Trying to get my Grace Design O2/SDAC to work (via usb)!

Hello! Having continued issues with this usb dac. Manjaro switches to the device automatically and makes it the preferred audio device upon it's recognition, however playing anything through it for more than 15 seconds causes the media to stop, buffer, and then Manjaro switches the audio back to my internal speakers, kicking the sdac out of 'audio devices' entirely. Unplugging and re-plugging in the dac makes it visible again, but still not usable.

Here's my inxi -Fxzc0 (without device plugged in)

$ inxi -Fxzc0
System:    Host: john-macbookpro111 Kernel: 5.7.0-3-MANJARO x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc 
           v: 10.1.0 Desktop: KDE Plasma 5.18.5 Distro: Manjaro Linux 
Machine:   Type: Laptop System: Apple product: MacBookPro11,1 v: 1.0 serial: <filter> 
           Mobo: Apple model: Mac-189A3D4F975D5FFC v: MacBookPro11,1 serial: <filter> 
           UEFI: Apple v: 160.0.0.0.0 date: 04/12/2020 
Battery:   ID-1: BAT0 charge: 29.4 Wh condition: 48.7/71.5 Wh (68%) model: SMP bq20z451 
           status: Discharging 
CPU:       Topology: Dual Core model: Intel Core i5-4258U bits: 64 type: MT MCP 
           arch: Haswell rev: 1 L2 cache: 3072 KiB 
           flags: avx avx2 lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx 
           bogomips: 19207 
           Speed: 800 MHz min/max: 800/2900 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 1752 2: 932 3: 1798 
           4: 1576 
Graphics:  Device-1: Intel Haswell-ULT Integrated Graphics vendor: Apple driver: i915 
           v: kernel bus ID: 00:02.0 
           Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.8 driver: intel unloaded: modesetting 
           resolution: 1920x1200~60Hz 
           OpenGL: renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Iris Graphics 5100 (HSW GT3) 
           v: 4.5 Mesa 20.0.7 direct render: Yes 
Audio:     Device-1: Intel Haswell-ULT HD Audio vendor: Apple driver: snd_hda_intel 
           v: kernel bus ID: 00:03.0 
           Device-2: Intel 8 Series HD Audio driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel 
           bus ID: 00:1b.0 
           Device-3: Broadcom and subsidiaries 720p FaceTime HD Camera driver: bdc-pci 
           bus ID: 02:00.0 
           Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.7.0-3-MANJARO 
Network:   Device-1: Broadcom and subsidiaries BCM4360 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter 
           vendor: Apple driver: wl v: kernel port: efa0 bus ID: 03:00.0 
           IF: wlp3s0 state: up mac: <filter> 
Drives:    Local Storage: total: 351.30 GiB used: 222.19 GiB (63.2%) 
           ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Apple model: SSD SD0128F size: 113.00 GiB 
           ID-2: /dev/sdb type: USB vendor: Apple model: SD Card Reader size: 238.30 GiB 
Partition: ID-1: / size: 102.30 GiB used: 10.21 GiB (10.0%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda2 
           ID-2: swap-1 size: 8.26 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda3 
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 34.0 C mobo: N/A 
           Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A 
Info:      Processes: 182 Uptime: 12m Memory: 3.76 GiB used: 1.75 GiB (46.6%) 
           Init: systemd Compilers: gcc: 10.1.0 Shell: bash v: 5.0.17 inxi: 3.0.37 

and with device

$ inxi -Fxzc0
System:    Host: john-macbookpro111 Kernel: 5.7.0-3-MANJARO x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc 
           v: 10.1.0 Desktop: KDE Plasma 5.18.5 Distro: Manjaro Linux 
Machine:   Type: Laptop System: Apple product: MacBookPro11,1 v: 1.0 serial: <filter> 
           Mobo: Apple model: Mac-189A3D4F975D5FFC v: MacBookPro11,1 serial: <filter> 
           UEFI: Apple v: 160.0.0.0.0 date: 04/12/2020 
Battery:   ID-1: BAT0 charge: 29.1 Wh condition: 48.7/71.5 Wh (68%) model: SMP bq20z451 
           status: Discharging 
CPU:       Topology: Dual Core model: Intel Core i5-4258U bits: 64 type: MT MCP 
           arch: Haswell rev: 1 L2 cache: 3072 KiB 
           flags: avx avx2 lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx 
           bogomips: 19207 
           Speed: 2216 MHz min/max: 800/2900 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 2051 2: 2069 
           3: 2082 4: 1781 
Graphics:  Device-1: Intel Haswell-ULT Integrated Graphics vendor: Apple driver: i915 
           v: kernel bus ID: 00:02.0 
           Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.8 driver: intel unloaded: modesetting 
           resolution: 1920x1200~60Hz 
           OpenGL: renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Iris Graphics 5100 (HSW GT3) 
           v: 4.5 Mesa 20.0.7 direct render: Yes 
Audio:     Device-1: Intel Haswell-ULT HD Audio vendor: Apple driver: snd_hda_intel 
           v: kernel bus ID: 00:03.0 
           Device-2: Intel 8 Series HD Audio driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel 
           bus ID: 00:1b.0 
           Device-3: Broadcom and subsidiaries 720p FaceTime HD Camera driver: bdc-pci 
           bus ID: 02:00.0 
           Device-4: Grace Design SDAC type: USB driver: snd-usb-audio bus ID: 1-1:18 
           Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.7.0-3-MANJARO 
Network:   Device-1: Broadcom and subsidiaries BCM4360 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter 
           vendor: Apple driver: wl v: kernel port: efa0 bus ID: 03:00.0 
           IF: wlp3s0 state: up mac: <filter> 
Drives:    Local Storage: total: 351.30 GiB used: 222.19 GiB (63.2%) 
           ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Apple model: SSD SD0128F size: 113.00 GiB 
           ID-2: /dev/sdb type: USB vendor: Apple model: SD Card Reader size: 238.30 GiB 
Partition: ID-1: / size: 102.30 GiB used: 10.21 GiB (10.0%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda2 
           ID-2: swap-1 size: 8.26 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda3 
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 34.5 C mobo: N/A 
           Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A 
Info:      Processes: 183 Uptime: 13m Memory: 3.76 GiB used: 1.79 GiB (47.7%) 
           Init: systemd Compilers: gcc: 10.1.0 Shell: bash v: 5.0.17 inxi: 3.0.37 

Many thanks in advance! Also accepting any audio/sound tips for Manjaro in general, as I am new here and am somewhat audiophillic.

Music lover and sort of audiophile, too. Don‘t know about your DAC, though. So I can give general hints only. Sorry for some brevity at this time.

I learned a lot from this Head-Fi thread:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/bit-perfect-audio-from-linux.561961/

In particular, Ronald van Engelen‘s website was most helpful:
https://lacocina.nl/
EDIT: Not sure about its status right now, it doesn‘t load. The alsa-capabilities script is most useful, although one gets everything also via aplay commands and others.

For me, everything works as fine as one could imagine. Chord Hugo 2 USB-DAC, Manjaro and Tumbleweed. Other DACs AudioQuest DragonFly Red, Cayin N6ii. Player software on both Linux’s mpd with Cantata.

Oh, I do now remember fighting a weird audio issue with Manjaro Xfce, which could be hunted down to light-locker. The thread is here:
https://archived.forum.manjaro.org/t/understood-mpd-alsa-usb-xfce-power-management-light-locker-locks-sound-issue/92657
The solution comes towards the end of the thread.

I see you have Manjaro KDE, but I don‘t know how it is set up. Nevertheless, you might want to check for your installation whether some aspect of my issue and solution apply to your case. But I recognize as well that your issue looks different from mine.

I'll check it out! Thank you thank you

Another suggestion: An intruder to consider is pulseaudio. For bit-perfect audio you want to make sure it doesn‘t get in your way. Please look at my mpd.conf, shown in my light-locker thread. pulseaudio is also mentioned in the Head-Fi thread.

Actually that thread is totally incorrect Pulseaudio only defaults to 16/44 and can be set to default to any including 24/196,
Bit perfect refers to CD quality ■■■■■ wall 16/44 at its appalling harsh distorted top end by limiting the signal to 20,000hz, long abandoned apart from low cost CD reproduction,so bit perfect is not a good idea really.

Sorry, such a discussion looks off-topic here. Just one short answer. I guess you misunderstand the concept of bit-perfectness, if I may say so.

Bit-perfect in digital audio means to transfer the audio from the original source (file, stream, whatever) to the final recipient (in general, a DAC on any connection) in a way that preserves each and every bit of the audio. This holds for ANY bit depth and sample rate; it holds for any digitization method (PCM, DSD) and any storage / encoding (WAV, FLAC, DSF, etc).

EDIT: In other words, bit depth and sample rate shall remain unaltered along the entire path, no conversion or resampling.

Bit-perfect does neither refer to the quality of the digitization itself (Redbook CD versus Hi-Res etc) nor to the quality of the encoding (lossless, e.g. FLAC, versus lossy, e.g. MP3).

EDIT: One more remark: DoP is a bit-perfect way to transfer DSD data, it is just a wrapper.

So, actually bit-perfectness is a ”conditio sine qua non“ in good digital audio.

My friend read the Alsa wiki again it applies to 16/44 only the dac decides if the signal is perfect bit rate to start off, it will transfer as perfect output but unless you spend £10000s on a dac you get a 50p chip that is total rubbish end of, I worked long enough on high end Audio to know the difference in high quality sound and digital is a total joke only analog is to be considered as true sound.

A quote from Linn products "Garbage in Garbage out" that is referring to digital

No this is interesting, please continue! I had the same impressions of what bit perfect audio was.

@ADollGotManjaro: Well, I don‘t know what your status is now.

Looking at the specs of your DAC: It is USB Audio 1.0, which should work out of the box on Linux; even on Windows that works driverless. My AudioQuest DragonFly Red is the same USB Audio type, and it worked from the moment I plugged it in. Additionally, your DAC seems to have an XMOS USB receiver chip, which in general are widely supported.

I have two more suggestions for you:

If you have a Windows machine (bare metal, not a VM) available, try to get it up and running with e.g. foobar2000.

On your Linux, try DeaDBeeF as the audio player. I use it alongside my mpd/Cantata. DeaDBeeF is much easier to set up than mpd. Make sure to chose ”alsa direct to your DAC hardware“ as its audio output setting in order to bypass pulseaudio. pulseaudio shall be avoided like the plague when bit-perfectness is desired; it is the Linux analogy to the infamous Windows mixer. UI-wise, DeadBeeF is similar to foobar2000; it can be set up starting from a simplistic default to some very nice and even sophisticated appearance.

pulseaudio has low default settings so it can still support devices going back a long way
so it is not likely to sound good on a modern system without reconfiguration

this is a 24 bit DAC so it is unlikely to be happy with default 16bit 44100Hz
reconfiguring pulseaudio to a minimum of 24bit 48000Hz should help improve sound quality

but for guaranteed no resampling or remixing, set Pulseaudio profile for DAC to 'Off'
and learn to dance with ALSA, which is a bit like doing the WASAPI, except other audio devices can continue to work in pulseaudio if needed

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