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SONCOZ SGD1 Audio DAC Review

nspp

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Jan 22, 2020
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Yeah that has been my experience, too.
With Sabre DAC i only perceive differnce when using compressed mp3 where minimum phase slow seems to be more tolerant. But If you use uncompressed material above 96Khz I'm pretty sure that you will not notice any differences on SGD1. In Theory Linear phase should be more dynamic, minimum slow less precise.
 

Veri

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With Sabre DAC i only perceive differnce when using compressed mp3 where minimum phase slow seems to be more tolerant. But If you use uncompressed material above 96Khz I'm pretty sure that you will not notice any differences on SGD1.
I usually pick the SD / minimum phase variants. Lowest delay for what it's worth, and sounds fine to me :p
 

TheTalbotHound

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@Ben1987 Is the Apod filter in the SGD1 a custom filter or just a stock one? Also is it minimum, linear, or intermediate phase? Love the DAC btw, got one for myself.

edit: Also the digital section looks nice, asio and wasapi at the same time. Is that standard on new XMOS firmware or custom?
 
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Great thx. So i'm guessing based on the datasheet that Apod is linear phase. But the ESS website did mention two interchangeable versions of Apod, one linear and one minimum phase
In the ESS doc I do not understand what the two axis of the filter graphs plot (from page 55 of the specs pdf): the X runs from zero, the Y has numbers ending either with “k” or “m”.

Has anybody a clue about that ?

M
 
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Ben1987 can you please help me in solving my issue using AES cable?

Basically I have difficulty in playing when I use AES cable from pi2aes streamer to SGD1. Dac works properly when I switch to coax in remote.
Both coax and AES cable are connected between pi2aes and SGD1.

Please let me know.

Thanks
Rlal
Made an account after years of lurking to chime in as I've run into this exact issue as well, though I've got it working albeit with a caveat that it's playing "lower" sample rates, anything over 176.4kHz it isn't playing on the AES connection, however everything runs as expected on my coaxial digital in (running from the BNC on the Pi2AES).

For reference by the way, my signal is as follows: nas for file storage, playing through Roon, Pi2AES endpoint, up sampling with HQPlayer. Anyone have thoughts and does that mess of thoughts provoke legible interpretation?

Thanks!
Max
 
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Made an account after years of lurking to chime in as I've run into this exact issue as well, though I've got it working albeit with a caveat that it's playing "lower" sample rates, anything over 176.4kHz it isn't playing on the AES connection, however everything runs as expected on my coaxial digital in (running from the BNC on the Pi2AES).

For reference by the way, my signal is as follows: nas for file storage, playing through Roon, Pi2AES endpoint, up sampling with HQPlayer. Anyone have thoughts and does that mess of thoughts provoke legible interpretation?

Thanks!
Max

For me I am not able play any files using AES/EBU using SGD1.
My chain is sonic transporter act as a roon core and pi2aes act as a Roon endpoint.
I am able to play using Coax/RCA while I am not getting any sound if switched to AES option in SGD1 even after increasing volume to maximum.
I checked with pi2aes team and they said all outputs work simultaneously irrespective of what software we use in raspberry pie.

I also didnt get any solution yet.

Thanks
Rlal
 
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I almost don't have the hear to show you the next measurement, but I must:
View attachment 41901

Darn it. Our dreaded ESS DAC chip IMD "hump" is there in full glory. It gets exaggerated ironically with lower noise floor that the SGD1 DAC has. Can't believe ESS has not solve this problem on their own and put it in their datasheets, leaving it to each designer to figure it out one by one.

EDIT: subsequent to this review, the IMD "hump" was resolved by the designer. He was also gracious to provide the fix for anyone to use!
was this fix a software fix? i would like to purchase this from audiophonics https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/dac-...512-xmos-u208-bluetooth-50-black-p-14354.html.

how would i know if this version has the ESS hump fixed or not?
 
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was this fix a software fix? i would like to purchase this from audiophonics https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/dac-...512-xmos-u208-bluetooth-50-black-p-14354.html.

how would i know if this version has the ESS hump fixed or not?
It was a hardware fix that happened back when there were maybe only 10 or so SGD1's out in the wild well over a year ago. These days, every SGD1 that you will buy has this fixed. Just the same, and you'd probably have to check this thread somewhere, but you can verify by checking the capacitors I believe it was. All the new ones use a different kind than the early design ones.
 
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Hi all,
After long reading of this thread, I ordered and received mine yesterday from Amazon (Europe).
Box opening very pleasant.
Start-up and update process ran through (no update indeed).

But after connecting the DAC to my Yamaha CD player via coax link, no sound. Same with S/PFID connection. Both are working perfectly well with a much lower end Musical Fidelity V90 DAC (and digital entry on power amplifier's DAC as well). Same cables used all the time.

I connected my phone via Bluetooth and finally it starts singing.
Then tried with my old NAC C540 Player coax link (only) and it worked.
Final test with one of those cheap devices that works also between Yamaha CD player and Amplifier.

Conclusion my Yamaha CD-S700 and SDG1 are not able to talk to each other :rolleyes:

I configured the Soncoz with ESPTouchSmartConfig to connect via wifi (instead of hotspot) to get an update (in case of ) with same result : no update apparently.

I sent a mail to Soncoz (Sophia Ann) hopping to get some support because there is not so much I can do.

Z
I received yesterday the Sanskrit 10 Mk2 I ordered and plugged it straight to the Yamaha CD player. It works very well confirming there is an interface issue. The soncoz is the only dac that does not manage the S/PDIF (both cox and optical) of this player. Cheap Fiio Taisham, Musical fidelity V90 and Sanskrit 10 Mk2 have not such issue.
That's a pity considering the neat design of the Soncoz. And since due to spring holidays I have so far no solution from Soncoz, I am afraid I will sent the SGD1 back to amazon as long as it’s possible.
 
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I thought I would share my review of this DAC with you.

Alas, I think it shows that my original Active Speakers do not benefit ( in my opinion ) from upgrading the DAC as the one it has was perfectly good. This could be different if you have amps and passive, driven speakers.

I wrote this on the original product that was manufactured and would preface it that I don't do separates and pref simplicity of Active speakers and I'm currently running Buchardt A500's. I also found that if running off a Mac SoundSource did all I need to alter or tweak the audio to my personal preferences.

If anyone wants to test something before it goes to market, I'm pretty OCD about details.

****************

Firstly I would like to say total respect to the developer of this product. His knowledge and insight to produce this product far outweighs what most people can do by a long shot. The complexities of design, manufacturing and software development are way beyond most people. To then actually produce a product and ship it, my hat is well and truly off to him.



I’m 53 and from a technical background and have to admit I do suffer slightly with OCD !! Equally, I am quite normal and can be exposed to normal people. I have some

friends you can’t even put them in-front of normal people as they just don’t do social situations, I’m sure we all have friends like that.



I hope you / manufacturer view my comments in the manner they are meant and that is constructive allowing the manufacture to improve the areas which they choose to do so.



1. Product Delivery



1. Delivery from you. Perfect. Quick effective transaction followed up with tracking information and online interaction.

2. Packaging of the product itself is very good. Very well protected enough so even with quite heavy impacts it would survive without effecting the product.

3. The clear cover over the cables, nicely sealed. The seal over the product itself, perhaps apply the same sticky seal to that as well.

4. On Packaging logo / signature, nice clear and elegant.

5. In a new world of reusability I prefer the fact this is a simple brown box.

6. No batteries with remote. At £400 one would ‘expect’ batteries.

7. No UK power adapter was included. As it’s going into the UK market I would ‘expect’ at least an adapter.

8. No manual included in the box. At worst a booklet or Boucher should be included pointing to the appropriate web site. See 2.3.C.



2. Product Erganomics



1. Perhaps 1 more mm on the top of the chassis to give it a more ‘solid’ / ‘professional’ feel because everyone gives the case of products a ‘tap’. Remember the days of the open / close mechanism of a CD player :)

2. Look / Finish. The Finish is very nice. I’m guessing there is a plastic cover over the display as there seems to be a ‘crease’ top right. I didn’t try to remove this.

3. The rear of the product, very nice. The spacing and organising is perfect. The only improvement I could see in this is to print what is currently present, but also an upside down version, so when you lean over the top of the device you know what’s going on. This should not increase costs at all, but makes it feel a bit more polished.

4. Sides, nicely vented and nicely designed.

5. If the knob at the front was milled aluminium that would feet so much better.

3. Front panel. Mmmm… This is very very subjective and dependant upon the market the manufacturer is aiming for. But my thoughts are :-

A. Needs a Db Indicator.

B. No incoming format indicator ( 24 / 32 / 64 bit … ) to allow you ‘know’ your getting what you think your feeding the unit. C. Icons are nice. However for me, too small. I would prefer a digital panel read out as per above.

D. It is not at all intuitive to figure out what’s going on and you need to go online to do so because no brochure. ( see 1.8. )

E. The colours used, very nice, stylish.

F. When you get close and look at the icons ( sorry for being old ) they are crisp clear and a very nicely designed



3. Product Operation



1. Switching between input devices is VERY nice. Keeping levels, no clipping / noises… Smooth

2. The way in which the product exposes itself to Bluetooth and via USB is different, not sure if this is an effect of the OS. But I like the same thing to show in a certain way.



At the moment



Bluetooth Interface Soncox-SGD1

USB Interface SGD1



Would prefer



Bluetooth Interface Soncox-SGD1

USB Interface Soncox-SGD1



However, not sure if anything can be done about that as it could be OS dependant.



3. Keeps cool after a few hours of operation. No noise from the box.

4. Has not hiccuped once during my short usage, no loss of signal sound, icons ect.



4. Online Product Documentation



1. The main product brochure is very nice and clear. However more effort must be made to firmware upgrades and if possible interaction with the host OS.



2. I’m not a windows user, so can only comment about Apple stuff - A little bit on how to start up the ‘Apple Midi Interface’ utility, otherwise the user will be prob be stuck in 24bit @ 44.1khz. Now, it could be the case the manufacture expects the user to have this knowledge, perhaps all manufactures expect this. Don’t be like the others, help the user out. You might be explaining something

to the user they had no idea about.



3. On page (http://www.soncoz.com/sgd1.html#/) at the bottom group those Links as :-



Windows ( Thesycon Driver ), Android ( OTA Tool ) and the two other non-platform related - User Manual & RoSH. At the moment it is inconsistent.



4. On page ( http://www.soncoz.com/sgd1.html#/ the DOWNLOADS link at the bottom of the page is broken and takes you too - ( http://www.soncoz.com/downloads.html ) Which gets a 404 Errors.





4. Software Updates



I think this has been pointed out in the forums. Personally the approach taken is perfectly acceptable and works.



The BIG problem is, this has not been communicated at all well to the customers.

There is ambiguity to which app to download - this can be resolved by more distinctive icons and actual images from the App Store or

Android equivalent along with a dummy set of instructions, preferably written by a technical author not the developer ( I say this being a developer !! ).

Due to the lack of any LCD or display panel you don’t know if it’s worked or not, what level your at ect. Now, it could be that this ‘app’ resolves these issues by communicating the firmware level on the device, but I have no idea what the hell the app was for.



5. Product Performance



( Listening to Kate Bush / Some Rock





I am using Active Speakers that have both a built in DAC and RCA inputs.



My ‘normal’ system is :-



Mac -> USB -> Behringer UC202 -> Optical -> Speaker’s DAC -> Amp -> Speakers



The ‘SONCOZ’ system is :-



Mac - USB - > SONCOZ -> RCA - Speaker -> Amp -> Speakers



I then played ( he says ) by setting up the levels so the following inputs were running at 75db via pink noise on a db meter.



I then switched between



A. ‘Normal’ sytsem

B. ‘SONCOZ’ system

C. ‘Bluetooth’ interface ( Mac -> Bluetooth -> SONCOZ -> RCA - Speaker -> Amp -> Speakers



When switching between the three I could tell a ‘slight’ difference between A and B&C, but not much and to be honest I would have to spend a few days with other forms of music to verbalise it.



However if I mute my Mac and listen to :-



A. No hiss - nothing

B. hiss.



Now, I did try a couple of RCA cables inc. Atlas Equator 75 ohm. However it could be the case the under scenarios A. the speaker is dejecting no signal / sound and just cutting the amp in the speaker.



6. Summary



Can I hear a difference between using my active speakers with a built in DAC and this external DAC and the RCA connector. If I’m honest, I can’t, I really can’t. Perhaps a slight ‘richer/smoother’ or warmness

from the SONCOZ but that could be for many different reasons. I might give it a few more days to see if I can notice, but as a gut feel I can not.



This might not be a fault of the DAC itself but that I have got used to the speakers with built in DAC, which is super simple, elegant and seems to work. I was looking to see if perhaps external DAC’s would improve the sound.



Now the speakers I’m using are VERY clinical and are a set of ( sorry for perhaps being controversial ) AVI ADM9.1RSS’s. I think the DAC on these speakers is a Burr-Brown 24bit unto 96kHz. I did have the ADM10’s and could hear a difference between the two modals and the 10’s were better prob due to the drivers they used.



In my book, I would have the preference that my sound is not coloured even it makes it sound bad due to a poor recording. Is it my ears are not attuned to the differences in sound, due to my age, this could be the case but my wife will attest to my very keen ear at hearing the slightest of noise.



This probably means I will be returning the product to you, if that is ok. And perhaps seek your advise on a potential speaker upgrade if you now know I like a clinical uncoloured speaker and the only addition I would like to add would be room eq’ing.



My main objective here is to assist the developer / manufacturer.
 
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