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Dac suggestion for 24 bit


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I didn't communicate properly! By 16 bit, I meant that the DLIII decodes USB signal at 16 bit. My goal is to be able to stream a 24 bit signal by USB. There are several DACs on the market that will accept and decode a 24 bit signal by USB, but they are out of my range. I am trying to find a unit that does the trick at a lower price.

Re 24 bit playback - My goal is to digitize my vinyl collection in 24 bit and also download some of the Linn catalog that is available in 24 bit.

 

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The Beresford will handle 24 bit - for £130 or so.

 

http://www.beresford.me/main/main.html

 

But won't you also need and ADC? These have both.

 

http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?product=15185 £150

 

http://www.edirol.net/products/en/UA-25EX/ £180

 

But are you convinced your analogue input to the ADC will be good enough for you to hear the difference between 16 and 24 bit digitisation?

 

 

 

 

 

Brian

Squeezebox Classic - Beresford Caiman-Gator DAC - Quad 520f with Dada refresh - Quart 980s German Tower Loudspeakers.

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Actually, that is an incorrect statement. I too have the PS Audio DLIII and it does in fact support 24 bit (it is stated in the Manual and on the web site). Here is a snippet of text taken directly from the web site:

 

“It displays a sweetness and warmth which consistently locks into the heart of a musical performance.“ So writes Ian Harris in Hi Fi Plus’s review of this incredible sounding DAC. The DLIII is an award winning D to A converter that accepts inputs from any digital source including a computer through USB. The Digital Link III is the best sounding DAC we have ever produced in our 21 years of producing D to A converters. Sweet, open spacious and a joy to listen to, this device will bring the life back into your music. Connect to any CD or DVD player’s output or connect to your computer. The DLIII will decode any stereo SPDIF output stream with 24 bit precision. Use the DLIII to improve the performance of any CD player, transport or media device like a Sonos, Squeezebox, Apple TV or I-transport. Connect any computer to it through USB as well."

 

Perhaps the source connection driver does not support 16 bits (say through the USB connection). I know for me, using a Mac Mini, I get 24 bits and up to 192 Khz out of the USB port connected to the DAC (using 24 bit / 192khz source audio files).

 

 

Mac Mini Intel; PS Audio DL III - Stage IV Cullen Circuits Mod; Mcintosh MA6500; Audio Physic Virgo IIIs, Anti-cables, Luminous Audio - Synchestra Signature Interconnects, Kimber Kable USB cable

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I have just noticed, the PS Audio DLIII for which a not too pricey alternative is required seems to be ~$1000.

 

If that is the context I guess neither the Beresford not the V-Dac would be considered.

 

Brian

Squeezebox Classic - Beresford Caiman-Gator DAC - Quad 520f with Dada refresh - Quart 980s German Tower Loudspeakers.

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That could be a foolish oversight. The Beresford is a fine DAC, regardless of price, and they've just released a new version - 7520 - with an upgraded power supply, headphone amp, and more.

 

I'm afraid that as digital audio marches forward the old adage "you get what you pay for" is crumbling rapidly. Unless the "get" you're talking about is features, box and badge.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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Unless I missed something in the original post, Spirit already has an excellent DAC. I know, I have the same one only with the Stage IV Cullen Circuits modification, so mine coast $1500 and based on a review on 6moons.com it performs like something that would cost twice as much. And the stock DAC is no slacker either. I think the question was, "Does the PS Audio DL III decode at only 16bit?" The answer is simple, no. In fact it will upsample anything that is 16bit/44.1khz since it's bottom bit & sampling rate is 24bit / 96 khz. So with that said, I think all that Spirit needs is some good 24bit/96khz content to hear the difference between that and CD quality. HDtracks has some reasonable content and you can purchase a single song (like I did) to test it out. If the source can't play it, then the problem is the source equipment not the DAC.

 

Mac Mini Intel; PS Audio DL III - Stage IV Cullen Circuits Mod; Mcintosh MA6500; Audio Physic Virgo IIIs, Anti-cables, Luminous Audio - Synchestra Signature Interconnects, Kimber Kable USB cable

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I'm afraid that as digital audio marches forward the old adage "you get what you pay for" is crumbling rapidly. Unless the "get" you're talking about is features, box and badge.

 

I agree. I agree without reservation.

 

What did I say here?

 

"It is now possible to achieve very high standards of reproduction at much lower cost that previously. It's about time the HiFi industry woke up to that fact. They chase an ever decreasing and ever more esoteric market.

 

By sensible purchase from the computer and music industries, and from a few folk like Stan Beresford, it is possible to approach studio quality without a second mortgage."

 

http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?p=34307#post34307

 

Post No 75

 

Brian

Squeezebox Classic - Beresford Caiman-Gator DAC - Quad 520f with Dada refresh - Quart 980s German Tower Loudspeakers.

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Well, the specification of the DAC are 24 bit 96khz/192khz. So no matter what you put through it, that is the baseline to work from. And, since I do have a good deal of 24bit/96khz content, I can say with certainty that the sound coming out of the speakers is far more defined than that of CD quality files. BTW, all my content is ALAC whether it is 24 bit or 16 bit. Now with that said, one would have to wonder what sort of digital data is being sent down the USB wire when playing a 24 bit/96khz digital data stream in iTunes? I'm hoping that one would only be limited by the drivers available for the OS. If it did not support 24 bits and truncated to 16 bits would it not sound, well horrible? The quality would be immensely worse not better, right?

 

Anyway, without seeing it in writing (the USB specs) I can't confirm with any certainty that a 24 bit data stream is truncated or down-sampled to 16 bits. So, in the interest of accuracy, I shot an email to PS Audio asking this exact question. Are 24 bit data streams supported on the USB connection to a DL III DAC. I will let you know when I receive a response. I'm hoping not to be disappointed :)

 

Mac Mini Intel; PS Audio DL III - Stage IV Cullen Circuits Mod; Mcintosh MA6500; Audio Physic Virgo IIIs, Anti-cables, Luminous Audio - Synchestra Signature Interconnects, Kimber Kable USB cable

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Let's make sure we are talking the same lingo!! Aterall - the computer audio world is not easy to always comprehend!

The DLIII will NOT decode a USB input at 24 bit - it decodes the USB at 16 bit. My original question was to try and find a DAC with a USB input that will decode at 24 bit.

 

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I'm not sure that I believe the DLIII will NOT decode a USB input at 24 bits. That is why I asked PS Audio. I've pumped 24 bit data down the pipe from my Mac Mini connected via USB. Anyway, let's see what they say. Where did you acquire your information regarding the 16 bit limit on the USB port of the DLIII?

 

Mac Mini Intel; PS Audio DL III - Stage IV Cullen Circuits Mod; Mcintosh MA6500; Audio Physic Virgo IIIs, Anti-cables, Luminous Audio - Synchestra Signature Interconnects, Kimber Kable USB cable

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Believe me - I want this DAC to decode at 24 bits as much as you do, but alas, tthe 16 bit confirmation came directly from the PS Audio people. As far as I can understand - and I am only a hobbyist not an engineer - if you are feeding a 24 bit signal from your Mac, the signal myst be downsampling on the fly.

 

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Most USB DACs are limited to 16/48 because of the chip set used.

Benchmark USB DAC1, the newer models by BelCanto and Wavelength (and probably Ayre) are able to do 24/96.

This is the max with can be done with native mode USB audio drivers.

E-MU and Edirol (UA 101) are one of the very few offering bit rates up to 192 kHz.

This requires installation of a custom USB device driver.

 

 

 

 

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I knew I had my info right about the PS Audio! It would have been nice of them to have listed this spec somewhere on their website or in the manual, but they didn't. Their Marketing lingo definitely makes it seem that ALL inputs are 24 bit.

Question for you Roseval:

Not being a computer maven, is it difficult or a problem to install a custom driver. I am thinking of buying the Edirol UA25ex because it will allow me to import my Vinyl collection at 24 bit and then play it at 24 bit. Would the UA 101 do the same thing? Do you think this is a good plan? Your advcie would be appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Installing a custom driver is like installing any piece of software. Insert the CD and answer a couple of questions. Probably you have to install a bit more (recording software) and configure it.

Have a look at Audacity, a very popular piece of free ware.

Google a lot on these products, best are user forums and check for complains about the product. Some products have more issues than others, some are more stable than others.

Check http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/ and almost the opposite, http://www.audioasylum.com/, there is a wealth of information about ripping vinyl.

A lot about turntables and ripping can be found here: http://www.knowzy.com/Computers/Audio/Digitize_Your_LPs/USB_Record_Player_Turntable_Comparison.htm

http://www.vinylengine.com/

 

E-MU 404 might be a good alternative.

Have a look at M-audio too.

I think that 24/96 is more than enough for recording vinyl.

Maybe 24 is even more important than the sample rate as it gives you ample of headroom compared with 16 bit.

 

Most important, I have no direct experience with any of the products you mentioned so I can’t be more specific.

 

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Ok, I was wrong and I admit I am holey disappointed in PS Audio for not specifying that the USB port only supports 16bit/44.1khz input. Oh well, nothing I can do now after spending the money and it still sounds great. So like you, I have a perfectly good 24 bit DAC with a USB port that disappoints.

 

So, you ask, what did I do next after talking to PS Audio this evening? Well I hooked up the optical digital out from the Mac Mini using a 3.5mm optical cable to TOSlink and well now I have nothing to complain about since it sounds far better than the USB connection and supports output of 24 bit/96khz to the DAC which is for all intents and purposes is a 24 bit / 96khz / 192khz DAC. That part I am certain of.

 

So what are my next steps instead of paying for a new DAC? Well the Bel Cantos USB to COAX S/PDIF adapter looks like the perfect solution for going back the way of USB for 24 bit/96khz content. For $495 (and perhaps a little lower if you shop around) I can have 24 bit/96khz USB connectivity to my Mac Mini. However for now, the optical S/PDIF works just fine. The difference is astounding to say the least. Think I'll stick with that for a while. I know there are grumblings in the Audiophile community about using optical instead of COAX because of noise, but at this point at least I can hear my 24 bit/96khz audio files as they were meant to be heard. Certainly beats having to purchase another DAC at twice the cost that has USB 24bit audio input.

 

Mac Mini Intel; PS Audio DL III - Stage IV Cullen Circuits Mod; Mcintosh MA6500; Audio Physic Virgo IIIs, Anti-cables, Luminous Audio - Synchestra Signature Interconnects, Kimber Kable USB cable

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I'm talking Vista but maybe this applies to Mac Mini as well.

The first time I compared the USB and the Toslink out of my iMac, the difference was obvious. In fact it was far to big to be believable. After checking the settings I found out that the Toslink is a direct digital out without any DSP, the USB was set for laptop speakers. Maybe part of the differences you hear can be explained by some DSP applied to the USB out.

 

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Roseval and g8k3pr:

 

On a Mac use the application Audio Midi Setup and make sure the audio output is set to 44.1 KHz and the word-length to 2ch-16 bit if you are using usb to output to an external DAC. If any higher settings are used, Apple's Core Audio will downsample to 16/44.1 before outputting via usb and it will sound very bad indeed. Once I learned this, usb to DAC has sounded great. Try it!

 

Kurt

 

PS Audio PowerPlant P10. MacBook Pro M1. UpTone ISO REGEN (powered by iFi iPower) Chord Hugo M-Scaler & Hugo TT2. Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference II XLRs. Rogue Audio M-180 Dark mono tube amps

Sonus Faber Cremona. Pair REL S/510

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Settings

 

I'm talking Vista but maybe this applies to Mac Mini as well.

The first time I compared the USB and the Toslink out of my iMac, the difference was obvious. In fact it was far to big to be believable. After checking the settings I found out that the Toslink is a direct digital out without any DSP, the USB was set for laptop speakers. Maybe part of the differences you hear can be explained by some DSP applied to the USB out.

__________________

 

The Well Tempered Computer

 

 

This is not quite right. Before outputting the digital audio signal via Toslink optical, any computer must convert it to SPDIF, then to toslink optical. A usb connection to DAC avoids this additional conversion of the musical signal as no intermediate SPDIF conversion is needed.

 

Kurt

 

PS Audio PowerPlant P10. MacBook Pro M1. UpTone ISO REGEN (powered by iFi iPower) Chord Hugo M-Scaler & Hugo TT2. Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference II XLRs. Rogue Audio M-180 Dark mono tube amps

Sonus Faber Cremona. Pair REL S/510

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