Purchased Creative G6 External DAC/Amp

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by Chastity, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    [​IMG]

    Like these right? So it's digitan AND analog out? Am I missing something here?
     
  2. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    oops, my bad... appears the Out port is both analog and digital.

    Well, I've decided on a plan of action... I'm going to order the Asgard 3 with no cards. (USB only is useless for me) I'll consider a DAC option later...(Bifrost 2 has a 18bit mb DAC... for $700 :p ) If I get a multibit it'll prolly be the Modi 3 mb. For now, the G6 with the CS43131 will do. I like the raw power of the Asgard 3,, and 500mW of it is Class A, which I doubt I will go over.

    After some more testing, I've noticed that the Line-Out analog has somewhat crappy output in regards to the noise floor. Getting hishhh if I go above 64% when i have the Supreme at around 2 o'clock. At this setting, I get great dynamics, even when the G6 is down to 70%, but I despise line noise. Shame on you Creative, how difficult is it to have Line-Out quiet? I'll have to try some things.... Yep, the headphone port is much better.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
  3. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I think the 16bit reference is a minimum figure, they can use more than 16bits.
    Mutibit doesnt seem to reference anything specific these days, there are multibit delta sigma DACs.

    This Wiki entry has a list of DAC types
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital-to-analog_converter#DAC_types

    I chose a good R2R because the reviews are glowing. (Holo Audio - Spring, Level 3)
    There is no processing at all, it simply pushes the bit data into a ladder of resistors to output the waveform.
    It has a parallel correcting network to keep resistor value accuracy high vs changes over time and temperature.
    It even has a separate ladder for multi bit DSD which seems odd as DSD recordings we have arent multi bit, they are bitstream (single bit). DSD can use more than single bit which is why I gather they use a resistor network but I'm a bit stumped how it benefits bitstream SACD etc, perhaps it doesnt. I might look this up :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
  4. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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    I've yet to see R2R dac that can beat even subpar Realtek implementation. Those are definitely not meant for transparency nor accurate analogue signal reproduction. In terms of performance they all are pure crap.
     

  5. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    lol, ok ...
    This is worth reading
    https://www.stereophile.com/content...ion-level-3-da-processor-art-dudley-july-2018
    At the bottom are the contents to view next pages including measurements.

    I am blown away by this DAC, it is truly incredible.
    Easily worth the money.

    edit
    It would help if I gave the link for page 1, not the last page:
    https://www.stereophile.com/content/holoaudio-spring-kitsuné-tuned-edition-level-3-da-processor


    A short review:
    https://www.audiostream.com/content/holo-audio-spring-dac-level-3-kitsune-tuned-edition
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
  6. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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  7. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Note, you dont get the full dynamic range without the DAC output maxed.
    Signal is reduced but noise remains the same.

    Those measurements are for the Holo Audio Spring Level 2. I had a level 2, it was so good I upgraded to the level 3 which is even more of a delight.
    A substantial jump in clarity/imaging and it was amazing before that.

    I am a fan of Creatives offerings, but for me, critically, its about how it sounds. My speakers expose every shortcoming.
    example:
    The Oppo 205 measures better than the Holo Spring "Level 2" but is nowhere near a match for clarity, dynamics and soundstage on my system. (to be clear, the level 3 is a jump above the Level 2 )
    The Oppo and Holo Spring both have a laid back signature but the Oppo (Sabre32 9038 Pro DAC chip) isnt exciting or engaging enough. I preferred my older Minimax Tube DAC Plus (much lower spec Sabre32 9018 reference DAC chip), that was one incredible DAC once the tube was removed - it became so much better.
    Both my brother and I bought an Oppo 205 and he agrees about how it sounds bland, but he desperately wanted a high end surround DAC on all channels that is all singing and dancing (ie plays SACD disks, UHD BD, from USB drive + network + optical + PC USB).
    I sent mine back which is why I was in the market for a new DAC.
    I saw forum member gridiron whirlw had the Spring Level3, investigated and was sold, its everything I want and that isnt a short list!

    If you get a chance its well worth the effort auditioning the Spring Level 2, preferably the Level 3, with ribbon tweeter speakers or similar quality.
    It will open your mind.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
  8. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    @Mufflore Due to my living conditions, it's headphones. I live in an apartment, with someone who is a light sleeper, and annoying when it comes to music/movie listening. (Unless I start sound proofing my area. :D Yeah, I thought of it.) Plus I have neighbors with children right above me. Ergo, headphones are the simplistic solution. I don't see this as a limitation when you use studio/reference grade hardware. :)

    Anyhoo, I did some further testing about the line-out hissssh, and it turns out it's noisy power from the PC. I used a usb-c >a hub to connect my G6 to my LG phone, and all the noise vanished. (Tried the USB-C/Thunderport on the PC and that's noisy too) So it looks like I need a line conditioner for the port. (Using conditioned power into the laptop doesn't help.) I wonder if I have any mini-USB cables with ferrites on it?
     
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  9. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I didnt mean to reference your needs, I was hoping to let Anarion understand why I like my R2R DAC so much.
    Although it sounds even more incredible with my headphones (Meze Empyrean) with tube amp (Bottlehead Mainline).
    More detail, dynamics and mid range soul than I imagined I could get, truly something else, a definite win.
    Not quite as good bass, but thats comparing with dual 10" Transmission Line subwoofer speakers and a large BK Monolith 12" sub, good to 15Hz. Headphones cant be expected to match that lol. But they did really well with a good dose of EQ!

    Yeah PC power noise is a big issue, switched mode power supplies dont help high end hifi.
    This is why I went for the highest quality 750W PSU I could find, the Seasonic Prime ultra Titanium 750.
    I also use a high spec modded Singxer SU-1 USB to I2S converter to further improve the signal the DAC receives.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  10. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    tags @Mufflore as audiocursed
     

  11. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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  12. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    Figures you'd be using the Empyrean. As for the noisy PC, it's hard to upgrade the PSU of a laptop. I ordered an iFi iDefender3.0 USB dongle to deal with the issue. This will cut off the power supplied by the laptop, and I can use an external 5V source. I was thinking of using a powerbank, as I have a spare one I hardly use, and it holds a lot of juice, and using battery power is cleaner than walwarts. If needed, I have tons of USB AC adapters that output 1A or better.

    As for a sub, I made my own, using AudioCAD and plans from AVSForum. Driver is an Adire Shiva Mark IV 12" longthrow, paired with a 4" flared port tuned for 18 Hz. Cabinet is 25" square made from 3/4" plywood, with cherrywood stain. (6 coats) Uses a 377w amp plate from partsexpress.com. Performance: 150 - 11 Hz +/- 3dB @ 136 dB when I tested it with SPL meter.
     
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  13. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    This is getting out of the hand... You guys are crazy.
     
  14. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Nice prospect for the laptop.
    I considered getting the iFi Defender (or a variant). One user of my DAC that was fed with an SU-1 reported it helped even that setup.
    I may still do it, but without any issue to prompt it, its gonna need a day I am bored lol.


    What an incredible subwoofer, my hat is off, just over double the internal volume of mine.
    And wtf kind of SPL is that at 11Hz lol, beyond the threshold of pain! I hope you werent in the room at the time of the measurements.
    I love cherry wood finish, my cherry wood has a dark stain, hand built by the guys that developed the early REL subs.
    But I'm in awe of what you have ...
    I considered making a fan subwoofer to get high subsonic spl down to 5Hz, but If near 10Hz can be done with a box + cone, I may give it a go.

    Do you have a link for for your sub?
    Which SPL meter did you use?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  15. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Naa dude, doing what we do because we care about the difference.
    Its not for everyone, most people I know dont give a damn, even my Dad, and he's a classical musician who composes.
    Yet my Brother and I both find it exhilarating because we hear what is better.
    This isnt throwing a dick around, its serious to us.
     

  16. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    @Mufflore

    https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArwXzixQ74JbgcoldqEdjR8tGTzOlA?e=EdxUyX

    Here's a pic from the construction, showing the inner bracing and porting. It's currently sitting in my bedroom being used as a laser printer stand. (Yes, I have a towel protecting the finish.) That sub has been to CA and back to NY. One of the legs came off, but I reattached it. (The legs use wood glue, as to not violate the case integrity with screws)

    The project started as a discussion about subwoofer design and costs. You can go with 2 basic designs: small, tight, and powerful amps to move air, or big enclosures with smaller amps. I went the route of big and spacious. So I took the specs for the driver, and threw them into the AudioCAD template, and selected my materials. It spat out what I have now. :) My friend from Toronto did the wood work.

    The discussion was about making a unit that would outperform $2000 subs for under $500. With parts and wood, not including shipping from Canada, was $435. Was a really fun project, and yes I was in the room during the FR sweeps. The bass isn't bloaty at all, just really good impact and tight, even in the subbass registers. You can feel bass guitarists as their fingers slide on the strings.

    I paired it with a Infinifty Primus 5.1 setup, with their 150 sats + C250 center, driven off my Yamaha receiver, connected via HDMI to my PC.
     
  17. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    Fixed the hiiisssss... (idiot light turned on in my head) I looked at my desk, and saw these 2 external Seagate HDD enclosures on it, each with 2 powered USB 3 hub ports. Hub power is supplied by HDD PSU walwart. No more hisssshhhhh! :D
     
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  18. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    The iDefender3.0 arrived today ($49) It's really a simple device, it has a smart switch to manage the power output to your USB DAC:

    1) If the DAC has it's own power, the iD will just kill any USB power supplied by the PC and improve isolation.
    2) If the DAC has no power, and there is no power fed to the iD, then it will pass USB power to the DAC. Interestingly enough, the unit must have a power filter, because it's still pretty quiet on line noise.
    3) If the DAC has no power, and is fed power from external source, it will switch off USB power, and feed it from external source.

    Of interest, pulling the external power source while in use didn't interrupt the DAC, as it switched to USB power from PC.

    Considering that this device does line noise suppression, or the ferrite clip is amazing on my interconnect (doubtful), this item makes their iSilencer obsolete. (I need to confirm this with more testing, after my ears take a small break.)
     
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  19. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    Phase Filters and What They Mean To Me, The Listener

    Today I was reading about how DACs work, and Delta Sigma vs Multibit, the benefits of oversampling and why it's done, and also Minimal vs Linear Phase filters, and wtf they do. Many consumer DACs operate in one mode of phase, tho higher end ones can have programmable options to choose different phase filter profiles. For example, the Topper D50S has 7 profiles to choose from. Our G6 has 4, Minimal or Linear, Slow or Fast roll-off. I'm not going to get into specifics, but these filters change the model of how the DAC translates the digital audio into analog, and I found the different profiles are noticeably different.

    And I was very glad I decided to check this out, because I managed to adjust the audio signature in a way I desired for my musical taste. By default, the G6 is configured with Fast Roll-Off Minimal Phase. Min Phase causes the sound wave to be generated with no audio before the initial attack, but it trails off with a decreasing audible decay that is longer than Linear. Fast shortens the length of the decay. Linear has a little audio produced in the attack portion, but it's inaudible in measurement. (As is the decay in Minimal for the most part) The strength of Linear over Minimal is accuracy. Minimal's strength is darker silence before the sound is generated.

    Which is better? The debate still lingers. :) However, on my G6 here, I find my music is livelier and energetic with Linear Fast Roll off vs Minimal Fast Roll off, and synergizes very well with my DT-1990's fast, resolving drivers, with a hint of better detail and separation. Tho I found some piano pieces I preferred with Minimal. The important part is having a DAC where you can select these filters, so you can tune your audio to sound their best to you.

    And the new amp arrived. :)

    [​IMG]

    So what we have here is my lovely laptop outputting over USB, with an iFi iDefender3.0 dongle being used. The dongle isolates the power output 5V line from the digital transmission, so that the external DAC/amp can use external sourced power. You do this when the USB power is noisy or you get hum. With the new amp, I got both. The dongle is $49, so if you have an externally powered USB hub (like say on an external HDD enclosure like I do on my Seagate drives), you can connect the G6 to that and hopefully get clean power. The Rosewill power bank is supplying power to my G6, because you don't get cleaner power than from DC batteries. :) It also makes cable management easier. I recharge it overnight when I smeep.

    The G6 is set up to mix it's surround virtualizations to the analog Line-Out, which I then run to some nice 3.5mm to dual RCA 3' interconnects to feed the new amp, a Schiit Asgard 3. Now this amp is amazing in the fact that I was looking for an amp that isn't more powerful just for loudness, but to supply Class A power to my headphone to maintain dynamic range at lower volume levels, which this does marvelously. I also find it delivers a more linear power across the FR range, and smoothed the treble a tad, which works very well with Beyerdynamic's treble signature. I also find the sound tighter, with less sounds mushing into each other. Detail is another hallmark of the DT-1990. The Asgard 3 is also more sensitive to the G6's noise issues with laptop USB power, making iDefender3.0 more necessary. Oh, and I love the volume's linear circuitry, meaning as you dial up the volume, the volume rise is smooth and linear when you traverse from Cass A to Class A/B. Noise floor is nice and dark, even with High Gain, tho you get some amp hum after 3:00 on the dial.
     
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  20. gridiron whirlw

    gridiron whirlw Ancient Guru

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    Wow....this statement is just plain false....you really need to listen to a Holo Spring.

    I know many live and die by measurements....but how does it sound with your ears that really matters.
     
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