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Raimund Heubel

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  1. The German company 'artistic fidelity' applies USB-to-optical conversion since 2015 when they introduced their first DDC device - the 'afi-usb' - which uses 3 fibre optical cables to convert the USB data stream into a digital non-Toslink optical signal. Since then they perfected the optical interface to what they now call 'arfi-link' which in my eyes is the best way to connect their renderers 'arfi-stream' to their DACs.
  2. The German company 'artistic fidelity' applies USB-to-optical conversion since 2015 when they introduced their first DDC device - the 'afi-usb' - which uses 3 fibre optical cables to convert the USB data stream into a digital non-Toslink optical signal. Since then they perfected the optical interface to what they now call 'arfi-link' which in my eyes is the best way to connect their renderers 'arfi-stream' to their DACs.
  3. Chris, as you can see in the 1st picture both the „arfi-stream“ renderer on top as well as the „artiflex“ DAC below have multiple non-optical outputs respective inputs a customer can choose from when ordering such devices from the company „artistic fidelity“. From my meanwhile years of experience in using these devices I can however say I sound wise clearly prefer the optical I/O over SPDIF, AES/EBU or USB. Only the ethernet RJ45 format - if properly implemented - comes close. But if customers want Toslink I/Os they can have them, for me there is no turning back.
  4. Why not consequently have ethernet or optical input and optical output as you can see below and here in order to best possible isolate the digital data stream before it enters the DAC? I have already moved on...
  5. I have just received the Pro-Ject "Pre-Box S2 Digital" as well as the Pro-Ject "Accu Box S2 USB" and have installed them in my home office, here are my first impressions. What can I say? So far I am quite happy with the sound quality especially considering the rather low price point of the two units. The battery powered PSU much improved the sound with clearer voices, more precise mids and bass, there is no turning back. The comparison is easily possible by switching the "Accu Box S2 USB" PSU off and on by using the button on the left. In the near field - I am sitting about 1 m away from the "Abacus C-Box 2" Active Speakers - the "Pre Box S2 Digital" delivers a very detailed sound image, the music easily separates from the speakers and creates a 3D sound stage more wide than deep. There is a bit of tendency to harsh, more digital synthetic than analog organic sounding highs probably owed to the fact that the DAC and the PSU are new and require some more hours of playback time to smoothen out. The bass is more on the light side and definitely takes advantage of the battery powered PSU to grow its presence and fundament. The strength of the system definitely is its great performance-to-price ratio which - I guess - will not be beaten easily.
  6. Thanks for your assessment of the "Accu Box S2 USB" power supply and the link to the neighbour forum which provided an interesting read. I cannot wait to get my hands on these two little devices and give them a critical listen myself. I agree there are much cheaper 3rd party battery power solutions, still I am in favor of the common design language between the "Pre Box S2D" and the "Accu Box S2 USB" despite the higher price point of the later compared to these 3rd party PSUs. Nevertheless I regard both devices as rather cheap compared to prices you usually pay for similar equipment from other makes.
  7. I thought the clicking noise and the reverse channel were fixed in the 2.12 fw release but not the MQA drop outs entirely. I am not (yet) a great fan of MQA but of course will try it out as soon as the new unit I have on order right now will have arrived hopefully later this week.
  8. Hallo, I have worked my way through the meanwhile 44 off long pages of this thread but I cannot recall having read yet about listening experiences of users with the battery powered Pro-Ject 'Accu Box S2 USB'. I do not only like the fact it is supposed to provide clean power but it also comes in the same small box design and size as the 'Pre Box S2 Digital' which would perfectly fit my current desktop set-up - Mac mini late 2018, PureMusic 3.09c, iTunes 12.9.5 plus powered speakers Abacus 'C-Box 2'. I am aware and perfectly understand how important clean power provided to Digital devices is but nobody in this thread has yet shared specific feedback of how much (or less) the 'Accu Box S2 USB' helps to enhance the already praised sound quality of the 'Pre Box S2 Digital'? Is there any feedback available?
  9. ... yes but it is not the first of the kind of USB-to-Optical converter via fibre optical cables (FOCs)! Please take a look here or here.
  10. It's here: http://www.artistic-fidelity.de/index.php/en/xt-serie and here (plus on my profile photo!): http://www.artistic-fidelity.de/index.php/en/modulare-serie and both of these DACs simply sound great. Please check here one of my numerous thread responses and activities in this forum to explain the concept behind these DACs. Don't hesitate to ask further questions if you need to.
  11. I cannot agree more. What you are looking for - I guess - is a re-clocking device that not only converts and re-clocks the incoming USB data stream but isolates the digital source from the DAC at the same time. While there a multiple USB converters/re-clockers available in the market I have never seen a better device that so consequently isolates the source from the DAC as the 'afi + external USB-module' or the 'afis+ external USB-module' from the Germany based company 'artistic fidelity'. Please check these devices out here . What makes these isolator switches + their external USB-modules so unique and efficient is that the USB signal will firstly be converted into an optical signal via three fibre optical cables (FOC) for maximum isolation from interference before the signal in a second step will be re-clocked/converted. I own the 'afis + ext. USB-module' (plus their external PSU 'arfi-psu' plus the DAC 'arfi-dac2' ) since September last year and could not be happier with the results of a very relaxing, analog like sound.
  12. I fully agree, this is a really well written review and proper DAC comparison test which is greatly missed these days in any public media dealing with our hobby. What impresses me most is the logic in each of the steps you, ‘austinpop‘, are undertaking to achieve your goal of the highest sound quality in a DAC at an affordable, i.e. value for money, price point. Best Regards, Raimund
  13. I am glad you found your way through this and a small and lean system you seam to really enjoy. I guess the dCS NB is a great digital audio interface/source even if not the cheapest offering in the market. As you probably have noticed I am still using my Mac mini as a multimedia source but sound quality in combination with the artistic fidelity equipment (psu, isolator switch and DAC) remains damn good. This system although compact in size is however not as lean as yours now in terms of no. of boxes. Artistic fidelity will soon present their 1st streamer including their patented USB connection via vibre optical cables to achieve optimal isolation. This source - I am sure - has great potential to outperform my optimized Mac mini running PureMusic. I hope I can also compare it to the NB one day, I will keep you posted and others interested. And thanks for your reply!
  14. Let me encourage you to visit the parallel 'Hifideluxe' show at the Munich Marriott Hotel and experience the new XT-Series - the new 'arfi-dac2xt' DAC plus the new 'arfi-muse2xt' Music Server - from http://www.artistic-fidelity.de/ in studio 4 and 5 together with 'Acapella Audio Arts'.
  15. I hope we all agree that isolating, cleaning, re-clocking the USB-signal in conjunction with a good power supply all the way up in the chain up to and including the DAC itself is a must have to achieve the best sound performance. The concepts how to achieve this may vary - I still find the conversion of the source USB datastream into an optical signal transport via FOCs as developed by ‘artistic fidelity‘ the most convincing - but after having experienced such set-up for quite some time now I could not live without it anymore. There is so much black background, so much naturally sounding and easy to follow instruments and voices, wide and deep sound stages, ..., simply music that I do not want to miss it anymore. Enough said....
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