Aqua Formula - new upgrade, retrofittable!

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
2,708
9
38
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#1
Hi,

The guys at Aqua aren't standing still! Very excited about this upgrade!

http://www.aquahifi.com/formula_xhd.html

[FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]Introducing the new Formula xHD
[/FONT]

Features
[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]
[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]• Proprietary hybrid 2-stage XMOS xCore XE216 + FPGA[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]• Fully-floating (isolated) USB decoding and clock generation by FPGA with proprietary code[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]• High quality, long life, low noise parts and modular design that distinguish aqua – acoustic quality equipment[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]• Sample rate in “Bit Perfect” up to 768 kHz PCM and quad rate DSD (DSD256)[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]• Latest version of customized XMOS X Core Driver on Windows OS (W7, W10)[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]• Native X Core Audio on Mac OS (Bit Perfect)[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]• USB Audio 2.0 operation on Linux (Bit Perfect)[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]
[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]This update has required significant optimization of code for the main FPGA of R2R ladder DAC which has improved sound quality.
The new hybrid USB XMOS xCore 200 (dual core) + FPGA circuitry enables the high-resolution file playback up to 768kHz PCM and up to DSD256 (Quad DSD)


Upgrading to xHD


The update for the Formula units of existing owners consists of the following hardware / firmware modifications:


1. new hybrid USB Board cod. A108 (high-resolution up to 768kHz PCM and DSD256 (Quad DSD)
2. hardware modification of board P1108 connected to USB board
3. new firmware of main FPGA (R2R ladder DAC) with optimization of the code
4. update of firmware of main microcontroller STM32
[/FONT]



Current owners are welcome to contact me to get their units upgraded!


cheers,
alex
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,297
21
38
E. England
#2
Alex, do you know the price? The Formula is a definite contender for the streaming option I'm considering.
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
2,708
9
38
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#4
Yes, they need to be sent to the distributor here in the US. I don't know about you guys over there, Tango.

Price for the upgrade is $1000, and availability (here in the US) is within the next 2 weeks.


thanks,
alex
 
Dec 17, 2015
214
0
16
Moscow
#7
Oh, OK, didn't know that. For some reason I thought that Aqua DACs are PCM only. Maybe it's because Mike was upsampling everything to DXD when he had it.
Anyway, how does it perform in DSD domain? It must convert DSD to PCM internally, since it is an RTR DAC?
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,095
25
48
#8
this is a great sounding dac as it is, and this has got to take it to another level.

congrats to all the Formula dac owners, enjoy!!! as a former Formula dac owner that recommended it to many, happy that it's playing out this way.

modular construction of a digital product is very important. love that about the MSB.

$1000 for this level of upgrade and it being done in country are also so beneficial. gives confidence in the brand going forward.

added note; the Formula Dac I had was not dsd capable in any way. it was PCM only and upsampled everything to dxd.
 
Aug 26, 2012
1,378
1
38
#9
From the Aqua site ,,


• Fully upgradeable high-speed USB Audio Class 2 module, PCM 44.1kHz to 384kHz PCM up to 24 bits, DSD64 / DSD128, operates with computers running OSX 10.7 and above, WINDOWS 10, 7, 8, XP with ASIO bit perfect

http://www.aquahifi.com/formula.html
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,095
25
48
#10
that is a brand new aspect of the Formula dac, not sure when it changed. you can see below it's not part of the current faceplate yet......

I know when I was involved Ed Hsu (of SGM ) was in close touch with Aqua about these things and it never even came up. but that was 7-8 months ago, a millennium in digital audio context.

you can read the 6 Moon's review and it's not mentioned there either.

FORM.jpg
 

Hifi Boy

New Member
Sep 16, 2017
70
0
0
#11
I believe that Formula has an Ethernet input as well, right? This should prove to be a better input than the USB, I assume, at least when it comes to jitter.

But if I'm correct, there is no streaming or MQA support for now?
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,095
25
48
#12
I believe that Formula has an Ethernet input as well, right? This should prove to be a better input than the USB, I assume, at least when it comes to jitter.

But if I'm correct, there is no streaming or MQA support for now?
the Aqua Formula I purchased in Jan of this year did not have any on board Ethernet capability. it required some sort of CPU/server for web access. there are multiple digital input choices for a server though. I used the USB myself.

I see no mention of Ethernet or MQA in the upgrade described by Alex in the OP of this thread.
 

Hifi Boy

New Member
Sep 16, 2017
70
0
0
#13
the Aqua Formula I purchased in Jan of this year did not have any on board Ethernet capability. it required some sort of CPU/server for web access. there are multiple digital input choices for a server though. I used the USB myself.

I see no mention of Ethernet or MQA in the upgrade described by Alex in the OP of this thread.
Hmm... Could you then please tell me what this input numbered IV and named MODULAR is supposed to be? I just assumed it was Ethernet, hehe. :)

http://www.aquahifi.com/formula.html

You can see it on the back side here.

Also, regarding the FPGA chip, I believe that they don't offer free upgrades like PS Audio, or am I wrong about this one too?
 
Nov 27, 2013
217
0
16
#14
Hmm... Could you then please tell me what this input numbered IV and named MODULAR is supposed to be? I just assumed it was Ethernet, hehe. :)

http://www.aquahifi.com/formula.html

You can see it on the back side here.

Also, regarding the FPGA chip, I believe that they don't offer free upgrades like PS Audio, or am I wrong about this one too?
The MODULAR input is not Ethernet.
As per datasheet, the Modular socket can be:
- AES/EBU balanced 110 Ohm - 24 bit / 192kHz - DSD64
- RCA coax (S/PDIF) 75 Ohm - 24 bit / 192kHz - DSD64
- AT&T (ST Fiber) - 24 bit / 192kHz - DSD64
- Optical TOSLINK - 24 bit / 96kHz

In the picture it's the 3rd option.
 

Hifi Boy

New Member
Sep 16, 2017
70
0
0
#15
The MODULAR input is not Ethernet.
As per datasheet, the Modular socket can be:
- AES/EBU balanced 110 Ohm - 24 bit / 192kHz - DSD64
- RCA coax (S/PDIF) 75 Ohm - 24 bit / 192kHz - DSD64
- AT&T (ST Fiber) - 24 bit / 192kHz - DSD64
- Optical TOSLINK - 24 bit / 96kHz

In the picture it's the 3rd option.
Ah, got it! Yes, that makes sense. You can pick your own input to be set when it comes out of the factory. Thanks for clearing that up bibo.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,095
25
48
#16
Hmm... Could you then please tell me what this input numbered IV and named MODULAR is supposed to be? I just assumed it was Ethernet, hehe. :)

http://www.aquahifi.com/formula.html

You can see it on the back side here.

Also, regarding the FPGA chip, I believe that they don't offer free upgrades like PS Audio, or am I wrong about this one too?
here is a picture of the rear of the Formula I sold 3 weeks ago.

here is what the manual shows for inputs, nothing about Ethernet; it appears to need a server.

form inputs.png

can't say what IV does.

form-2.jpg
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,297
21
38
E. England
#18
So this upgrade is not specific to impvts in SQ to Formula's previous optimal upsampling option of DXD?
Nothing impvd here?
It's just the new ability to go as high as 512?
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,297
21
38
E. England
#20
I can't see there being any advantage to that, isn't DXD btwn 256 and 512?
 

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