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Thread: HDMI to DAC?

  1. #1

    HDMI to DAC?

    Hi,

    Has anyone used HDMI outout from a PC to feed a DAC? Is there anything like a HDMI to AES/EBU or SPDIF converter?
    If yes, do these output 24/192 and how do they compare to say the Lynx AES16?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Great Question!

    There are many A/V processor/receivers out there with 192/24 converters on all channels and HDMI connectivity. Among these, there are several which output digital audio via S/PDIF. I haven't researched the capacities of these outputs.

  3. #3
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    I've been looking for a

    I've been looking for a fashion watch with digital inputs . . .
    Macmini (as server)-> AE Express/SB Touch-> Dacmagic plus -> Outlaw RR2150 -> PSB Image T6 (dedicated 2 channel audio system)
    Macmini (via toslink)-> NAD T747 -> PSB Imagine B/SVS SB2000 subwoofer (home theater)
    Macbook Pro-> Peachtree idecco->PSB Imagine Minis, Energy ESW-M8 subwoofer, Beyerdynamic DT880 (home office)
    IMac->audioengine D1 dac->airmotiv 4 (work system)

  4. #4
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    There are no real non-processor/receiver DACs that employ

    the HDMI spec...mainly for two reasons IMO. One, it is a very expensive license and only the a/v mfgers can sell enough to justify it. And two, as an audiophile standard it is not well designed, with jitter issues, noise issues, etc. Supposedly hurried and put together mostly as a means to simplify digital cabling in a/v, HDMI is not the vehicle for great audio. The HDMI ports you see on a few audiophile-type DACs (PS Audio, for example) are not really spec HDMI but instead other signals (I2S, etc) using the same connector in a proprietary fashion.

    All that being said, yeah it would be nice to see a non-mid-fi HDMI capability somewhere...so we could grab, among other things, 5.1 MLP or pure DSD off an Oppo or other existing transport, for example, and send it to a Mytek or Metric Halo or other mch DAC for real hi-end surround. I mean, we can rip the above and figure out how to send it via firewire or multiple SDIF but what a pain right now.
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

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  5. #5
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    Well...

    Devialet is supposed to implement just that on the D-Premier through a software upgrade later on this year.

    My Oppo BDP-93 NXE is ready in case that happens. It is one of the 3 Blu-Ray players I know of able to output sound through a HDMI output and image through another one (the other 2 being the Denon/Marantz high end players costing about 10 times more).

    It will also be able to stream 88.2 Khz PCM converted internally from DSD which will enable high quality SACD replay through the superior dac of the D-Premier (one PCM1792 per channel).

    The question is whether this still makes sense. I have quite a few SACDs whose CD layer's rip is probably not tapping into the potential of the D-Premier, but am I going to go trough the trouble again of putting disks in the player again when an m4p replay is one click away on the iPad???...

    Cheers,
    Bernard

    PS Audio P10 - Mac mini - Devialet 240 - Wilson Benesch Vector

  6. #6

    Audirvana/Pure Music into Devialet HDMI

    I've discovered that both Audirvana and Pure Music players send a signal to the Mac Mini HDMI output, which when connected to the newly implemented Devialet HDMI input, are decoded and play in the Devialet. Audio Midi shows that the signal is output in all the usual bitrates up to 24/192.

    Is this a high quality connection possibility, or are there problems, potential or real, that I should know about?

    Any point of view or superior knowledge is welcomed.

    fm
    "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" -Charles Darwin
    Aurender X100L (K. Lau LPS) > Intona USB Isolator > Devialet 250 > Audio Physic Avantera

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ted_b View Post
    the HDMI spec...mainly for two reasons IMO. One, it is a very expensive license and only the a/v mfgers can sell enough to justify it. And two, as an audiophile standard it is not well designed, with jitter issues, noise issues, etc. Supposedly hurried and put together mostly as a means to simplify digital cabling in a/v, HDMI is not the vehicle for great audio. The HDMI ports you see on a few audiophile-type DACs (PS Audio, for example) are not really spec HDMI but instead other signals (I2S, etc) using the same connector in a proprietary fashion.

    All that being said, yeah it would be nice to see a non-mid-fi HDMI capability somewhere...so we could grab, among other things, 5.1 MLP or pure DSD off an Oppo or other existing transport, for example, and send it to a Mytek or Metric Halo or other mch DAC for real hi-end surround. I mean, we can rip the above and figure out how to send it via firewire or multiple SDIF but what a pain right now.
    I guess that I must be lucky because the HDMI from my htpc and my Dune player to my Integra DHC-80.3 has insignificant jitter and the sound-floor is about as quiet as I have ever heard. I output 5.1 DSD to my Integra all of the time without issue via ASIO. If I want to use room correction, the DSD is converted into pcm anyway.

  8. #8
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    The more promising approach is to get the Oppo 93 with the vanity93 digi out board. This board will convert DSD to 176/24 LPCM, reclock and send out over coax. MUCH better than the Oppo DSD to PCM conversion at 88/24, you avoid HDMI alltogether and can take advantage of your existing high grade DAC.

    If you want to take advantage of this in MCH mode, you need three 2 channel DACs. This will beat the crap out of any processor over HDMI signal path. Only issue is synching up the volume controls, which can be done using a MCH analog preamp, or macro programming in Irule using the volume control in the DAC. In fact, my appraoch is diffent still. I run the Oppo digi out into a Trinnov processor with DRC.

  9. #9
    Ph.D. Level Member Paul R's Avatar
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    The new NAD integrated 390DD and the M51 DAC both sport optional HDMI inputs. They sound very good.

    Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by msb1 View Post
    Hi,

    Has anyone used HDMI outout from a PC to feed a DAC? Is there anything like a HDMI to AES/EBU or SPDIF converter?
    If yes, do these output 24/192 and how do they compare to say the Lynx AES16?

    Thanks.
    Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.
    Robert A. Heinlein

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul.Raulerson View Post
    The new NAD integrated 390DD and the M51 DAC both sport optional HDMI inputs. They sound very good.

    Paul
    The M51 is only 2 channel output and doesn't support DSD; all of that for only $2,000

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul.Raulerson View Post
    The new NAD integrated 390DD and the M51 DAC both sport optional HDMI inputs. They sound very good.

    Paul
    I was wondering when some DAC manufacturer would decide to offer HDMI. I had very good experience streaming DSD from my Sony XA5400 into a surround sounf processor over HDMI, and imagine it would sound very good on two channel using a topnotch DAC.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mav52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlknez View Post
    The M51 is only 2 channel output and doesn't support DSD; all of that for only $2,000
    not bad considering the some ultra $$$ USB only DACS and ultra $$$ Firewire only DACS cost a whole lot more, so the NAD offers more at $2,000 and then some and actually measures good as well. And Paul is right, the DAC sounds very good.
    "Maybe you need to stop looking for what other people claim is best, and start assembling a system that's in sync with your own musical taste"

  13. #13
    Ph.D. Level Member Paul R's Avatar
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    (grin) How many channels do you want just for Music? More than 2, use a PrePro or AVR, of which there are many that are Audiophile quality, and as many monoblock amps as you need...

    -Paul


    Quote Originally Posted by mlknez View Post
    The M51 is only 2 channel output and doesn't support DSD; all of that for only $2,000
    Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.
    Robert A. Heinlein

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul.Raulerson View Post
    (grin) How many channels do you want just for Music? More than 2, use a PrePro or AVR, of which there are many that are Audiophile quality, and as many monoblock amps as you need...

    -Paul
    Regrettably, there are no "audiophile" quality processors that support DSD. I had an Onkyo once, that did an OK job with MCH SACD over HDMI, but as you move up the SSP foodchain, DSD drops off the specsheet. To get audiophile MCH SACD in native DSD, you need a top notch player, use the analog outs and a MCH analog preamp.

  15. #15
    Digital Provocateur DigiPete's Avatar
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    Pro solutions

    Quote Originally Posted by msb1 View Post
    Hi,

    Has anyone used HDMI outout from a PC to feed a DAC? Is there anything like a HDMI to AES/EBU or SPDIF converter?
    If yes, do these output 24/192 and how do they compare to say the Lynx AES16?

    Thanks.
    The Lynx cards have a good reputation for stationary computer.


    If you insist on an external converter say for a laptop/Mac Mini, stay in the professional world and have a look at:

    Blackmagic Design: Home or

    8 channel HDMI Digital Audio Converters

    I'm sure you can find more in the broadcast world.


    I would stay away from HDMI if I could to keep jitter low, alternatively a DDC or DAC with a good buffer/de-jitter capability.

    And no, I have not tried any of these boxes in my rig.
    Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete
    ALAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt -> MacBook Pro 2,2Ghz Core i7 120GB SSD 16GB RAM
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  16. #16
    Yea - I have tried it into my M51. The USB is better and a Audiopellio or Off-Ramp feeding it is better again.

    Thanks
    Bill

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by DigiPete View Post
    ...
    I would stay away from HDMI if I could to keep jitter low, alternatively a DDC or DAC with a good buffer/de-jitter capability.
    Have you measured jitter on recent HDMI connections?

  18. #18
    Digital Provocateur DigiPete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlknez View Post
    Have you measured jitter on recent HDMI connections?
    No. Would you have some data to enlighten us with?
    Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete
    ALAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt -> MacBook Pro 2,2Ghz Core i7 120GB SSD 16GB RAM
    iTunes / Pure Music / Amarra HiFi / Bit Perfect / Audirvana + / Decibel / VLC
    -> Firewire -> Weiss AFI-1 DDC -> AES/EBU -> Genelec 3 x 8260A + 2 x 8250A + 7271A sub
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  19. #19
    Masters Level Member sandyk's Avatar
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    I have a DAC with 2 Toslink Inputs that are switchable via remote control.
    Surprisingly, HDMI to a Samsung LED TV, then Toslinkk to my DAC, sounded cleaner and clearly better than Toslink direct from a WD TV Live HD, even though it was using a low noise Linear +12V supply.
    Apparently it comes down to how well the manufacturer implements HDMI.
    "If you can't hear the difference between an original CD and a copy of your CD,
    you might as well give up your career as a tester. The difference between a reconstituted FLAC and full size WAV is much less than that, but it does exist. - Cookie Marenco"

  20. #20
    Sophomore Member phatoldsun's Avatar
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    HDMI v.1.3 and newer is better for jitter

    I'm not an expert like many others in this tread and on this forum. I do see the opinion that HDMI is bad for jitter often on this forum and I think these opinions are from measurements of HDMI on the older versions.

    My understanding is that the 1.3 spec has requirements to reduce jitter. Oppo BDP-93 & BDP-95 On the Bench — Reviews and News from Audioholics
    Excerpt: Early HDMI products (ver 1.0 to 1.2) reportedly suffered from jitter related issues but HDMI ver 1.3 and above has completely eliminated jitter related issues thus ensuring bit for bit exact signal transfer from the player to the A/V receiver or processor.

    Manufacturers of AVRs use various "clocking" technologies to reduce jitter to the v1.3 specs. I have read that my Marantz SR6003 has a Phase-Locked Loop (PLL), which (in Marantz's words) '..is a control system that generates a signal that has fixed relation to the phase of a 'reference signal''.
    Sounds like the timing of the 'clock receiver' adjusts itself depending on the input timing, thereby reducing the effects of having the reference clock in the player/transport. Pioneer uses PQLS and “speed synchronises” the digital audio data.

    To me, it seems newer versions of HDMI (properly implemented) do the same thing "natively" to reduce timing jitter that we have to jump through hoops (asynchronous USB DACs, Converters, external clocks) to get out of our computers. Plus, AVRs have 192/24 DACs (AND easy multi-channel) and we often bump into 96/24 limits via usb.
    HDMI may have other issues and its invention was likely not for better audio, but the high jitter specs are for older versions of HDMI on older AVRs or processors.
    I think the HDMI license fee is the main reason high end DAC developers don't embrace HDMI.

    Again, I'm not an expert. Just joining the conversation.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul.Raulerson View Post
    The new NAD integrated 390DD and the M51 DAC both sport optional HDMI inputs. They sound very good.

    Paul
    Linn's DSM series of streamers and Preamps also now incorporate HDMI inputs.
    Mainly for passing video from set top box's and Blue Ray players but I am betting they are also looking at Apple and the ATV and Mini HDMI streaming juggernaut.

    Streaming HD movies can sound superb through this combo. Two channels only of course but still quite satisfying.
    David