PS DACs stacked to create Multichannel


#1

Afternoon,

I believe some of the posters here have stacked PS Audio DACs to create a multichannel system. Nice. I currently employ the Oppo 105D as a MCH player but I would like to upgrade.

I’m pretty sure I can do this using the Pink Faun I2S Multichannel Bridge PCIe card. I have been in contact with PinkFaun and they say the card can support the PS pin configuration.

I am considering trying this with either 2 x Jr.s +1 NuWave or even DS/Jr/Nw.

Can anyone share their experience and suggestions? Appreciate the help!

Good weekend, jjk


Mulit Channel DS?
#2

I posted this thread several days ago seeking input on 3xPS DACs to create a multichannel system with the PinkFaun multichannel bridge card.

Can anyone help me out?

Thanks very much.


#3

I’m probably not the only one that saw that you’d also posted essentially this question here: http://www.psaudio.com/forum/directstream-all-about-it/multi-channel-sacd-files/#p63966

Is there a part of my answer that needs more clarification?


#4

Yes, actually there is. And thanks.

"The NuWave will definitely have different delays than the DS and the DS Jr, they may even add up to perhaps a 10′ difference in speaker placement so I wouldn’t use a NuWave along with the DSs unless you have some kind of delay compensation in your system (which would probably convert DSD to PCM.)

The DS and the DS Jr share the same source and FPGA hardware. I see no reason that I’d ever significantly change the delays in one without changing both. You might need to use the same software release in both (i.e. use Yale in both or Torreys in both…) when I do make an overall change in processing – which I expect to do in the next release."

Sorry, Ted (and Elk). Just want to make sure this is going to work the way I think it will before committing funds.

Yes so I would implement a delay with JRiver. Is that an issue, other than what I guess is a necessary conversion to PCM because of the DSP?

Most of my files are FLAC due to the rock genre. Because of FPGA is PS Audio not necessarily the best place for me to be?

And sorry again, I’m not sure I understand what you mean by this sentence, “I see no reason that I’d ever significantly change the delays in one without changing both.” Base on your first sentence above, why would I want to change the delays in the DS and Jr?

And the PinkFaun card…is this the best way to “stack” the three machines? Haven’t worked with I2S before. I understand that there are different hdmi pin configurations. PinkFaun has told me that they will set that before they ship the card to me. But what about the machines, do they need to be altered at all based on the clocks? Another way to ask that I guess is, once the Directstream recognizes a hot I2S input, does that automatically change clock control to the PF Bridge card? Is that the way any brand “xyz” works?

Thanks very much for the assistance.


#5
jjk said Yes so I would implement a delay with JRiver. Is that an issue, other than what I guess is a necessary conversion to PCM because of the DSP?
Yep, doing any time delay would likely involve changing any source DSD to PCM. But as you mention that may not be a big deal for you.
jjk said Most of my files are FLAC due to the rock genre. Because of FPGA is PS Audio not necessarily the best place for me to be?
I guess I'm confused here, having an FPGA in our DAC is only a benefit compared to other DACs. The DS is just as comfortable with PCM inputs as DSD inputs, if that's what you are worried about.
jjk said And sorry again, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this sentence, "I see no reason that I’d ever significantly change the delays in one without changing both." Base on your first sentence above, why would I want to change the delays in the DS and Jr?
I was saying that you can count on the DS and the DS Jr always having the same delays so mixing DS and DS Jr's in a MC system isn't a problem.
jjk said And the PinkFaun card...is this the best way to "stack" the three machines? Haven't worked with I2S before. I understand that there are different hdmi pin configurations. PinkFaun has told me that they will set that before they ship the card to me. But what about the machines, do they need to be altered at all based on the clocks? Another way to ask that I guess is, once the Directstream recognizes a hot I2S input, does that automatically change clock control to the PF Bridge card? Is that the way any brand "xyz" works?
There's no need to configure PS Audio products in that all of PS Audio's DACs take the same HDMI pinout for I2S and PinkFaun knows what this pinout is. All DACs that handle AES/EBU, S/PDIF, TOSLink, etc. have to have the ability to track the incoming clock. PS Audio I2S capable DACs track the incoming I2S bit clock in the same way. Yes, I2S has more capability and in general one can use the I2S master clock for more complicated systems, but those features aren't needed if you aren't using the DAC for the master system clock, say, in a mastering studio. If PinkFaun can work with any PS Audio DAC (which we know they can) working with multiple PS Audio DACs at the same time isn't a problem for PS Audio or for PinkFaun.

Once again: The only problem you might have with multiple PS Audio DACs is that if you mix non-DS (or DSJr) DACs with other DACs (from PS Audio or anyone else) you might need to be able to adjust the different delays somewhere else in the system. In general that’s an issue when you mix different DACs from anyone.

FWIW the best MC audio systems use the same speakers all the way around, the same amps, the same DACs, etc. and have the speakers at the same distance to the listener, etc. We all know that in real life we often have to make some compromises, but the fewer things you mix up the easier it will be to get the whole system working well and sounding great. Still mixing DSs and DS Jr’s isn’t a problem and won’t make your life more difficult, in that the differences there are much smaller than any speaker differences, amp differences, etc.


#6

How is the common volume solved in a multichannel setup?

Will the remote adjust the DS volume AND 2 DSjr at the same time from an initial setting or will volume setting on a ‘master’ be sent to the ‘slaves’ via I2s, knowing that the DAC’s are not daisy chained or IP controlled?

My guess is that the DS Transport already sync the volumes for FL/FR - SL/SR - Center/Sub to ‘Line level’ prior to outputting it on the I2s outputs?

Second question:

Has anyone (until date) successfully tried a DS Transport multichannel setup with 3 DS or 1 DS and 2 DSjr, either directly to amps or via a surround processor/MC preamp when playing e.g. a MC SACD?


#7

Thanks Ted. That was great information. Very helpful.


#8
Frode said How is the common volume solved in a multichannel setup?

Will the remote adjust the DS volume AND 2 DSjr at the same time from an initial setting or will volume setting on a ‘master’ be sent to the ‘slaves’ via I2s, knowing that the DAC’s are not daisy chained or IP controlled?

My guess is that the DS Transport already sync the volumes for FL/FR - SL/SR - Center/Sub to ‘Line level’ prior to outputting it on the I2s outputs?

Second question:

Has anyone (until date) successfully tried a DS Transport multichannel setup with 3 DS or 1 DS and 2 DSjr, either directly to amps or via a surround processor/MC preamp when playing e.g. a MC SACD?


Few people actually do have identical amps and speakers at identical distances to their listening position so some form of volume compensation is often required anyway. I like my EMM Labs Switchman MC preamp, it has individual trims on each of the 6 channels of each of the 4 inputs.

If you are using a single remote for volume control of multiple DACs you do need to be a little careful how you aim the remote and possibly where your DACs are located, not ideal but it can work fine in practice.

It’s my understanding that the DS Transport will synchronize the volumes of multiple DACs without affecting the bitstreams (via the handshake lines of the I2S), but I don’t know if it allows offsetting volumes between DACs.

I’m sure someone at PS Audio tried MC on the DS Transport :slight_smile: I (and others, e.g. edorr) have run 3 DSs with a Vanity HD card in an Oppo transport, but that wasn’t your question.


#9

Can any of you PinkFaun guys tell me what the import and shipping fees from the Netherlands were?

Thanks.


#10
Ted Smith said

I’m sure someone at PS Audio tried MC on the DS Transport :slight_smile: I (and others, e.g. edorr) have run 3 DSs with a Vanity HD card in an Oppo transport, but that wasn’t your question.

Ted, thanks for staying patient with me on this.

Can I ask about the Vanity HD? I believe this may be a better solution for me since I already have access to an Oppo 103D.

Can you just confirm that with Oppo 103D and the Vanity HD I could create a mch system with 3 x DSJr? I believe you stated in another post that any dac with spdif input would take the incoming clock signal so the mch file would be sync’d across all 3 dacs? Is there a driver that JRiver identifies the 3 x dacs with? All dsp, delays eqs, etc. pass no problem?

Sorry my knowledge is weak on this.

Do you use this system on a day-to-day basis, i.e. is it practical or more of a science experiment?

My objective is obtain better multi-channel resolution/performance than just my Oppo 105.

Thanks very much.


#11
jjk said Can you just confirm that with Oppo 103D and the Vanity HD I could create a mch system with 3 x DSJr? I believe you stated in another post that any dac with spdif input would take the incoming clock signal so the mch file would be sync'd across all 3 dacs? Is there a driver that JRiver identifies the 3 x dacs with? All dsp, delays eqs, etc. pass no problem?

Do you use this system on a day-to-day basis, i.e. is it practical or more of a science experiment?

My objective is obtain better multi-channel resolution/performance than just my Oppo 105.

Thanks very much.


Yes, an Oppo BDP-103 with a Vanity HD card (with the DoP output option) works with 3 DS or 3 DS Jr’s. The software in the DSs and DSJrs will keep close sync to their inputs and since those inputs come from the same source MC will work fine.

JRiver isn’t relevant - We’re using the BDP-103 as a transport. I.e. you can play SACDs in the BDP. There are MC soundcards, etc. that you may be able to use JRiver with - I have no experience there, so I have no recommendations relative to JRiver.

To get DSD out of the BDP (or indeed to play the DSD of a SACD with a stock BDP) you’ll need to defeat all of the DSP, Delays, speaker setup, etc. for the HDMI output (even tho the Vanity HD card is outputting via 3 S/PDIF interconnects.)

I use it regularly and have listened to many of my favorite MC SACDs on it. There are also other members here who have a 103/Vanity HD card/3x DS MC system and use it regularly.

You’ll certainly get better resolution, clarity, solider soundstage, etc than an Oppo 105.


#12
Ted Smith said
JRiver isn't relevant - We're using the BDP-103 as a transport. I.e. you can play SACDs in the BDP. There are MC soundcards, etc. that you may be able to use JRiver with - I have no experience there, so I have no recommendations relative to JRiver.
You can certainly use JRiver to stream DSD MCH to an Oppo BDP-10x. I have downloaded MCH DSD files from Native DSD and I stream them to my stock BDP-105 which decodes all 5 channels and feeds 5 channels of analog to the PrePro in my theater. Doesn't require anything special in JRiver. As long as the Oppo is powered on and connected to your network, and you have JRiver configured for Media Network, JRiver will discover the Oppo. All you have to do after that is select the Oppo from the Playing Now list in JRiver and then select a MCH album in Audio and it will stream to the Oppo. You just have to watch the sample rates because I tried it with a 256MCH file and the Oppo can't decode it (maybe the new model will?) but 64MCH works fine.

I don’t have any experience with the Vanity HD card hack, so not sure how that affects things but you can definitely stream MCH to the Oppo via JRiver.


#13

Thanks for the input: I should have worded things more clearly: I meant that JRiver is irrelevant to my claims/experience: I can’t make any claims about JRiver/Oppo since the only way I use the Oppo/Vanity is using the Oppo as a transport. I don’t have any idea if the Vanity HD card works in any other Oppo use scenario or not.


#14

Have been absent for a while but since I am one of the few with real world experience doing this let me weigh in. I use Jriver + Dirac on an Pink Faun server with I2S card into 3 x DirectStream. I also have a PS Audio Preamp in the mains channel (surround and center are DAC direct).

Channel trim is easy with Dirac which will level the channels during calibration. Without dirac, you would simply create channel level offsets in JRiver and run all the DACs at the same output level. If you have them stacked you can control all three with the same remote. Works OK.

I personally prefer to control volume in MCH mode in Jriver. All DAC set to 100, and volume control done in Jriver. Easier…

I used Vanity Card with Oppo as well in the past. Works fine also. Never used the HD with native DSD. I never ran MCH native DSD but I prefer MCH with DRC in PCM over DSD. Further, the convenience of using a server to me far outweighs any benefits of having to spin discs to play MCH DSD.

Ask me specifics and I can comment more. I have tried nearly every MCH architecture under the sun over the years. (Trinnov, Theta, MCH analog preamps, Server based etc. etc.).