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Assembling new 2.1 system - questions about too powerful amps

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kokoon

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I'm saying that, with 32-bit digital volume control, it extraordinarily unlikely you'll be able to tell the difference versus the best analog volume controls. With a 16-bit control, you could probably tell if you had the right 16-bit file and knew exactly what to listen for, but you probably wouldn't notice it in normal listening.

The SHD can resample audio. I'm not sure if it has to resample a 16-bit file to a higher depth in order to use the full resolution of volume control. I never had a problem with all my 16-bit files.
I might be misunderstanding something, but here's what bothers me - the internal sampling rate is all fine and everything is surely just perfectly up/downsampled and dithered and all that, until it hits the final digital-to-analog stage. There the digital signal, whatever its original bitdepth, gets mapped to output voltage. Let's say the full potential is to output 4V at sample value of 2^24. But if we're making it really quiet, like 1/16th of max, it would mean that for the 0.25V sample value of 2^20 is used, which would mean we're only left with 20 bits to hold all the audio data. Now if you're saying that 20 bits is plenty, then yeah, I guess. But it's still a loss that I thought would be relatively easily mitigated by well executed analog attenuation.
 
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kokoon

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Ok I just realized that SHD's DAC is actually 32bit, so I guess that really is plenty :D
 

pjug

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That assumption is not very scientific though - it's mostly from never ever having the A-S500 more than 12 o'clock, normally below 9.
The Yamaha has a gain of something like 42dB, so it will be able to drive almost any source well beyond clipping. The MiniDSP SHD I think has 2V max output with RCA and your nCore amplifier will have at most a gain of 20 something dB. So my guess is you will end up turning the knob higher with the new SHD/nCore setup than you did with the Yamaha.
 
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kokoon

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The Yamaha has a gain of something like 42dB, so it will be able to drive almost any source well beyond clipping. The MiniDSP SHD I think has 2V max output with RCA and your nCore amplifier will have at most a gain of 20 something dB. So my guess is you will end up turning the knob higher with the new SHD/nCore setup than you did with the Yamaha.
That's exactly what I wanted to hear, fantastic! Where did you find out about A-S500 gain?
 

pjug

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That's exactly what I wanted to hear, fantastic! Where did you find out about A-S500 gain?
The sensitivity spec is 200mV, and it is an 85W amp (26V at 8-ohms). 26V/0.2V is about 42dB. Yamaha might be basing the sensitivity spec on clipping at a slightly different voltage but it shouldn't make a big difference on the gain calculation.
 
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kokoon

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I see, it's settled then! Now I just need to make sure I get Neo3 revision of the SHD, to allow for usb-trigger hack for amp control.

Thanks for taking the time to help me out.
 

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Hi @kokoon!

I'm in a similar position. But not sure to go SHD into ncore OR Chromecast / Topping dac / Pre 90 into ncore route.
Don't really know what can be gained by dirac and if sub crossover is necessary, so I'm leaning on the latter and just use roon EQ to flatten the frequency.

Also, does SHD work as a Roon endpoint?
 
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kokoon

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Afaik SHD as Roon endpoint is working, there might be some glitches with certain file formats, but official Roon certification is imminent.

I don't think you should go Chromecast (audio?) -> Ncore directly, but Topping Pre sure, it's quite similar to the SHD. If you already own a quality dac and want to check out dirac at some point, the DDRC-24 is pretty affordable and I guess you could use its digital inputs to minimize ADC conversions (still use it for final DAC). SHD's dirac + eq is definitely something I'm betting a lot on, to both tame room modes and also integrate the sub better.
 

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Afaik SHD as Roon endpoint is working, there might be some glitches with certain file formats, but official Roon certification is imminent.
Oh, ok then. Didn't go through all the postings on minidsp forums, so wasn't sure.

I don't think you should go Chromecast (audio?) -> Ncore directly, but Topping Pre sure, it's quite similar to the SHD. If you already own a quality dac and want to check out dirac at some point, the DDRC-24 is pretty affordable and I guess you could use its digital inputs to minimize ADC conversions (still use it for final DAC). SHD's dirac + eq is definitely something I'm betting a lot on, to both tame room modes and also integrate the sub better.

Y, that's what I meant Chromecast Audio optical -> dac -> pre..so on.

Think I'll wait a while longer for someone to make a reasonably priced roon ready, dirac, ncore all in one type thing.
 
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kokoon

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The closest are MiniDSP SHD power and NAD M33 and NAD M10, which does have an Ncore (M33 actually has a Purifi, which is even better) but they're not exactly affordable... Also the Arcam SA30 I think, but also expensive.
 

Chagall

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Considering my luck, a month after I buy something like that, Topping or Matrix audio will anounce all in one for third the price and it will measure better.

On the other hand, must admit - NAD 33 is sexy as f**k.
 
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kokoon

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I don't think anything comparable to SHD+Ncore power amp can even be built for much cheaper. Either it will maddeningly chinese an/or new and half-baked for another couple of years, or it will come from a big-name brand and cost a fortune like NAD's offerings.

I've decided on SHD+Audiophonics Ncore amp and I can't wait to get my hands on it and enter a new era :) If I wanted to spend another grand, I'd go for Purifi instead of Ncore, but I can still do that upgrade somewhere down the road, possibly even with a next generation of class-D.
 

Chagall

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I don't think anything comparable to SHD+Ncore power amp can even be built for much cheaper. Either it will maddeningly chinese an/or new and half-baked for another couple of years, or it will come from a big-name brand and cost a fortune like NAD's offerings.

I've decided on SHD+Audiophonics Ncore amp and I can't wait to get my hands on it and enter a new era :) If I wanted to spend another grand, I'd go for Purifi instead of Ncore, but I can still do that upgrade somewhere down the road, possibly even with a next generation of class-D.


Fair enough, best of luck! Pozdrav iz Zagreba
 
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kokoon

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Reporting in, after setting up the stuff that's arrived over the past week.

I now have a Minidsp SHD as a pre, going into an Audiophonics ncore 250 stereo module via balanced. Also set up a usb-to-trigger between them and it works flawlessly. Other sources going into the SHD are: chromecast audio (toslink), android tv / video (rca for now - could't get the ARC to work and get a spdif out of it, yet), phono into ifi zen phono pre, then balanced pentacon out (xlr). Ncore is driving a pair of Harbeth P3ESR booshelfs on stands. Sub is still missing, as I'm waiting on either kc62 or svs microsub 3000, whichever arrives first.

First of all, my worries about pre signal being too hot are gone. It's just perfect this way and I get a nice range of approx -70 to -15.

Second, this sounds so clean! I've been toying with the idea of putting a Schiit Freya+ before the ncore as a way to play with fuzzing it up a bit, will probably try it out. The sound now is as transparent as you'd wish for. My A-S500 was a bloated distorting mess compared to this, judging by ear.

Third, the iFi zen phono pre... It's the first thing I hooked up, before I got the ncore and I had the SHD going into yamaha. When I played a record, I kept checking if it's not a digital source playing, it sounded that clean and straight. This will definitely improve my vinyl experience immensely!

Now I'm going to play more with DIRAC, I've done a few rounds and I'm getting better and better results. The 50Hz room mode is easily taken care of, but now I'll try to customize my curve to tailor it better to the Harbeths. I think the default flat curve is making them a bit thin, but I got a lot to play with now.

By the way, the entire switchup, complete with reprogramming the harmony took me just a day. I made the 4 cables last night, then today I managed to pull the cabinet apart, install and wire everything up and tidy it all back up. I lost like 2 hours trying to hook up the TV digitally. Even did a new dirac setup, all of that alone with a sick 3-yo kid jumping on my head, trying to engage him fully in the project.

Now my SO came home and just turned on the news on TV with the remote. Nothing has changed for her, except she gets much better sound and better control over volume :)
 
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