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USB to SPDIF options

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I am hoping for advice on options for converting USB to SPDIF which can pass full 24/96. I am migrating all my music over to a music server system where I will use a Netgear NV+ NAS and iTunes. I will probably use an old Mac PB I having sitting around as the front end for now, or possibly buy a new Mac Mini for the job. This will drive into a DEQX digital crossover / room correction unit (deqx.com) to tri-amps and my full range dipoles. The DEQX doesnt have a USB input, but does handle up to 24/96 (which I am sure we will be all downloading in the future). I have looked at the OffRamp or Transporter. Both are expensive but if they are the best tool for the job, that isnt such an issue. Having built many DACs in the past, I really appreciate the care which the Transporter takes regarding voltage rgulation and jitter (the single biggest audible mod ever in my system was to use Walt Jung 'super-regulators' in the DAC and pre-amp). Not sure of which way to go.


Any thoughts appreciated




PS Chris - congratulations on a great site - I am sure it will go from strength to strength...



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Hi Scott - thanks for the post. It sounds like you have the makings of a really nice system. My opinion here is based on personally listening to these products and talking to others in the industry about them. To me this is a no-brainer. I would go with one of the Empirical Audio USB Off-Ramp Turbo 2. This is a true audiophile component whereas I see the Transporter as a souped up Squeezebox when it comes to the sound quality.


Just my opinion for what its worth.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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The Transporter will do 24/96, but I would take all of the jitter claims with a grain of salt. It uses a $2 oscillator just like all of the other Logitech/SD products. If you go this way, I would highly recommend reclocking it with a Pace-Car reclocker. It is a rather expensive way to go however, given that you just need digital out. The Analog outs I dont care for because they use my least favorite D/A converter chip from AKM semi. This D/A chip uses a switched-capacitor technique for the conversion which is unique and does deliver great detail, however I found it to be harsh sounding and unmusical in all impllementations I have heard, even my own.


The Off-Ramp Turbo 2 would be a great choice, particularly given that it has a new firmware that I licensed from Centrance. I also recently implemented a GHz bandwidth internal coax cable and connector that improves the jitter from the Superclock4. You wont find anything like this inside a Transporter. Maybe a Tektronix oscilloscope. The jitter from the Turbo 2 approaches that of the Pace-Car now, so I'm not recommending the Pace-Car except for those than want wireless servers.


Steve N.


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Great, thanks Steve and Chris. I was reluctant to shell out the extra money for a Transporter when I didnt need most of the hardware (namely a DAC). And I was unable to find out just what the machine used internally for clocking, etc. The OffRamp seems like the exact solution, and is true audiophile engineering. My only remaining question is whether I should use a RCA or XLR connections - I have both input options. The digital interconnects will be short and I suspect there will be little difference, but I do like the idea of balanced cables in terms of immunity to interference, etc. Any suggestions?





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