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How can you tell which USB port to use for the best audio output ?


Russ Reed

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Hi all!

At present I'm using a Vista OS laptop for a music server. I'm not sure which USB port is the best choice for a USB DAC. I've looked at the device manager and it lists 4 USBs. 2 that say enhanced and the other 2 say open. There are only 3 fisical ports on the computer. 1 next to the power plug in and 2 on the the other side. Is there any way to tell which one if any are unshared and the best choice for audio out?

 

Thanks for any insight you can provide, Russ.

 

HP laptop;Windows 7; JRiver Media Center 18, WASAPI Event-Style; Transparent USB cable, one meter; Ayre QB-9 asynchronous USB DAC; Sony 6400ES AV Reciever, analog direct; generic copper speaker wires; Bowers & Wilkins 683\'s; all stock power cables; Android Gizmo remote

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I will be using an Ayre QB-9.

 

HP laptop;Windows 7; JRiver Media Center 18, WASAPI Event-Style; Transparent USB cable, one meter; Ayre QB-9 asynchronous USB DAC; Sony 6400ES AV Reciever, analog direct; generic copper speaker wires; Bowers & Wilkins 683\'s; all stock power cables; Android Gizmo remote

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If anyone finds out please post, Thanks Russ

 

HP laptop;Windows 7; JRiver Media Center 18, WASAPI Event-Style; Transparent USB cable, one meter; Ayre QB-9 asynchronous USB DAC; Sony 6400ES AV Reciever, analog direct; generic copper speaker wires; Bowers & Wilkins 683\'s; all stock power cables; Android Gizmo remote

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I guess Master is meant literally. I tried all ports on my mac mini and listened for the best sound. It was quite easy to identify the best sounding Port.

If you do not want to listen,then look for a port that is not shared by keyboard or an internal Soundcard or other devices.

 

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Also, do you think the Transparent cable made a big difference?

 

HP laptop;Windows 7; JRiver Media Center 18, WASAPI Event-Style; Transparent USB cable, one meter; Ayre QB-9 asynchronous USB DAC; Sony 6400ES AV Reciever, analog direct; generic copper speaker wires; Bowers & Wilkins 683\'s; all stock power cables; Android Gizmo remote

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JTW, Actually not for me.

I use the second from the right side. Funny thing is, this port is shared with the bluetooth controller (disabled). The difference to the other ports is quite easys to hear or better: to feel. The emotional impact with this port is far greater, than with the other ports. At least that was the reason I chose this one.

 

Right port for the macbook. This should be easy. Just open About this Mac and check Hardware/USB. One port should be shared with the keyboard/mouse. So just take the other one. With my macbook the one without keyboard/mouse sounded better. Hope this helps.

CLaude

 

 

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Thanks Claude,

I thought I had read that entire peace by Chris but I missed Gordon's reply.

I'll have to listen to that Transparent USB cable. Steve at Ayre likes that one as well. He choose that one over the Kimber cable. Did you listen to any others that you liked or excluded?

Thanks for your time Claude.

 

HP laptop;Windows 7; JRiver Media Center 18, WASAPI Event-Style; Transparent USB cable, one meter; Ayre QB-9 asynchronous USB DAC; Sony 6400ES AV Reciever, analog direct; generic copper speaker wires; Bowers & Wilkins 683\'s; all stock power cables; Android Gizmo remote

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But I preferred the Transparent. There is a dedicated thread about usb cables. There you will find all the usual suspects. (Kimber, Monster, Wireworld, ...) Compared to a standard usb the transparent is a huge step up the audiophile heaven (at least with the QB-9).

 

Claude

 

 

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Thanks Claude, my QB-9 should be here in a few weeks, can't wait. Russ

 

HP laptop;Windows 7; JRiver Media Center 18, WASAPI Event-Style; Transparent USB cable, one meter; Ayre QB-9 asynchronous USB DAC; Sony 6400ES AV Reciever, analog direct; generic copper speaker wires; Bowers & Wilkins 683\'s; all stock power cables; Android Gizmo remote

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  • 1 year later...

Same question here, on 2009 Macbook Pro on System Profiler under USB, I see 4 USB ports, only two physically usable on the left side of the laptop (two regular and two high-speed on profiler and all 4 already have devices connected; keyboard, HUB/bluetooth, iSightCamera, internalMemoryCardreader). The HRT defaults to HUB/bluetooth when I plug it into either USB and doesn't change when I change physical USB port connection.

 

Any ideas if these MBPros just default to the best USB or how to change to one of the better ports?

 

Thanks,

 

2009 13\" Macbook Pro Intel 2.54Ghz (Snow Leopard), Belkin USBpro-HRT Streamer II-BelkinPureAV-Denon-2309, Paradigm Studio 20\'sV.3

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Although I do not use a laptop but a PC, I avoided such potential problems by adding a separate USB card into an PCIe slot.

 

This card is only used for connecting the DAC to the PC so no interrupts for the USB controller by other attached USB devices. The card has an internal power connector (Molex type) for feeding the USB 5V which i deliberately unhooked again since I tested if the DAC needs this power or not.

It did not need it so it avoids a noisy power at the USB cable :-)

 

Laptops are not so flexible so my solution will not be possible for the laptop / airbook crowd ... sorry.

 

 

Rigelian iOS app -> BeagleBone Black with Botic driver + Linux MPD + XPEnology NAS -> Soekris dam1121 DAC I2S direct from BBB -> DH Labs Revelation -> NAD C162 -> DH Labs Revelation -> Odyssey Khartago Plus -> DH Labs Q10 -> Boenicke Audio W5

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Mac USB channels are dynamically assigned by the system. As long as Bluetooth is disabled, it shouldn't interfere with anything. Determine which physical port to plug the HRT into by ear. The ports on your MBP may well sound identical.

 

By the way, in case you don't realize, when you move USB devices around, the profiler view needs to be refreshed for changes to be displayed.

 

 

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