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USB to SPDIF (coax)

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Like most this is the start of my foray in to Computer driven Audio so I am looking to ease myself in with a minimum cash outlay without ending up with lots of redundant bits and bobs lying around six months down the line.

My thinking at the moment is to keep my Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista DAC (Non USB) and use a USB S/PDIF (Coax) converter.

This is where I would like advice/suggestions, I only own 16/44 files at the moment but will obviously be experimenting with 24/96 at a later date.

If I purchase a USB Off-Ramp Turbo 2 from empirical audio for around $1300 ($900+$400 for the battery PSU) I get 24/96 straight out of the box. Otherwise I go for a Hag, Pop Pulse, Trend Audio, or one of the many other USB to S/PDIF units, which all seem to only do 16/44 but cost a little as $180. If I am going to be spending $1300 on a USB to S/PDIF converter would the money not be better spent on a USB DAC?


Ideally what I would like is a USB to S/PDIF unit that can do 24/96 with a lower price tag than the Off-Ramp Turbo 2, any suggestions?



Are all audiophiles obsessive compulsives or is this just a Stereo Type? Yorkshire UK

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Hey Thunktank - This is a tough question. I think you've done the research and found your best options. Based on what you've said I don't think you should consider a DAC that won't do 24/96. That rules out many of them. So you are left with the converter or a new DAC. It sounds like you are impressed with the performance of your current DAC already. In this case I think going the Off ramp route is your best option. For $1300 you are less likely to find a 24/96 USB DAC that will out perform this Off Ramp / MF combo.


You certainly won't find another converter of higher quality than the Off Ramp at a cheaper price.


Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Thanks for the reply Chris, odd that you seem to be the only person that ever answers my questions.


I have been doing some looking around and found a UK supplier of the "Trend Audio UD 10.1" for around £100 ($190). As I am looking at implementing computer audio to other rooms besides my main listening room I could re-use the UD 10.1 in one of the rooms where the 24/96 is not an issue. I.E in the kitchen on the end of an Airport express. I will start with the UD10.1 (battery driven) connected to my DAC to start with, RIP my CD's and give it a whirl. This should give me a couple of months to tinker with setting up the music server and remote, by which time I should be in a better position to decide what to do regarding my main sytem. Who knows by the time I am ready to spend the extra bucks I will probably have a broader choice of 24/96 DAC's or converters.


On an unrelated note, I took on board your comments on using a MacBook, but considering I have a spare 17" LCD sitting about doing nothing, I have opted to go down the MacMini route. I currently have my eye on a couple on Ebay, 1.8Ghz duo 2Gb of mem, Tiger OS. Having read posts on this and other forums I have decided to avoid the Leopard OS for the time being.


All the frantic surfing is over for the moment, time to put my hand in my pocket..................let the fun (and frustration) begin.


I will keep coming back to post my findings, thanks for all the help and advice.





Are all audiophiles obsessive compulsives or is this just a Stereo Type? Yorkshire UK

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Hey Paul - There are many people around the site that are in the same situation that you are so they await the answers to your questions also! Right now we have a lot more "readers" than "writers", but that will change as soon people start using their systems and getting used to the whole computer based audio thing.


I think you are making a very smart move considering this is your first move into the Mac music server world. The Trend Audio UD 10.1 which you can re-purpose elsewhere at a later date is very wise. Plus you'll have something to compare another unit to if you even want to upgrade later.


The Mini should work great for you. You'll have a complete high performance music server for 1/10th to cost of a standard high performance transport/DAC solution. Heck, even i am excited for you to get going with your project. With a Mac there really isn't too much frustration. Plus you have the forums here and my email address if you get into a jam or aren't getting the sound quality you want.


Talk to you soon.


Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Sorry if my comment on who was answering sounded churlish, it wasn't intended that way.


Anyway the deed is done I just ordered The Trend Audio UD10.1, and seeing as the amp on my PC is getting a little long in the tooth I ordered a TA 10.1 amp as well.

This will replace the "Nytech Obelisk" that I bought as my first Audiophile component 26 years ago. (liitle mosfet amp made in Wales).


At the risk of sounding trite "Long journeys start with the first step"


Are all audiophiles obsessive compulsives or is this just a Stereo Type? Yorkshire UK

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