Trouble with DROP Grace SDAC Balanced!

Hello everyone, I recently received this DAC and tried running a fully balanced setup with my amp, but have been having a lot of issues.

I currently use the Loxjie P20 Balanced Amp

Before the DAC I was running the amp straight through my onboard audio off of my motherboard’s 3.5mm to dual RCA and outputting through with a balanced cable to my headphones. This ran well and sounded quite nice.

Now that I’ve hooked up the DAC to my amp with dual XLRs and running the dac to my computer with the provided USB, the sound quality dipped?
I have to increase the volume to get same levels of loudness and the “Realtek HD Audio Manager and the Soundblaster X-Fi MB3” that I use to be able to use to fine tune my music with their audio enhancers and EQ are not picking up my USB DAC as an audio source, so I can’t use them anymore.

What am I doing wrong here, I thought running fully balanced with an external dac would have beneficial effects on my sound quality, not depreciate it

Are you using usb 1 or usb 2 setting for the SDAC?

I am using the USB 2 setting as per the manual with the front button depressed in

Try using the 3.5mm to RCA from the Sdac t the loxjie.

I have, and it sounds quite similar to the balanced setup.
I believe the issue might be because I am not able to use the Soundblaster X-Fi MB3 or the Realtek HD Audio Manager since they do not make use of a USB connection?
The only way those two software programs are usable is when I run it back to my old setup, with the loxjie plugged directly into the 3.5mm jack on the rear ports of the computer

Doesn’t show my USB dac as an option on the Soundblaster

Extra images for additional to show my setup

The Realtek HD and Soundblaster are software for the dac/amp built in the motherboard. You might need to get the EQ apo or another equalizer for the sdac. Usually, when you get a piece of new audio equipment it takes time to adjust to the new component. I recommend to use your setup for a few days, and then switch back. When I moved from the Sdac to the modius. I thought it was lacking forwardness and detail. The modius is warm and big, I had to raise the volume more than with the sdac.

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Ah I see! So when I’m plugged in with an external dac via USB, I cannot use those software programs. I’ll try this setup with the EQ Apo.

Also, should I look into doing this?

If I understand correctly, you connect the sdac via usb to a usb port on the pc, and then you connect it via rca to the loxie p20. that’s all.
In Windows you only have to check if the 24/96 is set.
Click on the speaker symbol at the bottom right, then sound settings, select the Sdac and then properties and somewhere there is a window where you can set 24 bit 96 khz, select this and save.

Then make sure that you have 100 volume on the PC.
On the Realtek itself you do nothing with the settings.

I’m not to up on electrical engineering, but it sounds like you were pushing headphone-levels of power from your motherboard and overamping your Loxjie. Now that there’s proper line-level output going to it, the amplifier isn’t pushing more than it should be.

Yeah, drivers are specific to devices. You’re running the Grace DAC from the Windows stock drivers.


Why not set it to the highest bit rate and frequency as I have here at 32bit and 384000hz

Also, fiddling with anything in the Realtek HD Audio Manger doesn’t do anything as it doesn’t read my USB Dac as a source

Also I’m running the DAC and AMP through fully balanced, so USB --> DAC --> Dual XLR Output --> Dual XLR Input onto AMP --> XLR Output to headphones

Is it this Dac do you have?

No, I have this balanced version

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Oh, OK, yes, that’s also true. Thank you for pointing it out.
The principle is the same as described above, except that you plug in a cable with a 3.5 mm jack and then connect it to the Loxie via Rca.

What may still be missing is the Xmos driver.
Have you installed it?

Wait, why am I plugging with a 3.5mm jack and connecting to loxjie via RCA when I want to run this setup fully balanced?

And I don’t know what the Xmos driver is?

I’m questioning this too… 0_o

Just to make sure there is no problem with any xlr ports ( unlikely) in either the sdac or the loxjie. Some manufacturer defect which are unusual :slight_smile:

What are your thoughts on the APO Drivers and/or audio enhancers?

I have not use one yet :upside_down_face:.
I like to use headphones for their stock capabilities. There is a guy from YouTube I think his name is resolve. He likes to squeeze the potential of the headphones by eq. Also, look at oratory1990 he have tutorials to get the peace equalizer ( skin for the Apo) and have eq settings for a bunch of headphones.

Very interesting! I’m trying to follow his EQ presets, but he’s using 10 bands, but on the APO EQ with Peace it has 13 bands in total

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Okay, there are probably two versions of the Loxie.
Then the connection is to connect the Sdac to the PC via USB and then the rest via Xlr, which fits so far.
Then it is not the way you have connected it.

The Xmos driver is responsible for the audio output in the Usb class 1&2.