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Thread: Qutest and my Digital Weekend.

  1. #21
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Durham - UK

    Posts: 1,470
    I'm Ken.

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    Well, I never, didn't think you would go there James

    Glad you are getting good results.

    Move over, I'm lining up to get into Hi-Rez digital downloads and streaming services myself.

    My approach will be some what different, but like you I want to keep my vinyl/analogue capability.

    I have been looking at this for quite a while and rethought the whole set up several times. I'm currently looking at products from Primare/Classe/PS Audio, these all produce analogue Pre amps with built in DAC, so the Pre accepts digital or analog inputs and is a one box solution. They all control the volume, source selection etc in the analogue domain which is good for my vinyl. They are all fully balanced designs and have both balanced XLR and single ended RCA Inputs/Outputs, so very flexible bits of kit. My favorite contender is the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC (GCD) Pre, pictured below, It's a full width product and I'm trying to arrange a home demo of it.



    What I particularly like about this model is the digital I2S input using HDMI cable/sockets. PS Audio created this system and several manufacturers have followed suit using the same pinout, which PS Audio have shared. They sent me details by email, but I later found they had published the schematic for an open use output board on the web, including pin out details. This board allows other manufacturers I2S capable gear to have an output added that can plug into the PS Audio range using I2S over HDMI cable. Audio-GD produce a pin compatible output board like this (available from Audiophonics) and they have also adopted this arrangement on some of their own DAC's.

    My concept is to use a single board computer (SBC) and take it's I2S output through an ALLO Kali I2S reclocker then through an Audio-GD I2S (HDMI) output board and on to the Stellar GCD through a standard v2.0 HDMI cable.

    My data storage will be on a NAS drive, both it and my internet streaming modem/hub will be connected to the SBC using Gigabit Ethernet cable. So there wont be any WiFi, USB or Spdif interfaces anywhere in the music chain.

    I will be using LibreELEC OS and Kodi player.
    LibreELEC is a trimmed down version of Linux with just the essentials needed to run Kodi, which comes as part of the distribution, so it's less resource hungry. Also Kodi has an add on for Qobuz, which is my streaming service of choice, for several reasons I won't go into here.

    It's an ambitious project but I don't want to jack your thread, so I will start my own on the subject when I get into it, as I'm sure it will be of interest to others wanting to reap the benefits of I2S's simpler and cleaner audio path.
    Last edited by Qwin; 07-06-2018 at 14:42.
    Ken

    http://www.jkwynn.co.uk/
    DIY Technics/ProJect based Turntable + Terminator linear tracker + AT 33PTG II / AQVOX Phono 2 CI / Pro-Ject Pre Box RS / ESP Active X-Over / Nakamichi AVP1 Power / Modified semi-active Yamaha NS1000M Speakers / Stello CDT100 Transport / NAD M51 DAC.

  2. #22
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 3,734
    I'm James.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Qwin View Post
    Well, I never, didn't think you would go there James

    Glad you are getting good results.

    Move over, I'm lining up to get into Hi-Rez digital downloads and streaming services myself.

    My approach will be some what different, but like you I want to keep my vinyl/analogue capability.

    I have been looking at this for quite a while and rethought the whole set up several times. I'm currently looking at products from Primare/Classe/PS Audio, these all produce analogue Pre amps with built in DAC, so the Pre accepts digital or analog inputs and is a one box solution. They all control the volume, source selection etc in the analogue domain which is good for my vinyl. They are all fully balanced designs and have both balanced XLR and single ended RCA Inputs/Outputs, so very flexible bits of kit. My favorite contender is the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC (GCD) Pre, pictured below, It's a full width product and I'm trying to arrange a home demo of it.



    What I particularly like about this model is the digital I2S input using HDMI cable/sockets. PS Audio created this system and several manufacturers have followed suit using the same pinout, which PS Audio have shared. They sent me details by email, but I later found they had published the schematic for an open use output board on the web, including pin out details. This board allows other manufacturers I2S capable gear to have an output added that can plug into the PS Audio range using I2S over HDMI cable. Audio-GD produce a pin compatible output board like this (available from Audiophonics) and they have also adopted this arrangement on some of their own DAC's.

    My concept is to use a single board computer (SBC) and take it's I2S output through an ALLO Kali I2S reclocker then through an Audio-GD I2S (HDMI) output board and on to the Stellar GCD through a standard v2.0 HDMI cable.

    My data storage will be on a NAS drive, both it and my internet streaming modem/hub will be connected to the SBC using Gigabit Ethernet cable. So there wont be any WiFi, USB or Spdif interfaces anywhere in the music chain.

    I will be using LibreELEC OS and Kodi player.
    LibreELEC is a trimmed down version of Linux with just the essentials needed to run Kodi, which comes as part of the distribution, so it's less resource hungry. Also Kodi has an add on for Qobuz, which is my streaming service of choice, for several reasons I won't go into here.

    It's an ambitious project but I don't want to jack your thread, so I will start my own on the subject when I get into it, as I'm sure it will be of interest to others wanting to reap the benefits of I2S's simpler and cleaner audio path.
    The PS Audio stuff is very good indeed Ken. I believe Gazjam has one of their DACs and is more than pleased with it.

  3. #23
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 20,724
    I'm Martin.

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    I thought using HDMI for audio had clocking issues, something to do with it expecting there to be video content along with the audio?
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200P CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    'The best I advice I ever received was to always remember that no-one else has any idea what they are doing either.'

  4. #24
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 4,160
    I'm Alan.

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    It sounds like they are just using the HDMI cable and connectors, rather than the interface Martin.

    Sounds good to me to be using something readily available.

  5. #25
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 20,724
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Firebottle View Post
    It sounds like they are just using the HDMI cable and connectors, rather than the interface Martin.

    Sounds good to me to be using something readily available.
    Okay that makes sense then. figured I must be missing something.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200P CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    'The best I advice I ever received was to always remember that no-one else has any idea what they are doing either.'

  6. #26
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 44,838
    I'm Grant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    I thought using HDMI for audio had clocking issues, something to do with it expecting there to be video content along with the audio?
    ive extracted audio from hdmi and it was extremely good. alas the extractor packed up. wasnt cheap either so wont be dealing with neet again.
    Regards,
    Grant ....

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
    .... ..... ...... ...... ................... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....
    OPPO BDP-103D DARBEE - JBE SERIES 3/B&O SP1/EMOTIVA XPS1/12V BATTERY - TWIN PRO MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIERS - XIANG SHENG DAC\PRE\HEADPHONE AMP\WE TUBED - TWIN AVANTREE OASIS CLASS 1 BLUETOOTHS - AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-MSR7 & OPPO PM-3 PLANAR HEADPHONES - WIN10 JRIVER24, SPOTIFY - SMSL M6 MINIDAC - RPI/AUDIOPHONICS/5V BATTERY - FULL RANGE TWIN TELEFUNKEN/Q ACOUSTIC BT3/CANTON SUB - P.INSPIRED MAINS REGENERATED.

  7. #27
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 20,724
    I'm Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by struth View Post
    ive extracted audio from hdmi and it was extremely good. alas the extractor packed up. wasnt cheap either so wont be dealing with neet again.
    It's not likely to be audible, it's just sub-optimal in terms of the SNR.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200P CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    'The best I advice I ever received was to always remember that no-one else has any idea what they are doing either.'

  8. #28
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

    Posts: 6,684
    I'm availableforweddingsAndBarmitzvas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    The PS Audio stuff is very good indeed Ken. I believe Gazjam has one of their DACs and is more than pleased with it.
    Yup,
    PS Audio gear is superb.

    A real cliche, but Iím really rediscovering my music collection with this Dac.
    Using it as a Roon endpoint with direct LAN connection from my server, down the line Iíll be fitting an i2s output board to my Oppo 203 to enable me to hook it up via the Directstreams i2s input.
    The Oppo will act as a Roon endpoint and DSD output SACD player in to the Dac, which should sound.....nice.

    The Stellar Dac gets a lot of very good reviews, these guys know what they are doing.
    Look forward to read now you get on Ken.
    have hifi n stuff

  9. #29
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Durham - UK

    Posts: 1,470
    I'm Ken.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    I thought using HDMI for audio had clocking issues, something to do with it expecting there to be video content along with the audio?
    I'm not suggesting using HDMI protocol Martin, this method just uses the HDMI sockets and cables as a means of sending the I2S signal.

    Edit: I see others pointed it out further along.
    Yes HDMI is just an off the shelf cable and socket system that PS Audio thought would be good to use for this purpose, many folks have made the same mystake and wondered why their blue ray player wouldn't produce any sound via HDMI. It further complicates things that you can extract the audio element from a true HDMI signal. My NAD M51 DAC can do that.

    Which DAC you got Gaz?
    Mine won't be an immediate purchase, just going to pull the trigger on two stereo power amps ( Nord NC500 ) for my semi active speakers, so the piggy bank will need replenishing.

    Edit Edit: I see you mention Directstream Gaz, gotcha.
    Last edited by Qwin; 07-06-2018 at 18:45.
    Ken

    http://www.jkwynn.co.uk/
    DIY Technics/ProJect based Turntable + Terminator linear tracker + AT 33PTG II / AQVOX Phono 2 CI / Pro-Ject Pre Box RS / ESP Active X-Over / Nakamichi AVP1 Power / Modified semi-active Yamaha NS1000M Speakers / Stello CDT100 Transport / NAD M51 DAC.

  10. #30
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Durham - UK

    Posts: 1,470
    I'm Ken.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazjam View Post
    Yup,
    PS Audio gear is superb.

    A real cliche, but I’m really rediscovering my music collection with this Dac.
    Using it as a Roon endpoint with direct LAN connection from my server, down the line I’ll be fitting an i2s output board to my Oppo 203 to enable me to hook it up via the Directstreams i2s input.
    The Oppo will act as a Roon endpoint and DSD output SACD player in to the Dac, which should sound.....nice.

    The Stellar Dac gets a lot of very good reviews, these guys know what they are doing.
    Look forward to read now you get on Ken.
    Which output board are you thinking of fitting to the Oppo?
    Ken

    http://www.jkwynn.co.uk/
    DIY Technics/ProJect based Turntable + Terminator linear tracker + AT 33PTG II / AQVOX Phono 2 CI / Pro-Ject Pre Box RS / ESP Active X-Over / Nakamichi AVP1 Power / Modified semi-active Yamaha NS1000M Speakers / Stello CDT100 Transport / NAD M51 DAC.

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