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Author Topic: Digital attenuator  (Read 678 times)
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fralippo
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« on: July 02, 2019, 11:43:37 am »

I don't use any digital attenuation in my system, although I know that the one used in XXHe is very good, I wonder if it'd be a good idea for the upcoming V2.11 to consider the option to disable it (not only blocking it to zero, but fully bypassing the code).

Maybe most users aren't interested in that and anyway, for the highest possible SQ, that should be carefully avoided.

What do you think?
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PeterSt
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2019, 06:43:17 pm »

No votes to be seen anywhere...  unhappy
But not such a good idea either. The preamp - or any analog attenuation means is still the most detrimental to good SQ. So it would not be a wise thing to leave it out, or to have another parameter/setting for that matter.  Happy

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Peter
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For the Stealth III LPS PC :
W10-14393.0 - Oct 31, 2018 (2.10)
XXHighEnd Mach III Stealth LPS PC -> Xeon Scalable 14/28 core with Hyperthreading On (set to 10/20 cores) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 30/-/1/1/1/ Q1Factor = 10 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 15ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 140.19  (max 140.19) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = 35 / Nervous Rate = 10 / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 0 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / *Arc Prediction Filtering (16x)* / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> Lush^2*A:B-W-Y-R, B:B-W-R* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> *Blaxius^2 A:B-R, B:B-R* Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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numlog
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2019, 09:09:47 pm »

On a similar note I have digital 32 bit attenuator in my DAC (its common now), to me this seems quite transparent. I have tried setting it to 0 and using XXHE for attenuator but I dont think is really bypassing the DAC attenuator and XXHE seems more transparent at 0dB than the DAC, so kind of stuck with that.

That isnt much to design a whole feature around but felt it was worth mentioning
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numlog
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2019, 09:48:58 pm »

After posting that I thought about hows it been nearly a year since comparing XXHE attenuator to the DAC attenuator. An innumerable amount has changed and improved since so I had to recheck that... it took a few tracks to notice that XXHE does seem like it does better job attenuating with DAC set to -0.
 XXHE seems warmer and softer in how it influences the sound but remains more transparent, the DAC attenuator imparts a nasty sharpness and hollowness onto the sound.
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PeterSt
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2019, 09:52:54 am »

Allow me to take the opportunity to elaborate a bit on that ...

XXHighEnd's volume is "lossless" which means that no rounding takes place anywhere and that from an attenuated "file" the original can be recreated (hence the term Lossless). This is by guarantee / inherently so.

A DAC with digital attenuation under its hood, for 99% sure has to make use of a means which is highly detrimental to the "bit perfect"ness of the audio stream let alone it would be close to lossless which every normal means of attenuattion in software is. Thus, e.g. the Windows volume would be close to lossless which in the end is not lossless at all. And this means "inconsistency" in the rendering, Our brain recognizes that things are not right and the music is perceived as less good and unnatural.

Back to the in-DAC digital attenuation - unless the volume is controlled by in-chip voltage reference (which virtually is non-existent although is exists in some D/A chips (not said that the design uses it), this is so poor that a differential (balanced) setup is not even allowed because of the high THD implied (harder to explain but envision that plus and minus voltage of the signal can differ 0.5 dB in not-linear fashion, that creating the (huge) THD per (L/R) channel. 
Besides this, when single ended (like RCA) there is always the 0.5 difference per (L/R) channel, and that varying throughout the music. And oh, since the 0.5 dB is the accuracy of the chips doing this, it may coincidentally add up to 1dB (or 0dB).

XXHighEnd has just the one and only means to attenuate digitally in a justified fashion. It is also the only software doing it like this and it includes digital gain as well, if the headroom for it is present.

Peter
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For the Stealth III LPS PC :
W10-14393.0 - Oct 31, 2018 (2.10)
XXHighEnd Mach III Stealth LPS PC -> Xeon Scalable 14/28 core with Hyperthreading On (set to 10/20 cores) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 30/-/1/1/1/ Q1Factor = 10 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 15ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 140.19  (max 140.19) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = 35 / Nervous Rate = 10 / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 0 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / *Arc Prediction Filtering (16x)* / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> Lush^2*A:B-W-Y-R, B:B-W-R* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> *Blaxius^2 A:B-R, B:B-R* Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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numlog
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2019, 05:48:07 pm »

I had some notion that the recent DAC chips could do this ''bit perfect'' control like XXHE internally, but not a single article mentions the word ''lossless'' when describing the DAC volume control, if thats not a good enough hint.
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