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PS Audio help

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Hi there,


I just switched over to using a computer as a music source and bought a PS Audio Digital Link III for a DAC based on the reviews that I have read. I actually had problems right away and sent it to psaudio and they found out the main board was bad so they replaced it.


I've had it now for a few weeks and the sound is not very good. I have all of my music ripped in wave lossless format and I have decent equipment. I have it connected via USB and trust me I have read all about the pitfalls of USB especially with adaptive vs. asynchronous. However, I have a friend that has the cambridge dac magic and his sound is very clean and good. The sound I am getting is not clean at all, there is a lot of hash, especially when I turn the volume up to above normal listening levels. I never blast my music.


Now I am wondering if my computer is the problem or is the ps audio still broken? The computer I am using is a really cheap HP netbook with an external hard drive. I didn't think the computer really mattered, or could that be producing the harsh sound? When I play a CD through my Oppo it is so clean with no distortion or harshness even if I turn it up very loud. Here's the list of my equipment:


Paradigm Signature S8 v.2

Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks

Yamaha RX-V1600

Oppo dv983h

HP netbook w/ external hard drive


Please help!






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I'm getting very good results with a DL-III for family room music server- but with a dedicated Mac Mini with 200G of ripped music in Apple Lossless. The only other function it's used for is speaker testing through a Firewire interface.


To diagnose, I'd suggest first testing the DL-III with a "conventional" source- SPDIF from a good CD player- I can run my Cambridge Audio into it, or Marantz SA-11. If the performance sounds equally bad, then it's the DAC. If it sounds OK this way, it's probably your computer and USB setup.


There's nothing hashy or funky about the USB performance with my DL-III, somewhat to my surprise, considering the theoretical issues about USB transport and that only the method used by Wavelength and Ayre can be truly low jitter intrinsically. The DL-III relies on the performance of it's ASRC chip to get low effective jitter from a USB source, or TOSLINK, but this has some sonic side effects.


The thing is, you should use the USB output from a channel on your computer that the specific USB channel driver is dedicated- use the device manager to see how your USB port configuration and chips are setup, and keep the audio output on a connector/chip that isn't being shared with other peripherals (like keyboard, mouse, etc), or you can have contention and data transmission problems.


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I will have to check. All I know is that the netbook is the cheapest one they make and it has three USB ports 1 on the left side and 2 on the right. I have the USB/wireless mouse on the left and the DAC & external hard drive on the right. I got a cheap netbook thinking it wouldn't matter b/c all the music is stored on the external and I use media monkey to run it and that's it.


I have a desktop for normal computer use but the netbook sits on top of my audio rack just to play music. Could it be that b/c it is a cheap netbook that the USB ports are not high quality but I thought that didn't matter as long as it is tranfering the data.


Like I said my buddy has a dac magic and he has outstanding sound but he uses a desktop w/internal and I read so many good reviews on the DL III.


Thanks, this is so frustrating!


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Hi Jeff,

I've been using the DLIII for just under a year now and have had great results. A Mac Mini is connected to it with Toslink, I've also tried it with USB and notice little difference between the two. At the same time I was using a Rega Apollo. But between A-B'ing the two I settled with the DLIII. There were trade offs for both machines, I still prefer the Apollo and would like to have kept both. Just like I would like to have 2 different pairs of speakers depending on the music I'm playing, but this being the real world with budgets and all.... :-)


Have you tried your DLIII with your friends gear? I hope this works out for you.









Raised on TV.

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Thanks for everybodies help. I think I resolved the issue. I took it over to my buddies this weekend to connect it to his desktop to narrow it down to it being the computer being the issue. Once we connected it to his desktop the haze went away. Bingo, it's the netbook! BTW, we A/B'd the two DAC's and they were very close in sound quality. His Cambridge Dacmagic was smoother in the highs but didn't have as good bass impact. The first thing he said when we switched to mine was, wow I see what you mean by the bass much more noticeable. The downside was it was a touch brighter, not as smooth and much more forward in the presentation. The sound really jumps out at you. They were both really good but sonically unique in their own way.



I switched the USB port like someone had mentioned. Before I had it shared on the same board as the external. The netbook has two on one side and one on the other.


Originally I had the USB wireless mouse on the one port and the external and dac sharing on the other. I switched the dac and the mouse so it was on its own port and it solved the problem.


Thanks again for everyone's help, I probably would have spent more money on a desktop and you save me from doing that! Sweet!






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