amazon for a while, but yeah that's not bus powered.
    I haven't even heard of the SSL stuff... looks like they just came out? looking a little bit chunky size-wise though.
     
  2. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar was: dingleberry; now: chill + interesting

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    They were both updated with the ESS Sabre DA. The AVB has network audio for expansion beyond your needs. Both are mains powered. Pretty much all of this stuff is overkill for you except for the M4 (line ins) or Babyface Pro but I’m not sure you need low latency for light amateur djing

    It’s under power management. If you can’t optimize your computer for audio, nothing is going to work well. It’s in the advanced custom settings in control panel. Many modern windows machines are incapable of audio without dropouts too due to dpc latency.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  3. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Aaah, yes I recall I had to do something similar once with a Dell machine. I did a quick search and found this:

    https://forums.guru3d.com/threads/windows-power-plan-settings-explorer-utility.416058/

    I can't vouch for how well it works or not, but it may be able to show you what's hidden.
     
  4. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    You would be surprised my friend. There are worse.
     
  5. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    What O.S. is yours? You shouldn't have to edit registry entries to accomplish this.

    I can tell you that Win10 (home & pro) make it much harder to find any settings. But it's still something you can set from O.S. w/o diving into the registry.
     
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  6. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    The annoying this is that Win10 keeps shuffling around and hiding its various "features". Then you do an update and sometimes it will automatically change some of those settings and shuffle them off somewhere else again. Ugh.
     
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  7. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    I don't know. How do I evaluate this?
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Since the RME was all FOTM for a while, might be interesting to grab a MOTU AVB box to evaluate as an audiophile DAC or even AIO. A little bit of overkill given the real functionality of the MOTU, but whatever.

    @EagleWings: Given your observations on other DACs, I suspect you might actually like the sound of the MOTU for DA.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  9. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar was: dingleberry; now: chill + interesting

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    it’s just a warm sabre with depth, punchy extended bass, soft mids, and treble detail. Apogee might be even better for @EagleWings given the softer treble and warmer bass. both apogee and MOTU use one channel of a sabre chip for each line out instead of averaging them but still beat the hifi sabre DACs I’ve heard. He has a Mac, probably a thunderbolt port, and the Element 24 is easier to use. I don’t feel the need to buy a separate DA with the MOTU Sabres.

    If SBAF can’t set up a Focusrite and optimize their OS settings and pc builds for audio, then MOTU will cause problems. MOTU is second only to Lynx in giving retards the middle finger and has zero respect for headphone audiophiles. They’re not above sticking some ghetto shit in the rack and half rack units for the headphone amp on half their interfaces because it doesn’t matter and they just have to get closed cans loud.

    Focusrite is harder to set up than RME. RME is usable on anything by anyone who has seen a console or live mixer before.The RME FGPA usb takes the load off the computer letting the interfaces run well off unoptimized systems. Apogee has some weirder settings that people can fuck up but is very easy Mac only bs. UAD requires some careful setup but is OSX Fischer Price shit once it runs wells and if you stay within Console. Presonus Quantum is pretty much plug and play fuzzy lofi.

    I have no idea why the RME trend is still continuing. The rack mount boxes and the ADI2 pro/dac seems mostly popular among spec chasers, guys with shit ears, shills, and those no experience with higher end gear. They don’t make a lot of appealing things other than the pcie cards, dongles, and the portable Babyface Pro. Yeah they still update drivers for shit from the 90s but nobody with ears would’ve bought anything from RME in the heyday of music industry revenue. The sound signature is entirely grainy hospital bleach lofi with a fucked up, flat, depthless midrange that sounds like there are some bunghole caps (Not electrolytic. Ceramic?) in the signal path. All warmth and depth is annihilated upon touching an RME converter. Their mark up is huge. Way more than MOTU and Focusrite. MOTU is made in the USA and upper end Focusrite is made in China but uses better parts, sometimes stacked and averaged, than RME would ever touch.

    SBAFers might like the Focusrite Rednet X2P. It’s also total overkill like the MOTUs and probably not worth buying but I’m throwing it out there for the crazies who love dropping Benjamins. you need the 1000 dollar Rednet pcie card or Audinate DVS but it’s priced well, hits harder than Lynx, and the treble much smoother than RME. Again total overkill like MOTU AVB and I have no idea and don’t care about the headphone amp.

    I think people i in the last 10 years have gotten deafer and less experienced as interfaces have gotten more popular. Everybody 10-15 years ago knew Behringer, Mbox, and Presonus were dog shit, RME lofi, and Focusrite Saphires pretty okay. There were no lofi apologists outside of Hydrogen Audio idiotic keyboard warriors. Even before that, lofi defenders would be guys defending cheap gear that sounded cool like some of the Yamaha digital eqs, weird cheap pcb consoles, crunchy stuff, nasty pedals, etc. there were no delusions of transparency.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  10. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    In the control panel power options, are you thinking of the "change what the power button does" settings page? Something like that, at least...
     
  11. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar was: dingleberry; now: chill + interesting

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    I can post some screenshots in a few hours
     
  12. Armaegis

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    10 years ago I would have given the award for worst drivers to M-Audio...

    Related to that, there's sleep, hybrid sleep, hibernate, settings hidden in each, there's the battery management system, the cooling system, the processor throttling system, the manufacturer's built-in energy management software... and you spend days trying to hunt down all the settings, enabling the hidden ones in the registry, the whoopsie the computer updates and they've decided to change the settings back to default, and oh by the way let's move all the menus around into different places so you can't find them...
     
  13. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar was: dingleberry; now: chill + interesting

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    Yes. After every windows/mac update, you must check! Lots of real pros just disconnect their DAW computer permanently from the internet after they have it working and use it for nothing but audio work.

    here's another optimization guide:
    https://apogeedigital.com/pdf/Optimizing-Windows-10-for-Apogee.pdf
     
  14. auvgeek

    auvgeek Rando

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    Not sure anyone cares at this point, but I owned a Theta DSPro IIIa (funny, I bought it from Zach at ZMF back when he only offered modded T50s) with a variety of USB converters, and upgraded to the Gungnir multibit A2. Here are my impressions of the Theta IIIa vs Gungnir MB A2

    Chain: Macbook (later Lenovo T470s running ubuntu 16.04) -> modded Breeze Audio USB converter with upgraded clocks -> DAC (Theta DSPro IIIa or Gungnir MB A2) -> OG Saga -> Threshold Stasis s/150 II amp (older Nelson Pass design) -> modded HE-6 (sadly the 6 screw which I didn't realize until after I modded).

    Edit: SPDIF from the Breeze USB transport. SPDIF and power cables were graphene extreme by Cerious technologies. All analog cables were no name brands.

    I got one of the earlier A2 versions and had no idea Schiit upgraded to the A2 and changed the sound. Gave it a few days to warm up and my first thought was, "This sounds leaner than expected! Can't believe the Yggdrasil is considerably more "neutral" than this!" At first, I thought I hadn't given enough warm up time but after a week or so, I realized Gungnir MB was just quite a bit more neutral than I expected. After some searching online, I read the rumors (here on SBAF I think) that the analog board had been updated and Gungnir A2 was more neutral than A1, which confirmed my ears.

    NB: I tried both with the Breeze USB and Gen5 USB into the Gungnir and couldn't really tell a difference. If anything, I preferred the Breeze, which was unexpected given the isolation of Gen5, etc. My point is, my impressions weren't hampered by the USB input to the Theta.

    Anyway, the Theta DSPro IIIa really held it's own better than I expected. Gungnir MB A2 is leaner and cleaner with more detail and improved technicalities for sure, but the Theta IIIa has a richness and fullness that is very pleasant. The bass on the IIIa is marvelous but not as fast or tight as the Gungnir. The timbre of the IIIa is outstanding to me personally in my system, though the plankton isn't quite as good as the Gungnir. As you'd expect, Gungnir has better imaging and instrument separation. One of my favorite tracks for this is The Rural Alberta Advantage "Don't Haunt This Place" because there are two voices, a guitar, a cello, and drums. Plus I like the song. Those passages really helped me realize the technicalities the Gungnir brings to the table. The soundstage is a bit larger on the Gungnir, as well, but I don't recall the difference being huge. Plus, I'm not great at describing soundstage, especially depth, so I'll refrain.

    All that said, the amp might be the weak link in the chain with the HE-6. The threshold stasis s/150 II has excellent bloom and timbre. Especially with the frontplate mod: move the frontplate forward to increase the space between the transformer and circuit board. But I think there might be a bit too much noise with the HE-6 to really showcase the difference in technicalities between the Gungnir and IIIa. My guess is I would notice a much larger difference in detail, plankton, microdynamics, etc, between the two DACs with a better amp. Financially, I'm not in a place to upgrade at the moment, but I'm considering selling the amp and upgrading to an Aegir. Then when I upgrade to speakers, I'll eventually go monoblock Aegirs with a Freya.

    I like the improved technicalities of the Gungnir A2 so I kept it, but it's pretty clear that the Yggdrasil A2 is what I really want down the road.

    I'm not sure what used Theta DSPro IIIs are going for these days, but when I purchased, it was similar in price to the Bifrost II. So that would be an interesting comparison, but I haven't heard the Bifrost II. If I had to guess, I'd bet Unison USB is game over for the Theta, especially since Schiit said Eitr isn't selling and it's unlikely they'll an Eitr w. Unison.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
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  15. MisterRogers

    MisterRogers Ethernet Nervosa

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    Mine (the review, I've had a Morpheus for ~1mo.) will come soon (when life slows down a bit). Also, we have a CO Crew meet on Feb. 15th, so those who attend will get some time with it; maybe they'll share early impressions.
     
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  16. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar was: dingleberry; now: chill + interesting

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    This could be sick but it’s missing word clock i/o and another Adat bank like the elements. But it should be better sounding than them. I hope the drivers are good. More made in the USA warm goodness like MOTU to spank Germans like it’s a world war

    https://apogeedigital.com/products/symphony-desktop
     
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  17. Firegon

    Firegon Rando

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    I must say, I know nothing about USB implementations, especially the drivers. But recently I've heard just how big the impact can be.

    Two or three months ago I've had the pleasure to audition Chord Dave during a small local meet. At first it was connected to the ibasso dx220 via optical cable.
    The thing sounded absolutely fantastic - massive sound sources, very detailed yet not tiring, great depth, big (although not huge) soundstage, amazing resolution, neutral( or so I think ) ... and so on, and so on. This thing could even power HE-6 on quite a satisfying level.

    However, after connecting it to a macbook all hell broke loose, especially with HE-6. Sounds started to overlap, everything became bloated and unpleasant - simply a terrible mess. Wasn't as bad with any other HPs though. I've no idea why that happened, but I've never heard such a change in quality just based on the change of input.
    BTW - using isilencer or idefender or whatever iFi thing it was ( I can't tell which one is which ) helped a lot.

    On a different semi dac related note - My damaged Yggdrasil returned and I've no idea what's wrong. It turns on, recognizes different inputs and different sample rates, gets the signal, even gets recognized when connected to the PC. But no sound goes through. Painful on so many levels ...
     
  18. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    Early Morpheus impressions vs. Metrum would be appreciated for those of us on the fence. Or any impressions.
     
  19. MisterRogers

    MisterRogers Ethernet Nervosa

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    For now, terse and to the point:

    I have 2 Pavanes and 1 Morpheus. Morph has more detail (macro / micro) and a (noticeably) lower noise floor vs. Pavanes. but... Pavane has a slightly more 'raw' sound some might prefer. Much like with tube vs. solid state amps, a bit more noise / distortion can deliver a more euphonic sound. I believe @Hands has called this out in the past when comparing Pavane vs. Adagio.

    In the end I prefer the improved technicalities - though others may feel differently. I haven't spent much time with an Adagio, but Morpheus definitely improves accuracy in the time domain vs. Pavane. Spacial queues are clearer, more defined, and provide a more immersive experience. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Couldn't Stand the Weather, Tin Pan Alley is downright spooky.

    For the price of Morpheus, you're getting a more refined Metrum 'house' sound, seemingly improving on Adagio with lower noise, and a slightly more fleshed out or 'solid' presentation. I have zero regrets.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  20. Firegon

    Firegon Rando

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    Thank You kind Sir!
    One more question, if I may: Would You say that the Morpheus is thin sounding? Or in the "very analytical" domain? That's how I understood 6moons review, so I'd love to hear Your opinion!

    Sorry, I don't know what the Metrum house sound is, I've never heard any of their products.
     

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