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Parasound 4 DAX Review (8-channel DAC)

mdsimon2

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The DDRC has an ASRC and will output 4 synced SPDIF signals. As a result you will have no issues using independent stereo DACs (whether the parasound or something else) as the DACs will be clocked synced via SPDIF. Even if the DACs have independent clocks for ASRC they will still be synced via SPDIF. Short story is the DDRC solves pretty much all clock sync problems with multiple DACs.

Michael
 

jtatknox

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The DDRC has an ASRC and will output 4 synced SPDIF signals. As a result you will have no issues using independent stereo DACs (whether the parasound or something else) as the DACs will be clocked synced via SPDIF. Even if the DACs have independent clocks for ASRC they will still be synced via SPDIF. Short story is the DDRC solves pretty much all clock sync problems with multiple DACs.

Michael

Wow, MiniDSP always impresses me. I think I may keep the 4 DAX as long as the shortcomings that have been noted in the full range output are not terribly audible unless someone can suggest an alternative rack mount solution of independent DACs for the same ballpark price.

Although what I really want is a hybrid DDRC that has 8 digital inputs and 8 analog outputs in a full-width rack, rather than a half-rack format. Basically a hybrid between DDRC-88A and DDRC-88D.
 

sarumbear

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Part 1: The Purpose

3 months ago I moved into a new apartment with 4 different listening environments: dedicated listening area, outdoor patio, sun room, living room. My source is an NAD CI580 4-zone/8 channel BluOS streamer. One zone feeds a MiniDSP SHD in my dedicated listening area via SPDIF. For the other zones, CI 580 analog outputs feed a multichannel amp. Everything is rack mount.
BluOS is designed to control lots of different BluOS enabled "players", which are network connected amplifiers or amplified speakers. In a way similar to Roon. I do not know what "players" are available on the market but wouldn't have been simpler to simply place one "player" at each listening location? I assume within the decade of existence of the system there should be now a good selection.
 

jtatknox

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BluOS is designed to control lots of different BluOS enabled "players", which are network connected amplifiers or amplified speakers. In a way similar to Roon. I do not know what "players" are available on the market but wouldn't have been simpler to simply place one "player" at each listening location? I assume within the decade of existence of the system there should be now a good selection.
Then you need an amp in every location, too, or if you are bi-amping a coaxial speaker, two amps. For the outside setup, the amp had to be inside anyway, so it made sense for my setup to buy a nice multi-channel rack mount power amp and centralize everything. Since I was able to get the streamer and the multichannel amp factory refurbished, the economics worked out way better, especially since I can also centralize all the DSP.
 

Kal Rubinson

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If the D/As are independent, you can send the same SPDIF signal to all of them, either via split TOSLINK or RCA and then use the LPF/HPF filters in each.
If that's what you want. It's still just 4 stereo DACs.
 

musicforcities

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Good luck keeping all those separate D/A converters in sync for more than a few minutes.
Good luck keeping all those separate D/A converters in sync for more than a few minutes. You'd have all sorts of
This Parasound is likely (hopefully) to have a master clock that each D/A uses and is synced to.

Ok…welI just don’t see the point really if this is really intended to be used with 4 centrally located Sonos players. First the Sonos DAC is sufficient for such things. And the Sonos will sync the signal to others Sonos controllers seamlessly.

Second each Sonos player can have separate tone adjustment (though not crossover..but why would one need to in such a use case? Subs? But powered subs or central amps for np subs usually have low pass filters… and the crossover in the parasound seems terrible); and instead of trigger sense Iget a power amp with signal sensing. Most central Avenue preamp/controllers have 12v triggers already as well. And if one is going to put four sonic or other streamers in a home run location, chances are one will need a control pre amp anyway…in case you ever want to do anything not on Sonos.

I have a whole house audio with a home run to one location in an it closet (also the hone run for all the cat6, coax, hdmi runs etc.) I was building the house anyway and speaker wire is cheap relatively. So why not. I have a Sonos in there and a multi zone preamp and amp for ceiling speakers and two
separate power amps for remote, but “proper,” speakers. If I wanted more Sonos zones, I can’t see why I wouldn’t put them in the spaces I wanted them to serve with a good small ncore and shorter cable runs though…I dunno.


I guess I am being thick.
 
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musicforcities

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Amir either liked the concept or was on really good mood today for saying 105 S/N is 'very good for the class' instead of ripping them a new one as usual :D .
By “class”, I think he was referring to its intended use in a house audio distribution system, likely feeding in ceiling or in wall speakers for background listening etc. likely with lossy streaming formats and/or Bluetooth. Or Sonos or other streamers, I guess in those cases 105 s/n is totally fine. 15 years ago it would be great! It’s not designed really for headphones or Revel towers.

The crossover distortion though is terrible. One thing you usually don’t need in ceiling speakers is a spike at 10khz!
 

musicforcities

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the economics worked out way better, especially since I can also centralize all the DSP.
Centralized dsp is quite a concept. Though I am not sure one really needs dsp for ceiling speakers etc. the and eq curves seem like enough. In wall and in ceiling are never going to be critical listening accurate. And certainly not worth biamping even if one could.
If we are talking in room speakers (towers, book shelves, etc), that’s a different story I guess but man that’s a lot of in wall cable if you biamp them.

Fwiw, I run the coax digital out from my central Sonos to my “serious” systems via cat6 (easy to get adapters) or rg6 in wall to stand alone dacs alone amps/preamp separates or AVRS in those spaces. No problem. The Sonos outputs the digital and analogue at the same time. If the dac is low latency (toppings seem to be generally), there is no apparent lag. The AVR Does cause some delay
 

pseudoid

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Would @amirm's review conclusions need revising, if/when 'all things are considered'?
Afterall, if the 4DAX was designed for (or around) the Sonos peripherals; it may result in a good match "all things considered'. Especially for those ceiling speakers and such that comprise a Sonos walled-garden.
202110_ParaSound4DAX_hookups.jpg
 

musicforcities

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Would @amirm's review conclusions need revising, if/when 'all things are considered'?
Afterall, if the 4DAX was designed for (or around) the Sonos peripherals; it may result in a good match "all things considered'. Especially for those ceiling speakers and such that comprise a Sonos walled-garden.View attachment 158195
Yes it’s as amir states, it’s fine for whole hone audio etc.

but I don’t know why one needs this for Sonos specifically. The Sonos connect etc dac is perfectly fine for such use. And the each sonos will stay synced with the others if needed—it’s what they are designed for in part.

And I don’t understand why one needs a crossover for Sonos or home distribution. Bass and treble or eq sure. But Sonos has that too and they are well implemented. Who Biamps distributed audio? Why would you want to anyway?

For other streamers maybe it makes more sense?
 

jtatknox

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Yes it’s as amir states, it’s fine for whole hone audio etc.

but I don’t know why one needs this for Sonos specifically. The Sonos connect etc dac is perfectly fine for such use. And the each sonos will stay synced with the others if needed—it’s what they are designed for in part.

And I don’t understand why one needs a crossover for Sonos or home distribution. Bass and treble or eq sure. But Sonos has that too and they are well implemented. Who Biamps distributed audio? Why would you want to anyway?

For other streamers maybe it makes more sense?
I think the idea is for it to be flexible.
 

jtatknox

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Regarding measurements and SQ – what aspects of these measurements would be audibly bad on a good system other than the obvious 10k peak on the high pass output? Deciding whether to return or build an array of Khadas Tone Boards into a 1U rack.
 

jtatknox

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