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Review and Measurements and miniDSP 2x4 HD DSP and DAC

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So I have the USB input working now, mainly because Amirm's measurements in this article suggest that it will sound better than the analog inputs, even if the DAC built into the MiniDSP is not as capable as my other DAC. Am I correct to assume that both of the digital inputs, Toslink and USB, will perform the same?
In his Deep Dive into HDMI article here...
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...s/a-deep-dive-into-hdmi-audio-performance.56/
...it is stressed that the USB input can be greatly improved upon using a USB-to-S/PDIF adapter like the Berkeley Alpha. I guess I'm asking if there would be any benefit to using the Toslink input rather than the USB input.
 
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andreasmaaan

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So I have the USB input working now, mainly because Amirm's measurements in this article suggest that it will sound better than the analog inputs, even if the DAC built into the MiniDSP is not as capable as my other DAC. Am I correct to assume that both of the digital inputs, Toslink and USB, will perform the same?
That seems to be the case according to Amir's measurements, yeh.

In his Deep Dive into HDMI article here...
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...s/a-deep-dive-into-hdmi-audio-performance.56/
...it is stressed that the USB input can be greatly improved upon using a USB-to-S/PDIF adapter like the Berkeley Alpha. I guess I'm asking if there would be any benefit to using the Toslink input rather than the USB input.
In that article he does mention that performance can be improved with a USB-SPDIF converter - but only if there's a problem in the first place.

According to Amir's measurement the USB input of the MiniDSP is excellent. There won't be any advantage in using an additional USB-SPDIF converter.
 

AndrovichIV

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Thank you, it was not anywhere near meant as an attack, but there is a certain hierarchy where at times (some) with different opinions are taken badly.

Seriously most people I know always prefer using manufacture drivers/software. An example even though Win 10 has almost everything covered, and will automatically D/L anything else needed, manufacture drives are still often better. chipset, video drivers may have many more settings or options, or improve stability. Trackpads /mouse /pen type drivers, more settings, features, better stability etc. It goes on.

The Win 98 comment was not totally correct, as Win 2000-Win 7 still needed user input to run properly and get best results.

When you purchase brand name systems, luckily many manufactures makes the process easy and automatic. Just open a page d/l a small app and it scans your system and gives you the updates you need.

It all depends... it all becomes second nature when you have set up hundreds of servers, systems, wans, lans etc.
Having more drivers in your system exposes you to additional security risks. Also, the software quality of a driver made by Microsoft is likely better than that made by a small company on terms of security, since they can afford to invest large sums of money and expertise into that.

A lot of recent exploits target drivers
 

Josecdj

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Hello, I am resurrecting this thread again with my first post in this great forum after following it on read-only mode for some time, hope it is ok…

I have a MiniDSP 2X4 HD doing SW integration and room EQ in my very modest system, and so far I am very happy with the results, but one thing that drives me mad is the physical form-factor, with lots of cables going out of it from both sides. I have the unit in my living room and the sight of it is not exactly pleasant.

This is why I have decided to modify it, put it in a new enclosure and move all the connections to the rear side, leaving only the power LED and IR sensor on the front panel. And while I am working on this change, I am considering adding an external I2S DAC that provides a better result than the stock one which seems to be pretty average according to this thread. I am thinking about the ES9038 Q2M i-sabre from Audiophonics:

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/dac-...spdif-pcm-dsd-usb-c-power-supply-p-12795.html

My question is, do you think this upgrade is worth the money and effort considering the rest of “issues” found with the 2X4HD? Will I hear a difference with the improved DAC while leaving the rest of the unit as it is now?

And second, would a linear Power supply bring any improvements to the overall performance? I could add one inside the new case as well.
 

invaderzim

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-90 dB sine wave shows similar situation:

View attachment 12220

Sine wave is recognizable but there is fair amount of noise.
Forgive my ignorance but how is that not completely terrible? I just can't see adding that to my signal path. When we attack anything with second harmonics as being terribly noisy how do we accept a sine wave like this?

The PW-Link got me somewhat hooked on room correction but I just can't get past the noises at the start of most songs when going digital in to digital out. So I've been shopping for other options and it seems the more affordable miniDSPs add a lot of noise and function poorly as DACs.

The 2x4HD tested here seems to be noticeably noisy and while it can be argued that the improvement outweighs the noise it just isn't a direction I want to spend money to move in.
The OpenDRC-DI model seems to be at the upper end of a 'bargain' and has digital in/out so there should be less noise but it requires manual settings; which is something I'm not really interested in playing around with.
The DDRC-24 looks like it is just the same as the one tested here but with Dirac added so at $400 that is too steep to also be adding this kind of noise into the system; even if Dirac is amazing.
The SHD model seems to perform much better but it also adds streaming which I don't need and is a lot more expensive.

Are there other products or better options that don't run into the 700+ range?
 

Willem

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If all you need is subwoofer equalization, the DSpeaker Antimode 8033 is cheaper, ultra easy to use, and does not add anything nasty in the range where you might notice. I am very happy with it. Their Dual Core model does full range equalization rather than just subwoofer, is more expensive, and sadly is apparently not quite clean. I have never seen measurements.
 

invaderzim

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If all you need is subwoofer equalization, the DSpeaker Antimode 8033 is cheaper, ultra easy to use, and does not add anything nasty in the range where you might notice. I am very happy with it. Their Dual Core model does full range equalization rather than just subwoofer, is more expensive, and sadly is apparently not quite clean. I have never seen measurements.
That looks really interesting. On my current setup I don't have a subwoofer out (or even a pre-out) so I use speaker level inputs on the subwoofer. Although I could run those into a conversion to drop them to line level and then into the 8033 (I see they even sell adpaters for that).

The frequency range that it covers looks like it would be enough for cleaning up the problem areas. Since I have no high-pass filter in the setup would it still be able to correct enough through the subwoofer to fix things with the speakers also doing what they can of the low frequencies?

One review said "I should mention that the DSP induces a small time delay—it takes a few of milliseconds for the processing to do its work. So you need to put the subwoofer closer to you by three feet (90 cm) to get the time integration correct. "
Is that an issue? I can't really move the subwoofer closer.
 
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Willem

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This is exactly how I have used the Antimode until recently, given the pre amp I was using that did not have a usable line out (an old Quad 33 with 0.5 Volt output): connected at speaker level, with an attenuation cable into the line level input of the Antimode, and then into the line level input of the sub. I have recently bought an RME ADI-2 DAC to replace the Quad 33, and now a Y cable at 2 volt seems a more obvious way to connect, but I have not yet done this.
I don't use a high pass filter for the main speakers (yet), and the sub has its low pass filter set at 34 Hz, i.e. pretty low. Even so, the effect is very obvious, with a much tighter and cleaner bass. I would never want to be without it anymore, and I think it is just about the best audio upgrade I have ever purchased, apart from my very first Philips CD player. My new DAC has an option to set a few parametric filters (three, below 200 Hz) and I have now used those to clean up the main speakers a bit as well. Last week I did some REW measurements, and you could see that the main speakers were still polluting the lowest frequencies with low level peaks below their regular output. The sub output was pretty clean, but added on top of the main speakers' peaks the joint result in the REW graph was obviously not perfect. The three filters of the DAC removed the worst offenders, but no more. So to be clear, the Antimode does not equalize the main speakers, only the sub, but it does that so well that the end result is pretty good for not that much money and very little time investment.
I have never noticed any latency problem, and the Antimode engineer I spoke with told me not to worry (if you have a question you can just give them a call in Finland and you get the engineer) .
There are two models of the Antimode 8033, and I have the cheaper Antimode 8033 Cinema, as I did not see any added value in the Stereo model. If and when I get a second sub I will connect it as dual mono, because this gives a smoother response. I hope this helps a bit.
 
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Josecdj

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Hello, I am resurrecting this thread again with my first post in this great forum after following it on read-only mode for some time, hope it is ok…

I have a MiniDSP 2X4 HD doing SW integration and room EQ in my very modest system, and so far I am very happy with the results, but one thing that drives me mad is the physical form-factor, with lots of cables going out of it from both sides. I have the unit in my living room and the sight of it is not exactly pleasant.

This is why I have decided to modify it, put it in a new enclosure and move all the connections to the rear side, leaving only the power LED and IR sensor on the front panel. And while I am working on this change, I am considering adding an external I2S DAC that provides a better result than the stock one which seems to be pretty average according to this thread. I am thinking about the ES9038 Q2M i-sabre from Audiophonics:

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/dac-...spdif-pcm-dsd-usb-c-power-supply-p-12795.html

My question is, do you think this upgrade is worth the money and effort considering the rest of “issues” found with the 2X4HD? Will I hear a difference with the improved DAC while leaving the rest of the unit as it is now?

And second, would a linear Power supply bring any improvements to the overall performance? I could add one inside the new case as well.
Any advice here? Do you think adding the external I2S DAC to the 2X4 HD is a good idea or shall I just save for an SHD or similar if I want higher fidelity while keeping the DSP features?
 
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I see the noise & distortion vs frequency graph and the highest offending peak is -105 dB. Granted, that's not as good as some other D/A converters, but will you actually be able to HEAR something that is over 100 dB below 0 on your audio playback system? Room noise in an extremely quiet room - such as a library - is 40 dB. You'd have to crank your gain up to a level where the maximum playback level is over 140 dB in order to raise this "awful" noise+distortion above the background sound level. I'd like to point out that 140 dB is the noise level of an aircraft carrier deck, and only 10 dB below the level where your eardrums would rupture. ( see https://www.industrialnoisecontrol.com/comparative-noise-examples.htm )

Does ANYONE here really think they can hear noise / distortion / other artifact that is at a level of -105 dB?

Let me put it this way: does anyone here believe that vinyl LP playback is a form of high fidelity? You are lucky to have 55 dB s/n ratio off of even brand new virgin vinyl, and 1 % THD is typical for a high-end vinyl playback system at 50% of maximum recorded level so you have a SINAD of something like 40 dB. Yet people RAVE about vinyl and complain that digital systems with "only" 80 dB SINAD are "terrible."

I don't get it, really.
 

qmarjov

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Hi
I own minidsp 2x4 HD and also Topping D3xPro and Khadas. Please can you explain me, why my minidsp sound much better than Topping or Khadas even when it working only as dac. So crossover function is disabled only working as dac. This is not only my opinion. My friend have also minidsp and his opinion is the same. It work siginificantly better.
 

SDC

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I was able to hear noise from it when using it to eq compression drivers.
Hook it directly to ice50asx2 and volume was controled with 2x4hd so it was the worst case scenario.

Even in that setup 12dB rca attenuator did the trick and almost no noise heard 2m away.

Also used it with Job225(35dB gain). Hooked it to jbl 128h was fine.

IMHO 2x4hd is safe for almost everyone.
 

dreite

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Hi
I own minidsp 2x4 HD and also Topping D3xPro and Khadas. Please can you explain me, why my minidsp sound much better than Topping or Khadas even when it working only as dac. So crossover function is disabled only working as dac. This is not only my opinion. My friend have also minidsp and his opinion is the same. It work siginificantly better.
It's actually not possible to configure it only as a DAC. The DSP processing path is still there, as well as the ASRC and various other features and functionality.

Your subjective impression can't be reconciled well because it's sort of an apples to oranges comparison with those other DAC's. I would suggest you and your friend redo your listening test, but do it blind.

Dave.
 

qmarjov

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Hi Dave
I know that dsp process is still there. Just wanted to say that crossover part was bypassed. But I'm sure that minidsp 2x4 HD sound better than dac's with much better measured characteristics. This is not only my opinion. I'm very very suprised because I didn't expect something like that. What is so good in minidsp or what is so bad in other dac's.
Mario
 

Sal1950

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Hi Dave
But I'm sure that minidsp 2x4 HD sound better than dac's with much better measured characteristics. This is not only my opinion. I'm very very suprised because I didn't expect something like that. What is so good in minidsp or what is so bad in other dac's.
Mario
How is that possible? Have you listened to them under bias controled, level matched, DBT conditions? If not your impressions are very easily distorted by many outside factors.
 

dreite

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Hi Dave
I know that dsp process is still there. Just wanted to say that crossover part was bypassed. But I'm sure that minidsp 2x4 HD sound better than dac's with much better measured characteristics. This is not only my opinion. I'm very very surprised because I didn't expect something like that. What is so good in minidsp or what is so bad in other dac's.
Mario
As I said, there's no way to reconcile your subjective comments. If you like the unit, enjoy it. Nothing more needs to be said.

Amir's bench test is well over a year old now and performed with his previous test setup. It might be illustrative to re-test the unit with his current scheme, but I suspect the results would not be any different. But, if he would like to, I could supply the 2x4HD unit.

Dave.
 
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Hi
I own minidsp 2x4 HD and also Topping D3xPro and Khadas. Please can you explain me, why my minidsp sound much better than Topping or Khadas even when it working only as dac. So crossover function is disabled only working as dac. This is not only my opinion. My friend have also minidsp and his opinion is the same. It work siginificantly better.
thats Odd, I have the khadas and a few other DACs and the Minidsp 2x4 always sounds pretty awful compared to not using it. Even with the DSD engaged it still sound better without it in the chain.
 
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