Update (1/8/12): The (alpha) mac driver does not work -no one has reported it working. They are aiming at another release before they leave for New Year…
Update (1/4/12): There is a Macintosh driver in the beta folder. I attempted to install it on OSX-Lion but I got some error messages even though the files were copied into the proper directory. But I couldn’t see the device in the sound control panel or MIDI setup up panel. There hasn’t been an announcement or instructions yet…
Beta version of driver for Macintosh to be available in a week. According to Musiland,
MAC support for audio is more powerful than Windows. The WIN platform does not directly support 32bit and 384kHz. You need to write your own API. MAC has native 32bit and 384kHz support.
- When released, it should be in the beta folder:
Latest version of the Musiland USB Series driver: MlCyMon_220.127.116.11_build20111228.exe
- Mainly Minor bug fixes, support for 02US Dragon model
- In the past 3 months, since the release of version 2.x, the driver has been updated several times in response to bugs reported by the users. The company is becoming more responsive in updating the software. Below is the latest UI (with the HDCD “light” enabled in the config file)
Update 2/15/12: Comparison of PCM5102 and WM8741 and other information on the DAC (see below)
Musiland has released yet another update of their USB interfaces. This time the “02US Dragon” in commemoration of the year of the Dragon.
- 200K gates FPGA, Similar to 03US
- Support to 32Bit/384kHz. with PCM5102 DAC
- Better headphone amp, similar to 03 US
- Support for external DC supply (in addition ot USB power)
- MULINK output
- Lower distortion sound. (PCB layout enhancements?)
- Volume knob (digital)
Comparison of PCM5102 with WM8741 [link]
Some “clipping” problems with the PCM5102 when the input is at 0db: [link]
Some information on the DAC from the product manager [link]
I analog power seems to be regulated by the MP8715 DC-DC converter
Comparison with 02US and 03US
|USB Interface||CY7C68013A-56PVXC||CY7C68013A- 56LTXC||CY7C68013A- 56LTXC||Same device, different packaging SSOP vs QFN. Still USB2 speeds|
||24 Mhz Crystal||24 MHz CTS-CB3 Oscillator
||24 Mhz Crystal||The clock used in the 03 has a Phase Jitter (12kHz-20MHz): < 1 ps RMS. Dragon uses a crystal, the same as the old version
|FPGA||XC3A50A;2 CMs||XC3S200A;4 DCMs||Soomal confirmed it is a XC3S200A;4 DCMs||According the Dragon user manual, there is no “fast” and “precision” Sample Rate Control modes. This indicates the use of 4 DCMs that can be dedicated to independently generate the 44.1 and 48K family of sample rates.|
|DAC||PCM1793DNR: 113 dB
|PCM1798DNR: 123 dB
|PCM 5102DNR: 112 dB
|Dragon uses Ti’s true 32-bit, 384KHZ DAC. This version has the best specification of the 510x series.|
|I/V||OP275||MC33079||This is a voltage-out DAC so there is no need of I/V conversion||The industry is moving towards using V-out devices to facilitate design and lower costs.|
|Head Amp||None||TPA6120||TPA6120||Similarly to 03, Dragon has a high performance headphone amp: SNR: 120 dB; THD+N: 0.00014%|
|Output||Toslink, Coax||Toslink, MULINK||Toslink, Coax, MuLINK||More output options than 02 and 03|
|USB Interface||USB2||USB3||USB3||Dragon has a USB3 connector, leveraging the higher power of USB3 (900mA vs 500 mA). The interface speed is still USB2 because of the CY chip used.|
|Power||Mains DC-DC supply||USB DC-DC supply||USB and External (5v-12v) DC||Dragon will allow the user to use any external DC supply. There is a relay next to the DC jack. Seems to be used to cut the USB power when external DC is used|
|Other||-||EEPROM on backside of board||Volume knob (digital)|
|Street Price||$125||$160||Same as old 02||Already available in Taobao for ~700 RMB|
02 Dragon or 03?
From the comparison above, the 02 Dragon comes very close to the Monitor 03. The DAC in the 03 has better specifications, but the 02 Dragon has a DC jack for external (cleaner) power. The only other potential difference is the use of a crystal vs clock (the 24MHz part). Seems that if your goal is to use the device as a USB interface to your DAC (you will still need to tap the I2S signals), the 02 Dragon will not only save you money, but will allow you to use a cleaner external power supply.
Mr. AR2 (diyaudio, http://www.burningamp.com) has implemented the code for his BII DAC but this time with a very cool looking VFD display. The display used is a drop-in replacement for the 20×4 LCD and requires no code modification. In addition, the superb photos you see here (click for larger photos) are by themselves a work of art. Mr. AR2 is a professional photographer.
Digital portion is housed in older Proceed case that I gutted and placed my parts inside. I used their PS for pre regulation, and than added the rest of my parts. I am using Arduino Uno to control DAC and I used VFD display. VFD display is fed by separate regulated 5V since it takes 250 – 300 mA. That is the existing one shown on the front panel board. VFD is Noritake CU20045 – UW5J which is from their series as direct LCD replacement, pin to pin.
Proceed had a lots of parts that I could use and I wanted to preserve their front plate with all moment switches and LEDs. So I made the opening to protrude VFD screen in the place where there was original screen, and I paced a another board on the back of that. That is where I positioned Arduino and did all connections for rotary encoder, IR diode and switch.
This implementation is part of the project I have been working on last several months. It uses Titan USB to I2S converter. Titan is manufactured by LightHarmonic better known for their DaVinci DAC. It provides multichannel output at 384 kHz and it sounds just astonishing. For now I am using Buffalo 2 as DAC, but planning to drop in ACKO DAC with ESS 9012.
In the analog output I use Legato 3 and suppling it with Shunty regs from separate case. Two cases bellow are the ones I made – modified and they house power supply and analog buffers with transformers and analog volume control. My volume control is passive relay controlled, and as I am typing this I am listening to the system. I have to say I cannot hear the difference between volume on Sabre compared to volume in analog. Your programming works really well and volume and remote are working exceptionally.
I truly enjoyed these pictures. Check out his work.
On the heels of the announcement by Bill Gates partnering with China to develop 4th generation nuclear reactors, here comes a news item that is just as earth shaking (at least to the audio world ) -Translated with Google:
At Edifier’s eleventh meeting of the Board of Directors December 7, 2011 meeting, considered by “the acquisition of Japanese STAXLtd. 100% stake in the motion.” The Board confirms that its own funds, in cash to acquire Japanese STAXLtd.100% equity, the transaction price of 1.2 billion yen (according to December 6, 2011 Exchange 100 yen exchange 8.1411 yuan exchange rate, equivalent to 97.7 million yuan) . “Equity Transfer Contract” on December 6, 2011 signed, and in consideration by the Board of Directors and approved by relevant Chinese department of commerce for the record effect only.
That is approx US$ 15,000,000
Update: looking at the original press in Chinese, the numbers are 120,000,000 yes or approx US$1.5M. That is a really low price to pay for the company.
Update: the D7 is now available, but the DAC is the WM8740. I thought I saw “WM8741″ in their earlier announcement.
iBasso changed their plans of releasing a portable ESS-based portable DAC/Headamp. The D7 will now have the Wolfson WM8741 instead. Could it be that the peculiarities of the DAC (as reported here) prevented them from releasing it on a “h/w” mode (fixed) configuration?
However, they have announced two new products:
A DAP (Digital audio player) with the ESS 9018 DAC
The DX100 is our reference Digital Audio Player (DAP). It can play most of the 24Bit/192kHz Lossless music. The whole design is based on the ES9018, which ESS claim as “The World’s Best DAC Chip”. We are finalizing the DX100 now. We can release it within 20~45 days.
The following are some main features. We will release more information later this month.
• Support up to 24/192 Decoding
• ES9018 DAC Chip
• Built-in +/-8.5V Headphone AMP
• Up to 24/192 Optical/Coaxial Output
• 256-Steps Digital Volume Control
You can read the discussion at head-fi
In addition, they are also announcing a desktop DAC based on 4 ESS 9018 DACs. This should be interesting.