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Minidsp SHD Review Updated (DSP, DAC & Streamer)

nick-v

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I hate to be that guy, but when you're getting this type of performance and the crazy amount of features (high-performance 4 channel DAC, DSP crossover, Dirac Live, Roon Ready, etc...) at this price point, something's gotta give. miniDSP aren't the best with support, but still not terrible.
 

samysound

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I bought mine used for $2000. Came pretty much in perfect condition, though I had to buy the ARC Genesis mic separately.

The STR preamp does not have a streamer, so that is a missing SHD feature. That said, I did not like the ancient Volumio build on the SHD and didn't use it anyway.

ARC Genesys is different than DIRAC. I found it harder to get exactly the response I wanted. You also cannot load your own biquads like on the SHD (if you used that). But it does have a crossover, which you can program directly from the front panel even if you do not use ARC Genesis.

I like the STR better than the SHD because I can name all the inputs with human-compatible names (like phono or net or recorder etc). All the "front panel" inputs are virtual and get associated with a "back end" physical input. So you could, for example, have two virtual inputs for the same physical input, but with different settings.

One thing I do not like about the STR is its IR codes use one code to turn on and another to turn off, so it is not compatible with the Sofa Baton's single power button -- you have to program one button for on and one button for off. But otherwise, the sofa baton works great with it.

EDIT: The STR also has easy to use tone controls, including sub level, bass, and treble.
I believe ARC Genesis on the STR also has automated phase adjustment for subwoofers which the DIRAC version available on the SHD cannot do. Dirac bass control would be way more powerful in this regard if/when minidsp is able to incorporate it into the SHD.
 

samysound

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@nothingman

That's a weird way to handle things. I bought my SHD through Deer Creek Audio. I hope that they step in if something goes bad for me. Also, I have posted twice on miniDSP forum about adding Dirac Live Bass Control and crappy Volumio search feature that keeps listing crap from world radio...

Both times I never got any response! May be they went through layoffs and don't have as many people?
Ive inquired with minidsp about dirac bass control as well in the past. They responded that their policy is not to discuss or disclose future plans / time line with the public.

On the opposite end of spectrum we have companies lie NAD that advertise features (e.g. dirac bass control for the M10/M33) and never deliver
 

nothingman

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@nothingman

That's a weird way to handle things. I bought my SHD through Deer Creek Audio. I hope that they step in if something goes bad for me. Also, I have posted twice on miniDSP forum about adding Dirac Live Bass Control and crappy Volumio search feature that keeps listing crap from world radio...

Both times I never got any response! May be they went through layoffs and don't have as many people?

People have been asking them about DLBC for years. You’re wasting your time. They won’t even tell us if it’s even in the realm of possibility that DLBC can be implemented on SHD, much less whether they’re working on it or it’s on the roadmap.

Complaining about Volumio features is another dead end. “Volumio 3” launched in December 2021 and it’s still in the process of being ported to SHD. Volumio is the backbone of the SHD, and miniDSP is supposed to be one of the closest partners of Volumio. Trust me, miniDSP is not entertaining feedback on new features while slow-walking a port of an update that’s almost two years old.

Volumio is beyond repair. Even the current standalone version is embarrassingly outdated and support for the SHD version is so far behind it’s insulting. The interface wouldn’t impress anyone in 2003, much less 2023. Forget it exists. Go WiiM.

And good luck with your unit and Deer Creek if you need help one day. They were complete and utter bums when I encountered problems. The only thing they know how to do is tap the sign on their website that says they don’t have any responsibility.
 

pollock0424

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Just to be sure before I buy the Wiim mini

Can I use qobuz with Wiim and use chromecast to directly cast music from qobuz app to wiim mini ?

I will use the optical out, what is the bandwidth when using the optical output on WiiM mini?
 

nothingman

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Can’t answer anything about using Quboz because I’m not a subscriber, but any WiiM device (Mini, Pro, Pro Plus) can does bit-perfect 24/192 over optical.
 

pollock0424

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Okay, apparently only WiiM Pro has the chromecast. Qobuz can be used with chromecast.

However, I have found an alternate solution. BubbleUPnP -> Qobuz -> miniDSP SHD. This solution is definitely less bulky when compared to Volumio on SHD. Yay! I'm happy for now ☺️
 

pollock0424

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I actually like Device Console. Yes, the display regression is a minor annoyance, but it handles synchronizing with offline changes much better, and a single app now controls both my SHD and my 2x4HD.
What are you using 2x4HD for?
 

ebslo

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Complaining about Volumio features is another dead end. “Volumio 3” launched in December 2021 and it’s still in the process of being ported to SHD. Volumio is the backbone of the SHD, and miniDSP is supposed to be one of the closest partners of Volumio. Trust me, miniDSP is not entertaining feedback on new features while slow-walking a port of an update that’s almost two years old.
They announced a beta of Volumio 3 in June of this year, and called for testers. Yes, it's moving slow and there have been no public updates since, but it is moving.
 

nothingman

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I actually like Device Console. Yes, the display regression is a minor annoyance, but it handles synchronizing with offline changes much better, and a single app now controls both my SHD and my 2x4HD.

Those are hardly new features, though. You could do those things, it’s just a bit easier now.

New features would be something like being able to rename presets or inputs on the front display (miniDSP already said this is impossible for them to do, which is a surprising limitation), or having a master on-off PEQ switch so that you don’t have to disable 10 bands one-by-one to do A-B comparisons, or a basic clipping alert light for inputs and outputs in the desktop software or on the front display to take the guesswork out of knowing whether the peaks are clipping, or a home theater passthrough mode, or a preset or input specific default master volume level, etc. Y’know, all the things that seem perfectly doable considering the power of the device’s capabilities and which people have been requesting for years, but which miniDSP is too stubborn or just plain too slow to provide.

They announced a beta of Volumio 3 in June of this year, and called for testers. Yes, it's moving slow and there have been no public updates since, but it is moving.

That’s swell. Still no delivery, though, right? By the time it launches we’re talking two years lag time.
 
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DimensionX

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Is this still a good buy in late 2023? I'm looking for a streaming preamp with volume control, analog inputs, and XLR and RCA outputs and this has all of those features, but it's also like 5 years old now and still pretty expensive.

Are there cheaper/newer competing devices that have all of these features? I can't seem to find any. I'm surprised there aren't more competitors in this space.

- volume control
- streaming dac
- analog inputs
- XLR and RCA outputs
 

pollock0424

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Is this still a good buy in late 2023? I'm looking for a streaming preamp with volume control, analog inputs, and XLR and RCA outputs and this has all of those features, but it's also like 5 years old now and still pretty expensive.

Are there cheaper/newer competing devices that have all of these features? I can't seem to find any. I'm surprised there aren't more competitors in this space.

- volume control
- streaming dac
- analog inputs
- XLR and RCA outputs
I just upgraded to device console and I lost the ability to control the lcd display but its a minor annoyance for me. What I noticed is that after firmware update volumio search has improved. I think that it is still a good buy. If you have the $$$ go for Anthem STR.
 

DimensionX

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I thought about the Anthem STR, but I've already got too many amps and complex all in one units make me a little nervous on the reliability aspect.

- replying here to @radix to not totally hijack this thread - Thanks, I did not realize they had a full line of STR. Yeah that STR preamp has all the features I'm looking for, but at over 4k USD it's more than I'm looking to spend. I may just go for a separate streamer and preamp for now and look to combine boxes when something appears.
 
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radix

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I thought about the Anthem STR, but I've already got too many amps and complex all in one units make me a little nervous on the reliability aspect.
Anthem has 3 devices in the STR series: preamp, amp, and integrated amp.
 

tw99

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MiniDSP Device Console 1.12 is released, contains new firmware with some useful improvements to the signal processing, as well as reinstating the display brightness and timeout controls.
 

pollock0424

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MiniDSP Device Console 1.12 is released, contains new firmware with some useful improvements to the signal processing, as well as reinstating the display brightness and timeout controls.
A quick info on those extra SP abilities will be appreciated much.
 

Snoopy

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@nothingman
Just looked up the device console, I didn't even hear about it before. Pardon my ignorance but why the older version is better?

@RosalieTheDog

I paid for the whole year, I need to figure out a way to get my monies back. Even the UI sucks and even the recommender system in qobuz.

If I want a flawless UI then I have to pay another 180$ per year for Roon, totally 360$ per year doesn't sound appealing to me.
Roon lifetime license :) absolutely worth it once U are a few years in. You probably have your moneys worth back before there is a qobuz connect app even on the drawing board
 

nick-v

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A quick info on those extra SP abilities will be appreciated much.
FYI

"18/09/2023 - Rev 1.1.11 18/9/2023, 1:00:56 pm
DSP Firmware
- [All Models] Noise performance improvement on filter response for IIR filters
- [All Models] Volume control moved before ASRC in DSP chain to help against potential distortion caused by intersample peaks

XMOS Firmware
- [All Models] More informative messages will be displayed on screen instead of DSP FAIL. The DeviceConsole will provide the necessary recovery steps.
- [SHD, Flex, Flex-8] OLED Display will turn off after idle for a user-specified period of time. Brightness when the display is ON can also be set. These settings are now available in the Device Console under 'Display Settings' for each model.
- [SHD, Flex, Flex-8] miniDSP Logo now appears during boot-up

Dirac:
- Fixed a bug of Dirac software error that occurred if users gave a long non-English (UTF-8) name string to a filter slot.

GUI Changes:
- Left Side Menu can be shown or hidden. (Refer to the View menu)
- Fixed bug where Volumio-Version-Checker periodic checking keeps on stacking up alert dialogs.
- Resize to fit content when program window is 'maximized' and 'unmaximized'
- Improvement on device reboot sequence
- Device sessions closes gracefully.
- Display a error dialog with suggested recovery-steps when the number of retries getting device identification exceeded maximum.
- Removed the UAC-2 Version-Checking
- Device Console can upgrade 2x4HD/DDRC-24 XMOS firmware from as low as v1.18.
- Fixed bug where the preset names are copied to other presets during Reset-All.
- Changes made to Preset Name now take effect immediately.
- Offer a method to recover if DSP information is corrupted.
- Improved the button alignments in the DSP context menu
- [Template Device] 'Dummy' RMS Meter now changes within a limited range, and actually respond to 'Mute' button.
- Do not prompt for Software OTA Update while performing XMOS and DSP firmware programming.

then

21/9/2023, 1:00:56 pm
XMOS Firmware (v1.62)
- [SHD, 2x4HD/DDRC-24] - Fixing the false DSP-Error flag

Device Console
- Fixed a potential problem that after XMOS firmware update completed - the device does not restart as instructed. Require power-cycling manually.

For those affected by the false DSP Error from prior version, we recommend: 1) update the DC to get the new firmware on the computer. 2) Then open session to their 2x4HD/DDRC-24/SHD. You will be prompted to recover the error by programming either firmware. Now choose XMOS firmware to update. It will program the new one and reboot. The false alarm should no longer appear."
 
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