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Aune X8. My overview.

ManniX

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If I understand correctly, I have the option to put a SPARKOS LABS Pro to Dual DIP8 Adapter + 2x SPARKOS LABS SS2590 Single Discrete OPA (Unit) in the Aune X8 XVIII and it will improve the audio quality compared to the existing SS306?

Note that the Aune X8 doesn't come with an SS3602 installed.
Maybe it's obvious but it's better to remark it to avoid funny surprises and wrong expectations :)

If you notice an improvement, or not, in audio quality seems it's a very personal matter.
I didn't notice any change using the SS3602, at all.

The only noticeable thing was a slight increase in background noise using the analyzer.
Nothing audible luckily but still a bit disappointing.
Very likely the odd position of the op-amp socket had a role; the SS3602 sticks out of the Aune like a giant antenna...
 
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sniegs

sniegs

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Note that the Aune X8 doesn't come with an SS3602 installed.
Maybe it's obvious but it's better to remark it to avoid funny surprises and wrong expectations :)

If you notice an improvement, or not, in audio quality seems it's a very personal matter.
I didn't notice any change using the SS3602, at all.

The only noticeable thing was a slight increase in background noise using the analyzer.
Nothing audible luckily but still a bit disappointing.
Very likely the odd position of the op-amp socket had a role; the SS3602 sticks out of the Aune like a giant antenna...
I know that it does not come in the package (as the author of this topic reviews ;)).
For me, the idea is to upgrade, and I see a clear difference in the sound, regardless of what the analyzers show. I also trust iiwi, I say he has golden ears :D.
 

ManniX

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I know that it does not come in the package (as the author of this topic reviews ;)).
For me, the idea is to upgrade, and I see a clear difference in the sound, regardless of what the analyzers show. I also trust iiwi, I say he has golden ears :D.

Sorry it was obvious of course :)

If you can, indeed it's better to try for yourself. That's what I did.

I've sent back the Aune X8 cause of the filter mode bug and the lack of RCU.
Got a Topping D50s (I don't need balanced outputs) which is maybe not as much well engineered, it pops when switching bitrate, but it sounds exactly the same as the Aune X8 for me.
Plus it saves the filter mode and has an RCU...
 

wyup

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Thank you for your review.

If I understand correctly, I have the option to put a SPARKOS LABS Pro to Dual DIP8 Adapter + 2x SPARKOS LABS SS2590 Single Discrete OPA (Unit) in the Aune X8 XVIII and it will improve the audio quality compared to the existing SS306?

P.S. I apologize if I haven't answered technical questions because I don't have enough knowledge (I'm more of a listener).
Yes, that is It.
I think I found a little better tonality the day I changed it, and I am happy with it, my mind is at peace. I wanted the best performance of this amply regarded dac.

I bought the Aune linear supply as well, but here I'm not sure I noticed anything.

P.S. I bought four 2 cm rubber feet to lift the X8 to make space for the Sparks and now it looks even better, almighty!

I also have a RPI Ian Canada based spdif transport to the Aune and it is another improvement in sound. "Small moves, Ellie, small moves".
 
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sniegs

sniegs

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Yes, that is It.
I think I found a little better tonality the day I changed it, and I am happy with it, my mind is at rest. I wanted the best performance of this amply regarded dac.

I bought the Aune linear supply as well, but here I'm not sure I noticed anything.

P.S. I bought four 2 cm rubber feet to lift the X8 to make space for the Sparks and now it looks even better, almighty!

I also have a RPI Ian Canada based spdif transport to the Aune and it is another improvement in sound. "Small moves, Ellie, small moves".
Thank you for your reply,

I just bought 2xSS2590, adapter and dip riser.
About the legs, I've turned Aune upside down and I don't need legs at all lol =D.

I also do not intend to change the power supply unit PSU, because I believe that the one included in the set is very good and powerful. I also doubt I would hear any difference. Accordingly, I do not intend to change the PSU or the cables to the speakers with silver, etc.

My thoughts are that each element I can hear adds to the overall performance and more of a difference between each previous component. I invite someone else to the tests to reduce the placebo, which clearly exists with small differences or incorrect, for example, the sound levels mentioned in the video.
 
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wyup

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You should be using optical spdif now, did you try using DoP64 how it sounds?
Using SDM, the DSD format, the output is almost unfiltered.
But if you can convert via the rPi there's no need.
Yes, I tested DoP64 on RPi via MPD player, selecting its output to DSD64 live conversion. My SPDIF streamer board is limited to 192Khz, so DSD64 is the top (I think it shows 176KHz equivalent on the Display). Audio quality was ok, but I was playing compressed files. I'm upgrading my audio system hardware step by step. Recently I got Elac DBR62 speakers, very good sound for the price, the equivalent to the Aune X8. Last week I auditioned the new Musical Fidelity A1 amplifier with my Elacs and I'm amazed at how good they can sound.

What do you mean by SDM?
 

ManniX

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Yes, I tested DoP64 on RPi via MPD player, selecting its output to DSD64 live conversion. My SPDIF streamer board is limited to 192Khz, so DSD64 is the top (I think it shows 176KHz equivalent on the Display). Audio quality was ok, but I was playing compressed files. I'm upgrading my audio system hardware step by step. Recently I got Elac DBR62 speakers, very good sound for the price, the equivalent to the Aune X8. Last week I auditioned the new Musical Fidelity A1 amplifier with my Elacs and I'm amazed at how good they can sound.

What do you mean by SDM?

SDM (Sigma-Delta Modulation) is the 1-bit audio format used by DSD.
The SDM output is how usually the DSD output is called, either via DoP or native.
HQPlayer is using mainly SDM instead of DSD (which is probably more correct in the context) so I guess that's why it's often referenced as that.

If there's a discernable difference vs the PCM output, either better or worse, you probably need high quality and high res content to catch it.

The new A1 looks really interesting but a bit too much for my budget right now. But thanks for tip, maybe I'll have a look at it later...
Especially since the nice 2nd hand Yamaha A-S700 that I bought few months ago suddenly dropped dead completely while in standby.
I thought it would last 10-15 years like the previous but I was too optimistic.
 

wyup

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SDM (Sigma-Delta Modulation) is the 1-bit audio format used by DSD.
The SDM output is how usually the DSD output is called, either via DoP or native.
HQPlayer is using mainly SDM instead of DSD (which is probably more correct in the context) so I guess that's why it's often referenced as that.

If there's a discernable difference vs the PCM output, either better or worse, you probably need high quality and high res content to catch it.

The new A1 looks really interesting but a bit too much for my budget right now. But thanks for tip, maybe I'll have a look at it later...
Especially since the nice 2nd hand Yamaha A-S700 that I bought few months ago suddenly dropped dead completely while in standby.
I thought it would last 10-15 years like the previous but I was too optimistic.
Yes, you're right... It is disheartnening how a piece of slab from the 80s, slightly upgraded costs ten times more now. It sounds good, but hey.. this old technology should be streamlined today... It puts me down.
I don't understand how I can buy the latest OLED technology for a 65'' tv for the same price, which is much harder to make.

I have a 250€ Onkyo A-9010, which at 1/6 its price, sounds pretty good! It's insane how audio improvements are exponential. Same for the Elacs. I auditioned the A1 with Mofi Sourcepoint 8s (six times its price) and they sounded just slightly better. And A1 is not the does it all either , it is a stove and can't drive them properly.
 

ManniX

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Yes, you're right... It is disheartnening how a piece of slab from the 80s, slightly upgraded costs ten times more now. It sounds good, but hey.. this old technology should be streamlined today... It puts me down.
I don't understand how I can buy the latest OLED technology for a 65'' tv for the same price, which is much harder to make.

Well a 65" TV is built in thousands of units every week from behemoths like Samsung or Foxconn.
The cost of producing few thousands units, in a very small fab and half manually it's much higher.
The "hi-end" brand name and the "classic vintage" sensation are also big up costs for these products.

But as you said it's a slightly improved design, mostly to accommodate new parts to replace those too old to source.
It's over priced for sure but what matters is how it does compare to the competition which is often underwhelming even in higher price ranges.

Would be nice to see this revamped A1 tested here.
 

HarmonicTHD

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HarmonicTHD

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Yes, I tested DoP64 on RPi via MPD player, selecting its output to DSD64 live conversion. My SPDIF streamer board is limited to 192Khz, so DSD64 is the top (I think it shows 176KHz equivalent on the Display). Audio quality was ok, but I was playing compressed files. I'm upgrading my audio system hardware step by step. Recently I got Elac DBR62 speakers, very good sound for the price, the equivalent to the Aune X8. Last week I auditioned the new Musical Fidelity A1 amplifier with my Elacs and I'm amazed at how good they can sound.

What do you mean by SDM?
Unless you want to entertain your dog or house bats with additional transmitted ultrasound.... there is no point in moving beyond 48khZ for music reproduction. Your perceived differences are due to your testing - see @BDWoody post further up and watch the video. Also plenty of data here on the forum on sampling rates.
 

ManniX

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Unless you want to entertain your dog or house bats with additional transmitted ultrasound.... there is no point in moving beyond 48khZ for music reproduction. Your perceived differences are due to your testing - see @BDWoody post further up and watch the video. Also plenty of data here on the forum on sampling rates.

That's true in a pure theoretical world but it's not what happens in the real world.

Half of the content available in hi-res with a higher frequency sampling rate either is worst or better in lo-res or hi-res version.
Not because of the sampling rate, because they have been mastered or mixed differently, with better or worse equipment or by skilled or less skilled audio engineers.
Mostly the differences are nil or close to nil but if you care about a specific content, the quest is worthwhile.

Some content is just outright wrong because the master originally was at 48 kHz but available down-sampled, badly, at 44.1 kHz in lo-res while done right at 96 kHz.

Then there's also the PCM/SDM decoding of the DAC that can be either worse or better in one or other mode or applying atrocious filters below a specific bitrate.
Which remarks the importance of reading carefully the reviews here before buying something... which I didn't when I bought the infamous SMSL PO100 AK.
With any PCM output below 88 kHz the filter kills the hi-frequency range in the vey audible range even for someone in their late 40s like me.
Makes you appreciate hi-res even if the reason the audio quality improvement is not really due to the higher sampling rate.
 
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