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Oppo Sonica DAC with flagship ESS ES9038PRO SABRE DAC

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Billy Budapest, Aug 31, 2016.

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  1. mongo

    mongo Forum Resident

    Nice! Stay dry that storm looks nasty.
     
  2. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    MQA isn't supported in the SDAC right now and probably not in the immediate future. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that it "will not be" supported in the future. My guess is that if there is enough demand and if it is technically feasible, it could be.

    Also, the SDAC is not a certified Roon Ready endpoint. Again, if there is enough demand and if it is technically feasible, it could be, especially knowing how responsive zippo is to customer feedback. For example, they went to great lengths to engineer a way to enable gapless playback on the BDP-105D, all in response to consumer requests.

    If you need a Roon Ready solution, you can purchase a Sonore MicroRendu and connect it to the SDAC. However, the SDAC already can connect to uPnP/DNLA servers and AirPlay/iTunes through WiFi and Ethernet (among other connections such as Bluetooth, USB, coax, and Toslink) via the Sonica app so there would be a certain duplication of features. If you don't want to control the SDAC via the Sonica app, I guess you could not download it and then use the Ethernet connection of the MicroRendu for network connections.

    You could also run Roon Core on an Intel-powered (not embedded processor powered) QNAP or Synology NAS and just connect it via USB to the SDAC, and not use the SDAC's network connection or functions and instead use it just as a DAC.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  3. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    I'm not sure who you spoke to at Oppo but I believe it would be a mistake to take for certain that MQA has been ruled out for the future.

    The SDAC can play DSD via DNLA without a problem.
     
  4. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    Also, how are you using an Oppo BDP-105 as a Roon endpoint? Do you have Roon Core running on your synology and have just connected it via USB to the BDP-105 and just used the BDP-105 as a USB DAC? That way, the Oppo isn't really a Roon Endpoint but instead is just working as a DAC.
     
  5. cyclistsb

    cyclistsb Forum Resident

    Yes I am running it this way, I guess I don't understand completely what a "Roon end point" actually is. I just started using it and there is a steep learning curve. However, I did not know until today that DNLA on my Synology would support DSD...I've only been using SMB and really wanted a better searching experience.

    Soooooo it may turn out that the Sonica DAC with Roon is overkill for my needs in terms of features....unless I want to pay extra for their really neat interface. But part of me wants to think that getting a higher end DAC device may prove better in my system as some of the extra Soncia features would go unused.

    PS the "guy" on the phone at Oppo told me this, I just called their support team and verified a few things. I think a general lack of knowledge about MQA is also an issue...he seemed to think a hardware change would be required but if Roon is going to support it then that makes no sense, right?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  6. Standingstones

    Standingstones Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Central PA
    More than a few audio manufacturers are taking a wait-and-see attitude towards MQA and rightfully so.
     
  7. cordobaman

    cordobaman Rich Corinthian Leather

    Location:
    Erie, PA USA
    Except for gapless playback.
     
  8. cyclistsb

    cyclistsb Forum Resident

    DAC should be here shortly, I am preparing to run the gambit...

    Wireless, wired, USB, thumbdrives, Surface Pro with HQ player and upsample to 512(if I can figure it out), NAS, SMB, DNLA, Tidal, Roon, Synology AudioPlayer/MediaServer, bluetooth. Did I leave anything out? lol Anyone want to place bets on which combination will sound best? I'll probably go with the most convenient setup as one of my goals is to reduce clutter and wires if the sound isn't compromised too much. My audio profile should be up to date.
     
  9. cyclistsb

    cyclistsb Forum Resident

    Initial thoughts:

    Standard Oppo packaging layout. Shipping was quick +2
    Volume knob really cheap -3
    Back RCA plugs not high quality -2
    Power Cable a tad short for me but they couldn’t know this -0

    Detected some digital noise in my speakers and switched to shielded RCA which reduced some of it…had issues with this in the past when my Oppo 105 was too close to my preamp. Not enough noise at this point to change my whole rig but if I decide to keep it, I will have to rewire everything.

    App a bity clumsy but figured it out. It found my network server and played first song Steely Dan, Aja DSD over wireless. Very detailed, cymbals in the room. Bass tight and controlled.

    Back to Oppo 105 Same song over wired network using DNLA. More constrained, less detail on backup singers vibrato and cymbals more glare. Bass not as tight and somewhat bloated. Not bad to listen but Sonica seems to be an improvement. Horns harsh at the end of song, never much liked sax on digital.

    Sonica Wireless +10
    TV not needed to play Sonica +2

    Second listen to Steely Dan - Aja, Sonica provides more separation between instruments. Female vocals more presence. Bass defined, controlled and detailed. Next song…

    Dire Straits – So Far Away from me DSD from MOFI SACD

    Sonica DAC - Snappy drums, wide sound stage. Cymbals easy on the ears…big sound, easy to turn up.
    Back to Oppo 105 – congested and narrow soundstage, back to brittle cymbals and the snap just isn’t there.
    Back to Sonica – Money for Nothing….big bass, imaging sounds right…just realized my previous listening was FLAC or Redbook CD….
    Back to Oppo 105 – Same Song. Had issues with Oppo Media App so went to SMB for this round of listening. DSD this time too. Again sound stage smaller, guitar with harshness…not as easy to crank up.

    Sonica App -1 but same for Oppo 105 app…both somewhat blah. But music can be played for free.

    James Taylor – Line Them Up DSD from SACD sampler

    Oppo 105 was first, song wasn’t engaging like I hoped. Soncia again opened up the soundstage and revealed detail and instrument/vocal clarity.

    Ending my first round music audition, the Sonics wins. No dropouts over wireless running DSD 64 +50

    Next phase will be Roon and Tidal auditions, no longer need to play against my OPPO 105 as the Sonica is clearly a better device out of the box. I'll toy around with wired vs wireless vs USB next phase.
     
    ClausH, dZp, wolfram and 1 other person like this.
  10. Standingstones

    Standingstones Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Central PA
    I have the Sonica DAC as well. Ditch the supplied power cord and use something better. Don't use silver innerconnects as well. I found out that a combination of either of those will give you a thin, low on bass problem.
     
    cyclistsb likes this.
  11. cyclistsb

    cyclistsb Forum Resident

    So I got to enjoy Roon with Tidal and was very impressed by the features and interface. Picking music from Tidal and having Roon add them to my catalogue as virtual albums is nice feature. Even the automatic playlists were surprisingly good, I just let Roon play music and it picked extremely appropriate songs for the mood in the queue. Everything sounded right, can't say that I was completely blown away but I didn't want to turn it off as well.

    However, now we get into the equipment and features issues that I am facing...

    I do not plan to use a computer for Roon or any music service I buy in the future. This is exactly what I am trying to avoid, having more gear around the house to play music. My NAS experienced drop outs when playing songs back via Tidal (everything is hard wired at this point). I had to stop all services on my NAS to make this stop. My NAS is barely up to spec and frankly spending the amount of cash needed to make it completely supported isn't something I want to entertain. Also Roon and Tidal over USB defeats the purpose of having the Sonica wireless DAC...wireless and Bluetooth are just features that I wouldn't need or ever use for my setup if wired to my NAS direct. This also keeps clutter in my living room...cables, routers, NAS, battery backup, etc.

    So without the ability to use Roon over wireless with the Sonica (yes it supports Airplay but that is a converted signal), then the dilemma I face is to keep the Sonica and give up Roon...I still have Tidal so not all lost. Or stick with Roon and send back the Sonica until I find a device that more suits my needs. I also don't have any DSD over 64 and not planning on dealing with HQPlayer...its way more complex than I expected. The honest truth was that the Sonica (at least as of day one) didn't blow me away, it offers a marginal better sound with features that I wanted in a DAC (or thought I wanted at the time).

    Why didn't OPPO offer an upgraded USB wireless dongle for the 105!?!?!?!
     
  12. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    Actually, don't use ISO2DSD to convert to DSF. There is a bug in the sacd_extract library that ISO2DSD uses--sacd_extract truncates frames at the end of each DSF file which is interpreted by D/A converters as DC, and an audible click results. So, to avoid this, use ISO2DSD to convert to DFF, and then use another utility to convert DFF to DSF. That's what I do and no clicks result.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
    Hymie the Robot likes this.
  13. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    I have been using the SDAC for months and have not encountered any issues whatsoever with the power cord or interconnects. I have only used the XLR jacks, however. Now, I know everybody hears things differently, but this is the first I have been made aware of any problems with bass reproduction.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
    Robert van Diggele likes this.
  14. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    It has a linear power supply and a switch mode power supply. I believe the switch mode power supply is for the SOC, display, and networking, while the linear power supply is for the DAC and analog output circuitry.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
    Robert van Diggele and Linger63 like this.
  15. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    I do not know what the technical reason is for lack of gapless support out of the gate, but I am sure it is coming. I wouldn't be surprised if Dirac is included in a future firmware update, as it has been announced as a future feature for the Sonica network speakers.
     
  16. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    My guess is that it has to do with the SOC, and my educated guess is that future firmware will support gapless.
     
    Robert van Diggele likes this.
  17. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    Right--if Roon is going to decode MQA in software, then it should not be an issue (with the exception of one little feature involving MQA's use of specific tweaked filters for specific DACs).

    The Roon interface is a bit nicer than the Sonica App, which doesn't include heavy duty music cataloging features.
     
  18. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    Which other utility?

    Is there an alternative to ISO2DSD which can directly convert the ISO to DSF?
     
  19. Robert van Diggele

    Robert van Diggele Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Using the USB input will give gapless with Flac and DSD already I guess?
     
  20. mongo

    mongo Forum Resident

    The program is call iso2dsf but as Billy said there is a bug that MAY affect certain .iso files.
    So you want to use iso2dsd but select the .dff option.
    After that use the dff2dsf.exe utility to convert the .dff files to .dsf.
    It runs very fast.
     
    Billy Budapest likes this.
  21. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    As I understand it, that has been resolved with the latest version of sacd_extract as that is the program which actually does the conversion. OTOH, interpretation/audibiility of those "clicks" depends on the particular DAC.
     
    Billy Budapest likes this.
  22. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    I rip straight to DSF with ISO2DVD and have never had any clicks, FWIW. I began ripping in December, not sure if that corresponds to the fixed sacd_extract or not.
     
    Billy Budapest likes this.
  23. Robert van Diggele

    Robert van Diggele Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Never heard any clicks at the end of my .dsf files as well. Ripped with iso2dsd_PC_v7. DAC is the Oppo 1015EU.
     
    Billy Budapest likes this.
  24. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    Maybe this is why I was a bit puzzled by the discussion above. From: Releases · sacd-ripper/sacd-ripper · GitHub

    RE: Ver. 0.3.8 - fixed a bug where a DSF export truncated sample data (Chuck Anderson)

    This is the version of sacd_extract I have been using.
     
    Billy Budapest likes this.
  25. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    Here's what I do (in Mac OS--Windows utilities could be different): first I use ISO2DSD to create DFF files, then I use DFF2DSF to create DSF files. Yes, it's a two step process but it results in click-free DSF files.
     
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