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V-link compatability with older 16 bit DAC's

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I am in the process of building my second music server. The first was primarily a headphone station and my attempt was to get the highest sound quality I could on a strict budget. I was reasonably successful using a Chaintec AV710 as an SPDIF output and a Chinese 24/96 external DAC and headphone amp. The sound was pretty good through my Grado SR150 headphones.


This time around I am planning to build the server around a USB to SPDIF converter. I have an older Theta Pro Prime 2a external 16bit DAC that can put out some really good sound when fed a good low jitter signal. I have experimented with an inexpensive USB to SPDIF unit that I got on ebay for 20 bucks. The unit was very picky about working with the old DAC. And very difficult to get working with the claimed generic drivers. Virtually no tech support in english.


Finally, I got it to work on a newer test computer. The older computer I am using for the server is an AMD XP 2 gig CPU. Before the x64 instruction set was added. On this CPU I have been unable to get the USB to SPDIF converter working. It is a Muse audio DigitalPClink. With the same drivers that worked on the newer PC it would not work on the older one. Well, let my be more specific. It won't work with the Theta DAC but it will work with the 24/96 Headphone DAC that I have. Even when I force the drivers to output in 16/44 code it won't lock to the DAC. So I'm thinking of a better converter that might be a little more flexible in being able to drive this older DAC.


I though that I might spring for the Musical Fidelity V-link. I'm going for first rate sound quality here since it will be hooked up to my main music listening system. The V-link seems to be a good value for the money.


I'm curious if anyone has used the V-link with one of these older 16 bit DACs.


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I've owned my V-Link for about 48 hours. Sounds good to my old Sony MD player as a DAC. The MD player is an ES so it's decent, but it will only take 16/44.1. I am using the built-in headphones amp/output with AKG K271. Sounds pretty good. I am using an Apogee glass optical cable, but a $0.99 USB cable. A Monster Cable USB cable is on ordered. Overall, I'm happy with the V-Link.


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  • 2 months later...

Have a look at my sig. :-)


Only thing I can't tell you is whether the older computer will throw a monkey wrench into things, since you say the current rig worked with a newer computer.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to Fitlet3 -> ISO Regen -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Thanks Jud. The Theta Prime and Basic were fairly similar DAC's so I think it would work. At this point I'm still not sure about the PC. I've tried this cheap USB to SPDIF convertor that I have and it has only worked on 1 of my PC's. A single core AMD 64. I have had trouble with it on 3 out of 4 pc's. So I know that it has problems. Yet the same problems existed with the single core AMD. It's just that I finally got it to work.


Since for the time being the PC used for the music server is going to be what it is. I'm thinking of trying out a cheaper USB to SPDIF unit like the TerraLink-X instead of the V-Link which should be better than the 20 dollar unit I have. I was impressed with the sound that I was finally able to get with the AMD PC. Very liquid sounding via: Muse Digital PC link -> Theta TLC -> Theta Pro Prime 2a -> Rotel preamp -> Rotel Monoblocks. So this has encouraged me regarding the USB to SPDIF approach. I now just need an inexpensive solution for that old PC that will be the music server.




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