Is there any experience with a HQ Player / T&A DAC 8 DSD setup?

Dear Community,

Running the T&A DAC via USB in my set up I asking myself if there is a significant improvement bringing HQ Player in “between Roon und the DAC”. Now you could say give the HQ player a trial but I have not enough horsepower in my current headless micro PC to try the DSD 512 upsampling.

Because the DAC is already doing such an impressive job even without advanced upsampling it would be interesting to hear some experienced community member in that regard in advance to configure an i5 of i7 PC!

Thanks

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It depends on the DAC. If you are using HQP to upsample then it will feed a signal to the DAC (usually DSD) that bypasses many of the inbuilt conversion steps and filters. Those steps are instead, carried out in HQP, generally in fewer steps and using Jussi’s proprietary filters on a more capable computer than in the DAC. This also keeps processing in the DAC to a minimum.

Other SQ benefits come from using an NAA (like the micro-Rendu, or less expensive options) which helps isolate the noisy computer side from the quiet hi-fi side.

Personally after a bit of listening I have gravitated towards upsampling my predominately 44.1 kHz library, Tidal and Internet Radio to DSD 128 using the closed-form filter. I also use the room correction capability in HQP (it convolves files developed in other software like Room EQ Wizard). The closed form filter extends to as many taps as the hardware allows, meaning it runs my i7 dual core BRIX at 70-90% CPU, turning on the fan. So I hang it off an Ethernet cable to the router in another room.

I’m happy with how it sounds, the room EQ in particular flattens out some peaks and dips in the bass. The closed form filter sounds very natural to me and yields a sound-stage like a Chord retaining the detail of my Vega.

Those with more expensive DACs sometimes hear little if any difference.

There are some annoying aspects. Swapping inputs on the DAC so we can watch a film or the TV involves the following rigamarole to avoid HQP losing the NAA and having to physically restart the micro-Rendu:

Stop Roon playing
Close HQP
Shutdown the BRIX
Switch the mR to Roon Ready
Switch DAC to non-USB input
View film/TV etc
Switch DAC to USB input
Switch mR to NAA
Restart BRIX
Play music from Roon.

Some people not using HQP can switch sources with a single click of their programmable remotes (looking at you Rene @RBM).

So it’s all fairly clunky when changing sources, but I must like the sound because I keep doing it.

There was some discussion of your DAC with HQP on CA in this thread.

I have a TA DAC 8 DSD in at my local audio store waiting for me to bring an HQP/ROON mini network setup to test upsampling to DSD512. I"ll let you know how it sounds. The DAC itself sounds very good without DSD upsampling. Good enough I was thinking about it without even doing a trial of the DSD512 upsampling. But, I"m also tempted by the half price Develiat 200 on closeout.

I hopefully will have the T&A dac this week to try with my i7-4790K PC and will definitely upsample to DSD512. In fact this dac is for a friend and I am also building him a sweet i7 based PC which he will use to upsample to DSD512. Reports of this dac at 512 are super positive and I can vouch that DSD512 with my current heavily modified Chinese dac is pretty special and the only way I listen to music now. Based on the way the T&A handles DSD the T&A should be a step above my rig, I can’t wait.

BTW- to really do DSDS512 and to have the best ability to try all the filters available in HQP you need a i7-4790 to i7-6700K processor. Any i7 in this range should handle 512 fine. My favorites being i7-4790K (cheaper to build and great performance) and the i7-6700k (a bit more expensive build but 6th gen and a bit more future proof)

Totally understand that you tell it runs even good without any pre-upsampling. That’s exactly why I not blindly try to implement an additional software/hardware in this already excellent scenario.

I’m looking forward to hear what you experience

My planners so far, if upsampling is really an significant improvement is to have the Dirac room correction as a second step. This means in the end really a need of i7. Can you tell something more about your “sweet” i7 project? What are the success factors for a well powered and silent i7 for this purpose?

In my experience DSD512 is leaps above native streaming, it is no comparison. Not that native sounds bad, it is really good, 512 is another league. I don’t do a lot with customized stuff for the PC, stock items you buy from supply stores. i7-4790 or (k) is a nice start point, gigabyte motherboards with dac-up capability, to lessen noise on the USB output. Fast low latency ram and very good Bronze rated or above PSU. For most quiet operation get a highly rated aftermarket air based CPU cooler, fans on them usually run in the low 20 dB’s. Because of their large size (air based coolers) I am reluctant to ship to my buddy in case the box takes a hard hit the cooler with high center of gravity could move so in this case I will use a water cooler for his build noise level will go into the low to mid 30 dB level. For a home (no shipping) build I go with air coolers.

Noctua has some really nice low profile air coolers which can handle i7s.

such as this one Noctua CPU Cooler [NH-U12S] (which is not low profile but probably one of the top rated air coolers) they also have a 14 but it depends on how much space you have inside the case.