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Topic: Strange feature of Topping DAC (Read 7050 times) previous topic - next topic
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Re: Strange feature of Topping DAC

Reply #25
I've seen countless people attempted to bypass everything and think it is always a good idea...
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/for-those-who-worry-about-quality-of-software-volume-control.5922/post-172865

Written by me, but I specifically asked Archimago to proofread the article because I am not a native speaker. As a result the content is somehow changed.  foobar2000 1.4.4 was used and therefore something were changed now as well.
http://archimago.blogspot.com/2019/06/guest-post-why-we-should-use-software.html

Re: Strange feature of Topping DAC

Reply #26
I've seen countless people attempted to bypass everything and think it is always a good idea...

I think you might have meant "not always" ???

With me, trying to bypass everything is second nature :)
Back when I had the luxury of a real high-end system, I once decided to replace every fuse internal and external with
a crazy "audiophile" fuse (and I got the soldering iron out to remove one or two).  What an improvement to sheer
musicality !!

Anyway -- I must confess that I always do use the Foobar volume control (rather than keep it at 100%) and it never
bothers me.

So here's another question --

If the Foobar volume control is being used, is it then better to output at 24bits (playback preferences) even when
playing a 16bit file.  (Obviously ears are the ultimate judge, but I'm interested in the technicality of it).


Re: Strange feature of Topping DAC

Reply #27
Use the highest allowed (24 or 32) bit depth, alongside with foobar's volume control and/or ReplayGain. If a bit-depth is not allowed in exclusive mode, foobar will show error, so you always know it.

Quite a number of DACs accept 32-bit input these days. Even in the most pessimistic scenario (non-dithered 24-bit), lowering a few dBs in the playback software is 100% harmless, you can do the rest in analog, of course.

foobar always use 32-bit float intermediate format in playback and file conversion, and will feed the DAC with 24-bit or 32-bit integer data depending on hardware and driver support. That's why I said the content of the article is somehow changed after proofreading.

Re: Strange feature of Topping DAC

Reply #28
16 bit in case of PCM audio means the format allows for a dynamic range of 96 dB (16x6) max.
The bit depth as set in Win (or any other OS) is the arithmetic precision of the path between media player and DAC.

Win by design will mix. So converts to float, mix, dither , convert back to integer.
Set the precision to 16 bit and it will dither at -96 dBFS
Set it to 24 and this will be -144 dBFS, way below what your gear can resolve.

Likewise if you use volume control e.g. reduce the vole with 48 dB

MSB                 LSB
1111111111111111
0000000011111111
You lose half of the bits if you set Win to use 16

111111111111111100000000
000000001111111111111111

You have the entire sample in the register when using 24 bits.

So as bennetng suggested, always use the highest available bit depth.

TheWellTemperedComputer.com

Re: Strange feature of Topping DAC

Reply #29
So as a 24 bit aware (or 32 bit aware) DAC cannot utilize anything below around 21 anyway, it would suggest that you cannot turn down more than around 5 bits (30 dB) before you start losing fidelity.

Of course it is possible to construct examples where that is "bad" (you have a world-record loud PA and attenuate it to civilized levels ...) - but not for sane setups.

Re: Strange feature of Topping DAC

Reply #30
Some of the worst case scenarios are people using sensitive IEMs with a product with rather strong headphone output, so dozens of dBs could be needed to achieve safe listening level, and doing so may reveal audible hiss, but still highly unlikely to reveal 24-bit truncation artifacts.

Some people said they have to use -70dB gain or so, I sincerely don't know if they were trolling or not.

Re: Strange feature of Topping DAC

Reply #31
I actually experienced the same with highly efficient loudspeakers. The amplifier in question had probably led a long and happy life with speakers at 85 dB senstivity on the watt, but, add twenty and there was indeed hiss out of the horns.

But -70? Did they build a headphone outlet for those 600 ohms headsets?

Re: Strange feature of Topping DAC

Reply #32
So just to round this off.  I checked what happens in "exclusive mode" when I tried to "mix" in a second source
from the same laptop.  Using the sliders (as per images above) I can play audio from e.g. youtube at the same
time, but whereas the main audio is routed out via the Dac to the external amplifier/speakers, the second audio
is heard through the laptop's internal speakers.

Clearly I had misunderstood the exact nature of exclusive output !

Many thanks to everybody for helping to enlighten me.



Re: Strange feature of Topping DAC

Reply #33
Hello All!  This is my first post here  :)

I apologize ahead of time, but in reading this thread which is just about EXACTLY what I wanted to know, I still don't quite understand what I am missing.

Basically, same primary question...  I used to have an SMSL DO200 DAC where I could set it with either MusicBee (preferred) or Foobar using the Wasapi Exclusive mode which would COMPLETELY bypass all Windows systems including all volume controls.  So, that was 'perfect'

However, the USB port of the SMSL seemed to die on me, so in the interim I snagged the Topping E30 from Amazon since it was very highly reviewed for it's price.  BUT... with the exact same settings, Windows is most certainly NOT defeated.  And, no matter how I set the drivers (I've tried both with and without the Topping drivers) Windows main volume control still works (I even found a kind of hidden choice in the advanced settings of Foobar where I unchecked the 'Incorporate Windows volume control', but to no effect)

Now, I KNOW you people are super experienced with audio.  I have a moderately resolving system and for over 40 years of pretending to be an Audiophile and despising ANYTHING digital, I finally gave in and got the SMSL, primarily to be able to play my 7000+ FLAC albums on my main system which I was never able to do.  And, I most humbly admit that I was quite surprised at how good it sounded!  Just like my vinyl collection, on my system I can easily tell between good sources and bad ones.  BUT... I still want to be able to playback the files completely unmolested by Windows or anything else for that matter if it is possible to do so with SOME player and with the Topping E30.

So, I would LOVE any help or suggestions preferably if there IS a way to do this with this DAC.  Or, secondarily, please advise me as to what I should do for the best playback as far as if I am bloody FORCED to have the Windows volume engaged, should I set it at 100% or 85% or what, using of course whatever players volume control as the primary control.

And 3rdly, I got the impression in the this thread that some commented that playing back bit-perfect is not that important.  Although ANY screwing with the original lossless file strikes me as BAD, still, I am open to be educated about this specifically please so that if I CAN'T do anything about it, maybe I can try not to worry about it  :D

Thank you all kindly for whatever guidance you can give me!

Here is a link to my Soundroom / System / Collection if anyone wants to know what kind of system I am playing this through.  I've added comments on the lower right corner of some of the pictures giving more details about how my system is set up:

SOUNDROOM / SYSTEM / COLLECTION

Cheers!

Re: Strange feature of Topping DAC

Reply #34
It is already mentioned in previous posts and links that Windows "main volume control" belongs to the device, and how the device behaves is decided by the manufacturer (e.g. SMSL, Topping)

It is already mentioned in previous posts and links that hardware volume control can exist in the USB controller (e.g. XMOS) and/or the DAC chip (e.g. AKM, ESS) within the DAC enclosure, and Windows "main volume control" is simply a user interface to interact with the hardware volume control. The same way you use the remote control to set your TV's volume doesn't mean the volume calculation math is done by the remote control itself, it is done within your TV's enclosure.

If you don't trust the manufacturer, then don't buy their products.

Re: Strange feature of Topping DAC

Reply #35
Well, as befits the experience and level of the people here, that was a good and academic answer, thank you!

But, that in NO way helps me at all to understand whether I need to worry about bypassing it, whether it affects the sound quality.  Whether I am still getting 'bit-perfect' or what I should do.

I tell you guys what...  Just pretend you are talking to a 5 year old, okay?  (not a terribly big stretch) and try to lower yourselves down from your admittedly very educated levels, and PLEASE just tell me these things:

1)  Is my Topping DAC the way I have described the setup with Wasapi Exclusive but with the Windows volume still functional (which REMEMBER PLEASE I have clearly stated that with the SMSL everything WAS indeed bypassed, now it is NOT)  That, my friends is what a lowly commoner like me calls 'A Difference'  So, does this 'Difference' between the two DACs mean that now the Topping is NOT bit-perfect?

2) after a Yes/No for the above.  If yes, then I'm done and I won't worry about it (or continue to bother you people)  If No, then:
  a) Am I indeed losing lossless quality and is it important
  b) What should I do about it

3) And lastly, since you seem to be indicating that the Windows controls will indeed continue to be active, HOW then should I set the volumes?  Should I leave the Windows master volume at 100%, 85%, what... and just use say the MusicBee volume control?

I may not grasp the high concepts of what you are telling me, but I THINK just kindly answering those 3 things would go a LONG way to HELPING me to understand what I should do  :)

Thank you!