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Korg ds-dac-10 USB 1-bit DSD DAC - Page 3

post #31 of 69

That's pretty much the price I paid. However I found  (AFTER I placed my order...) that someone paid only $500 not to long ago.

 

 

Quote:
I bought from Japan - Rakuten Global Market - from a shop that took Paypal and sent abroad.
Price inclusive of freight was round $500 and with added Swedish Import VAT it became $600 but still a very OK price.

It works like charm with Korgs own Audiogate player for me both in XP and Windows 7. JRiver is also working but a bit more tricky in Win 7, but that's me.
Foobar is so far no success, but eventually I think it will work also for me.

Qualitywise I think it is very good value for the money. I have the Behringer DCX2496 in combination with SRC2496 to compare PCM-performance up to 24/96 and I think that the Ds-Dac-10 is if anything perhaps better than the Behringers. The people at dsdfile.com offer a strong recommendation for the Korg and they have  Meitner MA-1 to compare with regarding DSD playing.

 

Source: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=112346.msg1219738#msg1219738


Edited by pekingduck - 5/14/13 at 7:36am

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post #32 of 69

OK I've been testing the DAC for 2 days now. Software installation was pretty straight forward (Korg audio driver, firmware and AudioGate) on both Mac and Windows 7.

 

So far I've only tried DSD playback (SACD rips)

 

Mac: Some static noise (clicks) popped up every few minutes. Sometime there's some continuous white noise and I had to restart AudioGate. Pretty annoying to say the least. Considering Mac support was added less than a month ago, the software will take some time to mature. Tried Audirvana+ but DSD playback didn't work.

 

Windows 7: Since the Macbook Pro is my primary computer I only briefly tested it on my PC. DSD64 playback was smooth but I couldn't get DSD128 upsampling to work at all (On Mac it's working)

 

Tried the built-in headphone amp with my (pretty sensitive) customs..too much hiss. Will try full-size phones later.

 

It did sound pretty good though, the sound was quite full with solid bass. More sonic impressions to come later normal_smile%20.gif

post #33 of 69
Thread Starter 

How's the headphones amp section?

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post #34 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiGuy528 View Post

How's the headphones amp section?

 

 

Tried my HE500 and it's not too bad. Certainly not as good as my CEntrance DACmini (from memory only, it was sold a while ago). I had enough volume with the knob at 12.
 
I take back what I said about the hiss with my customs in my previous post. I just realized I was listening to some old music with hiss present the recording...silly me... Anyway, now I've just tried it again, there's certainly hiss (even when no music is playing) but it's not noticeable unless you listen at ear-splitting levels. No channel imbalances at all and lots of volume range to play with. I briefly compared the built-in amp to my Leckerton UHA6s MKII which is an excellent amp. The Leckerton is more transparent, has tighter bass and perhaps slightly better detail but the difference is small. 
post #35 of 69
Can you update us on your impression after couple of weeks of using it? I will likely get mine in the coming weeks. Thanks.
post #36 of 69

Hi, Sorry I've been a bit busy lately. Will try to post some impressions this weekend.

post #37 of 69

Below it's my mini-review of the unit.

 

First things first: My exposure to DACs is limited to mid-fi ones (some perhaps consider them lo-fi): CLAS, DACmini, Meier Concerto etc and I certainly DON'T have golden ear.

 

My Setup

Macbook Pro feeding the DAC-10. Phone is Westone ES5 in-ear monitors. Sorry no full-size headphones, they are too damn hot at this time of the year... Music is DSD tracks ripped from SACDs and some 24/96 HDTracks downloads.

 

Sound Signature (DAC+Amp)

- Good layering of sound

- Bass has detail, not one note 

- Neutral-ish sound: Not thin (like iPod)/bright or overly thick/warm.

- Smooth treble, not dull sounding

- OK transparency. Not as good as my DACmini (from memory only)

- A bit laid back sounding.

 

I have briefly compared to the highly praised UHA6s MKII, a portable DAC/amp combo (Very good amp, decent DAC) from Leckerton Audio. They both share the same DAC chip (Cirrus Logic CS4398) and are tonally very similar. I detected some small differences (The Korg has a tad wider soundstage, snappier bass) but they could be due to difference in volume.

 

DSD Playback

To be honest I can't reliably tell the difference between DSD and PCM (converted from DSD on the fly by AudioGate). Perhaps the DAC is not resolving enough? I don't know since I don't have access to other DSD-capable DAC. I know some people swear by DSD for its "liveliness" factor but I just don't hear that...

 

The bottom line? Good recordings sound good and mastering is more important than format.

 

Cons

- Relative high noise floor of the built-in amp, especially for IEMs

- Noise with DSD playback on Mac...mostly little click noise appears once in a while. But after 30 minutes or so of playing it usually turns into a continuos "electric current" noise. At this point I have to restart AudioGate.

- No DoP support: DSD playback is only possible with AudioGate.

- AudioGate a bit primitive: Lacks gapless support and music management features. Understandably it's mainly a conversion tool...

 

Misc.

- Headphone out and RCA are activated at the same time.
- Digital out is only available for PCM playback (i.e. no DSD-to-PCM conversion done by hardware)
- Doesn't work as a generic USB audio device without Korg's driver. That means there's NO support for Linux (driver and software only available on OS X and Windows platforms)
 

Conclusion

A decent DAC which doubles as a USB-to-SPDIF converter. The performance is in line with other $300-500 DACs. But if you already have a decent DAC and just want DSD playback, I suggest you try the software approach first.

 

If you are a Mac user I would say hold on until the driver/software gets more mature.

 

Let me know if you have any questions!!

post #38 of 69
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the review.  Is the noise present in PCM and higher impedance headphones?

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post #39 of 69

1. Hiss is inaudible with my DT770/600 ohm.

2. The "click" noise is still present in PCM but it's rarely heard (maybe once in 10-15 minutes)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiGuy528 View Post

Thanks for the review.  Is the noise present in PCM and higher impedance headphones?

post #40 of 69
Thanks for the detail comment. One thing I am still a bit confused is the role of Audiogate. You mentioned it convert DSD to PCM, did you mean even with Audiogate it would convert DSD to PCM before DSD signal is sent to the Korg? It just doesn't make sense, so I think I might have misinterpreted your comment. I thought Audiogate would send native DSD to the Korg?
post #41 of 69

Sorry for the confusion. AudioGate can do these:

 1) native DSD

 2) native PCM

 3) On-the-fly DSD->PCM conversion

 4) On-the-fly PCM->DSD conversion

 

In my original comment I was comparing (1) and (3)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by breadvan View Post

Thanks for the detail comment. One thing I am still a bit confused is the role of Audiogate. You mentioned it convert DSD to PCM, did you mean even with Audiogate it would convert DSD to PCM before DSD signal is sent to the Korg? It just doesn't make sense, so I think I might have misinterpreted your comment. I thought Audiogate would send native DSD to the Korg?
post #42 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by pekingduck View Post

Sorry for the confusion. AudioGate can do these:
 1) native DSD
 2) native PCM
 3) On-the-fly DSD->PCM conversion
 4) On-the-fly PCM->DSD conversion

In my original comment I was comparing (1) and (3)

Oh I see, thanks for the info. Mine should be here this week, looking forward to it.
post #43 of 69
I finally got mine yesterday, installation was a snap on Win 7 PC, upgraded firmware as well. Without extensive listening the one thing I found, slightly different from pekingduck's impression was the noise floor, I simply couldn't hear any noise even turning the volume pot all the way up, however, that's probably has a lot to do with different IEM we use. All I have is a pair of UE900 for now. The amp section has more than enough juice to drive them, most listening was done at 9 - 10 o-clock position. Hope to get more mileage in soon. DSD 2.8 and 5.6 files played flawlessly, as with 24/192. This is in no way to contrast pekingduck's impression, noting we used different equipment. smily_headphones1.gif
post #44 of 69

The UE900 is a lot less sensitive than the ES5 (105dB/mW vs 120dB/mW) so it's not surprising you didn't hear the noise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by breadvan View Post

I finally got mine yesterday, installation was a snap on Win 7 PC, upgraded firmware as well. Without extensive listening the one thing I found, slightly different from pekingduck's impression was the noise floor, I simply couldn't hear any noise even turning the volume pot all the way up, however, that's probably has a lot to do with different IEM we use. All I have is a pair of UE900 for now. The amp section has more than enough juice to drive them, most listening was done at 9 - 10 o-clock position. Hope to get more mileage in soon. DSD 2.8 and 5.6 files played flawlessly, as with 24/192. This is in no way to contrast pekingduck's impression, noting we used different equipment. smily_headphones1.gif
post #45 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by pekingduck View Post

The UE900 is a lot less sensitive than the ES5 (105dB/mW vs 120dB/mW) so it's not surprising you didn't hear the noise.
That's why I mentioned very clearly equipment probably had made the difference.
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