L.K.S. Audio MH-DA004 Dual ES9038PRO DAC - Van Damme's double impact?

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by pitbul34, Mar 22, 2017.
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  1. aggielaw
    Hi all. My D004 will be here next week. what recommendations do you have for feeding it - either specific units or general considerations? As an example of general considerations, does the LKS have an input that sounds better or worse than the others (i ordered the version with the Amanero board)? What issues with achieving DSD512 output do I need to think about?

    Thanks again for your advice.
     
  2. bibo01
    I can do DSD5112, but my 004 has 2003be firmware on Amanero USB because I use it with Linux.
    For upconverting to DSD512 you need a pretty fast i7 based PC. I use HQPlayer for playback.
    I suggest filter at 70K and DPLL at 12 (you may try lower).
     
  3. xiamen
    Was using LKS on Windows 10 64 with Jriver upsampling everything to DSD512. In my experience, I can get stable playback at DPLL 10. What irks me is that I hear better sound when I put DPLL to 8 or even 9. May be it's just me and "placebo" effect, but I had switch over many times, and I always seems to hear quality differences. The problem at DPLL 8 (9 is better but still somewhat unstable) is I get hissing noise switching tracks especially between PCM files and DSD files. Also when I startup playing first track. Did try to get to Amanero to get a better version of firmware (2003be from what I read does not play native ASIO under Windows), but so far not getting anywhere. Have now switched to using Singxer SU-1 inputting via i2S HDMI to the LKS. I do hear improvement on the same DPLL compared to using Amanero. Again, not A/B test or anything scientific. May be just me wanting to hear those improvements after spending the money. Funny though, I thought with the SU-1, there is not that much difference between DPLL 8 to 10. For connecting SU-1 to LKS 004, turn SU-1 over and for the dip switches at bottom, switch 2 and 6 is on, the rest off. Also in my one off experience, the hdmi cable can make a big difference. I thought I use an Audioquest cable that I had for some time and it did not work well. What works better for me is a new and cheaper hdmi 2.0 cable. Make sure you keep a short one.
     
  4. bibo01
    Yesterday I spoke to Domenico from Amanero. A new Windows driver compatible with 2003be is ready, but he is still going through some Microsoft bureaucracy before he can release it. BTW, he will probably release a new firmware as well to further refine 2003be.
    Personally, I'm pretty happy with 2003be in Linux. I can playback at DSD256 and 512. I only get a random problem with the sound getting thinner, mostly at the higher frequency, without losing lock on the DAC. Domenico said it might be losing sync with oscillator - he will try to reproduce it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
  5. aggielaw
    Just received my D004, and the remote does not work with a 2032 inserted. I've tried the battery both ways. Can I get a confirmation that 2p3w is what others are using as well?

    Thanks! ☺
     
  6. limey Contributor
    Yes - 2032 works OK - just install with the writing on the top.
     
  7. aggielaw
    20171230_114633.jpg Hm. Unless I misread your post, I have a defective remote. No light comes on when I push any button on the remote, and nothing happens on the LKS unit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  8. limey Contributor
    Looking at your photo it looks like you may have bent the pins on the left. They need to be in contact with the top of the battery while the pins underneath will contact the bottom.
     
  9. Lennym
    I think Limey is correct. Here's a pictre showing the two "pins" clearly. IIRC you have to slip the battery in from right to left.

    Battery.jpg
     
  10. aggielaw
    Thanks guys! I looked closely at the pins and realized the left side pins have tiny "heads" pointing down, while the right side's heads point up. They should really put this in the manual.
     
  11. aggielaw
    So, I picked up an ultrarendu wtih Sbooster BOTW power supply over the holidays and I'm breaking the UR in while getting more hours on the LKS (which is only at about 120 hours right now). This combination currently sounds edgy at best, and bright at worst. Vocals are too far forward relative to most other music, and as was the case when I had an Oppo 103 feeding the LKS, some frequencies are emphasized while others are significantly deemphasized. The PRaT is a bit slow, too.

    Will these issues likely resolve after a couple hundred hours, or have I purcahsed myself a poor match of components? Apologies in advance for the potential landmine here, but how likely is it an aftermarket USB cable woudl help?

    Thanks!
     
  12. Lennym
    Just to narrow down the issues. You haven't given us your initial reaction to substituting the LKS for whatever DAC you were using before. I assume you were using the spdif input. Were you generally happy, satisfied? Well to know that the main DAC was working well.

    Using the USB is another complication. Have you tried running a file in directly from a computer? Did it work reasonably well, as the spdif? If it's Windows you'll have to install a driver. If so the problem has to be addressed to Sonore.

    If not, you want to make certain that the firmware is up to date. I don't know how to do that. Perhaps the factory can advise. When I had a performance issue the factory just told me to update the firmware and sent me instructions. It's worked fine ever since. I suspect you may get the same advice.

    Having made certain that the DAC is working well and that the Amanero board is working well and up to date your next step may be contacting support at Sonore. There is no reason that the UltraRendu should not work well with the board. There's not likely to be a compatibility issue with a USB input.

    Just for the record I am running a laptop directly into the Amanero with PCM and DSD files. It sounds very good, but I'm certain it can be improved and I am considering a reclocker like the ifi micro USB. I will, though, watch what you have to say about the Rendu.
     
  13. aggielaw
    It's tough to assess my own reaction, because I took my Modwright Oppo 105 out of my system to sell it and have been using my Modwright Oppo 95, which has a warm, meaty signature to it. It seems I'm going from one end of the spectrum to the other. The 105 did not have perfect tonal balance, but was much closer than the uR/LKS combo right now. I still don't have 150 hours on the LKS and less than 100 on the ultraRendu.

    I tremendously enjoyed the Modwright efforts. However, despite trying several tube-based products over the years I have found I simply have a bias against them. The details of that aren't important, and I know I'm being close-minded despite a very positive experience with tubes in my last four CD players, but it is what it is. I don't want tubes in my system (for now). What I do want is ruthless accuracy and detail, tonal balance, and a huge soundstage in all dimensions if the recording supports it.

    I believe Dan Wright of Modwright only modifies the analog output on CDPs, so I believe I was listening to the stock digital output via SPDIF on the Oppo. I've noticed that the Oppo 103 in my home theater lacked mid-bass when I tried it in my stereo a couple years ago, so the lack of mid-bass with the Modwright Oppo 95 did not surprise me. I did not expect this to be a problem with the uR, as I thought this was merely a shortcoming in the two-channel performance of the Oppo, but I hear the same thing with the uR. I'm also getting less punch on the very bottom, vocals stand WAY out from the rest of the music, and certain other frequencies stand out as well. I'll have to make notes next time I listen to explain what they are. Usually I can solve the vocals by toeing my speakers out, but I'm not sure that would work, and if it did work, I suspect it would cause other issues.

    Here's an interesting phenomenon I've never experienced before: I always feel compelled to turn the volume up. However, once I turn the volume up to where that compulsion diminishes my ears start bleeding from the brightness. I don't know what to make of it, but I'm interested to hear others' experiences with this phenomenon, what causes it, and how they solved it. I'm confident this is somewhat common with all kinds of gear.

    I'll look in to the firmware issue. If Small Green Computer shipped me an ultraRendu without the latest firmware, though, I'm gonna be a tad grumpy. :|

    Finally, I've seen few posts about which filter and DPLL setting folks are settling on for either PCM or DSD playback. I'd appreciate seeing what others like. I've listened extensively to BW01, 07, and 12. I like 07 the best, I think, and if I can get the brightness and lack of tonal balance solved I think this will be the right balance of the BW offerings for me. I hear less difference in the filters than the bandwidth, but I think that will change as I get the other things dialed in. I've only played about 30 minutes of upsampled music to DSD, so I haven't really had a chance to listen to the different DSD filters yet.

    Ah, I missed your question about playing directly from a computer. Unfortunately, both my laptops were bricked during failed Win10 updates, and I don't know how to unbrick them without losing everything on the hard drive, so I'm unable to try a laptop to the LKS. I could use my wife's old computer and run SPDIF out from the motherboard, but that will be an evening's endeavor, so I'll try that as a last resort.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and advice!
     
  14. Lennym
    Just to establish a baseline, if you play what you know to be a very fine CD through the Oppo 95 and out by spdif to the LKS do you like what you hear? Of course it will be different than the Modwrighted Oppo, but it probably should have far more spatial cues. Playing with the filters may help attain what you are looking for.* Since you write that you now prefer good solid state the result should be VERY pleasing. If not there's a problem with the DAC. If so there's a problem either with the Amanero or the uR.

    Again, base-lining, sending in a PCM file by USB from a computer should tell you if the Amanero board is working correctly. The result should be at least as good as the same CD IMO, probably better.

    By the way, as I understand it the DPLL setting should be as low as possible for best results. I use BW01 for PCM files and BW06 or 07 for .dsf files.


    *See: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/lks-audio-mh-da003.745032/page-48
     
  15. xiamen
    Don't have an ultraRendu, so take my comment with a grain of salt. As I understand it, ultraRendu runs on Linux. The stock firmware for Amanero Combo384 (USB implementation in LKS MH-DA004) is more geared towards Windows. So you may look at flashing it to their latest firmware more geared for linux (https://github.com/lintweaker/xmos-native-dsd/issues/12). This is not a particularly straight forward exercise to re-flesh the firmware as far as I know ..... Have not done it myself, so all care and no responsibility. Not saying it will fix your problem, but probably worth a try, and the new linux firmware also allow you to play DSD512, the stock firmware not. Do you have the upgraded Amanero board for your lks or just the basic one. If it's just the basic, that may be part of the reason it's not as good as you expect (using the spdif input into lks may be a better option). The other area I would look at is the usb cable you are using to connect Ultrarendu to the LKS. I was using a pretty good pure silver usb cable that I thought give pretty good results. Then I switch over to the Mercury 3.0 USB cable. Was hoping rather than expecting but pleasantly surprised. Very expensive cable but since I spent load of money already, what's another few hundred dollars.

    I do question you using Oppo 95 as the source for this combination. You can just output oppo directly to pre-amplifier, not sure if it's worth the while to go via complicated usb route for the whole thing. I feel with your setup, you should look at the UltraRendu as a Roon endpoint.
     
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