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Merging Hapi with AKD8D/AKD8DP

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#1
Hi, I'm new to this forum and love the content here more than any audio forum I've come across and I've explored many over the years. Thank you Amirm and others who contribute for keeping it real and honest. I'm a musician and thus most of my audio recording and playback equipment is proaudio equipment and not hifi. That said over the years I've owned some hifi equipment that really impressed me including Quad 57s and Acoustat Model 3s/Xs direct by driven by servo amps which I modded to the nth degree. These days I listen primarily on a pair of Genelecs and some Fostex full range drivers which I intend to supplement with ribbon tweeters soon.

My DAC and A/D is a Motu 8A which is excellent. I had a RME ADI 2 Pro prior, also outstanding but switched as I need more ins and outs. With the ADI 2 pro with only two inputs I was forced to sum externally which is a fad these days. I'd rather sum digitally in a daw for simplicity sake and it makes more sense to me from a maintaining a clean signal perspective, than to sum outboard -- using a mixer (traditionally) or a summing device like Dangerous Music makes. From what I can tell outboard summing is an expression of nostalgia and equipment manufacturers taking advantage of buyer's vulnerability in this regard. With few if any exceptions, it's my understanding that adding more components to a signal path that's designed to accurately render a flat 20-20khz signal from the source, say a synth or a micd instrument, can only add distortion, linear frequency response deviation, and increase the noise floor and in turn negatively impact the rendition of microdynamics.

Merging's AKD8D card, used often for orchestral recordings, seems to be one of the top tier offerings for low distortion A/D and D/A conversion. I'm very curious to see third party measurements. I suspect it's one of the best if not the best DAC implementations on the market as I'm skeptical of the numbers companies like MSB publish. That said I trust Merging's specs given their reputation and customer base, however -120db THD+N and 140db Dynamic Range for the DAC section seems pretty astounding.
 
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gazua707

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Hello, I hope my reply could be helping you. I am also having pro audio background so hope we share common thing.


I don't like what my HI-FI speaker was doing, especially twisting the phase on the higher frequency in order to reproduce(I'd say exaggerate) wider stereo image(some pro DACs do the same tricks too). It was famous UK made 5 inch model, so I don't know if other Hi-fi speakers or hi-fi DACs would do the same thing, but I find the pro equipment are way more priced reasonably and it is true to the source.

Mostly agree what you said upon the analogue outboard summing but I think if AD and DA is not good enough, (at least in the same level of Apogee Symphony MK II SE, personally), it is not useful even though it has some bigger 'headroom,' compared to the ITB mix. I've been seeing a lot of people talking about the depth and mojo came out from the OTB summing, but really more than that, I believe the headroom is the main benefit that one can earn from the OTB summing.



Back to the point about the Merging AK8D(and of course the 'P'remium version) option card, IT DOESN'T HAVE "DAC" function. It is FULLY ADC. Then why is there a 'Direct out' db25 port? This port send signal 'out,' which comes to the input channel. For instance, if you want to record backup tracks on the different recorder, or if you want to record DSD(or DXD) and PCM at the same time, you can use that 'Direct out' port to connect to the other devices.

If you want the DA function, you should purchase DA8P.

Hope it helps :)



ps. Heard Merging HAPI with DA8P, and by far it is the BEST DA I have ever heard. I don't really have experiences with HIFI DACs, but fairly most Pro DACs. Merging is the only converter that really broke the 'barrier of depth.' DAD might have more 'beauty' in it, but Merging is just transparent. It is hard to explain. The bass is tight(due to low crosstalk), Mid is transparent, high is just clear like the blue sky over the Mont Blanc. It is not wide but it is accurate. It doesn't twist or exaggerate the phase response upon the high the frequency response. Just demo the product. You should focus on not only the THD+N and DR, but also the crosstalk.

ps. @amirm Thank you so much for your time for doing the measurement. I really do enjoy those 'objective' result which is a lighthouse for the world full of 'marketing' BS. If it is possible, if you can measure the crosstalk of the devices, I think it would make ASR more unique!(eventhough it already is :)
 
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I had the privilege of hearing a pair of MeyerSound Blue Horns recently in a dedicated demonstration studio. They achieve 'perfect phase accurateness' and were custom designed for Skywalker Sound. They're a two way setup and use a 4" JBL Compression driver with a custom stamped aluminum diaphragm -- presumably to alter its resonance characteristics -- for MF//HF, a 12" woofer, similar in form to the Acheron Designer, with a supplementary 18" bass woofer and some additional DSP. One of the best listening experiences of my life. Zappa's Watermelon in Easter Hay was a treat. They were crystal clear and accurate beyond words.

Regarding analogue // outboard summing, good point about increased headroom of line inputs. Something like an SPL Neos with high voltage rails for increased headroom exemplifies the value of that point. There's definitely an appeal in pushing a preamp/amp circuit to its maximum before clipping, and above levels of more conventional audio equipment, in the interest of extracting maximum low level detail. I see it as kind of akin to striving for maximum dynamic range + megapixel density + low visual noise when photographing a raw digital image -- in that the higher the headroom // the more 'clean headroom', the more low level information that be picked up from a source signal, which in turn gives the engineer more to work with.

Edit: I was confusing the AK8D with the ADA8 card. Appreciate the clarification as that's a bit confusing. Right now I use an RME QuadMic II and as mentioned a Motu 8A both of which are great for my needs which includes taking advantage of the DC coupled inputs on the 8A for integration with my modular synthesizer -- sending cv into a computer to modulate various parameters. I hope to upgrade to a Merging setup someday though I'm in no rush as my set up sounds great, is reliable, and now that I know I have to buy a separate DA card in addition to the AD card haha.
 
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gazua707

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I'm glad that it helped you to clarify things. Thanks for your experience about high end Hifi speaker. I wanna hear that one one day!

The point about headroom was very impressive, yes, it could bring up more works. Depends on the genres and style of producing or mixing, it could be something useful(or not o_O)

BTW AK8D card is ADC only, but "ADA8" has both ADC and DAC in the same board.
 
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Thanks for clarifying again. And the Meyersound is a Pro Audio speaker and not Hifi. They're worth a listen if the opportunity presents itself.
 
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