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SONCOZ SGD1 Audio DAC Review

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Ben, just a quick question. Can you use both outputs (XLR and RCA) to drive two different amplifiers at the same time? I am considering adding a subwoofer.
thanks!
 

nspp

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Ben, just a quick question. Can you use both outputs (XLR and RCA) to drive two different amplifiers at the same time? I am considering adding a subwoofer.
thanks!
Yes you can use both output at the same time as you do not have any output selector. Volume will also be applied to both RCA/XLR.
 

Pluto

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I'm not Ben but, provided that the loads are of reasonably high impedance (i.e. not deliberately low Z test-like loads) there should be no problem.

A rule of thumb is to check the level coming out of one of the outputs (either XLR or RCA) then add the second load. If adding the latter makes little difference (say no more than ½dB) to the level of the former, you're good to go.
 
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Thank you!


I've been working from home over the past two months due to the pandemic, having to do audio meetings pretty much every day, so the Windows audio needs to work for me unfortunately. That said, this morning I went ahead and installed Asio4All and configured Foobar to output Asio directly to the SGD1. With this setup the Windows audio resampler still works with no cracking sounds. So far, the problem only occurs for me when using the Thesycon driver.

I guess for the time being I am going to stick with this setup as I need Windows audio to work correctly. When I get some more time I will probably tinker some more and see if I can pinpoint any other causes beyond something potentially wrong with the driver. In the meantime, I would still love to hear others' impressions of using the native vs Thesycon driver in a Windows/ASIO PC setup to get some additional feedback for anything I may have overlooked.
So it's taken me a few weeks of on and off researching and fighting with my PC, but I finally figured out the cause of my audio popping and, shocking I know, it wasn't related to the Thesycon driver at all. For those it might help in the future, apparently Windows does something called a Deferred Procedural Call, DPC, to prioritize its tasks. My raid controller driver of all things was having some sort of compatibility issues that was basically tanking my performance as a whole, which I found using a program called LatencyMon. Unfortunately, I couldn't easily fix this as every attempt at messing with the raid drivers caused by computer to blue screen, so I ended up having to wipe the whole thing and start over. Thankfully since then, all of my drivers seem to be playing nicer as my DPC latency is way down compared to what it was running at prior. With that done and my prior issues all resolved, I can finally after almost 2 months enjoy my music. I know I have shared my feedback already on some potential opportunities in improving some of the user interface pieces in the SGD1, but the execution of playing music itself in all this time so far has been flawless. Thank you Ben!
 
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I want to recommend best player for this DAC - Raspberry Pi 4/3 with Volumio OS. I am playing DSD 256 without any issues (i dont have higher DSD files) It works nicely with my network shares or you can connect the USB drives straight to the Pi. It has ok web interface, so you can manage the player from many devices.
 

mt196

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I want to recommend best player for this DAC - Raspberry Pi 4/3 with Volumio OS. I am playing DSD 256 without any issues (i dont have higher DSD files) It works nicely with my network shares or you can connect the USB drives straight to the Pi. It has ok web interface, so you can manage the player from many devices.
I do want to try it too, it seems very interesting
 

Covenant

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First post, apologies if this has been covered before. Can the volume control be by-passed so that a pre-amp can be used?
 

Pluto

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My raid controller driver of all things was having some sort of compatibility issues that was basically tanking my performance as a whole
Not an unusual situation. Drivers for disk subsystems are, I am told, a tricky proposition because there is a constant battle between getting the job done and not messing up the rest of the system performance. RAIDs are even worse depending on how much of the necessary calculation (what RAID level are you running?) is handed off to hardware and what has to be handled by the driver software code. Such drivers are difficult to do well and there are very few people with the necessary experience. Those with a good track record in this field are sought after and costly.

Your example is one of the best arguments for leaving a multimedia computer as simple as possible as the performance ‘out of the box’ is likely to be as good as it gets. As soon as you start adding hardware and software complications you are on the road to ruin!
 
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Not an unusual situation. Drivers for disk subsystems are, I am told, a tricky proposition because there is a constant battle between getting the job done and not messing up the rest of the system performance. RAIDs are even worse depending on how much of the necessary calculation (what RAID level are you running?) is handed off to hardware and what has to be handled by the driver software code. Such drivers are difficult to do well and there are very few people with the necessary experience. Those with a good track record in this field are sought after and costly.

Your example is one of the best arguments for leaving a multimedia computer as simple as possible as the performance ‘out of the box’ is likely to be as good as it gets. As soon as you start adding hardware and software complications you are on the road to ruin!
I have a system drive and a pair of drives I have in a RAID 1 mirror. In all honestly, reloading the computer was probably for the best. Even before dealing with the audio popping and figuring out Foobar, I was dealing with reoccurring blue screens cause by a Windows update. Turns out the new update no longer played well with the memory timings I had set in the bios (That was a fun one to track down!). However, getting to that conclusion led me to do all manner of loading and rolling back drivers, tweaking bios settings among other things. So getting back to a good one and done baseline will most likely help prevent other issues. And I learned a thing or two extra about Windows that might help down the road;I didn't even know DPC latency was a thing until I happened to stumble upon it during one of my searches.
 
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What is the best set up when using Foobar & Windows 10 with the SGD1?

Initally I only had Direct Sound as an Output choice. I installed foo_out_wasapi and set it to use Event mode. I understand this runs in WASAPI Exclusive, which is what I want. Is there anything else I should be doing to optimise?
My other DAC (Mojo) uses foo_out_ks as Chord have a ASIO driver and the manual implies Kernel Streaming is same sound quality as WASAPI Exclusive but with less demand on the processor.

Why are some people using the Thesycon driver? Sorry if this has been covered before.
 

Pluto

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I have in a RAID 1 mirror.
Mmm... I'm not at all convinced by the idea of running a RAID1 internally within a Windows machine (even as a data-only drive). As an external NAS, yes – but as an internal within Windows???? Simply because a far more likely failure mode than a drive fault is that Windows itself will mess up the filing system and your RAID will faithfully create two faulty copies. Such a scenario is all the more likely if the system is struggling with latency issues.

My instinct is to run your second drive as a standard solo (no RAID, no problematic high-latency drivers) and use the other RAID partner drive as a weekly-or-so backup.
 

Pluto

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Is there anything else I should be doing to optimise?
Probably not. I would not use kernel streaming these days; it is deprecated, there is no sonic advantage (can you hear a difference?), WASAPI is now the mode of choice unless you really need the flexibility of ASIO which gives you the rope to hang yourself, should you so desire.

Why are some people using the Thesycon driver?
Useful on pre-Windows 10 machines for Audio Class 2 support i.e. sampling rates above 96kHz. Also, it allows pure DSD to be transmitted to the DAC but this entails the use of ASIO (with its attendant pitfalls) and is sonically unnecessary. If anyone can prove and demonstrate to me that they can hear the difference between DoP (DSD over PCM) and pure DSD I shall buy them a bottle of Bolli!
 

da Choge

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which I found using a program called LatencyMon
Your example is one of the best arguments for leaving a multimedia computer as simple as possible as the performance ‘out of the box’ is likely to be as good as it gets.
LatencyMon is a good program to assess a PC's latency issues which can dramatically impact audio streaming. Sometimes, even if you determine there is a latency issue, it may be hard to completely and permanently correct it -- depending on the number and complexity of programs you have running on your computer. My desktop, along with a couple other PCs, were setup to be capable of running Oculus virtual programs which can use the CPU and GPU very intensively (although I rarely, if ever, use them for that anymore). Although I have a DAC connected to my desktop, and use it frequently for casual listening, it develops latency issues sporadically, which can be very disturbing when listening to music. But I rarely use that desktop for more critical/enjoyable listening. I've got two other music systems that use ROCK-configured NUC endpoints connected by ethernet to a ROCK-based NUC core, and never have latency issues with those setups (ROCK is a very stripped down Linux-based OS developed by Roon to be used as the operating system for small Intel NUC-based PCs that function only to stream music and nothing else). They function flawlessly with no latency issues whatsoever. It is not unusual to run into latency issues which can degrade music streaming when using PCs that run multiple more intensive programs that you use on a daily basis for other tasks.
 
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Probably not. I would not use kernel streaming these days; it is deprecated, there is no sonic advantage (can you hear a difference?), WASAPI is now the mode of choice unless you really need the flexibility of ASIO which gives you the rope to hang yourself, should you so desire.


Useful on pre-Windows 10 machines for Audio Class 2 support i.e. sampling rates above 96kHz. Also, it allows pure DSD to be transmitted to the DAC but this entails the use of ASIO (with its attendant pitfalls) and is sonically unnecessary. If anyone can prove and demonstrate to me that they can hear the difference between DoP (DSD over PCM) and pure DSD I shall buy them a bottle of Bolli!
Thank you. Very helpful.
 

ZeDestructor

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Not an unusual situation. Drivers for disk subsystems are, I am told, a tricky proposition because there is a constant battle between getting the job done and not messing up the rest of the system performance. RAIDs are even worse depending on how much of the necessary calculation (what RAID level are you running?) is handed off to hardware and what has to be handled by the driver software code. Such drivers are difficult to do well and there are very few people with the necessary experience. Those with a good track record in this field are sought after and costly.

Your example is one of the best arguments for leaving a multimedia computer as simple as possible as the performance ‘out of the box’ is likely to be as good as it gets. As soon as you start adding hardware and software complications you are on the road to ruin!
DPC latency is just how long the driver takes to respond a DPC event, and has essentially no relation to how complex the RAID calculations can be. RAID and storage drivers are whole tend to be very fast by nature of storage needing to respond fast. Even fakeraid and it's CPU-stealing ways.

In modern times, there's also very few true RAID controller manufacturers - LSI/Avago/Broadcom, Marvell and Adaptec/Microsemi/PMC-Sierra. essentially everyone else selling a RAID "controller" is using some form of fakeraid/softraid with extra boot firmware. Ironically, it's the guys with the big, expensive true RAID controllers that have some of the slowest drivers, since a longer DPC call is fine if the overall storage/network performance goes up.

I have a system drive and a pair of drives I have in a RAID 1 mirror. In all honestly, reloading the computer was probably for the best. Even before dealing with the audio popping and figuring out Foobar, I was dealing with reoccurring blue screens cause by a Windows update. Turns out the new update no longer played well with the memory timings I had set in the bios (That was a fun one to track down!). However, getting to that conclusion led me to do all manner of loading and rolling back drivers, tweaking bios settings among other things. So getting back to a good one and done baseline will most likely help prevent other issues. And I learned a thing or two extra about Windows that might help down the road;I didn't even know DPC latency was a thing until I happened to stumble upon it during one of my searches.
Happens, and is a *huge* part of why nobody considers overclocked systems as any sort of valid case for software/driver stability. PS: step 1 of diagnosing any sort of reproducible error is to disable any and all overclocks.

Mmm... I'm not at all convinced by the idea of running a RAID1 internally within a Windows machine (even as a data-only drive). As an external NAS, yes – but as an internal within Windows???? Simply because a far more likely failure mode than a drive fault is that Windows itself will mess up the filing system and your RAID will faithfully create two faulty copies. Such a scenario is all the more likely if the system is struggling with latency issues.

My instinct is to run your second drive as a standard solo (no RAID, no problematic high-latency drivers) and use the other RAID partner drive as a weekly-or-so backup.
RAID1 is perfectly fine even for Windows. It's just a bit pointless because odds are you'll break something in the OS install or accidentally delete something or upgrade the drive somehow before a drive breaks.

In my case, I have one particular driver that spits out crazy DPCs when I load it up: my Mellanox 40Gig network card. Changing the windows scheduler to prefer background tasks rather than foreground tasks seems to help, but I have yet to run serious benchmarks with it, so don't take my words as an absolute truth.
 

Pluto

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RAID1... Windows. It's just a bit pointless because odds are you'll break something in the OS install or accidentally delete something or upgrade the drive somehow before a drive breaks
That's what I said, more or less, I thought....

The second drive would serve a more useful purpose as a backup rather than within a RAID1 pair that faithfully mirrors every disaster!
 

nspp

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I want to recommend best player for this DAC - Raspberry Pi 4/3 with Volumio OS. I am playing DSD 256 without any issues (i dont have higher DSD files) It works nicely with my network shares or you can connect the USB drives straight to the Pi. It has ok web interface, so you can manage the player from many devices.
What is really nice with the Soncosz is to be able to have two usb input !
I also advise to use a dedicated computer to play long music session. I have plugged (usb C) with this DAC a R.pi 4 with pico player to play from Logitec Media Server.. For my main system i use an fanless intel based NUC system with Daphile.

To everyday/office use, you can plug your computer USB B and enjoy the DAC even if would never use standard windows 10 for serious music listening.. (too many services (includuing firewall/antivirus), devices, uncontrolled updates, stability, ..... ) I only express my own opinion and experiences.
 
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