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Author Topic: Problem with new DAC  (Read 2368 times)

Xaphyr

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Problem with new DAC
« on: August 13, 2022, 04:04:57 pm »

Hello dear community,

I had a Schiit Modi 2 for many years which is now unfortunately broken. As of today I have a JDS Labs Atom DAC and it's giving me some trouble.

I like to listen to music in some games, which I listen to through JRiver Media Player in Asio mode, with Asio Drivers from whose Webside. Previously, when I stopped JRiver, the sound would automatically switch to the in-game sound. With the new DAC it doesn't do that anymore, so I have to select and confirm the source in the game, even though it was set correctly. Only then does the sound switch. I think that this is a driver problem, what do you think? Should I write to JDS Labs about this? Or can I solve the problem in JRiver?
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Problem with new DAC
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2022, 04:52:19 pm »

This is a driver issue. Schiit's ASIO drivers always worked for me perfectly, but when I switched to a Topping DAC the ASIO driver they provide has multiple issues. For example, ASIO for PCM audio is shared and not exclusive like the Schiit ASIO driver is (and there's no way to enable exclusive mode with Topping's ASIO driver for PCM).

Like when using the Schitt DAC I could be playing music in MC, then load up YouTube in a web browser and start playing the video. I could then stop MC's playback (and not pause) and sound would work for the YouTube video, but that doesn't happen now with Topping's ASIO driver. With the Topping DAC when I try this, the video displays an error about not being able to access the audio device so it doesn't play. Even if I stop playback in MC, video plays but sound doesn't so I have to close the web browser and reopen it and the video for both audio and video to work correctly with the Topping DAC. It's very annoying.

I've honestly considered going back to Schiit for my next DAC and dropping/removing all the DSD content from my music library, as Schiit doesn't support that (except with the original Schiit Loki DSD DAC which I do have but would not put back in and would rather just remove the DSD files from the music library). However, there's a problem with this idea... Schiit no longer provides ASIO drivers for their newer DACs, instead telling the customer to use Windows' built-in support of USB Audio Class 2.0 and WASAPI instead (which WASAPI isn't good enough for my type of use case, which is what I currently have to use with my Topping DAC since ASIO is busted). So I'm back at square one. Would love to find a good DAC with great ASIO drivers that are exclusive for PCM and properly disengage when playback is stopped to change sources but I'm not sure if there are any.
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Xaphyr

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Re: Problem with new DAC
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2022, 10:53:26 am »

So that's it? Do we really have to be satisfied with that now? Is the problem common knowledge? Or is that not a problem at all, but rather the exception at Shiit?
I can't find anything about it on the web either, however, my English isn't sooo good, so I don't know what terms to search for.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Problem with new DAC
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2022, 11:09:45 am »

I'm afraid other than changing DACs and hoping the manufacturer provides good ASIO drivers, there's nothing can be done about it which is a major bummer.

I'm stuck with using WASAPI exclusive with my Topping DAC, so if I want to play a video in a web browser I have to close the web browser, stop playback in MC, then open the web browser and watch the video. Same applies to things like games too, if I don't stop playback before starting the game, there's no sound until I close and reopen the game. Topping's ASIO driver also behaves similarly in this regard, in addition to the dealbreaking issue of being shared and not exclusive. I've tried many things with the Topping ASIO driver and could not get it to work as good as the Schiit ASIO driver in regards to switching between MC and other applications without issue. With the Schiit DAC and their ASIO drivers, I never had to do those extra steps, audio in other applications like web browsers would automatically work after stopping playback in MC. But alas, other than getting out my Schiit Modi 2 Uber and using it again with the ASIO drivers for Windows 10 (as they don't provide anymore driver updates) Schiit no longer provides ASIO drivers for their newer DACs.
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Xaphyr

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Re: Problem with new DAC
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2022, 05:43:33 pm »

Besides exclusive mode, is there any other way to suppress other sounds when JRiver is actively running?
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Hendrik

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Re: Problem with new DAC
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2022, 03:24:49 am »

Not really, thats literally what exclusive mode is for - give one application exclusive control over the audio, so others can't play anything.
The alternative is shared mode, which means everyone gets to participate.

Thats the only two options to impact other sound producing applications.
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Xaphyr

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Re: Problem with new DAC
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2022, 09:53:01 pm »

I've been writing with JDS Labs for the past few days. There I finally got a little tip, I quote:

Quote
A large portion of DACs on the market utilize XMOS based USB audio controllers and rely on drivers maintained by the German company Thesycon. These drivers are regularly maintained, so it may be prudent to file a ticket with Thesycon if the issue is indeed widespread.

That's exactly what I'm going to do as a next step and maybe it will help if everyone who is also affected by the problem does the same.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Problem with new DAC
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2022, 04:01:00 am »

Yes, Topping's drivers are also maintained by Thesycon, but it seems the DAC manufacturers control what features of the ASIO driver are enabled or not. Topping themselves has refused to enable exclusive mode for ASIO for PCM audio. They've been asked about it a lot and they've told users they have no plans having it enabled.

The funny part? Exclusive mode for ASIO is enabled for DSD playback for the Topping DAC (which IMO makes sense, but still), and not for PCM.

Bottom line, I don't think there's going to be a solution to this. Either ASIO works great for you, it semi-works or is straight busted. In addition since the Windows 10 Creator's Update, Microsoft (finally) added native support for USB Audio Class 2.0 eliminating the need for DAC drivers for sample rates beyond 96 kHz. Those reasons are likely why some manufacturers like Schiit has stopped providing ASIO drivers, instead relying on Windows' USB Audio Class 2.0 support and WASAPI exclusive. This would be acceptable if it wasn't such a nightmare with hoops to jump through in order to switch between applications like MC to web browsers. I've tried looking for a solution to making the switching between apps easier, but alas there's nothing I've found. Maybe somebody else has an idea? I'm not holding my breath though...

Sigh.
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dtc

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Re: Problem with new DAC
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2022, 03:48:28 pm »

Some background and more than you need to know.  But it does help explain the situation with exclusive mode and ASIO and how DSD fits in.

ASIO is used primarily for professional environments using DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) for music production. One reason it is used is that it was designed for low latency.  In this environment, it is quite common to have multiple devices hooked up.  Therefore, it is almost always operated in shared mode.

ASIO has been adopted for "native" DSD in the consumer market, primarily because of its specialized handling of the DSD format, something that Windows and Apple do not handle well.  The DoP format (DSD over PCM) was designed to handle DSD through standard Windows and Apple interfaces, but unfortunately the OSs does not handle higher DSD sample rates well in DoP format.  Therefore, ASIO is used especially for higher sample rate DSD. 

Each DAC manufacturer customizes the standard ASIO driver for its specific DAC and some have elected to use exclusive mode and some have not.  In general, it has little to do with the actual playing of the file.  ASIO, by design, bypasses the Window mixer, so exclusive mode is not needed to do that.

DoP format packs 16 bits of DSD data into a 24 bit PCM packet. The other 8 bits are used to identify the packet as DSD data.  "Native" DSD packs 32 bits of DSD data into a 32 bit packet. It uses a separate signal to identify that DSD data is coming, rather than including that information in each packet.  The 32 bit format used for "native" DSD is not supported by Windows or Apple, so ASIO was customized to support that format.

DoP requires 4 24 bit packets to send 64 DSD bits (4x16). "Native" format only requires 2 32 bit (2x32) packets to send 64 DSD bits, so it can use half the PCM sample rate that DoP uses.

Many people seem to believe that "native" DSD is sent as single bits at the DSD sample rates over USB. That is not the case. It is packed into these specialized 32 bit packets that ASIO can send and receive over USB at PCM sample rates.  That format requires specialized handling which is done by the ASIO driver.

All of that helps explain why ASIO is used for "native" DSD and why ASIO very often uses shared mode rather than exclusive mode.

And, yes, it is a lot more than most people need to know.
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Xaphyr

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Re: Problem with new DAC
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2022, 10:12:42 am »

I've now written a little more with Thesycon and John from JDS Labs and the essence of it all is this:

Quote
However, when the device is currently used by ASIO and is set to a different sample rate, then Windows applications cannot use the sound device. To fix that, the user has to manually change the Default Format selection to match the sample rate set through ASIO.

But in the driver I can't set anything for Asio, except for the buffer:



How do I set that? Is that possible in JRiver somewhere?

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JimH

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Re: Problem with new DAC
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2022, 11:05:00 am »

Tools > Options > Audio > Device Settings
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Problem with new DAC
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2022, 12:20:22 pm »

You should set the sample rate in Windows' sound settings for the DAC, not in Media Center. Set it to a sample rate that's not used for your media, but do know all sound output in Windows will be resampled by the system mixer to that sample rate. Also in my case it doesn't fix the issue where playing a video in YouTube in a web browser and playing music in MC and I stop playback in MC, sound doesn't "kick in" automatically with the video in the web browser. I literally have to close the browser and reopen it to get it to work correctly.

So I already knew about this workaround, but it's a non-starter for me due to the issues that still happen (like audio in playing videos in web browsers kicking in) even after you do this.
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I don't work for JRiver... I help keep the forums safe from Viagra and other sources of sketchy pharmaceuticals.

Windows 11 2024 Update (24H2) 64-bit + Ubuntu 24.04 LTS Noble Numbat 64-bit | Windows 11 2024 Update (24H2) 64-bit (Intel N305 Fanless NUC 32GB RAM/500GB M.2 NVMe SSD)
JRiver Media Center 32 (Windows + Linux) | iFi ZEN DAC 3 | JBL 306P MkII Studio Monitors | Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones
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