EKIO and Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen)

Hello,

I am planning to build stereo 4-way (8-channel) multi-amp audio system with EKIO and Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen). Of course I will use suitable 4 stereo amplifiers or 8 mono amplifiers.

I understand that EKIO will enable stereo 4-way (8-channel) crossover on Windows 10 Pro 64bit PC Workstation with Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen).

I would appreciate suggestions on the most suitable S/PDIF 192 kHz equipped audio interface board with which I may easily configure stereo 4-way crossover system; I am now mainly using Roon.
 

fluid

Member
2009-01-24 2:20 pm
You could use Jriver Media Center to generate the crossovers and send the outputs directly to the 18i20. You can use VST Plugins, their own EQ and Crossover filter, FIR convolution etc. It doesn't have the pretty graphic display of it's own internal EQ but if you use plugins it will show whatever the plugins look like.

Seems more complicated and expensive to feed the audio out of a computer back into the same computer via two audio interfaces just to use EKIO.
 
Thank you, fluid, for your kind comments and information which I understood well.

I would like, however, to keep using mainly Roon as my audio player for various reasons such as Roon's flexibility of DSP settings including the up-sampling and down-sampling of hi-reso music files, precise settings for Sigma-Delta Modulator.

Through my quick review of EKIO software, I understand that EKIO will provide virtual WASAPI (or ASIO?) software device which I may set Roon to use as audio device, and it will transfer the 192kHz 24bit audio signal to EKIO for crossover setting. After the crossover division, EKIO can send the "divided" channels, in my case 8 channels, to 8 channel digital input interfaces of Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) through only one coaxial S/PDIF 192kHz line.

My PC-Workstation is ASUS X99E WS motherboard, Intel Xe E5-2630 v3 CPU, 8 core 16 thread, 64 GB memory, several 6 TB HDDs; very much sufficient processing power both for Roon play and EKIO crossover processing, I believe.

Even though now I assume that I should also contact with LUPISOFT for utilization of EKIO and Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen), I would also highly appreciate any suggestion at this Multi-Way forum.

It may be possible that I have some misunderstandings on Roon, EKIO and Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen).....
 

fluid

Member
2009-01-24 2:20 pm
If you are keen to stay with Roon then why not use it as the crossover? It looks like the DSP Engine Procedural Equalizer can perform the matrix mixing to get separate channels then you can use the parametric EQ and convolution to do the crossover filtering.

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of information about it, but I don't see why it couldn't do everything you need right there.
 
Hello fluid, thank you again.

I am rather familiar with Roon's EQ functions, but know little about Roon's crossover i.e. channel dividing features.

If Roon has real crossover functions to send each of the divided audio channels to multiple DACs by using multiple ASIO drivers, I should try it.

I actually have 5 (five) DACs;

One (1) OPPO SONICA DAC
Three (3) KORG DS-DAC-10
One (1) ONKYO DAC-1000

each of them have independent ASIO driver already installed in my PC-Workstation, and of course I can connect all of them at once to my PC-Workstation using USB cables.

I should check that Roon's crossover output feature, after channel division, could utilize multiple ASIO drivers to drive 4-way multi-amp audio system.

Are you familiar with Roon's crossover channel dividing (not EQ) functions?

I believe that the software crossover EKIO can do this with multiple ASIO drivers.
 

fluid

Member
2009-01-24 2:20 pm
A single device acting as the master will work better than multiple devices operating by multiple drivers. Clock sync would be difficult to maintain.

That roon thread just shows that hardly anyone has tried it not that it isn't possible.

The page on the procedural equalizer says otherwise to me but I don't have roon so I can't tell you if it will work.

"The procedural equalizer is used for advanced DSP configurations like digital crossovers, custom crossfeeds, and manual room correction. It allows you to configure a series of DSP steps in order, to perform matrix mixing, and to decide which steps apply to which channels."

Bring that page up in roon and have a look at the options take a screenshot and maybe I can suggest something to give it a try.
 
Hello and thank you again, fluid,

Yes, I agree with you that the Clock Sync should be always the major issue in this kind of multi-channel trials.

As you kindly suggested, I will carefully follow the Roon community's "serial or multiple DSP" trials and tests.

EKIO is really interesting and attractive software crossover solution, but after careful survey and communication with LUPISOFT representative, I found that the I/O for EKIO should be prepared by myself as an end user, and at this moment there would be no suitable pure and high-end audio I/O solution for EKIO.

You may be aware of very expensive TRINNOV ULTIMATE36 crossover solution (dedicated LINUX machine). I thought that EKIO on powerful PC-Workstation could be the reasonable replacement for TRINNOV ULTIMATE36, but in consideration of I/O issues, I am rather reluctant to use EKIO at this moment.

I hope that LUPISOFT would develop reasonable "PC-based crossover machine" including I/O hardware for up to stereo 4-way (8-channel) crossover multi-amp audio system.

Consequently, now I decided to go back to my original 8-channel multi-amp plan using two sets of BDX DriveRack VENUE360 digital crossover and 4 stereo power amplifiers.

Thank you again for your kind communication and information in this Post.
Now I am closing this Post, if it would be OK for you and the moderator.
 
Hello again fluid,

Just one additional info to share with you.

I had some misunderstandings on the I/O specifications of Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen).

I carefully checked the specifications of Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen), and found that it can receive only one digital stereo signal in 192 kHz through coaxial S/PDIF input. If we would use optical S/PDIF transfer, it can receive up to one stereo digital in 96 kHz.

In any way, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) can receive only one S/PDIF stereo input, and it "cannot" receive the entire 4-way (8 channel) digital signal "at once" through S/PDIF line.

Consequently, as well as the reluctance of multiple USB DACs, also Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) is not the choice for my current 8-channel plan.
 

fluid

Member
2009-01-24 2:20 pm
I've got an 18i20 2nd Gen and I sometimes use it in the opposite way to that by feeding the main left and right mix out of it's coaxial spdif output to another DAC, that allows the 18i20 to be the master and use all of it's channels for the less critical ones and leave the better DAC to feed the main left and right. No issue with clocking doing it that way.

You could use something like virtual audio cable to feed the output from roon into a VST host and do the crossover there with plugins or Jriver has a WASAPI input driver that can capture sound from the system and process it from there. Both of those could be tried out for free or low cost to see if it works for you.

Good luck anyway:)
 
Hello again, fluid,

Thank you for sharing your experiences with 18i20 2nd Gen. Looks my understanding is right that Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 would be useful as a mixer or transformer, and not for ONE "multiple overlapped digital signal" to EIGHT "analog channels", i.e. one-to-eight DISTRIBUTOR.

I will look into your suggestions on virtual audio cable, Roon as VST host, and JRiver's WASAPI. I am still afraid, however, that there would be no "acceptable physical and audio-quality-level eight analog OUTPUT solutions" to be installed in my PC-Workstation.

Thank you again, I will share my trials with you if I could get any reasonable and acceptable solution in these lines.
 

fluid

Member
2009-01-24 2:20 pm
There are quite a few multi output devices that are very good. Professional interfaces from MOTU and RME are the pick of the bunch but they are expensive. There is an 8 output Sabre DAC from OKTA research, that measures extremely well.

You can use multiple DAC's with something like a nanodigi from minidsp but you would struggle with very high sample rates.

MiniDSP and DiyinHK both make a card that can convert USB to multichannel i2S which you can feed to whatever DAC you desire. I have built DiyinHK's ES9016 8 channel DAC with the USB card and it works very well.

The hardware has been there for some time it is the software connection that is not so easy to find especially if you are tied to Roon.

This Hifi Cable driver software looks like it could help you out as it works with high sample rates

VB-Audio Virtual Apps

Set that as your output in Roon and then through the cable to an input in a VST host software, split the incoming audio into separate channels and process as you want before outputting to your soundcard or DAC.
 
WaOoo !! Thanks a lot, fluid,

Looks OKTO's DAC8PRO should be an ideal solution for my current 4-way (8-channel) project!
 
Okto Research
https://www.oktoresearch.com/assets/dac8pro/DAC8PRO_owners_manual.pdf
and
Review and Measurements of Okto DAC8 8Ch DAC & Amp | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum

I will start to communicate with OKTO RESEARCH and LUPISOFT (for EKIO with DAC8PRO ) very soon.

For us in Japan, the electricity in my Tokyo area is 100V 50Hz, and I believe OKTO will easily manufacture DAC8PRO for my use in Japan.

Thanks a lot, again....
 

fluid

Member
2009-01-24 2:20 pm
I'm not sure that you would need a specific version as they have a 120V version already.

It is using a toroid inside and one designed for 120V at 60Hz should be OK at 100V 50Hz as long as the output voltage of the toroid at 100v input is high enough to be above the dropout voltage of the regulators further on.

Calculation 120x50/60 = 100V (Safe voltage input when changing Hz of input)

I'm sure OKTA can confirm.
 
Hello fluid,

I could successfully connect Roon and JRiver internally to EKIO crossover software using ASIO4ALL and "BV-Audio Hi-Fi Virtual Cable". As well as the setting and routing configuration within EKIO, very careful settings of ASIO4ALL driver, on its setting pannels, are needed both for "ASIO4ALL to receive signals from Roon and/or JRiver" and "ASIO4ALL for EKIO", especially the ASIO Buffer sizes for each; large enough buffer size always neede for Roon's and JRiver's output into ASIO4ALL. Once properly configured, EKIO is very stable and essentially noise-free, even though the internal processing is up to 24bit 192 kHz.

Looks ASI4ALL, "BV-Audio Hi-Fi Virtual Cable" and EKIO are very light software occupying a little portion of the CPU power of my PC-Workstation.

I have not yet get a DAC8PRO, and wondering how I would transfer the 8-channel signals at once with one USB cable into DAC8PRO. According to the User Manual of DAC8PRO, OKTO Reserach is not attaching dedicated ASIO driver with DAC8PRO, and they are recommending to use ASIO4ALL for signal transfer into DAC8PRO.

Do you have experience in sending 8-channel signals at once to DAC8PRO or similar 8-channel DAC using one USB cable? If I connect DAC8PRO to a PC already installed with ASIO4ALL, would 8 (eight) USB audio devices automatically appear as audio output device?

Thanks in advance for your kind attention and suggestions.
 

fluid

Member
2009-01-24 2:20 pm
The Okto DAC8PRO has is UAC2.0 compliant which means that you can address all of the channels directly from within the operating system when you attach it to a computer with USB, as long as the computer is UAC2.0 compliant.

Mac and Linux have been for along time and since the Creators edition of Windows 10 windows has a UAC2.0 driver as well, so in theory if you are using a version of windows with the UAC2.0 driver it should be plug and play directly without any need for ASIO.

I have done this with the Diyinhk 8 channel card via Mac and it works as described. I don't have any experience with the DAC8PRO to say if it will definitely work but it should.

I also don't know if EKIO will work with a driver that is not ASIO for output. If you can connect Roon to Jriver with virtual audio cable you could use jriver for crossover duties which should have no problem using the UAC2.0 driver to address the different channels.
 
Hello fluid,

Thank you again for your quick follow-up and info which are very much helpful for me. I hope my PC-Workstation, Windows 10 PRO 64bit, is UAC2.0 compliant. I will soon look for Microsoft's info on UAC2.0 with Windows 10 PRO.

As for EKIO's output, I can use any of the audio devices thruogh there own/dedicated ASIO drivers and also through Window's audio I/O functions such as on-board Realtek High Definition Audio, so I should have no problem if the OS is UAC2.0 compliant. In any way, today I asked LUPISOFT people to try EKIO with DAC8PRO; LUPISOFT is in Saint-Genis-Laval in France, and OKTO Research is in Prague in Czech Prebublic, and I hope and believe they may well communicate and collaborate for testing EKIO with DAC8PRO on Windows 10 OS.
 
Hello again fluid,

The representative of OKTO RESEARCH responded by email to my inquiries. He confirmed that DAC8PRO is using one ES9028PRO, and the limitation for 192kHz PCM and 2xDSD is due to transfer speed limitation in XMOS processor (for 8 channels), not in the DAC chip.

He also confirmed that 120V model of DAC8PRO will work fine with 100V 50 - 60 Hz.

They do not sell their products including DAC8PRO through dealers, and we may only place purchase order at their web site. The price is 989 EUR + 149 EUR shipping to Japan.

Hopefully, I will place my purchase order soon....