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Review and Measurements of Okto DAC8 8Ch DAC & Amp

audimus

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audimus are you prospecting for a marketing job from Okto?
IMHO audio, in general, is better served via USB than HDMI. It seems all your problems fitting this DAC into your current set-up are based on you not moving forward into audio from PC, yet you say you have a HTPC. So why don't you solve these issues, at your end, and have all your audio on your HTPC, say via a networked NAS? There is no point in sticking to playing silver discs only, it's not where audio is going, that was yesteryear.
My jumping hoops is going to solve Okto’s business model? :)

1. Why is USB better than HDMI?
2. Why would you buy a 8 channel DAC for audio only?
3. What should I buy to connect the output of Okto to?

All rhetorical questions really.

My case was just an example in the context of a common use case that people have in contrast to the niche it targets. My question was really whether a version that would fit the more common use case is a feasible one for companies like Okto to do that would benefit both Okto and a larger target market.

Asking people to change to fit this in is precisely the definition of a solution looking for a problem.
 

audimus

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I fail to grasp why this is such a niche product: there a numerous companies that make sufficient revenue of selling stereo DAC's right? Indeed, they should not only target DSP projects, and I think their stereo offering reflects this.
.
It is their connectivity choices that make it a niche product.
 

MWC

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@audimus said
1. Why is USB better than HDMI?
2. Why would you buy a 8 channel DAC for audio only?
3. What should I buy to connect the output of Okto to?

I think it would serve you well to know the answers to your questions, and as I stated previously:

I'm considering the Okto DAC8 for use with:
OUTs = 4x Adam A7 (powered monitors with xlr input)
INs = PC/NAS LAN > USB using Foobar2000, ASIO driver, Custom Channel Mapping

Sorry to state the obvious, but this would be for multichannel audio.

If I understand it right: Asyncronous USB has all the bandwith required to deal with 24bit 192kHz Mch and High rate DSD. Although some PC USB ports are more noisy than others and there is a problem with jitter to overcome, but that is surmountable.
Apart from unnecessarily inflating the price of a DAC by paying for HDMI licensing, HDMI does not necessarily have such bandwith for higher rate Mch depending on the kind of HDMI one has and it can be polluted with noise from the video feed, as well as jitter, equal to or worse than, over USB. In my experience nearly all decent DACs use USB and not HDMI. However I imagine a decent connection is possible with the proper implementation of HDMI, but one then still has this continuing issue that decent DACs generally don't have HDMI inputs.
 
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graz_lag

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... I'm considering the Okto DAC8 for use with:
OUTs = 4x Adam A7 (powered monitors with xlr input)
INs = PC/NAS LAN > USB using Foobar2000, ASIO driver, Custom Channel Mapping

Sorry to state the obvious, but this would be for multichannel audio.
Nice and lean set up.
 

audimus

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@audimus said
1. Why is USB better than HDMI?
2. Why would you buy a 8 channel DAC for audio only?
3. What should I buy to connect the output of Okto to?

I think it would serve you well to know the answers to your questions, and as I stated previously:

I'm considering the Okto DAC8 for use with:
OUTs = 4x Adam A7 (powered monitors with xlr input)
INs = PC/NAS LAN > USB using Foobar2000, ASIO driver, Custom Channel Mapping

Sorry to state the obvious, but this would be for multichannel audio.
And I rest my case on the niche aspect of it. :)
 

MWC

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@audimus What is niche? You think being able to enjoy clean 2ch and Mch audio is niche, when others have only noisy Mch audio with their movies in their HTPCs? I beg to differ, it is not niche, but choice. Personally I chose quality audio over movie mayhem, that's all. The Okto serves this market very well, by not pandering to the lowest common denominator. Have you considered that the Okto team may not be interested in the market you envisage for them? We all have different world views, both consumers and designers/manufacturers. I respect the choice we all have and viva la difference! :)
 
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Pretty much everything reviewed here is niche. However, I'm still hoping for a 8 channel DSP/DAC for use as an active crossover. I don't care which input it uses. HDMI probably isn't going to happen. How about make a modular box?
 

audimus

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What is niche? You think being able to enjoy clean 2ch and Mch audio is niche, when others have only noisy Mch audio with their movies in their HTPCs? I beg to differ, it is not niche, but choice. Personally I chose quality audio over movie mayhem, that's all. The Okto serves this market very well, by not pandering to the lowest common denominator. Have you considered that the Okto team may not be interested in the market you envisage for them? We all have different world views, both consumers and designers/manufacturers. I respect the choice we all have and viva la difference! :)
You seem to be interpreting a statement on your use case being a niche segment as a judgment on your choices and knee-jerking.

I would expect any serious enthusiast deep into a hobby to be in a niche segment (and proud of it) and that is not inconsistent with that segment being commercially non-viable for a company.

Speaking of choices, Okto wouldn’t need to take away your cake.

For example, right now they have a 8 channel version and a 2 channel version. Both Pro versions that might suit a niche segment.

An alternative product management decision might be to have just a 8 channel Pro (as current) and a non-pro version (with hdmi and rca outs) both of which can be easily used in a 2 channel application with room for growth. Price the non-pro version at the current Pro version and push the Pro price up a couple of hundred bucks (enthusiasts will part with their money more easily) even if that is contrary to the actual costs. Use the Pro version as a flagship product leveraging the good reviews and measurements in marketing but sold at much smaller volumes than the non-pro sold to a larger customer base. Tesla business model initially with a niche sports car, for example.

In the longer term, that would increase the odds of the niche segment continuing to enjoy the availability of a product that suits them rather than the company go under being financially non-viable while the initial adopters move on to the next big thing. Seen too many of the latter.

Why should this type of thinking bother you so much? :)
 

graz_lag

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1566580917520.png
 

Kal Rubinson

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@audimus said
1. Why is USB better than HDMI?
2. Why would you buy a 8 channel DAC for audio only?
3. What should I buy to connect the output of Okto to?

I think it would serve you well to know the answers to your questions, and as I stated previously:
I am going to edit and adapt MWC's response to express mine clearly:

I'm considering the Okto DAC8 for use with:
OUTs = 5 power amp and speakers plus 3 powered subwoofers
USB IN = PC/NAS LAN USB using JRiver, ASIO driver, Custom Channel Mapping, DiracLive EQ
AES3 IN = either additional USB streaming source via miniDSP U-DIO8 or planned microphone array (still on the drawing board)

Sorry to state the obvious, but this would be for multichannel audio. Ditto

Asynchronous USB has all the bandwith required to deal with 24bit 382kHz Mch and DSD256 in multichannel.

Apart from unnecessarily inflating the price of a DAC by paying for HDMI licensing, HDMI does not necessarily have such bandwith for higher rate Mch depending on the kind of HDMI one has and it can be polluted with noise from the video feed, as well as jitter, equal to or worse than, over USB.
In addition, any requests/needs to expand its audio bandwidth, aside from the number of channels, is strictly controlled by the HDMI.
 

MWC

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@Kal Rubinson Thank you for saying it much better/succinctly than I did. No doubt this is why you get paid to write, eh?


As for audimus: Niche or not niche this is not nice, what does it matter in the end playing semantics?

Where do you get off telling Okto they should put their price up and ruin their wonderful bang per buck, I'm speechless. There is no need to cobble together some 3rd 'consumer' stereo version of a great product, just to satisfy the lowest common denominator.

This damn marketing strategy to unnecessarily over inflate the cheaper-to-produce Okto DAC8 Pro to have the more-expensive-to-produce (NB HDMI licensing!) HDMI/RCA version subsidised is mere marketing malarkey bullshit that one would hope to get away from here rather than have it promoted! Go talk this crap to Schiit!
 

LuckyLuke575

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@Kal Rubinson Tmere marketing malarkey bullshit that one would hope to get away from here rather than have it promoted! Go talk this crap to Schiit!
Hahaha this statement made me laugh. I agree, people should stop being armchair businessmen and let the Octo guys build whatever they want. I'm sure they don't need some anonymous palookas with profile pics of memes, hifis, cartoons, jokes etc. on an audio forum telling them how to do things lol
 

g29

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My jumping hoops is going to solve Okto’s business model? :)

1. Why is USB better than HDMI?
2. Why would you buy a 8 channel DAC for audio only?
3. What should I buy to connect the output of Okto to?

All rhetorical questions really.

My case was just an example in the context of a common use case that people have in contrast to the niche it targets. My question was really whether a version that would fit the more common use case is a feasible one for companies like Okto to do that would benefit both Okto and a larger target market.

Asking people to change to fit this in is precisely the definition of a solution looking for a problem.
Audimus,

FWIW, OR added the AES/BEU inputs to include the PRO market and the home studio market who use pro soundcards with AES/BEU outputs. OR will probably sell more to that audience than to audiophiles.
 

audimus

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Some of these responses reminds me of the reaction from my dog when it thinks I am taking the bone toy away from him. ;) I thought listening to music was supposed to make people calmer in demeanor and less crotchety but I guess even multi-channel music has its limits to how much it can help.

But responses that actually provided some concrete audio chains for using this device is useful to set this in context for the device.

It is absurd economic sense to imply passing on the tiny marginal cost of HDMI is somehow an affront compared to spending several hundreds or thousands in an audio chain to make this fit.

HDMI vs USB sound quality arguments are not any more interesting or relevant to me than 16 vs 18 guage speaker wire arguments.

As for Okto, it would be silly to assume that any of us can tell them to what to do regardless of where one falls on this issue. One would hope they do what is right for them to do from all the noise that comes out of the market from consumers in their own bubbles to marketing 101.

What we can all agree on is that companies like Okto that do great engineering work should survive and thrive with the right approach to the market and not be misled by early adopter feedback only. That has sunk many ships.
 

g29

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@audimus...

If I understand it right: Asyncronous USB has all the bandwith required to deal with 24bit 192kHz Mch and High rate DSD. ....
FWIW, The exaSound e38 8-channel DAC supposedly handles 8 channels of high rez with custom drivers.

USB PCM:
- 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, 384kHz

USB DSD:
- 2.8224MHz (64Fs) 3.072MHz (64Fs)
- 5.6448MHz (128 Fs) 6.144MHz (128 Fs)
- 11.2896MHz (256Fs) 12.288MHz (256Fs)

exaSound e38 8-channel DAC
 

audimus

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Audimus,

FWIW, OR added the AES/BEU inputs to include the PRO market and the home studio market who use pro soundcards with AES/BEU outputs. OR will probably sell more to that audience than to audiophiles.
That would be my guess as well for the primary target audience as the product now stands. I hope they are not underpricing for this market given the technical quality of their work relative to competition that affects their viability.
 

g29

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That would be my guess as well for the primary target audience as the product now stands. I hope they are not underpricing for this market given the technical quality of their work relative to competition that affects their viability.
Well, they made a lot of changes from the version that @amirm tested. The production version, whenever it actually starts to ship needs to be tested/measured to see if is on par with the tested version.
 
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This is a great 2-channel DAC as well. You can buy it for that reason and only use the rest of the channels if you ever need it.
@Okto Research

Just curious, if I have two independent receivers and rigs (an AV processor for HT, and a legacy preamp for pure stereo), can it be set to output the same stereo output to both Channels 1/2 for the AV processor and Channel 3/4 for the stereo amp? With just one USB (PC) input? And/or using one or more of the other AES inputs for one or more CD/discs transports? I would just simply switch on the system I want to listen to, either the AV processor or the preamp.

I have read on the REM forum that the ADI-2 DAC can output mirror simultaneous signals to the RCA and XLR outputs, that would work fine in the scenario above.

Since a PC would be hooked via USB, all the streaming can be done by the PC, so the Raspberry Pi feature is not necessary...correct?
 
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Kal Rubinson

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Just curious, if I have two independent receivers and rigs (an AV processor for HT, and a legacy preamp for pure stereo), can it be set to output the same stereo output to both Channels 1/2 for the AV processor and Channel 3/4 for the stereo amp? With just one USB (PC) input? And/or using one or more of the other AES inputs for one or more CD/discs transports? I would just simply switch on the system I want to listen to, either the AV processor or the preamp.
Depends on your source, of course. I can set JRiver or Roon to output a stereo source on any/all channels as I wish.
 

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