New Holo Audio Cyan DAC/AMP: PCM or DSD module?

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by doraymon, Sep 28, 2017.
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Would you be more interested in the PCM or DSD module for the Holo Audio Cyan DAC/AMP?

  1. PCM

  2. DSD

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. doraymon
    Discussions around PCM or DSD are quite popular on Head-Fi.

    Successful DACs like the Schiit Yggdrasil are offered only with PCM module.
    Another successful DAC, the Holo Audio Spring, is capable of converting both PCM and DSD natively.

    The buyers of the upcoming Holo Audio Cyan DAC/AMP, little brother of the Spring, will be offered a choice with regards to its DAC module: either R2R PCM or DSD.

    This is indeed an interesting solution to satisfy both worlds keeping the price well below the $1.5k mark.

    So here is the question: with which of the two modules would you go?
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  2. ahmadfaizadnan
    I would go for PCM compare to DSD due to more songs selection. But, it would be better if it has both. Best of both worlds like the older spring brothers.
     
  3. doraymon
    Again, I fully agree with you! :beerchug:
     
    ahmadfaizadnan likes this.
  4. oneguy
    Agreed as well. There is substantially more PCM contentbthat DSD content out there. I would have to choose PCM.
     
  5. champ1877
    Content availability will probably let you enjoy PCM more.
     
  6. doraymon
    It's not that a Cyan with DSD module won't play PCM, it won't do it natively.
    It would be interesting to know how the conversion from PCM to DSD and vice versa works in terms of sound quality...
     
  7. uncola
    pcm
     
  8. doraymon
    It looks like PCM is the preferred choice by a long shot.
    And yes, availability and affordability of PCM tracks is a significant point here.
    It does make sense that someone shopping for a DAC in the $1500 or less price point would own music mainly in PCM format...
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
  9. bluesaint
    DSD for me. I upsample all audio to DSD512 in HQPlayer.
     
  10. doraymon
    That makes sense than.
     
  11. doraymon
    Have you tried A/B the oversampling via HQPlayer vs oversampling by the Spring DAC?
     
  12. bluesaint
    Yes it's not even close. Utilizing 8 core i7 CPU to upsample in advance algorithm vs. simple oversampling from the AKM DAC is no contest. Same as any non PC software based oversampling, its garbage. Honestly it's what turns off most folks from upsampling because all they are used to is DAC level upsample.

    I turned @Energy into a believer when he heard DSD512 vs. PCM. See his post here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/holo-audio-spring-r2r-dac.810065/page-95#post-13626025
     
  13. Energy
    To those concerned.
    I've done enormous amounts of research and listening tests after David (BlueSaint) showed me the significance of DSD encoding on PCM files.

    Playing PCM directly may be slightly more airy sounding and overall blended together, but in terms of sonic accuracy, it is levels behind DSD512.

    DSD over DoP on JRiver Media Center is 15% better
    - Note: DSD over DoP even on a MacBook will still sound better (more articulate) than standard PCM, however what you want is Native DSD Encoding.

    DSD512 encoding (standard algorithm) on JRiver Media Center is 30% better.
    DSD512 encoding (advanced algorithm) such as "poly-sinc-xtr-2s" from HQPlayer is 40% better.
    DSD512 encoding (similar to CORD DAVE algorithm) such as "poly-sinc-xtr" from HQPlayer is 46-48% better.

    Jussi Laako (Signalyst)
    Developer of HQPlayer's comment on the poly-sinc-xtr filter.
    https://community.roonlabs.com/t/xtr-filters-why-do-they-sound-so-good/25687

    The poly-sinc-xtr filter was created by Jussi to mimic that of what was done in the Chord Dave when it comes to filtering.
    UNFORTUNATELY to run this filter you will need a super computer that has 10 CPU CORES running at 90% workload in order to properly encode and play music simultaneously.
    FORTUNATELY you can run the 2s version of this filter which is less computer intensive and only requires 4 CPU CORES at around 70% workload (year 2013 or higher).

    The 2s version (poly-sinc-xtr-2s) is a two stage filter that jeopardizes some filtering quality in order to lower CPU workload.
    The non-2s version (poly-sinc-xtr) is a single stage filter that offers better a algorithm which results in less ringing and provides better frequency response and signal attenuation.

    LONGER EXPLANATION:

    The highest modulation available right now is DSD512.
    Both HQPlayer and JRiver Media Center offers this level of processing.
    HQPlayer has multiple "FILTERING" options whereas the JRiver only has a stock profile.
    The problem with stock filters is that you cannot improve sound quality by other filters that are more intensive when it comes to processing of the DSD encoded file.

    A higher end filter will use more CPU processing power which results in more cores being used.
    In HQPlayer there is a filter option known as poly-sinc which is one that is better than the stock filter available on JRiver Media Center.
    These filters offer better linearity of the music that's being encoded/produced as well as cut off pre and post ringing you hear in music that makes it sound un-natural.
    To take things even higher, poly-sinc has an extreme mode available (called poly-sinc-xtr) that takes 5 times more processing power compared to standard poly-sinc.

    In order to run the poly-sinc-xtr filter, you must have very fast computer with a CPU that has 10 cores working at 90% in order to convert PCM to DSD512 using that filter. Unfortunately I don't have a computer that fast thus why I have to go with the second best option and that is to separate the conversion stream into 2 stages (2s) for oversampling instead of one. A single stage offers a better algorithm of converting the file which results in less ringing and provides better frequency-response and signal attenuation compared to a 2 stage (which jeopardizes those listed things a little in order to lower CPU workload).

    END RESULT:
    The setup I currently have consists of a 16 CPU CORES (AMD THREADRIPPER) in order to run POLY-SINC-XTR-MP.

    Note: mp = minimum phase (adds more post echo to help with transient reproduction)
    - sounds better for most modern electronic music.

    - I use this very often since I feel we need some subtle post echo's in order for music to sound a little more natural.

    Cheers,
    Thanh
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
    doraymon and gr8soundz like this.
  14. guymrob
  15. doraymon
    Wow, thanks for the very thorough explanation.
    But a PC with 10 cores... I'm not yet at that level
     

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