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TOPIC: SHD vs 2x4HD DAC sound quality

SHD vs 2x4HD DAC sound quality 2 months 2 weeks ago #52518

  • jv8
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I'm currently using the 2x4HD at my office desk PC 2.1 setup. I love it! My only reservation is I _thought_ I heard more detail with a previous DAC. But on balance the DSP and sub integration tools of the 2x4HD win over a plain old USB DAC.

I wish the 2x4HD had digital output so I could experiment with DACs. I know there is an I2S header internally... but that is not exactly an easy mod.

If I upgrade to the SHD would I see a DAC-related upgrade in detail and soundstage? I don't need any of the other features of the SHD. So it's a tough sell at $1150.

I know the SHD DAC measures better... but I'm skeptical better "measurements" mean audibly better sound quality.
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SHD vs 2x4HD DAC sound quality 2 months 2 weeks ago #52569

  • Ultrasonic
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I switched from a 2x4 HD to an SHD and had similar questions to you before doing so. Shortly after getting my SHD I tried to compare them as directly as I could and posted my thoughts in the following post on another forum. I've not tried to compare them since and so have nothing to add specifically on the DAC front:

www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/topic/138704-mi...ents#comment-2488434

The above doesn't cover the three most significant differences between the two units though: Dirac Live, streaming capability and the display on the SHD. How significant these may be to you will depend on exactly how you use yours. For pre-amp duties the presence of a display on the SHD to show volume, input and preset is a HUGE improvement over the 2x4 HD but if you're happy controlling these via your PC, or don't change them often, then this won't really matter to you. Similarly if you're happy using your PC for streaming then the built-in streamer functionality won't matter to you. I'd say Dirac Live is also a step up on what can be achieve via REW based-filters, in particular if you want to explore filters applied at higher frequencies rather than just the sub-bass region. However, if this is the only benefit you're looking for then you can pay for the upgrade of your 2x4 HD to a DDRC-24 to achieve the same thing. Before you ask, I'm unclear whether the SHD has any advantage in terms of Dirac Live performance over a DDRC-24 due to the different hardware in use.

For my own use I'm very glad I upgraded to an SHD but I use mine as a standalone unit rather than constantly connected to a computer.
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SHD vs 2x4HD DAC sound quality 2 months 2 weeks ago #52571

  • jv8
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Thanks Ultrasonic - that's exactly the feedback I'm looking for. So to summarize: other than features, the SHD DAC is better but not night/day difference?

This is my work PC setup. With covid work from home I spend more time listening here than anywhere else! I have a full audiophile Dirac-based setup elsewhere but don't get to spend much time with it.

Since I'm stuck by the PC I don't need most of the features of the SHD. I'm leaning towards upgrading the 2x4 HD to a DDRC-24.

Thanks again!
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SHD vs 2x4HD DAC sound quality 14 minutes ago #54450

  • fcarpio
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This is the kind of info I was looking for as I am debating the 2x4hd upgrade or just getting the SHD. For now, I will be connecting it to my computer, but eventually, I hope to make it part of a stand-alone system.

Subbed.
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