Jump to content
IGNORED

Preferred out- and input route


Recommended Posts

The USB output from a music PC to a receiving DAC USB input - typically via a dedicated, audiophile USB card with (expensive) external clock and PSU - is a popular option among computer audiophiles, perhaps even the preferred route in the über-offerings of cost-no-object music servers out there. Does it come down to PCM-based sound quality mostly, and/or is DSD playback and unrestricted sample rate capabilities a strong incentive for using USB out-/inputs as well? What about S/PDIF connectivity or I²S, or USB to S/PDIF converters - why do people use the particular out- and input modes they do?

Source: Synology NAS > DIY Mediaserver • Software: JRiver MC26 DLNA/Fidelizer 8.5 Digital output: Audiophilleo 2 + PurePower • DAC/preamp: Blue Cheese Audio Roquefort Digital cross-over: Xilica XP-3060 • Speakers: Electro-Voice TS940D LX (for active config.)  Subwoofers: 2 x MicroWrecker (tapped horn) • Poweramp EV horns: Belles SA-30 • EV bass amp: Lab.Gruppen FP6400 • Subs amp: Crown Audio K2 • EV horns cables: Mundorf silver/gold + Duelund DCA16GA (shotgun config.) • IC: Mundorf silver/gold XLR-RCA/Mogami 2549 XLR-XLR • Subs and EV bass cable: Cordial CLS 425 • Power cables: 15AWG Solid-core wire w/IeGo pure copper plugs (DIY)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I could pinpoint my aim a bit with above inquiry. It would seem what I'm after is an old discussion already old 10 years ago, basically essentialized into: USB vs. S/PDIF - which is or was better? Since asynchronous USB emerged around '10 or thereabouts that discussion, which may at first have been about noise vs. jitter (as represented by USB and S/PDIF, respectively), largely had the asynchronous USB implementation come out victorious (not least externally powered and clocked) - theoretically, at least, and from what I'm able to assess.

 

But where do we stand today, further on, on the issues of jitter and noise; even though S/PDIF sees the DAC end as the clock slave, does the jitter variations seen with capable/newer digital output transport devices and receiving DAC's, compared to what can be achieved with modern day USB, really make an audible, let alone appreciable difference? Speaking of implementation the context of the DAC input side is certainly important as well, and it appears that USB-implementation is more dependent upon and influenced by the USB cable chosen, not to mention the importance of noise suppression.

 

Certainly USB (more readily) grants higher sample rates and DSD playback, so is that the main draw here vs. S/PDIF? What if one, like me, only plays back PCM-files up to 24-bit/192kHz (via NAS; Tidal is "only" Hi-Fi, i.e.: Redbook, to consciously avoid MQA), and has a DAC/preamp with very well implemented S/PDIF inputs? Added to that the USB-input of my DAC only plays back up to 24-bit/48kHz - hideously outdated by todays and even yesterdays standards, I know, but the developer had little interest in USB and so paid more attention to the S/PDIF inputs to cater as well to the studio segment. 

 

As is I've honed in on finding a proper, dedicated PCIe AES digital output device; the Lynx AES16e, RME HDSPe AES and Marian Seraph D4 are perhaps the most interesting choices so far, and I'm leaning to the latter. I suspect it'll be able to challenge quite a few, and capable modern USB to USB set-ups I've heard..

Source: Synology NAS > DIY Mediaserver • Software: JRiver MC26 DLNA/Fidelizer 8.5 Digital output: Audiophilleo 2 + PurePower • DAC/preamp: Blue Cheese Audio Roquefort Digital cross-over: Xilica XP-3060 • Speakers: Electro-Voice TS940D LX (for active config.)  Subwoofers: 2 x MicroWrecker (tapped horn) • Poweramp EV horns: Belles SA-30 • EV bass amp: Lab.Gruppen FP6400 • Subs amp: Crown Audio K2 • EV horns cables: Mundorf silver/gold + Duelund DCA16GA (shotgun config.) • IC: Mundorf silver/gold XLR-RCA/Mogami 2549 XLR-XLR • Subs and EV bass cable: Cordial CLS 425 • Power cables: 15AWG Solid-core wire w/IeGo pure copper plugs (DIY)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/13/2021 at 9:34 AM, phusis said:

 What about S/PDIF connectivity or I²S, or USB to S/PDIF converters - why do people use the particular out- and input modes they do?

 

Because any connection between two separate electrical devices is also a conduit for interference, noise to become part of the picture. The best connection is no connection - that is, all the circuitry is in one box. This is frowned upon, firstly, because it limits one's options; and, secondly, it introduces the possibility of cross contamination of the different areas within the single box - but good design can solve all the problems of the latter; the engineering of the package is under the control of one manufacturer, he can get it right, first time.

 

Personally, I go for simplicity - everything in one box; for the above reasons. Next up, optical: eliminates a whole range of electrical noise issues, automatically. And last option would be S/PDIF.

 

Wouldn't touch USB unless I absolutely had to. No personal experience, but the massive degree of gut wrenching, agonising fiddling with this interface, that's documented everywhere, tells me that it's intrinsically a weak method for transfer of audio data - poor implementations of the link abound ... I have no interest in spending lots of time trying to debug this connection interface, in the pursuit of best sound.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/15/2021 at 12:22 AM, fas42 said:

 

Because any connection between two separate electrical devices is also a conduit for interference, noise to become part of the picture. The best connection is no connection - that is, all the circuitry is in one box. This is frowned upon, firstly, because it limits one's options; and, secondly, it introduces the possibility of cross contamination of the different areas within the single box - but good design can solve all the problems of the latter; the engineering of the package is under the control of one manufacturer, he can get it right, first time.

 

Personally, I go for simplicity - everything in one box; for the above reasons. Next up, optical: eliminates a whole range of electrical noise issues, automatically. And last option would be S/PDIF.

 

Thanks for chiming in. Simplicity I try to maintain as well, though from my chair/to my ears and mentality towards all of this I prefer working around a modular approach DIY music server/HTPC, as opposed to an all-in-one streamer package. I don't know what it comes down to technically in detail, but generally I find a full size music server with a higher wattage PSU and more powerful CPU (as opposed to a NUC-like, low wattage/low computing power solution) to sound more fleshed out, with better fundamentals, more balanced and effortless. 

What I've loathed even with many USB-implementations is the myriad of clocks, noise suppression devices here and there, external PSU's, cable hysteria on all fronts, optimization of USB-ports, this and that and back again. Sorry to be blunt, but it's just ludicrous. I remember when poster @romaz, I believe, threw in the towel more or less realizing the saturation point had been reached with the progressive complexity and number of boxes and cables that swelled up, and then reverted to a simpler outset. I certainly found that I relief, but I wager it had many confused seeing a leading figure making almost a 180..

 

It's not to say I have an investment in anything not USB; I'm sure it can sound absolutely great, and many swear by it. If my DAC/preamp had a more "modernized" USB input I wouldn't have ruled trying out a dedicated PCIe USB card like the ones from Pink Faun, JPLAY etc. in addition to a not insanely priced clock device, but the basic outset would still be that of a PSU and CPU powerful DIY music server, and work my way from there. 

 

Dedicated, digital AES/EBU output PCIe cards may sound (i.e.: not akin to sonically perceived) like a thing of the past, and while they are they're still a perfectly viable approach to my ears, not least with clock synchronization, and one much simpler to implement properly to my mind. The cards I'm looking into are used in the pro broadcast sector, and are rock solid and reliable 24/7. So long as the DAC has well developed, quality XLR and S/PDIF inputs I so no reason for concern. 

 

I guess I like to provoke the general consensus of the USB-approach with a step back into the past, with XLR not least. Forest for the trees, as they say..

 

Quote

 

Wouldn't touch USB unless I absolutely had to. No personal experience, but the massive degree of gut wrenching, agonising fiddling with this interface, that's documented everywhere, tells me that it's intrinsically a weak method for transfer of audio data - poor implementations of the link abound ... I have no interest in spending lots of time trying to debug this connection interface, in the pursuit of best sound.

 

I'm not technically proficient to comment on this, but as outlined above USB can seem a major drag to implement going by the sheer complexity of areas that need to be looked into.

Source: Synology NAS > DIY Mediaserver • Software: JRiver MC26 DLNA/Fidelizer 8.5 Digital output: Audiophilleo 2 + PurePower • DAC/preamp: Blue Cheese Audio Roquefort Digital cross-over: Xilica XP-3060 • Speakers: Electro-Voice TS940D LX (for active config.)  Subwoofers: 2 x MicroWrecker (tapped horn) • Poweramp EV horns: Belles SA-30 • EV bass amp: Lab.Gruppen FP6400 • Subs amp: Crown Audio K2 • EV horns cables: Mundorf silver/gold + Duelund DCA16GA (shotgun config.) • IC: Mundorf silver/gold XLR-RCA/Mogami 2549 XLR-XLR • Subs and EV bass cable: Cordial CLS 425 • Power cables: 15AWG Solid-core wire w/IeGo pure copper plugs (DIY)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve yet to be satisfied with coax, always seems to loose treble transients and the details that create the illusion of a live performance. USB is challenging but rewarding. Waiting now for an Iris to see

if it’s truly a next generation improvement. I don’t buy into adding reclockers/gadgets for the USB chain... that money should be spent on source solution improvement

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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


×
×
  • Create New...