Streamers and Digital EQ

joffieb

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Hi All,

I am looking for a little bit of inside advice from someone who knows how these things work. I have a very basic streamer (the WiiM Mini), which has garnered rave reviews because it is bit perfect into a DAC. So even though it costs $100, if paired with a decent DAC, it punches well above its weight. They are however introducing a customisable 10 band EQ feature which I would love to utilise with REW. I am worried however, that by turning on the feature, it will degrade the quality of the file being sent to the DAC. As I am unaware how digital EQ works, for example like DIRAC, I would like to know if the component doing the EQ actually changes the content of the music file it is playing or if it adds a sort of tag that tells the DAC just to EQ the original file? If the latter, the EQ feature shouldn't downgrade sound quality too much.

Any advice would oblige.

Thanks!!
 

joffieb

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PS: To those who are able to answer the above, please tell me where I can go to learn all about DAC's and streams etc... too. Thanks
 

Music_Lover

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I just got my hands on one of these WiiM Mini units and connected to an external DAC, it is very very good!! Ridiculous value for money. I haven't played with the EQ as yet but used judiciously, it could assist in addressing a few room or system deficiencies. I would suggest using it and deciding for yourself.
 

roddy100

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Recently the UK based Chord Electronics released Mojo 2 which has 4 band EQ. Why am I telling you about this? Chord employ the services of an engineer named Rob Watts. He has released technical information on the EQ in the Mojo2, stating that it is does not degrade sound quality.
Maybe Wiim are using a similar approach?
 

udwadia

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I would not use EQ. Some people use it to correct room acoustics issues
 

shunpillay

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Hi.

To test if the EQ is being applied before or after the DAC, perhaps try using the WiiM’s optical out into another DAC, then fiddle with the EQ. If you hear a difference, then the EQ is likely applied digitally before the WiiM’s internal DAC. If you don’t hear a difference, then the EQ is likely applied, analogue, after it’s internal DAC.

Hopefully this quick test provides a reasonable guess as to how the EQ is working.

I suspect we share the same instincts - that EQ, Room Correction, etc. is best done in the digital domain before reaching the DAC.

I’m taking uneducated guesses in this response and I too would love to learn more about how digital EQ is actually done, so I’m following this thread with interest. :)
 

joffieb

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Hi.

To test if the EQ is being applied before or after the DAC, perhaps try using the WiiM’s optical out into another DAC, then fiddle with the EQ. If you hear a difference, then the EQ is likely applied digitally before the WiiM’s internal DAC. If you don’t hear a difference, then the EQ is likely applied, analogue, after it’s internal DAC.

Hopefully this quick test provides a reasonable guess as to how the EQ is working.

I suspect we share the same instincts - that EQ, Room Correction, etc. is best done in the digital domain before reaching the DAC.

I’m taking uneducated guesses in this response and I too would love to learn more about how digital EQ is actually done, so I’m following this thread with interest. :)
Hi,

I am already using the streamer into a DAC and even though the manual EQ is not available yet, there are presets I can apply and they do work in the digital Toslink out connection. My question is how the EQ is applied, in other words, there are two possible ways that I, as a non-engineer or tech can think of:
1. The original music file is decoded in the digital domain, its EQ is altered, it is then re-encoded and sent to the DAC; or
2. The streamer sends the original music stream/file to the DAC with a tag/message to adjust it's EQ by certain parameters.

The reason I want to know the answer is because the streamer, although very cheap, is "bit perfect" when not being used to adjust the data (in other words, set as non-variable volume and no EQ'ing), meaning that it generally has no effect on the file it sends to the DAC and so theoretically performs as well as the most expensive of streamers like the Naim Uniti Atom (R60k) or the like. In fact there seems to be a growing school of thought generally that digital sources are becoming very price efficient for this reason. I am concerned though that once the streamer gets involved by altering the original stream in adjusting the EQ, then it may degrade the quality of the file being sent to the DAC and the quality of the sound. As I said, I am not an electrical or software engineer or tech so don't have the knowledge of the processes to understand how things happen so am finding the whole thing a bit frustrating.
 

shunpillay

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2. The streamer sends the original music stream/file to the DAC with a tag/message to adjust it's EQ by certain parameters.
I highly doubt that this is how it works. I imagine there are just too many approaches to EQ, for DAC manufacturers to be able to handle tags/messages like this consistently.

I'd guess your presets are working as per Option 1.

I too share your concern about streamers altering the original stream. Hopefully, someone can shed more light or think of a more conclusive test.
 
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