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Computer Audiophile


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About exa

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  1. A new firmware update available for the exaSound PlayPoint. We are introducing the long-awaited support for third-party USB Audio 2.0 DACs. This is a first beta release, please give it a try with any DACs that you own. Send us an email if you notice any glitches.
  2. Stereophile Series on MQA Technology

    The most commonly used manipulation technique is to present as equal entities that are not equal. "Lumping" together the DSD and MQA discussions would be a deliberate manipulation. Using the word "bagging" implicitly puts down the DSD recorders. Maybe they tried to explain the difference and they felt hopeless. Could you show a public source for the information how many companies signed the NDA?
  3. Hi Robert, You can use the VB-Audio ASIO Bridge. It's free: https://www.vb-audio.com/Cable/ It is a bridge between the Windows sound system and ASIO and it works with all streaming services like YouTube, Tidal etc. Best, George
  4. I use a pair of Sennheiser HD800 plugged in directly to the e32 as a main tool for subjective evaluation. I also recommend to customers that have coloration, resolution or dynamics issues with their systems to plug a pair of good headphones directly to the e32. This is the best way to examine the true voice of the e32 since there are no other active components involved. It has enough power to drive very demanding headphones.
  5. SOTM Ultra won't work with an exaSound e32 DAC. No other player on the market can compete with the PlayPoint / e32 combo. They are optimized for each other. There is nothing that another streamer can do to offer better sonic fidelity when combined with an exaSound DAC. I get your point about the lower price range. We can work in this direction but we are not interested to sacrifice quality.
  6. Single unit DAC/Steamer is the way to go. Feel free to suggest features. Using a PlayPoint and DAC combo has a positive side - two separate external power supplies. (We can also offer a dual Teddy Pardo LPS. ) The suggested price point is not that easy to achieve. When you consider the Galvanic isolation, re-clocking FIFO buffer, 32bit custom asynchronous interface, 11 linear regulators, 4 clocks, FPGA core, headphone amp, DAC chip @ $75, touch screen, CPU and RAM sufficient to run a Roon Core, the component count and the complexity is significant. Keep in mind we do all the development in-house and we do manual assembly in Toronro, Canada. Sonically we compete with devices in the higher category. The PlayPoint network player is tightly integrated with our DACs. So are our custom drivers on Windows and Mac. Our drivers bypass the Windows sound system and we offer ASIO on Mac that eliminates Core Audio. Either scenarios, computer + drivers + DAC or PlayPoint + DAC are highly optimized. I prefer the PlayPoint scenario. It brings the experience to a higher level and it is far more stable. It is easy to setup and use. No drivers to install The PlayPoint works with Roon, HQPlayer, Audirvana, UPnP/OpenHome Airplay and MPD. I should not be the one to compare exaSound with SOTM. They offer great products. Our unfair advantage is that we have control over the entire signal path - software and hardware. They offer great value and compatibility with so many DACs. In their case the end result depends on the quality of the third-party DAC.
  7. To get a good sounding system you need to integrate everything well. It is not as simple as one thing against another. Most often the sound quality of an audio system is determined by the worst-performing link in the audio streaming chain. It is a misconception that one component can compensate for the bad performance of another. Any audio processing, amplification, conversion from electrical signal to acoustic signal always come at a cost - some added noise and distortion. No speakers can compensate for the limited amount of detail in the output of an iPhone. If you haven't experienced the flood of detail and excitement that a high-rez PCM or DSD file can bring in your listening room, you need to look for the weak link. You also have to be prepared to trust your own instincts and your ears. The hype of the audio show and the concentration of unattainable objects of desire can side-track you. I will always remember The Story where six best-of-show awards, in both categories "Under $20,000" and "Money is no object" were awarded to a contender using well-known to the journalists amp and speakers. It was a small DAC that injected a new life in the experience.
  8. We've made progress with the power supply. exaSound is now offering a Teddy Pardo power supply bundled with the e32 DAC.
  9. Yes it does, with a little trick. DoP is a little trick too, so this is fair game. No loss of data whatsoever.
  10. All exaSound DACs support DSD256 on Mac OS both in Core Audio and ASIO mode. Core Audio works via DoP and ASIO streams native DSD. Both require the installation of our drivers. The exaSound PlayPoint/e32DAc bundle offers more convenient driverless operation. It can be controlled with Audirvana via UPnP, HQPlayer/NAA, and Roon. All of these scenarios support native DSD up to DSD 265 and PCM up to 384kHz/32bit.
  11. Your question comes down to comparing different implementations - DAC internal processing, made of DAC chip and firmware or using software for external processing. Our focus have always been on making our devices self sufficient and optimized for every format and resolution. My personal development efforts and listening preference are in this direction. I also like to keep my audio system as simple as possible. I don't know which approach is right for you, a professionally optimized system or solution that you want to assemble on your own. You can be happy either way, my advice is to stay on solid ground and to understand the technologies that you are using. There is plenty of naive and incorrect information out there. For example the Sabre chips are not converging the 44.1 to 48kHz. It never occurred to me that the SRC stage can be eliminated for reducing electronic noise. My personal S/N ratio is not a match for our DACs, but stopping internal nose sources like my heart and the blood circulation will bring far more damage than good. Our devices work very well in both scenarios. You can bypass the internal volume control. Using external PCM to DSD conversion and up-sampling will work great and you will enjoy the fine D to A conversion and the character of the processing that you are fine-tuning. Our devices are very transparent and will not impose any significant flavor of their own.
  12. You must have seen this one. I really enjoyed reading it. This exciting "short story" confirms what exaSound DAC owners were saying for long time. The e32, a $3.500 DAC can confidently compete sonically with DACs in the $10,000 price range.
  13. We have a new version of the Volume Synchronization Plug-In for the 64-bit JRiver MC available for download on our support site.
  14. I don't know what the final MQA implementation details will look like. When we have a successful implementation, it will have absolutely no impact on non-MQA streams. With other words, non-MQA streams will have to pass our tests for bit-perfect 32-bit streaming from the player application (for example Foobar) to the DAC chip. Our definition of bit-perfect is mathematically lossless. This is the foundation for all our products.