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USB improvement gadgets - a survey

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I am resurrecting this topic to report the unexpected but significant improvements that resulted from tweaking the USB connection.

 

My file playback system now consists of a laptop running HQPlayer feeding a Cubox with the NAA buffer through Ethernet. The Cubox, powered by a LPSU, is connected with a USB A to B "hard" adapter to a Teradac split USB adapter which feeds the DAC with the clean 5V current from another LPSU.

Files have never sounded better in my system and are now "comparable" to my memory of CD sounded like, better in some aspects.

 

There's an effortlessness and a clarity to the sound that are just delicious!

The sceptical in me has just been taught a lesson...

Must try really hard not to get too carried away with the volume knob.


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes

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Sounds familiar ... B|.

 

Sometimes which ingredients and how to combine them, which eliminates a key lacking in the sound can be very hard to determine - the key thought to carry in one's brain is that no matter how good the sound is at a particular time, that it is always possible to improve it, sometimes dramatically so. The hard work is usually to track down the culprit holding the quality back; can be an extremely frustrating exercise.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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4 hours ago, semente said:

I am resurrecting this topic to report the unexpected but significant improvements that resulted from tweaking the USB connection.

 

My file playback system now consists of a laptop running HQPlayer feeding a Cubox with the NAA buffer through Ethernet. The Cubox, powered by a LPSU, is connected with a USB A to B "hard" adapter to a Teradac split USB adapter which feeds the DAC with the clean 5V current from another LPSU.

Files have never sounded better in my system and are now "comparable" to my memory of CD sounded like, better in some aspects.

 

There's an effortlessness and a clarity to the sound that are just delicious!

The sceptical in me has just been taught a lesson...

Must try really hard not to get too carried away with the volume knob.

 

Interesting - the Cubox is a developer platform for embedded systems...

 

~~ $100


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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1 hour ago, semente said:

 

Sonore used to sell the Cubox as (their entry-level?) renderer  not too long ago: http://www.sonore.us/Sonicorbiter.html

 

what did they do to it for the extra $200 ??


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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http://archimago.blogspot.com/2018/12/measurements-intel-i7-pc-and-raspberry.html#more

 

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2018/12/measurements-raspberry-pi-3-b-as.html#more

 

 

6 hours ago, semente said:

There's an effortlessness and a clarity to the sound that are just delicious!

 

Wonder what creates the effortless clarity?  My guess is the only electrical changes are in the organic components.  


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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Maybe, because it's closer to the actual sounds on the recording .... Nahhh!! Everyone knows recording engineers are hopeless, and the equipment they use is shite - our brilliant hifi rigs expose how dreadful their efforts are, ruthlessly - as it should be ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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6 hours ago, esldude said:

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2018/12/measurements-intel-i7-pc-and-raspberry.html#more

 

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2018/12/measurements-raspberry-pi-3-b-as.html#more

 

 

Wonder what creates the effortless clarity?  My guess is the only electrical changes are in the organic components.  

 

That is a good question.

Maybe this can help explain why? http://archimago.blogspot.com/2018/05/measurements-computer-usb-5v-power.html

 

I've often mentioned the friend that used to optimise gear. Changes to grounding and power supplies did have an impact, sometimes quite significant, even in unsighted listening sessions where a few of us would compare two of the same gear, one unmodified.

 

I am quite sceptical of tweaks and foo in general and didn't have any expectations, nor did I invest any serious money (£50 at most) because I already had the PSUs around from my Raspberry Pi setup...


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes

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7 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

 

what did they do to it for the extra $200 ??

 

 Well, they buy it from the manufacturer, pre-install dedicated sofware, add an SD card and a L-PSU.

Then put 100%? of profit on top.

 

Would you sell for less?

 

 

Of course you can always have a fancy case made for it and ask for $500...


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes

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23 minutes ago, semente said:

 

That is a good question.

Maybe this can help explain why? http://archimago.blogspot.com/2018/05/measurements-computer-usb-5v-power.html

 

I've often mentioned the friend that used to optimise gear. Changes to grounding and power supplies did have an impact, sometimes quite significant, even in unsighted listening sessions where a few of us would compare two of the same gear, one unmodified.

 

I am quite sceptical of tweaks and foo in general and didn't have any expectations, nor did I invest any serious money (£50 at most) because I already had the PSUs around from my Raspberry Pi setup...

No that doesn't explain anything.  It shows there is variable noise on USB connections to different devices.  We knew that.  But how much does that get thru to the analog output of a USB connected DAC.   That is the signal we listen to you know.  The later measurements show no measurable difference in the analog output.  Would be nice if Archimago had those other computers to run the test with all of them.  I'd expect from other such measurements that the output would be clean with all of them.  


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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25 minutes ago, esldude said:

No that doesn't explain anything.  It shows there is variable noise on USB connections to different devices.  We knew that.  But how much does that get thru to the analog output of a USB connected DAC.   That is the signal we listen to you know.  The later measurements show no measurable difference in the analog output.  Would be nice if Archimago had those other computers to run the test with all of them.  I'd expect from other such measurements that the output would be clean with all of them.  

 

What about how noise affects the D/A conversion, Isn't that a possibility?

 

I agree that measuring the output would provide more information. I could always capture a 48/16 of the output with my lowly UCA222 if you wish, but it may not be transparent enough...

Though to be honest I'm not looking forward to fiddling with the connections again for a while.


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes

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47 minutes ago, semente said:

 

What about how noise affects the D/A conversion, Isn't that a possibility?

 

I agree that measuring the output would provide more information. I could always capture a 48/16 of the output with my lowly UCA222 if you wish, but it may not be transparent enough...

Though to be honest I'm not looking forward to fiddling with the connections again for a while.

That is part of the point of archimago's tests.  There appears to be no effect on the DA conversion that is large enough to matter.  Noise on the USB varies, but DACs seem able to reject most of that or enough of it to not be a problem. 


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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1 hour ago, semente said:

 

What about how noise affects the D/A conversion, Isn't that a possibility?

 

 

Yes of course.

 

Some people will deny that what’s upstream of the DAC matters and instead tell you that the buffer and relocking in the DAC is enough.

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39 minutes ago, esldude said:

That is part of the point of archimago's tests.  There appears to be no effect on the DA conversion that is large enough to matter.  Noise on the USB varies, but DACs seem able to reject most of that or enough of it to not be a problem

 

That is a possibility as well. At least if we go on measurements alone.


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes

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Ahhh, the lust for 'measurements' continues, unabated, ^_^. The ears are doing the "real measuring", and that will remain so until someone eventually nails a full set of criteria for truly, objectively evaluating an audio system. Floundering around in the meantime, playing with rulers for the sake of jotting down numbers on paper will please some - but solve very little...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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12 hours ago, Summit said:

 

Yes of course.

 

Some people will deny that what’s upstream of the DAC matters and instead tell you that the buffer and relocking in the DAC is enough.

The DAC does not  reclock. It is the only clock. USB does not have an imbedded clock for the DAC.


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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On 12/22/2018 at 11:36 PM, esldude said:

The DAC does not  reclock. It is the only clock. USB does not have an imbedded clock for the DAC.

 

The USB board has its own clock and buffer (FIFO)  that is synced to the DAC's master clock.       

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