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Constantine USB DAC Rant

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
OK, so here's the deal.... I'm running 4 computers, one of which is a dedicated music computer.


I was originally using a DAC-AH for my amps. Then I bought a Zhaolu D2 and took it to the last NY meet, where Jahn said it sounded all over-samply.



Here's Jahn, from my web cam, right before he gave the Zhao the coup de grĂ¢ce.



Not influenced at all by what he said, I ordered a Constantine the next day......



So here I am, with a Constantine USB DAC connected optically to my Shuttle and I decide to check out the USB connection.

Wow,

lousy,

what a bummer!

Can't use it that way.

Apparently the USB circuit is inferior to the optical. Why would they even bother to do that? Just to say that they had a USB connection on their DAC? How much more could it possibly cost to get the USB quality up to the optical?

Now I'm wondering if the coax is better than the optical the way the optical is better than the USB?

Anyone make that comparison?

I can't wait to find out because I don't have a coax out....

USG
post #2 of 64
heh...way to be strong, upstateguy.
i'm considering an mhdt labs dac, but for use solely with a computer.
when you say the usb input is lousy, what specifically is lousy about it?
is this a jitter issue, or something else?
post #3 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaedrusX View Post
heh...way to be strong, upstateguy.
i'm considering an mhdt labs dac, but for use solely with a computer.
when you say the usb input is lousy, what specifically is lousy about it?
is this a jitter issue, or something else?
Hey Phaedrus

It sounds like they used a cheap chip for the USB implementation. The USB sound is thin and the bass is a fraction of what it is via optical, so USB is not the way to get the most out of a Constantine....

In its favor, the USB implementation by passes the K mixer because both the windows and sound card volume controls are inactive.

I don't know where you live, but I'll have it at the NY meet Nov 10, for anybody who wants to hear the difference between optical and USB.

USG
post #4 of 64
I think it probably converts the USB signal to SPDIF and then feeds that to the DAC receiver just like the ordinary optical/coax connection, rather than use an I2S interface.

I wouldn't say it's worse than the coax, it's just the same.
post #5 of 64
I have a Constantine USB+ and vastly prefer the optical out with a good quality glass toslink cable. The digital coax out is also very nice as I have my CDP hooked up there.

Spend $30 and get the AV710 soundcard for the optical out and use it as a pass-thru.
post #6 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazuki View Post
I think it probably converts the USB signal to SPDIF and then feeds that to the DAC receiver just like the ordinary optical/coax connection, rather than use an I2S interface.

I wouldn't say it's worse than the coax, it's just the same.
Hey Maz

You would think that they should be the same, and I would be really happy if that were the case, but it is not. The words "Full Bodied" come to mind and where the optical is, the USB is not. Btw, do you have a Constantine too?

USG
post #7 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecclesand View Post
I have a Constantine USB+ and vastly prefer the optical out with a good quality glass toslink cable. The digital coax out is also very nice as I have my CDP hooked up there.

Spend $30 and get the AV710 soundcard for the optical out and use it as a pass-thru.
Hi ecc

I'm hooked up the same way you are.... glass optical to the Constantine..... although I'm rather skeptical that my glass cable makes a difference.

USB
post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
Hi ecc

I'm hooked up the same way you are.... glass optical to the Constantine..... although I'm rather skeptical that my glass cable makes a difference.

USB

I originally had a toslink from monoprice.com which was not glass. I then bought a glass toslink (around $50...I'd have to dig to remember where I bought it) and the SQ was noticeably better. More details, richer sounding.

The digital coax to my CDP sound very good...almost as good as the optical, but then again, I'm using a cheap digital interconnect. I just haven't replaced it with a decent Signal or Heartland interconnect, yet.

I recall reading on this forum a while ago that the implementation of the USB on the Constantine was horrendous.
post #9 of 64
hmm...well, poor usb implementation knocks this down a notch or two.
a soundcard as transport is an option, but i'd rather keep the chain uncluttered.
i wonder if the paradisea uses the same usb chip and design?

usg...as much as i'd like to hear yours and everybody else's equipment and impressions in november, there's the small matter of an ocean that separates me from gotham.
stupid ocean.

peace.
post #10 of 64
What chip does it use for its usb implementation?
post #11 of 64
Based on the documentation I have it shows the USB Audio Chip as the CM101s...
post #12 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaedrusX View Post
hmm...well, poor usb implementation knocks this down a notch or two.
a soundcard as transport is an option, but i'd rather keep the chain uncluttered.
i wonder if the paradisea uses the same usb chip and design?

usg...as much as i'd like to hear yours and everybody else's equipment and impressions in november, there's the small matter of an ocean that separates me from gotham.
stupid ocean.

peace.

Where are you located Phaedrus?
post #13 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecclesand View Post
I originally had a toslink from monoprice.com which was not glass. I then bought a glass toslink (around $50...I'd have to dig to remember where I bought it) and the SQ was noticeably better. More details, richer sounding.

The digital coax to my CDP sound very good...almost as good as the optical, but then again, I'm using a cheap digital interconnect. I just haven't replaced it with a decent Signal or Heartland interconnect, yet.

I recall reading on this forum a while ago that the implementation of the USB on the Constantine was horrendous.
I changed from a high quality plastic fiber to a Dayton Glass and also thought I heard an improvement, but somewhere in the back of my mind I keep thinking that 1s are 1s and 0s are 0s regardless of what they pass through...
post #14 of 64
yup, laxx's constatine I heard was definitely worse through the usb then through the optical, even with a cruddy pcdp mini optical output
post #15 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinp6301 View Post
yup, laxx's constatine I heard was definitely worse through the usb then through the optical, even with a cruddy pcdp mini optical output
Thanks for the confirmation.......

Well, that settles that !

Is laxx still using his Constantine, or did he move on to something better?

Btw, I didn't see his name down for the meet.

USG
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