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Sonicweld/Cryo-Parts Diverter 96/24 USB to SPDIF Review - Page 7

post #91 of 310
Quote:
Originally Posted by komi View Post
Thanx for nice class about adventage of multilayer design
....my pleasure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by komi View Post
but here is my questions ...
Why no pic of this PCB with parts and - mesurements ...
I already commented on the measurements above. I will comment in more detail about the lack of PCB pictures in an upcoming post, but there are some comments below about that as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by komi View Post
I am not buying anything nice looking, specialy not audio ...
And that's your prerogative and I respect it, but I would love to have you lay bare the logic behind the ugly = better concept. By implication, the corollary to this is that any of the designers in the field who have produced great looking products (and there are many) are either untalented oafs or are engaged in some kind of nefarious and widespread plot to defraud the audio world. And I find that assumption more than a little disturbing. But I've addressed the whole issue of aesthetics in my first post, so if you haven't read that I'd encourage you to, if for no other reason than to be acquainted with an alternative perspective.

I must say I'm rather amazed that no one seems to have at least considered the possibility that a lousy housing might house a lousy design. I've certainly seen that occur many times, and not just in the audio world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by komi View Post
I want to know what i am buying ...
Sure, everyone does, but where do you draw the line? Do you insist on a detailed bill of materials with every device you buy? If you saw a picture of the internals, how would you judge exactly what you were buying, or whether it represented a good value? I'll give you an example. I can buy a SMD resistor in an 0402 (really tiny) package in a 5% tolerance or a .01% tolerance. The 5% part costs about $.005 in quantity, whereas the .01% could easily be $10. And they look EXACTLY THE SAME. So again, I ask - how would you judge the quality and value from a photograph?

Quote:
Originally Posted by komi View Post
You dont have some "magic" parts inside no one else have - or 6 layes PCB is worth that money ?
At no time have I claimed to be using any "magic" parts. What I'm offering isn't voodoo; it's just good engineering. Or, at least I think it is, but I'm learning all the time.

Similarly, I've never claimed to be using parts no one else has. A few of them might be a bit hard to find, but you or anyone else could buy anything inside the Diverter, with the exception of the circuit board of course... although a price might be negotiated even for that.

[Dr. Evil] - One BILLION dollars!

Finally, yes, I do think a well-designed six layer board represents a lot of money, and is worth charging for. I don't charge inordinately for it, but I'm certainly going to try to amortize the considerable design and prototyping costs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by komi View Post
Pics please ...
Sorry, I'm just not going there.
post #92 of 310
Thread Starter 
Believe me, I want my MOT badge, I offered $20 to Jude to just get on with it and update me, but no reply. Not for lack of trying.
post #93 of 310
Thanx for answer ... No, i just want a pic of pcb with parts ... No one want to provide, - and - i am not buying ..

That is all from me on this topic!
post #94 of 310
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by komi View Post
Thanx for nice class about adventage of multilayer design, but here is my questions ...
Why no pic of this PCB with parts and - mesurements ...

I am not buying anything nice looking, specialy not audio ...

I want to know what i am buying ... You dont have some "magic" parts inside no one else have - or 6 layes PCB is worth that money ?

Pics please ...
It's a lot of SMD parts. These high-speed SMD designs sound good, but they don't have all the flashy stuff poking off the board like Audio-GD's stuff. Audiophiles are like magpies, they like lots of shiny junk, maybe Josh doesn't want people copying his circuit. It has over 120 parts, it is complicated, we've established that. Who cares what it looks like inside?

The unique thing is the design, it's hard to say what parts are in there, what does it matter...do you know what parts go or should go into a USB to BNC converter?

This is the inside of one of his speakers, the pic on audiocircle:



It makes me want to puke when people want to hate on one of the few products out there that is built to this standard because they can't understand or afford it.
post #95 of 310
Well, you put nice price tag on your product, and i want to know why is that pricey, and you dont have answer ...

Quote:
It makes me want to puke when people want to hate on one of the few products out there that is built to this standard because they can't understand or afford it.
I dont hate it, and sure thing i cant afford this kind of speakers in THAT price range, but you come here to sell something to guys who can eventualy afford that one ...

You come here on forum talking abou that thing like is holly grail, and all answers you give is - NONE ...

Quote:
.. do you know what parts go or should go into a USB to BNC converter ?
Do you ?
post #96 of 310
Thread Starter 
Let's just stop at the fact that you do not get anywhere near the sound with a $150 converter box with a high end system like mine as you do with a Diverter. Regardless of what parts go in (there's over 120 parts inside) it is the design that matters most. A design isn't free, someone has to come up with it. This isn't a DIY design where someone already came up with it, and now you can just go assemble one. It has specialized manufacturing and design techniques which are not free to set up. We've already beaten a dead horse on why this thing is better - high quality parts, short signal paths, the right layout, the right impedances throughout, and a crapload of time invested. That's why it sounds good. You can't just take a device, calculate how many grams of each element are in it - aluminum, silicon, iron, buy them from a chemicals company, wave a magic wand, and have something like this.
post #97 of 310
Sure thing - looking good !

Can i buy just a anodized anclosure, THAT part i like ...

What ever, not for me, good luck with that one and good night Yall ...
post #98 of 310
Quote:
Originally Posted by komi View Post
Well, you put nice price tag on your product, and i want to know why is that pricey, and you dont have answer ...



I dont hate it, and sure thing i cant afford this kind of speakers in THAT price range, but you come here to sell something to guys who can eventualy afford that one ...

You come here on forum talking abou that thing like is holly grail, and all answers you give is - NONE ...



Do you ?
FYI--Peter does not sell the product under discussion here. He bought it from me. He has no stake in its success or failure, he is simply an end user who saw fit to post his impressions of a product.

And, furthermore, to address your point above that "we come here to sell things to...", yes, that is true, I am in business to make money. I am a sponsor of Head-Fi and occasionally sell things to people here, however, the business I generate from my involvement in and sponsorship of this community is a very small portion of my overall sales. Frankly, I could walk away tomorrow and not feel a blip in my overall sales. I simply sponsor and participate in Head-Fi (and AudioCircle, the only other forum I "regularly" participate in) because I want to, because I like the discussion and community.

I can afford to sponsor/support things that I think that are important and/or fun, so I do. If I make some sales, great. If not, great. I have no "evil" agenda.

Lee
post #99 of 310
Quote:
Let's just stop at the fact that you do not get anywhere near the sound with a $150 converter box with a high end system like mine
Exactly! I don't own this unit, but I do own the Empirical Audio Offramp 3. I've tried a few of the cheaper USB>S/Pdif boxes and they don't sound as good. That's the bottom line. I don't know what's in them and I don't really care. Even if I did, I wouldn't understand just by looking at the parts. I will say one thing-The Offramp comes in an inexpensive Hammond type box and weighs a few ounces. Granted it does come with a little wart power supply too. I wish it felt half as solid and looked half as good as the Diverter. Thankfully it does sound real good which in the end is my primary concern. I've learned over the years with audio gear, that you can't judge a book by it's cover.

Now can we get back to talking about the performance of this unit?!?
post #100 of 310
Quote:
Originally Posted by komi View Post
Well, you put nice price tag on your product, and i want to know why is that pricey, and you dont have answer ...
What the heck are you talking about? He answered that question several times and explained in great detail why.
post #101 of 310
Quote:
Originally Posted by gevorg View Post
Since when licensing a technology is a bad thing? And BTW, any hardware device needs a driver, whether its own or generic OS one. These points are irrelevant to differentiate yourself from others.
This is from the Cryoparts website, and I think Lee's point there was simply that the Diverter doesn't use some of the other more common methods of accomplishing USB to SPDIF conversion. No one said licensing tech is bad; it's a perfectly valid means of bringing a product to market. We all stand on the shoulders of giants, whether technology is licensed, created in-house, or simply bought in the form of an IC. And I disagree that not using special drivers isn't a valid point of differentiation: some products do require this, and although we're not the only ones that don't, it is certainly relevant because having to install third-party drivers represents a significant inconvenience for some people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gevorg View Post
Even Empirical Audio's basic $700 Off-Ramp (which is an overkill for many audio systems) has a 12V DC input. No need to attempt to make USB power cleaner.
I'm really glad you brought this up, because this is an audio sacred cow that desperately needs to be slain IMHO. If there's anything I pride myself on as a designer, it's dealing with power supplies. I think a good power supply is the single most important design feature of a piece of audio gear. Whether it's an amp, DAC, converter, or whatever - at the end of the day all audio gear is just a modulated power supply. Does it surprise you or seem hypocritical of me to say that when I'm using the USB bus for power? Can’t figure out why I didn’t opt an outboard supply? Read on.

Friends, I'll just lay it out for you, and I of course qualify this as my opinion with no desire to offend. I think there are four reasons outboard power supplies are so popular in our industry:

1.) It provides the illusion of additional value - hey, there's another box there, right? Two boxes must be better than one, no?

2.) It can look cooler or more sophisticated. Sure, I'll even admit that. Especially if the umbilical cable looks cool, with some boss connectors - there's just more tech love there.

3.) The claim is often made of improved shielding and / or vibration isolation. There may be some merit to the shielding argument, but there's no reason that can't be done inside the main device. Same goes for vibration control; I can't see how a separate enclosure is inherently better in this regard. In the case of the Diverter, all the first-stage filtering and conditioning occurs on the bottom side of the PCB, which is completely shielded from the top side where the conversion occurs. And as for vibration control, that’s an integral function of the machined chassis and the special damping feet. Also, all of the bypass caps are non-microphonic film types.

4.) It's another SKU to sell. More parts, more things, more upgrade paths, another sales opportunity. Start the customer off with the basic power supply, and sell them later on the ultraluxe model. That's not inherently bad or deceptive, it's just good business, and perhaps gives the customer the ability to start off at a lower level and upgrade when finances improve. But it doesn't mean it's better from a technical point of view, and I will always do what I feel is the best technically, regardless of whether it might be a missed future sales opportunity.

I have two objections to outboard power supplies:

1.) The power delivery path is longer, with a higher current loop area, and therefore has higher impedance. An umbilical cable of some kind must always connect the supply and the load together. I spend a lot of time and effort in minimizing the impedance of my supply, so why would I want to go deliberately go and add some? I should note here that impedance, in the form of inductance, is often and legitmately used in power supplies for filtering, and I sometimes use this technique myself. But you want to apply such a technique in the right place. In the case of an outboard supply, presumably you have the main voltage conversion components and bulk capacitance remotely, and then the local regulation in the powered device. A low impedance connection between the bulk capacitance and the downstream load is generally desirable. I suppose someone could account for the umbilical as part of the L section of a Pi filter, with the second-stage shunt caps on the receive side, but I’ve never seen that done. In short, I just don’t see any compelling reason to offer an outboard supply, other than the fact that nearly everyone seems to consider it de rigueur.

In the case of the Diverter, the low-ESR bulk capacitance is attached directly to power and ground planes. The audio community often touts the benefits of low-ESR capacitance, as if that attribute imbued the capacitors with some transcendent properties that are always in effect regardless of how they're used. If your expensive low-ESR caps are many inches away and connected via an umbilical, you just nulled much of their potential benefit.

2.) Because the supply has an umbilical cable, you've just unwittingly attached an antenna to it, which is ironic given that one of the presumed benefits of an outboard supply is that it is quieter. That's right - a new path for egress or ingress of EMI/RFI. You can shield the cable, sure, but why not just get rid of it altogether?

In the interest of nipping a flame war in the bud, some of you might be objecting that you’ve heard the benefit an outboard supply can impart. Sure, and so have I. But in order to do a meaningful comparison, you’d have to listen to a device with an outboard supply, and then with that same supply built internally, yet with all the same shielding the outboard one featured. I have done that, I the internal one wins every time. So my point isn’t that outboard supplies can’t be a legitimate upgrade over stock, just that as I designer I will always choose to build that upgraded supply internally so as to obtain the shortest possible power delivery path. In the upcoming Decoder DAC, for instance, the power supply is part of the overall device and isn’t outboard in the traditional sense, but it does reside in its own machined cavity, with 360 degree shielding. It gives me all the shielding benefits of the outboard supply, but has a power delivery path of less than one inch. Granted, it can’t be field upgraded with a new supply, but doing it right the first time is a more than acceptable tradeoff to me.

I want to state unequivocally that in my opinion, the best power supply is the most compact possible one, with the lowest noise and output impedance, that is as physically close to its load as I can possibly make it. And that's exactly what I've done in the Diverter: there are multiple, agressive stages of filtering, there are three separate supplies using the lowest-noise regulators on the market, and there are three, large multi-element, computer-optimized bypass networks that connect directly across the power and ground planes.

In the case of the USB bus supply specifically - a lot of criticism has been heaped upon it because it comes from the computer, a worldwide EMI/RFI pariah. And I don't disagree on this point; the USB Vbus supply is not what anyone would call an "audio-grade" supply. But it isn’t exactly Satan’s own voltage source, either. I can surely turn it into an audio-grade supply, just the same as someone can turn an AC supply into something worthy of the finest audio electronics.

Look, a power supply is fundamentally a potential difference (voltage) and a means for current to flow. Give me that, and I'll work with it from there. The USB supply isn't any worse than working with an AC wall supply that has all kinds of garbage riding on it; in fact, it at least has the advantage of tighter regulation! An entire cottage industry has sprung up around cleaning up and purifying AC power, and rightfully so. Few people seem to question the benefit that a good AC power delivery system can have. Can't some of those same techniques be efficacious when dealing with the USB power supply? As long as I have sufficient voltage and current capability, adequate PCB area and parts budget, I could power the Diverter from the magneto in your lawnmower's Briggs & Straton and have it sound good. But some of you won't believe this, because you've heard and repeated the myths so many times that they've become immutable gospel. Electrons coming from blessed and sanctified outboard sources are good; electrons coming from nasty, evil, wicked PC supplies are hopelessly tainted and incapable of redemption.

Another sacred cow is that of the "high-current" supply, and that does have legitimate application in the case of something like an amplifier. I'm sure there are some who think a big 300VA toroid and a few hundred thousand microfarads of capacitance would convey an aura of legitimacy to the Diverter, but I just don't agree. Again, if I were to do that and build it to the same standard as the current product, it would be unnecessarily larger, heavier, and more expensive. With half an amp of capability, the USB bus is more than robust enough to supply the current pull of the Diverter, which is less than 50mA steady-state, and has a very well-controlled and brief inrush current of 450mA peak on startup. The degree to which high-current supplies improve low-powered device like preamplifiers or digital electronics isn't so much anything to do with their actual ability to deliver sick amounts of current, but rather their low impedance and noise signature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gevorg View Post
Hard to open case to see internals. Remember Singlepower?
I realize Sonicweld may be unfamiliar to you as a brand, so you may not be acquainted with the kind of work I do. If you're worried that I've secreted away some repellent rat's nest of parts and wires inside of the Diverter, you can stop worrying. Such a design would be as diametrically opposed to my own as I could conceive of. Look at the photo of the Pulserod internals posted by Scootermafia; the internals of the Diverter are very much like that.

I reiterate my intention to not publish photos of the Diverter internals in the conceivable future. I think it’s very likely that the design would be misunderstood by much of the forum community in general. I don’t mean to tar everyone with the same brush in saying this, but many of the posts in this thread confirm that suspicion in my mind.

The enclosure is designed to be permanently sealed; even I haven’t been able to open it without damage. Any attempt to do so will of course void your warranty. Another reason I’ve done this is to discourage mod attempts, which would likely be disastrous. This is not the sort of device you can pop a “better” anything into; it’s entirely surface-mount, and wasn’t designed to be upgraded. Even if you had the soldering skill to attach them, none of the boutique parts would fit anyway, and all the problems I outlined in my discourse about the PCB design (parasitics) would take effect. FWIW, I designed the Diverter with the best parts I could find for the application. If there was something I felt would yield an improvement, I put it in, just as I do with all my design work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gevorg View Post
No explanation on how the device achieves low jitter. Is it because it has "Elegant" PCB design?
Yes, in fact, at least in part. Read my earlier post about the PCB design for more details. PCB design absolutely affects jitter, undoubtedly.

As an endnote - there’s been a quite a flurry of posting today, and much of it from me. Perhaps too much, but I wanted to make an effort to explain several salient points. I’m going to lay low for a little bit, and I do need to get back to the business. I’ll continue to monitor the thread and will chime in if it seems I can clarify something. I think I’ve spoken my peace on most of the issues people raised, and while the answers may not be to your satisfaction, I think they’re sufficient for my purposes.
post #102 of 310
As rediculous as it sounds, I call a converter showdown! Less talk (lots less) and more walk. Someone compare these- Musiland 01/02, AGD Ref-3, Terra-X, Bel Canto USBLINK and Sonicweld, among others, and you can put your money where your mouths are.

BTW, comparing the REF-3 to some yesteryear (your term) computer that used tubes is not a great argument now that I think about it more, and plain petty. How outdated of them to use lots of parts??
post #103 of 310
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarplayer View Post
FYI--Peter does not sell the product under discussion here. He bought it from me. He has no stake in its success or failure, he is simply an end user who saw fit to post his impressions of a product.

And, furthermore, to address your point above that "we come here to sell things to...", yes, that is true, I am in business to make money. I am a sponsor of Head-Fi and occasionally sell things to people here, however, the business I generate from my involvement in and sponsorship of this community is a very small portion of my overall sales. Frankly, I could walk away tomorrow and not feel a blip in my overall sales. I simply sponsor and participate in Head-Fi (and AudioCircle, the only other forum I "regularly" participate in) because I want to, because I like the discussion and community.

I can afford to sponsor/support things that I think that are important and/or fun, so I do. If I make some sales, great. If not, great. I have no "evil" agenda.

Lee
OK, nice to meet you too ... There was "Tested, then "Designer" and now here is a "Seller" ... i have simple question for all of 3 of you ...

Why should i pay That thing $ 1,004.00 !

Is simple like that .... Just avoid nice Aircraft Aluminum case machines on stat of the art CNC machine wirh 4 or 6 tool change etc ...

I am not buying Harley aftermatket parts, i want to know WHY i should buy that USB to SPDIF convertet and pay that money ...

All i got here, is "Sound better then anything else on tha market" have that many parts inside, and i machined on that way ...

IF i know what i am buying - maybe i dont want that "Divider" - cuz seems to me like i am paying a nice Aluminum case, what i dont care, i prefer to buy nice stuff in Hammond case over average stuff in nice looking case .... - for same money ...

This is what i am talking about ...

But - THAT thing is THAT revolutionary designed - not a Tester, not a Designer, not a Seller CANT provide any info more then - it is good, you gotta believe ...


Like i say - if someone want nice money for something unusual:



i want to know what i am buying:




Why you guys are Upset, you are selling stuff in online shop, and i cant test it - right - IF i cant test it, give me reason why i should buy ... Is that sound resonable to you ?
post #104 of 310
Quote:
Originally Posted by komi View Post
OK, nice to meet you too ... There was "Tested, then "Designer" and now here is a "Seller" ... i have simple question for all of 3 of you ...

Why should i pay That thing $ 1,004.00 !


Why you guys are Upset, you are selling stuff in online shop, and i cant test it - right - IF i cant test it, give me reason why i should buy ... Is that sound resonable to you ?
Not upset at all, life is way too short to get upset over something posted in a forum, or any piece of audio gear for that matter. In the end, it's all just toys, fun toys we are passionate about, but, nevertheless, toys.

It's like I said earlier. Buy one, or don't. It's your choice. Cool with me either way. This is probably not the product for you, as we have disclosed all that we are willing to at this point, and that is not enough. It is what it is.

I am not going to give a "sales pitch", here in the general forums. Anyone who knows me and does business with me knows that I am very low key and easy to get along with, and don't "push" stuff on people. I am not the one to look to if you need to be "sold".

Peace,

Lee
post #105 of 310
Quote:
Originally Posted by punk_guy182 View Post
Your answers and you sarcasm is not helping me understand your product.
In other words, you want to see the internals so you can make up your mind based on your pseudo-knowledge of these things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayDee View Post
I reiterate my intention to not publish photos of the Diverter internals in the conceivable future. I think it’s very likely that the design would be misunderstood by much of the forum community in general. I don’t mean to tar everyone with the same brush in saying this, but many of the posts in this thread confirm that suspicion in my mind.
I think you're dead right. This isn't an audiophile forum, it's a gadget-phile forum. Also, very few people here have any understanding of business and engineering, let alone both. Add to that a handful of people whom are so vocal about their extremely biased opinions that they post furiously to try and prove that they are right, and I'm surprised that you have bothered at all. However, your efforts are very welcome.
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