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Coming Soon: Audio-GD Reference 3 USB>SPDIF converter/wonder-box

post #1 of 126
Thread Starter 

Update - I'm waiting to hear what this thing is capable of before I become truly interested in it. I need to know that it is a significant improvement over the PCLinkII that I have.

Well, I've got the makings of a nice setup coming together but I've been at a loss as to what is the right digital transport to get my computer wav/aiff/flac to my DAC. People have been pushing and pulling me in all directions saying X, Y, and Z is the best. It gets so controversial as to whether it's best to try to wirelessly remove the computer from the mix, and some people just say "It's only zeroes and ones." Leave it to Kingwa to add another product to the mix which I hope to be one of the first in the US to try.

I talked to him today, and while if you translate the original Chinese forum posts you'll see that he never sold it publicly, only to people that asked for it and so on, he says he is going to release it to us next month.

So, I asked him for the price, telling him that under $1000 would be great, and he assured me that it would be very cheap at the outset.

I tried to figure out all I could from the translated page, people over in China seem to like it pretty well, here's what I've found:

Power supply comparable in quality to that of the Ref1 but scaled to this smaller device
USB, optical, 2 coax and 2 BNC inputs
2 coax, 2 BNC outputs
DSP-1 for audio processing
Likely has current mode support to work with the CD7
Reclocking of the signal to remove jitter
Upsampling, you can set the sample rate with a knob on the front
Input switching - plug a ton of crap into your Ref1
USB to SPDIF conversion (obviously, that's its main purpose)

He could do something elaborate like the Squeezebox, but the fact is I think the whole removing the computer physically thing is overrated. Someone I know that is extremely experienced with gear worth 500x as much as mine uses a USB connection directly into a mac with a variety of other gear - they have tried every other solution possible and preferred this, so I am not at all phased by the idea of a direct computer connection, even if some people have had different results (like with $3000+ modded Squeezeboxes, although this is not in the same price class) with other gear. You never know what setup will work best for you, but I'm hoping this box will work for me.

Here's the pix from the AudioGD forum.

If anyone else knows anything relevant about this product...
post #2 of 126
Great but this piece of hardware doesn't reduce jitter any less than the RE1?
So why bother having this piece of equipment when you could probably have a direct connection from the PC via USB, TOSlink or coaxial to the RE1?
post #3 of 126
OMG. Does it need drivers? Here comes another converter to rate for my Buffalo. Is this purely a converter? or a dac plus converters?
post #4 of 126
Thread Starter 
it's a converter/switcher, reclocker and upsampler. It does not decode the digital signal not does it have analog output of any kind. The Ref1 doesn't have USB or optical. Leave it to Kingwa to explain later exactly why we need this, me I need a good USB to BNC convertor.
post #5 of 126
me as well, I am trying anything I can find, and I am always on the lookout for a better USB>Digital converter.
post #6 of 126
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm hoping he can offer some proof as to how it's superior, although the low price will certain help sell me along with Kingwa's reputation with all things DAC. I really, really don't want a Squeezebox.
post #7 of 126
Well, I am in the queue for this myself..

Initially, I was going to have the first piece (the sample board which Kingwa used for designing the converter) but later I changed my mind and got the REF1 first.

As of now I think he is running short of workers to assemble the REF3, once his new and bigger factory opens in 15th of this month, the REF3 should go into production.

As far as I know, there are a few local guys who had given him advance 2 years ago when he first started to design the REF3 that will get the first preference and rightly so. Price should be around USD400 - 500 initially..

Btw, it uses the same same chip as REF1 but only programmed to convert and upsample, the only problem it cant accept 24/96 from USB, the TAS1020 licence is too steep for him at the moment.
post #8 of 126
Thread Starter 
He really should try to get that license, it would make this thing a really heavy hitting contender...
post #9 of 126
Looks nice. Curious why it needs a reset button though.
post #10 of 126
Thread Starter 
It's for when it gets the Blue Screen of Death.
post #11 of 126
This looks like a good product, but is limited in that it will not support input via USB of more that 24/96. I also do not know why it includes up-sampling options when this is usually done by the DAC.
post #12 of 126
Seems like a compromised solution. You could get Cryo PC Parts which converts USB to optical/bnc/xlr and etc for $125 or so. Since the cap on the usb is 44.1kh/16bit, there is nothing that this DAC buys us other than little convenience.

Just my opinion.
post #13 of 126
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I just have the Cryoparts one until I can afford the Sonicweld Diverter which is going to give a cleaner conversion. I'm just doubtful the Ref3 can do a better job than the PC Link, although it may have some functionality to reduce jitter like the stuff from Empirical.
post #14 of 126
Is the switching capability the main difference between this and a product like the Bel Canto USB Link 24/96?

(I'm also not clear why you'd want the unit to upsample, but I guess if it can do it and can be defeated, why not.)
post #15 of 126
Someone really wanting the SOnicweld wowzer!
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