Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 device

Support questions for Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 devices only (http://neutronhifi.com/devices/dac/v1).
DSperber
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:18 am

Re: Welcome our Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 device!

Post by DSperber » Thu Jun 20, 2024 12:21 am

MotleyG wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2024 4:13 pm
Lots of info on the device main page including links to the software and manual.
https://neutronhifi.com/devices/dac/v1/details

User manual
https://neutronhifi.com/download/user-m ... 20v1.1.pdf

Software - click the link for your OS to get the one you are looking for.

You will find answers to all of your previous posts there.
Well... egg on face.

Sure enough, you are absolutely 100% correct. Everything I was looking for IS on that "details" page.

I only needed to scroll down a bit, to discover the imbedded links for that PDF manual, as well as the available software items. This includes not only NConfigurator, but also Player and Recorder (for Windows) which I was unaware even existed.

I had natively assumed that these resources would be "quickly accessed" through the dropdown buttons at the top of the page, where they're traditionally shown under such names as "support" or "downloads", etc. In particular, there was a "software" item but I was so intent on trying to find NConfigurator (which, after all is software) which was missing from this dropdown that I never actually scrolled the page itself.

--> I do suggest that NConfigurator be added as a THIRD of the "software" items listed on that dropdown, since right now it only provides off-page links to Player and Recorder, as those two products are more fully elaborated on and downloaded from other significant web pages. Even if NConfigurator doesn't need its own off-age elaborate description (since its described fully in the PDF) I still think there should be a simple on-page link to this third software item in that "software" dropdown at the top of the "details" page.

Of course never having even known that there even was both a Player and Recorder for Windows (I only used the Player on my phone), I never even read further on down the page where I would have clearly seen NConfigurator, the link to retrieve the PDF (which you quoted above), etc.

Ok... enough said. Mea culpa. How embarrassing.

Thank you multitudes for your simply directing me to this enlightenment, and to look more closely at the rest of what was just further on down that page.


HOWEVER I STILL DON'T KNOW IF IT IS POSSIBLE TO REVERSE THE OUTPUTS FOR L AND R CHANNELS IN WINDOWS, OR IN THE DAC ITSELF USING NCONFIGURATOR!

As I mentioned early on, this is the one actual problem I experienced when using the DAC connected through USB-A on my Win10 laptop. When I go into Windows Settings -> Sounds -> Playback, and then Configure, to test the two speakers (i.e. headphone L and R) it is clear that the two channels are reversed coming out of the DAC. So I want to correct this, which means having the DAC reverse its output channels from its default.

==> IS IT POSSIBLE TO USE NCONFIGURATOR TO REVERSE THE L AND R CHANNELS??? The PDF provides no such functional description.

If not, I think this is certainly a problem when using the DAC for Windows and the driver that gets automatically installed for the device. It produces the wrong channel assignment and this needs to be fixed. So it either needs a fix in the Windows driver that gets auto-installed, or perhaps by a new "channel reversal" capability feature for the DAC itself added to NConfigurator if that's where the reversing is coming from.

Maybe it's unique to my own laptop? Nobody else see this when using the DAC with a Windows laptop?

One way or another, I want to fix this problem for my Windows usage. I haven't discovered yet if the same channel reversed problem in Windows also exists on my phone usage, or if L/R is correct on the phone.

MotleyG
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2021 6:19 pm

Re: Welcome our Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 device!

Post by MotleyG » Thu Jun 20, 2024 2:33 am

DSperber wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2024 12:21 am
HOWEVER I STILL DON'T KNOW IF IT IS POSSIBLE TO REVERSE THE OUTPUTS FOR L AND R CHANNELS IN WINDOWS, OR IN THE DAC ITSELF USING NCONFIGURATOR!
Use the NConfigurator software and update the firmware. Just before your first post today there were three or four addressing this L/R issue. Looks like v41 or newer resolves this.

blaubär
Posts: 3438
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:48 am

Re: Welcome our Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 device!

Post by blaubär » Thu Jun 20, 2024 4:11 am

DSperber wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2024 12:21 am
HOWEVER I STILL DON'T KNOW IF IT IS POSSIBLE TO REVERSE THE OUTPUTS FOR L AND R CHANNELS IN WINDOWS, OR IN THE DAC ITSELF USING NCONFIGURATOR!
dmitrykos wrote:
Sat May 25, 2024 7:53 pm
Firmware 41 [05.2024]

Release Notes:

Code: Select all

* Fixed PCM channels swapped (L -> R, R -> L).
Note:

DSperber
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:18 am

Re: Welcome our Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 device!

Post by DSperber » Fri Jun 21, 2024 7:27 pm

Ok. I've installed NConfigurator. And I've updated the firmware from the version 39 that was delivered to the current 42. And the L/R channel swap problem has been corrected. Thank you.

But I do have two issues I'd like someone to explain or help me with.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

(1) The simplest of audio tests (and, in fact, the way I initially discovered the L/R channel swap problem with version 39 firmware) is to get into Windows Sound settings, Playback tab, Configure, and then push "test". This causes a "left channel sound" to be briefly sent first to L and right after that a second "right channel sound" to be sent to R. This does occur.

However there is an audio anomaly with the first sound sent to L, which is what I will describe as a "ramping up of volume starting from 0 to max" (and by "max" I mean "normal volume", whatever that is"). And then when the second sound is sent to R it is still at max (i.e. "normal"). There is no "ramping up of volume from 0 to max" once the audio output of the DAC is active. The "ramping up of volume" only occurs for that initial sound that appears to "wake up the DAC from idle/off state".

Now if instead of using the "test" method to get Playback -> Configure to send the two sounds, L and R, to the two speakers sequentially (with the L getting the "ramping up" and R sounding normal with no "ramping up" but already being at normal volume), if instead I just click on either the L speaker icon or the right speaker icon, this will send the appropriate single channel's sound to that specific speaker. So I can pick either speaker, and send sound to it which will "wake up the DAC from idle/off state".

And now, no matter which speaker icon I click on, that speaker's sound exhibits the anomaly and demonstrates the "ramping up from 0 to max". So the initial "test" symptom where only L gets the ramping up but not R, well it's obviously not tied to L. As long as I'm sending just one sound to one speaker, either speaker, there is the ramping up. So it's clearly tied to exhibiting itself any time the DAC starts producing output sound from idle/off state, and going to either speaker. That first sound at whichever speaker seems to come alive, ramping up from 0 volume, increasing in volume up to "max/normal" and then remains there as long as more sound continues. But if the sound stops and the DAC returns to idle/off, the next time any sound starts to either speaker it once again "ramps up from 0 to max".

Is there a reason for this anomaly?

Is this actually normal behavior of the amp in the DAC? Again, it is not tied to the actual WAV file getting sent as either L or R channel sound by Windows. Neither L or R sound actually has a "ramping up" characteristic in the underlying WAV file when used with the laptop's built-in Realtek audio and speakers, or any other Windows system in the world. It is specifically being produced by the DAC, and then specifically when its amp starts to generate output from an idle/off state to either speaker.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

(2) The display of the DAC shows that the sampling rate of ALL sound sent to it (or played through it?) is 48khz no matter what sound I am playing on the laptop itself, even when, say, a digital FLAC file of a CD audio track (i.e. 44.1khz sampling rate) is being played.

I would have expected to see that 44.1khz value in the display of the DAC. So why am I not seeing that?

Presumably with the Playback device designated as Neutron HiFi DAC the software audio player (in this case WinAmp) is decoding the 44.1khz FLAC and playing it to "speakers" (same as a WAV) in a still-digital form, for outboard conversion to analog by the DAC. So shouldn't that source 44.1khz sample rate appear on the DAC? Clearly not happening, so the laptop is clearly sending 48khz. Why?

Or am I misunderstanding what's actually going on when I play a FLAC file with WinAmp (and which has its own EQ that would also be applied, to influence the "tone" of whatever it then sends to the speakers)? The fact that the DAC says 48khz but the source FLAC is 44.1khz says there is a re-sampling going on somewhere, and I'm guessing it's either in WinAmp or in Windows, or in the Neutron driver in Windows for when the DAC enabled as "speakers"?

I haven't yet tried Neutron Player on Windows, which I only learned about recently. If I install it will it trigger a different playback method than WinAmp? When I experimented with the DAC connected to my S21 Ultra phone and started playing the same FLAC file with Neutron Player on the phone, I was offered an option to offload the DSP function to the DAC.

Now I certainly have an EQ setup in Neutron Player on the phone, so I assume if I agreed to offload the DSP function to the DAC the expectation would be that I would have configured the equivalent EQ in the DAC, where this tone control would be performed rather than in the phone? And so the pure flat 44.1khz FLAC would get decoded into matching 44.1khz PCM", bypass the EQ function in Neutron, and sent to the DAC still-digital as unequalized 44.1khz PCM where the DAC's EQ curve would then get applied by the DAC's DSP handling to produce the desired tonal sound, but the display would now in fact show 44.1khz which was truly the source? So no resampling, so better "fidelity"? That's what the "offer" on the phone described.'

I'm just trying to understand why when using Windows and some other player that is not Neutron for Windows, that the DAC display always shows 48khz?


Thanks for any clear explanation, with as many words as you care to use.

blaubär
Posts: 3438
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:48 am

Re: Welcome our Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 device!

Post by blaubär » Fri Jun 21, 2024 7:38 pm

DSperber wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2024 7:27 pm
Is there a reason for this anomaly?
Well, is there a significance to it ? I suggest you forget it.
DSperber wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2024 7:27 pm
The display of the DAC shows that the sampling rate of ALL sound sent to it (or played through it?) is 48khz no matter what sound I am playint on the laptop itself
You might want to tell your music player to use the DAC exclusively. In Neutron you would find that option in "Audio Hardware > Exclusive Access". When activated that will probably enable the music player to use any sampling rate you wish it to use and send that to the DAC - how to do that with the Neutron music player you surely know, how to do that with WinAmp you'll have to ask their support.

DSperber
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:18 am

Re: Welcome our Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 device!

Post by DSperber » Fri Jun 21, 2024 11:07 pm

blaubär wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2024 7:38 pm
DSperber wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2024 7:27 pm
Is there a reason for this anomaly?
Well, is there a significance to it ? I suggest you forget it.
Yes, there is significance to it. It's not right, and there must be some explanation.

But upon further research I don't think it is actually a problem with the DAC itself. Nor do I think it has anything to do with a pervasive always-occurring "ramping up of volume from 0 to max" anytime sound is sent to a speaker which was previously idle/off/silent.

I think the problem is a special situation, specifically coming from the Neutron Windows drivers for the DAC, as far as what they produce for Sound -> Configure -> "test" button, and also the same sound sent to just one speaker if you click on it directly. That is the extent of the problem, that the driver-generated sound which goes to either (a) first or (b) only speaker is "defectively produced" and has that volume anomaly. The second sound that is sent to the second speaker from "test", that sound is fine (i.e. completely sent at normal volume).

Image

I've made a short sound recording (attached) of what I hear in my headphones (connected through the DAC) when the "test" button is pressed. I did it twice, so there are two samples of the L/R pair of sounds in the recording. It's low volume, but you can make out the obviously erroneous first speaker sound followed by a perfectly normal second speaker sound.


Conclusion: unimportant. Forget it. Bothersome? Yes. Indicative of an actual normal mode problem in the driver or DAC? No.

Case closed.
Attachments
DAC-sound-driver-configure-test.zip
(235.09 KiB) Downloaded 14 times

DSperber
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:18 am

Re: Welcome our Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 device!

Post by DSperber » Fri Jun 21, 2024 11:32 pm

blaubär wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2024 7:38 pm
DSperber wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2024 7:27 pm
The display of the DAC shows that the sampling rate of ALL sound sent to it (or played through it?) is 48khz no matter what sound I am playint on the laptop itself
You might want to tell your music player to use the DAC exclusively. In Neutron you would find that option in "Audio Hardware > Exclusive Access". When activated that will probably enable the music player to use any sampling rate you wish it to use and send that to the DAC - how to do that with the Neutron music player you surely know, how to do that with WinAmp you'll have to ask their support.
Well, WinAmp has no such capability.

Again, of course this isn't critical. But I just wanted to understand why what I would have expected to see is not what gets displayed.

As it turns out now that I've figured out what I was doing wrong initially, and gotten Neutron to play on my Win10 laptop (and I do have to say it's a bit "fragile" and crashes relatively frequently, often when in Settings, often when playing music,...), and taken your hint to enable "exclusive access" in "audio hardware", well now sure enough the DAC display shows 44.1khz as I would have expected from the music file I was playing. Whatever and however any other non-Neutron sound comes out of the DAC and why it shows 48khz, well I'll just ignore it.

I haven't yet created an EQ on the DAC, to at least demonstrate how to do it and what it sounds like (as opposed using the player EQ functionality). But I do plan to.

However in continuing my exploration of the "audio hardware" settings of the Windows player I have another observation of something in the player GUI that seems backwards to me. Again, not functionally critical, but it does seem backwards. Specifically there is a "hardware volume" setting which I take to toggle between the software player volume control vs. a hardware volume +/- capability if the headset has such a control. As it turns out I'm just wearing ordinary high quality headphones (Shure SRH840), which don't have such a volume control. This isn't a "headset" with microphone too. It's just conventional headphones.

Anyway, when the "hardware volume" switch is enabled:

Image

the player's GUI volume control (in the player's EQ) appears to be "active" (as I interpret it):

Image


And when the "hardware volume" switch is disabled:

Image

the player's GUI volume control appears to be "inactive" (i. set up at line-level 100%, as I interpret it)"

Image


Am I not appreciating what I'm looking at?

Interestingly, the player's volume control ia actually always functionally active, no matter where is is drawn in the GUI. It can always be raised and lowered by pulling the slider with corresponding volume adjustment in the headphones, no matter which state the "hardware volume" is set to (although if enabled the hardware volume control via headset +/- would presumably just be a second way to further adjust volume.

So is the rendering of the EQ volume slider correct as it is? And if so, why?

EDIT: I'm probably using the wrong terminology. Seems what I called the "player volume slider" is really the master Windows Speaker Volume, which probably is why it is always functional. It doesn't control the individual program volume control for Neutron in Windows Mixer. In fact I don't actually know if/where there is an actual software player volume control equivalent to the Mixer slider. I guess that's what adding this additional "external volume" tactile capability adds.

Sorry for my lack of full familiarity with all the insights into Neutron.

On the other hand, I have just compared the audio quality itself, coming into my headphones via the DAC vs. via the Realtek HD Audio in the laptop itself. NO COMPARSION (of course)!!! The sound and clarity of the DAC-produced audio is really stunning.

blaubär
Posts: 3438
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:48 am

Re: Welcome our Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 device!

Post by blaubär » Sat Jun 22, 2024 3:59 am

The "hardware volume" controls the volume settings of the device, smartphone or pc or external DAC. In the latter case and then especially in the case of exclusive access that may not work well. If need be check for the additional settings relating to volume for exclusive access in the submenus therein.
The "software volume" is an additional volume control that works on Neutron's output, might be used when the hardware volume control fails.

mamba_lancers
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2024 12:43 am

Re: Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 device

Post by mamba_lancers » Tue Jun 25, 2024 7:48 pm

A couple of quick impressions and feedback abut the DAC 1 -- and especially a question about onboard capabilities:

received mine last week -- so far so good -- been using it with different iems including etymotic erp4xr and hidisz MP145 and then also my audio technical ATH-M50x closed back full sized cans

1. first I am wondering will this thing ever be able to do something like 2x upsampling on music that comes to it from other apps? I guess I didn't read the website closely enough and though I had read all functions available in neutron app would be available onboard on this device therefore assumed upsampling was possible -- goal is to upsample for example music from Apple Music or Spotify to sound even better -- like the neutron app does for my downloaded music

2. I bought the official mini usb-c to usb-c cable to use with my iPhone 15 and there is some play in the connector such that every time the connector wiggles even one bit on the iPhone port itself the music cuts off / pauses / freezes and I have to press play again on the neutron oor other apps. I wonder if it would be possible to over-spec the width or thickness of the male connector -- or otherwise somehow reinforce and set it firmly in place -- a bit to avoid this

3. Finally some audio impressions versus audioquest dragonfly cobalt: it is more detailed than my adioquest dragonfly cobalt at half the price although the cobalt does have some upper mid tuning that on certain recordings allows a bit more expression and emotion through -- also the cobalt seems to have more instrumental separation / distinctness between individual instruments and focus of each -- versus a bit more diffuse presentation on the dac 1

that said overall detail in mids highs and lows seems much more vibrant deep and romantic on the neutron dac 1 -- takes you to fanstastical colorful worlds -- only real downside for me is that occasional expressive emotion gets lost in a very small band in upper mids -- might be my imagination though

finally the neutron dac 1 seems to have so far a very good synergy with the Audio Technica ATH-M50x cans in particular -- and sounds great in general with the etys and hidisz as well -- I am generally very pleased

Anyhow if anyone could answer the question 1 about onboard upsampling possibility I would be very grateful -- I find 2x upsample makes music more realistic without sanding down timbre and detail and it would be great if I could apply neutron app style processing to my high res music streaming apps

blaubär
Posts: 3438
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:48 am

Re: Neutron HiFi™ DAC V1 device

Post by blaubär » Wed Jun 26, 2024 4:21 am

mamba_lancers wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2024 7:48 pm
1. first I am wondering will this thing ever be able to do something like 2x upsampling on music that comes to it from other apps? I guess I didn't read the website closely enough and though I had read all functions available in neutron app would be available onboard on this device therefore assumed upsampling was possible -- goal is to upsample for example music from Apple Music or Spotify to sound even better -- like the neutron app does for my downloaded music
Why would you want an external Digital Analog Converter to add another digital transformation before the conversion ? When I oversample in the music player that is because I want to decrease the step size of the calculations in the DSP to make them more precise, and perhaps because I want to avoid some detrimental automatic resampling before an internal DAC, but with an external DAC I expect it to handle each sampling rate it accepts. Perhaps it does upsampling internally ... or it doesn't ... why would I care ?

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