Support & FAQ
Note: this is an general FAQ, refer also to the user’s manual of the product for product specific questions.
Currently we support Windows XP (x86), 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (x86, x64). Windows Vista is not recommended for high quality audio. Download the drivers, unpack (unzip) everything and then start setup.exe
Note: When using Foobar 2000 for DSD playback on the CY-5100dsd under Windows, use SACD plugin version 0.8.4 (not 0.9.x) as 0.9.x seems not to support ASIO native DSD mode.
For MAC-OS: no drivers needed for the DAC, but note: to enable native DSD playback on an Apple MAC with the CY-5100dsd, send a request trough our contact page for the MAC-OS DoP emulator software or set your software to convert to PCM 176k/24b.
Alternatively, you can use JRiver Media Center on both platforms.
DAC Related FAQ
- Q: Why do I need an external DAC if most players have analogue outputs anyway?
- A1: Much equipment like DVD players is designed to fit a tight budget. The DAC part in such a player is often build with less than $1 USD of parts per channel. Not a great start for quality audio. Using an external DAC will, often dramatically, improve the sound quality.
A2: Most Cyenne DAC’s are equipped with a ‘loss-less’ volume control, allowing you to directly connect it to an end-amplifier. By doing so, the audio path become much shorter, resulting in improved details in the sound.
A3: Our DAC’s support long SPDIF cables (10+ meters). Using SPDIF to bridge distances will give better sound than using long line-out cables.
- Q: What is SPDIF?
- A: It’s a digital audio signal made according to an industry standard made years ago by Philips and Sony. Because it is a standard, equipment from different vendors will work together. SPDIF can use coaxial or optical cables.
- Q: What is TOSLINK or Optical connection?
- A: It's a connector invented by Toshiba, but in wide use now to transport SPDIF trough an optical plastic fiber cable.
- Q: What means 192 kHz/24bit in digital audio?
- A: 192 kHz means the number of samples per seconds, 192000 in this case and 24 bit is the precision of the sampling. 24 bit means there are 16777216 levels of audio the signal can distinguish. The minimum for decent quality sound is believed to be 44.1 kHz/16bit (CD quality) but there is little agreement amount professional what sample rate is the best.
- Q: What is a ground loop and why this is bad?
- A: Ground loops exist if two devices are connected with common ground in more than one way. The ground connections then form a loop and because the loop is surrounded by mains wiring, a little AC current will flow around the loop. If input cables are part of the loop then hum and other unwanted signals such as switch plops will be introduced into the sound. Most common cause of ground loops are safety earth connections that together with the input cables form a loop. The problem can be made smaller by plugging all equipment into the same power stip.
- Q: Why do most of Cyenne Audio DAC’s only have one optical input?
- A: Optical SPDIF is not the best way to connect digital audio. The bandwidth of optical receivers is low, much jitter is added to the signal while using optical. Moreover, the best optical receivers are no longer in production due to the rise of HDMI, future degrading optical connections in the future. Use coax SPDIF or USB if you can.
- Q: Why is there no support for 384kHz/32bit digital audio signals in the CY-3100?
- A: There is hardly any music available for download for this format as per 2013. Support for this would need budget that can be put to better use elsewhere. Moreover, many music professionals doubt the sonic advantage of going from 192k to 384k sample rate. The main technical reason why some studios are starting to use >300k sample rates is to enable lossless conversion into both DSD and 192k/24bit.
- Q: What is PCM?
- A: PCM is the most widely used way of making a digital audio signal. An analogue signal is measures many times per second (sample rate) and the value is expressed in a binary number (the bit depth). If the audio signal is described as 48 kHz/16bit or 192 kHz/24bit then it’s usually PCM. The sample rate determines the maximum frequency that can be recorded and the bit depth determines the maximum signal to noise ratio.
- Q: What is DSD?
- A: It is another way of making digital audio. DSD was originally invented by Sony for their (now discontinued) Super Audio CD (SACD) system. Instead of many bits in parallel, it uses one bit but at a very high rate of 2.822MHz. Because of the very high sample rate, there is no hard upper limit to the maximum frequency that can be recorded requiring less filtering during recording. DSD recorded music can be bought on-line now. DSD can be played back using a computer with conversion software into PCM or, when the DAC supports native DSD, the computer can directly output DSD. Playback is often trough USB as SPDIF does not support DSD.
- Q: How about DSD support on Cyenne Audio products?
- A: The CY-3100 and the CY-5100 are designed to be hardware upgradable to DSD with a future DSD USB board. However the availability of this upgrade kit depends on estimated demand. Outside of Japan there seems not much demand for native DSD support yet. In the meantime, PC playback software that converts DSD to PCM on the fly is getting very good recently.
- Q: Can I connect small speaker directly to the Cyenne Audio DAC’s?
- A: No, you’ll need an amp or amplified speakers. But you can connect headphones directly.
Amplifier Related FAQ
- Q: What is an Interference cancelling input?
- A: Interference cancelling input is a patent pending technology in Cyenne Audio amplifiers to block unwanted signals from entering the amplifier and degrading the sound. The most common unwanted signal is hum from ground loops. Using this technology, most ground loops are not a problem anymore.
- Q: What is the key advantage of a Smart Amp?
- A1: Every amplifier needs protection systems to avoid damage from overloads, output shorts etc. Many of those protections are required by law (e.g. the LVD as part of the CE regulation in Europe). The Smart Amp implements those protections by internal processor and avoids sound degradation with difficult material and/or speakers while keeping effective protection.
A2: Smart Amp supports IR commands so it can be integrated into a home control system.
- Q: What speakers I can connect to the amps?
- A1: Take a look at the spec sheets of the model you’re interested in for detailed info. But in general: any speaker with a normal impedance of 4 ohm or higher should give good result. Speakers that drop down to 2 ohm occasionally are OK but don’t connect a 2 ohm speaker or 2 pcs of 4 ohm speakers in parallel as that might trip the protection and gives substandard sound quality. During listening tests using mostly Usher speakers, we slightly preferred the sound with 8 Ohm speakers, especially at louder volumes.
A2: Speakers with low sensitivity might not go loud enough for your taste, especially in larger rooms, as most of our amplifiers are of modest power. Use speakers of about 90dB at 1W – 1 meter or higher for optimal listening. A little lower is not a problem but speakers as low as 80dB at 1W – 1 meter in a large room will not give good result.
- Q: Why are the amplifiers not 100W or more like AVR’s?
- A1: Cyenne Audio amplifiers are designed with a large class-A region. An >100W amp with a large class-A region will need to dissipate lots of power and the cost will be high.
A2: While listening we’ve noticed even with medium sensitivity speakers (89dB), the average power level was mostly below 1W (@ 8 ohm) for a typical audiophile listening session using Jazz music and peaks came seldom above 20W. This was already loud enough for the users of a neighboring office to complain after a while…
Technical & Audiophile subjects
- Q: What brands of capacitors are used in the signal line of the DAC?
- A: There are no capacitors in the analogue signal line of our DAC’s, there are 100% DC coupled.
- Q: How is jitter handled by the DAC’s?
- A: Jitter in the incoming signal is removed by using an SPDIF receiver with buffer memory. The buffer memory will absorb variations in the signal and the signal is retimed using a crystal clock. The total system jitter thus only depends on the accuracy of the internal clock source with is a high quality external crystal oscillator.
- Q: The output of your amplifiers uses an open loop MOSFET design. The THD must be very high then?
- A: THD is kept low by using high bias (>1 amp) and matched output pairs. Typically the THD will be below 0.01% up to 1W and below 0.1% up to half of the rated power at 1kHz.
- Q: Does the amplifier use I/V limiters?
- A: No I/V limiters are not used. There is a pulse current limiter but the limit is set very high(>30A) so is very unlikely to trigger in normal use.
- Q: Does the amplifier use DC protection?
- A1: In some areas we are required by law to use DC fault protection.
A2: It’s good idea to protect expensive speakers against destruction if the amp fails.
- Q: Does the amp use an output coil?
- A: As the output is open loop, coils are not needed for stability so we don’t use them.