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KORG DS-DAC-100 Distortion Problem

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Joined: 27 Apr 2017
Posts: 2
Location: NOLA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:43 pm    Post subject: KORG DS-DAC-100 Distortion Problem Reply with quote

I bought the Korg DS-DAC-100 (the curvy one) to improve the sound quality of my laptop playback of mp3s and the occasional FLAC. My intention was to perform all playback exclusively with Media Monkey. I realize the purpose of this DAC is to provide 1- and 2-bit playback via the Korg proprietary Audiogate interface, but I had read in online reviews that it would also provide standard DAC performance with any media playback (44.1, standard PCM, good old-fashioned 160k mp3, YouTube videos, etc - specifically un-fancy non-audiophile stuff). And it has. My mp3's sound magnificent.

That is until the distortion kicks in. Without fail, after a few minutes (and sometimes even as much as a few hours) of playback the audio becomes heavily distorted. It slows down slightly with a significant rhythmic clipping that sounds like a damaged speaker cone. The distortion continues until I break the connection with the DAC by physically pulling the USB cable out of the input, and it plays fine again upon re-plugging the USB. It also stops if I close Media Monkey and reopen it completely. But eventually the distortion always returns.

I have tried a number of solutions, including reinstalling the drivers, using a different playback program (iTunes), switching between USB ports on the laptop, removing all other audio drivers present on the computer (I had used a Focusrite Scarlet for a few days with zero issues).

Any idea what could be causing this?
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Joined: 11 Sep 2017
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm having exactly the same issue. Did you find any solution?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:24 pm    Post subject: Korg DS-DAC-100 Problems Reply with quote

Kind of. First of all I never got Audiogate to work right, specifically it is so gratingly slow and unresponsive that I simply gave up on it.

As for the distortion issue, on a better laptop, that same issue never repeated itself. It works beautifully on a 2016 MacBook Air, but there were some other issues when playing music on a relatively new HP Windows 10 PC (12g RAM, 1TB solid state drive - NO reason it should have problems).

Specifically, playback is abruptly halted right in the middle of a song. I tried switching playback sources to the laptop speakers and back to the DAC a few times, and while that sometimes worked, it usually resulted in the first 13 seconds of the song being played repeatedly in a loop. Only unplugging and reconnecting the USB cable of the DAC seemed to reset everything correctly, and even then not every time. All this time the light indicated 48khz.

I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers, DAC control panel, and Audiogate several times and in different orders, but that did not help. The closest I got to success was when I uninstalled EVERYTHING and then installed only the DAC drivers (no Audiogate or DAC Control Panel which I’m fine with because neither ever seemed to do what it was supposed to do anyway). That seemed to correct the halting issue, but now the DAC indicates only 44.1khz all the time, even on higher bitrate tracks (the HDtracks sampler tracks included), but at least it WORKS without the random halting of the music.

Unfortunately there is still another issue that is driving me nuts. For some reason the DAC does not work after the PC goes to sleep and then wakes up again. I have to physically disconnect the DAC every time I put the PC to sleep, then reconnect it on waking to get proper playback. If I don’t take this extra step, the playback either does not work (but sill works fine through built-in laptop speakers) or it has that 13-second looping issue again.

To try and fix this I did a system optimization (Sweetwater has one on their site), reconfiguring power and USB settings for best performance, but that has not corrected it. Perhaps I am doomed to a life of always unplugging the DAC when I am finished using the computer for the night….every night.

Tonight I plan on trying a different program for playback (I was using Media Monkey Gold), probably VLC Media Player, but I still think it's something to do with the USB (not using a hub, BTW). I will also try putting the Macbook through its paces as well to see if this issue really is just isolated to the Windows 10 computer. None of this nonsense has happened a single time on the Macbook Air. It believe it really is just a Windows problem.

This is all a bummer because I have never seen a better looking DAC, but I would prefer better performance to all these headaches. Once everything is working the way it should, I will start focusing on higher-bitrate and DSD playback which I haven't been able to do with any seriousness because I am constantly struggling with this DAC.

My other digital setup uses a Schiit Modi with absolutely ZERO issues, and I’m considering buying another and just going with that full-time; but I like my spaceship DAC, darn it!
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