Marantz SA-11S3 DAC distortion


Have a Nucleus connected via USB to a HiFiBerry DAC. Been working great. Changed over to the Marantz SA-11S3 SACD - DAC. Seems like any music source above 44.1K when played becomes distorted, somewhat randomly. The HiFiBerry is not available to do A-B tests, so I only have the Marantz.

Been troubleshooting, but having difficulty identifying the common denominator.

Notice the Core believes the Marantz has two virtual USB Audio inputs (because only one USB cable is connected, and both “devices” will play music through.) Can’t find any info about this from …anywhere. Do you know the difference between the inputs?

I am 100% certain that one input has less of a problem with distortion than the other. I am also positive that the distortion does not seem to appear when Device Setup’s Max Sample Rate (PCM) is lowered to “Up to 48kHz” from “Up to 192kHz”

Ive tinkered with buffer sizes and resync delay to no avail.

Any ideas?

Thank you

Generally for a USB DAC to be compatible with Linux such as Nucleus, it has to support driverless operation on Mac OS. Your device requires a driver on Mac, meaning its USB is likely not compatible with Linux (and therefore Nucleus) - since you posted this problem it’s an evidence to support this theory.

Your best way to go forward would to be use a coaxial output, via a network endpoint (from our company or others).

Hi Peter,

Thank you for your reply. Agree with statement.

However, my setup is Nucleus -> Marantz DAC -> Amp. There is no Mac involved.
There is something simple I am missing in troubleshooting.

Somehow this feels like I’m buying a new DAC. Maybe it will be a LUMIN - like the specs and balanced outputs.

I understand your setup does not involve a Mac. The Mac-based explanation for Nucleus is this:

  • Nucleus / Linux requires a USB DAC that is USB Audio Class 2 compliant
  • Any USB Audio Class 2 compliant USB DAC should support driverless operation on Mac
  • A DAC that has a Mac OS driver usually implies it is not USB Audio Class 2 compliant
  • Therefore a USB DAC that has a Mac OS driver will likely not be compatible with Nucleus / Linux

The Marantz SA-11S3 is a USB Audio Class V2.0 device. However, if I was to hook my computer to it - yes, it would require a driver.

If the Marantz DAC is performing fine with the Nucleus, with exception of distortion that seems limited to playback rate > 44.1/48k, do you still believe it is a USB compliance issue?

Hard to say, but after reading a few discussions for it with respect to Linux and Mac, I don’t see a solution to make it Linux compatible.

Lookin’ like I’m in the market for a new DAC.

Or connect to it via spdif using an endpoint as previously suggested.

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