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Official Pioneer SC-68/67 Thread - Page 26

post #751 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by soniky View Post

Just checked with jRiver and set audio mode to WASAPI and it works fine with the sc-68 usb-dac driver on Win 7.

I plan to give Windows7 a try, using my sons laptop, but I have to repair the power supply for it first rolleyes.gif
post #752 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbear View Post

I agree, think this likely the problem too.
Interestingly, I spoke to the area rep for Pioneer yesterday. He is going to chase tech support and get some answers for me. He said that the fact that when I am using the USB-DAC that I get the Windows system sounds, in his opinion means that the Pioneer driver is not bypassing the kmixer and may explain why it doesn't sound too good. It is very frustrating that I haven't had a single reply from Pioneer (email) support so far, and the people on the phone are not knowledgeable enough about the product to be able to help.
Anyway, I wonder if Pioneer have done all their testing with Window7 and not realized there might be a problem if the USB-DAC is used under Windows XP
For those who are using the USB-DAC, would you mind reporting here if you are able to hear the Windows system sounds through your speakers, or do you only hear the music which you are playing?


Very intresting about what the rep said. I think the Pioneer USB DAC drivers are not bypassing the Kmixer but when you plug in you mapleshade adapter their drivers are and you are hearing the difference in sound. I suspect when I install the ReClock DirectShow Filter it will bypass Windows XP Kmixer and send digital audio directly to the sound card preserving the 44.1hz original signal and I should hear a noticeable difference in sound quality without even using the USB to SPDIF adapter. I think the ReClock Filter just sends the original 44.1HZ audio directly to soundcard bypassing the XP kmixer but not sure if it does anything else compared the Mapleshade or m2tech USB to SPDIF adapter that bypasses the kmixer and also does the clocking to keep jitter to a minimum. I'm hoping tonight I hear an impovement with the ReClock filter and maybe some more with the USB adapter on Friday

If you read the ReClock install notes: http://reclock.free.fr/

It explains PCM and SPDIF are very different by nature

- In PCM mode, ReClock receives the raw audio waves in digital form and transmits them to the audio card, but it can tweak them because it understands what is inside. So the sound can be reshaped (pitch or playback rate can be changed, and dynamic compression can be applied). Altering the playback rate allows ReClock to re sync the sound with the video. Playing a video at 25 fps with a sound that was “designed” to play at 24 fps is no problem.
- Now in SPDIF mode, ReClock receive a binary encoded AC3 or DTS stream and transmit it to the external decoder/amplifier via SPDIF link. But it can’t understand what is inside because this content needs to be decoded to be understood and played (that’s the purpose of an AC3 decoder). So how can ReClock alter the playback rate in SPDIF? Well, in fact it can’t do it nicely. AC3 frames are divided into chunks that have a sound duration of 32ms (a chunk is also called a frame or packet). Each frame is independent of the previous and of the next. To shorten the sound, ReClock drop frames, and to lengthen the sound, ReClock repeat frames. This is called the drop/repeat algorithm. Usually dropping or repeating an AC3 frame is not noticeable if it does not happen too often (remember a frame is only 32ms long), but it is not possible to play a media at a speed that is very far from its original speed (playing a 24 fps file at 25 fps would make a frame drop every 25 frame and it is very noticeable). That’s why in SPDIF mode, ReClock will only accept to alter the speed of media files very slightly (it won’t try to accelerate a 24 fps file to 25 fps).

Now DirectShow also have its oddities. When the “WaveOut renderer” was the only way to play sound, it was extended to handle SPDIF so it could take PCM or SPDIF input. When the “DirectSound renderer” appeared, it was plagued with problem in SPDIF handling, and many audio card manufacturers also had problems to handle SPDIF with DirectSound. So, this renderer is not commonly used to handle SPDIF. From this, you see that the best way to handle PCM sound is to use DirectSound and the best way to handle SPDIF sound is to use WaveOut. So, as ReClock needs to handle both PCM and SPDIF modes, it provides you the two worlds: WaveOut API and DirectSound API, so you have the choice. In this regard, ReClock is a hybrid audio renderer. Please have a look on a section “How to optimize SPDIF output” for a method that will allow you to minimize drop/repeats in SPDIF mode.

Version 1.6 also comes with a new audio renderer called "Kernel Streaming". This API is the lower one available in Windows to produce sound. It talks directly to audio WDM cards drivers, and has many advantages :
- lower possible audio latency
- complete bypass of the windows internal audio resampler that degrades sound quality

... and some disadvantages :
- no audio volume control
post #753 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escape View Post

Very intresting about what the rep said. I think the Pioneer USB DAC drivers are not bypassing the Kmixer but when you plug in you mapleshade adapter their drivers are and you are hearing the difference in sound. I suspect when I install the ReClock DirectShow Filter it will bypass Windows XP Kmixer and send digital audio directly to the sound card preserving the 44.1hz original signal and I should hear a noticeable difference in sound quality without even using the USB to SPDIF adapter. I think the ReClock Filter just sends the original 44.1HZ audio directly to soundcard bypassing the XP kmixer but not sure if it does anything else compared the Mapleshade or m2tech USB to SPDIF adapter that bypasses the kmixer and also does the clocking to keep jitter to a minimum. I'm hoping tonight I hear an impovement with the ReClock filter and maybe some more with the USB adapter on Friday
If you read the ReClock install notes: http://reclock.free.fr/ ...
[/B]

Yes, the Pioneer rep has an N50, and when I suggested that the SC-68 has a lot of commonality in the design, he did not disagree. The rep has been using the N50 for quite some time, and said that when he first listened to the N50, he was blown away. His expectation was that in listening to the Sc-68 that I would also be 'blown away, the fact that I was not, implies there is indeed a problem. And, the fact that he doesn't get the windows system sounds, and I do, sort of confirms that the driver is not bypassing kmixer.

As regards the Reclock install notes ..

I find their use of 'PCM' and 'S/PDIF mode confusing. As you probably know, S/PDIF refers to the physical interface. (Sony/Philips interface). However, when they refer to 'S/PDIF' they are clearly using that to mean 'compressed audio'.

S/PDIF carries only two channels of audio data, this can be PCM or compressed. When it is carrying PCM, it is two channel audio, i.e. stereo. When carrying compressed, it can be whatever it is encoded in, therefore can carry multi-channel audio. Earlier in this thread, someone from Pioneer confirmed that the USB-DAC can only do stereo, i.e. PCM

I have the benefit here of having designed digital audio interfaces myself for some professional broadcast equipment at work. Actually that was 'AES3', which is effectively the professional version of S/PDIF. I have also worked on the design of embedded audio in SDI, so are familiar with many of the nitty, gritty details of embedded audio, both compressed and non-compressed.

Going back to the point about multi-channel - I am not 100% sure about the HiFace or Mapleshade adapter. I know that ASIO4ALL can support multi-channel, but I don't think the adapters can. To be honest, I don't personally care as I am only streaming two channel audio anyway (for multichannel I play Blu Ray and SACD)

Good luck with the ReClock filter. For now, I am sticking with ASIO4ALL as I know it works with the Mapleshade adapter. I don't want to risk messing up ASIO4ALL by installing ReClock, I will wait for Pioneer to get back to me with their suggestions first.
post #754 of 1835
Off the current subject of the USB DAC

I want to know what I should expect in sound quality difference if I was to upgrade to the SC-67 or SC-68 compared to my current 12 year old Yamaha RX-v3300 receiver and also how does it pair with the Klipsh RF-7II. Currently for music playback (From CDs or wav from PC) the RF-7IIs sounds good with the Yamaha but could use a little more low end when played at lower to moderate volumes. My sub takes care of that but if I turn the sub off the RF-7IIs could use some more low end. At higher volume the bass is powerful with no sub. I'm wondering if I can adjust the low end for the mains after MACC setup or maybe the SC67/68 may have more low end because of the differences in the units and how audio is processed. I was reading the manual and their seems to be many features that enhances / processes audio without degrading it. With the Yamaha RX-v3000 their is only a bass control that did not do too much

My current receiver has no room correction/calibration software like the MACC on the Elite 67 & 68

Currently my system consists of:

Yamaha RX-v3300 Receiver used as a Pre/Pro
Amplifer - Adcom GFA7705 5 channel amp (200 watts@8ohms x 5)
Front Main - Klipsch RF-7 II (Latest Model)
Center - Klipsch RF64II (Latest Model)
Surrounds - Klipsch RS-35
Subwoofer- Rythmix Audio FV15HP
Dune HDI - Max (Media Player)
Oppo BDP-93 (BluRay Player)
Pioneer Elite Pro-151FD (60" Plasma)
post #755 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbear View Post

Yes, the Pioneer rep has an N50, and when I suggested that the SC-68 has a lot of commonality in the design, he did not disagree. The rep has been using the N50 for quite some time, and said that when he first listened to the N50, he was blown away. His expectation was that in listening to the Sc-68 that I would also be 'blown away, the fact that I was not, implies there is indeed a problem. And, the fact that he doesn't get the windows system sounds, and I do, sort of confirms that the driver is not bypassing kmixer.
As regards the Reclock install notes ..
I find their use of 'PCM' and 'S/PDIF mode confusing. As you probably know, S/PDIF refers to the physical interface. (Sony/Philips interface). However, when they refer to 'S/PDIF' they are clearly using that to mean 'compressed audio'.
S/PDIF carries only two channels of audio data, this can be PCM or compressed. When it is carrying PCM, it is two channel audio, i.e. stereo. When carrying compressed, it can be whatever it is encoded in, therefore can carry multi-channel audio. Earlier in this thread, someone from Pioneer confirmed that the USB-DAC can only do stereo, i.e. PCM
I have the benefit here of having designed digital audio interfaces myself for some professional broadcast equipment at work. Actually that was 'AES3', which is effectively the professional version of S/PDIF. I have also worked on the design of embedded audio in SDI, so are familiar with many of the nitty, gritty details of embedded audio, both compressed and non-compressed.
Going back to the point about multi-channel - I am not 100% sure about the HiFace or Mapleshade adapter. I know that ASIO4ALL can support multi-channel, but I don't think the adapters can. To be honest, I don't personally care as I am only streaming two channel audio anyway (for multichannel I play Blu Ray and SACD)
Good luck with the ReClock filter. For now, I am sticking with ASIO4ALL as I know it works with the Mapleshade adapter. I don't want to risk messing up ASIO4ALL by installing ReClock, I will wait for Pioneer to get back to me with their suggestions first.

I think what he means is that 2 channel audio carried on SPDIF is PCM mode and multi channel audio carried on SPDIF (DTS/DD from DVDs) is AC3

I only copied a small portion of the readme in prior post. There is alot more to read (21 pages) so sorry if I didn't include enough and made it confusing

Here is what was above in the readme from my first post

Originally, Microsoft designed one DirectShow audio renderer called the “WaveOut renderer”. This renderer was based on an old audio technology dating back to Windows 3.0 (let’s call it the Wave API). Later, when DirectX started to emerge, Microsoft designed a new audio renderer called the “DirectSound renderer” which is based on DirectSound technology (the DirectSound API). The later should provide better sound quality with less CPU overhead and less latency. On a “normal” PC with DirectX 9.0 or later, the “DirectSound renderer” is generally automatically used.

At the same time DirectSound emerged, PC started to be used to play DVD’s. As you know, nearly all DVD’s have a 5.1 Dolby or DTS soundtrack (i.e. 6 independent audio channels), that can be played on multiple speakers by your PC and the appropriate audio card, or send to an external AC3 decoder/amplifier with an SPDIF compatible soundcard. You can see those are two different ways to handle sound. When you play some media (MP3, DIVX, and DVD) and your soundcard provides directly the sound to the speakers, you are using PCM (Pulse Coded Modulation) sound, and I will call this “PCM mode”. When you are sending an AC3 or DTS stream over SPDIF to an external decoder/amplifier you’re doing AC3 pass-through mode, and I will call this “SPDIF mode”.
post #756 of 1835
O.K. - I didn't realize that my ATI Video card was doing any processing at all over it's HDMI output - I thought that it sent an unprocessed audio signal. I had a Creative Labs card in the HTPC, but took it out as I wanted the Denon 4308 to do the processing. I guess all the issues you mentioned regarding jitters, PS noise etc. could still be a factor regardless though. I basicly hear zero background hiss or noise compared to when I used to use coaxial and optical from a Creative 2zs card, and my hearing tests as a dogs or 18 year old regarding high frequencies. I mainly listen to Windows Lossless over WMP. WMP11 in Windows 7 also plays the FLAC files I've been making with DBpoweramp, even though I had read that it wouldn't play them - I find that really confusing.. I downloaded a few 192khz tracks from HD Tracks as well, and they seem to play fine as well and sound very good, but I don't know if I am actually listening to HD music, even though the Denon indicates I am. Thanks for the info, and thanks to bbear for the link. Hopefully someday I will be able to understand what I am actually listening to in my setup!
Quote:
Originally Posted by soniky View Post

I have no idea about your HTPC and ATI 5670. However, in general, PC has issues with jitters on digital interfaces (affects digital section), noises from power supply and anything that moves such as your harddisk and fan (affects analog section), sharing system interrupts among different devices (affects playback), etc. You'd also need to make sure all your software are configured correctly for a bit-perfect audio output. Many sound cards also do audio re-sampling which degrades sound quality. They can be resolved, but it's not easy. http://www.computeraudiophile.com/ is a good source. In a nutshell, there can be many issues on a PC before considering which DAC is better.
post #757 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbear View Post


Good luck with the ReClock filter. For now, I am sticking with ASIO4ALL as I know it works with the Mapleshade adapter. I don't want to risk messing up ASIO4ALL by installing ReClock, I will wait for Pioneer to get back to me with their suggestions first.

To clarify the drivers your using with the mapleshade adapter are the Asio4all. Did those drivers come with the adapter? I was under the impression that Mapleshade customized/enhanced the m2tech drivers and changed the housing. Why are you not using the Mapleshade drivers?

The asio4all is a free download.

I was wondering since you already have asio4all installed on your PC and it bypasses the XP kmixer and uses WDM Kernel-Streaming if you ever tried connecting your PC SPDIF output to your AVR and compared that to the Mapleshade USB adapter output. That is something I will try when I get the m2tech Hiface2 USB adapter on Friday. The sound could be comparable and the USB adapter may not be needed. I'm going to install the ReClock filter and see if it sounds quality is better than regular window drivers then install asio4all and compare keeping the connection from SPDIF on PC to AVR. On Friday connect m2tech USB adapter install their drivers and connect to another input on AVR and switch back and forth to see if any difference in sound quality

One way to tell if you are bypassing the kmixer is that you will not hear any other PC sounds only music file you are currently playing

I think Pioneer will have to update their drivers / firmware for their USB DAC to bypass the kmixer and then you will hear higher quality audio like you do with the mapleshade adapter I don't think ReClock will work with the Pioneer SC-68 USB DAC since ReClock sends audio directly to the PC soundcard untouched but not to the USB where you would be connecting from the PC to the Pioneer USB DAC
Edited by Escape - 1/8/13 at 12:36pm
post #758 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escape View Post

To clarify the drivers your using with the mapleshade adapter are the Asio4all. Did those drivers come with the adapter? I was under the impression that Mapleshade customized/enhanced the m2tech drivers and changed the housing. Why are you not using the Mapleshade drivers?
The asio4all is a free download.
I was wondering since you already have asio4all installed on your PC and it bypasses the XP kmixer and uses WDM Kernel-Streaming if you ever tried connecting your PC SPDIF output to your AVR and compared that to the Mapleshade USB adapter output. That is something I will try when I get the m2tech Hiface2 USB adapter on Friday. The sound could be comparable and the USB adapter may not be needed. I'm going to install the ReClock filter and see if it sounds quality is better than regular window drivers then install asio4all and compare keeping the connection from SPDIF on PC to AVR. On Friday connect m2tech USB adapter install their drivers and connect to another input on AVR and switch back and forth to see if any difference in sound quality
One way to tell if you are bypassing the kmixer is that you will not hear any other PC sounds only music file you are currently playing
I think Pioneer will have to update their drivers / firmware for their USB DAC to bypass the kmixer and then you will hear higher quality audio like you do with the mapleshade adapter I don't think ReClock will work with the Pioneer SC-68 USB DAC since ReClock sends audio directly to the PC soundcard untouched but not to the USB where you would be connecting from the PC to the Pioneer USB DAC

It is a long time since I installed the driver for the Mapleshade/HiFace, but I remember that at the time I obtained them from the M2Tech website.

ASIO4ALL is not a driver as such, instead it is a wrapper around WDM, it is the smart part which routes the raw audio around kmixer. The HiFace driver still gets used, and this is what you have to select when you configure ASIO4ALL.

Yes, about a year ago, before I got the Mapleshade adapter, I was using the S/PDIF output of my sound card (motherboard audio - nothing special). It will be interesting to hear how your comparison of PC audio to the HiFace compares.
post #759 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbear View Post

It is a long time since I installed the driver for the Mapleshade/HiFace, but I remember that at the time I obtained them from the M2Tech website.
ASIO4ALL is not a driver as such, instead it is a wrapper around WDM, it is the smart part which routes the raw audio around kmixer. The HiFace driver still gets used, and this is what you have to select when you configure ASIO4ALL.
Yes, about a year ago, before I got the Mapleshade adapter, I was using the S/PDIF output of my sound card (motherboard audio - nothing special). It will be interesting to hear how your comparison of PC audio to the HiFace compares.

So you never used the asio4all with just spdif out on PC to AVR. You only used it when you bought the mapleshade adapter

Basically thats what I will be trying tonight the asio4all and ReClock to see if any sound improvement via PC SPDIF to AVR compared to Windows direct sound/default audo drivers via PC SPDIF to AVR
post #760 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escape View Post

So you never used the asio4all with just spdif out on PC to AVR. You only used it when you bought the mapleshade adapter
Basically thats what I will be trying tonight the asio4all and ReClock to see if any sound improvement via PC SPDIF to AVR compared to Windows direct sound/default audo drivers via PC SPDIF to AVR

Correct. I never tried ASIO4ALL with my PC SPDIF to AVR. Basically, I bought what at the time I understood to be an ASIO compatible device (i.e. the Mapleshade adapter), then when I found that it wasn't, I set out to find some way of getting ASIO-like performance - enter ASIO4ALL

Your experiment makes a lot of sense, I never thought of trying that. With ASIO4ALL, you should be able to achieve very low latency (if that matters) and bit-perfect reproduction (as Windows wont be doing conversion to 48Khz). You also should not hear the Windows system sounds.

However, you will not be getting the re-clocking benefits of the HiFace adapter, and will be relying on the clock characteristics of your PC audio hardware (which I have read can be pretty awful).
post #761 of 1835
If this was me....... Given the price difference between the 67 and 68, I would go with the 67 and use an outboard DAC. I use a PS Audio DAC 3 with an SC-09, and to this point have heard nothing better rolleyes.gif
post #762 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbear View Post

Correct. I never tried ASIO4ALL with my PC SPDIF to AVR. Basically, I bought what at the time I understood to be an ASIO compatible device (i.e. the Mapleshade adapter), then when I found that it wasn't, I set out to find some way of getting ASIO-like performance - enter ASIO4ALL
Your experiment makes a lot of sense, I never thought of trying that. With ASIO4ALL, you should be able to achieve very low latency (if that matters) and bit-perfect reproduction (as Windows wont be doing conversion to 48Khz). You also should not hear the Windows system sounds.
However, you will not be getting the re-clocking benefits of the HiFace adapter, and will be relying on the clock characteristics of your PC audio hardware (which I have read can be pretty awful).

Ok , I installed both Asio4all and ReClock. I have listened to several wav files and they sound the same to me. It could be that the sound from my PC is good. I have a very good sound card (Waveterminal 192X PCI) and always thought the sound was good but I always look to improve. I will listen some more to be sure. What I have learned is the asio4all works with my Steinberg Wavelab app. and the ReClock works with Windows Media Player. They each have their own tray icon that starts when you use WMP or Wavelab. The way that I found to test to see if it's bypassing the kmixer is that the volume control in WMP and the wave volume slider in sound properties will not work. Only the SPDIF slider will work. I noticed this for both Asio4all and ReClock. You can still hear other sounds from PC if you go to control panel and click on sounds tab and play them but the audio from WMP is going directly to the soundcard using ReClock and the same for Wavelab using Asio4all. Maybe the m2tech Hifac2 USB to SPDIF DAC with low jitter will improve sound when I get it on Saturday (shipping update)


Quote:
Originally Posted by pogal

If this was me....... Given the price difference between the 67 and 68, I would go with the 67 and use an outboard DAC. I use a PS Audio DAC 3 with an SC-09, and to this point have heard nothing better


I'm thinking of going with the SC-67 for that reason. I will know more on Saturday when I get the m2tech Hiface2 USB to SPDIF adapter and see if sound quality improves with that setup
Edited by Escape - 1/8/13 at 6:44pm
post #763 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escape View Post

Ok , I installed both Asio4all and ReClock. I have listened to several wav files and they sound the same to me. It could be that the sound from my PC is good. I have a very good sound card (Waveterminal 192X PCI) and always thought the sound was good but I always look to improve. I will listen some more to be sure. What I have learned is the asio4all works with my Steinberg Wavelab app. and the ReClock works with Windows Media Player. They each have their own tray icon that starts when you use WMP or Wavelab. The way that I found to test to see if it's bypassing the kmixer is that the volume control in WMP and the wave volume slider in sound properties will not work. Only the SPDIF slider will work. I noticed this for both Asio4all and ReClock. You can still hear other sounds from PC if you go to control panel and click on sounds tab and play them but the audio from WMP is going directly to the soundcard using ReClock and the same for Wavelab using Asio4all. Maybe the m2tech Hifac2 USB to SPDIF DAC with low jitter will improve sound when I get it on Saturday (shipping update)
I'm thinking of going with the SC-67 for that reason. I will know more on Saturday when I get the m2tech Hiface2 USB to SPDIF adapter and see if sound quality improves with that setup

Thanks for carrying out your experiment, working in parallel together like this has been invaluable, I really appreciate your help.

Your existing sound card must be very good, but as you say, the real interesting test will be to compare to the HiFace Two when it arrives.

As for my setup, tonight I had bit of a breakthrough smile.gif

I realized while listening to the USB-DAC, playing lossless FLAC with Foobar, that the ASIO4ALL icon was BLUE. This should have rang alarm bells before, but for some reason I completely missed this crucial piece of evidence.

I went into the ASIO4ALL configuration in Foobar settings and carefully configured it again from scratch. This time when playing the track in Foobar, the ASIO4ALL icon turns GREEN, this means that the audio is indeed being routed using ASIO4ALL. And, the important thing is that the sound is significantly better!!

In fact, in the short time I had for testing tonight, I might even go so far as to say that it is better than my Mapleshade adapter.

It is hard to compare side-by-side as I have to change the SC-68 settings and also the ASIO4ALL settings in Foobar. This involves going through changing the ASIO4ALL settings and closing and starting up Foobar a few times. (ASIO4ALL can be very tricky to set up)

Anyway, I am convinced now that with the Pioneer drivers, at least in the case of an XP Pro machine, do NOT bypass kmixer. This is something which I believe Pioneer need to fix ASAP.

Owners of the SC-68 should not need to install WDM wrappers like ASIO4ALL. The process is not straightforward and in I have read that some people have never been able to get it to work with their particular sound card.

Going back to your point about Windows system sounds ..

I also tried the same experiment. Before running up Foobar, I went into control panel, system sounds and played the sound for 'asterisk'. This played out over my speakers.

Next, I ran up Foobar and played a track. The ASIO4ALL icon went GREEN, so I then played the 'asterisk' system sound, the result was a horrible noise for a second or so and my PC hung up mad.gif

I had the SC-68 volume up quite high, so it hurt my ears, so I hope it has not damaged my speakers.

Clearly ASIO4ALL is not playing well with Windows, or at least not when it is configured to use the USB-DAC.

I am going to update Pioneer with my findings. I will push for them to fix the driver so ASIO4ALL does not have to be used.

I finally heard from Pioneer support today to say that my issues have now been sent to the quality team in Japan. Hopefully things will start happening now and they fix the driver issues in a reasonable timeframe.
post #764 of 1835
What sound quality difference is there between the Pioneer Elite VSX-84TXSi and the Elite SC-67/68?

Thanks.
post #765 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbear View Post

Thanks for carrying out your experiment, working in parallel together like this has been invaluable, I really appreciate your help.
Your existing sound card must be very good, but as you say, the real interesting test will be to compare to the HiFace Two when it arrives.
As for my setup, tonight I had bit of a breakthrough smile.gif
I realized while listening to the USB-DAC, playing lossless FLAC with Foobar, that the ASIO4ALL icon was BLUE. This should have rang alarm bells before, but for some reason I completely missed this crucial piece of evidence.
I went into the ASIO4ALL configuration in Foobar settings and carefully configured it again from scratch. This time when playing the track in Foobar, the ASIO4ALL icon turns GREEN, this means that the audio is indeed being routed using ASIO4ALL. And, the important thing is that the sound is significantly better!!
In fact, in the short time I had for testing tonight, I might even go so far as to say that it is better than my Mapleshade adapter.
It is hard to compare side-by-side as I have to change the SC-68 settings and also the ASIO4ALL settings in Foobar. This involves going through changing the ASIO4ALL settings and closing and starting up Foobar a few times. (ASIO4ALL can be very tricky to set up)
Anyway, I am convinced now that with the Pioneer drivers, at least in the case of an XP Pro machine, do NOT bypass kmixer. This is something which I believe Pioneer need to fix ASAP.

Nice to hear that you were able to get it to work with the SC-68 USB DAC. I was able to install the asio4all, asio2ks and ReClock on 2 PCs with Windows XP and found it hard to tell if there was any difference in sound switching back and fourth from PC to PC playing the same wav files with WMP and Steinberg Wavelab. So I have to decide if the SC-68 is worth the extra 500 for the USB DAC. If I don't hear any difference when I get the m2tech USB to SPDIF adapter then it's probably not worth it. I will just configure PC with the above 3 to bypass the kmixer. Even if there is an improvement it's still cheaper to get the adapter at $185 vs $500 more for the SC-68 and the adapter can be used with other PCs. One benefit I see with the SC-68 is that with the USB DAC you have an additional input to connect external devices. With the SC-67 I would be connecting to the Coax SPDIF so any additional PCs would use up the other SPDIF inputs on the AVR. I think an external digital switch like the Audio Authority 1177A Digital Audio Switcher http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009ZQXM9G/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_6?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A21C4U5X700J66 would do the trick taking up to 4 digital inputs (optical / coax) and switching between them to one output (optical / coax) going to AVR and only using one of it's SPDIF inputs
post #766 of 1835
A few questions about how the SC67 & 68 work:

1 . What is HDMI out 2 for? The manual makes little mention of this (Manual Pages 30, 70, 80, 104 & 110).

2 . Can the "channel levels" (Manual Page 99) for the surround speakers be adjusted "on the fly" Example say a movie your watching has low volume in the center channel? Will the test tones be outputted for this or the actual audio from the movie? My current Yamaha RX-v3300 is very easy and quick to adjust this with remote. No test tones just whatever audio is currently outputted from the speaker be adjusted. One remote button scrolls through each channel and displays the level for each. Then use the arrows to adjust up or down and thats it.

3. Manual adjustments made with the Acoustic Calibration EQ after a full Auto MCACC is set as a MCACC preset or is it global for all sources (Manual Page 93).

4. EXT. Stereo is a multichannel stereo mode for all speakers connected (Manual Page 59 & 75). Is there a "volume trim" feature besides the channel level to adjust the volume of each speaker only in the EXT. Stereo mode and not be a global adjustment. For example with the Yamaha RX-v3300 when listening to 6/8 channel stereo (depends on how many speakers you have hooked up) the levels for each speaker are set which is a global setting so if the center channel is set +2.5db it will be the same in all other surround modes but in this mode it has a "trim feature" that you can lower any of the surround speakers by percentage from 100% to 0% to blend in the sound if the center sounds too loud realitve to the mains. This setting on the RX-v3300 is only available in the 6/8 channel stereo mode and does not affect any other surround mode so you can set it once and not have to keep readjusting it.

My current system consists of:

Yamaha RX-v3300 Receiver used as a Pre/Pro
Amplifer - Adcom GFA7705 5 channel amp (200 watts@8ohms x 5)
Front Main - Klipsch RF-7 II (Latest Model)
Center - Klipsch RF64II (Latest Model)
Surrounds - Klipsch RS-35 II
Subwoofer- Rythmix Audio FV15HP
Dune HDI - Max (Media Player)
Oppo BDP-93 (BluRay Player)
Pioneer Elite Pro-151FD (60" Plasma)
post #767 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escape View Post

So I have to decide if the SC-68 is worth the extra 500 for the USB DAC. If I don't hear any difference when I get the m2tech USB to SPDIF adapter then it's probably not worth it.

Just keep in mind that the cable is very important for a SPDIF connection but not so for USB in terms of interface jitter. This may not matter, but sc-68 usb dac supports up to 32 bits resolution and I can't find its specs on the spdif interface as many of them only support 20 bits resolution.
post #768 of 1835
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escape View Post

A few questions about how the SC67 & 68 work:
1 . What is HDMI out 2 for? The manual makes little mention of this (Manual Pages 30, 70, 80, 104 & 110).
2 . Can the "channel levels" (Manual Page 99) for the surround speakers be adjusted "on the fly" Example say a movie your watching has low volume in the center channel? Will the test tones be outputted for this or the actual audio from the movie? My current Yamaha RX-v3300 is very easy and quick to adjust this with remote. No test tones just whatever audio is currently outputted from the speaker be adjusted. One remote button scrolls through each channel and displays the level for each. Then use the arrows to adjust up or down and thats it.
3. Manual adjustments made with the Acoustic Calibration EQ after a full Auto MCACC is set as a MCACC preset or is it global for all sources (Manual Page 93).
4. EXT. Stereo is a multichannel stereo mode for all speakers connected (Manual Page 59 & 75). Is there a "volume trim" feature besides the channel level to adjust the volume of each speaker only in the EXT. Stereo mode and not be a global adjustment.

I'll try to answer.

1. for dual outputs for a TV & projector for example, both at same time or 1 or the other depending on the setup choice
2. yes but...

a) 1 way is to navigate the MCACC menu OSD, select Manual MCACC, select the preset, select the channel, it plays the tone and you can adjust the level up/down with the remote nav buttons. during this time, you will lose the source video (what you're watching) as it goes to the setup menu, when you exit, normal video source will come back on. this doesn't take that long, 1-2 min maybe & is on the fly, but I don't know if it's exactly same as how Yamaha does it or as fast since I don't have experience with your receiver.

b) there is an Emphasis feature in the i-app which seems to adjust Dialog (center), Bass (sub?) and manual EQ adjustment, but I haven't used it & not sure exactly what it does. it may be part of what you're asking for or it may not be. I don't know for sure. for sure you can go into the menu & do what you want, anytime you want.

3. manual adjustment to EQ is by preset so you can change Symmetry for example but leave All Channels Adjust at the auto EQ settings. Or copy a preset to an unused one, and tweak the copy but leave the normal one at its auto settings.

4. not 100% sure what you mean but a separate volume per speaker just for that mode in the menu? If I'm understanding you, I don't think so, the setup menu will just have channel levels for the MCACC presets. that said, there is a Balance feature in the i-app which is a 360 soundfield where you tilt it to one side or the other, forward or back, I think kind of similar to the old joystick balance control for car radio or the old quadraphonic days smile.gif I think that would accomplish what you are asking by using a GUI instead of menu selections.
Edited by ss9001 - 1/9/13 at 1:43pm
post #769 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbear View Post

Anyway, I am convinced now that with the Pioneer drivers, at least in the case of an XP Pro machine, do NOT bypass kmixer. This is something which I believe Pioneer need to fix ASAP.

Althouhg it'd be a wishful thinking for Pioneer driver to bypass kmixer, I am not sure if it's Pioneer's responsibility. It is really up to what the player application you use can offer. ASIO, WASAPI and Kernel Streaming all bypass Windows system mixer (ASIO4ALL uses Kernel Streaming with a ASIO wrapper). Some applications (ex. iTune, Windows Media Player) don't allow you to choose but many others do (ex. Foobar, jRiver). WASAPI is not available on Win XP but the other two are.
post #770 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by soniky View Post

Althouhg it'd be a wishful thinking for Pioneer driver to bypass kmixer, I am not sure if it's Pioneer's responsibility. It is really up to what the player application you use can offer. ASIO, WASAPI and Kernel Streaming all bypass Windows system mixer (ASIO4ALL uses Kernel Streaming with a ASIO wrapper). Some applications (ex. iTune, Windows Media Player) don't allow you to choose but many others do (ex. Foobar, jRiver). WASAPI is not available on Win XP but the other two are.

There are a number of players for Windows which can support ASIO and kernel streaming, examples are Foobar2000 and MediaMonkey. If Pioneer want their device to work with ASIO then they are the people who have to provide an ASIO compliant driver, or that is what I understand from research which I have done on the subject.

If Pioneer are serious about targeting the 'audiophile' then they need to provide something more than just the average computer audio quality driver. Going by the marketing blurb, talking about asynchronous USB, 32bits, ultra low jitter, etc then I have to assume this is who they are targeting. If this is the case then they need to provide a more professional quality driver, and for XP that would need to support ASIO. I suppose they could come up with a proprietary way of achieving the same, but why bother when there is an industry standard. Certainly the rest of the design of the SC-68 is capable of some very good quality sound reproduction and from my listening tests with my Mapleshade adapter, fed into the COAX1 input, the quality of the DAC on that path iat least s very good.

Of course, there is always the possibility that Pioneer have already done the work on their driver to support ASIO but for some reason it is broken when running on XP.

It would be nice if Pioneer would comment on the driver and what is and is not supposed to support. I hope to have some answers soon as I know now that my comments have been passed to the QA team in Japan.
post #771 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by soniky View Post

Just keep in mind that the cable is very important for a SPDIF connection but not so for USB in terms of interface jitter. This may not matter, but sc-68 usb dac supports up to 32 bits resolution and I can't find its specs on the spdif interface as many of them only support 20 bits resolution.

It has been a few years since I worked on any S/PDIF design but from what I can recall, the standard only supports up to 24bits at 192Khz. I will investigate some more as it is very possible that the standards have been revised since then.
post #772 of 1835
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbear View Post

I hope to have some answers soon as I know now that my comments have been passed to the QA team in Japan.

good for you smile.gif are they going by way of the Canada rep? or do you have a more direct line? wink.gif

curious since we have Walkamo (Chris Walker, head of US home audio marketing) who does look at some of the threads & occasionally posts. you can PM him on the forum as well, I suspect he is tied up at CES this week smile.gif I have emailed & phoned him twice last year with some questions and can try him again after CES is done and he's back to normal. I'm very curious what Pioneer has to say to your comments. when you get some info, please post it.
post #773 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

I'll try to answer.

1. for dual outputs for a TV & projector for example, both at same time or 1 or the other depending on the setup choice
2. yes but...

a) 1 way is to navigate the MCACC menu OSD, select Manual MCACC, select the preset, select the channel, it plays the tone and you can adjust the level up/down with the remote nav buttons. during this time, you will lose the source video (what you're watching) as it goes to the setup menu, when you exit, normal video source will come back on. this doesn't take that long, 1-2 min maybe & is on the fly, but I don't know if it's exactly same as how Yamaha does it or as fast since I don't have experience with your receiver.


1. For dual monitor outputs each monitor can have a different resolution or will it be the lowest of the 2 for both?

1a. Monitor audio capability should have no effect on audio the the SC-68 will decode via HDMI (DTS Master Audio / True HD) The SC-68 will not default to lowest audio because the monitor only supports 2 channel since everything is connected via HDMI

If you click "ch level" directly on the remote (Page 99 Manual) does the test tone start or what ever is playing keeps playing and you can adjust the level. I will not always have tv on when listening to music. Can you do this by looking at the SC-68 display screen.

What I mean by saying "on the fly" is it takes only a few seconds to adjust. A couple of remote button presses and you done. You don't have to scroll through setup screens to make basic adjustments and needing the TV to be on to do it. I say that because I find that I have to adjust Subwoofer output somewhat depending if I'm watching movies or listening to music and also center channel level on some cable channels and even some DVD's and BluRays that are either too low or too loud for the center channel. Currently with the Yamaha Rx-v3300 a few remote button presses and it adjusted. Maybe on the SC-68 I will not have to do this but I'm so used to being able to chage these quickly I don't find it being a problem to do because it's quick and easy

I would also like to know if the SC-67 / 68 sounds on the bright side. Many people say the Yamaha's are a little bright and having one I tend to agree and would rather it be more dynamic and balanced with more low end

I'm also looking at the Denon AVR-4520CI. Can anybody comment on how it sounds and how it compares to the Elite SC-67 / 68
Edited by Escape - 1/10/13 at 12:28pm
post #774 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

good for you smile.gif are they going by way of the Canada rep? or do you have a more direct line? wink.gif

curious since we have Walkamo (Chris Walker, head of US home audio marketing) who does look at some of the threads & occasionally posts. you can PM him on the forum as well, I suspect he is tied up at CES this week smile.gif I have emailed & phoned him twice last year with some questions and can try him again after CES is done and he's back to normal. I'm very curious what Pioneer has to say to your comments. when you get some info, please post it.

Yes, it was the Pioneer rep who seems to have got things moving. Although it seemed at the time like my cries for help were falling into a black hole, it turns out, my questions/concerns were actually in the queue but in Canada it seems there are not many support staff and they were backlogged because of the Christmas holidays. Also, when you submit questions online at the Pioneer Canada support site, it looks like they go to a support email address is in the US, so maybe there was a disconnect between the folks in Canada and the US. The people in Japan were also off for two weeks during the Christmas period so not much could happen until then anyway.

Whatever the final outcome, I will be sure to post back here. I will try to make it clear and concise as I am sure that for those reading this thread, the lengthy discussion on the USB-DAC saga must already be really confusing to follow.
post #775 of 1835
I decided to pull the trigger and replace my Denon 4308 with a Pioneer-SC68, I've always missed my Pioneer 49txi's sound for music, so I'm sure I'll be happy with this one. I was wondering if it's a slam dunk decision to pair it with a Pioneer BDP-62FD to match components, or might there still be a reason or two to purchase the more expensive Oppo 103 or even 105? My Epson 5010 already gives me the ability to do 2D to 3D, so that isn't really a factor. I was really leaning towards trying an Oppo as I've heard so much about them over the years. I guess since I don't really listen to cd's, generally only lossless files from my HTPC - that there is really no reason to match components, and it won't really matter which player I purchase of the 3?
post #776 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by moooog View Post

I decided to pull the trigger and replace my Denon 4308 with a Pioneer-SC68, I've always missed my Pioneer 49txi's sound for music, so I'm sure I'll be happy with this one. I was wondering if it's a slam dunk decision to pair it with a Pioneer BDP-62FD to match components, or might there still be a reason or two to purchase the more expensive Oppo 103 or even 105? My Epson 5010 already gives me the ability to do 2D to 3D, so that isn't really a factor. I was really leaning towards trying an Oppo as I've heard so much about them over the years. I guess since I don't really listen to cd's, generally only lossless files from my HTPC - that there is really no reason to match components, and it won't really matter which player I purchase of the 3?
I gave up matching components years ago do to the fact no one company makes the best in all categories with that said I am a happy BDP-103 owner with plans to replace my Integra with a SC-68 at some point.
post #777 of 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by moooog View Post

I decided to pull the trigger and replace my Denon 4308 with a Pioneer-SC68, I've always missed my Pioneer 49txi's sound for music, so I'm sure I'll be happy with this one. I was wondering if it's a slam dunk decision to pair it with a Pioneer BDP-62FD to match components, or might there still be a reason or two to purchase the more expensive Oppo 103 or even 105? My Epson 5010 already gives me the ability to do 2D to 3D, so that isn't really a factor. I was really leaning towards trying an Oppo as I've heard so much about them over the years. I guess since I don't really listen to cd's, generally only lossless files from my HTPC - that there is really no reason to match components, and it won't really matter which player I purchase of the 3?
I have an Oppo 83 & 95.
Both have excellent AV quality and been flawless from the get go.
I don't how your setup with a HTPC would be when paired up with an Oppo.
Oppos are well know as the most robust and best all-around BD players on the market and are highly tweakable to boot.
Analog audio quality is superb.
post #778 of 1835
I've owned a Pioneer SC-68 since November 2012 and have been very pleased with it. While watching a BluRay disk the other day, the power for the entire system suddenly went out (all components are powered off the same 12 outlet heavy duty strip). I couldn't reset the main circuit breaker in the garage until I physically disconnected the SC-68 from main power. After about 30 minutes, I reconnected the power cable for the receiver and it came up with a POWER ON shown on the main display. It would not respond to any buttons or remote commands. I pulled the power again and attempted to reset the receiver using the ENTER and POWER buttons, but after a few power cycles, it didn't even power up the main display anymore. No smoke was evident.

The dealer was nice enough to swap the receiver for a new one and once I got that hooked up, I discovered that two of my HDMI devices would not output a signal over HDMI any longer although they were otherwise working normally. I was able to verify this by using the component outputs of the affected devices. I also swapped cables and plugged the devices directly into my television to ensure I had isolated the problem to the HDMI outputs from both of these devices. I had two other HDMI devices that were completely unaffected.

I'm not ready to point the finger directly at Pioneer for this as I had a crew building a deck in the backyard at the time, but I cannot be sure they were using their power tools when this occurred. None of the components had a surge protector (they do now), so there's no way of knowing what caused the issue. It's curious to me however that only the HDMI outputs of the two components failed.

I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar experience (with either Pioneer or any other AVR manufacturer). The two other failed components were a DirecTV HR-34 (which DTV is replacing for free) and a display port to HDMI adapter for the HTPC which I replaced for $20 - so I'm not looking to go after anyone with a replacement bill. I just don't want this to happen again and I'd love to hear any suggestions.

--Steve Fintel
post #779 of 1835
Pandora:

I had it working, now says network error. It works on my tv and other devices. My receiver also gets internet radio and connects fine to my computer, its just pandora. Any thoughts>?

Also, the ARC has stopped working strangely. My TV now wont send audio to my receiver, of course this could be the tv, but it is new and was working fine as well. I have an hdmi cable from arc output on tv to pioneer and arc is "on" in menu. again it WAS working, and I changed nothing, thoughts?
post #780 of 1835
There is a Pandora update to SC-68 recently not sure if you have applied it or not. If not, there were some discussions about it on this thread.
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