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Trends Audio UD-10.1 USB Audio Converter to connect a DAC to laptop?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My current set-up is this:
- A Dell laptop with USB output (also firewire, esata, RJ45, mini-jack), which I use as my source. The music is flac files recorded from CDs (16 bits 44.1 khz).
- A Musical Fidelity USB V-DAC with RCA output
- A main amplifier & loudspeakers.

Could I do better using a higher-end DAC? Which ones (under 1000$)?
Concerning which DAC to use, I seem a little limited by the outputs of my laptop.
So would it be good to use a product like the Trends Audio UD-10.1 USB Audio Converter?
TrendsAudio
It has usb input and several outputs:
- Optical connector:TOSLINK
- Coaxial(RCA) connector:75 ohms
- Coaxial(BNC) connector:75 ohms
- AES/EBU(XLR) connector:110 ohms
The idea is that using this device I could connect a better DAC to my laptop. Is that correct?

Any advice appreciated, thanks!
post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8140david View Post
The idea is that using this device I could connect a better DAC to my laptop. Is that correct?
Correct, in theory this devide convert the digital "usb signals" to a digital signal form which can be interpreted by DACs without a USB input, this is done without affecting the level of information
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks.
The other question is whether the gain would be or could be significant.
And with which DACs?
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8140david View Post
Thanks.
1:The other question is whether the gain would be or could be significant.

2:And with which DACs?
I do not know enough to answer question 1, but I belive that it is not a issue, since it is a digital signal with. I dont think the strenght of signal does not affect the analog level, but I could be mistaken, It is either 1 or 0, ut of course within certain threshold voltage limits. (did I answer what you were wondering about?)

I am also looking for a DAC to connect to my computer in the 1000$ range, and I am concidering these:
Lavry DAC10
AUdio-gd DACs
CiAudio VDA•2
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I meant the gain in sound quality: whether the sound would be better.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8140david View Post
Thanks. I meant the gain in sound quality: whether the sound would be better.
aaah. no gain or loss (in theory, Some will dissagree) going througt the Trends Audio UD-10.1 USB Audio Converter.
It is the digital to analog signal that will influence the quality.

So the DAC wil have the major impact.

( Well, if the Trends Audio UD-10.1 USB Audio Converter adds a lot of jitter to the signal going through the digital out (especially coax) it will not improve the quality )
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yes, I am asking about the digital to analog part: whether using a higher-end Dac, such as the ones you mention (Lavry DAC10, AUdio-gd DACs, CiAudio VDA•2) would yield a significantly better result than my current set-up.
(It's difficult with those things: most often, they can't be tested before hand, at least in France.)
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8140david View Post
Yes, I am asking about the digital to analog part: whether using a higher-end Dac, such as the ones you mention (Lavry DAC10, AUdio-gd DACs, CiAudio VDA•2) would yield a significantly better result than my current set-up.
(It's difficult with those things: most often, they can't be tested before hand, at least in France.)
hehe, sorry. Seems like I am answering everything else.

Yes it will generally have a "big" influence (big is relative) getting A better DAC.

BUT, I dont know how good your DAC is so I cant answer.

EDIT: I did a fast check up of your product, and I think a DAC upgrade will definetly give you a better sound quality.

Insted of a USB to SPDIF/COAX converter AND a DAC you could get a good dac with a usb input such as the benchmark DAC1. But if you get the Trend, it will be easier to change dacs later on. because you will not be bound by the DAC's need for a USB input
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
In a way, it should be comparable to getting a better CD-player in a hifi setting. For why are some CD players better than others? Because of their transport (the player itself), because of their DAC, because of their alimentation, ...
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
By the way, the Audio-gd products are very appealing. Which one(s) are you considering for your set-up?
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8140david View Post
In a way, it should be comparable to getting a better CD-player in a hifi setting. For why are some CD players better than others? Because of their transport (the player itself), because of their DAC, because of their alimentation, ...
Both

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8140david View Post
By the way, the Audio-gd products are very appealing. Which one(s) are you considering for your set-up?
I havent made up my mind yet it is basically between the 4x1704uk DAC3SE ca900$ shipped, or all out DAC REF1 1600$ shipped. Wallet says DAC3se, heart say thump......thump.....thump (ref1) Wallet is probably gonna win though.


The DAC3se has a very good architecture. A bit similar to the Nakamichi DRAGON DAC.


Audio-GD is also creating a USBX1+coaxialX2+optial X1 input to coaxial output unit. Not listed yet because it is still in testing.

One extra thing about audio-gd is the fact that he devalue the package before shipping, so you will have to pay less tax ( I belive there is a import tax in france??)



The Lavry DAC10 has a great DAC and has a great head amp, it is the product I am concidering the most in addition to the DAC3SE.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks!
The combination of the DAC3se and the USBX1+coaxialX2+optial X1 input to coaxial output unit (this unit should sell around 500USD when ready, Kingwa says) could be interesting for me.
Or the Ref 1 + the Trends Audio USB converter.
So I guess I'll just wait.
And meanwhile, enjoy my current set-up, which is really not bad already!
Hopefully, doing so, I will forget about wanting to upgrade!
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8140david View Post
Thanks!
The combination of the DAC3se and the USBX1+coaxialX2+optial X1 input to coaxial output unit (this unit should sell around 500USD when ready, Kingwa says) could be interesting for me.
Or the Ref 1 + the Trends Audio USB converter.
So I guess I'll just wait.
And meanwhile, enjoy my current set-up, which is really not bad already!
Hopefully, doing so, I will forget about wanting to upgrade!
Good luck with that
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
By the way, what's so special with Audio-Gd's Reference 1 and 3? I didn't find the information on their website so clear...
And do you know if they (or earlier versions) have been compared to Dacs like the Lavry?
post #15 of 17
Trends is the very best you can do in its price range. I'm running one directly into a high-end DAC (Chord) and am very happy. @ $150, it's a bargoon.

That said, I have a better device on the way (Empirical modded Monarchy DIP with Superclock) to see how much jitter reduction will help me.

If you decide on the Trends, you must get the optional battery pack (and I recommend the new Hybrid rechargeables with a 15 min fast charger, so you can leave the Trends on all the time youa re at your computer.

Next up the list, is new Bel canto USB converter (not heard it though) @$499 or one Steve's (Empirical) Off Ramps (which can be customized with a jitter reduction Superclock. At the very least, go over to the Empirical Audio homepage and have a read; very informative.

The other "accepted" method is to go with a (very) high-end sound card like the Lynx @ $499, although you'll need a "quiet" PC for that, and you may still have to deal with jitter. Computer Audiophile's founder uses this type of system feeding a $5K DAC and considers it state of the art.

I'm slowly working my way through this stuff, and it's fun, as the manufacturers are finally seeing that the PC/MAC can substitute for a top-tier transport with a convenience can't be matched.

To some extent (and there is much debate over this) the quality of power (reduction of electrical "noise) and jitter control, through re-clocking at various signal stages, are two of the issues important to obtaining the best possible digital signal from a PC.
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