• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Reasonably priced good quality 6 or 8 channel USB DAC?

Joined
Jun 20, 2018
Messages
310
Likes
101
#1
I'm going to build a 3-way active speaker with the crossover DSP done on the computer. ( https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/differences-between-tweeter-designs.4479/ )
Amps will be Anaview AMS. (1x AMS1000 for bass woofers, 2x AMS100 in BTL for mid woofers and 1x AMS100 for tweeters)
Only thing left is a reasonably priced good quality 6 or 8 channel USB DAC but I can't seem to find one!

So far I've found:
MiniDSP U-DAC8
Stated specs: THD: -84dB, Dynamic range: 103dB
255 USD.
Not good enough.

ESI Gigaport HD+
Stated specs: THD+N: -94dB, Dynamic range: 112dB A-weighted.
Has -10dBV output level, USB is not asynchronous.
160 Euro.
Also not good enough, though perhaps an option for temporary use If something better isn't available yet.

I'd prefer a single multichannel DAC or several DAC chips on one board running of one clock instead of getting 3 stereo DACs and either hook them all up through USB x 3 or use a multichannel USB to spdif (which would invite timing differences between DACs).
Would also prefer AKM DAC chips instead of mobile ESS DAC chips with that mid range IMD bump (and ESS pro DAC chips that are well implemented are surely out of the question money wise).
Is there anything out there below 500 $/€? (can't even find something more expensive unless several thousand dollar) It could be as simple as a well made 6 or 8 channel XMOS + AKM AK4456 or AK4458 chip based DAC. THD+N -105dB or something and I'd be happy enough.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2018
Messages
310
Likes
101
#5
I think this would do the job.

IIRC it is based on ESS tech, but I know that IMD hump isn't ubiquitous across all chips and all implementations - not sure if it's present in this unit though.

@March Audio measured it here.
Wow yes! That's better than I was hoping to find :)
Also at a slightly higher price than I was looking for but it seems to be worth it!
I see it has an ES9016 chip which is a pro chip and shouldn't have the mid-IMD bump (as far as I can tell all mobile version have it, I have a 9018PRO based stereo DAC myself right now which doesn't have the IMD bump and it sounds superb and so far I didn't like the sound of the ESS mobile chip versions).
Thanks!!
 

andreasmaaan

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
2,439
Likes
1,538
#6
Wow yes! That's better than I was hoping to find :)
Also at a slightly higher price than I was looking for but it seems to be worth it!
I see it has an ES9016 chip which is a pro chip and shouldn't have the mid-IMD bump (as far as I can tell all mobile version have it, I have a 9018PRO based stereo DAC myself right now which doesn't have the IMD bump and it sounds superb and so far I didn't like the sound of the ESS mobile chip versions).
Thanks!!
No worries. Glad to hear :)
 

maverickronin

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
461
Likes
327
Location
Midwest, USA
#7
Joined
Jun 20, 2018
Messages
310
Likes
101
#9
Thanks! Checked them out but the Antelope has -100dB THD+N and is more expensive than the MOTU, and for the Zoom I could only find 120dB dynamic range (typical and A weighted, not even sure if it's an actual measurement or the DAC chip spec) and no THD spec whatsoever..
The Motu 8A is a better buy and more certain to be good it seems to me.
 

March Audio

Major Contributor
Manufacturer
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
2,900
Likes
2,163
Location
Perth Western Australia
#10
Also the Motu ultralite 4. It has been upgraded to use the ess chip as in the 8A. I will be measuring it in a couple of weeks time when I am back in Oz.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2018
Messages
310
Likes
101
#12
Also the Motu ultralite 4. It has been upgraded to use the ess chip as in the 8A. I will be measuring it in a couple of weeks time when I am back in Oz.
LOL See the timing of my post above. (Oh I see that yours wasn't at the exact same time, I was writing my post and I got a popup that there was a new unread message and posted mine then read yours :) )
Measurements would be fantastic. Looking forward to them thanks!
 

bennetng

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2017
Messages
407
Likes
249
#13
for the Zoom I could only find 120dB dynamic range (typical and A weighted, not even sure if it's an actual measurement or the DAC chip spec) and no THD spec whatsoever..
https://av.watch.impress.co.jp/img/avw/docs/711/379/html/248.png.html
http://prosound.ixbt.com/interfaces/zoom/uac-2/2444.shtml

These are individual measurements from Japan and Russia, not merely a coincidence. From the loopback result it is unknown whether the ADC or DAC is (more) responsible for the result, but I'd rather not take the risk.
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
4,950
Likes
3,518
#14
How do you plan to feed the music to these multi-channel devices?

You'll feed music to say 3 channels left and 3 channels right. You'll do DSP crossover before hitting the device I assume. So what music software, feeds what DSP, feeds into the interface how? Maybe its obvious and I'm being a dunce.
 

andymok

Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
105
Likes
30
#15
Joined
Jun 20, 2018
Messages
310
Likes
101
#16
How do you plan to feed the music to these multi-channel devices?

You'll feed music to say 3 channels left and 3 channels right. You'll do DSP crossover before hitting the device I assume. So what music software, feeds what DSP, feeds into the interface how? Maybe its obvious and I'm being a dunce.
DSP crossovers I plan on doing on the computer not in a seperate box. Haven't decided yet which software exactly, collected a list of software crossover filters for now. One for instance is even its own ASIO 'sink', registers as an ASIO interface and then in the software you can simply select the outputs (which could be through the MOTU UltraLite mk4 ASIO driver) to use and do all the EQing crossover filtering driver delays set up limiters do volume etc.
Then you simply select that output in whatever software you're using, in my case Foobar2000 for listening to music, Reaper for making music, Ableton Audition for editing sometimes and Popcorntime for movies and shows :)
Haven't found easy to use good enough free crossover software yet though. But prices are not crazy for really good paid solutions, I believe from 100 to about 300 euro (except one, the German one I forgot the name which is more expensive for the most extensive FIR filters but I don't plan on using FIR anyhow). It is also possible to do it all for free by using a DAW like Reaper and set up everything with included filters and delays etc but it will take some knowledge to do it correctly)

edit: btw I only use the computer for music, don't even own a cd or record player anymore. But it would work for someone else as well if the computer is in the same room as you can hook anything up to the analogue inputs or digital inputs of the MOTU UltraLite mk4 after which the crossover etc is done in the computer and music plays from the speakers.
 
Last edited:

RayDunzl

Major Contributor
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
6,044
Likes
2,025
Location
Riverview, FL
#17
Joined
Jun 20, 2018
Messages
310
Likes
101
#18
I found that for listening on-axis to a crossover the natural phase shift of the crossover is completely inaudible (tested this with headphones up to 96dB/oct) (as is the FIR crossover on-axis btw). When listening off-axis there is a small difference audible between natural phase IIR and 0-phase FIR but I couldn't tell which I'd prefer.
Some other phase effects are apparently audible but none of those will be in my speakers.
Furthermore, FIR requires very heavy processing to get to the same soundquality level as IR. And last but not least, FIR for 0-phase response gives a lot of delay which is not good for when I'm making music.
 

amdismal

New Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2018
Messages
3
Likes
6
#19
Haven't decided yet which software exactly
I use JRiver for this, it works very well. It installs a Windows sound driver, you route the sound to that, and then you use the DSP facility in JRiver. It has crossovers built in already, although I use FIR ones from rePhase.

I'm currently using an Asus u7 sound card, and use 6 of the 8 available channels. I also have an M-Audio 10 channel interface, and am working out whether it's worth bothering to use the Lynx AES16 and getting five stereo DACs for the horn system.

I've used other systems to host the DSP, such as Reaper (I think that foobar might be able to do it, not tried), but JRiver is dead easy to set up, fiddle with and it's very stable.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2018
Messages
310
Likes
101
#20
Btw, I don't think IIR is some sort of "mistake" of nature for multi-way speakers as some see it. I think a 24dB/oct Linkwitz-Riley crossover is a beatiful perfect and natural thing including its phase shift :)
And in general in the studio world IIR is regarded as sounding "better" than 0-phase FIR for EQ work. There are some uses though for EQ-ing where 0-phase FIR is considered better to use. For instance when you have 2 or more mics recording the same thing, for instance on a drumset. Once these mics are set in phase, if you want to EQ for instance only the room mics and do it with an IIR EQ and mix in the other mics again (which are correlated) then the result is very unpredictable (well unpredictable relative to the EQ settings, not unpredictable in a mathematical sense of course) as the phase shift of the EQed room mics will cause all kinds of cancellations (EQ effects) etc with the correlated other mics. Here a 0-phase FIR filter is often used because you can simply mix in those room mics again without any surprises.

Also, I didn't test higher order crossover filters with low bass. I can imagine if one sets up a 96dB/oct or steeper LR at below 80Hz or so for a crossover that the delay in the deep bass may become audible as the wave period gets longer (though we also are less sensitive for time at lower frequencies, I wonder at how many wave periods of delay this becomes audible. I don't think it will be audible at LR4 at any freq but for very steep filters I don't know..)
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom