Audio Panel internal connections and related "Audio Processing" settings

Discussion in 'ZIDOO X20 PRO' started by Nice Monkey, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    I am considering getting a X20 Pro but only if Analog out works concurrently with HDMI out in RAW mode.
    I want to use my HT audio setup for movies in multi-channel but listen to music using the RCA analog output.

    Obviously this without needing to go through Audio Setup to change the configuration each time. Want only to change the source on my Amplifier to use either mode (or even 2 different AMP's switching the main speakers). This requires the Audio Panel to do the de-multiplexing plus the DD/DTS decoding to PCM when and where applicable (just like SPDIF does selecting PCM).

    This immediately also leads to the question if SACD sources are D/A converted straight using DSD64 instead of using an intermediate PCM 172,6 KHz at 24-bit signal conversion. It will be very difficult to verify this by mere listening unless it can be configured using a setup option. Even then it will be challenging enough.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
  2. DavidWu5

    DavidWu5 Member

    Hi,Monkey, would like to help you with your considering. But based on my poor English,would you please translate your language in a easier way to explain your situation. Much appreciated
  3. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    Thanks for answering!

    Simply put there are 2 crucial questions:
    - Does X20 Pro enable concurrent HDMI audio output (set to RAW) and Analog output (= 2 channel obviously). This with all types of audio media sources.
    - Does the Audio Panel include true DSD64 (=bitstream 2.8224 MHz) A/D conversion for SACD discs and tracks? The SABRE ESS 9038 chip can do it for sure!
    Is this what you were asking for?

    Without these 2 essential features present I prefer using an external DAC via USB or SPDIF.

    Remark: Volume control should still work for Analog output even when HDMI Audio is set to RAW. Required to align volumes on both audio inputs using a single Amplifier or when using a headset. Also very nice to compare sound quality switching back and forth.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  4. mirror

    mirror Well-Known Member SUPER Administrator Zidoo TECH Supporter

    We are developing with external DAC via USB function.
  5. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    Thanks for the clear answer how it is connected. :)

    Sounds very promising as the ESS 9038 chip allows for everything wished for via USB function :cool:
    - Volume control within the chip
    - DSD64 direct input is supported (up to evenDSD256)
    - PCM 44.1kHz - 384kHz and 16-32 bit
    - 8:8 full channel mapping
    - 7 types of Digital Filters for PCM
    - 4 choices of low-pass filters for DSD (47k, 50k, 60k or 70k)
    Anxious to see the final result.

    To be honest DSD above 64 and PCM above 192kHz at 24-bit is not available on any standard commercial sound recordings and more a thing for the technical believers (studio material). The implementation by Zidoo on the audio panel seems not to support these very high resolutions which in practice is not such a big miss as it may sound.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
  6. DavidWu5

    DavidWu5 Member

    Thank you for your detailed explaination and your great contribution to the forum.;)
  7. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    Had a special peek at your youtube recording showing the X20 Pro capabilities. :)
    As it includes the specific extra X20 Pro "Audio processing" tab under settings one request for confirmation and comments for the others:

    "Switch for Analog Output" Will this keep RAW on HDMI and only switch to down-muxing to 2-channel LPCM for Analog Out when set to "On"? When set to "Off" Analog Out will output the Left & Right Main channels straight ignoring other channels present?
    Or will it juts switch sound from HDMI to USB ==> Analog? :confused:

    "Filter Properties" The filters are directly provided by the SABRE chip. I found a very technical but useful description here:
    The last page-5 describes different digital filters only the story is based on an earlier SABRE chip with just 2 filters, a later version had 5 and the current one implemented by X20 Pro has even 7. The implementation is covering more or less the full scope of all the filters described here.
    These PIR filters are meant to remove undesired side-effects of the PCM digital sampling I understand. Therefore one is always needed. It is nice that selecting any of the 7 SABRE provided digital filters is enabled. :)
    One needs to try which filter matches the total audio setup best which may again vary per type of music reproduced. The final result will be very subjective per person. There is apparently not such a thing like an absolute best choice here. :p
    Very expensive standalone DAC's mostly ignore these chip included digital PIR filters and use their single proprietary filter instead.

    "Analog Volume" This one can be used directly to align volumes of digital and analog outputs. Also very useful to reduce peak RMS level a bit when using it with XLR-to-RCA cables. :)

    "Polarity of XLR" speaks for itself. Should work similar to a polarity switch found on most Subwoofers. :)

    Seen the progress and insight how it all works changed the title accordingly. It may answer some more questions to new and potential owners. Waiting anxiously now for the Music Player 3.0 release.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  8. DavidWu5

    DavidWu5 Member

    Thanks for the information about sharing the DACS information. It helped me understand better and I think Audio Processing will be Hot selling point.
    Israel likes this.
  9. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    Another question. At the back of X20 PRO a connector block can be found with outputs which is identical regarding looks as the one on X20:
    SPDIF optical, SPDIF coaxial, RCA Video and RCA Audio R&L. Are these RCA Audio R&L connected to the Audio panel or just to the SOC identical to the other output plugs within the same block (and identical to the X20 model)? At least this is very confusing. :confused:

    If they are connected to the Audio panel then the white border alignment is incorrect as connectors don't belong together here which is suggested. If they are not the text on the Zidoo X20 Pro specifications is dead wrong as it states the audio panel has both XLR and RCA outputs (see attachment). I feel the later is the case and there are no RCA outputs for the audio panel at all just XLR. :oops:

    In the specifications no distinction is made and all audio output ports are simply lumped together which is incorrect to do. :(

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
    Israel likes this.
  10. DavidWu5

    DavidWu5 Member

    Hello Monkey,

    I just consulted with our technical department about your confusion and we are in the progress of developing the audio progressing improvement and Complete more functions in the future update. :cool:
    Israel likes this.
  11. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    Thanks for the reply. I now became very curious what this will be? :p
    If the source for L&R RCA output could be switched between SOC and Audio Panel that would be great? It is the only thing I can imagine, but if that can be done in software? :)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  12. DavidWu5

    DavidWu5 Member

    We have a lot of assumptions and proposals for advanced features, and our software department is following up on practical feasibility
  13. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    Thanks once more for this very quick reply. Will wait patiently for what comes out. It is not a problem just an inconsistency in documentation and owners need to know how to hook up their X20 Pro correctly. :)

    In the mean time updated my cable thread for those using/planning direct wired XLR to RCA cables.
    Following those recommendations using XLR outputs should work without any problems whatsoever.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
  14. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    The first big X20 Pro shipments took place and most pré-orders should have been delivered or will be one of these days. Having a X20 Pro unit it is very easy to validate the RCA internal connection. [​IMG]
    Does the box come with a "Quick install manual"? This should be documented there clearly.

    In the new X20 Pro "Audio processing" setup tab one can regulate among other SABRE DAC settings "Analog Volume" of the output. This should have no effect on the Analog output of the SOC integrated DAC which can be regulated by the volume control on the remote control. The XLR output level on the other hand should not change using the volume buttons on the remote control.

    a) If "Analog Volume" in Pro "Audio processing" settings varies the volume on both the XLR and RCA plugs and the remote control has no effect on them then using RCA is OK as it is definitely connected to the SABRE audio panel. [​IMG]
    b) If on the other hand volume changes only on XLR and RCA volume changes with the volume buttons on the remote control then RCA is connected to the SOC for sure. RCA should under this condition not be used for analog audio as XLR output quality will be far superior. [​IMG]

    In the second case audio quality on RCA outputs is identical to X20 (X8/X9s/X10). RCA is with such a setup only useful to compare sound quality differences provided by the standard integrated SOC/DAC versus the special HQ SABRE audio panel. [​IMG]

    Not a trivial test to do in my modest view. Please share the outcome here and also share live listening test results.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
    Israel likes this.
  15. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

  16. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    Test results using a XLR to RCA cable to be found here:
    Again thanks to Simon.

    Good news: RCA outputs are connected to the HQ SABE DAC output. :)
    The remote control volume control apparently changes the output level sent from the SOC to the SABRE DAC. :confused:

    For the best audio results the Zidoo volume control using the remote should not be be used and be left at the maximum.

    I hope @DavidWu5 is amongst others referring to new advanced features here too. :p
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  17. ahuman

    ahuman Member

    Nice info Nice Monkey,
    basically what will affect on changing volume using remote? i don't get that part.
    many thanks
  18. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    Changing the digital volume by the remote will reduce the SOC output audio signal level send to the SABRE chip which will directly affect the S/N ratio of the total audio chain.
    In audio setups it is always bad to regulate volume levels on multiple parts in cascade. It should be avoided where possible specifically for HQ audio chains.

    Also Futeko reports that Zidoo is still working on it and the current first implementation will probably be enhanced further.
    Suggestions by me:
    - Provide an option for RAW (unregulated) audio transfer between SOC and SABRE.
    - Make the remote control volume control inter-work directly with the volume control within the chip.
    The combination of both is the best in my view. The second option e.g. to be enabled when using a headphone.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  19. ahuman

    ahuman Member

    was that mean that it best to have raw audio to SABRE then the volume will be regulated by the amplifier? another question, why it doesnt by pass the SoC directly to SABRE after decoded?
  20. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    1) Indeed volume should be regulated using the AMP only for best results. The signal should indeed be passed unregulated after digital decode (DD and DTS to LPCM when needed).
    2) Zidoo wants to facilitate using their remote control for the volume too. This identical to the way analog audio output works on all other Zidoo models, which frankly is quite understandable. The current implementation was the easiest way to achieve that.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018

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