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Tragically Hip
Tragically Hip's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
Joined: Dec 13 2013 - 7:40am

I have an Eastern Electric Minimax DAC that has a USB Type B input. I experimented and used my computer cable to go from a Gateway Laptop to the DAC that is input to a Modwright SWL 9.0SE. I was sending HD Tracks FLAC files playing through the MediaMonkey player. Low and behold, I got music through my system. Since I am quite new to the HiRes world I am curious about what's happening. First off, let's not even discuss the limitations or degradation of the signal due to my use of a cheapo printer cable. I am just experimenting at this point. What I am not sure of is what data is actually flowing through the USB cable? I am pretty sure the Minimax does not take FLAC, so that means it must be getting PCM. But what sample rate and bit depth of PCM is it getting, and how do I determine that? I did find a controllable setting in the Gateway's audio settings for the Audio Manager where I can adjust the default format and have set it to 24bit/192kHz. I think the file I was sending was purchased as a 24/96. Also, if PCM is going out the USB where does the FLAC get converted, MediaMonkey or the internal soundcard and am I missing out on the full potential of HiRes with low quality hardware?

I'd really appreciate some education along these queries. I want to take advantage of the Minimax's capabilities and get more involved with HiRes, but make sure I'm getting the most out of it. My previous experiment involved burning a DVD-A disc using a trial version of Cirlinca's authoring software, but I think there were some minor errors in the transfer as I noticed some slight audio drops. Oddly enough, the drops were not heard on every playback and I was not sure if it was my Oppo-83 having reading issues, or if it was the Minmax, but that would be a new topic to discuss. Suffice it to say, I was not pleased with that method of getting my HiRes files through my system.

Thanks so much for bearing with my first post and offering any info out there.

Demondog's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: Feb 22 2009 - 5:01pm
The software player

The software player (mediamonkey) converts flac files to the proper format when player output is set correctly. From that point the signal needs to exit your laptop without alteration of any sort. The details of computer setup to achieve this vary by OS.

Search on "usb bit perfect" or check the Ayre sight for some good information.

24x48's picture
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: Jul 2 2012 - 2:17am
Genuine 24bits 192khz DAC is the best

Normally your media player (s/w) will uncompress FLAC or any supported format into PCM and apply DSPs such as volume control, equalizer, upsampling/down sampling, etc. before sending audio stream to the driver of your DAC. Data format between the driver and DAC may differ.

To get best sound quality from high definition tracks, you need to get "genuine" 24bits 192khz DAC. "Genuine" means your DAC supports 24bits and (up to) 192khz by hardware. Not by software stream conversions! With genuine DAC and good headphones, you should be able to tell the difference in audio quality between differing sampling bits and frequencies. Especially, 16bits/44.1khz vs 16bits/48khz vs 24bits/48khz vs 24bits/96khz. There are "subtle" differences in audio quality. If you cannot tell, your ears or bad headphones or not genuine DAC might be the cause.

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