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SACD/DSD: Passive speakers vs Active Studio Monitors for 5.1 multichannel SACD playback.

DiN

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Does anyone use active studio monitors for multichannel 5.1 SACD-music playback? I was thinking of adding that, currently I only use passive speakers. Is it worth the trouble in Studio Monitor Setup to use them for 5.1 SACD playback over(instead of) passive speakers? Any expertise into how to best accomplish this would be appreciated, or if I should just go with passive speaker setup. Below are some of how I foresee my setup being accomplished in this particular room.

I'd likely get something like the JBL Professional 305/306/308P MkII (perhaps these won't work because I might need something with front-ports, please suggest better for SACD MCh playback, for use somewhat near field(?), 6 feet from front plane, rears are only 2-feet plane behind ears. Budget would be $500 - $1,000 for the studio monitor speakers.

Now, the Studio Monitor Speakers I'd only get if they'd sound significantly better than my current 2 passive speaker options for this room:
Option 1: JBL Studio 570 fronts, 530 rears, 520c center (I know these sound great in my SACD listening, but I haven't hear Studio Monitors to compare it to.)
Option 2: 4x Pioneer SP-BS22A-LR(atmos) Andrew Jones w/matching center channel speaker.

The issue beyond choosing speakers will be method to get the DSD stream to the speakers.
I foresee doing it this way if using Active Studio Monitors:

1. SACD-player (like Sony UBP X800M2, to-get).

2. HDMI-out to AVR that has RCA-pre-amp-outs (already own this).

3. Convert RCA to XLR balanced: something like the (to get):
$180 ART T8 8-channel Hum Eliminator / Isolation Rack

$149 Behringer Ultra-DI Pro DI800v2 8-channel Active Instrument Direct Box

4. Studio Monitor Speakers (to get).
Now, I could just use passive speakers, in which case they'd be, 2 options:
Option 1: JBL Studio 570 fronts, 530 rears, 520c center.
Option 2: 4x Pioneer SP-BS22A-LR(atmos) Andrew Jones w/matching center channel speaker.

Now, ideally, #2 & #3 above would be replaced with a pre-amp with XLR-outs like the Yamaha CX-A5200; or Marantz AV7703 - AV7706, or AV8805 (which will range in price used/refurb from $1,000 to $3,000)

Another option might be for me to convert my SACDs to images/DSD files, then play directly from digital--not sure of the best way to output those digital files to 5.1 studio monitors (x.1 potential sub.) It'd probably have to be some expensive $1,000 - $3,000 XLR-enabled pre-amp like mentioned above, or a cheaper 5.1 AVR capable of DSD file playback from network or front USB.

Room setup:
It's basically a setup surrounding a bed in a basement bedroom, of size 15.5'L x 10.5'w x 7'-8.5" ceiling(popcorn), carpeted(concrete floor), all sheet rocked walls.
I foresee having the 3 front speakers at the foot of the bed, and 2 rear speakers on the natural-shelf made by the lower concrete-block core-wall, basically sitting in front of the window.
Core wall types:
Front's: 2x4's(closet space full wall-width except for bedroom door.)
Left: concrete block
Right: 2x4's
Back: window & lower-wall concrete blocks, upper-wall 2x6's.
 
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GXAlan

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Get the Yamaha CX-A5100 instead of the CX-A5200. Cheaper and better for your needs. (No eARC but cleaner analog performance).

The real challenge with an all-active setup is power cable management for your speakers. This is where a “line conditioner” with programmable 12v trigger outs makes sense.
 
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b7676

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Summary recently gleaned from other members about multichannel and dsd:
Spinning a disc to transport limits the opportunity to upconvert from/past dsd 64 or 128. So ripping files is objectively superior. Dsd 256 is beyond saturation for AES/SPDIF! For DSD direct AKM chips are a best choice, maybe cirrus logic, and avoid ESS. Multichannel hifi dacs topping dm7 and Okto dac8 are ESS.

Here are two suggested softwares for processing multichannel.

Haven't seen a usb to to usb dsp like minidsp would make. Their flex lineup you should observe.

Concluding without an A/V receiver or too many kilobucks;
-Usb to a motu LP32/8D or Digiface, to breakout SPDIF/AES into each active unless you can usb/network directly to them.
-Something from minidsp (converts dsd to pcm like ess and active monitors?)
-3 usb into 3, 2 channel dsd 512+ dacs for a passive 6 channel system (or more). Then you could add in analog pre's, and keep all processing + room correction at the signal source.

Is multichannel DSD actually a canard?
 
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DiN

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Summary recently gleaned from other members about multichannel and dsd:
Spinning a disc to transport limits the opportunity to upconvert from/past dsd 64 or 128. So ripping files is objectively superior. Dsd 256 is beyond saturation for AES/SPDIF! For DSD direct AKM chips are a best choice, maybe cirrus logic, and avoid ESS. Multichannel hifi dacs topping dm7 and Okto dac8 are ESS.
...
Is there really any benefit to converting above the DSD64 of the SACDs, when that's their original format? An audible difference someone could hear in their ears over a set of $200ea speakers? I imagine ripping from DSD64 to DSD128/256 is just like "upscaling" HD video to 4K or 4K to 8K video, averaging the pixels around them--obviously details aren't added (that might have been part of an original recording done in DSD128/256)--just existing data points in the DSD64 averaged to a higher sample rate when going from DSD64 to DSD128?

Then maybe I should return my unopened $1300 clearance (msrp $6600) Arcam AVR30/ESS9026PRO-dac AVR that I just bought, and try to find one with an AKM chip--or will the Pioneer Elite VSXLX303 (2018 model year w/AK4458 (AKM) & PCM5101 (TI) DACs I have be good enough? How much would I have to spend to beat that Pioneer/AK4458 combination for DSD playback in an audible quality difference over a range from $100-200 JBL 305/306/308p mkii studio monitors to Polk Legend L200-range speakers(max $1000/ea)? And again, since this is multi-channel SACD/DSD, only the AKM dacs capable of 6-channel minimum would work.

Looking at the AKM DAC list, only these do 6+ channels:
AK4436VN (6ch)
AK4438VN (8ch)
AK4456VN (6ch)
AK4458VN (8ch, DAC in my Pioneeer LX303)
I don't see a newer AKM multi-channel DAC than the 4458 that I already have in the Pioneer LX303, so perhaps the only way I could improve the SACD/DSD64 audio playback that I already have is in the implementation of that AK4458 chip, or a unit using multiple-units of the higher-performing 2-channel AKM dacs.
 
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DiN

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....Dsd 256 is beyond saturation for AES/SPDIF! For DSD direct AKM chips are a best choice, maybe cirrus logic, and avoid ESS. Multichannel hifi dacs topping dm7 and Okto dac8 are ESS.

Concluding without an A/V receiver or too many kilobucks;
-Usb to a motu LP32/8D or Digiface, to breakout SPDIF/AES into each active unless you can usb/network directly to them.
-Something from minidsp (converts dsd to pcm like ess and active monitors?)
-3 usb into 3, 2 channel dsd 512+ dacs for a passive 6 channel system (or more). Then you could add in analog pre's, and keep all processing + room correction at the signal source.
Maybe you already talked about this above, but it went over my head because I'm so new to SACD/DSD/multichannel. I was trying to figure out if there was a way to take the digital/encrypted multichannel DSD stream, and separate that multi-channel stream into 3 separate 2-channel pairs, and then you could output those 3x 2-channel pairs directly into say 3 regular 2-channel DACs (like AK4499), which could be higher-quality DACs than the typical multichannel AKM/ESS DAC? Do you think a setup like that is possible?
 

b7676

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Maybe you already talked about this above, but it went over my head because I'm so new to SACD/DSD/multichannel. I was trying to figure out if there was a way to take the digital/encrypted multichannel DSD stream, and separate that multi-channel stream into 3 separate 2-channel pairs, and then you could output those 3x 2-channel pairs directly into say 3 regular 2-channel DACs (like AK4499), which could be higher-quality DACs than the typical multichannel AKM/ESS DAC? Do you think a setup like that is possible?
Yes, this is is where my research is at.

-My rough understanding of the ESS Sabre is the technique they use to create/recover clocking is essentially a conversion to pcm.

-That anytime you want apply dsp to a dsd stream, it has to be converted to pcm to be processed. That the dsd stream cannot be touched. I also recall reading that recovering a dsd stream from hdmi is only two channel.

-So are the AVR even actually capable of NATIVE dsd mulitchannel processing without any conversion/reconversion, which would explain the low dsd rates?

-If using a PC to do the multichannel, room correction, eq etc. processing, does this imply the same conversion and reconversion from dsd to pcm to dsd?
 
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voodooless

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3. Convert RCA to XLR balanced: something like
Save the money and just use an RCA to XLR cable. That will work just fine and will have less noise and distortion than those cheap boxes.
 

dped90

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Maybe you already talked about this above, but it went over my head because I'm so new to SACD/DSD/multichannel. I was trying to figure out if there was a way to take the digital/encrypted multichannel DSD stream, and separate that multi-channel stream into 3 separate 2-channel pairs, and then you could output those 3x 2-channel pairs directly into say 3 regular 2-channel DACs (like AK4499), which could be higher-quality DACs than the typical multichannel AKM/ESS DAC? Do you think a setup like that is possible?
I wonder what the subjective sound qualities of the Merging Hapi or Okto DAC 8 Pro would be if they used AKM chips-like my Pioneer LX500 BD player-rather than ESS DAC chips. AFAIK, the only 8 channel DACs using AKM chips are from RME, though all of those models include ADCs. If only some brand made at least one high performance MCH DAC with AKM chips.
 
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Kal Rubinson

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Maybe you already talked about this above, but it went over my head because I'm so new to SACD/DSD/multichannel. I was trying to figure out if there was a way to take the digital/encrypted multichannel DSD stream, and separate that multi-channel stream into 3 separate 2-channel pairs, and then you could output those 3x 2-channel pairs directly into say 3 regular 2-channel DACs (like AK4499), which could be higher-quality DACs than the typical multichannel AKM/ESS DAC? Do you think a setup like that is possible?
Possible but not practical. It would require decoding and re-encoding the multichannel DSD, probably with a PCM intermediary, and using DACs with clock links.
I wonder what the subjective sound qualities of the Merging Hapi or Okto DAC 8 Pro would be if they used AKM chips-like my Pioneer LX500 BD player-rather than ESS DAC chips. AFAIK, the only 8 channel DACs using AKM chips are from RME, though all of those models include ADCs. If only some brand made at least one high performance MCH DAC with AKM chips.
FWIW, I remain unconvinced of the need to avoid ESS DACs and certainly of the Pyrrhic victory that this approach would lead to.
 

Tom C

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If you have a working set up, converting from passive to active (or converting from active to passive) won’t get you any benefit, at least not any that you will be able to hear.
Converting from one to the other could maybe make some sense, but only if there is a specific problem you’re trying to solve. One isn’t superior to the other; each is just a different way to get to the same goal.
When using DSD, it doesn’t really matter if you’ve got active or passive because the problems and challenges will be the same with either. So, since you already have passive, I recommend just stay with that.
 

Tom C

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I couldn’t find where you tell us what your current speakers are. Sorry if I missed it, but what do you have right now?
 
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DiN

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I couldn’t find where you tell us what your current speakers are. Sorry if I missed it, but what do you have right now?
I currently have 3 sets:
JBL Studio 570(2,floors), 530(2,books), 520C(center).
Polk Legend L200(2,books), LSI M703(2,books), LSI M704c(center), Polk OWM3 for heights(4).
Pioneer SP-BS22A-LR(4,w/attached atmos upfiring drivers) Andrew Jones w/matching center channel speaker.
 
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DiN

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Just for an update, I did buy these used off ebay in the past week for this 5.1 SACD setup:

1. Parasound Halo C2, controller/pre-amp with 7.1 analog-in (for SACD-outs), and with XLR-outputs.

2. Oppo BDP-95, for its great DACs(2x ESS2018, 1 for multi-channel, 1 for stereo) & SACD-analog out or XLR-stereo-out.

3. Oppo BDP-103D, for ability to convert my SACDs to digital files for longevity & also ease of playback (more options)

4. Amazon: WORLDS BEST CABLES 2 Foot – Directional High-Definition Audio Interconnect Cable Pair Custom Made Using Mogami 2549 Wire and Amphenol ACPR Die-Cast, Gold Plated RCA Connectors. $30/stereo-pair (Please let me know if there is something better for the money.)

My only missing piece now is amps, about 3-channels missing (to complete 5.1 SACD playback). I do have:
1. Parasound Halo A23+ (but just 2-channels)
2. 3 AVRs, but none with 5.1 analog-in, but I can use them all for SACD playback through HDMI:
Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A2050 9.2 (2015-year, still does fine, but two older ESS Sabre Premier ES9006 192kHz/24-bit DACs.
Pioneer Elite VSX-LX303 9.2 (year-2018, dacs: AKM AK4458 & TI PCM5101)
Arcam AVR30 (year-2019, dac: 1x ESS 9026PRO)
 

Putter

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The problem from DAY 1 has always been that while it is reasonable, if a little more difficult to used powered monitors in a 2 channel system; 3 power cords and 2 interconnect cables instead of one power cord and 2 interconnect cables, it gets fairly crazy in a 5.1 channel and insane in an Atmos system of 5.2.4 or even more channels.
 

anibal66

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The problem from DAY 1 has always been that while it is reasonable, if a little more difficult to used powered monitors in a 2 channel system; 3 power cords and 2 interconnect cables instead of one power cord and 2 interconnect cables, it gets fairly crazy in a 5.1 channel and insane in an Atmos system of 5.2.4 or even more channels.

I am ready to consider returning to multichannel as soon as there are reasonable solutions for wireless signal transmission from a multichannel processor to powered speakers.
 
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