Emm labs DA2 v2 upgrade

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
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So it will do 2xDSD over USB. Is this native or DOP?
Thanks.
DSD files come in either a .dff or .dsf extension.

DSD (DFF, DSF) files :

DSD Storage Facility (DSF) files are far better suited to music library management because they allow the inclusion of metadata. This embedded metadata includes the names of the audio contained, information about the release the audio is part of, and other data such as album artwork. Hence, a DSF file could be transferred to different music players and retain the same metadata.

DSD Interchange File Format (DFF) files don't allow any tags to be stored, making music library organising much more difficult. Storing information about the audio means using separate databases, which is a pain when moving the music from one system to another. Each time you import a given DFF file into a new music player, its metadata may not be recognised, making your library a pain to navigate, browse, search and generally use.

DoP DSD is "native DSD".
 
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dsdfan

New Member
Jul 28, 2020
2
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59
I just discovered an unexpected benefit of the DA2 V2 upgrade. Some of us are aware that some SACD releases were mastered with signal peaks exceeding standard “maxpeak” of + 3dB. One example is Michael Jackson's Thriller album. On the original DA2, DSD files ripped from these SACDs would go into digital clipping during such peaks, causing loud and startling cracking noises.

I remember asking EMM Labs to resolve this compatibility issue years ago, as I have over 2 dozen such DSD albums mastered over maxpeak.. Today, on a whim, I played Joe Satriani's Engines of Creation, an SACD rip bristling with the most excessive peaks. I cringed as each climax approached, but surprisingly, these peaks did not clip on my DA2 V2 as they did before the upgrade. Every dynamic climax surged cleanly with headroom to spare. I tried Monty Alexander's My America and Broadway Inspirational Voices’ Grace, which were also mastered above maxpeak. These too played without clipping, as did the rest of my affected DSD rips. An unexpected but significant perk of upgrading the DA2 to V2.
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
145
24
83
Hi guys,

Michael of Audio Federation (30 July, 2020) says:

"The DV2 has as it’s forte the ability to render music with subtleties and musicality that no other solid-state DAC approaches [weird, huh? most seem to focus on sonic fireworks and extensive feature-sets] but is a little less dynamic than some [careful vibration control helps]."
 

Bar81

Well-Known Member
Mar 24, 2017
128
17
83
For those that have an EMM transport (including the NS1) and DA2 and haven't upgraded the ST Cable, there's a nice program at The Cable Co where if you purchase the Aural Symphonics Optimism Lotus ST, a matching donation is made to charity:

https://www.thecableco.com/aural_symphonics.html?cat=106
 
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Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
145
24
83
Hi guys,

Just to share: A friend of mine came over yesterday to help me re-calibrate my sound system (including my Magico Q-Sub 15) using full band-width pink noise. Now, the sound stage is really huge and wall to wall! The bass is now reproduced with great pitch definition and articulation. Bass dynamics have greatly improved, providing a sense of sudden impact and explosive power.

On another note, Michael of Audio Federation says:

Aron Garrecht at Sound Stage Ultra posed a nice review of the EMM Labs DV2 DAC-Preamplifier. Although our associated gear here is almost the polar opposite of Aron’s we have more or less the same opinion of the sonic signature of the DV2 [how cool is that?!].


.
 

manjy

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2011
33
12
348
Has anyone compared the DA2 V2 to a Playback Designs DAC? I currently use the MPD5 with the USB-XIII box.
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
145
24
83
Hi Manjy,

The following comments might help:

(1) "I have had the EMM Labs XDS1 (not the v2 which added USB) and the Playback Designs MPS-5 (SACD transport with USB-X interface) for a while now - they were being used in my main and study room systems respectively. I think the XDS1 was superior to the MPS-5 in absolute detail retrieval - but the MPS-5 had a richer more involving sound that I really enjoyed." (Forum, July 2017)

(2) The DA2 V2 is light years ahead of the EMM Labs XDS1.
 
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Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
145
24
83
Hi guys,

You may be interested in the following review of the EMM Labs DV2 by Daniel Brezina of Hi-Fi Voice (April 2, 2020):

"The ease and, at the same time, the wonderful complexity with its deep tones, regardless of their energy or emphasis, simply sounded like the easiest thing in the world, is a sign of a truly exceptional high-end. ...
The voice of Eleanor McEvoy (but actually most of the instruments) in "Leaves Me Wondering" (" System Solution " | 2019 | Nordost) was beautifully detailed, the resolution and especially the naturalness of displaying even the finest nuances were addictive. Although DV2 is one of the most detailed converters you can come across and can retrieve the deepest layers of the recording (perhaps because words like "background noise" are somewhat foreign to it) and can bring these nuances to the forefront in such proportions that it sounded natural and creates an extraordinary luxuriously drawn whole, but in which there is not the slightest trace of sterility, it is plastic, natural - it is simply present, practically the best you can imagine. ... you will realize how absolutely fantastically detailed the presentation of the strings, their textures, reverberations and the resonances of the wooden baffles you hear and perceive - moreover, so easily, so naturally and so cleanly. The result is an extremely convincing, natural impression (the word itself creeps back on the language itself), and if you put an adequate rest of the chain to the DV2 , close your eyes and you're already at 'you're there' level. Plus, you don't have to worry about being compared to the DA2 the volume control introduced some overlay into the resulting sound - almost the opposite." (Translated) (The speakers used in the test include the Estelon X Diamond)

And when I asked a trusted reviewer what he thinks of the current top of the line EMM Labs DACs as compared to DACs from Wadex, MSB, etc, he said: "The current version of the EMM DA2 is the best D/A which I have heard based on the things which I value." (Note: He has listened to both)
 
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Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
145
24
83
Hi guys,

I was listening to this disc, only just: Shostakovich Symphony No. 15, by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Bernard Haitink (RCO Live SACD). And I was pleasantly surprised! Everything Daniel Brezina of Hi-Fi Voice said about the DV2 is correct. The naturalness, life-like, accuracy in timbre and note, the sweetness, the natural resonances of instruments, the reverberations, the air, the bloom, 'you're there' feeling.
 

marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,816
1,031
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United States
DSD files come in either a .dff or .dsf extension.

DSD (DFF, DSF) files :

DSD Storage Facility (DSF) files are far better suited to music library management because they allow the inclusion of metadata. This embedded metadata includes the names of the audio contained, information about the release the audio is part of, and other data such as album artwork. Hence, a DSF file could be transferred to different music players and retain the same metadata.

DSD Interchange File Format (DFF) files don't allow any tags to be stored, making music library organising much more difficult. Storing information about the audio means using separate databases, which is a pain when moving the music from one system to another. Each time you import a given DFF file into a new music player, its metadata may not be recognised, making your library a pain to navigate, browse, search and generally use.

DoP DSD is "native DSD".
I'm not sure about this. I asked Shahin this a while ago and he said it definitely is not native. Nor do I think it is it DoP. Meitner has an unusual approach of upsampling everything immediately to 16X DSD and converting to DXD when necessary. You are correct that "native" and DoP are essentially the same sonically, although there is a technical reason they are each called what they are but I don;t recall what that is.
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
145
24
83
I'm not sure about this. I asked Shahin this a while ago and he said it definitely is not native. Nor do I think it is it DoP. Meitner has an unusual approach of upsampling everything immediately to 16X DSD and converting to DXD when necessary. You are correct that "native" and DoP are essentially the same sonically, although there is a technical reason they are each called what they are but I don;t recall what that is.
Hi Marty, Regarding DoP, the DSD data isn't altered or changed. The only difference is the wrapper, not the DSD data.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,676
565
658
Hi Marty, Regarding DoP, the DSD data isn't altered or changed. The only difference is the wrapper, not the DSD data.
Hi Yuen,

Have been enjoying reading about this. Thanks to you and to all for writing about this. Ed Meitner has been a legend in digital for decades. Meanwhile, Yuen, I have PM'd you privately if you have a few minutes. Thank you!
 

manjy

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2011
33
12
348
Hi all..
Got the DA2 V2.. definitely is a wonderful DAC and I'm super pleased with it.
Is anyone using it to stream mqa? I seem to be having some issues with mqa.
 

manjy

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2011
33
12
348
What sort of issues, Manjy?
Roon shows the DAC is decoding mqa in the signal path but the DAC shows 352dxd or 384dxd (no mqa display). Hence I don't know if mqa is being fully unfolded or not.
Have written to EMM.. hopefully will be sorted soon.
 

pdubya

Well-Known Member
Oct 30, 2012
35
9
240
Audiophile wasteland
Roon shows the DAC is decoding mqa in the signal path but the DAC shows 352dxd or 384dxd (no mqa display). Hence I don't know if mqa is being fully unfolded or not.
Have written to EMM.. hopefully will be sorted soon.
Streaming Tidal through Aurender over USB to DV2, Aurender confirms MQA/bitrate, EMM display reads “OFS” (not sure what that stands for) along with appropriate bitrate (88, 96 ...), but no “MQA”. Been a long time since I tried Roon ... are you set to upsample?
Parker
 

pdubya

Well-Known Member
Oct 30, 2012
35
9
240
Audiophile wasteland
Alternatively, if I turn off Aurender’s MQA Core Decoder feature, Aurender will indicate that it is streaming a regular 44.1 file but the DV2 will display “MQA” (where it previously displayed ”OFS” when the Decoder was engaged) along with the relevant bitrate (88, 96 ...), indicating that EMM is doing the unfolding . So I suspect your problem may be a setting in Roon.
Parker
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
145
24
83
Hi all..
Got the DA2 V2.. definitely is a wonderful DAC and I'm super pleased with it.
Is anyone using it to stream mqa? I seem to be having some issues with mqa.
Hi Manjy,

I am happy for you! It will get much better after some 500-600 hrs of run-in.
 
Likes: manjy

manjy

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2011
33
12
348
Alternatively, if I turn off Aurender’s MQA Core Decoder feature, Aurender will indicate that it is streaming a regular 44.1 file but the DV2 will display “MQA” (where it previously displayed ”OFS” when the Decoder was engaged) along with the relevant bitrate (88, 96 ...), indicating that EMM is doing the unfolding . So I suspect your problem may be a setting in Roon.
Parker
Hi, I have tried with enabling/disabling the Mqa core decoder option. The signal path changes but no change on the DA2.
Pretty certain its some setting somewhere. Will try everything again. Thanks.
 

manjy

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2011
33
12
348
Is anyone using the NS1 streamer and have you compared it to other USB Endpoints?
 

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