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Multi-Channel, Multi-Amplifier Audio System Using Software Crossover and Multichannel-DAC

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dualazmak

dualazmak

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Are the CD player and turntable also integrated in the setup?

Nowadays, I seldom use them; I only use them for rare occasions of physical CD listening and vinyl LP digitization. CD ripping is done simply by PC and USB CD drive using dBpoweramp CD ripper.
 
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dualazmak

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I always rip CD into non-compressed intact aiff format of 44.1 kHz. The reasons of non-compressed aiff format are; (1) I used to use apple iTunes for CD ripping, (2) very flexible almost unlimited tag capabilities of aiff format.

Regarding my policy and operation of "How to organize digital music library", please refer to my post here on remote thread. In the post, I wrote "I use JRiver MC for CD ripping", but recently I found dBpoweramp CD Ripper is much more reliable accurate, and it is also excellent in automatic tag info collection from internet; of course I always edit many of them "until I'm happy fully with them".

I mainly use JRiver MC's tag editing function which is really nice since it remembers all of the "so far used tag wordings" in each of the so many tag fields, and it also allows to edit a tag field for all the selected tracks at once.
 
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dualazmak

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NISHIZAWA R-65 VU meter plus ATV205EXT VU amp board is compatible with IEC 60268-17 VU meter specification/standard

Edit:
notation for specific search hit to this post: "Dualazmak DIY 12-VU-Meter Array" e.g. in YouTube clips.

After my completion and installation of the 12-VU-Meter Array in my setup, several ASRF friends sent me inquiries (on this thread entitled"VU Meters: Let's See 'Em!!", and on this thread entitled "Do software VU meters react the same as hardware versions?") regarding the compatibilities of the NISHIZAWA R-65 VU meter plus the ATV205EXT VU amp board with the strict IEC 30238-17 60268-17 VU meter specification/standard.

I have intensively discussed with the company SUZUDES10 in this regard, and SUZUDES10 very kindly sent me the memorial VU meter panels (plates) of NISHIZAWA R-series meters at the occasion of NISHIZAWA's final production together with the already out-of-print catalog book (VOL.2) of NISHIZAWA containing the details of R-series VU meters;
WS003861.JPG


WS003862.JPG


Now I am happy sharing with you that NISHIZAWA R-65 VU meter plus ATV205EXT VU amp board is compatible with IEC 60268-17 VU meter specification/standard.
Edit:
- Dancing video of my IEC 60268-17 compatible large glass-face DIY 12-VU-Meter Array
_____Part-1:
with "High Frequency Linearity Check Track" of Sony Super audio Check CD: #750
_____Part-2: with typical "Full Orchestra Music"-1: #751
_____Part-3: with typical "Full Orchestra Music"-2: #752

_____Part-4: with typical "Jazz Piano Trio Music": #753
 
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gac800

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I just wanted to take a moment to share the 12 channel setup I used with Roon, EKIO, and a Motu 828es (as DAC).

I was having trouble getting everything to work using ASIO4ALL in EKIO, so I ended up using the MOTU driver in EKIO. The way I got this to was:

Roon output to VB Hifi Cable
VB Hifi Cable routes the signal to the USB in on the MOTU 828
In EKIO, I can now use the computer input from the MOTU 828 (see attached picture of the routing in MOTU software)
EKIO splits the signal in 12 channels and sends it to the Main L/R, 8 analogue outs, and headphone jack 1

Subwoofer L/R
Bass L/R
Low Mid L/R
Upper Mid L/R
Treble L/R
Ambient Surround L/R (these signals are sent to a MiniDSP 2x4 which performs a L-R process and a delay)

I have also connected an audio extractor to the HDMI signal that goes to my TV. This pulls the audio information from the HDMI signal (Netflix, Prime, Apple) and sends the stereo signal to the TOSlink input of the motu828es. I have this set up on a separate “tv” config in EKIO.

After speaking with tech support at MOTU, I think I can do the same thing without using VB cable and just direct the windows sound output to the 828, so I may experiment with this. I also have another 2 channels (the other headphone jack) that I can use making this a total of 14 analogue outputs.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks to @dualazmak and @mdsimon2 for your help!

A6000D50-3C83-4079-8C52-2D1196D6D9CB.jpeg
 
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dualazmak

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Hello @gac800,

Welcome to ASR Forum and also to my project thread! I fully enjoyed our PM communication during the past weeks; I appreciated it very much.

>Roon output to VB Hifi Cable
>VB Hifi Cable routes the signal to the USB in on the MOTU 828
>In EKIO, I can now use the computer input from the MOTU 828 (see attached picture of the routing in MOTU software)

>EKIO splits the signal in 12 channels and sends it to the Main L/R, 8 analogue outs, and headphone jack 1
Your multichannel configuration with EKIO and MOTU 828es is very much suggestive and useful for people who would like to use EKIO as system-wide XO/EQ center and MOTU 828es as multichannel (14-channel!) DAC.
I would highly appreciate if I could see screen capture of your EKIO Inputs/Outputs configuration.

Now I well understand that MOTU provides powerful and reliable multichannel ASIO In/Out drivers.

Furthermore, your 14-channel configuration of;
> without using VB cable and just direct the windows sound output to the 828, so I may experiment with this. I also have another 2 channels (the other headphone jack) that I can use making this a total of 14 analogue outputs.
is opening a new horizon for "more than 8-channel sync DAC processing" with "single USB audio interface/DAC unit", in this case MOTU 828es (using ESS Sabre32 DAC processor), in our multichannel audio system; really nice and amazing!

In this 14-channel configuration, are you using the sophisticated MOTU software as DSP XO/EQ digital processor instead of EKIO?
Or, can you still use EKIO as system-wide XO/EQ center to feed XO-EQ-ed 14-channel into MOTU through MOTU's USB ASIO driver?
If this would be the case, again I would highly appreciate if I could see screen capture of your EKIO Inputs/Outputs configuration.

As you may be aware of, we (including @mdsimon2) discussed a lot about possible alternative multichannel DACs for OCTO DAC8PRO after this post on this remote thread entitled "Why aren't we pushing for more 4-8 channel DACS for a quality Stereo setup". Your similar description(s) on successful 14-channel configuration with MOTU 828es, therefore, will be also much appreciated on that thread, I believe.

Just for our reference, the price of MOTU 828es Thunderbolt/USB audio interface/DAC in Japan is JPYen 148,500 inclusive of Consumption/Sales Tax.
 
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dualazmak

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Hello again @gac800,

As for the possible sync 14-channel DAC analog output by MOTU 828es you mentioned, is my understanding shown in this diagram OK? I mean that according to your screen shot of the MOTU 828es routing configuration, these 14-channel analog outputs can be configured independently for DAC analog outputs, right?
WS003888.JPG


And, according to the spec sheet of MOTU 828es, we can utilize all the 14-channel DAC out plus upstream 2-channel I/O, total 16-channel digital I/O in 4x (176.4 to 196 kHz) sampling rate through USB 2.0 connection, is this right?

It looks that if using Thunderbolt I/F, we can go up to 64-channel(!) I/O in 4x (176.4 to 196 kHz) sampling rate...
 
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dualazmak

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Hello @gac800 and friends,

As you aware, I use OKTO DAC8PRO as my 8-CH multichannel DAC which has ESS 9028pro DAC processor and OKTO's sophisticated XMOS operation enabling really wonderful total sound quality as fully measured and reviewed by amirm.

On the other hand, MOTU 828es uses ESS Sabre32 DAC processor (two of it?), and we still do not have intensive measurement data at least in ASR Forum.

I remember that I once read about the "basic sound quality (SQ) differences" between ESS 9028pro, ESS 9038pro and ESS Sabre32, but I cannot recall the details; of course the total sound quality would be greatly depending on the total design of the DAC unit including the PS, PCB, XMOS and preamplifier design/performance.

I am now just interested in, therefore, the catalog/user-manual spec data of their analog output stage performances even though the difference would be audible or not;
WS003950.JPG


The spec THD+N is -119 dB for DAC8PRO and -108 dB for MOTU 828es; the dynamic range spec is 125 dB for DAC8PRO and 123 dB for 828es.

At least, and as far as, looking at these catalog specs, I believe there should be almost no audible SQ difference between these two well designed multichannel DAC units.
 
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Doodski

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Hello @gac800 and friends,

As you aware, I use OCTO DAC8PRO as my 8-CH multichannel DAC which has ESS 9028pro DAC processor and OCTO's sophisticated XMOS operation enabling really wonderful total sound quality as fully measured and reviewed by amirm.

On the other hand, MOTU 828es uses ESS Sabre32 DAC processor (two of it?), and we still do not have intensive measurement data at least in ASR Forum.

I remember that I once read about the "basic sound quality (SDQ) differences" between ESS 9028pro, ESS 9038pro and ESS Sabre32, but I cannot recall the details; of course the total sound quality would be greatly depending on the total design of the DAC unit including the PS, PCB, XMOS and preamplifier design/performance.

I am now just interested in, therefore, the catalog/user-manual spec data of their analog output stage performances even though the difference would be audible or not;
View attachment 216234

The spec THD+N is -119 dB for DAC8PRO and -108 dB for MOTU 828es; the dynamic range spec is 125 dB for DAC8PRO and 123 dB for 828es.

At least looking at these catalog specs, I believe there should be almost no audible SQ difference between these two well designed multichannel DAC units.
From the specs you should be good to go using the DAC8PRO. Are you seriously thinking of a side grade change to the 828es? Does the 828es have extra capabilities?
 
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dualazmak

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From the specs you should be good to go using the DAC8PRO. Are you seriously thinking of a side grade change to the 828es? Does the 828es have extra capabilities?

No, I myself am not seriously thinking about replacement of my OKTO DAC8PRO by MOTU 828es, but I assume these information would be worthwhile for many people looking for suitable alternative for DAC8PRO which always has availability and "communication with Pavel" problems.;)

For me, the additional attractive feature of 828es is that it enables more than 8-CH DAC processing, even upto 14-CH with using the two headphone outputs; it looks 828es has independently configurable 10-CH analog out on the backside panel (main L&R XLR plus 8-CH TSR) really nice for up to 5-way 10-channel multichannel multi-amplifier setup with all balanced connections.

On the other hand, DAC8PRO's headphone RCA analog out (under its preamp function), as well as AES/EBU digital out (digital through not under preamp) , are just the same signal as CH1+CH2 XLR outputs.
 
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Doodski

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For me, the additional attractive feature of 828es is that it enable more than 8-CH DAC processing, even upto 14-CH with using the two headphone outputs; it looks 828es has independently configurable 10-CH analog out on the backside panel (main L&R XLR plus 8-CH TSR) really nice for up to 5-way 10-channel multichannel multi-amplifier setup with all balanced connections.
Very comprehensive. :D
 

gac800

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@dualazmak that is correct: the two stereo headphone jacks can be configured independently for 14 total channels. This is one advantage of the 828es over the ultralite mk5 (which only has one independent headphone jack). I am not sure about how many channels you can send upstream with USB or Thunderbolt.

Here is a screenshot of my current setup in EKIO sending to 12 channels on 6 separate amps.

A474ED11-FC19-4933-BF00-03076D338465.jpeg

There is also an app for the 828es which allows me to control the volume of all of the outputs together from my phone at the listening position, which I have found quite useful.

I would be interested in exploring using the Motu software for the crossover, but so far I haven’t figured out how to do that.
 

gac800

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Here is a screenshot of the volume control app. It actually only lets me control the first 10 channels with one dial.
A0E58F86-E99E-4703-AE9E-56580DD978EB.jpeg
 
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dualazmak

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Hello @gac800,

Thank you indeed for your additional wonderful information on EKIO with MOTU 828es; these important info would fully validate utilization of EKIO as system-wide 14-Ch active digital XO/EQ center feeding the XO/EQ-ed 14-Ch to MOTU 828es for sync DAC processing!

As for the upper traffic limit of the single USB 2.0 cable connection between PC and MOTU 828es, I believe you can go up to 24 I/O at 192 kHz (i.e. in all of your 2-Ch go-and-back to/from 828es and 14-Ch output to 828es), as far as the specification sheet for 828es tells us;
WS003896.JPG


I assume we need to use reasonably powerful (CPU) Windows PC, and we would better to use the motherboard USB 2.0 port, and also be careful to use USB I/O only for the ASIO communication between EKIO and MOTU 828es, so that the USB ASIO I/O would have enough margin to the maximum traffic (USB 2.0 max bandwidth).

The MOTU 828es's USB port is still USB 2.0 compatible, but the spec sheet tells you may connect to motherboard's USB 3.0 port even though the bandwidth limit is still USB 2.0 spec at 828es. I highly recommend you, however, if you have USB 2.0 port available on your motherboard, you would better to use it. In this way, you may simultaneously use the high-speed USB 3.0 port(s), fully independent from USB 2.0 ports, for any other digital I/O only if needed.


"Where to control master volume" is one of the important features of our multichannel multi-driver multi-way multi-amplifier systems. I have repeatedly discussed this on this thread;
- Where to control master volume and relative gains? #058, #060, #062, #191-#221

At present, I myself usually control the master volume in most-upstream JRiver music player as shown in this diagram even though I can also control master volume at EKIO's Input two-channel gains as well as OKTO DAC8PRO's preamp volume controller;
WS00005580.JPG


I believe it would be convenient, suitable and also "safe" to control the master volume in most-upstream JRiver or Roon since JRiver and Roon have "Volume Protection" function; I usually keep JRiver's volume protection at 85 % (-7.5 dB) during my daily music listening sessions.
 
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SDC

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For light users I'll share simple way using just Jriver.


1. Install Jriver and enable Jriver WDM.

2. Set it to 5.1 or 7.1 in windows sound panel.
(You must not use 4ch cause cause window's channel down mixing is trash)

3. Output to ASIO driver of your audio interface.
(In my case UMC1820, but this thing is cheap shit recommend others if you can afford.)

4. DSP option, output channel, all output 48k, jrss upmix, mix center to L/R, sub management silent.

4-1 Option start at start up, enable SoX.

5. PEQ 1&2, convolution on / Room Correction and everything else off.
(will do everything with PEQ)

5-2. Those with dirac can drag dirac on top of everything possible for room correction before channel mixing.

6. Output channel 0-9 is named left, right, center, sub, sl, sr, rl, rr, #9, #10.
(U1 and U2 is space purely for DSP.)

6-2. Output 0,1 is often the Master Speaker output so you don't want to plug in tweeter there.
(I plugged my rear surround here.)

7. For convolution you want to start with empty 1024 samples in all the channels cause you forget one channel than delay gets all tangled.

8. Two HP/LP is one LW HP/LP filter. But following REW EQ simulations thoroughly for acoustic LW filter is the most important part.


You are now ready to measure and fix everything using REW and EQ/XO with generic setting.

Works fine with game and streaming.

Just be careful with buffer delay, you want it short as possible, but without popping.


This way I'm driving Front 2.5 way active and passive surrounds mixed to 6 channel 10 output system.
(Removed sub and down mixed cause I ran out of outputs.)


You can also save multiple presets.

I use it to enjoy my rear surround as 2ch main.
(simple click and turning chair).

Netflix dd 5.1ch requires 4ch preset.

Games use full 6ch.


I tried other methods too, but this is simple with little delay.

Fir filters are great, just not for real time PC users.
 
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dualazmak

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Hello again @gac800,

Let me ask you about "where do you usually control relative gains on-the-fly between the XO/EQ-ed 14 channels?"

We well know that we can control the relative gains of the EKIO's output panels rather safely on-the-fly, I mean while actually listening to the music.

I myself, however, am usually rather hesitant to move the gains of the EKIO's output panels (by numeric keyboard input or mouse up-down action) on-the-fly mainly because of the safety concerns avoiding unintentional mis-control to give unexpected large gains (sound volume).

This is one of the reasons that I use HiFi "integrated amplifiers" and active L&R sub-woofers each of them has IR remote controller for safe and flexible on-the-fly gain (volume) controller, and also it allows safe flexible on-the-fly relative gain controls depending on the "hearing tastes" and/or "hearing abilities (especially in high Fq)" of the listeners/audiences, as I shared here and here on the remote thread.
 

Doodski

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This is one of the reasons that I use HiFi "integrated amplifiers" and active L&R sub-woofers each of them has IR remote controller for safe and flexible on-the-fly gain (volume) controller, and also it allows safe flexible on-the-fly relative gain controls depending on the "hearing tastes" and/or "hearing abilities (especially in high Fq)" of the listeners/audiences, as I shared here and here on the remote thread.
Exactly! I when using my tri'amp'd active system used potentiometers too and it was the safest method. No twitching mistakes and blowing the precious transducers.
 
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dualazmak

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For light users I'll share simple way using just Jriver.


1. Install Jriver and enable Jriver WDM.

2. Set it to 5.1 or 7.1 in windows sound panel.
(You must not use 4ch cause cause window's channel down mixing is trash)

3. Output to ASIO driver of your audio interface.
(In my case UMC1820, but this thing is cheap shit recommend others if you can afford.)

4. DSP option, output channel, all output 48k, jrss upmix, mix center to L/R, sub management silent.

4-1 Option start at start up, enable SoX.

5. PEQ 1&2, convolution on / Room Correction and everything else off.
(will do everything with PEQ)

5-2. Those with dirac can drag dirac on top of everything possible for room correction before channel mixing.

6. Output channel 0-9 is named left, right, center, sub, sl, sr, rl, rr, #9, #10.
(U1 and U2 is space purely for DSP.)

6-2. Output 0,1 is often the Master Speaker output so you don't want to plug in tweeter there.
(I plugged my rear surround here.)

7. For convolution you want to start with empty 1024 samples in all the channels cause you forget one channel than delay gets all tangled.

8. Two HP/LP is one LW HP/LP filter. But following REW EQ simulations thoroughly for acoustic LW filter is the most important part.


You are now ready to measure and fix everything using REW and EQ/XO with generic setting.

Works fine with game and streaming.

Just be careful with buffer delay, you want it short as possible, but without popping.


This way I'm driving Front 2.5 way active and passive surrounds mixed to 6 channel 10 output system.
(Removed sub and down mixed cause I ran out of outputs.)


You can also save multiple presets.

I use it to enjoy my rear surround as 2ch main.
(simple click and turning chair).

Netflix dd 5.1ch requires 4ch preset.

Games use full 6ch.


I tried other methods too, but this is simple with little delay.

Fir filters are great, just not for real time PC users.

Hello @SDC, welcome to this multichannel project thread!

(I also carefully read through your posts on the "hot" Sointuva thread...)

Thank you for your info and suggestions on another way of system-wide XO/EQ configurations which would be of great help for many people periodically visiting this thread.

In my multichannel setup, as shared in my above post #558 (and @Doodski just kindly responded positively in his above post), I would like to always have safe straightforward and simple system-wide (one-stop) digital XO/EQ GUI like EKIO, and also would like to have flexible on-the-fly relative gain controls depending on the "hearing tastes" and/or "hearing abilities (especially in high Fq)" of the listeners/audiences.

Even for this, I would like to fully eliminate using any attenuators or potentiometers in analog line level signals and SP high level signals.

I would like to understand, your approach/configurations in your above post, and my multichannel approach/configurations shared throughout this thread, are illustrating wide range of choices/options for people interested in active multichannel multi-amplifier audio system!

As for the absolute total delay and relative delay between the SP drivers (time alignments), you would please refer to my posts;
- Precision measurement and adjustment of time alignment for speaker (SP) units: Part-1_ Precision pulse wave matching method: #493
- Precision measurement and adjustment of time alignment for speaker (SP) units: Part-2_ Energy peak matching method: #494
- Precision measurement and adjustment of time alignment for speaker (SP) units: Part-3_ Precision single sine wave matching method in 0.1 msec accuracy: #504, #507
- Perfect (0.1 msec precision) time alignment of all the SP drivers greatly contributes to amazing disappearance of SPs, tightness and cleanliness of the sound, and superior 3D sound stage: #520

I believe you may also fully measure and control (by actual room air sound monitoring/recording) the time alignments between all the SP drivers in 0.1 msec precision in your system configuration, right?
 
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