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Acoustic Portrait launches Pi 3 DAC - M2rPi

Marantz offers at HiFiMART.com

aurobindosaha

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Hi

Official announcement received via email -

"Raspberry Pi 3 is a very convenient solution for playing your digital music collection. The flexibility and convenience of Raspberry Pi is not easy to ignore. What was required was a good DAC to make it fit into audiophile rack.

We are happy announce the launch of Swara M2rPi DAC.

The DACs MRP will be Rs.22,800/-.

Until Diwali, we will offer a special price of Rs.19,900/- (inclusive of taxes).
"



I got mine. Now my set up is as follows

  • Source - 16 GB Solid State pen drive
  • DAC - Acoustic Potrait Swara M2rPi
  • Amplifier - Acoustic Potrait Swara Solid State Integrated Amp
  • Speakers - Corrson Monitor Series MS-610 Floor Standing two way speakers
  • Speaker Cable - Acoustic Potrait Thallam Audio Cables
  • Interconnect - DAC ARX01A


Here's my impressions -

  • The music are more soothing - particularly lows and highs. Tabla sounds more fulfilling. Or when the drummer strikes the cymbal the brightness seems to have better balance and sweeter than what I have heard without this DAC.

  • The female vocal voice sounds more balanced between brightness and warmness. For example - Kalpana Zokarkar - voice seemed more bright, without the DAC, however, with this DAC I hear her voice has a better balance ... little towards warm

  • Male vocal voice sounds awesome. The grains of tone are so very clear. For example when Clapton sings Tears in heaven, I can literally feel that the singer is in front of me.

  • Qawwali and Sufi sounds so good with this DAC. Last 3 weeks I have been listening to mainly Qawwali , Utadji Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's voice is extremely live here. The dynamic range has definitely more reflective through this DAC. For example - listen to the vocal here - "Allaho Ho Alla Hoo" starts with pure vocal recital. I have FLAC recording of this track and I heard that part multiple times without this DAC both on the AP speakers and also Sennheiser 598 Headphones, I can vouch that this DAC has made lot of difference. I can hear more details in his voice.

  • Set-up is very easy. However some reason I could not connect the Pi 3 to router. The DAC and router sits close, so its not a signal issue. Its my limitation of knowledge that I could not do it. I am quite happy connecting it by wire. May be I will add a Wifi adapter in future.
Again these are just my opinion and this is how I feel, and I am no expert in reviewing such Hifi system.


I had a detail discussion with Siva. He mentioned that some facts that are listed below -

  • DAC uses a Texas Instrument DAC chip

  • Its has Raspberry Pi 3 a02082

  • The Power unit is built with very high end components. The cost is mainly in the linear power supply. Very High End transformer is used .... The DAC is really heavy. I have been told the resistors used are one of the best that money can buy. These are not Rs. 1.50 resistor you get in market. Resistor and many other parts are imported and each cost more than a dollar. The capacitors too are very high end. Long story short - the power unit has been built with high end components and is very much responsible for this clean sound.

  • The DAC has HDMI out so that you can play with the Pi 3 configuration

  • The DAC has 4 USB digital inputs, and one pair RCA analog output.

  • The source of 32 GB (solid state/spindle) can be handled by this DAC's power. Higher source volume will need external power.

  • RuneAudio comes pre-installed. The Pi 3 OS and RuneAudio are already there in a memory card inside, which can be changed/reconfigured as per your wish.


Thanks
Auro
 
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hifiramr

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Great review.The price is also very attractive as the linear power supply is very expensive to build.Its a great effort by Shiva
 

hydra

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Thank you for the detailed review. This definitely sounds promising!

I'm not nitpicking, but wouldn't it be better to describe the unit as a Network Player, or a Digital Music Player, or something like that, considering that it plays music that is fed to it locally and via network? Describing it as a DAC would actually be a limited description of its capabilities.

...However some reason I could not connect the Pi 3 to router. The DAC and router sits close, so its not a signal issue. Its my limitation of knowledge that I could not do it. I am quite happy connecting it by wire. May be I will add a Wifi adapter in future.
[/LIST]
...
I've heard it mentioned that the built-in WiFi of RPi 3s tend to get attenuated/weak when they are put inside metal cases. The easy fix is, as you said, to add a WiFi Adapter.
 

aurobindosaha

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Hi,

I'm not nitpicking, but wouldn't it be better to describe the unit as a Network Player, or a Digital Music Player, or something like that, considering that it plays music that is fed to it locally and via network? Describing it as a DAC would actually be a limited description of its capabilities.
May be ... that depends how they want to market it.
Inside the box there are basically 3 components -
  • Raspberry Pi3
  • A PCB that hosts the DAC. The same PCB has components like capacitors, resisters, etc that cleans the input power.
  • Transformers to step down the voltage to 5V and supplies linear current of 2 amp. However DAC needs 1 amp.

This device is a good addition in my case, since I started with no existing set-up. This eliminates the need to buy a separate transport or a player. I was anyway in need of a DAC. This has both. And its so easy to play with RuneAudio player installed in my Tablet.

The only operational issue I see - every time I download a music, I have to take the USB drive out, copy it using a laptop and then put it back. NAS will help here. This Digital Music Player/RuneAudio supports NAS.

I've heard it mentioned that the built-in WiFi of RPi 3s tend to get attenuated/weak when they are put inside metal cases. The easy fix is, as you said, to add a WiFi Adapter.
Yes, Siva mentioned about that. He mentioned when he changes the floor the signal gets weak, but a Wifi adapter can solve this issue.

Thanks
Auro
 

ajeshkumarts

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Great review.
Could you please post a pic of the internal of the dac?
Just curious to know how they extended the HDMI port, power connection to the pi and the connection between pi and dac(i2s via cable or as HAT).
IMHO , a small display and fifo recloacker would have taken this product to a different level altogether(i might have missed out but did I not see these two features)
 

MaSh

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Great review. Any idea if the components are sold separately for those who already have the Pi?

MaSh
 

mpw

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the price is nice..

so hopefully this AP product will sell

they must come out with a standmount in the Rs 30k range...

regards
 

anubisX

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How is this different from Thiyaga or Modi 2 Uber ? I need a DAC to play music from my computer.
 

aurobindosaha

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Great review.
Thank you :)

Could you please post a pic of the internal of the dac?
Just curious to know how they extended the HDMI port, power connection to the pi and the connection between pi and dac(i2s via cable or as HAT).
IMHO , a small display and fifo recloacker would have taken this product to a different level altogether(i might have missed out but did I not see these two features)
Thanks for your interest. However, I am very naive of the technical side. Can you kindly ask Siva these questions? Their contact is in Acoustic Portrait website.

Thanks
Auro
 
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aurobindosaha

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Great review. Any idea if the components are sold separately for those who already have the Pi?

MaSh
Yes, he mentioned that option some months back. But last month I asked him the same question, he said, they are packaging it together. Technically its feasible - Pi is just the music streamer, while Linear power supply and DAC are separate components. I think these are just connected by wires and except the power there are no other components shared between the two. But I am no expert on this topic. You need to talk to Siva directly to work out the feasibility, pricing and other aspects like warranty.

Thanks
Auro
 

aurobindosaha

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Messages
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How is this different from Thiyaga or Modi 2 Uber ? I need a DAC to play music from my computer.
Technical architecture - I really do not know. I have read things like R2R, Ladder, Bitperfect, etc, but I do not know what uses which architecture/technology.

From functioning standpoint - AP DAC is not only a DAC but also a digital player. You can stream music from NAS, attached USB drives, Airplay, Spotify, and lot more.

Schitt Modi 2 or Thiyaga are just DACs and no player.

Thiyaga and this one both are 24 bit 192 khz DACs - as per my knowledge.

I had wrong knowledge, now I see in their website that the Pi DAC supports 32bit/384kHz

If computer is the only source why don't you consider mDSD Encore or Dragonfly USB DACs. Offcourse these USB DACs are not at the same league as Schitt or for that matter Thiyaga

Thanks
Auro
 
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aurobindosaha

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standmount speaker..
Got it. I was stupid to relate it to DAC.

I believe at one point of time they used to sell BookShelf Speaker. I asked Siva the same question. No, as of now, he said, AP does not have plans to relaunch BookShelf Speakers.

And another bad news ..... you know how nice these AP products look good with front wood finish. They probably will change that. The future equipment will look more like the DAC in metal finish. I mentioned to Siva that that is one of the USPs of AP from finish standpoint. He mentioned the cost goes too high, and many are not ready to spend so much on looks. He assured that the internal parts used will never be compromised. And he told these are very good metal casings, but looks different and brings down the cost of the product.

Thanks
Auro
 

aurobindosaha

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Hi

Just now received another email from Acoustic Portrait. I think most of your questions get answered if you visit the links -

"
Dear Friends,

Please find more details @ Acoustic Portrait.

.....
"

Thanks
Auro
 
Last edited:
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