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USB to SPDIF converter or something else?


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Hi,

 

After going through tax season and shelling away money into savings, there's a little surplus granted to me to upgrade the audio system :) Was looking to get some feedback and maybe some help from the community.

 

I have around $250 to spend on my system, and am considering options for the following setup:

 

NAS (Synology) -> Apple TV or Oppo BDP-83 (old one, with more rudimentary DLNA capability) -> optical or coaxial -> Integra home theater receiver.

 

I have an iPad running Onkyo HF Player as well. I listen to music through headphones at work off of the iPad during the day, and use the iPad as a remote control to AirPlay music to the AppleTV from the Synology.

 

Currently I don't have a real efficient way of playing my hi-res music collection to my Integra receiver. I've been burning DVD-Audio discs and playing them through the Oppo, but that isn't as convenient.

 

Here is what I was considering:

 

1) A USB-to-SPDIF converter. I would consider moving the Synology close to the Integra and using this as the go-between. Pros is that I could play just about anything the Synology could play. The cons? Not sure if the Synology supports DSD playback, but that would be more of a future-proofing concern.

 

I was considering the Matrix X-SPDIF or maybe the ifi iLink. Any differences worth noting between the two? Any others worth considering?

 

I may have access to an old netbook to use something like Foobar or JRiver on as well- do either of the converters noted above have DoP over USB capability, or does that matter in my application?

 

2) The iFi nano iDSD. This has an additional headphone amp capability, plus a built in USB to SPDIF converter. I could use this to tether my iPad to the stereo when I want...no hassling with getting another computer or moving the Synology...but again, it's tethered, so not SUPER convenient :) But I could take this on the go with me when I wanted. And it has slightly better future proofing if using the built-in DAC since it supports a few flavors of DSD.

 

Any comments or suggestions?

 

Also, I don't know if this is too forward, but if someone has a "spare" USB to SPDIF converter they would be willing to lend to me (I live in Columbus, Ohio), I would be more than willing to pay my fair share of shipping plus throw in a gift. I know you can buy and then return items to places like MusicDirect, but I would feel guilty doing that. So if anyone would be willing to help me out, I would be very appreciative. Just PM me.

 

Thanks to all for reading and your feedback.

Office: iPod classic/iPad -> Shure SE425 IEM Home: Oppo BDP-83/Synology DS211j -> Integra DTR-7.8 -> Revel speakers

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Any users have any insight? I saw the iDSD thread with a few posts and read through it, didn't know if anyone had an opinion on iLink (or another USB/SPDIF converter) versus iDSD or anything else...

 

Thanks!

Office: iPod classic/iPad -> Shure SE425 IEM Home: Oppo BDP-83/Synology DS211j -> Integra DTR-7.8 -> Revel speakers

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I had the same question. There is some technology in iDSD which I think the iLink also should have. . Maybe the iLink already has it but it just not documented. If I had read these paragraphs below for the iLink, I'd already be running with it instead of the bel canto uLink (that I have now).

 

There are clock crystals and there are the clock crystals in the iDSD. The ‘clocks’ used in the iDSD which have been supplied by AMR, are military-grade temperature compensated master clock modules which avoid the creation of unwanted beat frequencies. Such crystals reduce overall digital noise and push jitter to the vanishing point. These clocks have been specifically-sourced from the telecommunications industry where standards are far more exacting than those in the industrial sector (which normally supplies to the audio industry).

 

Just like other products in the range, the iDSD benefits from AMR trickle-down technology. To lock-out jitter,the iDSD does not settle for Asynchronous USB transfer alone. To truly cancel jitter, it also employs AMR’s Zero Jitter® Lite technology from the famous AMR DP-777 which has Asynchronous as the starting, not finishing point.

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Slightly (but not hugely) more than your $250 budget ... but personally I would get something like the iDSD which I believe is around $190 and then add a second hand netbook such as Dell Inspiron Mini 1011 Netbook second hand from eBay.

 

The netbook can run Foobar initially (which is $0) and also try out J.River Media Center which is free to try then (IIRC) $50.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Slightly (but not hugely) more than your $250 budget ... but personally I would get something like the iDSD which I believe is around $190 and then add a second hand netbook such as Dell Inspiron Mini 1011 Netbook second hand from eBay.

 

The netbook can run Foobar initially (which is $0) and also try out J.River Media Center which is free to try then (IIRC) $50.

 

Eloise

 

I am definitely on board with this idea :) A friend has an old netbook he doesn't use anymore since buying a tablet, so I may be able to do as you proposed...I have become more familiar with the workings of foobar so this could be a nice combination!

Office: iPod classic/iPad -> Shure SE425 IEM Home: Oppo BDP-83/Synology DS211j -> Integra DTR-7.8 -> Revel speakers

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I've been using the latest version (2.3) of Vortexbox, which supports DSD and hi res music. Vortexbox can be used as a NAS or as a player.

 

If you have an old computer that could be repurposed as a Vortexbox, you could use it as a player through USB or its sound card. If you use USB, you would need a DAC or a SPDIF converter.

 

The Vortexbox software is a free download.

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