Hugo M Scaler by Chord Electronics - The Official Thread
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ZappaMan

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@ZappaMan
Yes, footers on my TT2 work to extract 'more' from the presentation - subtle but its clearly audible with direct-to-headphones or speakers. Courtesy of @rAd-dude 's suggestion, i tried the Level3 footers from Ingress Engineering (here) - and i'm sure any of a number of other products work as well. Any discussion with my engineering peers or friends in digital electronics R&D cannot delve too far into the 'why' these footers work because I look the fool ...as low level vibrations should have no effect. Microscopic movements of a digital PCB must exclusively be detrimental to the clock crystal stability or induce microphonics in components. (somewhere i read that even rob watts says Dave is microphonic). However, unlike the RFI isolation of DACs (of which I am developing an excellent understanding of and can correlate remedies to SQ improvements), the anti-vibration tweaks on digital components are most puzzling. We are not talking about shakey-shakey movements - but micro/nanometer scale movements: the vibrameter app on my phone shows no measurable difference with or without the footers - and this is with walking around the floor or playing music (via loudspeakers) soft or loud. So even though i can measure the extremely low levels of jitter induced in the DAC's output due to RF noise, I cannot measure any markers in a DAC's output from vibration isolation at all. Solving this mystery is top of my list for 2020...
Any benefit in having them under both mscaler and tt2?
 
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racebit

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that is very interesting to read, then can someone please share their settings so I can get the best settings for HQ player software and compare later on to mscaler as the setting in HQP seem to be not giving me the best result without a drawback. I used poly sinc long lp. dither non, sample rate 756. I perceived a bit metallic or harshness in the top end, but yes the sound stage and sound in general were improved quite noticeably using HQP with hugo tt2

so are there any other settings maybe to perfect the HQP
Make sure "Adaptive output rate" is checked, so that upscale only uses 2^N multiple values, meaning 44.1 is upsampled to 705K and 48K is upsampled to 768k. With 756K you meant 705.6K I guess. Set "sample rate" field (settings dialog) with 768K. HQP will use 705K or 768K automatically, depending on source being 44.1K or 48K.
Also keep an eye on the "limited" counter on the "Time" box. That indicates the number of clippings detected. To make sure there are no clipping and that that value remains at zero, the max volume should be -3db, you can set that in the Settings dialog.
The filter should be selected on both 1x and Nx fields. The first is used on 44.1 and 48K sources, and the second for everything above.

If you still detect metallic/harshness, try smaller upscaling (384K instead of 768K) in the "sample rate" field to see if it goes away.
You can also try the Sinc-M filter, to see if the same issue happens.

I am very interested in hearing people comparing HQP to Mscaler, as I never heard Mscaler, only HQP. Which I think everybody should try (even or specially Mojo users), as it is free to try, we only have to restart it after 30 min.
Unfortunately we do not have the same demo chance with Mscaler as upscaled+original files were never made available for people to listen to...
 
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racebit

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Because I don't know about anyone else, but if I can get as-good results from a PC-based upsampling setup, I'd drop the M-Scaler in a heartbeat (#cantlie). If not, then the M-Scaler can stay put, with extra appreciation points added.
Exactly my stand. In my case the convenience of upsaling integrated in the player is so important to me that even if Mscaler is just a little better, I still prefer HQP. However I am waiting for Dave 2 to come with 1M taps WTA1, so it will be non-issue to those.
 
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jarnopp

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I know exactly where you are coming from, in the eightees I had an Alpine cassette deck, amp and speakers in my “Camaro,lol”, but that system just rocked. Never once thought about tweaks, or RFI, or isolation, just What am I playing next! I post this three days before picking up my Mscaler, oh no, what have I got myself into.
you never stressed over finding a good chromalloy tape and wondering how many times you could record over it, or whether to use Dolby A or B or C? How to flip the record with the least noise? Let alone what kind of aftermarket unit in your car, speakers, etc. There was plenty of complexity. But the sound objectively was not as good. Subjectively is a different matter, and has to do with the how you were feeling at the time. Good times in the past, but I’m feeling pretty good these days too. :beerchug:
 
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musickid

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it's all good. i remember my nad amp, dual turntable and celestion 3 speakers with the titanium tweeters. it came with me as i moved from place to place when i was 17/18.
 
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Make sure "Adaptive output rate" is checked, so that upscale only uses 2^N multiple values, meaning 44.1 is upsampled to 705K and 48K is upsampled to 768k. With 756K you meant 705.6K I guess. Set "sample rate" field (settings dialog) with 768K. HQP will use 705K or 768K automatically, depending on source being 44.1K or 48K.
Also keep an eye on the "limited" counter on the "Time" box. That indicates the number of clippings detected. To make sure there are no clipping and that that value remains at zero, the max volume should be -3db, you can set that in the Settings dialog.
The filter should be selected on both 1x and Nx fields. The first is used on 44.1 and 48K sources, and the second for everything above.

If you still detect metallic/harshness, try smaller upscaling (384K instead of 768K) in the "sample rate" field to see if it goes away.
You can also try the Sinc-M filter, to see if the same issue happens.

I am very interested in hearing people comparing HQP to Mscaler, as I never heard Mscaler, only HQP. Which I think everybody should try (even or specially Mojo users), as it is free to try, we only have to restart it after 30 min.
Unfortunately we do not have the same demo chance with Mscaler as upscaled+original files were never made available for people to listen to...
Especially Mojo users. I can’t believe the improvement especially at 768k.
 
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bikutoru

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i miss simplicity in set ups. I miss just pressing play on my cassette player in 80s, and I swear that during those days listening to bands that I still listen today to, I used to adore the sound back then ten times more than now with all this digital tech. It was all bout music in the 80s now its all bout critical listening and analyzing and music takes a back seat
That's not my recollection of how things were. I remember crackling LPs and jumping needle. I remember tapes being caught up on rollers and then manually trying to wind it back even it is already chewed up and not going to sound the same. I remember recording being interrupted by running out of tape, flipping tapes, flipping LPs. With digital it all became the thing of the past. When I got this Chord setup, I played with it for a week or two, but eventually just went back to listening to music in all its glory that Chord gear allows me. I always loved music, but now it is so much easier to listen to anything, more music than I could listen in 10 or more lifetimes. The first thing, when I push the ON button, as soon as I wake up - I just stand there, for a moment, and cannot believe it is so simple and that it is at all possible, so simple so great. Music reigns supreme in my house, I'd never settle for it to take a back seat.
 
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you never stressed over finding a good chromalloy tape and wondering how many times you could record over it, or whether to use Dolby A or B or C? How to flip the record with the least noise? Let alone what kind of aftermarket unit in your car, speakers, etc. There was plenty of complexity. But the sound objectively was not as good. Subjectively is a different matter, and has to do with the how you were feeling at the time. Good times in the past, but I’m feeling pretty good these days too. :beerchug:
Come to think of it, yes you are right, I only recorded on the best tapes, which for me were Maxell. I remember going to the local store and buying two ten packs of Maxell’s, and spending days on end making “mixed tapes”. Sometimes recording off Vinyl from my collection, and other times I would record off FM radio. I would hit record as soon as a new song started, if it was something I wanted on the tape, I would keep it, otherwise, stop, rewind to the end of the last good song, and hit record again when the next song started. Tedious, but I had a case with 48 Maxell’s in it, of all my favourite tunes. “Cruising” was a big thing back then, with your favorite Zeppelin or Sabbath cranked for anyone on the street to hear, good times.
 
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Especially Mojo users. I can’t believe the improvement especially at 768k.
thanks, whats the difference between sinc m and poly sic long l filter
 
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thanks, whats the difference between sinc m and poly sic long l filter
I can't tell you anything technical about the filters. There is more info on the Signalyst site. I do remember that the designer said the sinc-m was a million tap filter. The neat thing about HQP is all the different filter options one can try. They will sound better or worse depending on your equipment and ears. To me with my Chord dacs the poly-sinc-long lp sounds the best and closest to my mscaler.
 
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I can't tell you anything technical about the filters. There is more info on the Signalyst site. I do remember that the designer said the sinc-m was a million tap filter. The neat thing about HQP is all the different filter options one can try. They will sound better or worse depending on your equipment and ears. To me with my Chord dacs the poly-sinc-long lp sounds the best and closest to my mscaler.
i am trying them out so far i am liking miniphase FIR the most, although the difference between them is not that easily detected
 
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i am trying them out so far i am liking miniphase FIR the most, although the difference between them is not that easily detected
Do you have an mscaler to compare them? I don't do dsd as my Chord dacs deconstruct and then re-apply the WAT1 filter so no use.
 
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Do you have an mscaler to compare them? I don't do dsd as my Chord dacs deconstruct and then re-apply the WAT1 filter so no use.
i dont have an mscaler yet, but i want to try to get used to hq player and all its filter and upsamplig options so when i get the mscaler i have some background on upsampling using hqplayer to compare both
 
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Come to think of it, yes you are right, I only recorded on the best tapes, which for me were Maxell. I remember going to the local store and buying two ten packs of Maxell’s, and spending days on end making “mixed tapes”. Sometimes recording off Vinyl from my collection, and other times I would record off FM radio. I would hit record as soon as a new song started, if it was something I wanted on the tape, I would keep it, otherwise, stop, rewind to the end of the last good song, and hit record again when the next song started. Tedious, but I had a case with 48 Maxell’s in it, of all my favourite tunes. “Cruising” was a big thing back then, with your favorite Zeppelin or Sabbath cranked for anyone on the street to hear, good times.
I know this is going off topic, but had to reply. I still have 200 cassettes and a “hi-fi” cassette player, and out of curiosity I dug it all out, plugged in some modern easy to drive headphones. OMGoodness, they are never going to see the light of day again!
 
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A. My guess is that optical at 24b would be best sounding. Try both, and see for yourself; use a test track that has good depth (I use an organ track), and the one that has the best perception of depth plus the warmest tone, is the more accurate/transparent one.

B. No - it's not dithered down to 24 bits but very aggressively 11th order noise shaped. Now noise shaping at 768k with my truncation noise shaper (the truncation noise shaper actually has a different architecture to pulse array noise shapers), allows for -301 dB accuracy (so a -301 dB signal is accurate to +/-0.001dB in amplitude and +/- 0.001 deg in phase) and better than 350dB THD and noise within the audio bandwidth. This is measurably perfect small signal performance, and it's something that, based on my listening tests, is essential for transparent sound quality (that is maintaining depth perception).

When the M scaler was first put together with the Blu 2, I spent a lot of time in listening tests to get the maximum SQ performance (and here the problem is trying to add a digital module without it reducing my perception of sound stage depth), and this is how I came up with the 11th order truncation noise shaping. Now this is something one can do at 768k; but at 44.1 or 48k you cannot do this, so when converting to n bits down to 24 bits than you have to use dither. As part of my ADC project, I wanted dither to sound as good as the noise shaping - so started with rectangular and triangular dither (TPDF). Rectangular sounded the worst, but TPDF was still much inferior to the 768k noise shaping; I then used pseudo Gaussian dither, and this got me much closer to the noise shaper performance compared to TPDF - but it was still no where near as good as the noise shaped performance. Incidentally, if you have a truncation setting for a filter, never switch dither to off, the small signal distortion then becomes huge. If you have the option use Gaussian dither - if this isn't available (it's very rare) then triangular or TPDF.

As far as the Davina project goes, I still have more work to do, in order to improve 44.1k truncation to 24 bits. Perhaps making the pseudo Gaussian more Gaussian may help close the SQ gap.

C. Any change in the digital data requires re-quantization if there is a truncated data residual (the bits that can't be transmitted). And my answer B shows this can only be done at 705/768 when using advanced noise shaping. So even using a -0.001dB change would create problems in depth perception; this is why my standard advice is to keep it source bit perfect - and that ignores the fact that any up-sampling filter is not the same as a WTA filter.
This is further under the hood than I've ever been. Got me looking again into DSP texts, noise shaping, various probability distribution function dithers and other goodies. No pretense at fully understanding, just taking a crack at some of this with MatLab to see darkly through DSP looking glass. Loving it. BTW, just a listener with no connection to any audio device manufacturers save with credit card.

Listening to Joel Ross KingMaker as I write this. Stunning. Best recording of vibraphones (and an excellent ensemble, particularly the drummer) I've ever heard due to musicianship/recording quality and wonderful Qobuz (96/24 signal)->HMS->Wave Storm->Dave->Utopia signal transducing system.

Thank you for sharing and Happy Holidays!
 
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