HAL's MS-3 Music Server and dspMusik 6x8 DSP crossover and HiRez DAC's

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HAL

Finally getting to install the dspMusik board into a smoked plexiglass chassis I had built many years ago. 

This one will be called the Hollis Audio Labs Monolith DSP Crossover once it is completed.  Will have linear power supplies and XLR connections for I/O.  This is a one of a kind as the upgrades are just for demos. 

Still needs some buffing, but it is nice and glossy!  :)




HAL

Danny and Gary are now listening to the MS-2 and dspMusik on Danny's system.

Will be interesting to get their feedback. 


HAL

Have the Monolith DSP Crossover with the linear power supplies running.   

This might be a possible upgrade path for the dspMusik owners after refinement as it can be used with the original system after switching supply removal.

More listening trials coming up.

HAL

woodsyi has the Dayton Audio UMM-6 USB calibrated mic and will be giving room measurements with the MS-3 and dspMusik a try once he has time. 

dpd

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 14
The second HAL MS-3 and dspMusik digital crossover install is completed and running.

This is being used with a pair of GR-Research N2X and DIY subs. Being used with the S/PDIF connection, USB2 and A/D connections to a ProTools PC for mixing and monitoring recordings along with music replay in a home studio. 

The turntable setup is being run through the 24bit/192KHz A/D converter. 

The demo also includes comparison to his existing Music Server as a possible replacement.

The person demoing the unit also does recording and mixing and uses this system as a home studio and for listening purposes. 

Looking forward to dpd's and woodsyi's feedback.

Sorry I'm late to the party.  Other than HAL and Tom_S, I don't think anyone here knows me...  so I figure I better post some details about my system.  Here's a current pic:



Digital System:
CD player via SPDIF to dspMusik
Homebrew music server via SPDIF to dspMusik
Avid ProTools 10 / Mbox via SPDIF to dspMusik
MS-3 demo via USB to dspMusik

Analog System
VPI HW-19 MkII/ET II via AR SP-9 MkII via unbalanced to dspMusik

Speakers
N2X's driven by dual mono nCore 400's fed balanced from dspMusik
KEF B139 Transmission Line subs driven by generic Crown amp fed balanced from dspMusik

Room Treatments
Auralex SpaceCouplers mounted at 1st reflection points on sidewalls
Auralex SpaceCouplers backed by 1 inch fiberglass at 1st reflection point on ceiling (protects a diffracting ceiling beam)
Auralex SpaceArrys on wall behind speakers (long story, they should be on the opposite wall)
GIK bass traps in all 4 corners
Auralex LENRDs on floor in all 4 corners

I'll post comments separately

HAL

dpd,
Good to see you! 

Looking forward to your comments.

Best,
Rich

dpd

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 14
Onto the (very long) comments:

I replaced a fully-modified Behringer DCS2496 (every mod available) with the dspMusik.  I've had the DCX in my system for about a year and was pretty happy with it:  fully configurable both as a crossover and to enable some room correction.  The settings: a 4th order LR at 86 Hz with a PEQ in the subs to fix a narrow band resonance and a PEQ in the mains to fix a broadband mid-bass/lower-mid resonance.  Those modes were based on very simple averaged noise measurements I made with an NTI Acoustilizer meter.

Before I put the subs back in the system, I drove my digital sources through a Benchmark DAC-1.  A reasonably-priced, awesome sounding device, in my opinion.  If I only had a multiple-channel version of one of those to put behind a purely digital in/digital out crossover, that would be it.  (Actually, it was at a dinner with Rich when I told him this, he looked up, gave me one of those 'Rich looks' and told me 'already got it, just wait a bit'  The wait has been worth it, big time!)

Rich cloned my DCX settings exactly, but cut out all of the unused Behringer processing blocks.  I got both units installed and loaded up the dspMusik.  Rich talked me through everything.  No problems, easy...   :thumb:

Since nearly all my listening comes from SPDIF sources, I started there.  No USB or analog connected.  1st time I ran up the volume I noticed a very significant amount of hiss from my music server (not there with the DCX).  So, I tried the CD and ProTools and the hiss was either gone or dramatically reduced.  I have pretty long SPDIF cables (all Apogee Wyde-Eye) so Rich and I guessed it could be cable length.  I bypassed my SPDIF selector switch and that seemed to help.

(My music server runs JRiver MC20 and all my FLAC files are 44.1/16)   I just started out with a playlist I use when I make system changes.  What I heard in a nutshell:  an improved ability to follow reverb tails, great control over dynamics, complex waveforms don't seem to bother this, great headroom.  The bass seems better but I thought it was too low overall.

And that's when I made my 1st mistake:  I decided to adjust the bass volume in real time using AudioWeaver.  I didn't realize the adjustment range on these controls defaulted to +/-100 dB!  I tried to type in a 1 dB increase but I didn't get that quite right and increased the volume by some number that probably can't be typed without the use of logarithms.  To make matters worse, I was tweaking the Left Main, not the Left Sub.  That's when I thought I destroyed one N2X.  After I calmed down, I went back and adjusted all volume sliders for a -10 to 0 dB range.  whew....

Moral of the story - if you want to tweak things, DON'T DO IT IN REAL TIME WITH LIVE SIGNALS.

I also listened to some of my (amateur) recordings: solo classical piano, straight jazz, fusion, simple acoustic stuff, Motown/R&B.  Everything just sounded better as noted above.

So, I'm pretty much happy, no?  And then Rich unleashes the Apodizing DAC filters on me... OMG!!!

A new dsp load and the sonics are just more of what I heard to start.  Reverb tails/delays - one of the hallmarks of the nCore's - I'm now able to actually detect the onset of a delay and hear the repeats in the recordings.  They tails just extended even more - you can follow them well after the next transient comes in.  Bass - solidified on the extreme low end.  It's the same sense as when you move a low frequency corner down another octave.  Impressive!  Percussion:  the edges are just so well etched in time it's uncanny.  Imaging is still there.

Sunday was on to the analog input.  I don't sense the A/D getting in the way, at all.  Been cycling through a lot of different recordings and I don't sense any significant loss but I haven't yet played the SP-9 output directly into the nCores (I'd lose the bass that way).

An astute reviewer would swap back and forth.  Unfortunately (fortunately?) I see no reason to go back.  I'm sold - the dspMusik is hands-down the better device.  there are user-interface things that need to be addressed, but the sonics so far out-weigh the convenience of the alternative, it's not that big of an issue.

Conclusion - the dspMusik is a major league audio device that still has room to grow.   Likely not much sonically, but certainly from an end-user perspective.  Given that I have the same amount of $$$ invested in this as I have in the fully-modded DCX, that's a clear win in the value camp.

Sorry for the long-winded post....

dpd

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 14
dpd,
Good to see you! 

Looking forward to your comments.

Best,
Rich

Forgot one thing - Thanks, Rich for the opportunity to be a guinea pig!

HAL

dpd,
You are most welcome!  You are on the permanent guinea pig list! :)


HAL

Feedback from Pez has arrived.  Very good observations.

The system is with Tyson now.  Looking forward to his trials.

HAL

Just received an iFi iUSB Power today to try with the MS-3 Music Server for the dspMusik.

May be useful for other DAC's as well.  Will see what happens in the listening trials.

HAL

Tyson has the MS-3 and dspMusik system setup and running with his modified GR-Research V2 speaker system.

Looking forward to his comments.


PLMONROE

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 643
Rick, will we be able to see any of your products at Newport in May?

Of the three dozen or so VMPS RM-V60's out there,I have what is arguably one of only one or two of the signature editions Brian produced. I I am intrigued with your dspMusik as a possible replacement for the Behringer.

Please email me details on it and your server.
pmonroe1@cox.net

HAL

Email sent. 

HAL

The MS-3 and dspMusik in CO will make another CO stop before MI.

jtwrace

Just received an iFi iUSB Power today to try with the MS-3 Music Server for the dspMusik.

May be useful for other DAC's as well.  Will see what happens in the listening trials.
You might want to look into the upcoming UpTone Regen designed by John Swenson.  Bit more expensive but I think it's going to be killer. 

HAL

Will take a look at it soon.

HAL

Jason,
Very interesting.  Will have to try comparing it to the iFi IUSB power to see if there is any gain in performance.  The iFi unit arrived and getting ready for some listening.

A new MS-3 is ready to ship tomorrow to it's new owner Ernie. 

The modular line array speaker driver test samples arrive today or tomorrow.  These are all planar magnetic drivers for the OB line array to go with the scalable servo sub array Ruben has built flat packs for and shipped.  The Class AB amp test modules are built to use with each driver.  They are being tested with the OB desktop speaker system.  Using a few different amp modules to see which has the sound qualities I like with the drivers.

Leaving next Tuesday for Texas to try some of these ideas at GR-Research with the MS-2 and dspMusik already in place.


HAL

Materials loaded for the OB line array baffle to be built and finished by a local woodworker. 

The MS-3 shipped to it's new owner.  Should be there this week.

Waiting to hear about the two modular 6x12" flat packs shipping info from Ruben.


HAL

Had a long conversation with the woodworker and he is building the OB line array prototypes.  These will be modular as well as the servo woofer arrays.  Now the waiting begins.

The MS-3 and dspMusik system in CO is waiting for pickup for the demo.