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Saturnine Aberrance
Sep 6, 2010

Creator.

Please make me flesh.


I've got a hum/hiss issue with a new amp and my dumb rear end is having trouble trying to figure out where the issue is.

Ordered an Asgard 3 with the built in dac (not the multibit one) and now that it's set up I can hear a hiss at high volumes, and this bizarre distortion sound on certain tones in the right channel of whatever headphone I plug into it. (It's not the headphones' fault, the same sounds at the same volumes on another amp have no such issue)

Here's what I've done to diagnose this.

*****

When the dac isn't plugged into anything, I get a constant hum on that input. When I put it in my computer, I get a hiss, which occasionally changes in timbre when I do certain things on the computer (a clear indication of usb interference, but it's not persistent enough)

When I move the usb cable so it doesn't pass near any other electronics, I get the hiss regardless of whichever plug I put it in. An earlier dac/amp did not have this issue in any usb outlet, plugging my headphones directly into the motherboard results in no hiss at all (though obviously isn't ideal).

Plugging the amp into a different outlets doesn't change the issue. Plugging it into a different wall results in the same problem. Plugging it into an isolating power bar gets nada. Plugging that power bar into other wall outlets away from other electronics with the amp being the only thing on it - results in no change. Ensuring the amps power cable isn't routed near other electronics results in nothing.

Swapping the input to rca instead of the built in dac, regardless of what the Asgard is plugged into, results in absolutely no hum or distortion regardless of volume - but I don't have a dac to actually plug into this input.

*****

Is this a ground loop issue despite all of my (perhaps foolish) attempts to avoid it? Interference (though there's definitely some, it can't be the only issue based on my attempts to route wires away as far from other wires and electronics as possible)? A lovely dac?

Do I need to get that ebtech humx thing even with all my attempts to isolate the power cable?

Or is it an actual standalone dac I need?

Any help would be appreciated.

Saturnine Aberrance fucked around with this message at 21:02 on Apr 9, 2021

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Saturnine Aberrance
Sep 6, 2010

Creator.

Please make me flesh.


DancingShade posted:

Give this a go: Don't plug your USB DAC direct into your computer. Wait bear with me here. Plug it into an AC powered USB hub (not a USB powered one). Then connect that hub to your PC.

Disclaimer: IDK if it'll fix your problem.

Giving it a shot; will report back when the hub arrives. I'm honestly not expecting much, but fingers are crossed. Sucks to get an amp 'upgrade' and then wind up with universally worse audio quality.

Saturnine Aberrance
Sep 6, 2010

Creator.

Please make me flesh.


DancingShade posted:

Give this a go: Don't plug your USB DAC direct into your computer. Wait bear with me here. Plug it into an AC powered USB hub (not a USB powered one). Then connect that hub to your PC.

Disclaimer: IDK if it'll fix your problem.

No luck. I took the opportunity to reroute all my cables too to try and get everything that I could feasibly reroute out of the way and it has not improved the issue. The usb cable for the amp's DAC is shielded too, so I don't know how much more I could do to get EMI out of the picture.

The USB hub's AC plug isn't grounded - but a grounded AC plug isn't a feature I could find on any of the hubs I was able to find.

Edit: Gotta say, the effect this has on the Discord notification sound especially is wretched. Horrible distortion in the right channel, exactly the same way every time. Really want to say this is a defective product from Schiit.

Saturnine Aberrance fucked around with this message at 00:56 on Apr 13, 2021

Saturnine Aberrance
Sep 6, 2010

Creator.

Please make me flesh.


Given that I haven't been able to solve this distortion problem with my Asgard 3, any thoughts on which of these options to replace it?

- Monolith DAC/Amp (Dual AKM 4993s and AAA-788s)
- Modius / Magnius
- Keep the Asgard and add a Modius
- Something else entirely

The distortion in the right channel is just too much. My Hel 1 gets me universally better audio as things stand - but I'm wanting to use it in a different place given the option.

Saturnine Aberrance
Sep 6, 2010

Creator.

Please make me flesh.


Zorak of Michigan posted:

Have you tried to get Schiit to fix the Asgard 3? That'd be my first move.

Working on that too. I sent them a support message a couple days ago but they are being very slow with responding, and I'm getting antsy as I get close to the 15 day refund deadline. The thing I'm worried about with a repair is that they'll dismiss it as a ground loop. Definitely on my list though.

Saturnine Aberrance
Sep 6, 2010

Creator.

Please make me flesh.


Dr. Fishopolis posted:

e: also return that schiit! don't bother with repairs inside the return window!

I tried to give them the time to answer the support request, but it seems like they're content waiting out the return window; so return submitted.

Saturnine Aberrance
Sep 6, 2010

Creator.

Please make me flesh.


Yuns posted:

If you want to test the Monolith, mine is gathering dust so can I ship it out for a long term test if you cover shipping back to me when you're done.

That's an excellent offer that I may just take you up on. Schiit's offered an exchange so we'll see if a different unit doesn't have the same issue.

If I have no luck though I'll probably reach back out to you about that.

Saturnine Aberrance
Sep 6, 2010

Creator.

Please make me flesh.


Saturnine Aberrance posted:

Schiit's offered an exchange so we'll see if a different unit doesn't have the same issue.

The new unit arrived and after some more testing it no longer has the distortion I was mentioning last time, which is great! However it does still seem to have the fuzzy interference at high volumes. With what I've tried I believe I can conclude that the issue is... the USB source to my computer.

I can have the Asgard plugged into my computer - whether directly into one of its USB ports or into the powered USB hub connected to my computer, and I'll get the interference at high volumes no matter where the unit is, what plug or power strip the AC is plugged into, or which USB port or power hub I use on the computer.

Meanwhile, I can have everything in the exact same place, except the Asgard is plugged into a laptop very nearby, and no interference at any volume level. A Schiit Hel in the same system at the same time has no such issue. I can move the laptop or the Asgard itself around and never pick up interference while it's plugged into the laptop.

So. I'm not entirely sure I know how I can solve this issue. The USB hub I have is an AUKEY Powered Hub, in case it turns out that one is lovely or something.

Saturnine Aberrance fucked around with this message at 19:59 on Apr 19, 2021

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Saturnine Aberrance
Sep 6, 2010

Creator.

Please make me flesh.


I have been able to confirm that my Schiit was simply lovely - a new DAC/Amp from a different company has no distortion at any volume that I can detect and no interference - so back to Schiit the Asgard goes.

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