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  • Multichannel HDMI DAC?

    I'm wondering if anyone is aware of or has experience with a decent DAC for multichannel PCM audio over HDMI. So far I have found this product (http://www.allaboutadapters.com/hddodtsdihdo.html) which seems to do exactly what I want, but I have not found any reviews or indications of its quality.

    I know this function is usually the realm of an AVR or pre-pro, but since my HTPC already handles video processing and Dolby/DTS decoding, I'd be paying for plenty of features I don't actually need. The setup I envision is HTPC -> MiniDSP NanoAVR -> HDMI DAC -> Power Amps. The NanoAVR would handle volume control, bass management, and room correction.

    Seeing others' amplifier builds of late is inspiring/tempting me to build my own power amps; hence I'm looking at options to avoid buying an AVR.

  • #2
    Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

    No idea on this unit however it does look interesting. But an AVR seems the easier and cheaper route:
    1) NanoAVR $250 + HDMI DAC $130 + 7 or more amps (anywhere from say $400-$1000 depending on whatever is selected) = $780 - $1480
    2) Nice one or two year old higher end factory refurb AVR with 100+ wpc and factory warranty = starting at $550

    I only mention this because you mentioned paying for a lot for options you don't need, but you are actually getting a discount for them. Now then, if its not about just money, there's reason enough to do this because it would be really cool!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

      Originally posted by matt996 View Post
      I'm wondering if anyone is aware of or has experience with a decent DAC for multichannel PCM audio over HDMI. So far I have found this product (http://www.allaboutadapters.com/hddodtsdihdo.html) which seems to do exactly what I want, but I have not found any reviews or indications of its quality.
      That device is made by Cypress of Taiwan. It works fine, but it is fairly old (about 2007?) Do a Google search on "CLUX-11SA" and you will find a lot of information on it, particularly at DIYaudio.com. I put one inside an old Pioneer receiver (see attachment), but I really haven't played with it much, so I can't say too much about it. Cypress has a newer version that supports 4K and 3D pass-through--you might want to consider that one instead, as the DAC's are probably higher quality (just because they are newer): http://en.cypress.com.tw/store/catal...up-to-LPCM-7.1

      Click image for larger version

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      Free Passive Speaker Designer Lite (PSD-Lite) -- http://www.audiodevelopers.com/Softw...Lite/setup.exe

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

        Neil - that is great info, thank you very much. I can't rule out a 4k TV in the forseeable future so I will look into that newer version.

        RV - I can see the appeal of a refurbished AVR, but then I don't get to build my own amps. I would want pre-outs and 3D/4k support, so that pushes me toward the current upper mid/lower high end from what I can tell. I haven't had much luck finding options available in Canada, but haven't been looking too hard yet since the speakers aren't built. This is more an investigation into feasibility of skipping the receiver altogether.

        The power amp I am envisioning would be based on Rod Elliott's Project 101 MOSFET amp that many others have built with success. I estimate I can do 5 channels for roughly CAD $500 (PCBs, power supply bits and output devices - not including wires, misc. passive components, and case work). So, 200WPC puts me into Emo XPA-5 territory, and I think the value equation looks pretty good for DIY providing I don't value my time :-) .

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

          First question - if you're already using an HTPC, why are you looking at an external device to handle DSP functions? Even if you don't use it for playback for whatever reason, JRiver has loopback capability and will provide all the features the the NanoAVR provides without having to buy extra hardware.

          Having said that I think you're likely to find that the dramatic price reduction of quantity-of-scale available with HDMI receivers and even pre-pros greatly outweighs any extra you think you might pay for features you don't need. Any audio-only HDMI DAC is going to be a niche product with production runs in the 100's if they're lucky, and the startup/tooling/R&D costs are going to be significant with that small a run - and that's even without the 'audiophile' markup (e.g. the Nad M51 which accepts 2-channel stereo over HDMI runs $2k)

          Some ideas/options
          - Use JRiver to handle DSP duties, and then look at studio-grade sound interfaces for output rather than HDMI.
          - Look at an Emotiva Fusion 8100. Cheap ($400), good sound quality with full pre-outs, and built-in amps that you can use until your DIY are done.
          - Consider an Oppo 103 or 105. They have HDMI inputs, and decent (103) or very good (105) analog output.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

            I am about to pull the trigger on a refurb AVR (PE sells this brand so won't go into details, but its 110wpc/4K/3D/full preouts/multi analog inputs for $549 shipped one-year warranty). This, combined with a good two-channel amp for the mains, is the best bang/buck solution I could come up with for a combo music/HT rig. My OpenELEC HTPC has dual audio out, so:
            1) Music is HTPC -> USB DAC -> multi-analog in to AVR (bypasses DSP, volume via AVR analog volume control) -> pre-outs to L/R amp
            2) HT is HTPC -> AVR via HDMI -> pre-outs to L/R amp -> surrounds/center use AVR amps

            I too thought about building a "seperates" system built around JRiver, but could not live with the lack of HDMI switching and no Airplay support (also for the OP there is no 3D support). Also thought about the UMC-200/8100, but is has some anomolies I can't live with (discussed in other threads here).

            So many ways to skin a cat.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

              Indeed, many ways to skin this cat. At the moment I'm using an outdated install of XBMCbuntu, and passing the audio to an old Creative Extigy by Toslink (it accepts PCM stereo and decodes AC3 for 5.1). I had tried the Extigy plugged in by USB initially but ran into problems mucking around with the ALSA settings trying to get the surround channels mapped properly (this was some years ago, and I have avoided messing with it after getting it working by Toslink).

              I am only a novice with Linux/ALSA but if there's a way to implement software DSP plugins that would accomplish bass management etc, I would happily give that a try rather than adding another device. The NanoAVR was considered specifically because after some searching on the topic did not turn up anything for getting DSP going with XBMC. I would also need to implement a Linkwitz Transform filter for the subs.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

                matt996,

                Did you ever get any further on this? I ask since I just stumbled upon the nanoAVR HDA, which appears to be a nanoAVR HD with an integrated multichannel DAC:
                http://www.minidsp.com/products/ht-series/nanoavr-hda
                So the setup would be NanoAVR HDA -> Power Amps. If only this had built in decoding (so I could get DD/DD+ from my Roku etc), I would no longer need an AVR :( .

                Also noted you can't get both room correction and bass management in one NanoAVR box, its either or:
                http://www.minidsp.com/products/ht-s...mmary#features

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

                  Originally posted by rvsixer View Post
                  ... Also noted you can't get both room correction and bass management in one NanoAVR box, its either or:
                  http://www.minidsp.com/products/ht-s...mmary#features
                  Yeah it's a bummer too. DL is compelling but losing control of BM stopped that in its tracks for me leaving only the AVR HD as an option. Someone on another forum suspected it may simply be a horsepower problem - too much to do both on the current gen of their gear. Sounds reasonable. Still sucks. Oh well.
                  Feel free to rip my assumptions apart when wrong, or fix if close.

                  Passive Radiators:
                  All PR(s) Vd must at-least double all woofer(s) Vd. Calc = Sd x Xmax to get Vd for all PR(s) and all woofer(s). If all PR(s) Vd at-least double all woofer(s) Vd they'll work.
                  For woofer(s) with large Xmax vs Sd, all PR(s) with Xmax at-least double all woofer(s) Xmax will work.
                  A PR max weight is said to be its Mms x3

                  PR Systems - tight focus with key parameters.
                  PR Speaker Design - thorough coverage.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

                    Originally posted by Thump View Post
                    Yeah it's a bummer too. DL is compelling but losing control of BM stopped that in its tracks for me leaving only the AVR HD as an option.
                    IMO you made the right choice. I find bass management a necessary feature, and room correction unnecessary (I have had far better results correcting the room).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

                      Thinking the same simply due to the absolute maximum endless tweaks exposed by the software. Will know for sure in the coming weeks. It left Hong Kong yesterday. It'll definitely be here before I have anything ready (built) to use it with. The stash of "stuff" is getting friggin massive. WAF isn't an issue for the finished products, but it's getting to be one having to make a path through the room where all the stuff is sitting
                      Feel free to rip my assumptions apart when wrong, or fix if close.

                      Passive Radiators:
                      All PR(s) Vd must at-least double all woofer(s) Vd. Calc = Sd x Xmax to get Vd for all PR(s) and all woofer(s). If all PR(s) Vd at-least double all woofer(s) Vd they'll work.
                      For woofer(s) with large Xmax vs Sd, all PR(s) with Xmax at-least double all woofer(s) Xmax will work.
                      A PR max weight is said to be its Mms x3

                      PR Systems - tight focus with key parameters.
                      PR Speaker Design - thorough coverage.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

                        It sounds like you guys are further along than me. I contacted miniDSP support a while back and they pointed me to the thread at AVS and basically said to stay tuned. Cool to see they are now in preorder. The nanoAVR HDA looks like just the ticket.

                        I agree it doesn't make sense to forgo bass management -- that would also be a deal breaker for me. I guess it is aimed at people already using a pre-pro for bass management. Aside from the impulse response correction offered by DL, I think the features in the HDA should still allow great flexibility. I will probably go this route when the time comes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

                          rvsixer put me on the trail of the AVR HD as a very nice interim solution for what I needed. Maybe it'll turn out so ideal I make it part of the system forever and reconfigure accordingly.

                          I saw the HDA couple days back while digging about the HD. Seemed another good answer for those needing that type of connection. In fact I've got a bud who could use it. Older gear without HDMI.
                          Feel free to rip my assumptions apart when wrong, or fix if close.

                          Passive Radiators:
                          All PR(s) Vd must at-least double all woofer(s) Vd. Calc = Sd x Xmax to get Vd for all PR(s) and all woofer(s). If all PR(s) Vd at-least double all woofer(s) Vd they'll work.
                          For woofer(s) with large Xmax vs Sd, all PR(s) with Xmax at-least double all woofer(s) Xmax will work.
                          A PR max weight is said to be its Mms x3

                          PR Systems - tight focus with key parameters.
                          PR Speaker Design - thorough coverage.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

                            Originally posted by Thump View Post
                            rvsixer put me on the trail of the AVR HD as a very nice interim solution for what I needed. Maybe it'll turn out so ideal I make it part of the system forever and reconfigure accordingly.
                            I hope it works out for 'ya, keep us posted.

                            It's similar to the reason I am going separates, so I don't have to keep paying for (usually) poorer AVR amp sections. Just replace AVR/miniAVR prepro's when needed. And not unlike a seperate amp, the minAVR lets you keep all your bass managment settings when you swap them out :D .


                            I saw the HDA couple days back while digging about the HD. Seemed another good answer for those needing that type of connection. In fact I've got a bud who could use it. Older gear without HDMI.
                            Won't work on non-HDMI receiver, the HDA requires HDMI input.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Multichannel HDMI DAC?

                              Originally posted by rvsixer View Post
                              ... Won't work on non-HDMI receiver, the HDA requires HDMI input.
                              Didn't read it deep as it wasn't for me. Just looked and I see that but it seems odd since there's 8x in / out analog. In the HD the audio is embedded in the HDMI stream (obviously). Are they still depending on that (or any) signal to be present on HDMI even with 8x in/out analog in the HDA?
                              Feel free to rip my assumptions apart when wrong, or fix if close.

                              Passive Radiators:
                              All PR(s) Vd must at-least double all woofer(s) Vd. Calc = Sd x Xmax to get Vd for all PR(s) and all woofer(s). If all PR(s) Vd at-least double all woofer(s) Vd they'll work.
                              For woofer(s) with large Xmax vs Sd, all PR(s) with Xmax at-least double all woofer(s) Xmax will work.
                              A PR max weight is said to be its Mms x3

                              PR Systems - tight focus with key parameters.
                              PR Speaker Design - thorough coverage.

                              Comment

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