Home > USB AUDIO > Musiland Dragon with True 32Bit/384kHz DAC

Musiland Dragon with True 32Bit/384kHz DAC

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.

Enhancements:

  • 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]

  • Sercona “foamdac”: [link], a PCM5102 DAC on a chip carrier board
  • Gamma 2: [link]

Some “clipping” problems with the PCM5102 when the input is at 0db: [link]

Some information on the DAC from the product manager [link]

More photos over at Soomal [link] and Jinti [link]

Power regulation

I analog power seems to be regulated by the MP8715 DC-DC converter

Comparison with 02US and 03US

Feature 02US 03US 02 Dragon Comparison
USB Interface CY7C68013A-56PVXC CY7C68013A- 56LTXC CY7C68013A- 56LTXC Same device, different packaging SSOP vs QFN. Still USB2 speeds
Clock
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
THD: 0.001%
PCM1798DNR: 123 dB
THD: 0.0005%
PCM 5102DNR: 112 dB
THD:0.0022%
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
More Photos Soomal Soomal Soomal

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.

  1. Anonymous
    2012/01/06 at 15:32

    Where does one buy one of these?

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/01/06 at 17:17

      Send an email to the guy running tamaudio.com I have bought from him a couple of times.

  2. Andrea
    2012/01/12 at 22:39

    Why musiland dragon has not I/V Component?

  3. BlogGeanDo
    2012/01/13 at 04:25

    Because the DAC is a voltage out DAC.

  4. Anonymous
    2012/01/18 at 09:42

    price is not same as old 02 – guy from tamaudio wrote it’s 160 USD

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/01/18 at 17:10

      In China (Taobao) is about the same as the old 02US. (630 RMB vs 698 RMB)

  5. alex
    2012/01/18 at 10:13

    “you will still need to tap the I2S signals” ??
    … no suppurt for 32-bit, 384KHZ via spdif coax?

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/01/18 at 17:05

      No. That is beyond the specification limit for spdif

  6. PawQ
    2012/01/20 at 18:05

    Hi, guys!
    Do anyone know for sure how the 384kHz of sampling rate is achieved ?
    Which option:
    A) it’s true 384kHz S.R.signal from PC->USB controller->DAC, or
    B) only 192kHz from PC->USB controller->upsampling to 384kHz->DAC
    ???
    (i need to reproduce over 100kHz ultrasound without buying expensive DAQ card)

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/01/20 at 20:06

      Either way…

      You can send a 384K signal from the PC or you could have the driver upsample to 384K

      I have played 352K music (I don’t have 384K music) sent straight to the DAC and I have also played lower resolution upsampled by the Musiland Driver (or perhaps the quicktime upsample -I am not sure who is doing it).

  7. PawQ
    2012/01/21 at 15:08

    Thanks, but how this 352K music is transported to DAC?
    Bit-perfect/without resampling (especially without downsampling) with native 352K from player->O.S.driver->USB->DAC?
    Is there (in control panel, like on page 14 on user manual) a possibility to select 352k or 384k native sampling frequency or only up to 192k, like I saw in manual of Monitor 03US?

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/01/21 at 18:58

      You should be able to select any frequency up to 384K. But all depends on whether your application can support “exclusive mode”

      In windows, I use itunes as my main music application but because it does not support “exclusive mode”, I have to manually set the frequency in quicktime to match the sample rate of my music. But since everything is 44.1, I just set 44.1 everywhere.

      For my higher res music I use MusicBee which supports “exclusive mode” (other apps such as jriver, foobar also support exclusive mode). In exclusive mode the sample rate of the file is the sample rate that is sent to the DAC regardless of the setting in the musiland control panel. I have confirmed this because I can measure the incoming sample rate in my Buffalo DAC.

      The monitor 03 supports all frequencies up to 384K

  8. PawQ
    2012/01/23 at 15:58

    Thanks for this good info, BlogGeanD! I found that newer firmware enables over 192kHz selection in control panel on Monitor 03 & Dragon. I don’t know this “exclusive mode”, but I know that Adobe Audition can send almost any sampling rate signal to PCI and USB DAQ cards, but National Instruments has their own drivers for their DAQ cards, not via HID interface. Not all USB devices (like E-MU0404 USB) can accept i.e. 192kHz without changing S.R. in control panel. So foobar will be my player for ultrasound audio if AA fails ;)
    I’m still not sure which device should I choose – Monitor 03 or Dragon, but I cannot find Dragon in any shop that could ship it to Europe. Any advice? ;)

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/01/23 at 17:40

      Keep in mind that the higher sample rates are available as an output (to another DAC) only through the proprietary mulink interface (unless you tap the i2s internally as I did). The “only major” difference between the 03 and Dragon is the DAC and the power section for the analog part. According to the soomal, the 03 has a slight edge when listening through the headphone, but both are very close. If you are planning on using it for digital only (to feed an external DAC, for example), then they are practically similar

  9. PawQ
    2012/01/27 at 02:39

    Do You mean that bundled DAC’s (PCM 5102 and even -as I heard -overclocked PCM1798)
    cannot reproduce over 100kHz ultrasounds? So why then “true 384kHz” PCM 5102???

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/01/27 at 03:05

      No. All the sample rates can be reproduced by the built in DAC chip. If you want digital out through spdif coax or toslink, it is limited to 192K. To get 352K you need the “Mulink” or tap the I2S

  10. PawQ
    2012/01/27 at 14:33

    Ok. I see. I knew about spdif limitations and i2s tapping, but is it really better (for measurable sound quality) to ommit bundled DACs and convert data via external Buffalo or similar DAC? Better SNR, IMD, Freq. response or whatever, or its only matter of taste? ;)

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/01/27 at 17:12

      Yes and yes :-)

  11. PawQ
    2012/01/28 at 03:08

    But, with what equipment those people can really measure DACs builded with a new 384kHz standard, not only by comparing producers pdf data? :P
    BTW. I bought 2pieces of 03US ;)

    • diederik_dhert@hotmail.com
      2013/05/15 at 14:19

      Pawq
      You seem to have the same questions as I have. I would like to discuss some things, but I don’t have your email. I know this threat is almost 1,5 years old… nevertheless…

  12. Lo
    2012/02/10 at 13:53

    How do the dragon sound ? Is it better then M2tech hiface evo ?

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/02/10 at 17:11

      Don’t know. In general, I am not really good at discerning small differences. However, on paper the M2tech has lower jitter because the clocks are derived from external dedicated oscillators running at “audio” frequencies, whereas the Musiland devices derive the clock from the clock that comes from the USB chip at 48Mhz. However, the resultant jitter is affected by many factors (such as power, layout, etc) so I can’t say for sure how they compare in terms of jitter. The Musiland has some advantages that I like, namely the use of asynchronous bulk mode in the USB, its low price and also frequent driver update.

  13. Peter Menting
    2012/02/15 at 17:53

    Just Recieved monitor 02 Dragon and have 3 issues; Manual is in Chinese, Software loads but does not open, cannot tell if the device is working!!!
    Any help would be appreciated as Tam Audio has yet to respond to one of my emails.

    Pete

  14. Peter Menting
    2012/02/16 at 21:05

    Tried That with no luck–software installs–windows says device is ready but when I click on the control panel symbol nothing happens. I have just about reached the conclusion that the device is bad.
    Pete

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/02/16 at 21:31

      Interesting. If Windows was able to install the driver fine, that’s an indication that at least the digital parts of the device are working. I am not sure why the Musiland application cannot launch. Do you see the device in the sound control panel?

  15. Peter Menting
    2012/02/18 at 18:10

    Sorry for the delay in responding but I finally (after much effort) got the control panel to appear and operate. Thanks so much for your suggestions. I have noted that the volume controls do not function when connected to my MD-10 but the sampling rate selector does. Still have question about external power. I am using the USB 02 Cable at present and would like to add a 9volt wallwart —-do I need to use the USB 03 cable for this or just go ahead and plug the external power in?
    Sorry for the silly question but I cannot read the Chinese manual
    Pete

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/02/18 at 20:45

      Good to hear.
      Regarding the power, there is not much information out there, but it seems the digital part is always powered by the USB power and the analog part can be powered by either US power or an external adapter. In addition, if you use USB3, then the additional power (current) -if your source is a USB3 port- can be utilized by the analog section. If you plan to use external power, it doesn’t matter whether you use USB2 cable or USB3 cable

  16. Peter Menting
    2012/02/19 at 18:52

    As Always thanks for the info, I truly enjoy your site and have gotten much good info from it. Thanks again.
    Pete

  17. 2012/03/04 at 20:42

    hi, I’m one of those that reported clipping (‘gibbs problem’) on the pcm5102. has anoyone else seen this or NOT seen this as you approach 0db and stay there for a while (typical example is ‘internet radio’ that often insists on staying at very compressed near-0 levels for sustained periods).

    before we assume it has a problem, I’d like to hear if others have heard this from the 5102. it could very well have been my build or i2s connection or psu or (?).

    I’ve stopped playing with this chip but it would be nice to know if it was just me or if others have seen this problem, too.

  18. Anonymous
    2012/05/08 at 11:42

    Can the PCM5102 “clipping” problem be resolved with a firmware upgrade ?
    Is the Musiland Dragon firmware upgradeable?

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/05/08 at 16:16

      You could just lower the volume through one of the volume controls in the Musiland control panel and that moves you away from 0db. It could. The Musiland firmware is upgradable but not user upgradable. Seems everytime you install a new version of the driver, it installs new firmware.

  19. Anonymous
    2012/05/09 at 13:51

    >>The Musiland firmware is upgradable but not user upgradable. Seems everytime you install a new version of the driver, it installs new firmware. <<

    Doesn't that make it user upgradeable , when you said firmware is upgraded with every new driver install ? Is that through the USB port ?

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/05/09 at 19:02

      Hmmm… You are right. I think I was thinking “not user modifiable”

  20. Anonymous
    2012/05/10 at 02:25

    thanks. the question still remains if a firmware upgrade will solve the clipping problem without having to turn down the volume using the Musiland control panel. Would you be able to find that out from the manufacturer ?

    • BlogGeanDo
      2012/05/10 at 05:36

      No idea. Have no relation with the manufacturer…

  21. QwertyBoy
    2012/09/29 at 10:23

    By the way, the volume knob of 02 US Dragon, performs the function of a button “mute” when pressed! Just accidentally discovered :)

  22. 2014/05/15 at 19:07

    Hi.
    I recently received my 02 Dragon and wanna know what kind of connector the power supply must have. Positive outside/negative inside, or negative outside/positive inside?
    About the voltage and current of power supply, it interferes in some aspect of usage? May I use both 5V/500mA 12V/2A?
    Thanks!

  23. Paul
    2014/05/29 at 12:47

    ^_^ , I am the AE for MPxxxx audio products.

  1. 2012/05/10 at 21:27
  2. 2012/05/31 at 20:48

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