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USB -> SPDIF 24/96+ units


spritzer
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Specifically wanting USB input and the no-cable connection and their general spiel being appealing, I've bought an Audiophilleo. So far, I like the results on my Reference 1. In a quick test before I packed it before moving, I didn't notice it having any effect on the Parasound.

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Birgir get a Squeezebox Touch install the software on a random PC with all your music and forget about this USB nonsense :police:

Touch will do 24/96 through digital out, it has been rock solid for several months here

Fwiw, and to offer a counter to this, I absolutely hate the SB (here's my last rant on the subject from a while back http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=60755 so maybe things have changed). I hate it so much I can't even make coherent posts about how much I don't like it. Well, what I can't stand is the squeezebox server. To be sure, there is a certain segment for whom I am sure it works great. If you just want to click an album and play it, then it is great. But, if you are like me, have a large music collection full of stuff you have forgotten about, and like to accidentally discover stuff, then it is really miserable. An example -- in Winamp, I can type "my" into the search box and instantly see that I have music from Emmylou Harris and "Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris", plus a bunch of other stuff like "My World 2.0 by Justin Bieber" :) (that's a joke). But, I can ctrl+click on just those two that I am interested in, quickly see a list of the tracks, and queue up what I want by dragging and dropping. In SBS, you'd have to brows to "e" in artists, click on Ms. Harris, click on a particular album, then individually click tracks to add them. If you then wanted to get the other album, you'd have to go to "m" and do the same thing. Then, if you wanted to reorder your queue, you have to do it slowly track by track. Maybe this works if you run SBS on a quadcore i7, but I don't. Indeed, I don't run it on anything anymore because I can't stand the process of using it. Maybe the android control, or Moose makes this a little better, but it is still a pain. Though, this looks promising http://www.thejavashop.net/bjj/index.shtml, thoug it looks better for MPD than SBS.

Edit: maybe this is the core of the issue for me http://forums.slimdevices.com/showpost.php?p=403964&postcount=43

Edited by dsavitsk
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Could very well be the same as such is so often the case. This is the best internal pic I could find of the Evo...

Taking a quick peek it at least resembles what I would expect a hiface + extra I/O and psu stuff would look like but I'm not sure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wondering, does any of these converters work with an iPad? I recently played around with the iPad and will probably buy one soon. If it can double up as a portable music source, that would be really convenient.

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I tried the Audiophilleo 1 with the iPad 2 and got a "This device draws too much power" notice. I'm not sure whether or not this would be the case with the model 2, which doesn't have the OLED display and the corresponding features.

I had another listen of the Audiophilleo with the Reference 1 and DAC 1600HD though. The results are the same as my first impressions: Sans Audiophilleo, the difference between the two DACs was fairly splitting hairs, the Parasound edging out the Ref 1 on sounding natural, yet spacious and detailed and the Reference 1 a touch harder presenting instruments. With the Audiophilleo, the Ref 1 improved noticeably, but with the Parasound I didn't feel there was any difference. This, to me, says good things about the Parasound's immunity to what input is used and that it is as good as it will ever be sonically as well as that a relative weak point on the Ref 1 (and, I imagine Reference 7 as well) is the digital input.

My reckoning is, after I had a similar experience with the Cambridge 840c (with its fancy DSP) as I have with the Parasound, that if a DAC seems to sound different depending on what input or transport is used, then it might benefit from a good S/PDIF converter (or better transport). If not, however, then an expensive converter is a waste of money.

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the Evo has about a half second delay with audio and video sync on movies. I've also run it from toslink from the Evo to the DAC, still no static, but the delay is there. I've had the same results running the Evo directly to the Hertsens DAC as well.

I play the occasional game and watch tv shows on my PC, so this is quite a dealbreaker for me.

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Fwiw, and to offer a counter to this, I absolutely hate the SB (here's my last rant on the subject from a while back http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=60755 so maybe things have changed). I hate it so much I can't even make coherent posts about how much I don't like it. Well, what I can't stand is the squeezebox server. To be sure, there is a certain segment for whom I am sure it works great. If you just want to click an album and play it, then it is great. But, if you are like me, have a large music collection full of stuff you have forgotten about, and like to accidentally discover stuff, then it is really miserable. An example -- in Winamp, I can type "my" into the search box and instantly see that I have music from Emmylou Harris and "Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris", plus a bunch of other stuff like "My World 2.0 by Justin Bieber" :) (that's a joke). But, I can ctrl+click on just those two that I am interested in, quickly see a list of the tracks, and queue up what I want by dragging and dropping. In SBS, you'd have to brows to "e" in artists, click on Ms. Harris, click on a particular album, then individually click tracks to add them. If you then wanted to get the other album, you'd have to go to "m" and do the same thing. Then, if you wanted to reorder your queue, you have to do it slowly track by track. Maybe this works if you run SBS on a quadcore i7, but I don't. Indeed, I don't run it on anything anymore because I can't stand the process of using it. Maybe the android control, or Moose makes this a little better, but it is still a pain. Though, this looks promising http://www.thejavashop.net/bjj/index.shtml, thoug it looks better for MPD than SBS.

Edit: maybe this is the core of the issue for me http://forums.slimdevices.com/showpost.php?p=403964&postcount=43

I just tested some of this on mine (v7.5.2, not even the most recent) and didn't have any trouble doing something at least very similar to what you're wanting. I typed your example "my" into the search box, and it comes up with a list of artists with "my" in their name, then a list of albums with "my" in the title, and finally a list of songs with "my" in the title. I can add any of them to the current playlist by clicking the plus next to them (or use the play icon to have it replace the playlist), or if I want to see more info on the artist or album I can click on it and then go back after looking / adding specific tracks, or just open it in a new tab. It only took a few seconds to do the search and display the results, and that's with it running on hardware roughly on par with your average netbook (I run it on my fileserver). The only slowness I get in the web interface is the initial loading, and it takes several seconds to display all the album artwork on the playlist (it seems like it's not caching it at all, instead pulling the embedded art from the individual files every single time).

As for reordering the queue, I don't see a way to move several files at once, but unless you have some long, complex playlist you're trying to create, it takes practically no time to just drag and drop the tracks to different spots in the playlist (there's zero delay from the server, they move as fast as you can move). Unfortunately, unless there's some logging or a plugin for it, I'm not aware of any way to view previously played tracks that aren't still on the playlist (random mix will only keep the 10 most recently played tracks on the playlist). I've never really encountered an issue of needing to do that myself, but it sounds like a dealbreaker for you.

To offer a counter-counter for the usefulness of the SB, I've found it absolutely great for organizing and sorting through my music collection (11,000+ tracks, with a lot of CDs still not ripped). I can browse my main collection the usual ways (artist, album, genre), or for classical music I can browse by composer, conductor, or symphony/performer, and then for soundtracks I can browse the same way as my main collection, or just pull up a list of the main series/game titles without having to know the artist(s) or sort through the whole list of everything (I added a custom tag to my FLAC files to include that info). So if I wanted to find all the music from any versions of "Ghost in the Shell", I can just go Custom Browse => Anime => Ghost in the Shell, and then have a list of all the soundtracks from both the movies or TV series. I pick the one I want, and then since I can sync multiple Squeezeboxes together, I can go from my PC down to my DIY cave and continue listening without interruption. Also, in my case, since it's not tied to any desktop PCs, if I need to reboot for an update or something, or I just don't have the computer turned on, it has no effect on the music.

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Fwiw, and to offer a counter to this, I absolutely hate the SB (here's my last rant on the subject from a while back http://forums.slimde...ead.php?t=60755 so maybe things have changed). I hate it so much I can't even make coherent posts about how much I don't like it. Well, what I can't stand is the squeezebox server. To be sure, there is a certain segment for whom I am sure it works great. If you just want to click an album and play it, then it is great. But, if you are like me, have a large music collection full of stuff you have forgotten about, and like to accidentally discover stuff, then it is really miserable. An example -- in Winamp, I can type "my" into the search box and instantly see that I have music from Emmylou Harris and "Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris", plus a bunch of other stuff like "My World 2.0 by Justin Bieber" :) (that's a joke). But, I can ctrl+click on just those two that I am interested in, quickly see a list of the tracks, and queue up what I want by dragging and dropping. In SBS, you'd have to brows to "e" in artists, click on Ms. Harris, click on a particular album, then individually click tracks to add them. If you then wanted to get the other album, you'd have to go to "m" and do the same thing. Then, if you wanted to reorder your queue, you have to do it slowly track by track. Maybe this works if you run SBS on a quadcore i7, but I don't. Indeed, I don't run it on anything anymore because I can't stand the process of using it. Maybe the android control, or makes this a little better, but it is still a pain. Though, this looks promising , thoug it looks better for MPD than SBS.

Edit: maybe this is the core of the issue for me

I wasn't a fan of the old Squeezebox Server as well; it was slow and laggy with my 4000+ CDs. And the SB3 device interface was rather primitive. At the time my SB3 mostly sat idle while I used Foobar2000 with my M-Audio Transit. Then came the Touch. IMO a massive upgrade from the SB3. The Slimserver software is quite low profile and I experience no lag, this is with a server running an Athlon 2400+ and 1 GB of memory.

The search feature works fine on my Touch... I never used it on the SB3.

My only complaint with the Touch is the inability to scan my library using the device interface. Instead I have to remote connect to my server and go into the Slimserver software to rescan the library.

I will never miss messing with USB, installing drivers, fiddling with ASIO, trying out different buffer settings, testing the bit perfect output with a DTS track, etc ever again :D

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I tried the Audiophilleo 1 with the iPad 2 and got a "This device draws too much power" notice. I'm not sure whether or not this would be the case with the model 2, which doesn't have the OLED display and the corresponding features.

I had another listen of the Audiophilleo with the Reference 1 and DAC 1600HD though. The results are the same as my first impressions: Sans Audiophilleo, the difference between the two DACs was fairly splitting hairs, the Parasound edging out the Ref 1 on sounding natural, yet spacious and detailed and the Reference 1 a touch harder presenting instruments. With the Audiophilleo, the Ref 1 improved noticeably, but with the Parasound I didn't feel there was any difference. This, to me, says good things about the Parasound's immunity to what input is used and that it is as good as it will ever be sonically as well as that a relative weak point on the Ref 1 (and, I imagine Reference 7 as well) is the digital input.

My reckoning is, after I had a similar experience with the Cambridge 840c (with its fancy DSP) as I have with the Parasound, that if a DAC seems to sound different depending on what input or transport is used, then it might benefit from a good S/PDIF converter (or better transport). If not, however, then an expensive converter is a waste of money.

Thanks for the detailed impressions, Amos. I somehow end up with a loaner Empirical Audio Off-Ramp Turbo 2 and will compare it with the Musiland 01USD. AFAIK, this is some form of a highly modified M-Audio USB Transit. :blink:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wondering, does any of these converters work with an iPad? I recently played around with the iPad and will probably buy one soon. If it can double up as a portable music source, that would be really convenient.

The Arcam rDAC offers async USB from an iPad or an iPad 2; have tested it with both. Obviously 24/96 files from a computer sound better, but it gets the job done with 16/44 files just fine. Use the USB Camera Connection Kit attached to the dock connector; the device will become a new output choice inside the iPod app.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just got my V-Link today. Wow, pure plug and play bliss.

Plugged it in, and blamo! Just works.

I have it hooked into the Coaxial SPDIF input in my HifiMan HM-801.

The V-Link may be a fairly large brick for what is does, but for being under $200, I don't care at all!

Received mine yesterday. Looovve stuff that just works.

Edited by blessingx
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I was searching about this converters and I found this about the v-link:

v-link-graph.png

http://www.custom-cable.co.uk/digital-analogue-convertors/musical-fidelity-v-link-asynchronous-usb-to-coaxial-converter.html

They promised supposedly 0 jitter and its seems they delivered.

Not having to deal with the drivers mambo jambo is a plus too. I'm ordering one right now to try.

Edited by Spychedelic Whale
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I did manage to extract a pretty spiffy-looking square wave from it using the iMSO-104 iPad oscilloscope attachment in test-wave mode. The only problem I have no is that Pure Music and other software seems to be putting the output into mute (in Mac OS X) and refusing to un-mute, which you can't do manually when the device is in hog mode.

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Nice looking square waves from a DAC is often bad. If you are curious, look up the Gibbs phenomenon.
(squints)
4ac15198-7b19-be4b.jpg
No, seriously, I don't understand -- why would an accurate square wave be bad? I understand the Gibbs phenomenon as a result of Fourier analysis, but not as to reconstruction and/or construction. I.E. When it comes to DACses.
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thread hijack.

What about a cheap USB to balanced DAC that's reasonably small? Say, under $300? I need something not really DIY, but a small finished product that sounds decent. Sorta like that Matrix mini-i thing that would fit the bill I guess. Others?

oops, missed Dusty's reply. I'm not sure how to explain it, but you'll see a ringing on the top of the square waves that's a result of Gibbs. I'll think about a better explanation on the drive home.

Edited by luvdunhill
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Ayre Acoustics QB-9.

There's plenty of others -- google "USB DAC balanced", click shopping, then click <US$250, then change 250 to 300. Of the ones I'm seeing, I'd go with the Alesis IO2. The Lexicon was thought of pretty highly in its day, but its day was more than a couple years ago at this point, so I don't know if it'd still compare. I think it might.

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The Oscium isn't resolving enough to show the ringing using the analogue probe (rather than the digital one which only shows a 1 or 0) I think, and there was interference too. It could show, just, the difference between the direct output of the Audiophilleo and when I was using a Canare RCA cable -- a slight rounding on the shoulder of the waveform.

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Got the V-link this morning and I instantly noticed an improvement on the image as more precise, the sound is more fluid and natural. I couldn't even play vinyl rips because how bad it sounded but now they play smoothly.

For those like me using a PC with older dacs without that async stuff this is a must and unlike all the snake oils in audio this for 100€ is well worth.

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