Combining an Ethernet streamer and USB DAC for 2.2 stereo

Hello, @support and others. Using my multichannel USB DAC (a stack of three Musical Fidelity V90 DACs combined together with miniDSP’s UDIO-8 interface), I have generated 4 channel Audiolense convolution filters for my main system, configured as stereo mains and two subwoofers (a 2.2 system), with the crossover set inside of the Audiolense filters. I’ve edited the cfg filters to allow independent channel mapping of each sub separate from the mains using the technique described at Audiolense Convolution Filters in Roon [Resolved - Build 298]. It works fine. However, my preferred DAC for stereo listening is a Bel Canto streamer, which is a two channel DAC, so it alone can not handle the 2.2 configuration.

What I would like to do is to route the stereo mains out through the Bel Canto streamer for best sound quality and the two subs out through the multichannel DAC stack, both using the same Audiolense convolution filters (or maybe the filters will need some further cfg editing).

Is this possible with use of zones, creating one for each DAC and combining them together? Or some other way? I can’t use the UDIO-8 interface to link the multichannel DAC stack to the streamer because the streamer doesn’t accept spdif input (the output format of the UDIO-8 interface).

Latest Roon build is on my Small Green Computer-built CAPSZuma i7 core server running WS2019 and Audiophile Optimizer. The Bel Canto streamer uses ethernet over wifi for signal input and is located physically about two feet from the core server. The multichannel DAC stack is USB connected directly to the core server through the UDIO-8 interface.

Thanks for all thoughts. Cheers. JCR

Nope. Not that I know.

Thanks, @mitr. Begs the followup: how would you accomplish this? JCR

In order to synch multiple DACs, the most reliable way is to link their clocks. However, you are planning to use DACs that employ significantly different communications links and it may simply not be possible.

Understood, @mitr, and thank you. As you’ve noted elsewhere, the UDIO-8 is the Swiss army knife that reclocks all attached DACs. But as you know, it wasn’t designed for Ethernet. The real answer I guess is a multichannel Ethernet streamer, if there is no virtual Ethernet to ASIO bridge. (Or does someone know of such a thing?)

My takeaway is that the ability of today”s DSP software, such as Audiolense XO, to measure and improve sound by driver increasingly requires additional DAC channels, even just to accomplish the very best with
a 2.1 or 2.2 system. Maybe you’ll yet get back a multichannel exclusive column back in Stereophile!

Happy to hear any additional thoughts from all. Cheers. JCR

@mitr, what about possibly using the audio transmitter unit of the below linked spdif to ethernet adapter? Spdif output of UDIO-8 channels 1&2 to the adapter and its Ethernet output into the streamer. One concern is whether the spdif to ethernet conversion trips up MQA, which is built into the Streamer and is one of the reasons I like using it with Roon. An inexpensive test, however, if you think it might work. JCR

There are ethernet multichannel DACs:

  1. exaSound e38 + exaSound Sigma Streamer
  2. Merging Anubis.

As before, it is highly unlikely that sending some channels through this gadget and the others directly will preserve synchrony between them…even if it works. You are on your own to try it.

As for MQA, I have no idea (or interest).

Understood, @mitr. Well, I will give it a try and report back.

By the way, I just upgraded my Marantz AV-7702 to an 8802A. It came with the Audyssey pro kit. I know you liked Audyssey pro at the time of your second review thereof. I was thinking of running it as a comparison against Audiolense XO filters. Worth it, or is it now too old a technology to be of value, in your view? JCR

That toslink over ethernet extender is does not work on ethernet protocol. You can’t use it in an existing network, only for one on one connection. There are many ‘extenders’ (usb, hdmi, rs232 etc) that work that way. They only use cat cable because it is cheap and widely available.

Personally I would sell the bel canto streamer and the musical fidelity dacs and buy a good quality multichannel dac like a Lynx Aurora, Oktoresearch DAC8 or any other. Also look at the PRO brands like RME, Lynx, Metric Halo, Motu etc. Many of them will probably sound a lot better then the bel canto as well. Mixing a usb dac with an ethernet dac is asking for trouble, it can work but you’ll end up with an overly complicated system with unstable timing due to difference in latency, buffering, drift. If you can’t sync the buffers I certainly wouldn’t go this route.

@Nyquist, thanks for the info on the extender. Well, that certainly won’t work if it doesn’t actually convert the signal to true ethernet!

I do have an Okto DAC8 on order, as it happens. And my Roon core server has a Lynx AES16e soundcard that I assume I can do something with.

But, of all of these, only the Bel Canto streamer will do full MQA unfold through TIDAL on Roon and that is still important to me. Hence, the continuing quest to integrate the streamer best in my listening room with my two subs. Thanks. JCR

It is worth it only for sources that you cannot apply to AudioLense or other more modern EQ.

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