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DIP and DSP: upsampling revealed

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
When I wrote about the GW Labs DSP, I noted that it was an improvement over the Monarchy DIP for jitter reduction, but that the upsampling feature was a disappointment. Even so, the GW Labs unit replaced my Monarchy, which retired to the closet. Silly of me. In a conversation on IRC, carlo mentioned the possibility of running them in series. After banging my head a few times at the obviousness of this, I tried it.

The digital chain is now Rotel RCD-955BX into Monarchy DIP MkII into GW Labs DPS into ART DI/O and finally out to the ZOTL. Those electrons have got to be exhausted going through all those components to get from the source to the amp...but even though they may be tired, they're marching in step and I can finally hear what upsampling does.

First off, the Monarchy and GW Labs in series work better even at 44.1 for jitter reduction. The high end is cleaner, and everything is a bit more detailed. But when the 24/96 mode is engaged, things change. It's as though a layer of noise disappears. The sense of depth increases. Going back to 16/44, it sounds like instruments are starting to smear. As I A/B, it sounds as though the upsampling is taking elements of the sound, and putting them together to make a more coherent whole.

Apparently, by reducing jitter in the incoming signal with the DIP first, the DSP's own jitter reduction and reclocking are having a much more dramatic effect on the sound. I had been contemplating upgrading my digital source, but may have to take a step back and pause. With both the DIP and DSP in front of it, the modded ART DI/O running 24/96 is sounding very good right now
post #2 of 29
good for you! sounds like your wallet could use the rest anyway
post #3 of 29
So the old canard of "the fewer things in the signal path, the better!" is not necessarily true. But just imagine what a chauvinist audiophile would say: listening to sound through so many electonic components in series, and topping it all off with HEADPHONES instead of speakers...hah! If it sounds good, do it.
post #4 of 29
Hirsch,
Could I ask a couple of questions about the Monarchy DIP?
Right now I have a Sony DVP NS500V for SACD and a Music Hall MMF CD-25 for HDCD. The digital output on the Sony is toslink
to the toslink input on a Perpetual Technologies P-3A DAC. The Music Halls digital out is S/PDIF to the S/PDIF input on the
P-3A. The RCA ouput of the P-3A is to one input of a Headmaster. The RCA outs on both CD players go to the other inputs to
the Headmaster. This makes for a pretty flexible system, I can hear redbook from either CD player through the P-3A or using
the players DAC, and I can hear HDCD and SACD CD's. It seems to me that the weakest link is the toslink output. I was
thinking about getting a Monarchy DIP and connecting the digital outs of the CD players to it, and taking the output from
it as AES/EBU into the P-3A. Have you tried this input/output switching feature? Think it would work? I think I would
also get some extra jitter reduction. Don't think I can use the GW Labs DSP, the P-3A is already an upsampling DAC and I'm
afraid they might clash.
After I get moved, I've got a WAD HD-83 amp I'm going to throw on the tape out of the Headmaster. That should cover all the
digital formats (except DVD-A)and throw in a little tubiness if I want it. I might even hook up an old Phase Linear DRS 400
power amp to the Headmaster and get a pair of fairly cheap bookshelf speakers. That would cover all the in's and out's for
the Headmaster and maybe I could stop spending money on a headphone system. I think the equipment outperforms my ears already.
If you think this might work, any suggestions on an AES/EBU cable, I know nothing about this type of cable. I don't want to
spend a lot of money on one, but would like something better than Monster Cable. I was thinking maybe a DH Labs Silver Sonic
D110 for $80, any thoughts?
Thanks in advance.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
The GW Labs outputs 44.1 or 96 KHz. But, it reclocks the digital signal. You would have no problem using it as a switch and jitter reducer with an upsampling DAC, but might lose HDCD (I'll have to check this).

Either the Monarchy or the GW labs has switchable optical and coax inputs. The GW Labs has a balanced input as well. Both have balanced outputs. I do use the switching feature with the Monarchy 24/96, and it works fine (I switch between DVD player and digital output of my computer, with output from Monarchy going via coax to ART DI/O).

I believe the Monarchy 24/96 is your best bet (should pass HDCD unscathed), and will certainly do the switching you want between a toslink and coax input (switch is manual, and on the back of the unit).

I don't know anything about AES/EBU cables either, but hopefully somebody who does will speak up.
post #6 of 29
Thanks.
The Monarchy sounds like exactly what I need. My DAC won't take HDCD anyway so I'll just use the RCA out of the CD player into my amp for that. Got a 15% off coupon from Audio Advisor, think I'll use it for the Monarchy before it expires.
I'll wait a few days on the AES/EBU cable to see if anybody posts anything. If not, I'll probably order the DH Labs cable. Probably can't go wrong with it, DH Labs has a pretty good reputation.
Agan, thanks.
post #7 of 29
ahh! I was interested to hear your opinions on adding the DIP to the GW Labs DSP after the mention on irc.

But damn, there goes my hope of trying to convince you to sell me a DIP for pennies

Driftwood
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by rickfri
Thanks.
The Monarchy sounds like exactly what I need. My DAC won't take HDCD anyway so I'll just use the RCA out of the CD player into my amp for that. Got a 15% off coupon from Audio Advisor, think I'll use it for the Monarchy before it expires.
I'll wait a few days on the AES/EBU cable to see if anybody posts anything. If not, I'll probably order the DH Labs cable. Probably can't go wrong with it, DH Labs has a pretty good reputation.
Agan, thanks.
If your DAC doesn't decode HDCD, I'd recommend the GW Labs over the Monarch if you can swing it. Take a look at Audio Advisor's clearance list. If a GW Labs demo appears, they usually go for around $229 (how I got mine). If there's one there, and you can use the coupon, you've got a great deal. Otherwise, the Monarchy 24/96 is fine (as mentioned above, I wound up using a Monarchy and a GW Labs unit in series).
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by rickfri
The Monarchy sounds like exactly what I need. My DAC won't take HDCD anyway so I'll just use the RCA out of the CD player into my amp for that.
Wait, I'm confused. Why would you need the Monarchy or the GW Labs if you aren't using an external DAC?

FWIW, if you aren't using the GW Labs to upsample, then it should pass HDCD fine.
post #10 of 29
The GW might pass along HDCD, but if the P-3A doesn't decode it then it doesn't really matter.

Hirsch, is your DI/O modified? If so, consider how much the total cost is with the GW and Monarchy added into the equation... maybe an upgrade isn't inconceivable.
post #11 of 29
The Perpetual Technologies P-3A DAC does not decode HDCD signals, so I have the analog outputs of my CDP hooked to a seperate input to my headmaster so I can listen to the HDCD decoded music.
I received my Monarchy DIP a couple of days ago. So far it seems to do pretty much what Hirsch said it would do, especially in reducing the noise levels. Don't know if that's from its power filtering or jitter reduction, probably both, but don't really care as long as it works. I think I might be acheiving some of the same synergies that Hirsch is, with the Monarchy and the GW, between the Monarchy and the jitter reduction circuity in my DAC. Hard to say since I can't isolate the jitter reduction circuitry in the DAC.
I am really pleased with the Monarchy and can find only one, minor, fault with it. The fault is that it dosen't have an on/off switch on it. In this respect it is kind of like the ART DI/O, if it does not sync up you have to uplug it. Seems like with all the room they had on the chasis they could have put a power switch there. May just buy a seperate surge power bar with an on/off switch to use with it.
Thanks for the help, Hirsch.
post #12 of 29

better converter

If you REALLY want the best converter money can poossibly buy... forget all those audiophile converters or the cheap Art unit. no matter how much money you spend, you cannot get better than an Apogee PSX-100SE. or the AD-8000SE if you want 8 channels of conversion.

what happens in most converters is that the actual bit performance is lower than the expected bit rating. in other words, the "16-bit" DAC in your soundblaster sound card only outputs 12 bits of real sound. also, most 24-bit converters out there only output up to 20 bits of actual data... the left over 4 bits are only noise. this can be verified with an oscilloscope.

now.... extremely high precision DACs can output between 22 to near 24 bit accuracy, but you are definately not getting that detail with the Art D I/O... the DACs that can can perform with near 24 bit accuracy probable cost more than the entire Art unit.

the Apogees however are one of the best money can buy. almost every well recorded digital recording has had an Apogee used in the signal chain... almost always a front end for Digidesign's Protools system. if there is a modern CD you like, and it was recorded in an established digital studio, it was almost guaranteed that Apogees were used as the Analog-Digital converter.

so, if you want the ultimate, you need to spend your next paycheck on an Apogee. but the Art is okay for leisure listening... just don't think that it is actually a true 24 bit converter, because it is not.

I think you can get a used Apogee Rosetta converter on ebay for about double the price of a "hot-rodded" Art unit... and it will have much better DACs.

dean
post #13 of 29

rickfri

oh, by the way, rick, it doesn't matter what aes/ebu cable you get. as long as they meet the standards posted by the aes/ebu commitee, any cable, no matter the price, will conduct perfect digital transfer to any component. this is assuming that you have a normal electrical environment. if you were to have many cables, and we're talking much much much more than a home system would ever have, electromagnetic interference may become an issue. also, if your cable run is much longer than say 20ft (i'm not sure what the posted aes/ebu standard is)... then signal degredation might make a difference too. but like i said, in a normal audiophile/home studio environment, you do not have any of these issues.

thus, any cable will do.

.......and i know there are plenty of people that think that expensive spdif/toslink/aesebu cables make a difference. they absolutely do not. i can prove it to you if you wish. use any cd player with a digital output... then take a cable and connect to a a good pro computer interface. then record to 2-track. make sure to have your program start automatic recording when a signal is detected.... most pro software will do this. do this for as many cables as you wish. now, use a byte by byte comparison program to compare each audio file to each other. if given that the recording started at exactly the same time for each cable.... EVERY file will be identical up to the shortest recording's ending.

don't bother saying that your ears can hear the difference until you do the experiment. if the files are identical, then clearly there never was any difference!

dean
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 

Re: rickfri

Quote:
Originally posted by Orpheus
oh, by the way, rick, it doesn't matter what aes/ebu cable you get. as long as they meet the standards posted by the aes/ebu commitee, any cable, no matter the price, will conduct perfect digital transfer to any component.

Here we go again...
post #15 of 29
Yep. Deja Voodoo all over again.
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