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Ideas wanted -- USB DAC product
Ideas wanted -- USB DAC product
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Old 10th December 2017, 03:23 AM   #11
JohnnyInBris is offline JohnnyInBris  Australia
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I'm currently developing something similar purely as a hobby. It's a multi-channel DAC for use with PC-based FIR DSP for crossovers and perhaps room equalisation although it could equally be used as a stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 setup.

For input I will be using XMOS XUF216 for UAC2. I have already purchased a 2 channel DIYHK board to experiment with and have managed to modify the firmware for 6 channels out up to 192K/24b. At the moment it's operating as master but ultimately it will setup as slave to an FPGA. When I design the PCB for this project I'll provision for 8 channels. I believe that ethernet can also be added although I'm not interested in using it.

The setup will be {XMOS} <==> {FPGA} <==> {ISOLATION} <==> {CLOCKS, DSD_DAC}

At the moment I'm thinking that one PCB will support the XMOS, FPGA, digital power supplies, digital isolators and isolated analog supplies for the clocks and DACs. This board will provide headers for one dual clock module and four headers for stereo DACs with balanced outputs. This will give flexibility if I want to try different clock and/or DAC modules.
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Old 10th December 2017, 03:58 AM   #12
chris719 is offline chris719  United States
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Ideas wanted -- USB DAC product
Quote:
Originally Posted by planet10 View Post
Not at all, it is a subset of Thunderbolt.



Right, Thunderbolt, if you use the Firewire subset is designed to deal with audio, putting audio over USB is still just a convience.

Thunderbolt is not just PCIe, that is one of the subsets supported, just like FireWire, USB3, DisplayPort. Intel would really like to see the death of USB but it has far too much use for it to die anytime soon.

dave
You should do some research before you post because the OP is correct and you are wrong.

Thunderbolt is multiplexed PCIe and DP put onto one connector, which it may share with USB 3.1 Gen 2. TB3 supports 4 lanes of PCI Express Gen 3 and 8 lanes of DP 1.2.

Firewire is dead. No one is making or cares to make new transceiver chips for it. The last generation of mainstream PC motherboards with FW chips were released around circa 2009. Apple will not put it on any new product. It will never appear on another PC. TB does not support FireWire. Any product using FireWire over TB is using a TB PCIe device on the other end.

Intel developed USB and drives a lot of the ongoing development of USB via its role in the USB-IF. Intel makes some of the only USB controllers on the market that actually work well and have stable drivers for all major operating systems. Intel employees actively contribute to USB controller driver development for Linux. Saying that Intel wants USB to go away shows how little of an understanding you have.
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Old 10th December 2017, 04:02 AM   #13
chris719 is offline chris719  United States
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Ideas wanted -- USB DAC product
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueskull View Post
Hi all,

I'm working on a USB DAC, targeting ultra high end market, with specs comparable with Hugo 2 or ES9038-based solutions. <snip>
What standard do you plan to use over Ethernet?
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Old 10th December 2017, 04:20 AM   #14
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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Minimum input interfaces for a studio DAC would be optical and coaxial SPDIF, AES/EBU, and USB. Those are the things most studios use. You do might well to take a look at the interfaces and features of the DACs which are used in many studios here: Digital to analog converters - Benchmark Media Systems, Inc.

For outputs rca unbalanced and XLR balanced are the usual.
A manual with lots of specs is here: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/03...30537634228604
As you can probably see, there are already some pretty good studio products on the market.

Last edited by Markw4; 10th December 2017 at 04:30 AM.
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Old 10th December 2017, 05:21 AM   #15
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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Ideas wanted -- USB DAC product
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris719 View Post
You should do some research before you post because the OP is correct and you are wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by planet10 View Post
I am aways looking for FireWire (or Thunderbolt now).
Well excuse me...

I guess you missed the or Thunderbolt part. As far as i am concerned Thunderbolt is the evolution of FireWire.

I followed all the initil Thunderbolt release info, and what was said about it. Every Firewire device i plugged into my Thunderbolt ports worked fine — including my DACs. Everyting i read about Firewire interfaces plugged into Thinderbolt was that they worked. People had started to move their interfaces over to Thunderbolt.

At that point i lost the thread, spending 5 months in hospital after lifesaving surgery. And the last 8 months learning how to walk again.

I have never paid a whole lot of attention to the actual hardware implementation, but i know FireWire/Thunderbolt is harder than USB. But it can handle all the I/O without the help of the processor and is much more suitable for audio/video than USB.

dave
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Old 10th December 2017, 05:27 AM   #16
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueskull View Post
Are 88.2/176.4 even being used?
Yes, but not the most common for most things.
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Old 10th December 2017, 05:31 AM   #17
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueskull View Post
I don't mind spending $20k on a top of the line audio analyzer or spending 500 hours to build one, but I only care about measured electrical data.
You might want to be careful there. It might be worth taking a look at this: AES E-Library >> Are We Measuring the Right Things? Artefact Audibility Versus Measurement

Then again if you want to develop new kinds of instrumentation to measure things people can hear, that would be great. Also, I would point out many serious, successful equipment designers supplement measurements with listening tests. One big example would be JBL, which uses listeners it trains itself.

Last edited by Markw4; 10th December 2017 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 10th December 2017, 06:17 AM   #18
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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Ideas wanted -- USB DAC product
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markw4 View Post
input interfaces for a studio DAC
Antelope Audio, Universal Audio, Focusrite, PreSonus, Slate Digital, MOTU, Apogee, RME, Lynx, Avid, Neumann, Resident Audio, AKG, Zoom all do Thunderbolt.

And Firewire can still be had from Weiss, Universal Audio, RME, Behringer, MOTU, Metric Halo, Lexicon, Tascam, Steinberg, Echo, Focusrite, Prism Sound.

That list is probably not exhaustive.

dave
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Old 10th December 2017, 06:54 AM   #19
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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Thunderbolt makes perfect sense for people using a Mac, I would agree.

The main issue with having a lot of different hardware interfaces such as USB, Thunderbolt, Ethernet, and so on is that in many cases specialized hardware drivers have to be written. Writing and maintaining drivers over evolving versions of multiple operating systems can get to be a costly and time consuming undertaking.

On the other hand, SPDIF and AES have been pretty consistent over a long period of time, and SPDIF adapters for all kinds of computers are readily available. Not that great an idea for portable systems though, where too much stuff to carry around and hook up can be problematic.

Also, seems like even at a price point of $2k - $3k, one would need to focus on a particular market. The upscale (but not full blown audiophile) hi-fi home consumer market is one thing, and the studio market is another. Lots of studio features won't fit in a tiny box for one thing, a half rack space size is probably minimal. And home hi-fi doesn't need space for balanced AES interfaces.

Last edited by Markw4; 10th December 2017 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 10th December 2017, 07:42 AM   #20
MarcelvdG is online now MarcelvdG  Netherlands
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For home equipment, support for DSD with 2.8224 MHz and 5.6448 MHz sample rate would be nice. Despite its disadvantages, DSD is quite popular. I don't know if any studios use 2.8224 MHz or 5.6448 MHz noise shaped PCM (a.k.a. DSD wide).
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