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Audio quality problem with the SHD USB implementation? 1 week 2 days ago #61481

  • PeterRSorenson
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Thank you so much in advance for helping me sort this out!  It is greatly appreciated! I have a small professional studio highly sound treated, with HEDD type 20 monitors.  It is a very revealing listening environment, unforgiving of gears audio limitations.

The chain that I wish is my Mac Mini serving Roon => USB to Minidsp SHD => Coax to Schiit Gunigir DAC => XLR to Schiit Freya + w some exotic tubes = XLR to the type 20s.

When I use this chain the audio is pretty darned lame.  Yes all the SHD tools are amazing fun, but it sounds like I am running through a $200 DAC.

When I simply remove the SHD out of the chain.  Running USB from the Mac Mini directly to the USB input of the Shiit DAC.  It sounds as it should. Frigging amazing.  Like taking Winter ear muffs off. The difference is a huge night and day.

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The only think I can think of is the USB implementation of the SHD is older and not so good?  The Schitt is running their newish "Unison" USB board that is galvanically isolated among other things.  Supposed to be better than a coax input connection.

I really want to keep the SHD and figure this out.

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Is there any other way (besides volumino) that I can get a clean digital signal from my Mac into the SHD?

Again grateful for the assistance!



 

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Audio quality problem with the SHD USB implementation? 1 week 2 days ago #61483

  • overcoat
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I don't use Roon but I'm not sure why you've said "Mac Mini serving Roon => USB to Minidsp SHD".

It's my understanding that Roon is a music server and the SHD is a Roon Ready networked media player, so they should be communicating over your network rather than using USB.

Ben

www.minidsp.com/applications/audio-streaming/shd-roon-ready

Edit: you should really consider trying the SHD XLR straight to your HEDD Type 20. That's similar to what I did, getting rid of a separate DAC and preamp, and the difference was night and day especially once I got Dirac dialed in

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Audio quality problem with the SHD USB implementation? 1 week 2 days ago #61485

  • PeterRSorenson
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Hi Ben and thanks for the help.  Appreciated.  Roon has a server core that needs to be run somewhere.  I like running Roon (streaming Quboz) on my Mac because I have the big screen, and as well from that big screen I can also run Amazon HD, and Spotify.  I don't like Volumino ( The streaming UI on the SHD) because it's a bit unstable, and I don't care for the UI, in comparison to what I can have on the Mac.  The Mac runs the rest of my studio/office so there it is :-).  Roon core on the Mac, Roon endpoint inside the SHD.

I for sure agree the fewer things in the audio chain the better,  I did run the SHD (driven by my MAC via USB)  directly into the Type 20s, but there were two problems. What I thought was happening is the DAC inside the SHD which measures really well (Audio Science Review), Was not nearly as revealing as the $1300 Schiit Multibit DAC. Sounded OK, but to me having gone thru a ton of DACs it sounded like a $200 Dac.  Circling back I am now thinking that the USB was causing the sound issues and the DAC was better than I thought.  The second issue with bolting it up directly, is the Pre-amp section of the SHD just plain doesn't have the magical sound of the Shitt Freya + with my exotic tubes. So that's a $1000 preamp with about $400 in carefully chosen tubes.  .....  So on your suggestion I will try hooking it up directly again, but this time feeding it from the Mac via the SHDs network port.

So today, I did figure out how to connect the SHD to Roon on my Mac.  A tiny bit if futzing and the Mac/ROON was recognizing the SHD.  Playing great into the Schiit DAC via a proper OHM coax cable. Then through the tube pre-amp.  What was cool was I was able to switch back and forth between Amazon HD from the Mac to the DAC via USB, and Quobuz streamed through the SHD via its coax output into the DAC.  Was able to A/B.   So the SHD did sound worlds better receiving its digital stream via ethernet. Worlds better than receiving its' stream via the SHD USB port.  Worlds better.  So major lesson learned there.  But although the SHD did sound very pleasant and almost bright. The mid-base notes not as well defined. It still was generally not nearly as revealing as skipping the SHD and running straight into the DAC.  But you know I have a very unforgiving/revealing system.

So my conclusion for now is the SHD is great audio in a not so critical audiophile two channel circumstance.  I think maybe it's is just plain doing too much inside there subtlly affecting the signal path.  Home theater or an untreated room for example.

My question now is does MiniDSP make something that has a lighter touch on the signal path?   I still need to custom high pass my monitors and low pass my subs.
I would also love to play with dirac, but not at the expense of hurting the signal quality of the audio.

Thoughts Ben?









 

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Audio quality problem with the SHD USB implementation? 1 week 2 days ago #61486

  • PeterRSorenson
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And tomorrow I will run your exact experiment. Which will give a final pass on the USB vs network signal path question. As well as running purely from network only through the SHD Dac to monitors question.  I remembered that I have an XLR switcher so I will be able to A/B.

Cheers

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