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Thread: Is Good DAC Still Necessary With DSP Sound Processor?

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    Is Good DAC Still Necessary With DSP Sound Processor?

    Currently, I am looking for a DSP speaker management processor for the ongoing speaker project. While, I am getting confused about the two-step digital-analog processing: assumed my main DAC has better outputs, the analog signal will be AD and DA by the DSP processor again. In this case, is the main DAC that important? What are the benefits to use it instead of connecting CD/Computer to the DSP's digital input directly.

    Any thought appreciated!

    Regards,

    AZZD

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    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    How many DSP processor outputs will you be using? If more than 2, and your DAC is 2ch, ...

    That posed, bypassing a D/A A/D step (e.g., CD output and DSP input) is likely a good thing as long as you have volume control somewhere (DSP output DACs or your own stand alone DAC). No way to know if the DSP output DAC is preferable (simpler connection/use and internal clock, vs regenerated in your external and potentially higher quality DAC). You might want to experiment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
    How many DSP processor outputs will you be using? If more than 2, and your DAC is 2ch, ...

    That posed, bypassing a D/A A/D step (e.g., CD output and DSP input) is likely a good thing as long as you have volume control somewhere (DSP output DACs or your own stand alone DAC). No way to know if the DSP output DAC is preferable (simpler connection/use and internal clock, vs regenerated in your external and potentially higher quality DAC). You might want to experiment.
    Thank you, grumpy!Your comment give me more confidence to purchase a DSP processor with digital input. I need eight outputs from the DSP processor. Volume control is not a problem since digital signal is from computer; both player and Lynx PCI card have volume control.

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    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    Normally, digital outputs are not volume controlled. If the proposed DSP does this digitally, or after its internal DAC in the analog domain (before your amps), then you have a way to reduce volume from full output. Be careful. Ask lots of question before buying.

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    Senior Member ivica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azzd View Post
    Thank you, grumpy!Your comment give me more confidence to purchase a DSP processor with digital input. I need eight outputs from the DSP processor. Volume control is not a problem since digital signal is from computer; both player and Lynx PCI card have volume control.
    Hi azzd,

    I THINK, that using any volume control before DSP processing is not a good solution. The best would be to use digital source (such as CD digital out, or computer card digital out) and connect it directly to the DSP processor. DSP would do all desired signal processing and attached DACs would convert the data in to the desired number of analog channels. I THINK that AFTER DACs conversions volume control have to be done, the best, on the power amplifiers inputs. I am aware that it would not be too practical to manage , say 8, analog pots. Some amount of output dynamic can be managed digitally , especially if larger number of bits DACs are used ( 24 or 32 bits per sample).
    The problems with the signal wide noise or his can be annoying if high efficiency drivers are used connected to the power amps with large amplifications, usually of high-power type.

    Interesting to read:
    http://www.androidauthority.com/why-...it-dac-667621/


    regards
    ivica

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    Quote Originally Posted by ivica View Post
    Hi azzd,

    I THINK, that using any volume control before DSP processing is not a good solution. The best would be to use digital source (such as CD digital out, or computer card digital out) and connect it directly to the DSP processor. DSP would do all desired signal processing and attached DACs would convert the data in to the desired number of analog channels. I THINK that AFTER DACs conversions volume control have to be done, the best, on the power amplifiers inputs. I am aware that it would not be too practical to manage , say 8, analog pots. Some amount of output dynamic can be managed digitally , especially if larger number of bits DACs are used ( 24 or 32 bits per sample).
    The problems with the signal wide noise or his can be annoying if high efficiency drivers are used connected to the power amps with large amplifications, usually of high-power type.

    Interesting to read:
    http://www.androidauthority.com/why-...it-dac-667621/


    regards
    ivica
    Thanks again to grumpy and ivica! I had never thought of or known the volume control you both mentioned. Very helpful!!! Will check the webpage. Before making the final decision, I am testing whether I can get good result by using RME UC interface with JRiver DSP plugins as the DSP processor. While, for the after DAC volume control, do you think the RME's volume control of each output is before or after DAC? If it is before DAC, then I guess I should use some passive resistors between RME and amplifiers to control the volume, right?

    Regards,

    Yong

  7. #7
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    MSBtech made an MVC unit ~$500 used
    SPL makes a volume8 (still made)
    cirrus logic makes a cs3318 chip (extreme DIY) and an eval board (needs PS and box).
    studio equipment called 'monitor controllers' are probably overkill.

    maybe ask RME what they recommend (perhaps saving a lot of fuss and $$$)

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    Senior Member ivica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azzd View Post
    Thanks again to grumpy and ivica! I had never thought of or known the volume control you both mentioned. Very helpful!!! Will check the webpage. Before making the final decision, I am testing whether I can get good result by using RME UC interface with JRiver DSP plugins as the DSP processor. While, for the after DAC volume control, do you think the RME's volume control of each output is before or after DAC? If it is before DAC, then I guess I should use some passive resistors between RME and amplifiers to control the volume, right?

    Regards,

    Yong
    Hi azzd,

    Just as I HAVE UNDERSTOOD:
    If I want to reduce the signal level by 6dB, doing it in digital domain, that would be equal as divide by 2, so reducing LSB bit, and if I want to reduce by 24dB, that would be reducing 4 bits, so instead of using say 16 bits, it would be used 12 bits...., but if such "operation" is done in analog domain, either using pot in the amp input, or reducing DAC reference current or voltage (if "multiplying" type of DAC is applied), all of the DAC bits resolution would remain. I can imagine that a kind of "digital manipulation" can be done using 'oversampling DAC', as it can behave as an equivalent more data bits DAC then it really has.....
    I have no knowledge what kind of level attenuation is applied on many DSP driven active networks in order to provide proper output signal attenuation, saying about 40~60dB.

    regards
    ivica

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