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Review and Measurements of Okto DAC8 8Ch DAC & Amp

Burning Sounds

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Shouldn't you be measuring the temperature on the ESS 9028 Pro chip? I'm not sure what you are aiming at?

It's aimed at the Atmel chip which is where the sensor is as I understand it. However, the ESS 9028 chip is at exactly the same temp. In fact temperatures throughout the Dac are remarkably even with no hotspots at all.

The Okto Dac is the coolest running of all the Dacs I have, including Benchmark, Mytek, Audiolab, and M-Audio.
 

Feyire

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Thanks @somebodyelse, @Burning Sounds. I just wanted to understand where the actual sensor was. I had (incorrectly) assumed it was a reading from a sensor in the ESS chip itself, rather than elsewhere.
 

Dacapalooza

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~ 1hr later: 24C (ambient is also up a bit).
...nothing was above 35c.
...I have no problem at all including the remote.
Arrg! My DAC didn't/won't shut off again & is coupled with not responding to remote. I only used it for a few seconds to take a pic this morning. So happened every day in my 3 days. I'm just going to leave on forever & problem solved for my usage. Since Trinnov must do volumey stuff in crossover & EQ, I'd rather not mix volume tech anyway.
Okto boasts 10+ years.
DAC8 PRO is designed for a lifetime of 10+ years.
Does that mean on continuously? Well what choice I got? If it breaks, I'll just get a new one. No way I'm opening my rack after every usage.

Chalking it up as a win and minor issue.

Should I email Okto let them know that my DAC doesn't shut off as an FYI? I feel bad to bug them after their amazing contribution in A/V history. The first (known) rug that completes the room in A/V.

Jane.JPG
 

jjk

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Reference my post #1499, yesterday, Okto is sending me a replacement DAC8 and remote.
Has anyone tried a different remote? Harmony maybe?
 

Dacapalooza

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Yes, but despite the talk of purist recordings, not one in one thousand are even close to being purist.

Furthermore, most people given a chance to listen to the original levels and dynamic range don't like it as much as a processed, slightly compressed master of the recording. And then you also have loudness wars where mastering people try to make it as loud as possible for reasons I don't really understand.
It must be deeper than that. What about before digital, compression & processing? I Imagine the master had levels increased from the microphone. Maybe because of different types of playback devices?
 

Neddy

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Arrg! My DAC didn't/won't shut off again & is coupled with not responding to remote. I only used it for a few seconds to take a pic this morning. So happened every day in my 3 days. I'm just going to leave on forever & problem solved for my usage.
Should I email Okto let them know that my DAC doesn't shut off as an FYI? I feel bad to bug them after their amazing contribution in A/V history.

Definitely contact Pavel.

I find these few reports troubling, but I've had ZERO issues with mine.
(I did have ONE instance where it woke up unresponsive to JRiver, but I'd been futzing around with power connections earlier that day, too.)

Coupla thoughts - probably not helpful or pertinent, but:
- What firmware is yours? Mine is 1.2.
- Is yours mounted in a 19" rack (w/rack ears)?
Mine is, which gives excellent airflow (and IR radiative pathways, come to think of it) above and below it...though it never gets even warm to the touch.
- My entire system is on a SurgeX power conditioner, with Okto and PC on the 'always on' circuit, and I use the Okto 'remote out' voltage to trigger amp & DSP (Venu) power up. So...my Okto is basically always powered. TV/Monitor is on a separate circuit.
- The Apple IR remote does not transmit through plastic (my rack door is made of 1/8" 3-Form Varia).

Mine has been running all day - still 23C (ambient room temp has cooled down a bit, too.)

Best wishes!!
 

dualazmak

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Definitely contact Pavel.
...
...
- What firmware is yours? Mine is 1.2.
...
Mine has been running all day - still 23C (ambient room temp has cooled down a bit, too.)
Best wishes!!

I agree, please contact Pavel.

My firmware is 1.32 as show by the photo.

The electricity here in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, is 100V 50Hz.
DAC8PRO and Apple remote are working just amazingly nice with ZERO issues since its arrival on May 9.

One point to add:
For the 3-pin power cable, I connected the earth-pin to my proper audio dedicated ground-earth by earth (usually green) cable.
The ground-earth is common for my PC, amplifiers, DAC8PRO, OPPO SONICA DAC, CD player, LP Player, etc.

Within DAC8PRO, at least the ground-earth (yellow-green cable) is connected to the metal base panel under the circuit boards, and to the cabinet.
 
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Neddy

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Hm. Thanks, I missed that. Wonder what's been added/changed in 1.32.
@Okto Research ??
 

Blumlein 88

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It must be deeper than that. What about before digital, compression & processing? I Imagine the master had levels increased from the microphone. Maybe because of different types of playback devices?
Do you mean before recordings were digital? Yes they had at least various compressors in use, and EQ. Simpler than now. One reason for the loudness wars is with analog tech you had to leave a little more room, with digital you can precisely compress everything right to the edge. I don't like it, but it happens anyway.

Just in case you aren't aware, the term mastering was when LP's were made. You had to compress the original mix tape, EQ it, and do some other things to it for the cutter heads to create a master stamper disk to make the LP's. So "mastering" was everything you did to prepare it to be made into an LP. Even today you will do the recordings in the studio or on location. The various tracks get mixed together which involves some balanced, some EQ and some processing of various kinds. Then another person takes the mix and masters it into a stereo master. This is where more EQ, compression, reverb, and delay get added to the signal. Recordings by the time they are released commercially are nowhere near pure. With, very, very few exceptions.
 

maxxevv

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Arrg! My DAC didn't/won't shut off again & is coupled with not responding to remote. I only used it for a few seconds to take a pic this morning. So happened every day in my 3 days. I'm just going to leave on forever & problem solved for my usage. Since Trinnov must do volumey stuff in crossover & EQ, I'd rather not mix volume tech anyway.
Okto boasts 10+ years.

Does that mean on continuously? Well what choice I got? If it breaks, I'll just get a new one. No way I'm opening my rack after every usage.

Chalking it up as a win and minor issue.

Should I email Okto let them know that my DAC doesn't shut off as an FYI? I feel bad to bug them after their amazing contribution in A/V history. The first (known) rug that completes the room in A/V.

View attachment 64568

This sounds silly... check the battery on your remote. I had a similar issue with the same remote, though for a different application.

It was inconsistent, until I changed to a set of fresh batteries.
 

zenmastering

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Yes, but despite the talk of purist recordings, not one in one thousand are even close to being purist.

Furthermore, most people given a chance to listen to the original levels and dynamic range don't like it as much as a processed, slightly compressed master of the recording.

That has been my experience as well. What many people mean by the terms 'dynamics' and 'slam' is just *how much* of that compression/limiting is applied.

And then you also have loudness wars where mastering people try to make it as loud as possible for reasons I don't really understand.

I'm pretty sure you already know this but many don't:

Simple: Customer Demand. The origins are likely in radio programme director meetings when screening for potential new songs to play: Louder wins the day. A human design-flaw ;-> We were all likely saved from it destroying the vinyl era because of the mechanical limitations of the cutting process. No such limitations exist in the digital world (putting good sense and taste aside for the moment) et viola: stupor-loud masters. The modern version of the complaint is this: "I can't have my music be quieter than everything else in someone's playlist."

Really...

Thankfully, streaming is addressing this by 'normalizing' all programme material to a reference level. Of course, just about every streaming service has a different reference level and method of calculating how much reduction or increase in level is necessary.

For an interesting introduction to this, see:

www.loudnesspenalty.com

Cheers,

Graemme
 

Burning Sounds

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Reference my post #1499, yesterday, Okto is sending me a replacement DAC8 and remote.
Has anyone tried a different remote? Harmony maybe?

Yes, I paired a different remote when I was troubleshooting the unresponsiveness issue. It worked fine...until the Dac became unresponsive to it. I also changed the battery in the Apple remote so I'm pretty much convinced that the remote itself is not the problem.
 

Burning Sounds

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Definitely contact Pavel.

- My entire system is on a SurgeX power conditioner, with Okto and PC on the 'always on' circuit, and I use the Okto 'remote out' voltage to trigger amp & DSP (Venu) power up. So...my Okto is basically always powered. TV/Monitor is on a separate circuit.
- The Apple IR remote does not transmit through plastic (my rack door is made of 1/8" 3-Form Varia).

Mine has been running all day - still 23C (ambient room temp has cooled down a bit, too.)

Best wishes!!

I'm curious - does that SurgeX power conditioner have RF/EMI filtering?
 

Neddy

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Yes, it does, but doesn't look like anything spectacular, -30db?
SEQ specs.jpg
 

Burning Sounds

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Hmm, might be enough though. The Okto Dac doesn't have any RFI/EMI mains input filtering - complete speculation on my part though as to whether this is the cause of this remote issue.
 

Dacapalooza

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Why? Why not keep original volume? Would that not be the purist?
Yes, but despite the talk of purist recordings, not one in one thousand are even close to being purist. Furthermore, most people given a chance to listen to the original levels and dynamic range don't like it as much as a processed...
That has been my experience as well. What many people mean by the terms 'dynamics' and 'slam' is just *how much* of that compression/limiting is applied....
Google has far different answer. Maybe I failed to communicate, as you gave beautiful answers to different question: Why are we not pure besides levels when recording? So everything BUT the original question was answered.
I was hoping to get spoon fed the info. Oh well, I'll take one for the team & Google.
NonVocalSpecific.JPG

To re-word google to answer why we are not pure: Changing levels is the best way to record. If we kept it pure bad things happen like distortion & other bad stuff.

Now Google felt a need to bring up vocals. So reworded:
VocalSpecific.JPG


Clicked both articles as that should certainly give us all the info we should ever need. Note that Google gave us Vocal specific articles either way.
The vocal specific article actually has pro terminology for exactly this question in two words: Unity Gain
"If you record at the same level of the input, then you are recording at 0 dB, or in other words, you have unity gain."
So to re-ask the question in Audio Engineer terms: Why is unity gain not desirable?
Answer (from vocal specific) article:
  • When recording vocals you should be aiming for -18dB to -6dB. If you go any higher than -6dB you risk audio clipping.
  • The range of -24dB to -6dB that was mentioned in the beginning is based on the desired signal-to-noise ratio of an audio recording produced in that range.
  • The most simple rule to remember is that there is no need for a vocal recording to reach near -0.1dB as it risks audio clipping, and there is no discernible difference in sound quality from a -24dB recording up to -0.1dB."
Non vocal specific article mentions other reasons why we mess with levels that makes perfect sense:
OtherReasonForLevelChange.JPG


As to why are we not pure besides levels? Engineers also has single word for it: Mixing (as per the vocal specific article)
So to re-ask using engineer terms: Why Mix? Because it sounds great. Gotchya. Thanks!
Note that the non vocal specific article claims Mixing is required. For balance.
"Balance Is Important in Determining Decibel Levels for Vocal Recording. The reason decibel levels are important for vocal recording is because sound engineering is about achieving balance for the best aural experience"

So I am satisfied that recording levels are perfect. Yay! There is science behind it and quality doesn't suffer. What more can we want?

However, I deduced from articles an Extremely disturbing fact about Mixing that makes a cutting edge DAC irrelevant.
The DAW. DAWS have analog stages. Audio engineers were doing so well with their communication skills with single word summaries, now they invented a word that misleads :) Should have been called ADAW. DA'AW? More accurate perhaps: "ADDAADDAAD etc"
So audio signals are ping ponged AD/DA/AD, etc. No way all these devices are ASR approved. How many devices are in DAW anyway? So embedded in our source is SINBAD up the wazoo. If there was a way to test our sources through the hosts rig I betchya it'll fall in the red. If I was a betting man: low 80's. Trinnov is pro device & is in 80's. If we were smart, the host should start testing Pro devices than there is hope for an end to end working system.
 
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Dacapalooza

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Definitely contact Pavel.
I find these few reports troubling, but I've had ZERO issues with mine.
(I did have ONE instance where it woke up unresponsive to JRiver, but I'd been futzing around with power connections earlier that day, too.)
Coupla thoughts - probably not helpful or pertinent, but:
- What firmware is yours? Mine is 1.2.
Mine is, which gives excellent airflow...
This sounds silly... check the battery on your remote...
...complete speculation on my part though as to whether this is the cause of this remote issue.
I'm version 1.32
I'm not troubled. What is the harm leaving it on? Longevity, perhaps? Ideally an even better device comes along between now & 5-7 years, preferably in small form factor :)

My air flow is great. Have appropriate fan. Nothing has ever failed in my rack. Had 3 Krell Monoblocks for 9.5 years. Krell S-1200 for 6, you know how hot those get? It didn't break, I just retired it. More importantly everything feels cool to the touch.
Anyway this issue is obviously firmware/software. Remote is just 1 of 3 symptoms when things go haywire. 1) Doesn't shut off despite the 10 minutes setting 2) Doesn't exit menu after 60 secs 3) Remote -> Reboot always fixes everything
Honestly, I had no plans on ever, ever using the remote. In fact never took out the packaging and put it in storage. When it didn't shut off is when I decided to test everything & took remote out of storage.

Has not failed today. Repeated same usage everyday. Tuesday used 2 hours. It shut off. Yesterday morning turned on -> haywireness. Rebooted & Repeated Wednesday with 2 hours. This morning turned on. No haywireness. Maybe it has soul & is acclimating :)

I am 100% fine with the issues & feel unaffected. I am happy.
It's DAW's that upset me now.
It's the DAW that is biggest bottleneck regardless of how advanced our playback system is. Not my amps like I thought until today.
 
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Dacapalooza

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That has been my experience as well. What many people mean by the terms 'dynamics' and 'slam' is just *how much* of that compression/limiting is applied...
Thankfully, streaming is addressing this by 'normalizing' all programme material to a reference level.
Our host mentioned that he would never watch streaming because it's too compressed.
Not sure if we should thank them? My ammeter never moves more than +-.2 amps in Netflix/Amazon/Hulu divided into 5.1 speakers, while BD's for same material +-16 amps.
YouTube music videos vary, +- 2 full amps max. Sounds Okto listen. Only way to get music videos in streaming devices. Cd's & Tidal way more, but don't use them. If Tidal had music videos in the Oppo that would be my biggest dream.
Using your wording: Way too much compression/limiting must be applied in the most used streaming services.

Maybe you are thanking them for the effort to standardize? I can get behind that. But if a revolutionary is to Standardize, with every fiber of my soul, I hope it would not be Netflix.
Disney BD's lately are similar to netflix. When Googled why: Disney invented new standard called Dismos. (Much like Disney is the only one that insists to have their own DVD/BD/3D logos, so too they must insist on their own compression/limiting standards I guess...)
Any day now our BD's will have either Atmos or Dismos logo :p
 
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Dacapalooza

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I'm curious - does that SurgeX power conditioner have RF/EMI filtering?
I suggest getting one with Ammeter. Great tool for: To be more intimate with your sources, debugging & early alarm.
Not to mention the pleasure I (everyone?) get when I see it it go up. I love when my sources eat power!
 
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