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Analog in/out 3 months 1 week ago #55989

  • bmosesso
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Hi, 
I am looking to purchase a SHD to use with my powered speakers  & want to hook my TT up with Analog RCA's.
I assume the signal will be converted to digital to the speakers. I was curious if anyone has any feedback of the sound quality when doing
this versus our current analog systems?
Thanks in advance, 

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Analog in/out 3 months 1 week ago #55991

  • rodrigaj
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For awhile, I had a Y-connector analog cable from my phono stage (Avid Pulsus). One set of cable went to my SHD and the other went to a passive preamp (Gold Point). I inserted a switch (Decware) which allowed switching between the two. I had this arrangement for at least 6 months and would listen to my preferred music genre (classical) - sometimes through the SHD and sometimes through the passive preamp. After about 4 months, I found myself listening only through the SHD and eventually removed the Y-wires. I found that DIRAC live improved the listening experience because I was able to discern the inner voices of the music with less strain and concentration.

I don't listen to music as an audiophile. I listen for understanding - what is the composer trying to say. I listen only to classical music. If a piece of audio equipment makes that process easy I keep it.

I think that ultimately, you have to try it and see for yourself.

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Analog in/out 3 months 1 week ago #55992

  • Mensore
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The analog input signal is converted to digital at 96 kHz sample rate, processed internally at 96/32 (I believe, someone will surely correct me if mistaken), and then convert back for the analog  output, and to 96/24 for the digial outputs (& USB in case you are recording). The audio quality is superb, and I agree completely with rodrigaj's comment, using Dirac processing inner voices are much much clearer and require far less effort to follow, and not only classical, but all music. Dirac greatly reduces smearing and improves dramatically the clarity and definition of individual instruments, at least in my listening room. I have recorded LP's flat using the SHD's USB connection, and the result is excellent, effectively indistinguishable from the output of my phono pre. As did rodigaj I created a temporary setup allowing me to switch between the SHD and direct to the analog attenuators. I heard no meaningful difference. The SHD will not damage the audio.

I do listen as an audiophile. The SHD/Dirac made my decent system sound great. I do use precision stepped attenuators for volume control (Placette). I do not like digital volume controls, particularly at moderate or low levels. Therefore the only caution I could make, is that if you are using the SHD to control the volume, it will, in my opinion, degrade the audio, especially at softer/moderate listening levels vs. analog controls. For 5.1 music I use a DDRC-88A, and similarly, Dirac elevates my listening, with the same caution as to the 88A digital volume control.
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Analog in/out 3 months 1 week ago #55995

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Thank you both for the great info, this helps!
Interesting comment on the volume control, I would use the remote 95% of the time but the Placette would still be superior sonically ? Will check out
that unit & also would assume when connected it simply bypasses the digital control on the SHD?
Thanks again for all the help,
 

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Analog in/out 3 months 1 week ago #55996

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No if you are implementing Dirac, you will need the SHD digital control to trim the output level so as to avoid clipping. This is because Dirac can boost levels at any given frequency (dependent on your measured responses) up to I think 10 dB. In my case, I trim usually -3dB down to rarely -6dB for recordings that have very high low frequency energy. This trim does not harm the audio quality because it is done in DSP at 32 bits. I let my ears determine how much to trim, guided by the actual Dirac measurements and correction curve. I actually experimented with this last night. I attenuated up to 10 dB with no discernible audio degradation. As far as bypass is concerned, setting the output level to 0 (zero) dB is an effective bypass.

I don't think that there is a direct comparison possible between straight analog audio and a DSP system such as the SHD. You are altering the sound quality with Dirac (or any other filters that you might choose to add). I usually just follow the Dirac recommended target curve, plus I have a configuration with a slight increase in the bass for low level listening. But, you are crafting the audio, with the assistance of the Dirac software, to compensate for the acoustical properties of your listening room that may be damaging the audio. It will not sound the same. It should sound better, although this, like everything else in audio, is highly personal.

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Analog in/out 3 months 1 week ago #55997

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Sorry, you asked about the Placette. It isn't a question of sonically superior. Placette controls are totally neutral. They do not alter the sound at all, they just attenuate. There are numerous published reviews of the various models (there are three), in the usual publications. There is a detailed thread somewhere here on the exact issue of the extent that digital controls are lossy, with much smarter folks than I providing interesting technical information. Just search "lossy" and volume control to find.

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