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Help with component wiring connection


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I am looking to improve my signal path and am looking for suggestions on two options I am considering. My windows based laptop running JR MC17 is situated in my TV room and connects to my CA Dac Magic Plus through a generic USB connection. The toslink out goes to my home theater and is adequate for the music I play there. (mostly back ground dinner party stuff). My more serious listening is done in another room. Currently I have 25 foot a RCA cable running from the DM+ to the McIntosh system over there.

 

I am considering two choices in my quest to improve SQ to the Mc. One is to improve the USB link with either a high end USB cable or a reclocker like Halide or M2tech. This still leaves me with a long std RCA run which I am sure is losing signal and catching RF interference along the way to the Mc.

 

The other option is to move the DM+ Into the other room and using a usb to spdif bridge, run a 75 ohm digital cable between the two rooms. I would still have enough toslink to run back to the home theatre. I then can run some nice analog interconnects from DM+ to the Mc. This obviously requires more wire. One thing I am not sure about is if the digital cable will suffer degradation over the 25 feet run much like the RCA cable? Will impedance become an issue as well?

 

can someone suggest a better option?

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SPDIF travels better than USB, but why don't you simply bring the laptop into the music room when critically listening?

Forrest:

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Unfortunately there is no room for a laptop over in the other room. Plus, there are times when I will be playing from the same music source to both systems. I just checked out the other rooms setup and there is barely enough room for the CA DAC.

 

So the determination still remains whether Digital cable travels better than RCA analog.

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I would rather run a longer digital than analog, so if that were the choice I would go that direction. Another idea would be to get a device, like a Rendu or SOtM Miniserver, that has an ethernet input and attach it to you LAN, and then you can use a very short digital cable to your DAC and short analog out to your system. I am really liking the Rendu (and SOtM Miniserver too, but Rendu more).

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Hey Joe. My suggestion would be to upgrade your DAC to a unit with balanced (XLR) analog outputs and feed those to your Mc system which i believe should be equipped with balanced inputs? Despite speculative responses to contrary as to the transmission length of analog signal over a balanced transport, you can go upwards of 100ft without any degredation.

 

But there's plenty of network and server solutions as well. A small platform (Brix or NUC) server headless running Linux and controlled with a tablet would be an ideal solution. Frees up your laptop as well.

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Hey Joe. My suggestion would be to upgrade your DAC to a unit with balanced (XLR) analog outputs and feed those to your Mc system which i believe should be equipped with balanced inputs? .

 

If you don't like the LAN idea I suggested, and are ok changing your DAC to permit it, XLR analog runs are a good alternative. I have used 75' runs with no problem that I could discern.

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The DacMagic Plus does have XLR analog output, so you should be good to go with that suggestion. I would recommend going to a pro sound store (will sell band equipment and DJ stuff) and have them make some XLR connectors at the length you need them. It will be a lot less expensive than buying premade ones. Unless you are good at making them yourself.

I work someplace that sells stuff.

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The DacMagic Plus does have XLR analog output, so you should be good to go with that suggestion. I would recommend going to a pro sound store (will sell band equipment and DJ stuff) and have them make some XLR connectors at the length you need them. It will be a lot less expensive than buying premade ones. Unless you are good at making them yourself.

 

Didn't know that.....thanks for the input.

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If you don't like the LAN idea I suggested, and are ok changing your DAC to permit it, XLR analog runs are a good alternative. I have used 75' runs with no problem that I could discern.

 

A network option would be my first choice as well but the OP stated earlier no room for a server/client option.

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Along with using the XLR outputs, the DM+ REALLY benefits from removing all voltage going into its USB input. I use an iFi Gemini cable to cleanly separate the signal and power, then an Empirical Short Block to truncate the power branch before going into the DM+. Kind of crazy (i.e. stupid) to say this, but I've spent more money on connections (including a linear power supply upgrade) than I spent on the DAC itself. I was determined to get the best sound out of it as reasonably possible, and I'm confident I accomplished that goal.

 

You could use the tape-over USB pin trick mentioned in other threads to test my claim that no power USB brings nice performance gains. Also, are you using Cambridge Audio's ASIO USB2 driver? That is a must.

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S/PDIF is really stretching things at 25', 10' or less is better. It's not that great of a medium.

 

XLR will travel long distances, and won't cause you any major drama. Now do XLR cables from different manufacturer's make a difference? Another topic entirely, but that distance look for something that's at least mechanically robust, so the suggestion of a pro shop is a good idea, choose a cable for heavy road use :)

 

USB extenders also work very well, 300' with Cat 5 or several miles with fibre. They aren't cheap for USB audio 2, but they do work.

 

In the OP's case, XLR will do just fine.

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Along with using the XLR outputs, the DM+ REALLY benefits from removing all voltage going into its USB input. I use an iFi Gemini cable to cleanly separate the signal and power, then an Empirical Short Block to truncate the power branch before going into the DM+. Kind of crazy (i.e. stupid) to say this, but I've spent more money on connections (including a linear power supply upgrade) than I spent on the DAC itself. I was determined to get the best sound out of it as reasonably possible, and I'm confident I accomplished that goal.

 

 

You could use the tape-over USB pin trick mentioned in other threads to test my claim that no power USB brings nice performance gains. Also, are you using Cambridge Audio's ASIO USB2 driver? That is a must.

 

I just upgraded my PS to a linear unit as well and have noticed an improvement in sound. USB2 driver was the first thing I did after plugging in the unit since its the only way to use ASIO.

 

I spoke with Mapleshade a week or so back and they mentioned their modded HiFace and digotal interconnects were a big improvement on the Gen 1 Dac Magic over using their Clearview USB cables. I thought this was mostly because the original DAC was not Asychcronous. It's nice to know that the power from USB also makes a difference.

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