Stuttering at 192Khz 24bit with poly-sinc-gauss-xla filter

@jussi_laako A few questions…

I use the following equipment:

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In Roon:

With the following HQPlayer settings:

I still use a hapi MKI Merging DAC.
I read that recently you no longer had yours (perhaps it was the MKII)…
I find it difficult to resist the arms race that everyone is engaged in, whether for DACs or computer hardware, but perhaps I have now become a little too old for that.

I just have one small constraint, it seems unreasonable to replace my computer hardware every two years (in 2022, at Intel the Intel Core i9 12900K was the most powerful processor) to be able to listen to music in all cases figures with HQPlayer and I don’t want that.
A solution would be to no longer use HQPlayer and use Roon’s “Sample rate conversion”, but as after version 4.xx I finally (and for reasons that you know and which we discussed by email privately) come to buy version 5.xx of HQPlayer again, that would be a shame.
A loyal customer therefore…

I want to use the poly-sinc-gauss-xla filter and not the poly-sinc-gauss-long filter which works with my configuration without stuttering at 192Khz 24bit. What would be the solutions?

Note that the poly-sinc-gauss-xla filter works with my installation without stuttering up to 96Khz 24bit. Could you give us a technical explanation for this?

In general with my equipment, are there other HQPlayer settings to consider to optimize things and listening?

Thank you in advance for your answers.

Your cpu seems to have 8 Performance cores and 8 Efficiency cores, try setting ecores to filter and try to set Nx filter to poly-sinc-gauss-hires-lp

How is the cpu cooled? Maybe you have some temperature issues.
FYI I use a Noctua NH-D12L on my i7 14700 cpu and it is very effective and totally silent

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Thank you for your reply.

As I reported in my previous post with the other filters I tried there is no stuttering, and poly-sinc-gauss-hires-lp is one of them.

I just want to listen with poly-sinc-gauss-xla.

I’ll try to set ecores to filter, but just now I don’t know how to do it…
As I use HQPlayer Desktop with Windows 11 Pro, I don’t know if this is possible :thinking:

I use a Noctua NH-D15 :smile: and so I don’t think there is any temperature problem.

In HQPlayer settings, Advanced tab → e-core allocation

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Yes, sorry, I tried this option too… and it don’t works.

… anyway the poly-sinc-gauss-xla is a (very) long filter
“ Apodizing extra long Gaussian polyphase sinc filter “
and afaik long filters should be used as 1x filters

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However, it is a filter choice that suits me with classical music.
I could be wrong…

I had the first generation one…

As @Stefano_Antonelli said, you could try setting E-cores to “filter”, and also try setting it to “pool”.

You could also try setting “Blocks per cycle” to 4 or 8 and see if it makes any difference. Especially in combination with above.

In your current setup, your GPU is the weakest point (perfectly fine for HQPlayer display output though). CPU is fine for a lot, but if you could consider more powerful GPU it could become helpful for offloading.

With 192k input, the first stage filter works up to 2x higher rate, so it is 2x heavier for 192k case than for 96k case.

@jussi_laako I replied in a previous message to @Stefano_Antonelli that I had tried the different e-cores settings without success, however I had not tried what you recommend, the “Blocks per cycle” settings.
I have just tried all the e-cores and “Blocks per cycle” (to 4 or 8) combinations but the stuttering do not disappear.

As you must have seen in my settings, I do not use the CUDA offload option given the very poor performance for HQPlayer of my GTX 1660 graphics card.
Of course, the purchase of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card should solve all the stuttering issues but the current price is unreasonable in my opinion just for this.

As you were using exactly the same hapi Merging DAC as me, out of curiosity, what settings did you use for PCM and SDM?
I mainly listen to jazz, classical and world music. Sorry, no hard rock… :laughing:

Finally, who has to gain from using a DAC

  1. which allows you to use upsampling to 512 or 1024 DSD
  2. which is “direct DSD” therefore without using an ESS chip

in our listening to music?

Sorry for this trivial question since I have no means of comparison at home and I only use the Merging hapi DAC (DSD256) whose AES67 and Ravenna connectivity I also appreciate.

I hope I haven’t asked too many questions… :thinking: and especially the right ones. :blush:

I thank you in any case for all the technical elements that you can share as well as the aficionados like @dabassgoesboomboom, @IgorSki, @bogi, etc…

I don’t think you need to go that far to the other extreme. There are many solutions somewhere in between.

By the way, your selection of sinc-MGa for 1x rates will make things fail for 48k source content.

This combination of having to go from 192k to 44.1k x256 with the xla is rather heavy.

I used default filters for both. But I didn’t use it much with PCM. I used ASDM5ECv2 at DSD256. If you want to optimize SNR, you can use DSD128 instead.

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What solutions would seem to you to be the most appropriate?

Yes, I know this and only use it when reading a 44.1kHz 16bit music file and for some type of music.

I can’t imagine from 192k to 44.1k x512 or 44.1k x1024…

@Stephane - what is your BIOS settings?

Memory configuration looks a bit weak. If I understand correctly you have 2x16 DDR5-5200? But your system takes only half speed.

Do you have XMP enabled in BIOS?

PS: i’ve checked in swiss retailers, this is the lowest what I can find today for RTX4090, looks reasonable. Other few choices are around 1600CHF which are still reasonable IMHO. RTX4090 has been getting more and more expensive over last year, at least here.

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No overclocking :smile:

Yes, Corsair Vengeance 2x16 DDR5-5200. :+1:

The effective frequency corresponds to 5200 MT/s since DDR5 is a Dual Rate memory (double data rate) that’s why you have Frequency 2166, 2400, 2400, 2600 MHz.

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I’m not an overclocking person so the XMP function may be disabled, but I will check and try with the option XMP enabled and see if this way I can get rid of this stuttering…
Anyway, the maximum frequency should be 2600, 2600, 2600, 2600 MHz but it’ll be for sure better figures.
I hope my PC doesn’t catch fire. :wink:

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer and try to solve my little problem.

It is sure that a GeForce RTX 4090 would solve things but this stuttering only concerns rare cases in my use.
Fortunately, Merging hapi does not go beyond DSD256. :laughing:

But perhaps, if you would like, you could answer the following question that I asked @jussi_laako and who obviously does not wish to answer.

Normally for the “basic” set up I would:

  • Load BIOS defaults and restart
  • Enable XMP and restart
  • Optional. For Linux check and desable secure boot
  • Optional. Check and desable unnecessary onboard devices
  • Optional. If using “WOL” (Wake on Lan) - enable necessary for the network adapter.
  • Optional. Jussy also adds tweak for the cooler to make the box quiter, depends on the BIOS

This normally gives a rather stable set-up. 12900K is a nice CPU and has some further room for moderate overclocking for HQP without going crazy if one desire.

In SDM@256 domain it surely will cover all possible needs imaginable. I’ve only wanted to show the 4090 available prices. However it is still higher than the cost of the whole 12900K PC alone, which is possible to easily configure at around CHF 1100. And the highest 4090 I can see is at around CHF 2400 that’s high…

@Stephane, apologies, but I don’t understand the question. May be you can rephrase ? Do you mean - what is the benefit of “direct DSD” 512 / 1024 DAC? Or - what people really get from using “direct DSD” 512 / 1024 DAC?

I enabled xmd this morning and haven’t noticed any improvement in HQPlayer when listening to 192Mhz 24bit files with the poly-sync-gauss-xla filter. The stuttering remains.

The solution would certainly be to have a more powerful graphics card like the RTX 4090.

Beyond the price, for me the question is whether it is essential or not. In this case, the answer is no.

@IgorSki Sorry that my question wasn’t worded clearly.
However, the things I want to say are still simpler than wanting to try to fully translate the meaning of “Y’a pas le feu au lac”. :wink:

My question expressed differently is this:

I am using a DAC today that does not allow me to go beyond DSD256.
If I used a DAC that allows DSD512 and DSD1024 could there be an audible improvement in the sound reproduction of the music?
Or again, what is the point of going further in the possibility of upsampling and why not up to DSD2048 or more?

Same type of question for the chip used, today I use a DAC with an ESS chip which is not “direct DSD”.
Could there also be an audible improvement by using a “direct DSD” DAC?

And yes, as you phrased it, what is the benefit of it.
That said, from the point of view of the engineer and the scientist, even if all this is quite far from rocket science, I understand the interest.

I’m simply asking these questions because I don’t want to try all types of DAC and I see enthusiasts on our Roon forum who have this approach whose opinion I would like to know.

Thanks again.

Yes, it may as well be a limit. I had 12900K - No GPU system a while ago, and now I can not say for certain how gauss-xla behaved with 192/24 sources. Another relatively easy and non-distructive experiment is to try HQPlayer OS. But this leads me to the question - where do you have your Roon core installed ?

All would depend on particular DAC implementation. And I would guess on the way one listens, i.e. speakers vs headphones. I can only speak of my very subjective personal experience. Main listening is floorstanding speakers.

So, for example, I have played around with Audio GD D-77, this one is build on ES9038Pro and can do up to DSD512 (after certain dances around the fire). First impression in my system was awesome but this lasted couple of days no more. Impressoin was triggered by specific “warm” sound signature, but frankly I could not see any significant change between DSD128/256/512, and same in PCM mode - it sounded really the same no matter what internal or external filter combination. Plus it was giving listening fatigue rather quickly. I have returned this one, it also had some other problems.

Topping D50s DAC based on ES9038Q2M and can do up to DSD512 behaved quite differently compared to the above. Albeit not “directDSD” it was receptive to HQPlayer filters and modulators and DSD512 was not bad. I liked it, frankly.

HoloAudio MAY and Spring 3 stand out. Here I can speak of what I can feel if stepping up from 128 to 256 to 512 to 1024 on them with the same filter / modulator setting - my impression is that soundstage is getting larger and channel separation getting even more defined. But I did not “blind test” and I must say that @256 or @512 on these two sound awesome, equally as well as PCM@1.4/1.5M, however after some long time on this devices you may see that there are sonic differences in PCM vs DSD with the same filter. On these DAC’s HQPlayer also gives impressively realistic timbre reproduction.

In short - well made “direct DSD” DAC is not standing with it’s own sound in the way of HQPlayers’ math. How one can hear it or not is another question.


I’m not sure non-integer upsampling rates have been covered yet, but just in case. Going from 192kHz to 44.1kx256 is a non-integer rate, is it not? I recall that when I started using HQPlayer, I had a configuration that forced 44.1kx256, and that caused stutters on my i9-11900-based server. Fortunately, my DAC (Holo May) allows me to use both 44.1k-based and 48k-based rates, and HQPlayer takes advantage of that to always use integer-rate upsampling. No stutter since.


Good poit. Although x48 possibilities are sometimes not documented, i.e. sometimes it comes as pleasant unexpected bonus.

My roon core is installed on a Desktop PC Windows 11 Pro as well as HQPlayer 5 Desktop. I use HQplayer inside Roon.
My PC is connected directly to the Merging hapi by an RJ45 ethernet cable which uses the Ravenna portocole. This system avoids possible disappointments with the use of USB cable and no constraints on cable length.
My approach has always been to try to have the simplest hi-fi system as possible. So no separate preamplifier and amplifier but an integrated amplifier. No use of tubes, just an exception for my phono preamp.

What you report is very informative and leads me to believe that some DACs are more discriminating than others with the use of HQPlayer.
The fact that Jussi very recently offered a DAC correction support for a limited list of DACs converges with what you are saying. The effectiveness of HQPlayer should be more evident probably with Holo Audio Spring 2, 3, May, Cyan 2, T+A DAC 200, etc…
Another indication is that Jussi had a Merging hapi for some time but did not keep it.
Without being able to make a comparison with other DACs, I find the restitution of the sound timbres of my 8 years old Merging hapi really very realistic and without listening fatigue. Using HQPlayer with your DAC I think improves things much more than with mine.
As you know, Merging Technologies, even if it’s now part of Sennheiser group, is of Swiss origin. If you get the chance, try listening to one sometime.
And tell me ! :smile:

In my case, no stuttering going from 96Khz (192Khz/2) to 44.1kx256…???