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Firewire-to- S/PDIF converter


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I use a TC Electronic Konneckt 8 Firewire Unit; around $300.00; will do 24/96, there was some issues with Mac's but I believe they have been fixed. There is also the M-audio Profire 610 at about $400.00 which will do up to 24/192

 

Both use the dice II chip; the M-Audio a more recent version.

 

It would be very interesting to hear your opinion if you compare either of these units to the BelCanto USB.

 

Shawn

 

PC running XP pro, C Play, TC Electonic Konnect 8 Firewire to Spdif, 2 Lyngdorf 2200TDAi amplifiers, Synergy Acoustics crossoverless monitors driven actively by the 2200TDAi\'s, custom subwoofers driven by a Lyngdorf SDA2175

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As we reported in TAS by Alan Taffel, the Focusrite Saffire is a Firewire-S/PDIF converter that supports 24/96 for $500.

 

In his general condemnation of all things USB (in the State of USB Audio article in The Absolute Sound), Alan remarked that this converter was better than any of the direct USB connections, and was preferred by Alan in a head-to-head comparison with the Bel Canto USB Link.

 

Personally, I think Alan is clueless about computer audio, and wouldn't put much weight into his 'opinions'.

As others stated elsewhere - anyone who's spent more than 3 minutes here at CA would seem to know more about computer audio than Alan.

 

He didn't even seem to know that DACs with a Firewire interface exist. Also, his choices for Firewire-S/PDIF devices were apparently limited to the one that he 'happened to own' already, the Saffire, so there may be others as well.

 

caveat emptor,

 

clay

 

ps, you can download the latest issue at the TAS site for $5, if you want to read the article.

 

 

 

 

 

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I recently decided to eliminate my CD Player and was planning to use my macbook instead. I went ahead and ordered a Bryston BDA-1. However, now I am at a loss deciding how best to connect my macbook to the bda-1.

 

Please provide your thoughts on what connectivity you found best.

 

Best Regards,

SN

 

 

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To Chilest,

 

Since you have the Bel Canto Usb link, have you compared it on your Bryston Dac with the standard usb input (with standard 16/44 file). It is supposed to improve jitter and overall sound performance in comparison with standard usb input.

Is it the case?

 

Laurent

 

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Thanks Chris,

The immediate issue is that I do not have any cables to connect to the DAC :) So please do recommend a starting point- not necessarily the cheapest but a reasonable option.

 

Thanks much.

 

Best,

SN

 

 

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I too am trying to decide whether I should go with a different interface for Mac Mini to Tube Audio Design Dac which just has a Toslink and Spdif inputs. I'm presently using a Wireworld toslink cable out of my Mac so I haven't tried USB or firewire. Tom what is your preference? The toslink or USB converter? Despite the contraversial article in TAS, I"m wondering if some sort of firewire converter will be better than my Toslink. Also Amarra may be in my future and I guess you cannot use the Toslink out with it. I'm somewhat new to CA. I started with an ATV but wanted the higher resolutions so I bought the Mini! Great fun and very interesting reading the posts here!

 

Current system: Mac Mini (Bolder PS- Pure Music) -jkeny modified M2tech hiFace - Peachtree Audio Nova - Modified MF X-10 V3 Tube buffer - Wyred 4 Sound amp - Gershman Sonograms

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I know that Alan Tafells article has proven controversial but his premise was very sensible....the world of professional audio has been digital for some time...maybe we in the developing computer based HiFi world can learn something from that...is that so weird? I already use a Benchmark DAC which comes from the Pro Audio world ....following a series of hard drive disasters this summer where at one point my entire music library of 1300 carefully ripped CDs was on one hard drive in a cheesy after-market enclosure...and that after going thru RAID arrangements and all those good things...I bought a pair of Glyph hard drives from Sweetwater.com..they are designed for musicians to use so are eminently suitable for computer klutzes like me...and they come with really neat carry cases so I can wander around like an itinerant record producer and they seem to work....

 

Anyway my point is, that following that article I bought a Saffire LE from Amazon for $230 and hooked it up to connect my Mac Mini music server via Firewire to the Benchmark, as an alternative to the TosLink connection i had been using....still listening but first impressions are that at 44/16 bit it is more solid and realistic....it is a bit silly that I have all this home studio functionality in the Saffire that I will never use, so a stripped down FW to SPIDF unit would probably be much cheaper...but at this point, I've spent more money to less effect in the past....the HiFi world has traditionally been very sniffy about the Audio pros, the ones who produce the stuff we listen to all the time........is that sensible?

 

 

 

Roon NUC I3 w 2500 albums, microRendu to Liberty DAC, Pass DIY Amp class amp, Klipsch RP600 or to Schiit Freya + Gumby MB, Sanders ESL amps and speakers, Mjolnir KGST and Stax L700

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Laurent:

I have listen much to the usb input with and without the BelCanto Usb link. Having invested the extra cash in the BelCanto, I am not sure if I can be completely objective in my listening comparisons. That said, I do think the BelCanto edges out the usb input 16/44; there seems to be a "bit" more low-level detail and the soundstage seems more expansive. I almost exclusively listen to 24/96 music files and this is why I purchased the BelCanto as I wanted an alternative to the Tosklink for 24/96.

tom

 

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SN:

I use a Monster Cable Toslink which has a standard connection on one end and miniconnector on the other; I use the Kimber Kable USB for my USB cable-running from the MacBook Pro to my Bryston---I think the Kimber is about $50 and I think the Monster Toslink is close in price.

 

tom

 

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Are you able to bypass the internal DAC on the Saffire and inso doing allow the Benchmark to carry out all of the DA conversion? Also, what cables are you using to integrate the Saffire into your system?

 

On this point, in the second TAS article by Alan Taffel, he "reviewed" a Firewire-S/PDIF converter, Focusrite Saffire, which affords 24/96 music files to be sent via Firewire from the computer to an external DAC by way of a S/PDIF cable. It turns out that there are actually several pro-audio Firewire interfaces on the market that support 24/192 file sizes, such as the M-audio Profire 610 and the RME Fireface 400. I am thinking of purchasing the Profire in order to listen to reference recording's 24/172 files with my Bryston DAC. I wonder if the Digital-to-analog converters in these units can be bypassed, such that your external DAC does the conversion?

 

tom

 

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The configuration of input via firewire and output via SPIDF ( outputs 7 and 8 ) doesnt involve using the DAC on the Saffire.....cables? nothing special, just what I could find lying around....there are indeed several Firewire interfaces on the pro-audio market...the price of the Saffire LE is still the lowest I could find.... a Musicstreamer equivalent would be great I'm sure

 

Roon NUC I3 w 2500 albums, microRendu to Liberty DAC, Pass DIY Amp class amp, Klipsch RP600 or to Schiit Freya + Gumby MB, Sanders ESL amps and speakers, Mjolnir KGST and Stax L700

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I want to see for myself if there is any merit in Alan Taffel's conclusions.

 

Has anyone done a comparison of, or seen a discussion of, different Firewire to S/PDIF or AES/EBU converters? To get to the point: as a Mac user, if I want to try one of these as an alternative to my current USB solution (Mac Mini to EA Offramp to BDA-1), which products should I consider? Konnekt 8? M Audio? Focusrite Saffire? Does it matter?

 

 

 

Mac Mini 5,1 [i5, 2.3 GHz, 8GB, Mavericks] w/ Roon -> Ethernet -> TP Link fiber conversion segment -> microRendu w/ LPS-1 -> Schiit Yggdrasil

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Dan,

 

If you really want to test the Firewire converters, make your way to the nearest Weiss Dealer.

 

They have multiple products (DAC2, Vesta, etc.) that convert Firewire to AES/EBU, not sure about S/PDIF.

 

I'm not sure a run-of-the-mill converter will prove Alan's conclusions in your scenario, as your Offramp should ameliorate some of the issues Alan might (or might not :)) have heard.

 

clay

 

 

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Well, if you want to be fair, I guess you should be looking at price comparable (to your OffRamp) options - maybe a RME FireFace 400? This will allow you 24/192 also which (IIRC) the OffRamp doesn't. The (pretty much) ultimate FireWire interface would be - from what has been written online - the Weiss AF1 - it's compared favorably to the Lynx AES16 PCI card. This is pure firewire to AES whereas most interfaces include SPDIF or AES as part of their AD/DA feature set.

 

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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Since I'm at the experimental stage, I want to do this on the cheap. The products I named are all around $300 - $400, whereas as the Fireface and Weiss offerings are >$1K. But that's partly why I am asking -- does it make a difference (apart from 24/192)?

 

Mac Mini 5,1 [i5, 2.3 GHz, 8GB, Mavericks] w/ Roon -> Ethernet -> TP Link fiber conversion segment -> microRendu w/ LPS-1 -> Schiit Yggdrasil

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Anyone know a Weiss dealer who would be willing to loan me a Vesta for a few days?

 

Also, does Weiss offer a pro version of the Vesta?

 

Mac Mini 5,1 [i5, 2.3 GHz, 8GB, Mavericks] w/ Roon -> Ethernet -> TP Link fiber conversion segment -> microRendu w/ LPS-1 -> Schiit Yggdrasil

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The TC Konnect 8 uses the same Dice II chipsets as the Weiss and the M-Audio uses he JetPLL technology also used by RME FireFace .... However that doesn't necessarily make then equal in providing an SPDIF or AES interface to you DAC. As clay says - best to look to the Weiss lineup, getting a loan / demo, if you want to do a fair comparison. A comparison of lower end "pro" FireWire interface to the OffRamp would however be interesting. Most FireWire interfaces can be improved with a better PSU as well by the way.

 

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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The pro version of the Vesta is the multi-channel AFI1. Alternatively use the DAC2 and ignore the analogue outputs.

 

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'm looking for a converter to pass through to a Stello dp200 which has the dac section like the 220 ... and has coaxial and xlr digital inputs. Using the Saffire, can you select it to output ... say shoutcast from Winamp or JRiver to the spdif.

 

I just bought a tascam 144 to try to do this via usb but I'm lost at trying to configure it to output a stream via usb so i can input to the DAC. Sounds like the Saffire might work. Cheers, Rob

 

ps ... have surfed the site for some time ...just joined.

 

Past system has included Offramp I2s into Northstar version 1 ... using a hagerman usb/spdif into a Cal Apha ... currently running the hagerman into the stello.

 

Have run JRiver, Winamp, Foobar 0.8.3 ... other versions etc. Mostly looking to improve streaming sources atm ... to busy to download music since the Russian pirate sites closed (where I could download uncompressed or lossless for dimes lol).

 

Cheers,

 

Rob

 

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I suppose the Apogee Duet should be on my list also. It seems to work flawlessly with Macs, though its cabling seems a bit kludgy.

 

Mac Mini 5,1 [i5, 2.3 GHz, 8GB, Mavericks] w/ Roon -> Ethernet -> TP Link fiber conversion segment -> microRendu w/ LPS-1 -> Schiit Yggdrasil

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