Some of the DACs that get Jussi’s highest recommendations are RME ADI-2 DAC/Pro (AKM chip), Holo Audio Spring/May and T+A’s range.
With those DACs, HQPlayer can do all the DSP to output DSD and the DACs just convert DSD directly to analogue.
If anyone here is looking to try an affordable DSD DAC that just converts DSD direct to analogue (bypassing even modulator), the new iFi range is nice.
Jussi has added a couple to his website (Gryphon and Neo iDSD) and I’ve been measuring Zen DAC Signature V2 and discussing my results with Jussi and the measurements are similar for all those 3. They 3 differ a lot more on features. Performance is mostly similar. And nice !
The Zen DAC Sig V2 is the cheapest of those 3 and only has USB input and both unbalanced and balanced outputs. There’s both variable and fixed outputs - the latter bypasses volume control. Pretty clean measurements all around.
There’s lots of great ESS based DACs of course and even AKM based that don’t allow ‘DSD Direct mode’.
But if you really wanted to try proper DSD to analogue conversion, with HQPlayer literally doing all the DSP, and you didn’t have a budget yet for RME ADI-2 DAC/Pro (AKM) or Holo Audio or T+A DACs, I can easily recommend the Zen DAC Signature V2 as a great starting point.
It’s fixed balanced output on the rear is 4.4mm Pentaconn, so I’m using iFi’s 4.4mm to XLR cable.
Currently feeding Zen DAC Sig V2 with DSD256, gauss-long, ASDM7ECv2 modulator.
And regarding his Fig10 - when I take PCM44.1kHz 19.1kHz tone and upsample to DSD256 and put it through the iFi, the 25kHz image is gone. I’m not saying I could hear an image at 25kHz but moreso just cool to see it disappear
Thanks for the post and reference to Zen Dac Sig. v2
I have just started with HQP from January and I did used Zen Dac v2 and managed in February to upgrade to Sig. Thanks for the measurements. I’m using a Zen Stream in NAA only mode, both powered with iFi powerX (9 and 5v). Fixed volume with balanced to LA4.
That is because the firmware talks about the filter frequencies re DSD64 rates and doesn’t consider how they scale vs the sampling rate. So you can safely ignore what ever frequencies the firmware shows on the display and instead focus on the particular filter they correspond to, that scales as function of sampling rate.
So when the menu says “13 kHz” it actually means “13/26/52/104 kHz”.
Hello @dabassgoesboomboom thanks for your post. I’ve been trying HQP with a Mojo2 which isn’t on the approved list. I wasn’t game to fork out on a RME ADI-2 to try direct DSD so was thinking of a Gryphon, then I saw your post. It encouraged me to get an iFi Zen DAC Signature v2 (and I already have an iFi HFM Zen Signature amp to go with it).
I have tried to get it to play DSD on my Mac Mini but it always insists on playing only PCM. I have tried all combinations I can think of, would you be able to share your settings or help pls?
Thanks for any help.
I am playing Apple Music → Blackhole → HQP → usb → Zen DAC → RCA → Zen amp.
I have macOS midi for iFi DAC set to 32bit 352.8kHz.
All that comes up on the HQP status line is ‘Processing Time: m:ss.sss’
Don’t know where to find the log.
Here is my settings from XML Export, this pretty much worked for my Mojo2 …
@dabassgoesboomboom - no sound with SDM Pack = DoP
I tried all those settings and still nothing.
@jussi_laako - I press the Play button and there is no sign of the usual offload resampler etc message. Just the processing time message. If I press Play repeatedly, then I can just about make out a message saying something like … engine. Requested Sample Rate() requested not available.