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SHD for Balanced Input/Output Only? 1 month 1 week ago #60836

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Apologies in advance for my ignorance and appreciate any help and advice!

Right now my signal chain is as follows:

MyTek Manhattan II (preamp/DAC/network streamer) => miniDSP DDRC-24 => Parasound A21+ => KEF R11 speakers

I exclusively stream music from Qobuz/Tidal through the MyTek and want to preserve the highest possible quality streaming.

I am also in the market for new upgraded speakers and plan to very shortly purchase a new amp that is known for being best with balanced inputs.

Everything in my signal chain (now and future) can use balanced inputs/outputs, except for the DDRC-24.  I really only have the DDRC-24 in the chain for room correction with DIRAC.

Can the miniDSP SHD be used in the exact same function as I use the DDRC-24 (i.e. only for DIRAC) while skipping all of its other functions?  I know it’s overkill, but it seems there is no better alternative for getting room correction with balanced inputs/outputs, unless I’m missing something?

Also, it looks like the miniDSP SHD has a higher internal sampling rate than the DDRC-24, so presumably there could be an upgrade there?  When using the MyTek as source and running it through the DDRC-24/SHD, am I hurting the signal at all based on the internal sampling rate?  I’m letting the MyTek do the D/A conversion, but I guess the miniDSP is then also doing some kind of conversion?  Just wondering if the room correction benefits with DIRAC may be offset by some additional D/A conversion process.  Again, apologies for my ignorance.

Thoughts on these questions?

Thanks!

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SHD for Balanced Input/Output Only? 1 month 1 week ago #60837

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Can the miniDSP SHD be used in the exact same function as I use the DDRC-24 (i.e. only for DIRAC) while skipping all of its other functions? 

Yes. The plugin functionality of the SHD is basically the same as you have now.

In terms of the benefits of Dirac vs the additional A/D an D/A steps you can surely judge this for yourself with your current setup? If you prefer the overall sound with your DDRC-24 in the signal chain then there's your answer. For most I'd expect the benefits of Dirac Live in the bass region outweigh any downsides but ultimately this is a judgement for the individual. Note that I don't personally the results of running Dirac Live over the full frequency range and so only use it in the bass region (below 150 or 200 Hz in my room). Do experiment with this if you haven't already.

Edit: whilst you've asked about not using plugin functionality, not that both your current DDRC-24 and potential SHD give you the functionality to properly integrate one or two subwoofers whilst high-pass filtering the main speakers. This is the real strength of these products IMHO.

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SHD for Balanced Input/Output Only? 1 month 6 days ago #60840

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Thanks so much for the response!

One follow up - when toggling DIRAC on/off, does the miniDSP operate as a true pass-through when set to OFF?  Meaning, no additional A/D and D/A of the signal?  That would at least allow some A/B testing.

I do think that the sound was very much improved with DIRAC set to ON, but I am concerned that as I further upgrade the components that the miniDSP may be a limiter in the signal chain.

Point taken though on only running this in the bass region, I may consider that.  

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SHD for Balanced Input/Output Only? 1 month 6 days ago #60841

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OK - one other follow up.

Is it possible to use a digital output from the MyTek to a digital input on the miniDSP, apply DIRAC, use a digital output from the miniDSP to a digital input on the MyTek, let the MyTek do the D/A and preamp function, let the MyTek output in analog to the miniDSP analog input, apply nothing further, and then use the miniDSP analog output out the amp?

Basically looping it all back around to try to avoid a further conversion step within the miniDSP?

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SHD for Balanced Input/Output Only? 1 month 6 days ago #60842

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One follow up - when toggling DIRAC on/off, does the miniDSP operate as a true pass-through when set to OFF?  

No, on both the DDRC-24 and the SHD the analogue signal will be digitised no matter what. Of course if you didn't want a DDRC-24 of SHD to do anything at all then there wouldn't be any point having one...

My personal take is that compensating for room-mode induced bass distortion is wildly more important than any more subtle degradation you may experience higher up the frequency range, but ultimately this judgement will be room/system/user dependent. As is adding a subwoofer and getting it properly integrated come to that.
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SHD for Balanced Input/Output Only? 1 month 6 days ago #60846

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OK - one other follow up.

Is it possible to use a digital output from the MyTek to a digital input on the miniDSP, apply DIRAC, use a digital output from the miniDSP to a digital input on the MyTek, let the MyTek do the D/A and preamp function, let the MyTek output in analog to the miniDSP analog input, apply nothing further, and then use the miniDSP analog output out the amp?

Basically looping it all back around to try to avoid a further conversion step within the miniDSP?

I just came back to add something and see you've edited your post quite a bit! I answered the question you originally wrote. What I was going to add was that one way to avoid unnecessary A/D and D/A steps is to use an SHD Studio as streamer and feed the digital outputs to your Mytek. I thin you'd lose the ability to properly unfold MQA data though.

No, you can't do what you described above since the SHD can only process one input at a time. I don't understand why you'd want to send the signal back to the SHD for a second time at all though? Do you know whether your Mytek is capable of what you described though? My guess is not but I don't know.
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SHD for Balanced Input/Output Only? 1 month 5 days ago #60865

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Thanks again for the help!

I am just spitballing on all of this.

I admit that when I bought the DDRC-24, I didn’t truly understand/appreciate what it was doing, including the additional A/D-D-A conversion, which would seem to be potentially detrimental after a $7000 DAC has already done its work.  You never seem to see high end systems including anything like a miniDSP and so it made me start to wonder.

if limiting the miniDSP to only low frequency - isn’t it still going to do an A/D-D/A conversion for the higher frequencies?  It will just do so without processing?

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SHD for Balanced Input/Output Only? 1 month 4 days ago #60875

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if limiting the miniDSP to only low frequency - isn’t it still going to do an A/D-D/A conversion for the higher frequencies?  

Yes.

As I said above, if you want to avoid additional A/D and D/A steps then using and SHD Studio before your DAC is the way to go (with the MQA caveat I noted). 

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