E90Post
 


GT Haus
 
BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > AUDIO/VIDEO + BLUETOOTH + Electronics/Alarm/Software > should we use external DACs?



Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
      11-04-2013, 11:51 PM   #23
RectalItching
Private
 
Drives: 2006 330i
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Illinois

Posts: 66
iTrader: (3)

Yeah, when it comes to the integration tradeoffs I'm ok with the headunit shortcomings.

Kaigoss69 I'm glad you mentioned the frequency filter I had not heard that. There is a slight db drop on the very low frequencies from the iStreamer itself which I confirmed on my home audio stereo. I'm going to try hooking up my home audioreference DAC in the car (usb powered) and see if I lose them through the headunit.

Kayza this would be important to determine because the reason I would switch to the microstreamer is to regain the resolution of those very bottom frequencies so I'll report back.

Kayza as far as the distortion you experienced on the microstreamer be sure you are using the straight lineout output and not the variable output, otherwise it's a level matching problem it sounds like. you will be using the ms8 as the volume control. And sorry I can't verify it doesn't get converted in the headunit, my hunch is no..

Also something useful I learned, I used a digital wav file of the calibration file from my ipod (through the DAC) to determine the correct level, rather than the CD through the headunit. I had a very faint but noticeable ground noise at higher volumes and went away completely once I calibrated this way
RectalItching is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-05-2013, 06:53 PM   #24
kayza
Private
 
Drives: '14 Focus ST, had 06 e91 325xi
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Posts: 57
iTrader: (1)

ok, last night I did some adjustments and got some exciting improvements (although I'm not convinced all of the improvement is from the USB DAC, as I did have other variables you'll see as you read on).

Backrgound of vehicle, equipment, and new settings:
Car: 2006 e91
OEM System: Hifi
Nav/iDrive: Yes, CCC

Amps/Processors: JBL MS8, JL XD600/6 (started with xd only, which is why it now seems misfitt since i have it driving only 3 speakers)

Speakers:
Center: DLS 424 coaxial 4" powered by MS8 (wired with Technic's center wiring kit)
Front Doors: DLS R4 components powered by MS8 (mounted with dynamat via Technic's method)
Rear: stock hifi speakers powered by MS8
Underseats: Kicker SSMB8 powered by JL XD600/6 bridged ch1/2 and ch3/4
Sub: sh!tty Polk dxi12 sub powered by JL XD600/6 bridged ch5/6 (with amp in 4 channel mode, so the sub gets a mono full signal from the MS8's signal to the underseats) I am shopping a JL 10w6v2 to replace this.

MS8 & XD configuration:
HeadUnit to MS8: Technic harness, front/rear L through Y adapter (F/R R also) to MS8 aux input (since it's a flat signal, going in through Aux is exactly identical to going into ch 1/2 of the HU input and selecting "Skip Input Setup" if it were in the HU input, right?)

Phone USB DAC to MS8: Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3->USB OTG 4" adapter->10 ft USB A to A extender->1ft USB A to mini B cable->HRT MicroStreamer->line ouput plug of HRT->3.5mm to RCA cable into Ch1/2 of MS8 input.
USB DAC Input Configuration: I decided to use the input configuration of the MS8, and downloaded the setup .wav file from JBL and played it back using Google Play Music app (since this is what I use 99% of the time due to my cloud collection of 320k mp3s, and my subscription to google's music service). Oddly, the MS8 said that the input signal was too high when at full volume on the phone. Clicking it down one notch from full volume was appropriate to the MS8. 2 notches shy of full volume was then too low. So one notch short of full it is.

MS8 settings:
Sub:none
Front: 30hz subsonic filter, 24db, 2-way, 160hz hi/low xover
Center: 1way, 160hz xo
Side: 1way, 160hz xo
Rear: None

MS8 Channel Assignment:
Ch.1 = Fr L Hi (MS8 power) DLS R4
Ch.2 = Fr R Hi (MS8 power) DLS R4
Ch.3 = Rr L (MS8 power) Stock HiFi speaker
Ch.4 = Rr R (MS8 power) Stock HiFi speaker
Ch.5 = Fr L Lo (out to a Y splitter and into Ch1/2 of XD600/6 in bridge mode) Kicker SSMB8
Ch.6 = Fr R Lo (out to a Y splitter and into Ch3/4 of XD600/6 in bridge mode) Kicker SSMB8
Ch.7 = Center (MS8 power) DLS 424
Ch.8 = None (But remember I have a sub being fed the mono summed signal of Ch5/6 from the MS8 by way of the XD600/6 set to "4 channel" mode)

Next I (sadly) used my Nook HD+ tablet with Smart Tools app's sound meter to level match as best I could. Since the 4ohm fronts and center are MS8 powered, as are the 2ohm hifi stock rears, the rears were unavoidably louder. I'd consider canning them from having power/being set up in the MS8 if not having the louder rears makes a difference in the calibration.
I managed to get the underseats (omitted sub in calibration) level matched to the front L/R/C speakers, all at 56/57db, while the rear speakers were at 61/62db. Next I calibrated with the MS8 mic at these volumes (i forget the MS8 volume setting, it was either -35, -25, or -20).
After calibration, I set the XD600/6 xovers between the sub and the SSMB8s at 70hz, and have a JL volume control for the sub which I sadly have to set at about 3-3:30 o'clock (knob goes from 7:00 to 5:00) to have is sound level matched to my ear (XD set to only control the sub's volume from that knob run to front of car, so it does not change the SSMB8's gains).

The result was much more clear on the low end (can feel/hear difference between a bass and kick drum, for instance), but the low end is still not all there I don't think.

It is certainly an adjustment having to use the MS8 remote for volume control, but I will be mounting it at an angle (not enough room if straight) behind the iDrive knob and before the center console.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RectalItching View Post
Kayza this would be important to determine because the reason I would switch to the microstreamer is to regain the resolution of those very bottom frequencies so I'll report back.

Kayza as far as the distortion you experienced on the microstreamer be sure you are using the straight lineout output and not the variable output, otherwise it's a level matching problem it sounds like. you will be using the ms8 as the volume control. And sorry I can't verify it doesn't get converted in the headunit, my hunch is no..
As far as the MicroStreamer is concerned, I have a few notes to make. First, I don't know why the car's aux port distorted the uS' signal when plugged into the center console aux port of my car. I am guessing the car isn't wanting to handle the 2.25V line output signal (yes, I am POSITIVE i am using the line out, not headphone out, of the uS. I did try both though, and both distort at full volume going into BMW aux in). I DO know that when the HRT uS is plugged right into the MS8, at full volume it does not distort (although MS8's input setup said to turn it down 1 notch from full output, and so I have).
Next, the uS has digitally controlled analog attenuation (the digital volume control on a computer or other host device), but this should only affect the headphone output of the uS. I have my car hooked up to the line output of the uS, and it still can be controlled by my phone's volume control (as noted above in my MS8 Input Setup notes). This makes me think that my phone isnt digitally attenuating the uS, but is instead instructing the uS to be at 100% amplification, and is then attenuating digitally the signal fed to the uS (which results in bit loss, BAD!). I do have a FiiO E10 DAC/AMP that works with my phone, and also have this computer I type on, so I can use other methods to gain more info on what is going on. I'll report back with those results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RectalItching View Post
Also something useful I learned, I used a digital wav file of the calibration file from my ipod (through the DAC) to determine the correct level, rather than the CD through the headunit. I had a very faint but noticeable ground noise at higher volumes and went away completely once I calibrated this way
Yes, I used the .wav file to calibrate my uS being input to Ch1/2 of the MS8 as well, as I noted in this post above. The result sounds nice and clean (although there were MANY variables as you've read above that have changed since the last listening of it, so I can't attribute the cleanliness to only the MS8 Input Setup having been used).

Hopefully you had something to drink while you just read all of this!
kayza is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-05-2013, 08:28 PM   #25
kaigoss69
Colonel
 
kaigoss69's Avatar
 
Drives: '08 335i
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: JAX

Posts: 2,958
iTrader: (5)

You don't have to use the MS-8 remote for volume. Just set it at -6db and control the volume on the phone or the head unit.
__________________
Mobridge DA2 > JBL MS-8 > JL Audio HD600/4 > (3) Hybrid Audio L3SE & (2) Rainbow Cal25; JL Audio HD900/5 > (2) Morel HCW-10 & (1) IDMax 15
kaigoss69 is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      11-05-2013, 11:05 PM   #26
kayza
Private
 
Drives: '14 Focus ST, had 06 e91 325xi
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Posts: 57
iTrader: (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaigoss69 View Post
You don't have to use the MS-8 remote for volume. Just set it at -6db and control the volume on the phone or the head unit.
So I did some testing in the car with a computer and with the fiio as well. Long story short, my phone does not support the digitally controlled analog attenuation. While this doesn't matter for the car (line out), it is disappointing for my portable setup, and especially with my IEMs.

Kaigoss, by using the volume control on the device, you are digitally reducing the signal sent to the DAC, and I think that ratio is something like 1bit per 6db of attenuation. So if you have your MS8 at -6, and then have your music player at low volume, you are throwing away (technically) some detail of the signal. Besides, if I have to reach to the phone for volume, I'd rather reach to the remote and then maintain a full signal, and adjust it's amplification.

Also, I found the ms8 manual state that it can take 2.8v input, so the 2.25v microstreamer is fine. I read somewhere that the ms8 could only take 2v, so that's what revived this thread the other night.
kayza is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-05-2013, 11:18 PM   #27
bmw325i
Brigadier General
 
Drives: 2006 BMW 325i
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: United States

Posts: 4,011
iTrader: (5)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kayza View Post
So I did some testing in the car with a computer and with the fiio as well. Long story short, my phone does not support the digitally controlled analog attenuation. While this doesn't matter for the car (line out), it is disappointing for my portable setup, and especially with my IEMs.

Kaigoss, by using the volume control on the device, you are digitally reducing the signal sent to the DAC, and I think that ratio is something like 1bit per 6db of attenuation. So if you have your MS8 at -6, and then have your music player at low volume, you are throwing away (technically) some detail of the signal. Besides, if I have to reach to the phone for volume, I'd rather reach to the remote and then maintain a full signal, and adjust it's amplification.

Also, I found the ms8 manual state that it can take 2.8v input, so the 2.25v microstreamer is fine. I read somewhere that the ms8 could only take 2v, so that's what revived this thread the other night.
It still sounds like an aftermarket head unit would simplify things. If you don't like the look of an aftermarket head unit you could hide a single din in the ash tray fairly easily.
bmw325i is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-05-2013, 11:57 PM   #28
kayza
Private
 
Drives: '14 Focus ST, had 06 e91 325xi
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Posts: 57
iTrader: (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw325i View Post
It still sounds like an aftermarket head unit would simplify things. If you don't like the look of an aftermarket head unit you could hide a single din in the ash tray fairly easily.
To each their own, but no way would I ever get an aftermarket headunit. I carry a head unit in my pocket everywhere I go. I just need to integrate it properly with the car. I don't think an aftermarket head unit would allow the steering wheel volume controls to work with it (if so then that's the only benefit to me), and so that headunit would have volume adjustment on itself just like my phone does. I just don't want that adjustment to be happening at the source. I want to volume adjustment to be in the form of less amplification at the end rather than a weaker signal to start being super-amped at the end.

Also, not to mention I said I listen to Google play streaming music, so I'd need an android headunit, which wouldn't be any different than my phone, just costly and theif-inviting.
kayza is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-06-2013, 12:26 AM   #29
alexwhittemore
Lieutenant Colonel
 
Drives: 2009 Crimson 328i
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Los Angeles

Posts: 1,598
iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kayza View Post
I don't think an aftermarket head unit would allow the steering wheel volume controls to work with it
They often do, actually, especially if you're going to get a higher end one than your most basic $200 alpine and especially if you're going to get one that's complex enough to run android. I don't have any experience trying to configure one myself, though.

Additionally, if you have a headunit running android and if it has USB host that supports a keyboard input, you can get an aftermarket device to convert wheel button presses to keystrokes (vol up/down, skip forward/back, map voice and phone how you like).


My take on DACs in general: only worth bothering if you think you can hear the difference. LOTS of people claim they can hear a stark contrast between the headunit's DAC (if you're using files on a USB drive) and an external unit that costs $X00. If it's worth $X00 to you, go for it.

Personally, I think the DAC in my lightning cable sounds great, and I don't have any problems with the headunit's aux in.

On the other hand, my Nexus 7's output sounds like crap (AUDIBLE hissing and popping, super high noise floor), and a $15 chineese DAC based on a burr brown part sounds great.
__________________
alexwhittemore is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-06-2013, 03:32 AM   #30
RectalItching
Private
 
Drives: 2006 330i
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Illinois

Posts: 66
iTrader: (3)

Kayza you ALMOST make me want to plug the JBL volume back in haha. personal side note, i find it really distracting while driving to have an up/down control rather than a rotary volume knob that you can always find even blind. Factory look, factory practicality for me i guess. Also, ive accidently moved the volume knob when the jbl remote was in use, messing up the cal'd setting

Also you mentioned the amp attenuation: the JBL pdf does mention you lose bits by using factory volume, but not noticeably.
1. Come to think of it, the music doesn't sound as high fidelity at lower volumes, thats about it.
2. My iStreamer automatically goes full output (volume maxed) when its powered.

I would love to try the microstreamer, but the only limitation is storage space. i have an android. even with expansion 96gb is not sufficient for a lossless library. I'm still comtemplating though haha. By the way guys, both these devices are $200 and very easy to recommend and justify.

There are two significant differences in how we have our bass setup. For one im using the earthquakes which are actually subs, but im asking them play down pretty low and i havent seen their output chart but im sure its ugly at sub-bass frequencies (about<32 hz). But i do have my LP filter set at 25 simply because there is music down there. i feel like your selling your standalone trunk sub short with a 30 hz setting. You can still feel those sub bass frequencies, esp corner loaded. It makes the soundstage larger. Your DAC may be able to bring those out, why dont you give that a try? I probably can't with the earthquakes

Thats whats useful about our MS8 30- something band frequency tuning capabilities, try that maybe. I am happy with my results on the MS8 basic 3 band EQ. No hardcore tuning here, but again, it sounds beautiful.

Bass +3
Midrange -8
Treble -2
sub bass +8

Logic 7 on
no center channel


Im thinking about trying a center channel, just to solidify stereo imaging. Song to song, once in a while i can tell that imaging has shifted right or left. I just cant decide on a center channel, go off-brand coaxial or what not, and if i should break stereo imaging law



Alex i agree on one quality dac to another most ppl wouldnt care of DAC about differences including me, but a phone dac stands out like a soar thumb in a car stereo.

Ill report back when i try the home audio DAC in the car. just to see if i can bring those out. It is a Halide Design DAC HD. I just gotta pick up some female rca barrel connectors to make it work.
RectalItching is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-06-2013, 12:03 PM   #31
kaigoss69
Colonel
 
kaigoss69's Avatar
 
Drives: '08 335i
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: JAX

Posts: 2,958
iTrader: (5)

You guys should check out Spotify on the extreme setting. I have done A/B comparisons between identical tracks playing from Spotify and CD, and I simply cannot tell the difference. BTW, Andy Wehmeyer, former Harman Kardon/JBL product manager and creator of the MS-8 has publicly stated that he cannot tell the difference either!
__________________
Mobridge DA2 > JBL MS-8 > JL Audio HD600/4 > (3) Hybrid Audio L3SE & (2) Rainbow Cal25; JL Audio HD900/5 > (2) Morel HCW-10 & (1) IDMax 15
kaigoss69 is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      11-06-2013, 02:12 PM   #32
kayza
Private
 
Drives: '14 Focus ST, had 06 e91 325xi
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Posts: 57
iTrader: (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaigoss69 View Post
You guys should check out Spotify on the extreme setting. I have done A/B comparisons between identical tracks playing from Spotify and CD, and I simply cannot tell the difference. BTW, Andy Wehmeyer, former Harman Kardon/JBL product manager and creator of the MS-8 has publicly stated that he cannot tell the difference either!
I believe Spotify is 320k mp3 at highest setting, and I think that Google play music all access (what a name) is the same. I stream from it and am happy with my results on headphones, in home, and in car. That and Google lets me add my own music, and locally cache any of the music (lowering data usage).
kayza is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-07-2013, 12:59 AM   #33
bmw325i
Brigadier General
 
Drives: 2006 BMW 325i
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: United States

Posts: 4,011
iTrader: (5)

I think you guys are forgetting that a head unit is designed for this exact purpose.
__________________
2006 BMW 325i Titanium Silver
Mods- 19" AG M310's hypersilver, LCI xenons, drilled and slotted rotors, OEM rear spoiler, OEM exhaust tips, brushed black interior trim, Viper 5904 alarm + remote start
Audio upgrades- Alpine S920HD, JL XD600/6, Jehnert XE200, Morel Hybrid Ovation II, Audioque 2200D, 2 Alpine SWR 12d4's (forward facing sealed from trunk)
bmw325i is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-07-2013, 07:44 AM   #34
kayza
Private
 
Drives: '14 Focus ST, had 06 e91 325xi
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Posts: 57
iTrader: (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw325i View Post
I think you guys are forgetting that a head unit is designed for this exact purpose.
Since you didn't quote, I'm not sure what you are referring too. My head unit has a very modern interface (for 2004 when it was likely developed) . This interface does not have USB for me, so I am stuck using CDs, which when Mp3 cds are used it often skips. This sends me to an 8.4gb dvdr+dl, which then makes me sacrifice my satnav.
Lastly, I can elect to use the aux in in the center console. This subjects me to the low frequency filter mentioned earlier. It also crackles and distorts when sending my full signal from my phone's external dac. So I must limit that volume from the source (instead of full line level, then use the BMW volume knob (limiting it some more), and finally a filtered and less than 100% signal gets to the ms8, which would then be at -6db.
For having spent over $1k on this upgraded system, I'm no longer interested in feeding it subpar signal. That's like be offered a free no cost upgrade to 93 octane fuel if you just have a loyalty club card at BP (not a credit card), but still putting e87 in the car because you don't want the hassle of opening the card and doing the extra card swipe at the pump.
kayza is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-07-2013, 11:07 AM   #35
bmw325i
Brigadier General
 
Drives: 2006 BMW 325i
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: United States

Posts: 4,011
iTrader: (5)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kayza View Post
Since you didn't quote, I'm not sure what you are referring too. My head unit has a very modern interface (for 2004 when it was likely developed) . This interface does not have USB for me, so I am stuck using CDs, which when Mp3 cds are used it often skips. This sends me to an 8.4gb dvdr+dl, which then makes me sacrifice my satnav.
Lastly, I can elect to use the aux in in the center console. This subjects me to the low frequency filter mentioned earlier. It also crackles and distorts when sending my full signal from my phone's external dac. So I must limit that volume from the source (instead of full line level, then use the BMW volume knob (limiting it some more), and finally a filtered and less than 100% signal gets to the ms8, which would then be at -6db.
For having spent over $1k on this upgraded system, I'm no longer interested in feeding it subpar signal. That's like be offered a free no cost upgrade to 93 octane fuel if you just have a loyalty club card at BP (not a credit card), but still putting e87 in the car because you don't want the hassle of opening the card and doing the extra card swipe at the pump.
The problem is the stock head unit. With an aftermarket you wouldn't have any of those issues. You can eliminate the head unit but it's too inconvenient to change the song or adjust the volume.
bmw325i is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-08-2013, 02:40 PM   #36
kayza
Private
 
Drives: '14 Focus ST, had 06 e91 325xi
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Posts: 57
iTrader: (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw325i View Post
The problem is the stock head unit. With an aftermarket you wouldn't have any of those issues. You can eliminate the head unit but it's too inconvenient to change the song or adjust the volume.
That may be. I already own literally everything for my current setup from other projects, so it is literally $0 additional cost to have my phone mounted in the car and piped right to the ms8, so I will stick with this method. This weekend I will be mounting a new cd-slot car mount which should elevate the phone to where the A/C controls are, so I will snap a few pictures of what I have set up and share my thoughts about whether its simplicity is near the simplicity of stock options (6FL USB addon) or not.
kayza is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-25-2013, 03:35 AM   #37
RectalItching
Private
 
Drives: 2006 330i
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Illinois

Posts: 66
iTrader: (3)

Grab a beverage to take the edge off this post lol

According to HRT, the microStreamer has a digitally-controlled analog volume control:
"Dual purpose built, it incorporates both a high–performance headphone amplifier with an analog volume control that allows you to connect the microStreamer between your computer and headphones; and a fixed-level, low impedance 2.25V line output that allows you to connect between your computer and home stereo, other entertainment system or to powered loudspeakers.
Volume control of microStreamer’s OCL (output capacitor-less) headphone amplifier is accomplished by using the digital ‘slide’ control on the host computer’s music playback software to adjust microStreamers’s internal analog volume attenuator. This clever analogue attenuation arrangement allows the full audio quality of the microStreamer to remain pure, clean and full-ranged, avoiding the known sonic degradation of digital attenuators."

It goes on to explain that digital volume control has fixed noise and analog has vaiable noise, so that the noise goes down as volume goes down.
I understand the phone's volume control is actually still analog attentuation so there shouldnt be a difference in headphone out mode. However, i don't understand this:

According to forum member, DanBa:
" Such an analog volume control of the USB DAC/amp is adjusted by a virtual or physical up/down knob of the PC which has an implementation of USB HID (Human Interface Device).The digital volume control of the USB DAC/amp is adjusted by a virtual up/down knob of a music player running on the PC
I don’t have a USB DAC/amp which has a digitally-controlled analog volume control, I don’t know if Android device has an implementation of USB HID."

This raises a question for me on how i should hook up the rig:
To implement analog attentuation should i be using the headphone out if i plan on using the phone's volume for going straight to the MS8 ? Or does in not matter and i should be using the lineout to either the aux input with headunit control or use the ms8 remote volume? (lets pretend the aux input has no passive filter)

Kayla, the samsung note 3 is listed as working with the Microstreamer, according to the head-fi forum thread which lists android powered compatible dacs and phones reportedly verified to work with them. (search the web for a forum thread titled, "android phones and usb dacs") I think same models may vary carrier to carrier, because of usb spec. , In head-fi forum i have found some guys cant attentuate the volume because it locks to 100%. They have addressed this or other software issues by using USB Audio Recorder Pro app , rather than Google play. Google play wouldn't play my flac/aiff files, at least on my phone. Also, did you know that the Note 2 supports 24 bit/192khz resolution? You would definitely notice a difference there, and they are not hard to find in some of your favorite common music artists.

Guy's this is another reason why an aftermarket headunit is not always the answer to better sound quality. Some guys want to play high resolution files, which will most likely not be supported. Apple iDevices have the limitation that they only support 16 bit/44.1khz resolution. Actually, until a few years ago they didn't even support lossless files. Android has come a long way And a multi-function aftermarket headunit doesn't have near the money invested into a quality signal path. They average $200 bucks total. One reason being this evolving market is smaller nowadays.

In terms of most convenience i prefer volume from the head unit , then the phone, then the Ms-8.
I will experiment but what would be the effect of sound quality in that order?
Finally, my connector is arriving in the next cpl days to connect My reference dac in the car, and will provide the answer if i will buy the microStreamer.

Kayla, what if you drop your subsonic filter to maybe 25Hz. Although there may be a steep drop in frequency, your filter may be stealing those sub-frequencies the microStreamer worked so hard at getting
RectalItching is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-25-2013, 07:21 AM   #38
Denny347
Lieutenant
 
Drives: SGM 2006 330i
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Indianapolis, IN

Posts: 517
iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RectalItching View Post
Yeah, when it comes to the integration tradeoffs I'm ok with the headunit shortcomings.

Kaigoss69 I'm glad you mentioned the frequency filter I had not heard that. There is a slight db drop on the very low frequencies from the iStreamer itself which I confirmed on my home audio stereo. I'm going to try hooking up my home audioreference DAC in the car (usb powered) and see if I lose them through the headunit.

Kayza this would be important to determine because the reason I would switch to the microstreamer is to regain the resolution of those very bottom frequencies so I'll report back.

Kayza as far as the distortion you experienced on the microstreamer be sure you are using the straight lineout output and not the variable output, otherwise it's a level matching problem it sounds like. you will be using the ms8 as the volume control. And sorry I can't verify it doesn't get converted in the headunit, my hunch is no..

Also something useful I learned, I used a digital wav file of the calibration file from my ipod (through the DAC) to determine the correct level, rather than the CD through the headunit. I had a very faint but noticeable ground noise at higher volumes and went away completely once I calibrated this way
I was under the impression that the filters on the AUX input only showed up on the later models...our 2006 cars did not have them.
Denny347 is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-26-2013, 12:05 PM   #39
kayza
Private
 
Drives: '14 Focus ST, had 06 e91 325xi
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Posts: 57
iTrader: (1)

http://youtu.be/Br6_Ebph0Vk

I made a quick video of my e91 setup with Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (verizon) ->USB OTG->USB Extension cable->HRT MicroStreamer (line out)->MS8. This completely bypasses the stock headunit.
kayza is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-26-2013, 12:28 PM   #40
kayza
Private
 
Drives: '14 Focus ST, had 06 e91 325xi
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Posts: 57
iTrader: (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RectalItching View Post
Grab a beverage to take the edge off this post lol

According to HRT, the microStreamer has a digitally-controlled analog volume control:
"Dual purpose built, it incorporates both a high–performance headphone amplifier with an analog volume control that allows you to connect the microStreamer between your computer and headphones; and a fixed-level, low impedance 2.25V line output that allows you to connect between your computer and home stereo, other entertainment system or to powered loudspeakers.
Volume control of microStreamer’s OCL (output capacitor-less) headphone amplifier is accomplished by using the digital ‘slide’ control on the host computer’s music playback software to adjust microStreamers’s internal analog volume attenuator. This clever analogue attenuation arrangement allows the full audio quality of the microStreamer to remain pure, clean and full-ranged, avoiding the known sonic degradation of digital attenuators."

It goes on to explain that digital volume control has fixed noise and analog has vaiable noise, so that the noise goes down as volume goes down.
I understand the phone's volume control is actually still analog attentuation so there shouldnt be a difference in headphone out mode. However, i don't understand this:

According to forum member, DanBa:
" Such an analog volume control of the USB DAC/amp is adjusted by a virtual or physical up/down knob of the PC which has an implementation of USB HID (Human Interface Device).The digital volume control of the USB DAC/amp is adjusted by a virtual up/down knob of a music player running on the PC
I don’t have a USB DAC/amp which has a digitally-controlled analog volume control, I don’t know if Android device has an implementation of USB HID."

This raises a question for me on how i should hook up the rig:
To implement analog attentuation should i be using the headphone out if i plan on using the phone's volume for going straight to the MS8 ? Or does in not matter and i should be using the lineout to either the aux input with headunit control or use the ms8 remote volume? (lets pretend the aux input has no passive filter)

Kayla, the samsung note 3 is listed as working with the Microstreamer, according to the head-fi forum thread which lists android powered compatible dacs and phones reportedly verified to work with them. (search the web for a forum thread titled, "android phones and usb dacs") I think same models may vary carrier to carrier, because of usb spec. , In head-fi forum i have found some guys cant attentuate the volume because it locks to 100%. They have addressed this or other software issues by using USB Audio Recorder Pro app , rather than Google play. Google play wouldn't play my flac/aiff files, at least on my phone. Also, did you know that the Note 2 supports 24 bit/192khz resolution? You would definitely notice a difference there, and they are not hard to find in some of your favorite common music artists.

Guy's this is another reason why an aftermarket headunit is not always the answer to better sound quality. Some guys want to play high resolution files, which will most likely not be supported. Apple iDevices have the limitation that they only support 16 bit/44.1khz resolution. Actually, until a few years ago they didn't even support lossless files. Android has come a long way And a multi-function aftermarket headunit doesn't have near the money invested into a quality signal path. They average $200 bucks total. One reason being this evolving market is smaller nowadays.

In terms of most convenience i prefer volume from the head unit , then the phone, then the Ms-8.
I will experiment but what would be the effect of sound quality in that order?
Finally, my connector is arriving in the next cpl days to connect My reference dac in the car, and will provide the answer if i will buy the microStreamer.

Kayla, what if you drop your subsonic filter to maybe 25Hz. Although there may be a steep drop in frequency, your filter may be stealing those sub-frequencies the microStreamer worked so hard at getting
Hi. Yes, I am aware of all of the Note 3 things you spoke of here. I HAVE a microstreamer, and enjoy it in my car. Please see my video posted one post above.

Regarding the analog attenuation being digitally controlled. This is not supported by my android phone. Notice in the video that I have the volume turned all the way down (at 9:40 on the video) and then i walk to the back of my car and you see that the line out port is used. So even with the line out (which should either be 100% or muted as the only two output options), it is controlled by the phones volume dial. This functions the exact same on the headphone jack (for my headphone listening beyond the car).

When using the HRT on my computer, the signal of the line out is 100% no matter where I slide the dial on my pc, until I slide it down to zero (or hit mute), in which the HRT is also then muted with no signal out of the line out. This is how it should be.

So with that, my findings conclude that the HRT MicroStreamer, on both headphone amp and line out signal, is at 100% when plugged into my android phone. The android phone is then DIGITALLY (oh no, there goes the bits!) reducing the signal being fed to the HRT, while the HRT is running at 100% line out signal, and at 100% amplification at all times on the headphone jack. Just a FWIW statement. I suppose I should probably post this to the head-fi HRT thread so others know.
kayza is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-26-2013, 11:08 PM   #41
RectalItching
Private
 
Drives: 2006 330i
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Illinois

Posts: 66
iTrader: (3)

Nice Video!
sums everything up nicely. My Ipod Classic backlight went out today lol. So i'll be getting the microstreamer tomorrow regardless. I see you got the sub. You gave some pretty good options for mounting display hardware. I may use the CD player one, but im going to look around a bit, so thanks for that.

Theres many cheap options for y cables, im sure you just got a quick one from radioshack for now. But you could also solder and make up your own quality cable, that's what i've done for my RCA's and y- cable. That way you can make your own length.

Enjoy!
RectalItching is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-27-2013, 12:44 AM   #42
alexwhittemore
Lieutenant Colonel
 
Drives: 2009 Crimson 328i
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Los Angeles

Posts: 1,598
iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RectalItching View Post
Theres many cheap options for y cables, im sure you just got a quick one from radioshack for now. But you could also solder and make up your own quality cable, that's what i've done for my RCA's and y- cable. That way you can make your own length.

Enjoy!
You'll be missing functionality, the OEM (and knockoff) cables have active circuitry in them for control. Specifically a USB-Serial interface.

To be clear, you CAN make your own, but it requires at least hobbyist-level electronics experience.
alexwhittemore is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-27-2013, 12:58 AM   #43
RectalItching
Private
 
Drives: 2006 330i
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Illinois

Posts: 66
iTrader: (3)

Alex are you referring to the mini usb cable or which one? I only meant the RCA cables from the MS-8 to the power amp and the 3.5mm mini to stereo RCA cable. We have a nice solder station at our work but i think anyone with learning ability can make up some cables. I bought wireworld bulk RCA interconnect cable cut to 1.5 ft pairs and bought neutrik rca connectors and 3.5 mm male connectors.

For the usb a 10ft belkin cable should work, maybe a longer extension cable depending on your setup
RectalItching is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      11-27-2013, 03:32 AM   #44
alexwhittemore
Lieutenant Colonel
 
Drives: 2009 Crimson 328i
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Los Angeles

Posts: 1,598
iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RectalItching View Post
Alex are you referring to the mini usb cable or which one? I only meant the RCA cables from the MS-8 to the power amp and the 3.5mm mini to stereo RCA cable. We have a nice solder station at our work but i think anyone with learning ability can make up some cables. I bought wireworld bulk RCA interconnect cable cut to 1.5 ft pairs and bought neutrik rca connectors and 3.5 mm male connectors.

For the usb a 10ft belkin cable should work, maybe a longer extension cable depending on your setup
Oh oh 3.5 to RCA Y. Yes, totally different . Thought you meant the OEM Y for 6FL.
alexwhittemore is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:31 PM.




e90post
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
1Addicts.com, BIMMERPOST.com, E90Post.com, F30Post.com, M3Post.com, ZPost.com, 5Post.com, 6Post.com, 7Post.com, XBimmers.com logo and trademark are properties of BIMMERPOST