LATEST DRIVER UPDATES
(Update Oct 10, 2012): I have obtained a new license key to “authorize” the Musiland 03 US to use driver version 18.104.22.168. I received the new license key one day after I requested it. Also added some notes to the license update instructions.
(Update Sept 17, 2012): Do you get “License Invalid”?
The Musiland 03US I use was manufactured after the implementation of the “anti-piracy” license key thing. At that time it was advertised as something you had to do once for older hardware and never to have to do for newer hardware.
Not so. When I tried to update the driver to version 22.214.171.124 (March 2012) and now to version 126.96.36.199 (September 2012) I get a “license invalid” message and the device cannot operate. I requested and received a license that enabled the use 188.8.131.52. I am currently in the process of requested a new license for 184.108.40.206
The procedure for requesting a license is straight forward and is documented below after the driver installation instructions. You just need a bit patience. If your device is working, the new version may or may not make any difference.
(Update Sept 15, 2012): A reader alerted me that there is a new folder for the Musiland drivers:
the latest driver is MlCyMon_220.127.116.11_build20120806.exe. The original driver folder is still operational as of this date and contains all previous drivers.
(Update Mar 30, 2012):
- Main folder: http://www.musiland.com.cn/downloads/drivers/
- Beta folder: http://www.musiland.com.cn/downloads/drivers/beta/
Note: I needed to get an authorization key for my Musiland O3 (even though this device was produced after they implemented the authorization key anti-piracy feature) before I was able to use this driver. See instructions below.
(From the Musiland Forum)
1- Close all applications that are using the Musiland device
2- Quit the Musiland application/control panel (right click on the icon and “exit”)
2- Uninstall driver (with the Musiland device plugged in) by using the Musiland uninstall program in the Musiland folder
3- Unplug Musiland device. (To reset the device)
4- Restart computer
5- Install new driver
6- Plug Musiland device
7- Wait for Windows to complete installation of driver
8- Reboot (recommended but I found not necessary)
Notes: “Device unplugged” message is “normal”. Normal means that I’ve never seen it being successful and drivers do work.
(From Musiland Forum)
An authorization process was implemented by Musiland a while ago (around 2010). This was done to prevent unauthorized use of the driver in potential clone implementations of the hardware.
Apparently (as of March/April 2012) a new authorization license has been introduced by Musiland in the newer release of the driver (version 18.104.22.168 and up) preventing even recent hardware such as the Musiland 03 that I purchased on July of 2011 to work with the new driver. The official instructions do not say that a new authorization license but the large number of invalid authorization posts in the forums seem to indicate that this is new. I have tried many different “tricks” to install the the new software and the result is the same: “License invalid”
When the authorization is invalid, you will get a message on the control panel as shown in the following picture and the device will no pass any signal (no sound)
In order to get a new authorization “password” or “key”, these are the steps as documented in the official thread:
1- Properly install the new driver that gives you the message “License Invalid”
3- Run the MlCyMonUser application to generate a “License.dat” file. The License.dat file will be generated in the same folder where the application is located
4- Send an email to email@example.com (the instructions says firstname.lastname@example.org but this address seems inactive. This was the address used when they first implemented the authorization process) with the following information:
- Device serial number (ML-XXXXXXXXXX) -Should be on a sticker on the device
- Device model (e.g. Musiland 03 US)
- License.dat as an attachment to the email
- You may write “License Invalid” in the subject line
5- Wait for the return email containing the “License.key” file. For me I sent over on a Saturday and got the .key file on Monday. Put the .key file in the same folder as the MlCyMonProg application
6- Run the MlCyMonProg application (with the Musiland device connected, of course). You will see the following window:
7- Unplug the USB device for 10-20 seconds to reset the device (I reinstalled the driver instead, since I did not read this part of the instructions)
8- The “License Invalid” message should go away
- If you try to update the license without a driver installed, the MlCyMonProg application will not run and will complain that a certain dll is missing
- If you try to update the license with a driver that does not gives you a “license invalid” message, the MlCyMonProg application will run but will not do anything and give give you the message that your device is already authorized
- As indicated in step 1 above, you must install the driver that gives you the “license invalid” message
- Step 7 is important. After installing the new license key file, you must disconnect the device and reconnect the device in order to reset it
OLDER DRIVER 2.x UPDATES
(Update 10.8.11) Release version of driver: MlCyMon_22.214.171.124_build20111007.exe in the main folder
(Update 10.7.11) Release version of driver: MlCyMon_126.96.36.199_build20111007.exe in the main folder
(Update 8.10.11) New build of driver 188.8.131.52. Fixes a hissing noise with 352,8Khz sample rate. (But I can’t get it to install due to “invalid license”)
(Update 7.27.11) Musiland released a major revision of the driver v. 184.108.40.206. You can find it in the beta folder.
According to Musiland:
- Supports all Musiland Monitor devices up to 192KHz and on the new Monitor 03 up to 32bit/384KHz
- MU-BASS (BASS equalizer/enhancer) upgraded to MU-DSP allowing the selection of the center frequency for 5 bands from 20 Hz to 20 KHz. This feature is available for the entire Musiland Monitor family
- “The objective of this new drive is to enhance the sound quality. The new algorithm reduces the jitter with optimized timing”
- The “sound card” or “hardware” volume control is now separate from the system volume. This leverages the FPGA in the Musiland for volume control. Think of it as “hardware volume”. If you use ASIO, the system volume is bypassed and you can only use the “sound card” volume.
- HDCD s/w decoding is still supported, but there is no indication in the control panel
CONTROL PANEL OPERATION
Analog and Digital volume
Think of this as the Musiland device h/w volume control (as opposed to the volume control of the application, the device driver and the OS). If you do not have hardware volume control down the audio path (a volume knob in your amp), you adjust the volume here.
- ANALOG controls the (digital) volume of the I2S signal (that feeds the DAC)
- DIGITAL controls the (digital) volume of the spdif signal
- SPDIF: enables SPDIF output
- MULINK: enables MULINK output
Volume can be adjusted in 4 ways:
- Dragging the slider
- Clicking above or below the slider (changes 10 db)
- Clicking the up/down arrows
- Entering the volume level (negative number) in the box
WAVE and ASIO
This is the basic settings for the selected audio path. WAVE if you select WASAPI (the older Direct Sound, Waveout and KS are also supported through this panel) and ASIO if you use ASIO.
- ANALOG/DIGITAL: turns on/off the hardware analog and digital paths in the Musiland device. The FPGA in the device has I2S data lines and a SPDIF data line. Turning ANALOG on will enable data through the I2S lines (and to the DAC). Turning DIGITAL on will enable data through the SPDIF line.
- PAN: this is your basic LR balance control
- DSP: Clicking on “DSP” applies the equalization settings of MU-DSP section
- M: Mute
- Volume sliders: think of this as the s/w volume of the Musiland device. In addition to the application’s volume control, this is also a “session volume” control. In Windows, each application creates a separate audio session which, in shared mode, are mixed before the audio stream is sent to the sound card. (WASAPI exclusive mode and ASIO prevents other audio sessions from using the hardware and therefore there is no mixing). This volume is additive to the application’s volume control (for example the iTunes volume control).
In the old driver, ANALOG volume control was tied to the system/master volume control of the operating system. Here, SYSTEM VOLUME is tied to the system/master volume control of the OS. In Windows the final volume setting consist of adding the attenuation from the session (the application or “client”) volume and the system volume. The way it is done by the s/w is the same so it does not matter if you apply all the attenuation in one place or you apply a little here and a little there. However if your audio feeds an eventual volume control in hardware, it is best to leave all of these Windows volume controls at maximum setting.
Summary of Volume Settings
There are now 4 different places where you can adjust the volume:
- Application volume slider (for example the volume slider in iTunes)
- Musiland S/W volume slider (WAVE or ASIO panel)
- Operating system master volume (SYSTEM panel)
- Musiland H/W volume slider (ANALOG/DIGITLA panel)
#1, #2 and #3 use the same method of volume control (as provided by the operating system). The resultant volume is the combined effect of the 3 volume sliders. In theory (I think) it does not matter which slider(s) you adjust. In practice, you could leave them all at 100%
#4 is the H/W volume control of the Musiland device. According to Musiland, this volume control gives you the best results. Use this to adjust the volume if there are no other volume control in the audio chain.
Note: In Windows 7 volume control has been implemented as “high definition” volume control operating on a 32-bit floating point value. 32-bit float has a precision of 24 bits. It appears the Musiland device sends 32 bits to the DAC (through I2S). It could be argued that Musiland’s volume control operates on 32-bit (interger) and thus being superior than Windows’ 32-bit float operations. [I don't have hard data to back this up, but the argument seems reasonable]
SAMPLE RATE SELECTION
This panel tells the operating system what is the “preferred” Sample Rate of the device. This sample rate will show up in the sound control panel like this:
If using WASAPI shared mode (e.g. using iTunes) then the “default” sample rate will be the rate used by the mixer to output the audio signal to the hardware. If the sample rate of the audio file matches the default sample rate, then no sample rate conversion will be applied to the file. If the audio file sample rate does not match this default sample rate, then the file will be sample-converted to this default sample rate. The SRC engine used will be the Windows SRC.
Thus for practical purposes (as most of the music produced is 44.1Khz) you select 44.1Khz when using applications that only support WASAPI shared mode (e.g. iTunes)
Note: once you select the sample rate in the Musiland control panel, it is automatically assigned as the default sample rate for shared mode in the sound control panel. Thus it is not necessary to select/match the sample rate in the sound control panel. It happens automatically
If using WASAPI exclusive mode (e.g. using something like Music Bee, Foobar, etc), then the “default” setting in the sound control panel does not apply. The audio session is not shared with any other applications and no mixing is performed. The setting in the Musiland Sample Rate Selector does not matter either. The application sends the sound file in its native sample rate and that is the sample rate that is used throughout the data path all the way to the hardware. The following image shows (Music Bee -WASAPI exclusive) playing a 96KHz sound file. The second displayed sample rate is the actual sample rate delivered to the hardware
Summary of Sample Rate
- If the application supports WASAPI exclusive mode: does not matter which setting to use in the sound control panel or the Musiland Sample Rate Selector. Sound data will always be bit-perfect
- If the application only supports WASAPI shared mode: match the sample rate of the sound file in the Musiland Sample Rate Selector. This avoids sample rate conversion for bit-perfect play back
Here is a summary of a recent measurement report by SIMMCOMM
The following graphs compare the jitter measurement of the Musiland 01USD against the resolution limit of the AP SYS-2722. According to SIMMCOMM, the jitter value is less than 100ps for 44.1Khz
USB Transfer mode
The Musiland USB devices utilize the “bulk mode” for data transfer. The advantage of bulk transfer over Isochronous-asynchronous transter is the guaranteed nature of the data delivery. The advantage of Isochronous transfer over bulk is the guaranteed bandwidth; however if there is plenty of bandwidth available (for example, you are not maxing out the bandwidth of the USB connection by plugging in several devices), then guaranteed bandwidth is never an issue. More information: [link]
The Musiland devices generate the sample rate clocks from a single 24Mhz oscillator that also feeds into the USB chip. The two clock families (22.5792MHz and 24.576MHz) are generated by the DCMs (digital clock managers) of the FPGA. More information: [link]
Using Foobar [link]
Mods that likely worked in cleaning up the unlocks experienced with BII DAC (I2S inputs and DPLL set at “LOWEST”)
- Cap mods on the local supplies for the Musiland interface [link]
- IL715 Isolator [link]
- Ferrite on the USB cable
- Shielding the DAC [link]. This is not related to modding the Musiland device, but resulted in a huge improvement in reducing the number of unlocks
Mods that very likely did not improve things [link]
- Really short I2S wires (like cutting to 3″ from 12″ -after you cut the wires, no use lengthening them again )
- Ferrite bead on the I2S bit clock wire (not used, seemed to be worse)
- Night time use vs day time use (well, not a mod, but testing noise in the power grid)
Mod for I2S output [link]
DEVICE DRIVER 1.X AND USER INTERFACE
- Windows 7 with driver version 1.0.12 <– BEST for Windows 7
- Windows XP-SP3 with driver version 1.0.9 <– BEST for Windows XP
- Windows XP-SP3 with driver version 1.0.12
- Windows 7 with driver version 1.0.9
Driver 1.0.13 and 1.0.14
I have been using 1.0.13 with no problems. One of the main improvements on the drivers have been stability of the s/w. With the current version, when you remove the Musiland and plug it back in, the driver loads immediately. With the older drivers, sometimes it would fail to load requiring a reboot.
Driver 1.0.14 which was developed for the 03US also works with the MINI (only in “fast” sample rate mode. If you set it to “precision mode, the player does not play). If you notice from the version numbers, only the ASIO component has been updated. The size of the installer is also much smaller than the previous version
Control panel tips
The options panel is the “Advance” tab as shown below:
- SR Control Mode selects the precision of the sample rate clock generator [link]. Precision generates a clock rate closer to ideal (e.g., closer to 41,000 Hz). Fast generates a clock frequency that is not as close as ideal but still within the SPDIF specification. Fast allows faster manual switching of the sample rate.
- SR Control selects the sample rate that will be generated to the DAC. Start by selecting 44.1KHz. (which is most of the music out there)
- If you use an application that supports WASAPI exclusive (MusicBee, Foobar, etc), then this setting has no effect as the sample rate is determined by the source material through the application
- If you use an application that does not support WASAPI exlcusive (e.g., iTunes), then the SR setting here will determine the sample rate generated and delivered to the DAC. Thus using iTunes to play music with different sample rates is very inconvenient: iTunes requires manual sample rate change in Quicktimes and then you have to match the sample rate in the Musiland SR Control panel
- Note: there is no WASAPI in Windows XP. In Windows XP you will see an AUTO mode in the SR control section. With AUTO, Windows (Kmixer, ASIO, etc) selects the sample rate
- MU-BASS is a bass booster application (definitely not HIFI) aimed at PC speakers. Do not use
- ASIO Buffer…(Don’t have first hand experience)
Volume adjustment in control panel
Selecting the SPEAKER interface of the Musiland Device (above), allows volume adjustment as shown below:
- Keep all sliders at 100% if possible.
- Digital adjusts the output of SPDIF interface
- Analog adjusts the output to the I2S interface. This the same as the computer’s volume level (system-wide volume control).
- WDM is “Windows Driver Model. Refers to Windows built-in device drivers for audio such as Direct Sound and WASAPI. Volume control here is additive to the volume control in “Analog”. Windows exports several ways to adjust volume and it can get complicated. Thus it is better to keep this slider at 100% at all times.
- Disable the output that is not in use (green buttons). According to the Musiland “knowledge” forum section, this reduces interference and noise: If using SPDIF, disable the analog button; if using I2S, disable the digital button
Volume control when using digital output
Selecting the SDPIF interface of the Musiland Device, bypasses all volume control adjustments and on/off buttons in the Musiland Device as shown in the image below. None of the sliders will be active. The only indication is the source of the signal. In this example, the WDM lights is lit indicating that it is using a Windows built-in device drivers for audio such as Direct Sound and WASAPI