Author Topic: Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX  (Read 2196 times)

Tranquility Bass

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Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX
« on: March 19, 2021, 08:04:07 PM »
Introduction:

Whilst we don't actually have a DEQX in front of us to test and compare with, we can still leverage the test results from a recent Stereophile review of the DEQX Pre-mate  which apparently is the same hardware used in all of their models with some changes to the I/O and software capability otherwise it is the the same old hardware except for the cheaper models which apparently use a switch mode power supply instead of the linear power supply used in the more expensive models. Of course the UP uses a linear power supply in all of its models ;)

For a detailed comparison between DEQX and the Ultimate-Preamplifier please click here to refer to our comparison table



Test Results:


Conclusion:

We can see a pattern emerge here and that in all tests shown below the Ultimate Preamplifier displays superior performance over the DEQX in all cases. Not just a small improvement but a major improvement !

DEQX claim the following from their own website but the measurements from Stereophile review don't really support these claims !

Quote
Audiophile-grade engineering

Every aspect of a DEQX is carefully engineered for optimum audiophile performance. For example: countless design, development, and auditioning iterations were put into the latest A/D convertor circuit and the DAC's I/V (current to voltage) convertor circuits. Over a decade of constant refinement and attention to detail has paid off in superlative performance.

Now add in superb digital coding and algorithms: a −140 dB digital processing noise floor and a precision digital volume control. The end result? A truly transparent component with zero digital artifacts. An "analog" sound for all combinations of input to output: analog to analog, digital to digital, and any combination of the two.

DEQX also claim in one of their reviews of "'first do no harm' transparency" but the measurements from Stereophile compared to our own measurements of the Ultimate Preamp show anything but transparency. Add to this an antiquated DSP platform with very limited FIR capability shows that this product is trying to be all things to everyone but succeeding at none of them.





"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" -John Stuart Mill,

Tranquility Bass

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Spectrum of 50Hz sinewave, DC–1kHz, at 0dBFS into 600 ohms
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2021, 10:04:58 AM »
Fig.11 DEQX PreMate, spectrum of 50Hz sinewave, DC@1kHz, at 0dBFS into 600 ohms (left channel blue, right red; linear frequency scale).



Shown below is the output from the UP which shows at least an order of magnitude less noise and distortion compared to the DEQX whilst approaching the bottom limit of what the analyzer is capable of measuring !





"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" -John Stuart Mill,

Tranquility Bass

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Re: 16 bit Jitter Test using J-test
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2021, 10:01:16 PM »
Shown below is the J-test Jitter spectrum of the DEQX Pre-mate as reviewed by Stereophile. Noise floor modulation, spurious artifacts and poor jitter performance shows some issues with this design.



By comparison the resulting spectrum from the Ultimate-Preamplifier below is much cleaner even for 16 bit Red-book standard and does not suffer from noise floor degradation like the DEQX does above. We can see that the DEQX above needs a lot of work to match the outstanding performance of the Ultimate Preamplifier even for Red-Book 16 bit playback ;)



For the 24 bit J-test Jitter Spectrum the news is even better for the UP which is bad news for DEQX with vanishing low levels of jitter artifacts from the UP !

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" -John Stuart Mill,

Tranquility Bass

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DAC (19kHz + 20kHz) CCIF IMD test
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2021, 10:07:38 PM »
Fig.12 DEQX PreMate, HF intermodulation spectrum, DC@30kHz, 19+20kHz at 0dBFS into 100k ohms (left channel blue, right red; linear frequency scale).

Note how the noise floor is lifted up and modulated by the two tones whereas this is totally absent in the UP spectrum ! Again the UP wins hands down when it comes to transparency !



The following test results show that the IMD distortion of the Ultimate Preamplifier is exceedingly low and betters the performance of the DEQX Pre-mate by a long margin !

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" -John Stuart Mill,

Tranquility Bass

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Waveform and Spectrum of undithered 1kHz sinewave at –90.31dBFS
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2021, 10:42:29 AM »
Fig.10 DEQX PreMate, waveform of undithered 1kHz sinewave at 90.31dBFS, 24-bit data (left channel blue, right red).
 


Fig.8 DEQX PreMate, filter operating for Bryston Model T, spectrum with noise and spuriae of dithered 1kHz tone at 90dBFS with: 16-bit data (left channel cyan, right magenta), 24-bit data (left blue, right red) (20dB/vertical div.).



Below is the real time capture of the Left and Right Channels of the Ultimate Preamplifier at -90.31dBFS @ 1kHz 24 bit WL. Compared with DEQX above the output of the UP is significantly cleaner !



Below is the FFT Spectrum of the Ultimate Preamplifier output. Compared with the DEQX above the noise floor is much lower on the UP !



"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" -John Stuart Mill,

MichaelH

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Re: Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2022, 03:56:35 PM »
Kyron have updated their Gay-ear. With no new offerings from DEQX they must still be using that old klunker from above. I don't know how they can claim what they do about sound quality when the DEQX performs as bad as it does. That sine wave is truly shit. I don't see how Kyron can charge $250k+ when the electronics they are selling with the loudspeaker is as terrible as what the measurements above show.

“There's a sucker born every minute.”
-- P. T. Barnum
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Tranquility Bass

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Re: Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2022, 08:26:52 PM »
Kyron have updated their Gay-ear. With no new offerings from DEQX they must still be using that old klunker from above. I don't know how they can claim what they do about sound quality when the DEQX performs as bad as it does. That sine wave is truly shit. I don't see how Kyron can charge $250k+ when the electronics they are selling with the loudspeaker is as terrible as what the measurements above show.

“There's a sucker born every minute.”
-- P. T. Barnum

Correct me if I am wrong but I believe their latest incarceration is a rehash of the same electronics they used before with some very minor changes. I believe they are still using the old legacy 96kHZ DEQX design with the old outdated Analog-Devices ADSP21065L 66MHz SHARC DSP, same DAC's and ADC's as before so therefore expect to measure the same as shown above from the Stereophile review. From what I can see most of the changes are only cosmetic ! Be-careful with FIR filtering and high-slope linear-phase crossover designs as the off-axis response can suffer if the on-axis response is highly optimized and there are differences in directivity or timing between drivers in the off-axis in which case the ripple in the impulse response of the high and low filters will not properly cancel out and this can produce an objectionable pre and post ringing in the off-axis impulse response even though the on axis response is perfectly ok with no ringing which kind of negates the claim of no "cabinet resonances" !!

cheers
David
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" -John Stuart Mill,

MichaelH

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Re: Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2022, 07:37:53 PM »
Even Amir said its not much better than MiniDSP. Now thats an embarrassment considering the price difference.

 
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MichaelH

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Re: Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2022, 09:27:39 PM »
A comment from a HiFi show visitor. Marc made such a song and dance about the Australian Launch of the new "Gen 4" and what happens?

The screen works and thats it. I wonder how much DEQX paid for that 3 day escapade to demo the screen. This would have to be the one of the worst disaster launches in Aus HiFi history. Why did they even bother showing up? I can see now why Kyron are also in the shit from this inept bunch of clowns who still rest on their laurels from an organ from the 70's. That's all they seem to be able to do is go back 50 years.

 


Quote
Paul Best, Australian Financial Review, May 16, 2022

This audio pioneer is set to transform the way you hear music

Kim Ryrie, the man who revolutionised the music-recording industry in 1979, has been fine-tuning a device that makes high-quality sound way more affordable.

DEQX have transformed the way you listen to music by demonstrating a 5 inch screen in a box with a knob. AFR hailed this as the breakthrough the audio world has waited for since, well basically 1920.

“I flicked the switch,” Ryrie says, indicating the silver box on the table. On it is written: DEQX speaker/room calibration processor. When in fact its a Raspberry Pi in a box with a knob.

That whole AFR pump up was just a load of shit.
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Tranquility Bass

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Re: Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2022, 10:34:20 AM »
That was a wasted opportunity to show case a new product producing good sound through some already half reasonable speakers, that's if it was working of course which it appears not to be. When I first saw those photos I thought straight away why have they got that old rig running for ? I mean it was a cheesy demo that could have easily been setup using a minidsp running Dirac. Seriously no one is going to pay 5-7k to fix up a $150 speaker which no doubt cannot possibly fix up all of the non-linearities or get it to reproduce reference standard bass down to 20Hz at a reasonable SPL and distortion. it just won't happen ! You can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear !

It's no mean feat to pull a new product like this off. First you have to map out the hardware design and using all new chips including a new micro/DSP means there is something you are going to leave off or make wiring mistakes on the schematic. Very easy to do which means reworking the PCB or even worse redoing another PCB or PCB's until you have got the hardware right. Then there is laying out the PCB with high pin count BGA devices, most likely having to use at least a 6-layer or more PCB and if you are mixing analog with digital on the same board then you better know what you are doing because it is easy to screw up. If you are using an ARM core and interfacing to DDR memory then you'd hope the PCB designer has experience with that because that is one thing that is easy to screw up with impedance and trace length matching so good luck with that !

It is possible they are using off the shelf hardware such as raspberry pi and just interfacing it to all of the peripheral audio chips, LCD etc in which case that would be a lot of work saved but you still have to write all of the firmware which is another huge undertaking. This may explain what they were able to demonstrate with no audio processing.

Then there is all of the software written for the PC application running under Windows which is a huge undertaking by itself I Plus there is the mechanical design which is another person on the job who knows what they are doing !

This is at least a five year job just to get to a working prototype if you had to start from scratch and probably no less than a five man team. Fortunately I was able to do the UP all by myself over a few years with only three board revisions which all worked btw with little or no board mods 😉
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" -John Stuart Mill,

MichaelH

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Re: Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2022, 07:37:22 PM »
Big missed opportunity. Another Australian company potentially on the way out.
Nothing to see here. Move along

 

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