Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
rrstesiak

Sound card for my Linux Server: Asus or [email protected]

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

All:

 

I already have a very good Linux server, with M2TECH HiFACE two SPDIF converter running to Bryston BDA-1 DAC via BNC...then onto Creek Evolution 50A Integrated via XLR..

 

As my original goal is to build a Bryston BDP-1/BDP-2 music server clone, I was just going to buy an ESI [email protected] xte card...however, it is pretty old tech and Asus has their Xonar STX and STX II cards...

 

Bryston actually used a [email protected] in their original BDP-1 design, but are there any improvements with the Asus cards?

 

I would ideally like to go [email protected] via AES/XLR to my DAC; just like the BDP-1, but am open minded if the Asus cards are simply better. Also not sure between the few Asus cards available.. Don't see much difference between STX and STX II other than price.

 

looking for advice -

 

Respectfully,

 

Ron


Custom Linux Server -> M2TECH HiFACE TWO BNC -> Bryston BDA-1 DAC -> Creek Evolution 50A -> Epos Epic 2 & Bowers & Wilkins ASW10CM Sub

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All:

 

I already have a very good Linux server, with M2TECH HiFACE two SPDIF converter running to Bryston BDA-1 DAC via BNC...then onto Creek Evolution 50A Integrated via XLR..

 

As my original goal is to build a Bryston BDP-1/BDP-2 music server clone, I was just going to buy an ESI [email protected] xte card...however, it is pretty old tech and Asus has their Xonar STX and STX II cards...

 

Bryston actually used a [email protected] in their original BDP-1 design, but are there any improvements with the Asus cards?

 

I would ideally like to go [email protected] via AES/XLR to my DAC; just like the BDP-1, but am open minded if the Asus cards are simply better. Also not sure between the few Asus cards available.. Don't see much difference between STX and STX II other than price.

 

looking for advice -

 

Respectfully,

 

Ron

 

Basically what you want is "something" to interface with your Linux machine for digital output. Are you set on that interface being a sound card?

 

Best options cost to performance wise might be a USB product. First thing comes to mind is the Gustard U12.... USB input to a XMOS chip then output via AES/EBU.

 

My .02

 

Good luck and have fun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dynobot:

 

I was looking into just converters... And decided on the M2TECH HiFACE TWO USB/SPDIF BNC... But at that time I was unaware of what could be superior products such as the Gustard U12 you mentioned. A few weeks ago I also found this intriguing interface and may actually end up getting it...

 

So I am open to possibly a better converter, but am also entertaining the [email protected] with the intentions of modifying it similar to what Bryston did. And once I went down the sound card path, I ran into the Asus products... And so here I am. I also find the onboard DAC of a sound card to be something to play around with but not critical.

 

 

Thank you for the suggestion....it is a very good one... What equipment are you using with the Gustard? (I'm assuming you have one) and have you owned other converters you can compare it to?

 

Thanks In Advance,

 

Ron


Custom Linux Server -> M2TECH HiFACE TWO BNC -> Bryston BDA-1 DAC -> Creek Evolution 50A -> Epos Epic 2 & Bowers & Wilkins ASW10CM Sub

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Norton:

 

I WISH there were a bunch of modded [email protected] around! :)

 

Unfortunately, all I see are entire BDP-1s for sale on sites like eBay and Audiogon; though they are priced sometimes at $800; a relative bargain. The main thing preventing me from just buying one of these is they were built with very modest hardware specs; so modest as to negatively impact file list and loading.

 

Instead, I am attempting to build my own server (see my $500 Music Server thread) which will be based on new PC components and similar hardware as the Bryston.

 

Best Regards,

 

Ron


Custom Linux Server -> M2TECH HiFACE TWO BNC -> Bryston BDA-1 DAC -> Creek Evolution 50A -> Epos Epic 2 & Bowers & Wilkins ASW10CM Sub

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dynobot:

 

I applaud you leverage of the BeagleBone!

 

You have some very nice systems.

 

Any other recommendations based on your research and experience that may perform even better than the Gustard? Or is it truly an outstanding work of engineering oddly at a bargain?

 

Respectfully,

 

Ron


Custom Linux Server -> M2TECH HiFACE TWO BNC -> Bryston BDA-1 DAC -> Creek Evolution 50A -> Epos Epic 2 & Bowers & Wilkins ASW10CM Sub

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dynobot:

 

I applaud you leverage of the BeagleBone!

 

You have some very nice systems.

 

Any other recommendations based on your research and experience that may perform even better than the Gustard? Or is it truly an outstanding work of engineering oddly at a bargain?

 

Respectfully,

 

Ron

 

Hi Ron,

 

Thanks for the compliment. I think for the price the Gustard is hard to beat. However many people rave about the Melodious MX-U8 USB converter, but it does cost more.

 

Both use the XMOS chip.

IMO, XMOS is smoother sounding, VIA USB-32 is very accurate sounding, not hard but crisp and clean throughout the frequency range, Amanero can be hard sounding or even bad sounding if +5v is fed to it.... Otherwise it seems to dig deeper into the information than others.

 

Synergy and your ears rule all and have the final say so...

 

My Audio-gd Master 7 DAC used the Amanero chip and is being fed data only by a very short cable...Sounds great. I can use the Gustard with AES/EBU out to the same DAC and it also sounds great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Ron,

 

Thanks for the compliment. I think for the price the Gustard is hard to beat. However many people rave about the Melodious MX-U8 USB converter, but it does cost more.

 

Both use the XMOS chip.

IMO, XMOS is smoother sounding, VIA USB-32 is very accurate sounding, not hard but crisp and clean throughout the frequency range, Amanero can be hard sounding or even bad sounding if +5v is fed to it.... Otherwise it seems to dig deeper into the information than others.

 

Synergy and your ears rule all and have the final say so...

 

My Audio-gd Master 7 DAC used the Amanero chip and is being fed data only by a very short cable...Sounds great. I can use the Gustard with AES/EBU out to the same DAC and it also sounds great.

 

and my M2TECH is also XMOS.... Have you by any chance ever compared or heard the M2TECH HiFACE TWO card vs. the Gustard or read any articles comparing those two?

 

Best Regards,

 

Ron


Custom Linux Server -> M2TECH HiFACE TWO BNC -> Bryston BDA-1 DAC -> Creek Evolution 50A -> Epos Epic 2 & Bowers & Wilkins ASW10CM Sub

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and my M2TECH is also XMOS.... Have you by any chance ever compared or heard the M2TECH HiFACE TWO card vs. the Gustard or read any articles comparing those two?

 

Best Regards,

 

Ron

 

Yes I have an M2 Tech Highface 2 as well, here it is connected to a Cubox and my old ref7 DAC.

2014-05-01090735_zpsa7feb2a7.jpg?w=480&h

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes I have an M2 Tech Highface 2 as well, here it is connected to a Cubox and my old ref7 DAC.

2014-05-01090735_zpsa7feb2a7.jpg?w=480&h

 

Perfect!

 

so tell me if you think moving from the M2TECH to the Gustard is a lateral move or a significant upgrade?

 

Best Regards,

 

Ron


Custom Linux Server -> M2TECH HiFACE TWO BNC -> Bryston BDA-1 DAC -> Creek Evolution 50A -> Epos Epic 2 & Bowers & Wilkins ASW10CM Sub

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perfect!

 

so tell me if you think moving from the M2TECH to the Gustard is a lateral move or a significant upgrade?

 

Best Regards,

 

Ron

 

OK..... To do the right thing let me listen to them side by side.... Other wise I'll be going off months old memory that never really compared the two against each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OK..... To do the right thing let me listen to them side by side.... Other wise I'll be going off months old memory that never really compared the two against each other.

 

2015-10-31 13.52.36.jpg

 

Okay, while listening to several Cd's and Internet radio stations I can say that consistently the Gustard bested the M2Tech by digging deeper into the information and presenting a fuller sound in terms of instrumentation and details. The Gustard also seemed more lively with a more robust sound. Not saying any of this is night and day.....rather more like 11am and noon, similar but notably different

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW I started listening last night using the iFi USB Converter connected to my Havana Dac. After about 3 hours I began to have digital fatigue with the iFi so I disconnected it. Afterwards I used the M2Tech for about an hour or so before going to bed, no digital fatigue just good sound.

 

In the AM I continued with the M2Tech and let the Havana sing....good stuff. I have a few Havana Dacs, one with Extreme mods 54 parts in total, but this on only the output Caps. I learned to appreciate Dacs and gear in general for what they are as supposed to trying to make them into something I imagine as ideal.

 

Next up I connected the Gustard which immediately gave me some extra upper frequency detail and a bit of extra depth to the soundstage. With continued listening it was evident that there was simply more of everything. In the end I moved the Gustard back to the gear it was originally connected too and enjoyed the Havana in the buff.

 

Many hours later the Havana continues to sing in its somewhat tubey nature giving everything what the Japanese call Umami ie a pleasant savory flavor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My take

 

Having played around with so many Dacs over the years I have come to realize that a given Dac will only reproduce sound to a certain level no matter what....

 

In addition, I have learned to gravitate towards products that are produced by people who Love Music vs. Money. This being the case you might find a product [Dac, Amp, Preamp, wire etc.] that carries a certain sonic signature or house-sound. This is the case with the Havana for example, instead of spending x-amount of money and time trying to make it what I thought was ideal I learned to listen to what the artist 'designer' intended. I stopped trying to force my reality on products and realised that the Havana and other products with a 'house-sound' sing their own song, in their own way, so I let it be....

 

For gear, this has helped me to come to terms with sound. Personally I like the House-Sound of Audio-gd, its clean and pure to my ears. I feed it the purest power I can get to it and don't really worry about wire, etc. In fact, having tried various cables I found that the normal stock cords etc sound best. I don't use converters with it for the most part but only as a "toy" ie purposely altering the sound to produce a different flavor. I have five different USB converters on hand, all of which sit idle except the Gustard, which I use on occasion for AES/EBU for the purpose of adding a different flavor to the sound.

 

To me, its all good....different but good in its own right. This is to say, good music sounds good no matter what its being played through...even mono for that matter. I enjoy gear as a hobbiest, its fun to play with, but at the end of the day its all about the Music.

 

Enjoy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would ideally like to go [email protected] via AES/XLR to my DAC; just like the BDP-1, but am open minded if the Asus cards are simply better. Also not sure between the few Asus cards available.. Don't see much difference between STX and STX II other than price.

 

Hi Ron,

 

I had the impression that Bryston was modifying the [email protected] in their oiginal design; there were some threads about modifications on DIYAudio and AudioAsylum.

 

A comparison test on a German forum states the difference between STX and STX II is only in the analogue output section, so you could as well save the money.

 

Asus has at least S/PDIF on their back plane; with the (unmodified) [email protected] you have to use the ignominious break-out cable. I have not yet got around to building a coaxial cable with one of these mini DIN plugs on one end ... Both cards offer only S/PDIF, so you would have to supply impedance and level matching for AES.

 

It seems that Bryston has moved away from PCI audio cards in the BDP-2 and now uses a USB interface - it's XMOS based, by the way.

 

Apart from [email protected] I also use a WaveIO XMOS USB interface with excellent result. Digital interfaces based on USB are currently easier to source than PCIe based interfaces. There is a whole thread on CA about digital interfaces.

 

Regards,

iago


Primary ::= Nabla music server | Mutec MC-3+USB w/ Temex LPFRS-01 RB clock | WLM Gamma Reference DAC; Secondary ::= Nabla music server | WaveIO | PrismSound Lyra

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems that Bryston has moved away from PCI audio cards in the BDP-2 and now uses a USB interface - it's XMOS based, by the way.

 

 

 

Interesting, I had imagined that Bryston had just moved to producing their own card in house rather than using a modified [email protected] I upgraded my BDP2 to the new card, a significant improvement. You can of course also use USB, but AES or SPDif sounds a lot better to me. Does this mean though that the new card is actually an onboard USB>SPdif converter?

Edited by Norton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I semm to have expressed myself in a way which leaves room for interpretation. What I wanted to say is Bryston moved away from modified Audio cards (aka [email protected]) to their own solution; my impression was that this step occurred with the BDP-2 model. You can see from the pictures of replaced audio interfaces in the thread I linked to that the PCI bus is not used any more and the audio interface comes with an XMOS processor. Only small round cables (apart from power supply which is now routed through the audio card) go from audio interface to main board. Hence my assumption that it is a USB-to-S/PDIF interface.


Primary ::= Nabla music server | Mutec MC-3+USB w/ Temex LPFRS-01 RB clock | WLM Gamma Reference DAC; Secondary ::= Nabla music server | WaveIO | PrismSound Lyra

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reply to Dynobot

 

Thank you so very much for truly taking time out and comparing in detail the M2TECH with the Gustard. That was again very kind!

 

I also appreciate your well written philosophy on why you choose a particular DAC over another and what matters most to you.

 

Intrigued by the tube hybrid approach, I looked up Havana and it looks very promising and a very different design from most DACS. I understood immediately its appeal. Unfortunately, it looks like an older model only available in Asia. But I could be wrong.

 

Back to the M2TECH vs. Gustard: I would humbly submit that though the Gustard presents higher frequencies perceptively "better", I fear it is these exact stronger higher frequencies that can lead to listener fatigue. Your Havana DAC's tube buffer stage helps offset this, but I fear my entirely solid state Bryston would sound too brittle. So, I am choosing to stay with the M2TECH and pursuing the [email protected] soundcard...it appears a lot of people did some serious mods to it as well.

 

Thanks Again,

 

 

Ron


Custom Linux Server -> M2TECH HiFACE TWO BNC -> Bryston BDA-1 DAC -> Creek Evolution 50A -> Epos Epic 2 & Bowers & Wilkins ASW10CM Sub

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

iago:

 

Thanks for the very good information and validation. Yes, Bryston did modify the [email protected], but there are also a lot of articles on the net of various [email protected] mods too. I have no issue with using the breakout cable, then just mounting the cable end to a custom backplane. If I decide to get a [email protected], I'll also look into the feasibility and pros/cons of tapping directly into the card for AES. I've also investigated the now many USB-based SPDIF converters and think the [email protected] is just a classic of sorts and a bargain vs. say a $500 Audiophileo or costlier designs.

 

Respectfully,

 

Ron


Custom Linux Server -> M2TECH HiFACE TWO BNC -> Bryston BDA-1 DAC -> Creek Evolution 50A -> Epos Epic 2 & Bowers & Wilkins ASW10CM Sub

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Reply to Dynobot

 

Thank you so very much for truly taking time out and comparing in detail the M2TECH with the Gustard. That was again very kind!

 

I also appreciate your well written philosophy on why you choose a particular DAC over another and what matters most to you.

 

Intrigued by the tube hybrid approach, I looked up Havana and it looks very promising and a very different design from most DACS. I understood immediately its appeal. Unfortunately, it looks like an older model only available in Asia. But I could be wrong.

 

Back to the M2TECH vs. Gustard: I would humbly submit that though the Gustard presents higher frequencies perceptively "better", I fear it is these exact stronger higher frequencies that can lead to listener fatigue. Your Havana DAC's tube buffer stage helps offset this, but I fear my entirely solid state Bryston would sound too brittle. So, I am choosing to stay with the M2TECH and pursuing the [email protected] soundcard...it appears a lot of people did some serious mods to it as well.

 

Thanks Again,

 

 

Ron

 

 

Hi Ron

 

My pleasure in comparing the two converters

 

I think you have sound reasoning to stick with the M2Tech....have fun with your project!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry, I semm to have expressed myself in a way which leaves room for interpretation. What I wanted to say is Bryston moved away from modified Audio cards (aka [email protected]) to their own solution; my impression was that this step occurred with the BDP-2 model. You can see from the pictures of replaced audio interfaces in the thread I linked to that the PCI bus is not used any more and the audio interface comes with an XMOS processor. Only small round cables (apart from power supply which is now routed through the audio card) go from audio interface to main board. Hence my assumption that it is a USB-to-S/PDIF interface.

 

Yes I hadn't thought of it that way until your post, but I suspect you may well be right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All:

 

After discussing Bryston's design decisions and the [email protected], I am excited at my own implementation. I was not aware Bryston did NOT use the Linear Power Supply as a separate power feed for their implementation of the [email protected] I intend as mentioned on using the DYI deltasigma power supply and supplying the [email protected] from it.

 

In theory, and with a lot of research, my humble little Linux box should exceed the specifications and quality of the Bryston BDA-1 Music Server. Exceeding the performance of an A+ rated piece of gear from Stereophile for pennies on the dollar would be a great feat!

 

 

Best Regards,

 

Ron


Custom Linux Server -> M2TECH HiFACE TWO BNC -> Bryston BDA-1 DAC -> Creek Evolution 50A -> Epos Epic 2 & Bowers & Wilkins ASW10CM Sub

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...