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Asthma5
0
Feb 9, 2016
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A little confused, slim use the same AK4490 chip as HD, then why it's 192 not 384? Also how is this compared to apogee groove or even M9XX? Can this drive HD600/650?
Feb 9, 2016
hli30
1
Feb 9, 2016
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192/384 is pro version, not slim version
Feb 9, 2016
hli30
1
Feb 9, 2016
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sorry, HD version
Feb 9, 2016
Asthma5
0
Feb 9, 2016
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I know that, but they use the same DAC chip, just wondering why the rate is different. And the slim one doesn't have DSD. Is the slim version "locked" or it's also based on anything other than DAC chip?
Feb 9, 2016
lvince95
248
Feb 10, 2016
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It depends on how the chip is implemented, as different implementations mean different features. For example, the Schiit Bifrost 4490 which also uses the AKM4490 chip only supports up to 192kHz and doesn't allow you to switch filters.
Feb 10, 2016
Asthma5
0
Feb 10, 2016
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Thanks for answering this.
Feb 10, 2016
CEntrance
1178
Michael Goodman
Feb 10, 2016
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HD is more feature rich. There you would get 384 and DSD for not a lot much more money.
Feb 10, 2016
CEntrance
1178
Michael Goodman
Feb 10, 2016
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We keep hearing that people prefer DACport Slim to Apogee Groove on sound alone. And Slim doesn't cost nearly as much.
Feb 10, 2016
Sagacious
124
Feb 13, 2016
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From what I gather the HD has a slightly higher output Amp section and in the firmware has the DSD and 384k enabled.
Excuse the tech here: It seems the Slim could do DSD as well because the AKM4490 DAC chip is the only PCM - DSD dual chip that provides "According to AKM, the volume control module and the delta-sigma modulator can be bypassed for DSD resulting in “direct” DSD rendering. The AK4490 contains an integrated low-pass filter specifically for DSD data. The ultimate specified performance for SACD (as described in the Scarlet Book) can be easily realized with a simple external analog filter. The DSD data is received by the DSD interface and sent directly to the “SCF” (Switched Capacitor Filter) block. DSD filter can be selected at 50KHz, 100KHz or 150KHz cut-off." All of this built in internally. The SABRE DACs btw are not capable of bypassing the Delta Sigma making the AKM superior fro DSD IMO. Maybe the USB interface chip is more bandwidth limited in the Slim?
Anyways, after researching and talking to a Tech at CEntrance I discovered the DACport HD AKM4490 filters are set to the default setting of "Short delay Sharp Rolloff" which is an older approach on filters. (Excellent tech support to even know this!) What I am surprised by is the DACPORT HD design doesn't incorporate the cutting edge "Super Slow Rolloff" filter that AKM went out of there way to embed in their AKM4490 Flagship "Verita"design. The AKM4397 Verita (2016 flagship DAC for AKM) also now includes this SSR filter and and an even more enhanced version of this "Super Slow Rolloff."
Some DAC integrated designs allow access to these built in filters but since the DACPORT is lacking a button , I understand it is not as simple to change. Setting up the the internal filters is easy to do in the initialization registers in firmware. So my question is " Why was the Default standard "Short Delay" (antiquated) filter used instead of the cutting edge AKM "Super Slow Rolloff"? in both DACport designs? Was every filter tested before final decision was made? Or was an output buffering circuit designed with this in mind?
By the way I ordered an Dacport HD due to its AKM4490's proper implementation of DSD. I might also get a Slim for a second system. I do applaud the 40khz rolloff versus 20khz standard, The no filter caps and class A output design approach. The fact that you write Drivers for many manufactures, your units are made in the USA and have endorsements from leaders in the Audio industry kinda tops Schiit and all others IMO. Bravo!
It would be nice to hear from the mind of CEntrance the thoughts behind output filter choices.
Feb 13, 2016
CEntrance
1178
Michael Goodman
Feb 15, 2016
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Thank you for your detailed research. A couple of quick points. Slim is cheaper than HD and therefore is feature-limited. They are built on the same platform, but have their differences. The tech you spoke to didn't give you the full picture. Yes, we have spent months listening to the AK4490's multiple internal filters, but we didn't just choose one. We added custom stuff. CEntrance is an authorized design firm for AKM, which you can check on their website. We have access to deep info, so we ended up placing the chip in a special mode that improves the audio performance even further. We don't offer a filter switch because that's typically offered in much more expensive products. Nevertheless, we are very proud of the sound we have achieved and know that you will enjoy it just as much as we do.
Feb 15, 2016
Sagacious
124
Feb 15, 2016
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Thank you for answering and responding "Mind of CEntrance". (rare for company leaders) I respectfully understand the proprietary approach as unfortunately these days companies like to copy-cat others hard work. Obviously one can get a AKM4490 test board for cheap on ebay but how CEntrance integrates a DAC chip will make a tremendous difference. With technical facts and collective experience It is harder and harder these days to go by overpriced "Faith" in a companies ability with Audiophile gear and pay to get on the "HypeTrain". With the DACport's Class A low impedance high mwatt output, XMOS asynch- low to no jitter, No filter output caps, Custom Dac filter, Gain selector switch, Digital volume Pot . 10-40khz Frequency response. These are not just "Faith" designs but fundamentally proven "Sound" design approaches.
In regards to the DSD feature on the HD, (nice to have the choice versus for example Schiit not giving one). DSD is more a niche that was poorly supported by record companies who rather spend their money persuading the governments to police our internet privacy than provide a "high rez" standardized format. The core of the debate seems to find DSD vs equal "high rez" PCM to be just a different mastering versus 1 is better than the other. Sorta like how LP's are mastered differently and have appeal for those reasons. The advantage Native DSD brings is it helps prevent "bit manipulation" by the user or OS allowing us to hearing the Final Master but ironically DSD simultaneously allows custom output filters (the same as on board Dac built in filtering) via computer processing pre-signal sent to the DAC. (we get to play designer) (see hqplayer) I myself will likely only use DSD 2-5% of the time. Still I went for the HD because I like to have features to play with.
If i wrote a review I would definitely quote ya here: "Yes, we have spent months listening to the AK4490's multiple internal filters, but we didn't just choose one." "Nevertheless, we are very proud of the sound we have achieved and know that you will enjoy it just as much as we do."
Awesome! Put me on the "Faith" bandwagon! (pride in ones creation is rare these days)
Since I may momentarily have your ear, My only critique with CEntrance is that it would be nice to have actual benchmark tests on your website for all of your products. Such as SNR, IMD, FR, THD at var. frequency and output impedance to represent the range of headphones, Dac linearity, Phase linearity, Jitter spectrum & pitch accuracy, Cross talk and channel separation, Square wave at various freq. , Transient impulse, Noise floor, Volume channel balance, Etc. All Tests at each gain setting (when possible) of all your devices. Your likely to have some or most of these. Otherwise how could you insure you were not getting placebo "Faith" results? (Rhetorical and not questioning CEntrance's vast audio expertise experience) Functioning is easy to test, Functioning as intended often requires tedious bench marking with days of boring mind numbing setups and cross checks to insure results which often do not remotely even resemble the joy of listening. Correlating Data interpretation to what we hear gets even more complicated. Yet empirically certain tests do show us what we "hear".
If you did publish some benchmark data I and likely many others will jump off the subjective "Faith Bandwagon" to the "Super Fanboy" train based on pure objectivity with a passion for "Faith in the Designer."
That being said , I and likely others greatly thank you for providing a Most Excellent cost effective device.
Feb 15, 2016
CEntrance
1178
Michael Goodman
Feb 15, 2016
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Thanks for the good words. Now that you own the device itself, I hope it's no longer blind faith but solid actual experience :) Thanks for the offer to write a review -- much appreciated if you can do so. Regarding your request for detailed specs. We are a small shop and currently our engineers are busy working on the next best thing, which as we've hinted already will be a portable version of DACport. This makes it harder for me to take the engineers away from that important work and sit them down to do precise measurements. Having said that, if we ever have a lull, I will make sure that the specs are updated!
Feb 15, 2016
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