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  1. #1

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    Default Sounds good but not the same as cd

    I understand flac is lossless. This AM i ripped Frank Zappa Best band you never heard on Jriver. While I had the cd in my hand
    i put the redbook into my Cayin scd50-t coax out (an old Monster cable) to the W4s Dac2 and started that cd at the same time as the flac version and gave it 30 seconds and flipped between the flac and the cd going through the same w4s dac2. Even though flac is lossess, I definitely could hear a difference. The cd, highs were cleaner and more pronounced. Bass was also a bit tighter and more pronounced vs the flac. While the flac did sound good and if i didnt have the ability to sit with the w4s dac2 remote and go in between the 2 with a hit of a button, I might not have picked up the differences as easy.

    What can I do to improve the sound of the flac to help match the cd using the same dac? I am using a dell laptop, Jriver, ASIO, pangea 4% silver usb cable to the w4s. Like i said it is close but its not there yet.

    I have changed the bit rate from 16 to 24, tried up-sample from 44 to 96. This did help the highs get more air sounding. I have not played with the internal dsp on Jriver. Do you think upgrading jriver to the newer version would make a sound difference?

  2. #2

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    Only thing I can offer is you are using different connection methods to get to the same DAC chip. I know Wyred makes good gear, but quality of the receiver circuitry and the implementation come into play. For instance, I presume the USB input is isolated from the computer? Is the signal reclocked? Isolation without reclocking can add latency.

    Is their USB input USB to I2S or SPDIF? I2S is the serial communication used in players where clock and data are separate. SPDIF has the clock embedded and the DAC chip must sort it out. (And the ESS Sabre does SPDIF differently and IMO better than other DAC chips). I don't think I demonstrated that when you were here, but you can get different results with I2S sounding clearer and cleaner than SPDIF. Some prefer one over the other. Implementation matters too, that is poorly implemented I2S will not sound better than well implemented SPDIF and vice versa.

    Maybe call and ask the good folks there. I spoke to them once and they were willing to get into technical nuts and bolts.
    Last edited by SCompRacer; 03-29-2014 at 02:18 PM.
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  3. #3

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    You didn't say how you played the flac....how you got it into the dac. Wireless....USB...digital coax ? Most likely what your hearing is the limitations of the computer.

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    I browsed your manual. It is USB to I2S. They supply proprietary drivers on CD.

    My diy ESS Sabre DAC is configured to save all DAC chip settings by input. Does your DAC save settings by input or does it apply the same setting to all inputs? They show you can control IIR bandwidth and roll off but don't mention if it is by input. Have you played with I2S justification settings? You could check the settings to ensure you are apples to apples between inputs. Maybe I2S input wants an orange...;)
    Last edited by SCompRacer; 03-29-2014 at 03:34 PM.
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    Is your Dell optimized for music? It would probably help to uninstall all the crap not needed for audio and maybe run Fidelizer. You might also experiment with a USB - SPDIF adapter like the M2Tech HiFace II. It's pretty reasonably priced.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    You didn't say how you played the flac....how you got it into the dac. Wireless....USB...digital coax ? Most likely what your hearing is the limitations of the computer.
    Quote Originally Posted by dragon1952 View Post
    Is your Dell optimized for music? It would probably help to uninstall all the crap not needed for audio and maybe run Fidelizer. You might also experiment with a USB - SPDIF adapter like the M2Tech HiFace II. It's pretty reasonably priced.
    I'd venture a deep Google: "search criteria" site:computeraudiophile.com

    ie: 9018 ESS Sabre W4s Dac2 site:computeraudiophile.com gives only 67 results

    http://www.google.com/#q=9018+ESS+Sa...audiophile.com

    "The 9018 ESS Sabre DAC remains the heart of the DAC-2 " has me wondering IF W4s isn't using Digital attenuation circuits on your input similar to Oppo, which is causing owners to Q the highest frequency spectrum results. In other words, are the source outputs level-matched to your W4S's inputs? Is it capable of self-attenuating w/out you fiddling with a knob? These Qs were way beyond Oppo customer service within the recent past.

    Try this thread: Volume Control with W4S DAC2SE DSD (it's only 1 page long & hints at the volume control w/in the digital domain):

    http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6...digital-18621/

    The highest level of results among the Mac users on CA is by removing ALL OS software from the HD & running with VERY a minimal OS on a flash drive. They also frown on web browsing: dedicated to music only. This is in addition to going with Solid State Drives & using Audirvana+.

    I don't frequent the JRiver forum over there.

    There are music app-specific fanboy clubs over there who don't play well together. But, the comparisons among those who use multiple apps (JRiver, PM, A+) on one OS seem to be favorable. Threads will go into detail re: bugs w/latest update to the app.

    The last PC I was forced to use was at DA SWPOC, pre-retirement in 2000. Circa ~ 1994, I was substituting at a middle school, when 2 panicked actual teachers came in at the end of the day:

    "Can you tell us what is the name of our CD-ROM drive?"

    I was pretty puzzled, having used a Mac since '92 (the cd-ROM drive is that little icon which looks like a CD). I took one look at their screen & realized MS was still requiring users to name a drive & write out commands.

    "Well, I know it isn't named "C," that's reserved for your hard drive. Have you tried "D." Another case where a sub saved the day.

    Good Luck! Joe

  7. #7

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    For any given CD, my Jolida CDP with tube output sounds just a tad better than the ripped FLAC file played via my SBT and PS Audio DLIII DAC.
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  8. #8

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    Get a better file player and DAC if the CD player sounds better.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkg999 View Post
    For any given CD, my Jolida CDP with tube output sounds just a tad better than the ripped FLAC file played via my SBT and PS Audio DLIII DAC.
    I bet the NuWave would put the SBT/DAC method over the top, especially using the SBT USB out to NuWave.
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  10. #10

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    My vote would be to get USB converter and switch to Wav instead of flac.

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    It's been said just about as many ways as possible, but the way you get the (digital) audio TO the amplifier (and/or DACs) is a big part of the equation. I opted for an (older) PCMCIA/bus based method to transfer the digital audio via coax (SPDIF) to my amp/processor and am very happy with the results. If you're interested in details, they're in another thread (under my name) in this same forum.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    I browsed your manual. It is USB to I2S. They supply proprietary drivers on CD.

    My diy ESS Sabre DAC is configured to save all DAC chip settings by input. Does your DAC save settings by input or does it apply the same setting to all inputs? They show you can control IIR bandwidth and roll off but don't mention if it is by input. Have you played with I2S justification settings? You could check the settings to ensure you are apples to apples between inputs. Maybe I2S input wants an orange...;)
    I kept all the settings at default. I think it is by input. There is several settings for each input for the iir bandwith. I never even though to look at them. Before I try changing the settings, I need to educate myself on what it means to change them. Like if i turn the irr to 60 or 70K what will that do on the sound or supposed to do on the sound? The irr banwith I thought was for each input as well as the roll off slope and the volume select. Same with Left or Right I2S Justification. I have left it at default.

    Tony, I have it going via usb2 right to the laptop not wireless. Although the back up is wireless to the nas, what I play is from the wired only.

    The laptop does not surf the web or go in the internet outside of DH tracks or to update jriver or things like that. It is for music only. I have another latptop for surfing. No virus protection running or antying like that. I am not sure what else I would need to opimize for it? I will try the Fidelizer as Dragon suggests.

    4xoddic, that is a lot of 411. On the dac2, I have the volume at fixed. On the laptop Jriver all volume is grayed out since i am using ASIO for the output. I need to read through the pages. Its a lot of information!


    I am also using jriver 17. Maybe there is a sound difference between 17 to 19?

    The other thing I have not done is completely sit down and compair Wasapi to ASIO. I did do a fast check between the 2 when i first got the unit and thought that ASIO was better but, that was before anything was burned in.

  13. #13

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    IIR bandwidth is an 'infinite impulse response' bandwidth filter. With PCM a lower setting allows for least inbound ripple. DSD may like higher values. ESS allowed four options, 47k, 50k, 60k and 70k. Wyred just gives you three choices starting at 50k.

    If you haven't already and want to dig deeper, read the ESS Sabre white paper. Direct pdf link.

    http://www.esstech.com/PDF/sabrewp.pdf

    HiFiDuino offers some ESS Sabre DAC chip settings with graphs toward bottom of page. This is the guy that made code available to diy'ers wishing to use Arduino controllers allowing I2C serial control with LCD display of their diy ESS Sabre DAC's. Note that HiFi covers all the settings ESS Sabre provides. Not all manufacturers allow total access. His blog is tough to navigate to me, but has interesting info.

    http://hifiduino.wordpress.com/sabre32/

    There is also a 232 page thread at diyaudio where ESS Senior Design Engineer Dustin Forman provides input if you want to dig even further. Kind of long, lots to dig through though.
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    Forgot to point out that on that HiFiDuino page I linked you to, he searched through that thread at diy and provided page links to the particular categories you might want to learn more about. For instance under Register Definition, IIR Filter, see page 229 and 2, etc.

    As he states at top of page...

    "A lot of information regarding the inner workings of the chip has been shared in the public forums, a lot of it coming from the lead designer of the DAC and much of it not even discussed in the data sheet."

    Maybe too much information for some, but if you really want to understand ESS's approach to digital and digital in general it's worth the time.
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by erniejade View Post
    I understand flac is lossless. This AM i ripped Frank Zappa Best band you never heard on Jriver. While I had the cd in my hand
    i put the redbook into my Cayin scd50-t coax out (an old Monster cable) to the W4s Dac2 and started that cd at the same time as the flac version and gave it 30 seconds and flipped between the flac and the cd going through the same w4s dac2. Even though flac is lossess, I definitely could hear a difference. The cd, highs were cleaner and more pronounced. Bass was also a bit tighter and more pronounced vs the flac. While the flac did sound good and if i didnt have the ability to sit with the w4s dac2 remote and go in between the 2 with a hit of a button, I might not have picked up the differences as easy.

    What can I do to improve the sound of the flac to help match the cd using the same dac? I am using a dell laptop, Jriver, ASIO, pangea 4% silver usb cable to the w4s. Like i said it is close but its not there yet.

    I have changed the bit rate from 16 to 24, tried up-sample from 44 to 96. This did help the highs get more air sounding. I have not played with the internal dsp on Jriver. Do you think upgrading jriver to the newer version would make a sound difference?
    There has to be something wrong as the I have had a completely different experience. I did A B testing with Ripped CD's to my computer and then out to a DAC. I also replayed the same CD in my Blu ray player ( Cambridge Audio 650BD AZUR) which is a wonderful player and I thought the Ripped version of the CD sounded better more detailed and cleaner.

    I'd make sure you actually ripped it correctly , check all connections and quality of overall cables used. Your USB cable also could be in suspect. I had a Home Made USB cable here that someone built but screwed up one of the ends and then fixed it. When I listened to that cable , he didn't tell me that cable was repaired but I could tell by listening to it that something wasn't right.

    Do not upsample. I never found this to improve anything. Play your files in the same format they where Ripped in. If your ripping CD's you'll be in 16/44.1 , replay it there. I have found no benefits from up sampling at all. I just found an error that I made in my latest testing.
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    IIR bandwidth is an 'infinite impulse response' bandwidth filter. With PCM a lower setting allows for least inbound ripple. DSD may like higher values. ESS allowed four options, 47k, 50k, 60k and 70k. Wyred just gives you three choices starting at 50k.

    If you haven't already and want to dig deeper, read the ESS Sabre white paper. Direct pdf link.

    http://www.esstech.com/PDF/sabrewp.pdf
    Thanks for that link: will make for some interesting (weekend) reading!
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by mantis View Post
    Do not upsample. I never found this to improve anything. Play your files in the same format they where Ripped in. If your ripping CD's you'll be in 16/44.1 , replay it there. I have found no benefits from up sampling at all. I just found an error that I made in my latest testing.
    Totally agree! I'm in the middle of a 'CD ripping' project to go along with a (low cost) media server I've set-up, and see no value in playback beyond the original/native format (16-bits, 44.1 kHz). In fact, I went so far as to download a "hi-rez" version of a CD (and LP) I have (Winelight), only to discover that the source master was different; "down-rezzing" the file (to CD quality) didn't really degrade the sound either: it just perpetuated the "different" sound of a "different" master/source. And don't even get me started on the ridiculously large file sizes (even when converted to FLAC)...
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  18. #18

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    Meanwhile I'm enjoying the glorious playback of Dire Straits - Alchemy on SACD.
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    And I Knopflers Privateering from HD>JRiver>DAC .Outstanding.

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    I still have the tube cayin sacd player.

    I am going to play with the iir settings rich was talking about and then after this is all solved and put behind me, learn more about room treatments. Man it doesn't end lol.

    There is a lot of reading. Everytime I started to, I would get interrupted at work. I will have some free time this weekend to learn more.

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    For ripping the cd I'm just using jriver to flac using the laptop internal cdrom.. The pangea usb 4% silver cable to the dac2. I did put all the sampling back to no change in jriver. I only experimented with it to see if it would sound better and it did not.

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    I think what you may be experiencing is in part of what I have. Slight differences, not huge but noticeable....and not in a good way. First part is your trying to equate it all to the Cayin cdp....which brings some tube flavor and a better analog output stage to the table and probably has a more appealing sound than straight digital. As a transport alone, there should be little to no difference. Maybe it's just that tube goodness that got removed from the equation ? The silver USB cable also may or may not be helping matters, try a different cable in copper, doesn't have to be a 200 buck cable either.

    Another option is running a program over Jriver like Pure Audio. Many have said it helps improve the sound. There's other hi-rez programs out there too and a lot of them aren't that cheap either. I'd start with the easier solutions, like trying a different USB cable, going over your settings in JRIVER and the W4S dac.
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    I have the Cayin running coax out to the w4s. When i went from the stock usb cable to the pangea, there was a big difference that is for sure! Maybe i will try a AQ Carbon or Cinnamon. Looks like cardas and kimber have some reasonably priced ones as well.

    Tony, I have said this one before but redbook on the Cayin playing through the w4s, i sitll think has the edge over SACD played through the Cayin alone! I have another set of tubes coming to check out. So far I have tried EH ( stay far away from ) early 60's Mullard, Siemens gold pin, and will be trying some BB that should be here soon.

    Pure Audio, i did a search on it and wayyy too many different links come up. Are you talking about Pure Music from Channel D?

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    Yeah...channel D...Pure Music....sorry about that. Experiment pal, that's the only way to make progress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Experiment pal, that's the only way to make progress.
    That's what she said! Adolescent humor never gets old!

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    I've got a nice 6 nines copper USB cable for sale in the For Sale forum. It uses a separate cable run for the 5V power and is nicely made using silver solder, nice techflex cover, etc. You might want to try something like that before you spend big bucks on a boutique cable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by erniejade View Post
    Are you talking about Pure Music from Channel D?
    Thats Mac specific software.JRiver is an excellent player and needs no outside add on to get bit perfect data output.I suspect it is not at fault assuming opitimized settings.

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    oops....your right, Mac specific....forgot about that. But...same as JRIVER ? I don't know about that.



    Pure Music®

    High Resolution Music Server Software for Apple Macintosh Computers
    2011 Absolute Sound Golden Ear Award
    2011 Positive Feedback Brutus Award
    2010 Stereophile Computer Audio Product of the Year Runner-up (after Channel D Pure Vinyl™)

    Simply and automatically docks with iTunes •Based on Channel D's acclaimed Pure Vinyl audio playback engine
    •Pure Music handles all music playback
    •iTunes acts as database, playlist organizer, etc. but doesn't play the music (or depend on iTunes "Ghost Play" 1)
    •Automatically docks with iTunes window
    •Up to 384 kHz sample rate
    •DSD (2.8 and 5.6 MHz) file playback on any DAC (real time PCM conversion)
    •Native DSD Streaming (with DAC that supports DoP)
    •Supports Apple Remote App for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch
    •Automatic sample rate switching
    •Gapless track playback and Memory Play
    •Adjustable Dithered Volume Control
    •Fast-Responding Firefly Metering, Monitor Input (Native) or Output (Post - Volume Control)
    •Real-Time Dynamic Range Meter
    •Supports CoreAudio Compatible Sound Cards / DACs / Audio Interfaces.
    •Supports all iTunes Compatible Audio File Formats (including WAVE, MP3, AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless)
    •Plays music stored on networked volumes
    •Selectable REAL-TIME 64-bit upsampling 2
    •Mix to Mono, Exchange Left and Right Channels, Invert Polarity / Phase, Channel Balance Trim
    •Per-Track Polarity and Volume Tagging
    •CoreAudio Device HOG Mode Exclusive Access support
    •Internal Audio Device Selection and Setup (or use Apple Audio MIDI Setup)
    •Supports AudioUnit Audio processing plug-ins (parametric EQs, etc.)
    •Uncompressed audio streaming support (up to 384 kHz and up to four separate connections)
    •64-bit Adjustable 2/3/4-way Crossover with time alignment and adjustable minimum phase filters
    •Native FLAC playback
    •Optional FLAC file conversion and downsampling
    •Pure Vinyl's™ High Quality File Sample Rate Converter (downsample high-resolution audio to 96, 88.2, 48 or 44.1 kHz / 16, 24, or 32 bit files)
    •Our own proven, optimized algorithms for sample rate and DSD to PCM conversion - not built from a patchwork of "open source" software
    •The first Mac OS music server / audio player software (May 2011) to directly play DSD format (dsf / dff, 64Fs and 128Fs) audio files with any DAC (real-time conversion to PCM during playback)
    •Support for Direct DSD streaming without PCM conversion
    •"Playthrough," which permits conveniently playing other computer audio sources (Internet radio, movies, etc.) through Pure Music, with full access to Pure Music's dithered volume control, 64 bit crossover, audio EQ plug-ins, NetSend streaming, metering, etc.
    •Native device nonmixable integer mode (with OS version support)
    •Supports both PowerPC (G4, G5) and Intel Mac Computers running Mac OS X 10.5 or later
    •Can install on more than one computer, per purchased license 4
    •Customer Support: free email, telephone and Remote Support

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    But...same as JRIVER ?
    Huh?I said it was Mac specific not the same.
    Last edited by FTGV; 04-03-2014 at 09:21 PM.

  30. #30

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FTGV View Post
    Huh?I said it was Mac specific not the same.
    In that aspect, yeah...not the same. Which kinda sucks because Windows based PC''s don't have much in the way of programs to run on top of ITUNES.

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