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Thread: USB sound output to JBL MS-8 DSP which is the better option?

  1. #11
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    Well, I think I have all the pieces in line.

    Solar bluetooth windshield mountable car handsfree for use as a PC bluetooth microphone

    Peavey USB-P for hopefully clean audio output

    Directed HD kit with USB-cable

    GPS unit for finding my way to work on my 1/2 hour daily commute

    Still not sure on a front end for everything, might just do some custom VB.net scripting and use the windows desktop.

    Would like to get steering wheel buttons working for volume, track change, HD radio preset change, and the phone button to answer and disconnect calls through the PC. We'll see. Probably take a while to get this all working in harmony.

  2. #12
    Maximum Bitrate rray's Avatar
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    I tried a couple front ends and decided on Driveline because it has all the features you listed above, pretty much the same as what I need. It's also only got a limited following so far, but Clockwork, the developer is willing to work with people to add features. I bought one of those Joycon EXR USB steering wheel interface boards and wanted to get it to work with Driveline, and a couple posts later Clockwork had a new version of Driveline out that lets me toggle between HD Radio and Media sources, as well as tune up and down stations, or next song and previous song from my steering wheel controls.

    What's real cool is you do not have to install it, just run it from the executable or shortcut, or just have it auto start at boot. that makes Driveline great to play with without worrying about corrupting your windows load with fluff.

    I just made my first skin for Driveline, to customize it for my car, which is fairly easy to do with XML in notepad++. I would recommend trying it out and seeing if it works for you before installing something more invasive.

  3. #13
    FLAC SNOtwistR's Avatar
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    I was going to make the same suggestion. I saw his requirements were very similar to your build rray. SNO

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rray View Post
    I have had excellent sound using a USB DAC connected to my JBL MS-8.
    Did you ever use just a 3.5mm to RCA for the Aux input on your MS8? If so, how does it compare to the USB DAC? Reason I ask is that I am currently running an MS8, and plan to replace my head unit with a Nexus 7. I had planned on using the 3.5mm from the Nexus direct to the MS8, but am wondering if I should instead just use a USB DAC. For one thing it means I have to cut a little less of my dash away as I only have to fit 1 cable instead of 2.
    Last edited by naiku; 02-19-2013 at 04:59 PM.

  5. #15
    Maximum Bitrate rray's Avatar
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    When I had the Android unit hooked to my MS-8, I connected the ODAC USB DAC to the aux input on the MS-8, and plugged in my first Galaxy S3 phone, because it is supposed to support the ODAC, but it immediately fried my phone, so I still don't know if my aux input works.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rray View Post
    When I had the Android unit hooked to my MS-8, I connected the ODAC USB DAC to the aux input on the MS-8, and plugged in my first Galaxy S3 phone, because it is supposed to support the ODAC, but it immediately fried my phone, so I still don't know if my aux input works.
    Stinks about your phone, I think I am pretty much set on using a USB DAC at this point. The main reason being it will make life a little easier with snaking cords up through the dash opening.

  7. #17
    Maximum Bitrate rray's Avatar
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    I'm really happy with the USB DAC solution, because it's both easy, and clean. It's really as perfect an input to a DSP as you can get for reasonable cost.

  8. #18
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    Are the cheaper USB-DAC's worth it? For example I am looking on eBay and see the FiiO D3 (is this even a USB-DAC, it keeps coming up in my searches, but then I see nothing in the details about it being a USB-DAC) for around $25, there is also a Hifiman HM 101 for a similar price. Are those worthwhile? or would it make sense to step up to something in the $50 range? I am trying to keep my build on a budget, and get everything into the car for less than the cost of an aftermarket head unit.
    Last edited by naiku; 02-21-2013 at 05:14 PM.

  9. #19
    Maximum Bitrate rray's Avatar
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    I would suspect many of the inexpensive DAC's from China sound ok, and the FiiO D3 is rated very good, but you don't know how much RMS volts they output. We need about 1.8V RMS for good Line Out, in order to calibrate the MS-8 when you playback the calibration WAV file. The ODAC's ESS ES9023 DAC Chip gives 2.0V RMS, and I still had to turn up the volume almost all the way till the signal level was good for the MS-8 DSP calibration to be happy.

    I just got one for $50 off ebay that they say (DIYMA) sounds as clean as the ODAC, but I have not tested it yet.

    It has exactly the same chip as the ODAC, just slightly different support circuitry, and I'm waiting for a weekend off work so I can pull the ODAC and connect the Sabre to test.

    Hifimediy Sabre USB DAC ES9023 Digital to Analog Audio converter, ships from USA EBAY Item # 130828065609

  10. #20
    Maximum Bitrate rray's Avatar
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    The FiiO D3 is more than $50, and the Hifiman HM 101 is a combo DAC and Headphone Amplifier so unsuitable. You have to be careful, as the USB DAC market is geared for guys who listen to music on $500+ headphones, so the DAC is often sold with a headphone amplifier. I am a fringe DAC users, in fact I don't know of anyone else who has actually used one of these devices instead of a PC soundcard to connect to car audio.

    It was just the fact that the JBL MS-8 sums all outputs from a head unit to create a basic Left and Right Stereo, then uses that basic stereo input to create it's 8 channel Logic7 sound stage output that made me decide to try a USB DAC.
    It intercept's the digital music file data while still digital, then converts digital to analog without adding any preamplifier functions like a sound card does, so it's as clean as possible a way to feed the MS-8. Any USB sound card, or PCI sound card for that matter is going to add it's own effects, which will do nothing but confuse the MS-8.

    I was blown away when I first heard it testing in my carputer install, and this was recorded from my phone!
    Last edited by rray; 02-21-2013 at 09:38 PM.

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