DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core

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JLM

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DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« on: 3 Jan 2016, 02:58 am »
Otherwise known as DSPeaker.  I know this piece was originally introduced in 2012, but I just got one and no one has reviewed it here on AC.   


The DSPeaker is a compact combination DAC/preamp/DSP that retails for $1,200 USD.  It has a small screen, USB input, optical input/output, RCA or XLR analog input, and both RCA/XLR outputs.  It has been well reviewed, primarily only as a DSP, although the DAC/preamp functions are well respected.  My previous DAC/preamp was an Emotiva DC-1 that offered additional digital inputs in a slightly larger cabinet, currently available for $400 USD.  The rest of my system today would retail for about $5,000 (see my system here at AC) so I felt that it was being under served.

I came from a Behringer DEQ2496, so DSP setup ("calibration") was super easy, even going immediately to the advanced settings.  I also engaged the infrasonic filter and boosted the bass compensation.  At the beginning of calibration it displays the room response (in my case there was a nice bass roll off and a couple of bumps, but no dips).  At the end it displays the before and after results.  Compensation is normally needed to offset the loss of "bass bumps".  I purposely have not explored the other features that could "create more problems than solutions".


First off, here are some warnings:

1.)  The USB input is type mini B, squeezed between the optical and power inputs.  Currently trying to find type B female to mini B male adapters and USB cables with mini B male connector (without success).  The only adapter I've found is really cheap - $1.22 from Monoprice.  The DSPeaker does come with a really tiny 1.8m USB type A male - mini B male cable.  The only reference to this mini B input is an overall picture (of of the overall back of the unit on the DSPeaker site.  No one online has mentioned it previously.

2.)  The remote is really cheap.  Credit card size with "bubble buttons".  And it's the only means of control. 

3.)  The power supply is a wall wart (reportedly better than you might imagine and other options are available).


Give me a couple of weeks to allow for break in and I'll get back with sonic impressions...

JLM

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #1 on: 12 Jan 2016, 10:59 pm »
Here’s the follow-up I promised…


First, to address my gripes:

I’ll start with one I didn’t mention previously because I listen exclusively to ALAC or streamed sources:  due to the limited capacity of the custom chip used, USB is limited to 24/44 (but does “6.144 MHz oversampling dual per channel”).

I did find a $1.99 Monoprice type B female to mini B male adaptor that fits (barely) between the optical and power inputs and which works just fine.  (Whew)

Secondly some folks have been able to program a universal remote to replace the cheap remote.  I’m getting used to it (volume adjusts easier than Emotiva DC-1), but do plan on having a back up as there is no other way of controlling the unit.

Reportedly a linear power supply will help the sonics, but haven’t tried one (yet).


Background:

I listen near-field in my well insulated 8ft x 13ft x 21ft study (front dedicated to audio).  Speakers are Bob Brines M18-F200, floor-standing transmission lines using a Fostex F200A full range driver (F3=30 Hz) that have been “EnABL’d” and are supplemented with an ambience tweeter (James Romeyn’s Late Ceiling Splash).  Amplification via Channel Island Audio D-100 (modded Hypex class D).

I generally do serious listening at 80 – 90 dB, mostly to a variety of jazz with baroque and 50’s pop from two digital sources: iMac via 35ft optical from my desk in the back of the room; and MacBook Air via 10ft USB from my listening chair.  Been into stereo/audio for 40 some years (my main past-time in life) but am a cheap bastard.  Previous DAC’s include Ack! DAC, Vinnie Rossi’s first (battery powered) DAC, modded Behringer DEQ2496, and Emotiva DC-1.  Previous preamps included Channel Island passive, stepped attenuators, Jaton RC2000S, Prima Luna Dialogue Premium (Integrated), and Emotiva DC-1.


Regarding the sonics:.

The DSPeaker is a large improvement over all the above DAC’s and preamps.  USB and optical inputs needed separate break-in (about 100 hours each).  The following comments are of course recording dependent.

More detail provided throughout (mouth/lip sounds, finger snaps, various instruments are easily identified).  The music sounds fatter, juicier with more body.  The soundstage has gained depth.  The reverb from the original setting can be heard.  Bass is tighter, horns no longer harsh but still have “bite”, and seemingly more high frequency emphasis (female sssssh sound), this could be fixed with a better power supply according to some (or adjusting capacitor value on my ambience tweeters).  The difference between my sources and various streaming sources is more obvious now.


Conclusion:

The DSPeaker is a real keeper in terms of sonics for the price.  Small size and all-in-one form (if that’s what you’re after) can be another plus.  But USB being limited to 24/44, the tight rear panel layout requiring use of mini B USB input, the choice of the cheapest possible remote, and poor power supply makes it hard to give a universal endorsement.

jseipp

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #2 on: 13 Jan 2016, 12:28 am »
I have been using an Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core for over a year now, and agree that it packs a lot of high-quality functionality into one box.  Here are a couple of my experiences, hopefully of help to you:

First, adding a linear power supply, a simple Astron unit, noticeably improved the sound, especially the dynamics.  I recommend you experiment.

Second, my remote actually stopped working and, after contacting the company in Finland, they immediately sent two new ones as replacements.  I haven't had any trouble with one since, but I wanted to comment on the great customer service extended toward me.

I hope you work out all your issues and are able to make the unit a comfortable part of your system.  I have been more than pleased with what it has done in mine.

John 

rodge827

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #3 on: 13 Jan 2016, 11:41 am »
JLM,
I have had a Dual Core since the summer of 2012 and agree with you about its performance. The Dual Core is a very powerful piece of gear that IMHO punches way above its price point! I use mine as a Dac, Preamp, and for Room corrections with an IFi iTube at output and a Paul Hynes linear supply.

I would like a Coaxial digital input. My 47 Labs transport is coax and I picked up a Syncro Mesh for conversion to Optical. On a side note the Syncro Mesh is a great little piece and should be considered if no optical from a transport.

Chris

Cheeseboy

Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #4 on: 13 Jan 2016, 04:11 pm »
I've had one in my system for about 2.5 years. The focus and clarity it provides is a source of much enjoyment. I have gone through several linear power supplies and have found the one sourced from Channel Islands has offered the most top to bottom overall smooth sound.  I miss my tubed preamp in the chain.  I'm trading detail for some warmth.  I go back and forth.  I'm using the optical out on a very old JVC XLZ-1010 and 1050. As a spinner it is wonderful. I am in awe of what the DSPEAKER can do with a redbook cd.  It is a huge improvement.
I bought the unit as I have a pair of aV123 line source speakers the LS6.  They excite the room with bass and get all of the knotty pine on the walls dancing and smearing the sound.  What the DSPeaker unit has done to tame bass bringing it inti focus and adding detail is amazing.

I highly recommend this unit. I can only imagine what a Modwright tube addition could do to this unit as a preamp.

soundofrockets

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #5 on: 13 Jan 2016, 04:33 pm »
steve, you heard the dsp and modwright tube preamp in my setup with the 9s and ultimately we decided to go direct to the BMC amps and that combo - DSP, BMC with the 9s was the bomb !!

JLM

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #6 on: 13 Jan 2016, 08:40 pm »
I've had one in my system for about 2.5 years. The focus and clarity it provides is a source of much enjoyment. I have gone through several linear power supplies and have found the one sourced from Channel Islands has offered the most top to bottom overall smooth sound.  I miss my tubed preamp in the chain.  I'm trading detail for some warmth.  I go back and forth.  I'm using the optical out on a very old JVC XLZ-1010 and 1050. As a spinner it is wonderful. I am in awe of what the DSPEAKER can do with a redbook cd.  It is a huge improvement.
I bought the unit as I have a pair of aV123 line source speakers the LS6.  They excite the room with bass and get all of the knotty pine on the walls dancing and smearing the sound.  What the DSPeaker unit has done to tame bass bringing it inti focus and adding detail is amazing.

I highly recommend this unit. I can only imagine what a Modwright tube addition could do to this unit as a preamp.

Which Channel Island Audio power supply do you have?  Did it come with the appropriately sized jack?
« Last Edit: 14 Jan 2016, 05:45 pm by JLM »

srclose

Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #7 on: 13 Jan 2016, 10:11 pm »
Anyone have experience with the HDPlex linear power supply and DSpeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core?

JLM

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #8 on: 15 Jan 2016, 02:29 am »
So I contacted Channel Island Audio and got this response back from Dusty:

"We do make a model for the DSPeaker but it's not on our website (VDC-12
MKII/$329).

It comes standard with a 5.5mm/2.5mm connector. The DSPeaker uses 2.1mm
center pin, so we include an adapter."

After my credit card has had a chance to recover I'll order it and will report back.  Right now I'm absolutely loving Patricia Barber's "Modern Cool" album.

JLM

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #9 on: 8 Feb 2016, 12:04 pm »
OK, here's the followup from adding the Channel Island Audio VDC-12 MkII:

Improved dynamics (rather subtle -  speaker limitations?);

Overall sound is less etched;

Less female sibilance (frankly a significant relief even for these old ears).

rodge827

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #10 on: 29 Feb 2016, 03:45 pm »
JLM,

Glad to see you took the plunge and upgraded the power supply and you can hear the positive results.

Chris

Ultralight

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #11 on: 13 Mar 2016, 05:48 am »
I've not actually used the dSpeaker but having done research, my understanding is that:

1. Optical input is significantly better than USB implementation, good as the USB may be.
2. Linear Power Supply matters most when using analog input or output.  If optical in and out, the linear makes little difference.

Just what I'm told by one of the manufacturer reps.


jseipp

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #12 on: 13 Mar 2016, 07:41 am »
I've added a linear supply and found it to make a significant difference with analog out.  I'm using optical in, and the whole thing sounds quite good.

Nick77

Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #13 on: 13 Mar 2016, 09:24 am »
If one already owns a 2k DAC but wants room correction you would look to the smaller 8033 DSP unit?

JLM

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #14 on: 13 Mar 2016, 12:02 pm »
UL: I use both USB and optical and it's really hard for me to tell the difference.  (I know the optical receives higher PCM rates but my iMac/MacBook sources are both CD rips.)

Nick77:  I'm guessing it's the same technology, so it depends on your need for features.  In my case the DSPeaker fits my needs perfectly.

rodge827

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #15 on: 13 Mar 2016, 05:21 pm »
I've not actually used the dSpeaker but having done research, my understanding is that:

1. Optical input is significantly better than USB implementation, good as the USB may be.
2. Linear Power Supply matters most when using analog input or output.  If optical in and out, the linear makes little difference.

Just what I'm told by one of the manufacturer reps.

UL,

Optical input is only significanty better if you are sending a 24/96 signal, 16/44 through the USB and optical are the same. Only caveat here is how clean/jitter free the signal is.

I'm now using a Paul Hynes SR3-12 linear power supply and everything across the board improved!

1st rule in audio is power supply, power supply, power supply...OK that's 3 rules, but without a robust and clean power supply even the best equipment will sound awful!

If one already owns a 2k DAC but wants room correction you would look to the smaller 8033 DSP unit?

The Dspeaker 8033 unit is designed only to be used on a sub woofer. I have one for my HT sub and the results are fantastic. The Dspeaker Antimode Dual Core 2.0 can be used with a ($2000.00) superior dac by way of 2 methods:

1) Pure Digital...Take the optical out or USB out from a source and place them into the Dual Core 2.0 then use the optical out to your dac. All corrections are done in the digital domain and the corrected signal will be sent to your Dac.  Source Digital - Dual Core2.0 - Dac - Preamp/Integrated Amp or Amp

2) Analog... Dac Analog out to Dual Core2.0 to Preamp/Intgrated Amp or Amp. The analog signal goes through an A/D stage for corrections to be done and then a D/A for output. The A/D in the Dual Core is very transparent and many users have reported no difference in sound quality.

Chris




bertdw

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #16 on: 20 Nov 2016, 11:57 am »
Hello, would anyone care to share where they purchased their Antimode Dual Core 2.0?  The DSPeaker website only lists four retailers.  Thanks!

JLM

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #17 on: 20 Nov 2016, 12:06 pm »
Got mine from Underwood HiFi Inc.: underwoodwally@aol.com

It's an internet based business.

bertdw

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #18 on: 20 Nov 2016, 12:13 pm »
Thanks so much for the fast reply!  I checked out Underwood HiFi, but their website says no returns for any reason.  I assume this means even if it's dead right out of the box, so I'm still looking.

JLM

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Re: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core
« Reply #19 on: 20 Nov 2016, 01:43 pm »
Give him a call.