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Interface Mac with Teac Esoteric SA-50


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Hi, this is my first post...

 

I am purchasing a Teac Esoteric SA-50 SACD/CD player that uses the 32bit AK4392 DAC chips. It has a coaxial RCA digital input, optical digital input, and a word sync input for a BNC coaxial cable (as well as what looks like a poorly implemented USB input limited to 16/48). The digital inputs both accept up to 24/192.

 

I am looking for a way to get 24/192 files from a Mac into the SA-50 (currently have a Macbook Pro but soon to upgrade, depending on what I find out here, either a Mac Pro if the Lynx AES16e is the best option, or a Macbook Pro if a firewire or usb option may be the best, or indeed the inbuilt optical on the Macbooks, but I've heard they are limited to 24/96 for Mac OS X...).

 

I would also like to use the word sync connection if possible as obviously this will be advantageous. What are my options? More specifically, what will be the best way to go from the Lynx AES16e to the SA-50 which ends in coaxial RCA for the audio and coaxial BNC for the word sync, is this even possible and where could I get the cables? If this is not possible, what would be the best option for Firewire or USB that has both these options (ie RCA for audio and BNC for word sync)?

 

Many thanks, Ben

 

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Simplest solution first...

Have you tried just going optical output from your MacBook into your Teac? How important is 24/192k to you? (The optical out won't do 24/192)

 

If 24/192 is important, the Lynx AES16e can be connected to SPDIF via balancing transformers with padding: however the data format is not exactly the same so in some cases doesn't work and is not recommended by Lynx - though some people here do it. Firewire interfaces supporting 24/192 are available, but quite rare (most only support 24/96 on the SPDIF interface). Suggestions for Firewire interfaces include RME Fireface 400 and Weiss AFI1 and Vesta interfaces - the RME Fireface 400 (and AFI1) also has a WordClock output you can connect to your SA-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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Thanks Eloise,

 

At this stage, 24/192 is not important, but I'm interested in experimenting with some higher resolution files such as purchasing some HRx recordings.

 

How will the optical out from the Macbook compare to the Weiss Vesta outputting coaxial S/PDIF in broad terms? eg very poorly, poorly, not much worse, to equal (which I doubt)? I understand this is not a blanket answer...

 

Regarding those suggested products:

-the RME Fireface 400 looks to fit the bill (although I am worried at how many functions I won't be using, not sure if this is warranted worry!), approximate price?

-the Vesta: no word clock, how much weight do you put on this? And it's $5k.

-the AFI1: only XLR AES/EBU, no RCA S/PDIF, approximate price?

 

Many thanks, Ben

 

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Given that I've not tried the products I mentioned, just know that the do what is required and read other people's comments...

 

The optical output from the MacBook is not bad ... a lot of people on this forum do just that into good quality DACs. Compared to the Vesta I think would be best described as average

 

The Fireface 400 is listed at $1300 at Sweetwater.

The Weiss AFI1 is $1900 at Vintage King.

(No recommendation about suppliers just information)

 

If the Vesta is really that much, another alternative would be to use the Weiss DAC2 which is listed at $3000 at Vintage King. The Vesta is basically the DAC2, in a nicer box with the actual DAC circuits removed.

 

I'm not sure about using the AFI1 with AES/EBU to SPDIF converters - maybe someone else could advise (Daniel Weiss ... come on down!) or contact Daniel via his website and I'm sure he will recommend a converter if it's possible / advisable.

 

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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I had compared from my CD drive the outputs to a loaned Weiss DAC II (basicly identical to Vesta).

In comparison the Weiss DAC II sounded best with AES/EBU input from my CD-drive.

The Toslink (Audioquest Optilink) and the SPDIF RCA (Belden 75 ohm cable with WBT Nextgen RCA) were very close in comparison, actually my wife prefered the toslink, I liked the SPDIF Belden a tiny little bit more. At that time I could not compare my cd drive to the Macbook on the DAC II, since I purchased the MacBook Pro later.

I deceided not to purchase the DACII and stick with my DIY Dac. When I now compare the toslink connection from my cd drive with the optical out of my MacBookPro, there again is only very little difference. The "performance gap" was closed after I changed the toslink cable (mini toslink to toslink) from Clicktronics (15 Euros) to the VdH Optilink MKII (80 Euros).

Try to hook up your MacBook via a toslink cable and see (hear) yourself what you think.

I think it all depends on how your DAC´s input are engineered.

The Weiss DACII has a good jitter rejection (removal) capability, so does my DIY Dac.

Thats my explaination, why I did hear only little difference in performance between the different inputs.

Daniel Weiss confirmed this to me in an email and he mentioned/confirmed my findings, that he gave the AES/EBU input a small advantage over the other ways of feeding the DAC.

 

Best....EMW
Audirvana Plus ->15"MBP 16GB 1TB SSD -> USB-> Intona USB Isolator -> USB -> Chord DAC ->Borbely Balanced Preamp->Active X-over-> 4 Class A Monoamps->3 Way SpeakerHeavens SE

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Thanks for your replies...

 

I won't have the system for another 3-4 months, I am getting it built by Garry Cawsey in my home city of Melbourne, his website http://www.cawsey.com.au/

he will be modifying the Teac extensively...in terms of DIY, I wonder if he could add an I2S input? but I guess there is nowhere on the case for it to come out...

 

The teac should have a great transport, the transport on my model is not the VRDS however...but I'm looking to compare its performance to computer based sources and want to give each a fair audition...that's why I'm wanting to give the computer source the best chance by connecting it to the DAC section of the Teac in the best quality way...

 

What about the Pace Car 3?

 

Thanks, Ben

 

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Pace Car 3 is (IIRC) only 24/96 if that matters to you.

 

I2S is often mentioned but was designed for use over the short distances between ICs on a circuit board (i2s means Inter-IC Sound) and is fraut with problems when used externally. Certainly some manufacturers make it work but it's not a panacea for jitter. In any case you'd then be stuck trying to get i2s out of your Mac.

 

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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Thanks Eloise, Steve Nugent informed me the next Pace Car is expected in 12 weeks and will do 176.4kHz...

 

And the Pace Car has an I2S out...but I appreciate your comment that I2S is not a panacea for jitter...I think I will go for optical out from the Mac for starters, and maybe try to get a loan of a Weiss Vesta/Minerva to compare...

 

Can anyone indicate when 24bit/192kHz will appear on USB audio devices? It seems the technology is there...so why would Ayre go for the 24/96 implementation on its QB-9?

 

Also wondering if there are rumours that 24/192 will be enabled for the optical out of Macs for Mac OS Snow Leopard?

 

Thanks, Ben

 

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The i2s debate will I'm sure rage on and on ... all I know is that I have read two statements from companies that are respected in the Digital Audio world stating that i2s over cables is a bad idea. Gordon from Wavelength and a statement from dCS. PS Audio are implementing i2s in their Perfect Wave Dac and Transport - though I understand this is a custom implementation and not compatible with anything else. i2s from the PaceCar to the OverDrive DAC seams like a reasonable proposition, but a lot of DACs have some form of jitter reduction built into their SPDIF interface to reduce the need of the PaceCar (Steve has publically said that the OverDrive has very little jitter rejection built in and his preferred solution is the two boxes), and a good interface can be made with minimal jitter in the first place which maybe a better solution than having a high jitter output then trying to reduce it - the former is what Gordon tries to do with his Wavelength DACs for example.

 

USB at 24/192 is available - just not using the generic drivers and most devices that say they support 24/192 only support it to their internal DACs - not via SPDIF. I've recently discovered that the M-Audio ProFire 610 interface is reported to do 24/192 - though this is also Firewire. Another possibility if you really want USB for some reason, if RME have a FireFace UC listed which looks to be a USB version of the FireFace 400. If using the FireFace or similar which can be bus powered, I've read reports that say its performance improves if you use a good quality external PSU. [Edited to remove error]

 

There have been no specific reports (that I've seen) if Snow Leopard will support 24/192 over the optical out, however it does seam to be supported in Windows on the new Macs when using BootCamp and CoreAudio is reported to be being rewritten so it seams likely.

 

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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thanks Eloise...

 

I'm wondering if anyone can help me out with the clock input on the SA-50...if you check the product page

http://www.esoteric.teac.com/audio_players/sa-50/

including the download tab for the product manual, it is unclear to me if this is only for a master clock generator, or whether you can use this to improve the timing for the digital inputs...

if one inputs the timing for digital input into the word clock, wouldn't this ruin the timing for the cd player part of the SA-50?

if it can be used for the digital input, I'm wondering whether any firewire/usb interfaces output s/pdif with a matching word sync?

 

thanks, Ben

 

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