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Raimund Heubel

Afi+USB-Module - USB-Interface, Isolator and Re-Clocker

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When I buy an audio product, it needs to last, 10 years, then 20 years +. Part of this assessment is, does it cater for the next few years ahead, and won't fall off the earth.

 

For the Afi USB, the optical connector is new to me, and that raises an alarm in that should the afi move somewhere else, there's a special cable to buy. Is there an assurance that the brand will stay around until that time to supply a longer cable. If the optical cable were a series of SBC/LC/FT similar, it's not a problem as these are readily available.

I can use a soldering iron, but fitting off an optical cable requires (a week of) training, and the correct tools.

 

To FredM, the musical enjoyment is short lived if in the back of the mind, one day this thing will stop and all over a cable connection. There's no cover over the optical cable either, so a short tug on a sharp corner (and cables *will* always find this), the cable is ruined.

Accidents can happen, cannot rule them out.

 

While I can read German, don't frequent them all that often, the site linked in the thread is enthusiastic like with most all new product and I have no real objection and don't want to spoil any enjoyment for the readers or participants.

 

Realistically though, there signs that put me at unease about the construction and presentation of this product, so would not rush too quickly to depart with over EUR1200. This doesn't mean to say anything adverse about the concept, however, which I find quite innovative.


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Thanks for pointing your major concern as you do (and I like the tone of voice :-) Perhaps others have insight in the durability/replace ability of the cables?

 

I also find the afis usb a keen and innovative concept, user feedback looks promising. (It reminded me on a Bel canto dac with ST fiber connection. Perhaps an upcoming new fiber area is getting traction? ) Interesting times for sure!

 

Cheers, Fred

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It'd be great to see pics of the device in your systems. Also, are there any plans to compare this device to the Berkeley Alpha USB. They play in the same price range, which is a step above the Mutec 3+ USB, but ultimately provide the same end product - SPDIF/AES to the DAC (unless I am mistaken). I'm in the market for one of these contraptions as the final touch to my solution of getting music out of my PC to the Yggdrasil DAC (AES).

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Pictures of the AFI+USB-Module and other products of the Germany based 'Artistic Fidelity' brand are now available on the following web-page:

https://www.cm-audio.net/artistic-fidelity

Although described in German language only the detailed pictures of the 2-piece unit and its connections should make things much more clear on how the USB conversion, isolation and re-clocking functions work so well.

Still this USB-interface amazes me very much in my every day listening, it is so damn natural and good sounding free of any digital artefacts!


Best Regards, Raimund

 

Living Room

Apple Mac mini Mid 2011 (MacOS Sierra 10.12.6, 64 GB OWC SSD, 16 GB OWC RAM, iTunes 12.9, Pure Music 3.09c) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> artistic fidelity External USB-Module -> 3 Fibre Optical Cables -> artistic fidelity afis / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity RJ45 cable -> artistic fidelity arfi-dac2 / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity XLR-to-BNC cable -> Bakoon HPA-21 Headamp + Sennheiser HD 800

Home Office

Apple Mac mini End 2018 (MacOS Mojave 10.14.6, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, Audirvana 3.5.19) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital / Pro-Ject Accu Box S2 USB PSU -> Abacus C-Box 2 Active Speakers

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Pictures of the AFI+USB-Module and other products of the Germany based 'Artistic Fidelity' brand are now available on the following web-page:

https://www.cm-audio.net/artistic-fidelity

Although described in German language only the detailed pictures of the 2-piece unit and its connections should make things much more clear on how the USB conversion, isolation and re-clocking functions work so well.

Still this USB-interface amazes me very much in my every day listening, it is so damn natural and good sounding free of any digital artefacts!

 

Thanks Raimund. Could you please also try to answer post #18 above?

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Hi Mike,

 

the Artistic Fidelity 'AFIS' listening matrix appears to be the right product for your needs as it provides the RJ45 Ethernet input and an AES/EBU output, please see a picture of the backside of the 'AFIS' when following the link below:

http://abload.de/img/afis_rckseitef6jsj.png

You could also combine the 'AFIS' with the separate USB-Module as you can with the 'AFI' product (without the S in the name) when connecting to a computer.

One further Artistic Fidelity product could be of interest for you - their 'GISO' LAN Isolator - which provides full galvanic isolation of the incoming RJ45 ethernet signal.

I still suggest you contact Ralf Koschnicke directly in case you have further, more detailed questions.

I am just one of his very happy customers...


Best Regards, Raimund

 

Living Room

Apple Mac mini Mid 2011 (MacOS Sierra 10.12.6, 64 GB OWC SSD, 16 GB OWC RAM, iTunes 12.9, Pure Music 3.09c) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> artistic fidelity External USB-Module -> 3 Fibre Optical Cables -> artistic fidelity afis / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity RJ45 cable -> artistic fidelity arfi-dac2 / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity XLR-to-BNC cable -> Bakoon HPA-21 Headamp + Sennheiser HD 800

Home Office

Apple Mac mini End 2018 (MacOS Mojave 10.14.6, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, Audirvana 3.5.19) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital / Pro-Ject Accu Box S2 USB PSU -> Abacus C-Box 2 Active Speakers

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I am sure you won't be disappointed! Please share your listening impression as soon as you will have received your unit.


Best Regards, Raimund

 

Living Room

Apple Mac mini Mid 2011 (MacOS Sierra 10.12.6, 64 GB OWC SSD, 16 GB OWC RAM, iTunes 12.9, Pure Music 3.09c) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> artistic fidelity External USB-Module -> 3 Fibre Optical Cables -> artistic fidelity afis / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity RJ45 cable -> artistic fidelity arfi-dac2 / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity XLR-to-BNC cable -> Bakoon HPA-21 Headamp + Sennheiser HD 800

Home Office

Apple Mac mini End 2018 (MacOS Mojave 10.14.6, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, Audirvana 3.5.19) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital / Pro-Ject Accu Box S2 USB PSU -> Abacus C-Box 2 Active Speakers

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Yes, there are adapter boxes available with SPDIF or BNC output (to connect to your DAC) and RJ45 Ethercon input (to connect to the Afi). Remember: the Afi has only one output - RJ45 Ethercon - wheras the Afis has two outputs of choice.


Best Regards, Raimund

 

Living Room

Apple Mac mini Mid 2011 (MacOS Sierra 10.12.6, 64 GB OWC SSD, 16 GB OWC RAM, iTunes 12.9, Pure Music 3.09c) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> artistic fidelity External USB-Module -> 3 Fibre Optical Cables -> artistic fidelity afis / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity RJ45 cable -> artistic fidelity arfi-dac2 / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity XLR-to-BNC cable -> Bakoon HPA-21 Headamp + Sennheiser HD 800

Home Office

Apple Mac mini End 2018 (MacOS Mojave 10.14.6, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, Audirvana 3.5.19) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital / Pro-Ject Accu Box S2 USB PSU -> Abacus C-Box 2 Active Speakers

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On 4/28/2017 at 0:39 PM, Tom75 said:

Has anyone had a chance comparing the Mutec mc3+ USB against with SoTM tX-USBultra?
https://www.sotm-audio.com/sotmwp/englis...-usbultra/

 

I did not but others were asking about a comparison between the Mutec MC-3+ USB and the Berkely Alpha USB. I own(ed) both and can state that the Mutec is clearly better. I would characterise the BADA as a passive converter: what comes in, comes out in another format. At the time best in class for this task. The Mutec is more active in the way that its reclocking function enhances the signal by reducing jitter.

 

BTW, I get the impression that this thread is started to promote the afi(s) - USB-Modul in a disguised way. I am not saying it is a bad product (there are a lot of positive findings on German forums) but be aware..

Edited by skatbelt

Roon server (Mac Mini/i7/SSD/16GB/Uptone DC mod/external SDD via firewire/Uptone Audio JS-2 LPS) Streamer dCS Network Bridge DAC Chord DAVE Amplifier / DRC Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 Speakers Lindemann BL-10 | JL audio E-sub e110 Cables CAT6 UTP ethernet, Transparent premium AES/EBU, Nordost Leif Red Dawn analog RCA, Kimber 8TC speaker cables, custom star-quad power cables with Oyaide termination Head-fi and reference Bakoon HPA-21 | Audeze LCD-3 (f) | Audio-technica ATH-M50 Software High Sierra | Roon | Tidal | Qobuz Power and isolation Dedicated power line | Xentek extreme isolation transformer (1KVA, 0.0001pf, balanced) | Vibex one 6R power distributor | Uptone EtherREGEN | Emo Systems EN-70HD network isolator | Jensen CI-1RR isolator

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As mentioned further up in the thread I did compare the Afi USB to the Mutec MC-3+ USB - but never to the BADA Alpha USB - and found the Afi way better in terms of natural, analog sound and instrument/voice separation and black background.

For info: The Afi's USB module has been further updated and is now available with a switch to change between an external 5V power or internal power connection through the computer's/streamer's USB bus.

Best Regards,

Raimund


Best Regards, Raimund

 

Living Room

Apple Mac mini Mid 2011 (MacOS Sierra 10.12.6, 64 GB OWC SSD, 16 GB OWC RAM, iTunes 12.9, Pure Music 3.09c) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> artistic fidelity External USB-Module -> 3 Fibre Optical Cables -> artistic fidelity afis / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity RJ45 cable -> artistic fidelity arfi-dac2 / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity XLR-to-BNC cable -> Bakoon HPA-21 Headamp + Sennheiser HD 800

Home Office

Apple Mac mini End 2018 (MacOS Mojave 10.14.6, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, Audirvana 3.5.19) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital / Pro-Ject Accu Box S2 USB PSU -> Abacus C-Box 2 Active Speakers

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50 minutes ago, skatbelt said:

BTW, I get the impression that this thread is started to promote the afi(s) - USB-Modul in a disguised way. I am not saying it is a bad product (there are a lot of positive findings on German forums) but be aware..

 

Just read through the first pages of the Mutec MC3+ thread, your impressions may be similar.

One can certainly learn a lot about viral marketing and religion when browsing through audio forums. 

One can also see that some products do not travel as easily across the pond, especially when it comes to tiny companies i.e. one man shows. 

Sometimes you may just find that a happy customer wants to share his happiness with others...

Btw: I think Raimund is right in just anything he has said about the Afi, it is superb!

Edited by *progear

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8 hours ago, *progear said:

 

Just read through the first pages of the Mutec MC3+ thread, your impressions may be similar.

One can certainly learn a lot about viral marketing and religion when browsing through audio forums. 

One can also see that some products do not travel as easily across the pond, especially when it comes to tiny companies i.e. one man shows. 

Sometimes you may just find that a happy customer wants to share his happiness with others...

Btw: I think Raimund is right in just anything he has said about the Afi, it is superb!

That's exactly right. I am indeed 'just' a happy customer and, yes, I am an ambassador of this great product w/o having any further business relation to the brand 'Artistic Fidelity' or its owner other than that I purchased their product.

I am simply convinced by the Afi's sound and unique concept of isolating, converting and re-clocking of the digital datastream coming from a computer source.

Don't believe it? Don't buy it!

If someone is interested in such device I recommend you should give it a try, the 'Afi' is very competitive however and as also mentioned before it is not cheap either.

Best Regards,

Raimund


Best Regards, Raimund

 

Living Room

Apple Mac mini Mid 2011 (MacOS Sierra 10.12.6, 64 GB OWC SSD, 16 GB OWC RAM, iTunes 12.9, Pure Music 3.09c) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> artistic fidelity External USB-Module -> 3 Fibre Optical Cables -> artistic fidelity afis / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity RJ45 cable -> artistic fidelity arfi-dac2 / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity XLR-to-BNC cable -> Bakoon HPA-21 Headamp + Sennheiser HD 800

Home Office

Apple Mac mini End 2018 (MacOS Mojave 10.14.6, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, Audirvana 3.5.19) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital / Pro-Ject Accu Box S2 USB PSU -> Abacus C-Box 2 Active Speakers

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