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Majestic DAC

Printed From: Graham Slee at Hifi System Components
Category: Digital Audio
Forum Name: Computer Audio
Forum Description: Is computer audio here to stay or is it just another flavour of the month?
URL: https://www.hifisystemcomponents.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4407
Printed Date: 19 Nov 2019 at 1:16am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.01 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Majestic DAC
Posted By: GuiseleyDavid
Subject: Majestic DAC
Date Posted: 22 Jan 2018 at 9:39pm
I have many large files on hard drive that are too large in sample rate for the maximum specification on the USB input on the DAC.  As a simple non engineer I wish to know if the Dac will play them and if so will it do them justice.  I note that we are advised that if we only look at the specs, we will miss out on the music.  I am on the waiting list to borrow a DAC and if it won't play them I can withdraw and not waste peoples time.  I am using a GS MM phono stage and am waiting for delivery on a MC phono stage, so as a big fan, I am hoping that I can use the DAC.   
Thanks in advance for your help. 



Replies:
Posted By: Chris Firth
Date Posted: 22 Jan 2018 at 9:58pm
The USB input spec for the Majestic was chosen because special drivers would not be required.

Your computer's default behaviour is to play the file, using whatever resources it takes to do the job.
This includes downsampling files, which is what the computer should do transferring the data over USB.

So the short answer is yes, it should play your files.
But there is a cost, and it depends on the operating system of the computer hooked up to the DAC how big that cost is.



Posted By: GuiseleyDavid
Date Posted: 22 Jan 2018 at 10:14pm
Thank you, is it worth continuing with loaning a DAC from you and seeing how it performs, or should I look elsewhere? 



Posted By: Chris Firth
Date Posted: 22 Jan 2018 at 10:48pm
Try it and see what you think of it.

How do you play your files currently, and by that I mean computer type, OS & media player?


Posted By: BackinBlack
Date Posted: 22 Jan 2018 at 10:59pm
Originally posted by GuiseleyDavid GuiseleyDavid wrote:

Thank you, is it worth continuing with loaning a DAC from you and seeing how it performs, or should I look elsewhere? 



Hi David and welcome to the forum.
I, like many others here have quite a variety of music files from 320k mp3 to 192k/24 bit. They reside on a 500GB SSD attached directly by USB and also a 2TB NAS vis ethernet to a Raspberry Pi3 with HiFiBerry Digi+ HAT feeding to my Majestic via SPDIF. I can also feed via USB, although I prefer the SPDIF as it has better isolation due to transformer couplin. The Pi runs Moode audio player and is set to resample everything to 96k/24 bit which the Majestic handles without problem and sounds quite excellent.
I would therefore recommend that you do try out the Majestic, with USB and SPDIF inputs.
I would also recommend the Raspberry Pi solution as it can give much better sound quality than most computers due most likely to it being used as a dedicated audio device.
As has been said many times on this forum - don't get hung up on the numbers!

Hope this helps
Ian


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Just listen, if it sounds good to you, enjoy it.


Posted By: GuiseleyDavid
Date Posted: 22 Jan 2018 at 11:04pm
Windows 7 on a crappy Pipo computer (so as not to have fans running) using foobar into the USB on a Arcam irDACII. 



Posted By: GuiseleyDavid
Date Posted: 23 Jan 2018 at 12:03am
Thank you


Posted By: Graham Slee
Date Posted: 23 Jan 2018 at 12:43am
The U in USB says it all. It is universal. Intended to do all kinds of things. However, it does cater for particular transfer types.

The one for audio is called isochronous. It has guaranteed bandwidth and guaranteed quality of service (latency). There are two downsides if they can be called downsides: 1, lost data is skipped (no retry); and 2, audio bit depth and sampling rates are limited by the isochronous chip manufacturers abilities (within USB2 full-speed). There will only be lost data through faults, and if faults are dealt with, data isn't lost. An example being loading up the host device to its capacity with additional tasks.

There are other types of transfers in which clever manipulators can get greater bit depth and/or sampling rates. However, as these are not isochronous there is no guarantee of bandwidth or quality of service (latency) and playback can unexpectedly stop, or glitch, or become very noisy. The type of audio device which uses this manipulation is known as asynchronous, which means on occasion/as required/not synchronous.

The USB spec does not have a transfer called asynchronous, so such devices use control, interrupt or bulk transfers intended for non-audio streaming to stream audio. But some chips have been outed and shown to use isochronous transfers via software, requiring proprietary drivers, which might well be instructing the host to downsample, allegedly. Wink



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Not simple enough for Google-Bot to understand...


Posted By: stefanm
Date Posted: 23 Jan 2018 at 7:12am
I run the Majestic from a real crappy 10 years old Linux box with very low specs.
Playback has excellent quality. I don't understand the different USB modes, but it simply works. The Majestic was plug & play.
I have mostly flac files with varying quality. No problems either.


Posted By: BackinBlack
Date Posted: 23 Jan 2018 at 12:14pm
I should have mentioned that with USB from computer/laptop there is a possibility of noise coming from their Switch Mode Power Supplies, something I noticed with my Laptop, but not the Raspberry pi with it's SMPS. Running the laptop on battery alone removes the problem. Obviously a source problem and not a Majestic problem.

Ian


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Just listen, if it sounds good to you, enjoy it.


Posted By: GuiseleyDavid
Date Posted: 23 Jan 2018 at 12:55pm
Thank you everyone. 


Posted By: dillon
Date Posted: 23 Jan 2018 at 3:30pm
Hiya

I'm demoing Madge (Majestic DAC) as we speak! I will put up a proper write up once I'm done, but just to comment on your issue for now. Madge will play anything you throw at her without fail. And without installing drivers. I use JRiver MC software for my 2TB silent audio only PC. Using Madge, I downsample everything to 16 bit - including hyper high resolution DSD128. I have -and never will be - a fan of native USB transmission due to intrinsic noise issues. A seperate regeneration and isolation and reclocking device I do own does sort this out however. The sound via direct USB into the Madge is good. But it's nowhere near as spectacular as SPDIF at 16 bit or 24/192. As opposed to USB, the isolated Coax inputs on Madge lose very little when playing converted DSD128 files through Madge. Native 24 bit files sound sublime. That, my friend, is impressive! And so, using the SPDIF output from your source will work best sound quality wise, but USB is fine for most listeners if they don't have SPDIF. I'm just hyper fussy.

Regardless of USB or SPDIF, what you will definitely take away from Madge is her sheer ability to sound totally natural. Unlike most other DACs you will not get that slightly cold, clinical and metallic overtone you may be used to as a matter of course. It does freak you out at first, and takes some time for our ears to adjust to the nature of natural music from digital. But once they do, you won't be able to listen any other way.

Get a demo sorted, with total confidence. You're wasting nobody's time!

-------------
Nottingham Analogue Hyperspace w Space Arm & Dynavector 10x5 HOMC/GSP Revelation M/John Sampson upgraded Meridian 508.24 CDP/Sony 777ES SACD/ProAc Response D18/GSP Solo ULDE/GSP cables and ICs


Posted By: morris_minor
Date Posted: 24 Jan 2018 at 3:23pm
My "Madge" takes SPDIF co-ax from a Transporter (Squeezebox), SPDIF optical from a Mac Mini, and analogue from a couple of turntables (via a good switch box).

It gets caned daily. Comes up smiling every time. (Or should that be me that's smiling Big smile).

A demo will tell you why we all like it so much. Wink


-------------
Bob

Majestic DAC/pre-amp
Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
2 x Proprius + Spatia/Spatia Links


Posted By: dillon
Date Posted: 24 Jan 2018 at 3:35pm
Yes, she is a bit of a tart our Madge...tends to get around a bit.

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Nottingham Analogue Hyperspace w Space Arm & Dynavector 10x5 HOMC/GSP Revelation M/John Sampson upgraded Meridian 508.24 CDP/Sony 777ES SACD/ProAc Response D18/GSP Solo ULDE/GSP cables and ICs


Posted By: Fatmangolf
Date Posted: 24 Jan 2018 at 6:51pm
I'm not a fan of USB either but Madge does that honestly and musically. S/P DIF is my preferred option via a Squeezebox Touch. A great sound as you've said Bob.

You're right about the natural sound Dil, definitely no digital sheen. And not the cold and clinical sound of various DAC's I have heard.



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Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.


Posted By: Aussie Mick
Date Posted: 25 Jan 2018 at 12:05am
Hi all,
Optical from the TV, coax from the CD transport, coax from the DVD player, coax via M2Tech usb/coax converter for the MacBook, analogue from the Reflex/EXP. Hours of use every day I’m home. Music.
Loan it, love it.
Mick.

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Rega RP8/Ortofon 2M Black/Rega Apheta 2 - Reflex M/Elevator EXP - C.E.C. TL5 CD Transport - MacBook Pro/Roon - Majestic DAC - Solo ULDE (Focal Elear) - Proprius - PMC Twenty5.22


Posted By: RichW
Date Posted: 25 Jan 2018 at 8:07am
I had a fairly simple laptop setup running JRiver into Madge's USB with music stored on a USB drive.
Sounded top class - until USB hard drive died.
Now running a good old CD transport into SPDIF & more than happy with the sound.
Rainy weekend task is to re-rip CDs onto a more reliable brand of USB drive & back it up.




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Elevator, Accession, Majestic, Reflex M, Solo ULDE, CuSat & Lautus.


Posted By: morris_minor
Date Posted: 25 Jan 2018 at 9:43am
Originally posted by Aussie Mick Aussie Mick wrote:

Hi all,
Optical from the TV, coax from the CD transport, coax from the DVD player, coax via M2Tech usb/coax converter for the MacBook, analogue from the Reflex/EXP. Hours of use every day I’m home. Music.
Loan it, love it.
Mick.
I can imagine a strapline for Graham's site:

Loan it - Love it - Buy it !


-------------
Bob

Majestic DAC/pre-amp
Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
2 x Proprius + Spatia/Spatia Links


Posted By: Aussie Mick
Date Posted: 25 Jan 2018 at 2:51pm
Nice one, Bob!

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Rega RP8/Ortofon 2M Black/Rega Apheta 2 - Reflex M/Elevator EXP - C.E.C. TL5 CD Transport - MacBook Pro/Roon - Majestic DAC - Solo ULDE (Focal Elear) - Proprius - PMC Twenty5.22



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