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USB to SPDIF converters shoot-out : EMU 0404 USB vs. Musiland Monitor 01 USD vs. Teralink-x vs. M2Tech hiFace - Page 89  

post #1321 of 1712

To put my 0,02€ in ongoing debate...

 

I'd agree with Slim, but I'd put it differently: hiFace is not a soundcard or DAC, it does not have "sound signature" - it just converts USB data packets to SPDIF stream and it does this with better signal quality and greater precision than majority of other converters/DAC USB inputs available at the moment. Perceived "brightness" in some setups can be attributed to the combination of DAC/amp elements in those setups. I am speaking from my experience with quite a few converters/DAC USB inputs on quite a few different setups.

 

That said, certain (IMO) inferior converters can complement better with strengths and weaknesses of less neutral setups, "hide" the flaws and "sound better" in those setups. It is called component matching or "synergy". For example: HT HagUSB with CA DacMagic through GS Solo give "smoother and more balanced sound" than with hiFace in HagUSB's place. Take a "non nervous" DAC and more transparent amp and you see that HagUSB is not even close to hiFace's "dynamics, resolution and range" (which are not hiFace's attributes, all hiFace does is higher quality/precision SPDIF stream).

 

As for various clicks, pops and dropouts - it is always your computer. Be it slow/crappy/old HW, high DCP latency, USB interrupt conflicts... or just foobar (or other audio player) misconfiguration. Always. I do agree that some converters are pickier and harder to make "quiet", but hiFace is not among those.

post #1322 of 1712

Oh, and...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post

The people that have found problems with the HiFace have had a number of different DACs. Off the top of my head, I can think of the Reference 1, DA100, DAC19, y2, all of which are different sounding. I find it hard to believe that all of these DACs would have the very same flaws.

 

 

Re-1 and γ2 have absolutely no problems with hiFace (have not heard DAC19 through hiFace).

 

Re-1 has no flaws.
 

post #1323 of 1712

Everyone's opinion is useful. Let's presume we know what gear is bad with the hiface, people with those gear can avoid the hiface until another time :p.

 

Also, pop clicks etc can be fixed by raising latency ms inside foobar, and giving highest processor priority to foobar and reducing priority of other programs.

post #1324 of 1712



I agree with this.  This issue is the stock Hiface may have low jitter,  but with the SMPS the jitter is concentrated in certain frequencies and more audibile,  I would never have bought one had I not intended to upgrade the power to the clocks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post


 

 

The people that have found problems with the HiFace have had a number of different DACs. Off the top of my head, I can think of the Reference 1, DA100, DAC19, y2, all of which are different sounding. I find it hard to believe that all of these DACs would have the very same flaws. It is much more likely that the HiFace is causing the coloration.

 

I've just come to the conclusion that our preferences differ. I just believe that you like the sound the HiFace produces, while some others don't. I do not think it had anything to do with their systems. Moreover, the HiFace was the ONLY transport out of all the ones I tried (02US, Teralink-X2, motherboard, Essence ST, Essence STX) that produced the sound that some like USG and I are describing.
 


Edited by regal - 5/18/10 at 10:33am
post #1325 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by padam View Post


So you're suggesting to ask opinion from someone who is probably the most biased in this matter? 


I don't blame you for thinking that I would be biased, if I were you I would be thinking the same thing seeing as I modify Hiface units & charge for my time to do so. BUT I posted some time ago on DIYAudio when I detailed all the modifications to both the Musiland 01USD & then later the Hiface that the stock Hiface sounded about on par with the highly modified 01US that I had done. These mods to the Musiland were extensive & I would reckon brought it to a higher level than the Musiland 02USD. Anyway all these comments were before I had any intention of doing these mods for others - I only started doing this because of the number of requests I got to do the mods - so I guess you can judge for yourself how biased those comments were.


Edited by jkeny - 5/18/10 at 11:17am
post #1326 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post



I agree with this.  This issue is the stock Hiface may have low jitter,  but with the SMPS the jitter is concentrated in certain frequencies and more audibile,  I would never have bought one had I not intended to upgrade the power to the clocks.


 

Yes, once you are relying on an unknown PS quality for the powering of these sensitive devices you are in unknown territory & the combination of possible parameters that may effect the sound grows exponentially. This is what led me to do the experiments I did on the Hiface & before that on the Musiland. In all cases it proved to be beneficial to move away from USB power (SMPS PS as Regal says)
 

post #1327 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post

      Quote:


You have some nice stuff K_19.  I see we have Stellos, Woos and Gilmores in common.

 

What happens if you run the HiFace on your netbook at 32bits and 100ms, other than increased popping/ clicking?  Does it pop if you're just listening, or is it when you are doing some sort of work, or just when you change tracks?

 

Are you running your Stello in bypass or 192? (I haven't tried it with my Stello yet)

 

By all means bring in your cable experiences.  I'd like to hear your impressions of what worked and what didn't. 

 

Regarding sibilance:  I don't really hear sibilance that is not present in the original source material.  What I find is that the entire spectrum is boosted, volume-wise, in the treble region relative to what I'm used to hearing... so in with that in mind, what transport were you using prior to the HiFace?

 

USG

 

USG, I've experimented with the 32bit and buffering option and it seems that the buffering has MUCH bigger impact on my low spec system than the bit option.  When I choose the 100ms option my notebook actually PAUSES and stutters whenever I maximize/minimize windows or if I do any clicking, making it unusable.  500ms is as low as I can go before I start hearing those detrimental effects.  As for the bits, 32 seems the same as 24 in that it clicks and pops every time I manually switch tracks (this typically only happens when you go to one encoding type to another; e.g: FLAC to MP3).  So 16 bits and 1000ms buffer seems the best for my system without experiencing any glitches.

 

As for the Stello, I tend to prefer bypass for orchestral/acoustic pieces but upsampling for stuff like rock/pop for the reasons that you should already know (bigger/more coherent soundstage/bass in bypass opposed to more upfront/sharp presenation of upsampling).  In either case it doesn't seem to really affect the glitches mentioned.

 

Regarding the colouration debate on the Hiface, I do feel that it is somewhat upfront in its presentation, I agree with that much.  I've matched the rest of the system in order to compensate for this however (using warm/laid back sounding tubes, IC's, etc) so I'm still happy with it.  It's still miles better than Stello USB and the uDAC I was using as a converter before the Hiface (I found the uDAC INCREDIBLY laid back as a converter, btw).
 


Edited by K_19 - 5/18/10 at 11:45am
post #1328 of 1712


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post


 

 

The people that have found problems with the HiFace have had a number of different DACs. Off the top of my head, I can think of the Reference 1, DA100, DAC19, y2, all of which are different sounding. I find it hard to believe that all of these DACs would have the very same flaws. It is much more likely that the HiFace is causing the coloration.

 

I've just come to the conclusion that our preferences differ. I just believe that you like the sound the HiFace produces, while some others don't. I do not think it had anything to do with their systems. Moreover, the HiFace was the ONLY transport out of all the ones I tried (02US, Teralink-X2, motherboard, Essence ST, Essence STX) that produced the sound that some like USG and I are describing.
 





Quote:
Originally Posted by FauDrei View Post

Oh, and...
 

 

Re-1 and γ2 have absolutely no problems with hiFace (have not heard DAC19 through hiFace).

 

Re-1 has no flaws.
 

 

DA100 here - zero problems or tonal shifts. Same goes for Chord DAC64.
 

post #1329 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post

1) You seemed to have skipped the last part of my comment where I talk about the importance of the set-up of a system. With the same transport and digital cable but with different power cords and vibration isolation the sound of my older dac19mk3 used to range from very forward and harsh sounding to dull and lifeless. So of course that the DAC plays, 2) but the way the rest of the system is set up is even more important. All the other transports you have cited have more jitter than the Hiface. Their fuzzy sound "rounds off" the edges of the sounds.


I am not saying that the Hiface is perfect. But most people that described the Hiface as bright preferred knonwn jittery devices (motherboard, Teralink X2, Musiland 02). If the comparisons were made against a known reference CD transport (from Esoteric or CEC), I wouldn't say the same thing. But saying that the Hiface is bright because jittery motherboard, adaptive usb converters or a poorly made async such as the Musiland sounded "better" is drawing the wrong conclusions from the observations being made.

3) I wasn't going to make any comment, but if a new head-fier read the last the few pages, they would have found only negative comments made by a very limited number of dissatisfied people whining about how bad the Hiface is in their system.

I am just encouraging people to look at the fact that most people have been satisfied with the Hiface even those coming from CD and other transports.

4) Here are the links to the 2 first professional reviews on the Hiface:

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/m2tech/hiface.htm

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0210/m2tech_hiface_usb.htm
 

 

1) The reason I skipped that part was because the differences from such things is tiny compared to what we're hearing from the HiFace vs other converters. I've tried good quality coax, interconnects, and power cables and it didn't do anything for the HiFace. In fact, if you recall, my Oyaide DR-510 coax made the HiFace sound worse and my other converters sound better. So unless vibration damping can somehow magically cure the HiFace, it's just plain misleading to be constantly making excuses for the way it sounds. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think it's primarily a difference in preferences of sound.

 

2) In the second part, you've once again fallen into your old habit of guessing what gear sounds like without ever hearing it. Aside from the Teralink-X2, none of the converters had a "fuzzy sound that rounded off the edges". The Essence and 02US had equally fast transients and even tighter bass than the HiFace, without it's up-front congestion.
 

3) Whining? Informing people of the potential downsides of the HiFace that several users have found with several different DACs, amps and setups is only beneficial for prospective buyers. This only adds more data points and allows people to make more informed decisions. Also, this is an 89 page thread and if someone chooses to judge a product by the last few pages, then that's their fault for being lazy.

 

4) Lets see...the first "professional" review. That's the same guy who thinks using an external hard-drive, or a different CPU, RAM and model of the computer changes the sound quality of the gear connected. I think he lost much of his credibility there...

The second "professional" reviewer clearly stated that the designer of the HiFace is a personal friend of his. Conflict of interest anyone? Even if his impressions are genuine, his opinion is just of one person and just because his review is posted on a website doesn't make it worth more than the user impressions we have here, especially considering the fact that most members here are serious, and generally experienced, about audio.


Edited by Shahrose - 5/18/10 at 1:42pm
post #1330 of 1712

Computers with "ideal parts for transport" is not that far-fetched when you look at the lengths gone to to create hi-end cd transports. Power, vibration, and emf/rfi aside, there's also the fact that fans inside a computer are often loud :P same with high rpm hard drives.

post #1331 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post



 

1) The reason I skipped that part was because the differences from such things is tiny compared to what we're hearing from the HiFace vs other converters. I've tried good quality coax, interconnects, and power cables and it didn't do anything for the HiFace. In fact, if you recall, my Oyaide DR-510 coax made the HiFace sound worse and my other converters sound better. So unless vibration damping can somehow magically cure the HiFace, it's just plain misleading to be constantly making excuses for the way it sounds. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think it's primarily a difference in preferences of sound.

 

2) In the second part, you've once again fallen into your old habit of guessing what gear sounds like without ever hearing it. Aside from the Teralink-X2, none of the converters had a "fuzzy sound that rounded off the edges". The Essence and 02US had equally fast transients and even tighter bass than the HiFace, without it's up-front congestion.
 

3) Whining? Informing people of the potential downsides of the HiFace that several users have found with several different DACs, amps and setups is only beneficial for prospective buyers. This only adds more data points and allows people to make more informed decisions. Also, this is an 89 page thread and if someone chooses to judge a product by the last few pages, then that's their fault for being lazy.

 

4) Lets see...the first "professional" review. That's the same guy who thinks using an external hard-drive, or a different CPU, RAM and model of the computer changes the sound quality of the gear connected. I think he lost much of his credibility there...

The second "professional" reviewer clearly stated that the designer of the HiFace is a personal friend of his. Conflict of interest anyone? Even if his impressions are genuine, his opinion is just of one person and just because his review is posted on a website doesn't make it worth more than the user impressions we have here, especially considering the fact that most members here are serious, and generally experienced, about audio.


1) In a resolving system, those differences and are not tiny.

 

2) I own the Teralink X2 and Musiland Monitor 01. And I don't need to listen to your particular motherboard to say that is a know jittery source. If motherboards were low jitter sources, every one would know it.

Speaking about the Musiland, it has slower transients, less low level details, and less deep bass than the hiface which is not surprising if you look at its output;

Musiland_before-after_mod.jpg

The stock Musiland is the one in the left.

 

3) Unfortunately, not everyone that read this thread has the time to go through the 89 pages. Some people commenting in this thread didn't even fully read the first 2 posts.

 

4) If you had read a few pages ago, you would have read my explanation on the reviewer's position. While he has no idea how computers work, his remarks weren't foolish. Everything matters when you use a computer as a transport. You should read the multiple arctiles the makers of cPlay made: http://www.cicsmemoryplayer.com/index.php?n=CMP.Guide

 

As an example, when I said a while back ago that usb cables do matter a lot of people laughed at the idea. But first, they didn't know anything about jitter and second, they never experimented with it. If I recall well, you personally mentioned a few times that you noticed a change in the sound by changing the usb cable of your Teralink X2. So you probably have lost credibility to a lot of people out there. Everything is relative ...

 

ps: if you want to experiment with power cords or vibration support, you have to treat all your equipment. Experimenting on a single component in the chain in a non-optimized system give barely audible results or just a shift in the tonal balance.

post #1332 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

Computers with "ideal parts for transport" is not that far-fetched when you look at the lengths gone to to create hi-end cd transports. Power, vibration, and emf/rfi aside, there's also the fact that fans inside a computer are often loud :P same with high rpm hard drives.


External acoustic noise from fans and hard-drive is not what he meant. That is a very basic concept that I doubt anyone disagrees with. He's claiming that switching the RAM in your computer affects the sound quality from it. I have built about 5 computers now and and have even tried this for kicks (along with a lot of other hardware swapping) and I've found that it's absolute bogus. Some things do affect sound, like the PSU if your soundcard is being fed from it, or the speed of your PC to determine the absence or presence of glitches/pops/crackles, but most of what he said makes a difference does not and he's really hearing the effects of placebo.

post #1333 of 1712

slim. I have personally tested his claims with computers and there is no difference from switching a lot of the components he mentioned. Read above for more details.

Secondly, you own the 01US which is different from the 02US. Do not generalize its sound to different models, no matter how similar you assume they are.

Cables do make a difference but they were, as I've said multiple times, tiny compared to the differences heard from DACs, amps, headphones and even transports. Many other people, including you have found these differences. I have yet to see other people finding the same as the reviewer by switching their hard drive or CPU. Go ahead and switch your RAM and tell me if you find any differences in sound. Until then, please do not argue about the topic until you have actually tried it like I have.

post #1334 of 1712

Slim.A have you the same picture for hiface, before and after modding ?

Ciao

post #1335 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post

slim. I have personally tested his claims with computers and there is no difference from switching a lot of the components he mentioned. Read above for more details.

Secondly, you own the 01US which is different from the 02US. Do not generalize its sound to different models, no matter how similar you assume they are.

Cables do make a difference but they were, as I've said multiple times, tiny compared to the differences heard from DACs, amps, headphones and even transports. Many other people, including you have found these differences. I have yet to see other people finding the same as the reviewer by switching their hard drive or CPU. Go ahead and switch your RAM and tell me if you find any differences in sound. Until then, please do not argue about the topic until you have actually tried it like I have.


If you had read carefully what I wrote, I didn't say that the Musiland sounded this or that way. I described what the Musiland sounded to my ears and let the people draw their own conclusions.

If I infer that the Musiland 01 and 02 share the same weaknesses and are poorly designed (they have trouble generating the 44.1K frequency, their transformer is not even rated for 96K+...) that is simply a matter of stating facts.

 

Concerning what the reviewer found out, I shared some of his findings in my system but never brought it up.

Back when I was still experimenting with different usb cables, I ordered by accident the wrong kind of Belkin gold usb cable. Since I couldn't use it with any usb transport and I didn't want to throw it, I replaced the cheap usb cable that go between my usb hub (to which 3 hard drives were connected) and my notebook and noticed an improvement in sound. It was unexpected and I never thought it would matter. I also noticed (very small) improvements when I replaced of the usb cable of the hard drive with a better one and also put the hard drives on isolating pads.

A few months ago, I changed my RAM from 1.25GB to 2GB. I did not do it for audiophile reasons but because my computer needed more RAM. After that, it sounded smoother.

I am not even talking about the difference 2 different computers can make to the sound...
However, I won't botter proving or disproving that what I heard was placebo or not.

Until a few months ago, before I started this thread, most head-fiers would have told you that all usb to spdif converters sound the same (as long as they are bit perfect) and that all digital cables are the same. Now there is a little bit more "open minded" people. The same is probably going to happen for those tweaks the reviewer talked about. I just don't have the time nor the ressources to prove to people that the difference is audible.

For those who are curious, I invite you to read once again what cPlay developpers have already published in their website. See here: http://www.cicsmemoryplayer.com/index.php?n=CMP.Guide

 

So to respond to your: "Until then, please do not argue about the topic until you have actually tried it like I have." I have tried it and I have found changes. I just didn't want to bring it up (earlier) because a lot of people think there absolutely no possiblitly that such things would make a difference, and are "placebo-ed" into thinking that they cannot hear a difference.

Placebo work both ways ...

 

Concerning the cables and other "tweak" accessories, they are very audible in resolving systems.

Personally, I would say that more than 50% of the sound "performance" of my system is coming from the power cords, power filtration, audio rack, and different vibration control devices. This is coherent with the new measurements Nordost has made with live music. (see here: http://www.nordost.com/downloads.asp?offset=14).

No magic there, just listening with my ears and not what is supposed and what is not supposed to make a difference in my system.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › USB to SPDIF converters shoot-out : EMU 0404 USB vs. Musiland Monitor 01 USD vs. Teralink-x vs. M2Tech hiFace