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Disappointed with M Audio Transit performance - what's wrong?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I listen to a quite a bit of music (rock/pop) on my laptop either through some Sennheiser HD205 headphones or connected to a Cambridge Audio amplifier.

With the laptops built in soundcard I was getting distortion at higher frequency sounds (for example when someone said "s" it sounded distored/noisy/crackly, the same for music)

So based on the many good reviews over the web I bought an M Audio Transit USB.

While with this the clearly noticeable distortion is gone, the overall sound quality seems worse. Music sounds flat and even muffled. It has no impact, the overall range of sounds produced seems less and when is there doesn't make me want to listen to it.

This is in Windows Vista and WMP or WinAmp, using my headphones or amp I get very similar results.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to improve this? Is there a different driver? (I'm just being hopeful here). I'm starting to wonder if mine is faulty, is that likely?

Forum looks good BTW, I've been reading it for a while now
post #2 of 9
Don't really think anything is wrong as such other than you probably need better sound than the Transit is going to give; it uses lots of small/low-power/cheap ICs to get portability and flexible connectivity.

It's not really meant to compete primarily as your main source.
post #3 of 9
Change your WMP/Winamp players to Foobar or XMPlay and download the WASAPI plugin(Foobar only, already included in XMPlay) and use WASAPI for the output, the results will be excellent provided your other equipment is up to it.
post #4 of 9
The right ASIO plug-in will probably make a difference, but as stated above, it is a cheap device and just does not sound very good due to excessive jitter. Also, the S/W driver used with it is not great, so the sound quality suffers.

You can email me and I will send you a good ASIO to try with it. This gets stored in the "components" file of the Foobar player. I wil give you instructions. If you are using WMP, then forget it, you will never get great sound quality.

When you are ready to spend some money, look at Off-Ramp:
ramblings computer based audio

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioengr View Post
does not sound very good due to excessive jitter.

I thought those things had buffers in them so that jitter would have no effect?
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaddix View Post
I thought those things had buffers in them so that jitter would have no effect?
Most converter devices have very small buffers, a few bits, but dont reclock. They all have PLL's of one type or another. Jitter ALWAYS has an effect on these, usually a BIG effect. Only true reclockers reclock. True reclockers are: Genesis Digital Lens, Empirical Audio Pace-Car and DDDAC. The DDDAC throws away or inserts duplicate bits to stay in sync, so it is not bit-perfect. The reclockers have large memory-based buffers in them. ASRC is also affected by jitter. Some DAC manufacturers claim that all inputs to their DAC's are immune to jitter and jitter does not matter. I've modded enough DAC's to know this is simply not true.

Jitter is very difficult to eliminate and circuits that are immune to incoming jitter are rare. The new Sabre DAC chip claims to be immune, but I have to hear it to believe it.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
post #7 of 9
<snip>
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioengr View Post
Jitter is very difficult to eliminate and circuits that are immune to incoming jitter are rare.
Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Yikes didn't know that, thanks for the info. If you're still around, I have a question. I'm currently using a cheap usb>optical converter for my zero dac, would getting a soundcard with optical out reduce jitter?
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaddix View Post
Yikes didn't know that, thanks for the info. If you're still around, I have a question. I'm currently using a cheap usb>optical converter for my zero dac, would getting a soundcard with optical out reduce jitter?
If the cheap USB to Optical converter uses the PCM270X, then it is likely that a soundcard will be better. Depends on the soundcard though and how much jitter is intrinsic in your PC. They are both pretty bad jitter-wise IME.

The best thing is to get away completely from Toslink and use S/PDIF coax and use an external converter that gives you low-jitter. I cant' believe your DAC only has Toslink input.

Have you read this? Maybe you are using one of these:
ramblings computer based audio

Steve N.
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