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Digital Interface for fully digital Genelec system

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Sparky

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Thinking about it logically and realistically, going the "fully digital" route would be the ideal case BUT, will I actually hear any sonic benefit from this as opposed to say, an RME ADI2 Pro using it's fantastic reference level matching features, not to mention to "loudness" function which is phenomenal going off past experience.

I may make all these changes only to find that I don't actually hear any benefit at all.
 

jae

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You will certainly not hear a difference, I have no measurements for you but I can only assume the Genelec ADCs would be "transparent enough".
 

sarumbear

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You will certainly not hear a difference, I have no measurements for you but I can only assume the Genelec ADCs would be "transparent enough".
If you feed analogue to modern Genelec speakers they go through an ADC then DSP then DAC to power amplifiers. If you feed digital you avoid the ADC. Removing a conversion step has to improve the signal chain quality.
 
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With the purchase of two 7350's, I'll have a "fully digital" set up BUT, I'm not feeling the volume control that Genelec provides.
I would have to have two remotes which defeats the purpose of it being family friendly.

Its a shame because, as you guys have all said, to keep the signal chain as pristine as possible the best way to do this is to have your digital interface set to 0dBu.

Surely having the variable volume of say, RME ADI PRO doing its thing, would that REALLY be that much of a detriment Vs a fixed 0dBu signal.

I just want to do the right thing that's all. Its al lot of money to spend so want to get it right.
 

jae

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If you feed analogue to modern Genelec speakers they go through an ADC then DSP then DAC to power amplifiers. If you feed digital you avoid the ADC. Removing a conversion step has to improve the signal chain quality.
I realise there are two conversions, and honestly I would likely want to go all digital myself. But the thing in question was if he'd hear a difference! Someone on here did a teardown of their 8351b (https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/i-disassembled-my-genelec-8351b.14874/) which is a top of the line model, and found Genelec was using AK4621EF in that model. Specs are here: https://www.akm.com/global/en/products/audio/audio-codec/ak4621ef/

The AD-DA specs are well-matched and are fine. If we assume that the other speakers are going to use similar chips, we are good for ~-100 dB. CD transparency (which is already well beyond the limits of human hearing in the context of listening to virtually all music) is <99 dB, so hopefully their circuit was implemented to get the most out of the chip spec.

Good speakers like Genelec with good radiation and frequency domain characteristics, low distortion etc. with "crappy" internal electronics (i.e. worse than the DAC SINAD numbers we are used to here) will always be preferred in terms of overall objective performance/fidelity versus top performing electronics with inferior speaker systems, because the transducer is the bottleneck and has orders of magnitude higher distortions than the electronics. Inferior electronics+good speakers will sound virtually identical to superior electronics+good speakers if they are within the realm of transparency in normal conditions. If Genelec were to put top of the line chips in their speakers and implement them well the costs would go up significantly, and have no real audible benefit. Going all digital can definitely simplify things and ensure good integrity of the signal and give peace of mind, work better with professional workflows, or could provide a more elegant option with less devices in the chain.

With the purchase of two 7350's, I'll have a "fully digital" set up BUT, I'm not feeling the volume control that Genelec provides.
I would have to have two remotes which defeats the purpose of it being family friendly.

Its a shame because, as you guys have all said, to keep the signal chain as pristine as possible the best way to do this is to have your digital interface set to 0dBu.

Surely having the variable volume of say, RME ADI PRO doing its thing, would that REALLY be that much of a detriment Vs a fixed 0dBu signal.

I just want to do the right thing that's all. Its al lot of money to spend so want to get it right.
What is your source, a PC or some other streamer/AV/smart TV type device? How is the music being played back? I think if you want something modernly family-friendly the best option would be to implement use some kind of product/service that has a control app where you can view your library/stream songs and control volume right from a smartphone. Unless you were wanting them to also be able to control the volume of the speakers for multiple sources as well?
 
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badboygolf16v

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You can use the ADI-2 Pro FS R's loudness feature with its digital output. Obviously auto reference level doesn't apply to the digital output. The digital volume control of the RME will be transparent, the manual states it uses 42 bit TotalMix algorithm, so not a concern.

The RME is supported by Harmony Remote, you will have source switching, volume and remote control all in one place, plus a host of additional functionality. I fail to see how you could be disappointed.

I use one as a digital volume control for my Neumann KH 750.
 

Tangband

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Thinking about it logically and realistically, going the "fully digital" route would be the ideal case BUT, will I actually hear any sonic benefit from this as opposed to say, an RME ADI2 Pro using it's fantastic reference level matching features, not to mention to "loudness" function which is phenomenal going off past experience.

I may make all these changes only to find that I don't actually hear any benefit at all.
Yes , there is a small audible benefit going digital . Thats the case with my Genelec 8340.
You can use an rca - xlr cable if you have less than 5 metres to the first loudspeaker .
With a resistor , you can modify the rca output on an usbbridge to be 110 ohm.
There is no audible difference though.

One person mentioned the Douk U2 . I have one of those and you can regulate the volume digitaly with 24 bit resolution with a computer as a source . Its a good sounding unit and it has been measured and reviewed here :


The Skysong USB bridge sound slightly better and I have compared this unit here:


The Yamaha wxc50 also has a digital volume control with spdif output but the sound is slightly inferior to Douk U2 and skysong usb bridge. Going digital from the Yamaha is better though than analog from the Yamaha dac .
 
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Tangband

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If you feed analogue to modern Genelec speakers they go through an ADC then DSP then DAC to power amplifiers. If you feed digital you avoid the ADC. Removing a conversion step has to improve the signal chain quality.
Thats very true .
 
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I realise there are two conversions, and honestly I would likely want to go all digital myself. But the thing in question was if he'd hear a difference! Someone on here did a teardown of their 8351b (https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/i-disassembled-my-genelec-8351b.14874/) which is a top of the line model, and found Genelec was using AK4621EF in that model. Specs are here: https://www.akm.com/global/en/products/audio/audio-codec/ak4621ef/

The AD-DA specs are well-matched and are fine. If we assume that the other speakers are going to use similar chips, we are good for ~-100 dB. CD transparency (which is already well beyond the limits of human hearing in the context of listening to virtually all music) is <99 dB, so hopefully their circuit was implemented to get the most out of the chip spec.

Good speakers like Genelec with good radiation and frequency domain characteristics, low distortion etc. with "crappy" internal electronics (i.e. worse than the DAC SINAD numbers we are used to here) will always be preferred in terms of overall objective performance/fidelity versus top performing electronics with inferior speaker systems, because the transducer is the bottleneck and has orders of magnitude higher distortions than the electronics. Inferior electronics+good speakers will sound virtually identical to superior electronics+good speakers if they are within the realm of transparency in normal conditions. If Genelec were to put top of the line chips in their speakers and implement them well the costs would go up significantly, and have no real audible benefit. Going all digital can definitely simplify things and ensure good integrity of the signal and give piece of mind, work better with professional workflows, or could provide a more elegant option with less devices in the chain
Extremely good point well made there. Essentially, the chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.
The DAC chosen to be implemented in the Genelec SAM series of speakers by the Genelec design engineers must've gone through very stringent testing and development to ensure audio transparency vs design integration vs cost and the AK4621EF clearly came out on top.

I mean, if it's good for professional studio monitoring/mixing etc then it's good for home audio all day long! :)

Thanks for that jae, good post!
 

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Extremely good point well made there. Essentially, the chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.
The DAC chosen to be implemented in the Genelec SAM series of speakers by the Genelec design engineers must've gone through very stringent testing and development to ensure audio transparency vs design integration vs cost and the AK4621EF clearly came out on top.

I mean, if it's good for professional studio monitoring/mixing etc then it's good for home audio all day long! :)

Thanks for that jae, good post!
Jae has a good point.
I really think that you should listen for yourself and compare digital connection with analog with your 8341 . The Douk U2 cost very little and measures very well .
If you cant hear a difference you havent lost much money , if you can hear a benefit with digital connection then you can invest in more expensive gear .
You have really good loudspeakers so you should really try a good digital connection . Have fun :)
 
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What is your source, a PC or some other streamer/AV/smart TV type device? How is the music being played back? I think if you want something modernly family-friendly the best option would be to implement use some kind of product/service that has a control app where you can view your library/stream songs and control volume right from a smartphone. Unless you were wanting them to also be able to control the volume of the speakers for multiple sources as well?
I am using an Intel NUC in a fanless case running as a ROON core via USB.
I will soon be using a Rasberry Pi4 with an AES HAT as a ROON endpoint via AES (when the Rasberry Pi stocks start to materialise)

My video sources are a PS4, Satellite PVR and an NVIDIA Shield which does all my movie streaming and is a PLEX server via an LG tv using Optical.

I usually have all sources set to "fixed" or "max" volume.

I use a minidsp SHD as a volume control/input selector but it primary role is subwoofer integration.
If I bought Genelec subs, I would no longer need the rather large SHD sitting there.
 
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You can use the ADI-2 Pro FS R's loudness feature with its digital output. Obviously auto reference level doesn't apply to the digital output. The digital volume control of the RME will be transparent, the manual states it uses 42 bit TotalMix algorithm, so not a concern.

The RME is supported by Harmony Remote, you will have source switching, volume and remote control all in one place, plus a host of additional functionality. I fail to see how you could be disappointed.

I use one as a digital volume control for my Neumann KH 750.
Very very handy to know! Thanks! :)
 

Tangband

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I am using an Intel NUC in a fanless case running as a ROON core via USB.
I will soon be using a Rasberry Pi4 with an AES HAT as a ROON endpoint via AES (when the Rasberry Pi stocks start to materialise)

My video sources are a PS4, Satellite PVR and an NVIDIA Shield which does all my movie streaming and is a PLEX server via an LG tv using Optical.

I usually have all sources set to "fixed" or "max" volume.

I use a minidsp SHD as a volume control/input selector but it primary role is subwoofer integration.
If I bought Genelec subs, I would no longer need the rather large SHD sitting there.
Just one hint : If you use an Apple TV as videosource you can still use plex. You can also use AirPlay from Apple TV to your Pi4 with AES hat , and regulate the volume digitaly with the Apple TV remote control when watching movies .
The solution you already have should be fine though .
 

voodooless

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Just one hint : If you use an Apple TV as videosource you can still use plex. You can also use AirPlay from Apple TV to your Pi4 with AES hat , and regulate the volume digitaly with the Apple TV remote control when watching movies .
The solution you already have should be fine though .
I doubt that will preserve audio/video sync very well.
 
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Just one hint : If you use an Apple TV as videosource you can still use plex. You can also use AirPlay from Apple TV to your Pi4 with AES hat , and regulate the volume digitaly with the Apple TV remote control when watching movies .
The solution you already have should be fine though .
I don't own anything "Apple" but if I ever decided to use an "Apple" product, at least I know it could be well integrated into my system. :)
 

Tangband

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I doubt that will preserve audio/video sync very well.
Its functioning perfect with my gear :).
I have a modern 80 inch Samsung LED.
The Apple TV sends out movie/sound in sync with airplay and hdmi.

But it might be different with different tv:s , so good point .
 
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Tangband

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You can use the ADI-2 Pro FS R's loudness feature with its digital output. Obviously auto reference level doesn't apply to the digital output. The digital volume control of the RME will be transparent, the manual states it uses 42 bit TotalMix algorithm, so not a concern.

The RME is supported by Harmony Remote, you will have source switching, volume and remote control all in one place, plus a host of additional functionality. I fail to see how you could be disappointed.

I use one as a digital volume control for my Neumann KH 750.
I dont mean to be blunt , but I think I have a point. You wrote: ”the manual states it uses 42 bit TotalMix algorithm, so not a concern.”

I could write the same about the Yamaha wxc50: s digital volume when the commersial says : ” Volume regulation with 48 bit precision ” .

None of this is true and in the case of Yamaha wxc50 the sound is not the best you can get when using the digital output and volume regulation . The Yamaha chip doing SRC and digital volume in this unit has a spec of -108 dB which is 18 bit resolution…. ( YSS952 according to the service manual ).
Edit: A Douk U2 is slightly better sounding with a computer as source and digital volume regulation.

The RME might be transparent ( I think it would be for that high price ) and good enough for highend use, but it takes real listening sessions for a couple of days to really hear if its good enough , ie cant be bettered.
 
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I dont mean to be blunt , but I think I have a point. You wrote: ”the manual states it uses 42 bit TotalMix algorithm, so not a concern.”

I could write the same about the Yamaha wxc50: s digital volume when the commersial says : ” Volume regulation with 48 bit precision ” .

None of this is true and in the case of Yamaha wxc50 the sound is not the best you can get when using the digital output and volume regulation . The Yamaha chip doing SRC and digital volume in this unit has a spec of -108 dB which is 18 bit resolution…. ( YSS952 according to the service manual )

The RME might be transparent ( I think it would be for that high price ) and good enough for highend use, but it takes real listening sessions for a couple of days to really hear if its good enough .
You do have a valid point for sure. It is all subjective and what one person hears may be completely different for another.
I used to own an RME ADI2 DAC a couple of years ago and I thought it sounded fantastic in my room. I loaned it to a friend who lives round the corner to try in his system and it sounded completely different to my ear in his room/set up. Sounded too clinical/sibilant when it was with him. The settings were all the same in the DAC etc etc.

Each room is different as is each person and how they interpret the sound they are hearing.
 

badboygolf16v

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I dont mean to be blunt , but I think I have a point. You wrote: ”the manual states it uses 42 bit TotalMix algorithm, so not a concern.”
Maybe take a look at the RME manual, they provide detailed measurements. Setting the monitors' sensitivity for a decent gain structure means there are no concerns.
 

Tangband

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Maybe take a look at the RME manual, they provide detailed measurements. Setting the monitors' sensitivity for a decent gain structure means there are no concerns.
That might be true.
 
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