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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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I would suggest getting a calibrated microphone and use REW to record your various settings.
You will get more consistent results and better reference points as to exactly where you should adjust much more quickly and efficiently.

Hello maxxevv,

Did you have chance to look at my post #16 through #22?

I already have REW and ECM8000, and will also use these tools together with the most important "ears+brain".
 
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dualazmak

dualazmak

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Hi, I'm enjoying following along with your design!

One small point for you to test out when you get your OktoDAC: I've found that (running JRiver and ASIO4ALL) it doesn't work at 192KHz; I had to set JR to downrez everything 192k and above to 96K. Above that I get stuttering after very long load times. (I have not fully explored multi-channel vs. stereo DSD files yet). (PC is a Gen6i7NUC with 16GB RAM.)

PS. FWIW, I took a different approach, and did my crossovers and DSP downstream of the OktoDACs AES (stereo) outputs using a dBX Venu360 to provide for biamped mains and subwoofer (single, it supports 6 outputs, 3 inputs). Since the Venu has AES inputs, no 'loss' with more rounds of AD-DA there (confirmed by their tech support), and spec-wise it is VERY good.
This does have the virtue of keeping things VERY simple on the software front end (and the Venu software/app is remarkably well designed).

Your diagrams are similar (but far more detailed, and thought out!) to the ones I had to do for my layout!
Amazing how complex this stuff can get.

Can't wait to see your pogress reports after the DAC arrives!

Hello Neddy,

Yes, in my post #1,334 at;
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...rements-of-okto-dac8-8ch-dac-amp.7064/page-67
I wrote;
Guillaume of LUPISOFT (EKIO's developer) also suggested another possibility of;

Roon --> (USB cable-1)--> USB-SPDIF sound card --> SPDIF physical link --> DAC8PRO IN (physical input) -->(USB cable-2) --> ASIO4ALL --> EKIO --> ASIO4ALL -->(USB cable-2) --> 8 channles of DAC8PRO OUT

where "USB-SPDIF sound card" could be any USB-DDC having SPDIF/AES-EBU out. In his March 6 post, Kal Rubinson kindly confirmed that "Windows 10 Pro recognizes DAC8PRO not only as 8 USB audio devices but also as one USB/AES/EBU/SPD-IF audio device; windows sees it as an audio input of Line (DIYINHK USB AUDIO) ". I will also try this input routing into EKIO. If this would work, I can avoid/eliminate VB AUDIO VIRTUAL Hi-Fi CABLE.

Looks you have just confirmed this input routing is working! very nice news for me, thanks a lot.

As for the 24bit 192kHz input and processing using ASIO4ALL, as I described rather in detail in my post #6 of this thread, once properly established, EKIO's I/O in 24bit 192kHz is very much stable and reliable; I often keep EKIO playing music tracks for non-stop 24 - 48 hours, or just keep playing streaming radio (my favorite KUSC.org, etc.) as BGM for all day long.

Have you tested the Latency Compensation and ASIO Buffer Size for ASIO4ALL like these?
WS000447.JPG
 
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dualazmak

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A super project! NS1000s are amazing speakers, have owned them for many years. The mid and tweeter have very low distortion.

Hello rebbiputzmaker,

Thank you for joining! I fully agree with you; NS-1000 (and NS1000M) is still really amazing speaker!
(Please refer to my post #84 for the differences between YAMAHA NS-1000 and NS-1000M.)

After my recent renovation moving all the "LC-network and attenuators" into outer dedicated box with new coils, new film capacitors and new attenuators, my NS-1000 sounds much much better now, especially the WO is working very efficiently even around 40 - 60 Hz zone (please refer to my post #11). I cannot wait trying to drive these wonderful SP units directly by each of the dedicated amps.
 
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dualazmak

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In addition to the tracks of "SUPER AUDIO CHECK CD" (see my post #26).....

Just for your ref and interest, out of ca. 20,000 music tracks in my non-compressed digital music library, I mainly use these 46 music tracks (play list) for check and test of my audio system;
WS000449.JPG
 
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Burning Sounds

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Hi, I'm enjoying following along with your design!

One small point for you to test out when you get your OktoDAC: I've found that (running JRiver and ASIO4ALL) it doesn't work at 192KHz; I had to set JR to downrez everything 192k and above to 96K. Above that I get stuttering after very long load times. (I have not fully explored multi-channel vs. stereo DSD files yet). (PC is a Gen6i7NUC with 16GB RAM.)

PS. FWIW, I took a different approach, and did my crossovers and DSP downstream of the OktoDACs AES (stereo) outputs using a dBX Venu360 to provide for biamped mains and subwoofer (single, it supports 6 outputs, 3 inputs). Since the Venu has AES inputs, no 'loss' with more rounds of AD-DA there (confirmed by their tech support), and spec-wise it is VERY good.
This does have the virtue of keeping things VERY simple on the software front end (and the Venu software/app is remarkably well designed).

Your diagrams are similar (but far more detailed, and thought out!) to the ones I had to do for my layout!
Amazing how complex this stuff can get.

Can't wait to see your pogress reports after the DAC arrives!

I'm running JRiver with 8 channels of DSP and Okto DAC, but a different ASIO driver that Pavel sent me and 192kHz works fine. I haven't tried ASIO4All with the Okto DAC. PM me and I can send you the other ASIO driver if you want.
 
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dualazmak

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I'm running JRiver with 8 channels of DSP and Okto DAC, but a different ASIO driver that Pavel sent me and 192kHz works fine. I haven't tried ASIO4All with the Okto DAC. PM me and I can send you the other ASIO driver if you want.
Hello Burning Sounds,
Thanks a lot for your wonderful info on ASIO driver for DAC8PRO. Even though I am still waiting for its arrival to my home in Japan (order #106), I am very much interested in the ASIO driver you received from Pavel. I will PM you soon. Thank you again...
 

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Hi, I'm enjoying following along with your design!

One small point for you to test out when you get your OktoDAC: I've found that (running JRiver and ASIO4ALL) it doesn't work at 192KHz; I had to set JR to downrez everything 192k and above to 96K. Above that I get stuttering after very long load times. (I have not fully explored multi-channel vs. stereo DSD files yet). (PC is a Gen6i7NUC with 16GB RAM.)

PS. FWIW, I took a different approach, and did my crossovers and DSP downstream of the OktoDACs AES (stereo) outputs using a dBX Venu360 to provide for biamped mains and subwoofer (single, it supports 6 outputs, 3 inputs). Since the Venu has AES inputs, no 'loss' with more rounds of AD-DA there (confirmed by their tech support), and spec-wise it is VERY good.
This does have the virtue of keeping things VERY simple on the software front end (and the Venu software/app is remarkably well designed).

Your diagrams are similar (but far more detailed, and thought out!) to the ones I had to do for my layout!
Amazing how complex this stuff can get.

Can't wait to see your pogress reports after the DAC arrives!

I have an Okto8 pro and it plays fine at 192k with Jriver and ASIO4ALL
 

Neddy

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Thanks - multichannel DSD too? I haven't checked all the files yet, but know for sure the DSD64-256 Mch ones are the worst.
 
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dualazmak

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Thanks - multichannel DSD too? I haven't checked all the files yet, but know for sure the DSD64-256 Mch ones are the worst.

I do hope and sincerely ask you to read my posts carefully starting from the first post #1, when you could have relaxed occasion.

As I wrote in my posts, the "total sound quality" with EKIO is really wonderful, even though all in 24bit 192kHz processing. Of course I direct JRiver or Roon to down-sample all the DSD tracks into 192khz when using EKIO.

In case if I would like to hear native DSD sound by bit streaming, I can easily go back to the non-EKIO single-DAC single-amp system as shown in my first post #1.
 
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dualazmak

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I have an Okto8 pro and it plays fine at 192k with Jriver and ASIO4ALL

Hello Dave H,

Thank you for joining, and very nice to hear so! I am now much relaxed that you kindly confirmed my current preparation with EKIO and ASIO4ALL should actually work with DAC8PRO.

Have you also tried routing of Roon --> ASIO4ALL --> ?

Just for your info, I could also establish routing of Roon --> ASIO4ALL --> VB AUDIO VIRTUAL Hi-Fi CABLE OUT to IN --> EKIO --> ASIO4ALL --> any of DACs' ASIOs I have now.
 

Dave H

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Hello Dave H,

Thank you for joining, and very nice to hear so! I am now much relaxed that you kindly confirmed my current preparation with EKIO and ASIO4ALL should actually work with DAC8PRO.

Have you also tried routing of Roon --> ASIO4ALL --> ?

Just for your info, I could also establish routing of Roon --> ASIO4ALL --> VB AUDIO VIRTUAL Hi-Fi CABLE OUT to IN --> EKIO --> ASIO4ALL --> any of DACs' ASIOs I have now.

I have not tried Roon. I'm using Jriver with my Okto 8 Dac feeding 3 x stereo power amps, which drive a pair of Lxmimi's with dipole subwoofers. Jriver is doing all the crossovers and equalization.
 
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I have not tried Roon. I'm using Jriver with my Okto 8 Dac feeding 3 x stereo power amps, which drive a pair of Lxmimi's with dipole subwoofers. Jriver is doing all the crossovers and equalization.

Thank you for your quick info which I understood well. Your I/O of JRiver --> DAC8PRO --> amps should be a nice model case for people using or to use DAC8PRO, I believe.

I will keep using EKIO in my current project with JRiver and Roon mainly because of EKIO's nice GUI, and one EKIO configuraion can be commonly used for Room, JRiver, browers, YouTube, streaming radio, etc., as far as they would give audio signal into ASIO4ALL or DAC8PRO's ASIO driver if available.
 
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dualazmak

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192Khz is the highest I can go with Jriver doing my crossovers and EQ.

Thank you Dave H. I agree with you,too.

Neddy, as I posted repeatedly, EKIO's processing is all in 24 bit 192kHz too.

Even with extraordinary expensive TRINNOV ALTITUDE32, the upper limit is 24bit 192kHz;
https://www.trinnov.com/altitude32/
 
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My DAC8PRO will arrive soon hopefully, and my simulation trials with EKIO has been almost completed with the establishment of full ASIO I/O, and the first-to-try EKIO crossover configuration has been tested and identified.

I should be prepared now, therefore, for possible multi-channel amplifiers in this project.

As described in my post #14, Nord Acoustics’ configurable 8-channel amplifier Nord One MP NCXXX 4-8 122-500W;
https://www.nordacoustics.co.uk/pro...w-custom-configurable-channel-amplifier-black
with;
Channels 1-2: NC252MP (2x250W 4Ohm, 2x200W 8Ohm)
Channels 3-4: NC122MP (2x125W 4Ohm, 2x75W 8Ohm)
Channels 5-6: NC122MP (2x125W 4Ohm, 2x75W 8Ohm)
Channels 7-8: NC122MP (2x125W 4Ohm, 2x75W 8Ohm)
is my present top candidate, and I am gathering various info on Hypex Ncore amp modules, NCxxxMP series.

Prior to place my purchase order for such a configurable 8-channel amplifier, however, I would like to have one careful preparatory step to fully check and confirm the possible multi-channel multi-amplifier system using exactly same 8 (eight) amplifiers which are capable of balanced XLR input from DAC8PRO, and preferably having gain/volume controller, and of course usual protection functions. Since this should be my preparatory step before the final decision on Hi-Fi multichannel amplifier, I need to go through this step within reasonable budget.

After intensive search for possible suitable amplifiers on this step, I am now considering to use two of YAMAHA XM4080, a PA type 4-channel amplifier with balanced XLR input and gain/volume;
https://usa.yamaha.com/products/proaudio/power_amps/xm_series/specs.html#product-tabs
https://usa.yamaha.com/files/download/other_assets/5/334565/xm4180_en_om_e0.pdf
WS000458.JPG


With XM4080, the 4 amplifiers can be used completely independently, and if I would use two of XM4080, I may flexibly try to drive my SPs using these independent 8 amplifiers.

Of course I will use DAC8PRO’s volume/gain controller for the “Master Volume” in my whole system and also for relative gain/volume and balance control for each of the 8 channels. The 8 volume/gain controllers of XM4080 in my possible preparatory trials should be also very nice to protect my SPs, and also to simulate my current SP level attenuator settings for SQ, TW and ST.

If I would use two of XM4080, I can draw two options for their utilization, as shown below;
Option-1:
WS000469.JPG


or Option-2:
WS000470.JPG


I assume that Option-1 would be better choice since two XM4080s would work in almost same level of power consumption.

Just for your info, the sub-woofer (SW) YAMAHA YST-SW1000 has both line level input and speaker level input, and therefore, the branching from WO's speaker terminals into SW's speaker level input is quite OK;
WS000461.JPG



Does anyone here have experiences with YAMAHA XM4080?

I could find only one user comment on XM4080 from Germany in 2015;
https://www.thomann.de/gb/yamaha_xm_4080.htm#bewertung
where Christoph442 reported a little concern about the fan noise of XM4080.

On March 25, I contacted with YAMAHA on this, and they quickly responded as; “With recent model/production of XM4080, the fan is quieter than before, and the fan rotation speed is system temperature dependent. Even though it always rotates, in home audio usage, the rotation should be in low rpm, and therefore the fan noise would be almost negligible.”

Furthermore, in case if the fan would be still rather noisy for me, I may replace the fans with low noise, low rpm ones, and/or I may change the setting or sensor for system temperature monitoring.

As for the specs of XM4080, I have a little bit negative feeling about the S/N of 103 dB and Residual Noise of max 73 dBu, while all the other specs, including the Damping Factor of min.100 (8Ohm 1 kHz), looks acceptable for my trial step, I think.

As shown in my first post #1, current single-DAC+single-amp+LC network system is preserved for DSD bit perfect listening, and also as my reference sound system. I may easily switch (go back) to this system by changing the SP cable connections at the "Speaker Cabling Boards";
WS000471.JPG
 
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dualazmak

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While still waiting for arrival of DAC8PRO.... Here is one another important discussion issue in Multi-Channel, Multi-Amplifier Audio System Using Software Crossover and Multichannel-DAC;

"Where to control master volume?, Where to control gain and L-R balance of each of the channels? "

I am joining an interesting thread of;
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/are-pre-amps-necessary.9327/
entitled "Are pre-amps necessary". You may find my posts on page 6 and after;
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/are-pre-amps-necessary.9327/page-6

After having some more discussion in the above interesting thread, I will summarize my preferences or policy here.
 
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dualazmak

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"Where to control master volume?, Where to control gain and L-R balance of each of the channels? "

It looks my discussion and communication at;
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/are-pre-amps-necessary.9327/page-6
and
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/are-pre-amps-necessary.9327/page-7
are almost over,
I would like to summarize and share my preferences or policy in my current project.

I believe the software (or hardware) digital crossover should be processed in high gain (of course just below clipping level) in order to minimize the bit-loss in digital processing.

I also believe that the DA processing in USB DAC (or in USB multichannel-DAC) should be done also in as high gain as possible (of course just below clipping level) in order to minimize the bit loss.

After several experiments and trials I did recently, I also assume that gain control (especially different gains for L and R) and delay control in crossovered channels would give "phase complication". I would like to avoid or minimize, therefore, even the gain control of each of the crossovered channels within software crossover, in my case EKIO. Of course, only the L and R input gain should be properly set in order to avoid any clipping.

Consequently, also as shown in my previous posts, I would like to configure EKIO as simple as possible with no gain (zero gain) nor delay in each of the the divided channels with 12 dB/Oct filters so that EKIO would give almost flat and high gain line level signal throughout 15 Hz - 25 kHz into DAC8PRO for DA conversion.

We definitely need gain (and L-R balance) control, however, for each of the crossovered (divided) channels, since we need "attenuations and balance control if needed" for squawkers (SQs), tweeters (TWs) and super tweeters (STs). Of course, the MASTER Volume control is always indispensable.

We know that DAC8PRO is not only a multichannle-DAC but also a pre-amp featuring Master Volume controller and also Gain (Volume) Controller for each of the 8 channels. We know DAC8PRO provides volume/gain control at the final stage of its signal processing.

My preference and policy in this project, therefore, is to use DAC8PRO as Gain and L-R Balance Controller as well as Master Volume Controller.

This is also nice for the safety and protection point of view, I mean protection for SP units. I hate and should never to touch the gain control of input channels of my software crossover while listening to music; I only adjust the input gains after muting all the output channels, or the DAC's and/or amp's volume/gain being set in sound-off position, like all of you are always doing so. We may easily set DA8PRO's Total Volume Controller to sound-off position any time.

Nowadays, almost all of the Hi-Fi power amps do not feature volume/gain/balance controllers, and I always feel a little bit uncomfortable about that mainly in terms of above safety/protection aspects; we can use DAC8PRO as a pre-amp featuring Master Volume to minimize the possible damage to SP units.

(Even though, I use protection capacitors in my SP level, i.e. 68 micoro-F for SQs, and 10 micro-F to TWs and STs, at least during my trials.)

By the way, do I still need pre-amps or integrated amps, or should I use just simple power amps, to drive each of the SP units?
This would be a subjective anecdote issue, and I fully understand and agree with MattHooper's post at;
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/are-pre-amps-necessary.9327/page-7
where he said;
"I've tried passive pre-amps before, and also some DACs that offered volume control (e.g. an old Meitner DAC and my current Benchmark DAC).
Whenever I ran a DAC directly in to my amps (monoblock tube amps) instead of whatever pre-amp I had on hand, I was always struck with the sense of clarity and smoothness...the impression of very "direct, uncolored" sound going straight in to the amps to my speakers. Problem is I always gravitated back to an active pre-amp because for whatever reason the direct signal to my amp from a DAC seemed to lack the same body/density of sound and I found it unsatisfying after a while.
Problem is that just remains subjective anecdote and there was no easy way to blind test between the DAC using volume control directly in to the amps vs using my pre-amp."
I really like and appreciate his above nice comment.

Since I am using ACCUPHASE E-460 integrated amp and I am always much impressed by the total sound quality with E-460, I still would like to reserve possibilities of using high quality Hi-Fi integrated amps (we call "pre-main amps" in Japan) in my project.

As for the "bit loss" issue especially in low gain situation, e.g. when enjoying nice sound of music in midnight while our kids are sleeping upstairs, I am now learning very nice technical notes by Benchmark;
https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/ap...t-audio-has-more-resolution-than-16-bit-audio

I assume all of you looking at this thread are already aware of several much informative notes by Benchmark...
https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes

Also, in post #129 at;
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/are-pre-amps-necessary.9327/page-7
Burning Sounds kindly said;
"@dualazmak I'll respond to your query about gain on your mutlichannel thread so as not to clutter up this pre-amp thread. As I'm sure you are already aware getting gain staging correct on software DSP is critical to avoid digital clipping."
for which I am very much looking forward to hearing soon here.
 
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dualazmak

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On the DAC8PRO of course.

Hello rvsixer,
Thank you! I just noticed your post after I have posted rather long one above...
Your further thoughts and/or comments will be highly appreciated.
 
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Burning Sounds

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On the DAC8PRO of course.

From a technical standpoint it is perfectly fine to use the Dac8 PRO volume control to set overall gain. It uses 32 bit floating point, so no problem even after considerable attenuation. JRiver and Roon use 64 bit and dither down to 32/24 bit so no problem there either. My only observation is that DAC8 PRO has a granularity of 1dB whilst JRiver is 0.5dB which I find suits me better. So my take is use whichever suits you better, either will be fine.

@dualazmak - If you are using software x-overs and EQ more of an issue is to ensure you don't run into digital clipping. If I remember correctly EKIO is done in a 64bit environment (you can do considerable attenuation on any channel and not suffer quality loss) and has peak level meters for each channel - these should enable you to check that you are not running into clipping. I use JRiver for my x-overs and EQ and use one of the 8-channel Peak meter VST plugins to check. It needs to be after PEQ of course. Typical peaks on the loudest channels for me are around -10dB.

JRiver (and Roon) enables you to set some digital headroom to help prevent clipping. In neither application is there a loss of sound quality. I use volume levelling in JRiver and this also gives additional headroom. It's all done inside the 64bit audio engine - there is no quality loss. JRiver's Loudness control also works very well for late night listening at reduced volume. If you have a dB meter you can calibrate it and it is seamless in use.

One of the best recent articles I've seen on using software volume control is this on Archimago's site. Software volume control done properly is not an issue in my experience.
 
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