Clicking/cracking noise with Pro V3 and DAC Board

Hello everyone,

I’m new in the arylic/Up2stream world as I was running a multiroom setup with raspberry pis, but LMS was complicated to run correctly, so I moved to a linkplay system :-).

I just installed a few different boards at home (amp v4, Pro v3, amp 2.1 and amp sub, a wiim mini too).

Regarding the amps, nothing to say, it works flawlessly.
Regarding the Pro V3 without any expansion boards, no issues too. But I wanted to get a better sound and installed DAC boards and an Spdif out board.
On the different Pro V3 equipped with the DAC Board and updated to the latest firmware (4.6.337862.29) , I get lots of cracks, clicks and other noises in my sound. It’s not volume related, and not source related (at least between Spotify, tune in etc). Clicks seems to be more present on the right channel.
It gives a “bad frequency sync” impression, like digital clicks and noises.

I had still one pro v3 not updated (still original firmware out of the box, 4.2.8020.12) and tried this one with the DAC board : far better results.
Pro V3 are powered by an USB power supply (5v 2A). Tried a different one, same result.
They are connecter by ethernet and I removed the wifi antenna.

On another Pro V3 equipped with the Spdif output board and a good external DAC, also updated with the latest firmware, I can also hear those clicks and cracks, but they are less audible. It’s more on some calm songs that you hear the “cracks” (something like a vynil effect, but on all the songs…).

Nothing like this on the Amp V4, and the jack output of the Pro V3 seems also OK.

Any idea if I’m doing something wrong somewhere or is it software/firmware related? Should I channge something with ACP in my setup?

Many thanks!

Hi @Brock,

Exactly which connecting cable do you use between the DAC panel and the main panel? It is essential to use the cable provided with the DAC because the other cable is less shielded.

Hi Zitev,

Thanks for your fast reaction. I’m using the cable provided with the DAC (the one with only 6 wires instead of seven on the cable coming with the Pro V3).
I saw on soundimport someone explaining we should remove the “unused” spdif wire from the i2s connector because it was a source of noise. I suppose it’s what arylic did by providing this new 6 wire cable. I don’t think it’s more shielded, but at least they remove an unused wire acting like an “noise antenna” :-).

I was also thinking about the cable, but…

Try wrapping the cable in aluminum foil.

I didn’t explain it in detail, but we kept thinking. Unfiltered cable can cause this type of interference…

I have noticed that some of my cables did this. I was able to switch to a cable from another device and it went away.

I hope you get it figured out.

Hi,

there may be various HW/SW reasons, but from far, my inputs:

If you use the I2S signals, MCLK, IIS_DATA, BCLK, LRCK, GND, I guess your cable is a flat multi-wire cable right? make sure to use the correct ground reference, i.e pay attention not to create additional ground loops, for example between the different boards power supplies and signal grounds, and if your are using a shield, do not connect both ends of the shielding. The shield should not carry power.

Shielding the whole may help, but this could also be tricky depending on where you connect the shield, and this also increases cross-talk between the wires inside the shield via capacitive coupling.
And most importantly, limit as much as possible the length of the I2S connection bus.

Then, my experience with linkplay A31 based boards (as for Arylic’s devices - the board with the antenna connector) show that external DACs connected on the I2S bus have far better sound performance if they have their own clock. for ex a board with a dac sabre-es9023 and on-board clock, - which doesn’t exist on the Arylic DAC board, - is working perfectly for my different sets using their own DAC 75MHz Clock, without wiring the MCLK/BCLK from the Arylic board, IIS_DATA, LRCK, being direclty wired to the I2S contacts from the A31 board , as well as GND, VCC , in order to minimize the noise propagation.

The fact that you don’t have this problem with the amp and jack output comes from the fact that the dac/DSP on the Arylic board (MV BP1064) is the source for the MCLK /BCLK fixed clock reference for the Linkplay A31 board with extra short and dedicated signal path. So by design the signal flows are ‘easily’ synchronized. As for the ‘better’ performance using the SPDIF output, I guess it’s due to the fact that the SPDIF format uses a single signal composed of a complexe combination of clock reference, data, channel info, correction code and media information, which implies that the receiving end regenerates ‘clean’ data clocks and syncs, corrects for transmission errors. So if your SPDIF board is ‘clean’ the signal should be fairly good may be with some remaining few glitches though that would be masked with loud sounds, if impedance adaptation is not very good. (SPDIF has higher frequencies and bandwidth usage compared to I2s for the same audio bit rate).

Finally, I also noticed at some point, that there are some incompatibilities between SW versions, as the synchronization protocol between units used for multiroom has been changed to minimize the latency between the boards / channels. In this case you get huge sound dropouts between devices/channels.

Don’t know if this heps,
Cheers
Nobu.

1 Like

Hi to “all of you” :wink:

First of all, many thanks for your inputs regarding my issue. You got it all right!
I fixed my issues by wrapping the I2S cable with aluminium foil :sweat_smile: .

For the Pro V3 + Dac, I wrapped the whole cable with one piece of foil. No link to any ground or anything else, just a “shield” around the cable and this fixed the issue. The sound is now totally clean.

Regarding the Pro V3 + Spdif output board, wrapping the whole cable with aluminium foil just made it worse… Like if all the mess was stuck in the shield… So I tried to separate the 7 wires from each other and to wrap them in 7 pieces of aluminium foil, again, without linking it to any ground. This made the trick! It now works perfectly without any cracks, clicks, etc.

So the issue is indeed the really bad “shielding” of the I2S cable… Nothing to do with a firmware version or other digital issue… It’s a shame for such a great product, to be stuck with a bad piece of cable… But the fix with some aluminium made it for a few cents!

Let’s play with the multiroom now :wink:
Thanks for your help!

2 Likes

Well done! just for reference, in case of the use of a SPDIF interface, you just need the SPDIF signal + signal Ground (+ VCC & Power ground if not externally provided).
Having the I2S signals also in the same shield will lead to creating noise on the SPDIF signal from the different clocks and I2S signals, hence reducing a lot the S/N ratio. It seems from what you describe that the SPDIF board has indeed poor noise immunity.
SO yes I agree, Arylic shoud provide a cable for SPDIF only ( shielded with 75 Ohm impedance) and one for the I2s connection only.
Anyhow, nice to see that your set-up are working according to your expectations! ENJOY!
Nobu

Great job, thanks for sharing the experience , I’ve picked it as a solution, it would help others who are headache with the same issue. The cable we put inside the box is actually not shielded at all… will discuss to improve it.