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Gieseler Audio, May 24, 2016 in Gieseler Audio
Well I’ve been running this for a couple of days now & it's rock solid - not one glitch or pop.
I’m controlling it with iPeng 9 running on a thirteen inch iPad Pro & have to say it is a lovely interface.
iPeng have just done another update which includes Roon playback support.
My streamer/DAC is running (balanced or RCA options) directly into power amp & has plenty of drive level.
The AK4495 analogue section is runing on 7v so max output is up a bit at around 3v rms.
Softwareware volume control in iPeng - very solid & reliable.
Music sources I’ve been using;
USB stick with hi Rez music files
Streaming radio - I’m amazed just how good this sounds too.
Artwork support is excellent & not one album cover missing in any of my music sources.
I’m getting very excited about this now as you may have noticed.
After two beers last night & looking across at my Hi-Fi rack I’m thinking - this little box can replace my Konverter + Auralic Aries combo & is about a quarter the cost. Sound quality is obviously down a bit but still extremely good.
I will probably do two versions of it.
An entry level one similar to photo above & a ultra version more like the Groß DAC.
Now there is just one limitation in that the Kali reclocker I use (& need) does not support DSD.
There are more complex & expensive reclockers out there that support DSD but I will need to do more R & D to see if any are suitable.
I have been waiting for youto bring out a product like this. I am not in the market for a dac at the moment, but am experimenting with the Pi and digione. It is not that hard to try different things, but is also not that easy.
I think there is a market for a product between the top of the range separates and the diy stuff for pi based products. If you could supply something that just works I think you will be on to another winner.
Morning Clay, is this something that could be retrofitted into the Konverter?
Possibly - I will look into it.
On 10/31/2017 at 12:39 PM, Gieseler Audio said:
I better get back to Groß DAC production for now or I will have unhappy customers.
I better get back to Groß DAC production for now or I will have unhappy customers.
Apologies to all waiting for Clay to hurry up, but this post will distract him again!
I certainly like the idea of simplifying the chain. Taking from the music source using the Pi server and feeding via I2S to a DAC eliminates the usb chain, a source of jitter that has been the focus of much R&D ie better usb cables, usb regen etc. A Klein π DAC will provide an incredibly cost effective way for somewhere to enter the DAC world and get very good audio quality, all in 1 unit, no need to buy anything extra like cables, player etc.
Would a Groß π DAC have the same attractions? People in this category looking for a high end DAC will likely have a network player, expensive usb cables, usb regen devices, PSUs etc. The audio quality must be compelling before they get rid of those expensive components. And should they upgrade in the future to a standard DAC, will then need to re-purchase them. People in this category also like to pick and choose and upgrade individual components. A Groß π will take away that "fun" part of the hobby/obsession!
Would I upgrade to Groß π ? I have a SMS-200, ISO Regen and PSUs which are producing superb audio with the Groß DAC. If the audio from the Groß π is as good, if not better, then most likely will upgrade.
p/s Clay, am expecting royalty payments if you like Klein π and Groß π !!!
I'm sure there is going to be a Gieseler DAC from Clay at some point in the not so distant future for delivering up music using Roon on my main music listening system. I've been told Clay has something new in the works and I'm waiting to learn what it is before making a decision.
In the meantime I've got two RaspberryPi based DAC solutions on their way to me for other sound systems I have.
The first is a Raspberry Pi 3B with HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro, in a steel case, with a 16 GB memory card. It will run RoPieee OS to create a RoonBridge. I'm going to mod it by taking the power straight to the HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro. I'll probably be asking Clay to make me a linear power supply for it.
The second seems to be a solution that might not be too far removed from what Clay has been proposing here in this thread. It's an Audiophonics RaspTouch I-Sabre ES9028Q2M KALI. That's a Raspberry Pi 3B with Audiophonics I-Sabre ES9028Q2M DAC, Allo Kali Reclocker I2S FIFO, 7" OLED Touch Screen, Volume control, Steel case, and 16 GB memory card. Again I hope to run RoPieee OS to create a RoonBridge. Again, I'll probably be asking Clay to make me a linear power supply for it.
I'd love to see Clay turn what he's been discussing here into his take on this style of unit. I'm sure it would be a world-wide success. There could be two models. One with the touch screen, and one without.
Best regards, Lloyd Borrett.
EDIT: Audiophonics contacted me today to say the unit isn't available because a supplier has told them a component will not be available for an indefinite period. Now I have to come up with an alternative solution.
I'm also looking (for a friend) for a ethernet based streamer/dac combo that's a ROON endpoint for under $1500.....is this possible Clay with this new product?
If so....I think you could sell hundreds of them as from what I can see, the pricing for "one box solutions" are out of reach for most as the cheapest I've found (not looking for too long) is the Aurelic ALTAIR & that's close to $3k.
I think people are sick of having to buy renderer + reclocker + LPSU for both & then a DAC....a high SQ on box solution in normal $$ would be a winner! I think having to buy all these multiple box's to better or at least equal CD SQ is off putting for the non-computer audiophile.
Clay is well aware of all of this and has done some work on it - I will let him talk about its state. Bear in mind this is cutting edge stuff and if it was easy to do tons would be doing it - it likely isnt - but Clay is the best person to talk abouyt that.
The other issue is MQA is hot right now. You may not be into it, but many are and getting that working in any future products will likely be very non-trivial. After all look at Roon - they have been promising MQA decoding for I do not know how long - but it never seems to happen. Audirvana does, and will stream to an endpoint, but it, at the moment is Mac only. They are promising a Windows version, but heaven knows actually when (its was targeted end of January - that's well and truly passed - maybe this year sometime - but IMHO likely will be well into 2019 before release - yes I am pessimistic about these things - but its from long experience). It's probably like Roon - everyone wants it but it will happen when it happens.
What got me about Roon is they said it will be in version 3 - it was all over the internet - MQA coming to Roon in version 3. They did nothing to clarify. Version 3 released - no MQA. Me and tons of others complained - their response - we didn't say which release of version 3 it would be in - and instead touted all the great features their new version 3 had. Deceptive marketing comes to mind here - but from their point of view - who cares - if people buy their product then that's just fine by them. BTW having dealt with the company after buying Roon just before version 3 was released, they did cheerfully refund my money and offered a free trial again once its released.
IMHO, while everyone, including me, wants this, whats required to do it properly is not quite there right now - maybe in a year or two.
I was delighted with the sound quality & simple “one box” solution of my DAC/Pi combo but it does have a few limitations.
1. No DSD - the Kali reclocker will not pass DSD unfortunately & I would need to go to a much more complex hardware setup to achieve that.
2. No ability to play Tidal Master/MQA tracks at > 96k rez. This gets quite complex as Bill has pointed out.
In comparison both my Auralic streamers ( mini & big Aries) will play DSD all the way up to DSD512 native & also Tidal MQA up to 192k. This is all controlled with a lovely slick app called Lightning DS.
It is a fairly simple setup too. Aries > DAC > Poweramp. The Aries USB out is very good & I actually found putting isolatorers/reclockers between it & my Gross DAC made the sound worse. The Amanero USB in on the Gross is powered by ultra low noise regulators so this helps as well.
Unfortunately the Auralic Aries are discontinued now & the new models are much more expensive.
However I haven’t totally abandoned the DAC/streamer combo concept as product & when I get time will definately have another look at it.
If it goes ahead, I would rather see the effort go to the DAC/Pi combo rather than get distracted by MQA/Roon. Clay, your talent is putting together hardware with firmware tweaks to make superb sounding products. But MQA and Roon are both software, and unless it is "plug & play" (and I doubt it), software development will be required.
Thanks Clay....I appreciate the time taken to highlight the current limitations as I agree that if you were to produce something like this, it would need DSD, MQA & possibly act as a Roon endpoint. It’s clearly not as simple as just bolting together all these parts into a single box.I’m interested in your comments about the Aries as I did think this was an option for my mate as he does have a REGA DAC (albeit a few years old) so maybe a 2nd hand Aries would do the trick?CheersMatt
thanks for the input & yes Snoopy you are spot on - my expertise’s are hardware with some basic firmware control.
I’m certainly in no position to do the required software development needed for those other features.
In light of that I think it is best to purchase separately the front end streaming device that ticks all your boxes & connect it to a good DAC - like my Gross haha
Matt - yes a second hand Aries is a great idea. The Lightning DS app now has a Spotify option as well which is a big bonus.
A recent Gross DAC buyer just went through all this & ended up with a s/h full Aries & is absolutely delighted with the resulting combination. He is a SNA member so maybe he may comment.
Allo usb bridge might be a good candidate? https://www.allo.com/sparky-eu/usbridge.html
So I've just setup two Audiophonics RaspTouch I-Sabre ES9028Q2M network and DAC drives with volume / source controllers and touch displays. See https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/rasptouch/rasptouch-i-sabre-es9028-streamer-touch-with-volume-control-p-12181.html
They use a Raspberry Pi 3B with Audiophonics I-Sabre ES9028Q2M DAC, 7" OLED Touch Screen, Volume control, Steel case, and 8 GB memory card running RoPieee OS to create a RoonBridge.
If Clay ever produces an audiophile quality unit with this sort of functionality, I'd love one for my main listening system. The extra functionality and guest friendliness of the touch screen and display is awesome.
In the meantime, I'll wait and see what Clay has in the works for his next product before deciding what to put on my main listening system.
hey the Audiophonics RaspTouch unit looks very nice - how do they sound?
It looks like an excellent concept that they have put together too.
I particually like the way they extended the Pi’s micro SD port to a external rear socket.
Now I wonder where I can find one of those leads?
Hopefully in the not too distant future I can incorporate a Pi style renderer into my Gross DAC.
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