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  1. #1
    Romanticist Philosopher
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    Smile Fiio D3: Cheap DAC on the way

    As part of the neverending project for my Dad's new Bluray 2 channel Home Theater I am determined to use his Samsung HDTV as a remote controlled volume control center when watching Bluray. The 2 channel class T amp I gave him as part of his theater does not have a remote so I am working on a solution for Bluray watching. It is a 550 series 46" model with only digital optical audio out. The FiiO D3 is fully capable of converting digital to analog at up to 24 bit 192khz and it costs about $30.

    http://www.amazon.com/FiiO-D3-Digita...8958439&sr=8-1

    There is a cool inside look at the DAC here.

    http://hifiduino.wordpress.com/2011/...nside-fiio-d3/

    The goal is to output from the Bluray player via HDMI or 2 channel analog whichever works and use the DAC to output in 2 channel analog to the Class T amp from the HDTVs optical out.

    I'm hoping to set the TV to external speakers and have full volume control over those external speakers as if they were the ones in the TV. All I hope to do is adjust the amp accordingly and then do all the volume control from then on via the TV by remote. It is a pain in the ass to get up to adjust the volume and manually turn the dial.
    I prefer my sex like my basketball, one on one, and with as little dribbling as possible.

  2. #2
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    Hi Robert,

    First post here, so I couldnt send you a PM to ask you how you went with controlling the volume to the amp through the TV volume?

    I have almost the same issue - but I'm using a Hifimediy TK2050 connected to a Home Theatre PC - and therefore need any DAC to pass through the volume settings (controlled via a remote) through to the amp.

  3. #3
    Romanticist Philosopher
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    That didn't work

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyO View Post
    Hi Robert,

    First post here, so I couldnt send you a PM to ask you how you went with controlling the volume to the amp through the TV volume?

    I have almost the same issue - but I'm using a Hifimediy TK2050 connected to a Home Theatre PC - and therefore need any DAC to pass through the volume settings (controlled via a remote) through to the amp.
    The TV did not allow volume control via remote with the optical out so it was a no go.
    I prefer my sex like my basketball, one on one, and with as little dribbling as possible.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the reply... I was all set to buy, but now back to square 1.

    This is a problem that is proving difficiult to solve!

    Have you found a solution with some other device?

  5. #5
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    Actually, I think the problem might actually lie with your TV simply not sending volume through the SPDIF, not with the DAC.

    I currently run a cheap chinese DAC (actually its a DSP, since it does 5.1) from my optical out of my Home Theatre PC - I have no issues in controlling the volume through the HTPC.

    Its probably worth me taking a punt on the Fiio.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    any tv's SPDIF outputs are going to be fixed in nature because they are a pure digital output which has no volume attenuation. Its not the Fiio's fault that this is happening it is what you are trying to do will not work with a digital output whether it is Toslink or Coaxial since they are just a electrical or optical digital signal for a processor to process and then to a analog component to preamplify then amplify to a speaker. The dac was the right idea to take the digital content and make it analog but you will loose your ability for the tv's volume control to change anything once you go digital and quit using the analog left and right outputs on the back of the tv.

    yamaha htr5560 receiver (HT)
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  7. #7
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    Nevertheless, I plugged it into the optical out from my HTPC into one tongiht and I'm finidng that volume is able to be perfectly controlled via windows and most importantly, by the remote control.

    Also, the nasty hissing from the previous DSP is completely gone - at full amp volume (eardrum busting level) with no sound signal the speakers are just ever so silently whispering if I put my ear right against them - I can live with that.

    I'm a happy nerd!

  8. #8
    Romanticist Philosopher
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    Smile Good luck with that Billy

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyO View Post
    Nevertheless, I plugged it into the optical out from my HTPC into one tongiht and I'm finidng that volume is able to be perfectly controlled via windows and most importantly, by the remote control.

    Also, the nasty hissing from the previous DSP is completely gone - at full amp volume (eardrum busting level) with no sound signal the speakers are just ever so silently whispering if I put my ear right against them - I can live with that.

    I'm a happy nerd!
    Yes with a PC it works awesome and you always have the software to control volume. I'm using it with the digital output of my Xonar DS to a Kenwood VR 7070 receiver and it is a lot better than connecting directly digital to the receiver. I'm a happy nerd, too.

    Clearly the simplest option from optical output of a TV is a receiver.
    I prefer my sex like my basketball, one on one, and with as little dribbling as possible.

  9. #9
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    Robert,

    I'm anxious to read your impressions of Fiio.

  10. #10
    Romanticist Philosopher
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    Not all that impressed overall

    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    Robert,

    I'm anxious to read your impressions of Fiio.
    The D3 DAC sounds like it has more depth of soundstage than the one in the Kenwood VR-7070 but the E5 has been pretty useless to me since it really does not offer much more than I already get from my other devices. My Blackberry Curve is better without help from the Fiio. I have the E9 and with the Sennheiser HD 595 and Koss Pro4 AAT my Blackberry Curve actually sounds better to my ear. I'm on the fence with FiiO. Maybe the E9 would shine with much higher ohm headphones but I really don't plan on investing any more money. I'm happy witht the 595s.
    I prefer my sex like my basketball, one on one, and with as little dribbling as possible.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I have a sansa player and use the E5 to power my Grado's since I want to run my Sansa on flat eq and not have the boost of the eq there. The sansa puts out about 30 mv into 32 ohms which my headphone are, with the E5 puts out 100 mv at 32 ohms so my Grado's love it. I guess its just what you use it for is if it is useful or not or helps the sound quality. My Grado's love the bass boot of the E5 as well since they are bass shy with flat slope anyway. I guess it is up to the person using it but I refuse to drag anything bigger than what I do around the college when I am going from class to class.

    yamaha htr5560 receiver (HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
    Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
    Adcom 545 mk2 power amp(rear channel amp)
    Dynaudio audience 60 mains
    Dayton 8" HO custom sealed subwoofer(2 channel)
    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
    Samsung 46" LED TV
    OPPO BDP-83 blue ray/multi format player
    ps-audio NuWave dac (2 channel)
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  12. #12
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    I continue to have interest in low priced DACs since I bi-amp my speakers by routing the CD analog to one amp while sending the CD digital signal to a DAC and then on to a second amp. I have the Audio GD NFB 12 which is a combo DAC/Headphone amp/Preamp but it's more than I actually need. Does the Fiio color the sound?

  13. #13
    Romanticist Philosopher
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    Smile I haven't been using it lately

    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    I continue to have interest in low priced DACs since I bi-amp my speakers by routing the CD analog to one amp while sending the CD digital signal to a DAC and then on to a second amp. I have the Audio GD NFB 12 which is a combo DAC/Headphone amp/Preamp but it's more than I actually need. Does the Fiio color the sound?
    I was foolishly upsampling to 24 bit 192khz so that might account for coloring the sound. I'm quite sure it is a competent DAC if you match the bitrate to the source. For $30 it certainly is worth a try.
    I prefer my sex like my basketball, one on one, and with as little dribbling as possible.

  14. #14
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    M Fiio D3 arrived yesterday and it is so small I could hardly find it in the box it came in. This thing is only slightly larger than it's wall wort power supply. I hooked it up to the optical out from my tube CD player and fed two mono block bass amps with the converted analog signal. Amazing that this $28 fly speck of a dac is not that far behind my Audio GD.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Fellow Birdman, what do you like about the D3? I have had my eye on it for my daughter for a while. I also need one for my the Dayton DTA-100a. What is the general tone of the sound? Is it neutral, warm or bright? I tend to shy away from bright sounding gear. I was considering the MCM DAC but the Fiio is so cheap it may be worth it.

    Thanks,

    Larry
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
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  16. #16
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    BR,

    I pretty much agree with this linked review. Straight out of the box it's wasn't bright in my system and at $28 it's a no-brainer.

    FiiO D3 DAC – It’s a Keeper!!

  17. #17
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    PG, I just placed my order. For a total of $33, its worth it. I I don't think it adds any benefit to the sound then I will buy the D5 USB-digital coax converter to use with the D3 so my daughter can use her lap top computer with her stereo.

    Now I am waiting for some one to come up with an op amp tweak for it. It currently uses a low voltage LMV358 op amp. After hearing what an op amp upgrade did for my Maverick DAC, I would gladly try an up grade in the Fiio.
    Last edited by blackraven; 10-21-2011 at 05:36 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  18. #18
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Well my Fiio D3 arrived yesterday and here are my initial impressions-

    First off, the D3 is very small but seems well built. The cord on the wall wart power supply could be longer though. As far as the sound, the D3 delivers as advertised. I hooked it up to the digital coax out of my Denon 1910 DVDP (with Burr Brown opamps and upsampling to 192K) and my Dayton DTA-100a digital amp along with my Monitor Audio S1 speaks. The D3 smoothed out the sound. It made the sound less digital and took the hint of harshness away from the high end. It warmed up the sound. The DTA-100a leaned on the bright side of neutral and the D3 reigned it in. Bass was a bit tighter and the midrange had a bit more depth. The only down sides was that it took out just a bit of air and the gain was a little low, the amp did not play as loud. These changes were not dramatic but it was certainly noticeable. The D3 just made things sound a bit better, especially the high frequencies.

    Next I placed the D3 in my basement system which consists of my Magnepan MMG's, an old Panasonic DVDP and and old high currentJVC 120wpc RX A-8000 VBK AVR. This is were the D3 made the biggest and most surprising improvement. Again, the sound just sounded smoother and more natural. Digital edginess was reduced and bass tightened up a little. Vocals sounded more natural. What was really surprising was that there was more air and transparency to the sound as opposed to less air when paired with the DTA amp. I suppose that the marked improvement in sound came from the fact that I was using an old Panasonic DVDP as the source.

    The D3 certainly was worth the $28 I paid for it. I think that it is a perfect upgrade for a budget system. While it is not the last word in detail and resolution it did improve the sound of both my secondary systems.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  19. #19
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    Yesterday I tried the D3 taking the optical from my CDP and inputing analog to a DTA-100. Guess what no dice. Tried the optical to analog with other amps and it works great. I wonder if the optical/analog conversion is too weak for a t-amp? Haven't tried the coax yet. BR did you try the D3 optical/analog to your DTA-100?

  20. #20
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    Yesterday I tried the D3 taking the optical from my CDP and inputing analog to a DTA-100. Guess what no dice. Tried the optical to analog with other amps and it works great. I wonder if the optical/analog conversion is too weak for a t-amp? Haven't tried the coax yet. BR did you try the D3 optical/analog to your DTA-100?
    I only used the digital coax with the DTA but I used the optical input with the old Panny DVDP and it worked just fine. You could be right about the conversion being too weak. The gain was low on the optical connection as well, but it still sounded great for what it is. This little unit puts out a nice smooth sound.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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