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Review and Measurements and miniDSP 2x4 HD DSP and DAC

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May 30, 2018
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#61
Customer service and owner inquiries are a bit abrupt with the miniDSP folks for sure. I'm still pleased with my 2x8 unit but there are things about it that drive me a little batty. Overall a decent line of products but with their innovations in newer HT stuff it sort of sucks the support out of their old staple offerings. Fortunately, there are some really good folks who are in their forums to get real answers from.

I see Dayton is making a DSP 4x8 unit now with 32/196 processing and a BT option. No importing of FIR or other data from REW but 10 band parametric EQ and at a very reasonable price. Would be interesting to compare but I need to drive my 3 way system with 2 subs so no go.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2018
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#62
I own a MiniDSP 2x8 that I use for an active crossover in a 2.2 system and can confirm the 10db drop in output but the rest of my system can compensate for it without introducing noise. I think others have found ways to keep the signal path purely digital from source to the final analog stage and bypassing internal DACs using i2s hacks but I haven't found it necessary as I can't discern any degradation and the sound (and measurements) is better than the passive XOs that were used prior. I find the MiniDSP 2x8 a pretty amazing piece of kit considering what you can do with it. Some people roll tubes and op amps, I like to roll speaker drivers and this tech makes it really easy to do that. Doesn't matter how expensive or unique the rest of your system is, the most important part are the speaker components as that's where the sound ultimately comes from....

I'm sure I'll try the i2S bit someday but at a certain point the audible gains are minuscule compared to the time and $$$ invested to make it maybe better.
What DACs are you using after the nanoDigi2x8? What USB->SPDIF are you using before the nanoDigi2x8? I think a little more time and energy spent on DSP could make cheaper drivers sound extraordinary. I'd love to play with some midrange peerless drivers and see what I can come up with. A nanoDigi and a few Topping DACs would still be cheaper than buying an assortment of coils and caps to trial and error a decent passive crossover. I already have two Parasound ZAMPS ready to work in 2-way system.
 

andreasmaaan

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#63
What DACs are you using after the nanoDigi2x8? What USB->SPDIF are you using before the nanoDigi2x8? I think a little more time and energy spent on DSP could make cheaper drivers sound extraordinary. I'd love to play with some midrange peerless drivers and see what I can come up with. A nanoDigi and a few Topping DACs would still be cheaper than buying an assortment of coils and caps to trial and error a decent passive crossover. I already have two Parasound ZAMPS ready to work in 2-way system.
You could also try an 8-channel pro DAC from RME or Motu, which also tend to measure well and would be less complicated than using a bunch of separate 2-channel DACs.

I think @DWPress is using the MiniDSP 2x8 on-board DACs.
 
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#64
I think others have found ways to keep the signal path purely digital from source to the final analog stage and bypassing internal DACs using i2s hacks but I haven't found it necessary as I can't discern any degradation and the sound (and measurements) is better than the passive XOs that were used prior.
I did this and posted some info and impressions on reddit here https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/comments/6jn711
Given that the MiniDSP SHD Studio will be available soon and has AES/SPDIF outs already, I don't think I'd go through the effort again.
 

amirm

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#65
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May 30, 2018
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#68
What DACs are you using after the nanoDigi2x8?
As andreasmaaan guessed, I am using the onboard 24/96 DACs on my full size MiniDSP 2x8. I have a Topping D10 going from the computer to the MiniDSP unit so the set up is less than ideal going from D/A to A/D (via MiniDSP) D/A to amps. Like I said, someday I'd like to keep the signal digital all the way until output to the amps but lots of time and hacks involved to make the current equipment work. The biggest question though - would there really be any audible sound benefit in doing so?

But yes, what you can do with proper measurements in the DSP environment and an active XO can tame a lot of speaker problems with cheap drivers as well as expensive ones!
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2018
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#70
I think so. It is a very substantial unit and came with a separate measurement mic and such.
That should be an interesting review. As you might know, miniDSP has been getting some (audiophile) complaints through the years regards poor quality DAC chips, marginal clock implementation, etc, etc, etc, in their products.
This new unit is their attempt to sort those issues and check a lot of the boxes on the "audiophile quality" requirement sheet.

It's been in development for awhile and I first saw a prototype photo from Tony Rouget nearly a year ago.

Dave.
 

DNM

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Feb 5, 2018
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#71
FYI I have this in for review. :)
Sounds like you have the full SHD with four channel DAC and ADC, the Studio version is digital only and not released yet.

I'm a long time 4x10HD and DDRC22D user and have always used external DAC's for my main speakers (currently Mytek Stereo96) due to the average performance of the 4x10's onboard DAC's, which I just use for my subs. I've also used an external ADC (Mytek ADC 192) connected to the 4x10HD via AES for the same reason.

The SHD, which I've just connected up, is a substantial leap in performance. I've not tried the ADC yet but the analogue output sounds superb. So far I've simply mirrored my 4x10HD crossover and sub eq settings in the SHD config and the leap in performance over 4x10HD/Mytek combo took my by complete surprise.

Delighted to see they've sent you one for review. I'd be very surprised if you dont find it measures just as well as it sounds.
 
Joined
May 30, 2018
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#72
DNM, now I've gotta start saving money for kit again based on your subjective mini-review, thanks. ;)

I am very much looking forward to Amir's measurements now....
 

MZKM

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Dec 1, 2018
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#74
My pleasure. The device has a choice of 16 or 24 bit operation. I used the latter. Most of the tests are 24 bits.

The MiniDSP converts all analog inputs to digital, and all digital signals are converted to analog for output. So I really don’t see how the linearity could be better with the analog inputs. I asked MiniDSP about this last week, and the only explanation they could conjour is if it was measured in S/PDIF 16bit
 
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