DSJ & Huron: what and when to expect?


#1

Hello PS Audio friends,

I am visiting this forum since a couple of Months now and this is where I am coming from. Streaming audio has my interest since the beginning and after several set-ups with Squeezeboxes with DAC’s and power supplies I went 2011 with the then new Linn Akurate DS/1. A beautiful piece of equipment and it served me flawlessly until January of this year. The sound quality was really good and the first years Linn brought software updates with new features likes Airplay, native steaming of TuneIn, native streaming of Tidal. But over the last years I felt a resistance from Linn to adapt to new stuff. Most Linn customers complained that they didn’t like the access points Kinsky and Kazoo but I used the Lumin app that was pretty cool for the time. When I was reading more and more about Roon I decided to give it a try. In January I bought the Sonore SonicOrbiter and with a decent linear power supply over my Audionet DNP preamp / DAC it sounded pretty compatible with the Linn and the comfort and pleasure of Roon is something I don’t want to give up anymore.

So I sold the Linn and was looking for a new streamer / DAC since then. Roon endpoint and MQA were on my shortlist. After being interested in the Mytek Brooklyn I was reading this article by John Darko. That was looking really promising! And then I found this forum with the clear statement that MQA is underway. I knew this is going to be my choice. I promised myself to wait until then but last week I couldn’t wait any longer and picked up the DSJ. I connected the device and Roon immediately found the DAC and selected the right settings. After three hours listening I wrote the distributor that I will keep the device. Compared to the previous gear wider soundstage, better separation of instruments, very powerful bottom. The music is really detached from the speakers. A very realistic and relaxing musical experience. Also very good looking next to my Audionet pre-amp!

After almost a week of listening and enjoying (not enough because of the summer weather we are experiencing here in Europe) I can conclude that this was the right choice. I really enjoy re-discovering my music collection. The only negative when it comes to sound quality: the DSJ is not painting the pretty picture. Bad recordings / masterings are revealed as bad recordings. And there are a few points that could be improved:

  • sometimes switching between PCM and DSD and vice versa gives a soft noise in-between the tracks,

  • changing the volume with DSD has the same effect,

  • the display settings are very limited: it would be great to have more choices like having the title info longer visible etcetera.

So this brings me to my question: next to MQA unfolding what can we expect with Huron?


#2

“changing the volume with DSD has the same effect”

There’s no difference in the DSJ between changing the volume in PCM and DSD - the data has already been converted to 30 bit wide samples by the time it reaches the volume control. So I must assume you are talking about changing the volume earlier in the system. Does the display on the DSJ show DoP or DSD when you are playing DSD? - if not, you need to look at that earlier component for potential problems.

Similarly most of the time people complain about ticks/pops, etc. when going from PCM to DSD or DSD to PCM it’s upstream: especially if one uses features like fading out a track that’s ending and fading in a track that’s beginning. Also if your system doesn’t already play gaplessly then often there will be a tick or pop when transitioning to DSD or to PCM. Some streamers convert each track to DoP rather than converting the final output stream - This may break gapless playing of DSD tracks. Huron allows a few technically broken transitions from DSD to DSD to go thru if they don’t come too often. This should help with some streamers.

Huron has settable default top level screens - the volume display, the sample rate display or the bridge display (if you are using the bridge.)

The DS doesn’t change the material presented to it - in order to present good material as the masterer intended it you have to accept that if the input isn’t quite as good it won’t be made better. Still most people find that most of their software sounds better than it did before the DS (or DS Jr.) A few would like some sweetening and an appropriate choice of speakers, preamp, amp and/or interconnects, speaker wire or power cords can help there.


#3
Cable-guy said The only negative when it comes to sound quality: the DSJ is not painting the pretty picture. Bad recordings / masterings are revealed as bad recordings.
Exactly as it should be.
So this brings me to my question: next to MQA unfolding what can we expect with Huron?
See, this post click

BTW, MQA decoding will be done by the Bridge. It appears the Bridge update is on hold for now (see earlier posts in the thread linked above).


#4

Thanks for your quick and comprehensive answer Ted! To clarify, I don’t use other components before the DSJ. I am directly streaming from the NAS into the BridgeII. But it is not the physical knob that is creating the (low level) noise but it occurs when I am using the Roon volume slider on the iPad or Mac. But I am using the the DSJ volume control through Roon, not the digital one.

As for the sound discussion. I am not looking for changes in the sound! It is good as it is. The effect I was referring to is just the revelation effect :wink: The rest of my gear: Audionet DNP preamp, Audionet AMP mono pre amps and B&W 802 Diamonds. Via Blue cables. Great sound, no worries!

Also thanks you Elk! As for the sound see above in my reply to Ted. And thanks for the link. I will take a look.


#5
Ted Smith said Huron has settable default top level screens - the volume display, the sample rate display or the bridge display (if you are using the bridge.)
Great idea. Many will find this useful.
Cable-guy said As for the sound discussion. I am not looking for changes in the sound! It is good as it is. The effect I was referring to is just the revelation effect ;-)
Understood.

i continue to find that the better the equipment, the more impressive Redbook sounds and the improvements bought by high-resolution become smaller. This is counter-intuitive, at least for me.


#6

I fully agree! I wasn’t referring to Redbook vs hi-res or DSD but merely to imperfect recordings and masterings. These will be revealed using the DSJ. As you said: like it is supposed to be. As most of my 6600 albums are Redbook I am glad that well recorded Redbooks improved big time!


#7

Only one question left:


#8
Cable-guy said

…The only negative when it comes to sound quality: the DSJ is not painting the pretty picture. Bad recordings / masterings are revealed as bad recordings.


To compensate bad recordings, it needs flexible options of tweaking the system somewhere else and to a larger extent in my experience. Like tone controls or level controls of speaker chassis if possible.

If you listen i.e. to average 70s/80s Pop recordings, you’ll i.e. often hardly hear enough bass and not much more quality otherwise, if the setup reproduces the really good recordings correctly and in a magic way.

Even if you didn’t reach this magic level yet, I can tell you, the DAC is capable of enwrapping you in a nearly holographic way with ~70% of good recordings. You’ll be i.e. able to hear differences between different recordings of the same label and the same artist (take i.e. on ECM, which is good but not the best), the one sounding just as good as you’re probably used to, the other beaming you into the sound, focusing each sound to your ears in a fascinating way, just as a heightening of the improvement of the sound stage effects you already heard.

So what you call good today can be vastly improved with your system growing. This revealing characteristic imo is the key of the sound of those DAC’s. You’ll immediately know when it happens.

Generally in my experience, the more revealing components are, the more they can limit their great sound a bit to better recordings and be more unsatisfying with bad recordings. After one achieved this revealing level of the PSA DAC’s throughout the setup, the good (not only the best) recordings get so magic, that one easily accepts to pass on the bad ones and realize, they simply were recorded or mastered or voiced badly.


#9
Cable-guy said

…The only negative when it comes to sound quality: the DSJ is not painting the pretty picture. Bad recordings / masterings are revealed as bad recordings.

jazznut said "To compensate bad recordings, it needs flexible options of tweaking the system somewhere else and to a larger extent in my experience. Like tone controls or level controls of speaker chassis if possible."

Equalizer APO is a parametric / graphic equalizer for Windows. (used in conjunction with Room EQ Wizard )
https://sourceforge.net/projects/equalizerapo/


#10

While I do agree the DirectStream DAC reproduces music faithfully - I have noticed that in my full PS Audio system BHK Signature preamp and BHK monos, a lot of my less well mastered music has become more listenable.


#11

When also:

  1. The DirectStream Music Server; and

  2. Power Plant P20; and

  3. Speakers; and

  4. DMP update?