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Multi-channel DAC
Multi-channel DAC
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Old 22nd April 2017, 11:23 PM   #1
JohnnyInBris is offline JohnnyInBris  Australia
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Default Multi-channel DAC

I was looking for a not too expensive multi-channel DAC so that I could experiment with active crossovers in the digital domain using APO equaliser.

The product I purchased is an ASUS XONAR U7. This has quite good specs for a 7.1 DAC and I'm very happy with. It's USB powered and very quiet.

I've implemented a 3-way crossover using Linkwitz-Riley filters which can be implemented in APO by cascading 2nd order Butterworth filters.

The only minor downside is that being such a small device, 3.5mm stereo jacks are required to interface it.
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Old 23rd April 2017, 01:58 AM   #2
dtaylo3 is offline dtaylo3  United States
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Look at the new 8 channel dac from mini-dsp
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Old 23rd April 2017, 02:11 AM   #3
JohnnyInBris is offline JohnnyInBris  Australia
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Yes I did look at minidsp, but it's 3x the price. It has 8 RCAs which is more convenient and I believe it's possible to implement filters in XMOS if you are into programming. What put me off more than anything is that they don't quote any distortion or S/N specs. It also needs an external power supply as the XMOS device is quite power hungry.
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Old 23rd April 2017, 04:55 AM   #4
jazbo8 is offline jazbo8
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Multi-channel DAC
There are literally hundreds of multi-channel DAC's, look under professional audio - from cheapo Behringer, MOTU to hi-end SSL, Lynx, etc.
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Old 24th April 2017, 03:30 PM   #5
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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I recently tested the Behringer FCA610 (USB+Firewire interfaces) under Linux. I found that I could use it as an 8-out (10-out if you also connected an SPDIF-input DAC). Measurements of the audio outs showed performance was pretty good. On the downside, whenever changing the sampling rate and starting to play there was a noticeable "pop" just as the audio started up. I have also used this under Windows and did not experience this problem. Under ALSA/Linux there are no drivers so all you can do it get data (use the inputs) and send data (use the outputs) but that is just like any other DAC.

New FCA610s go for $199 but you might be able to pick up a used one for $50 less or so.
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Old 30th April 2017, 09:30 PM   #6
HammerSandwich is offline HammerSandwich
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I've been playing with a Behringer UMC1820 from Windows 7, which requires a UAC2 driver. (Newest Win10 apparently has a native driver, at last...) Like your FCA, the UMC pops during initialization, whether boot or changing sample rate. Turning on the amp after boot & resampling everything to 96KHz works okay, though I'm not exactly happy about this sort of thing in 2017.

But I'll live with it for $30ish/channel.
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Old 1st May 2017, 12:24 AM   #7
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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I have also used my FCA610 on a laptop running Windows 10 and I there was no pop or it was barely noticeable, at least not enough to get my attention. Under that OS I get a control panel for the FCA610 and maybe this is helping to run it properly.

On the other hand when I tried using it under Ubuntu 16.04 or with the latest Raspbian release on an R-Pi I did get the pop that I mentioned. Not exactly sure if this can be corrected or not - I haven't even tried yet. Your suggestion of turning on the amps after and off before the FCA is the workaround. But I was thrilled to see that the most recent Raspbian image works with it, because I can use it as a multichannel ADC and DAC on that platform, including SPDIF coax and toslink I/O.
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Old 4th May 2017, 10:18 AM   #8
arcgotic is offline arcgotic  Romania
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Anyone here tested ESI Gigaport HD+?
https://www.thomann.de/gb/esi_gigaport_hd_2.htm
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Old 4th May 2017, 10:37 AM   #9
Rokytheman is offline Rokytheman  Denmark
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I use the Esi card in my system.

Compared to the Behringer FCA610, the Esi is much better. More stable (as in ROCK stable on win 7), better sound, cheaper etc. I have heard, that the Esi plays way above the asking price. I have not had a chance to A/B with the focusrite scarlett 18i20 - But I tried the focusrite against the FCA610, and I would say that the difference was subtle.

It is difficult to describe sound, but I would say that the Esi sounds natural. Not harsh at all, but not mellow/soft either.

The FCA610 is more sterile in comparison. The Esi simply sounds better. Also the analog in, is not good at all. Second, I have had no luck getting the digital inputs to work...

For the asking price, I dont think there is a better alternative to the Esi. The downside though, is the lack of inputs, mic inputs etc.
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Old 4th May 2017, 11:55 AM   #10
arcgotic is offline arcgotic  Romania
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I have Asus Xonar U7 and think of upgrade. Did you have the chance to hear also Xonar U7?
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