Originally Posted by regal
No offense taken, you have defended the hiface for 92 pages. And back on page one you were using the same DAC I am. I know my system well. Right around 3-4khz the hiface has an issue. No big deal.
If I still don't like it I'll sell it, before I spend $200 on a cable. Hell it was hard enough for me to spend $30 on a 75ohm BNC-BNC Mogami 2964. I wonder somtimes why you have defended a 3" plastic 1 ounce transport so fervently, I think sometimes you may be suffering placebo from reading the Hiface White Paper, no offense meant. Isn't psychoacoustics fascinating? Charts, graphs, measurements don't mean squat when it comes to human perception. We are dealing with one of the 5 senses. You don't see people arguing over which vintage wine tastes better with graphs and measurements. Same thing here just a different sense.
Sorry to repeat this, but you didn't answer some of the questions I asked:
- how long did you listen to the hiface?
- did you notice any burn-in with the Teralink X? If the answer is yes, did you allow the hiface to "mature" as much as you did with the Teralink X?
- didn't you already imply the following (Isosynchrous lin regulated powered USB is superior to USB SM powered asynchrous) before even listening to the hiface?
I don't say, I am immune to placebo (nobody is). However, my testing methodology included long term listening including different DACs with different technologies (discrete R2R, opamp based sigma delta...).
Again, I am not saying the Hiface is perfect (as jkeny's mod proves it can be further improved). However, in comparison to a Teralink X, the Hiface is a big jump in sound quality. There is simply more details and more of everything. I have done the comparison countless of times and achieved the same results. Frankly, I don't care about specs and white papers like you said. When I was the first to say that the adaptive CM-108 Teralink X sounded better than the async Musiland I talked about what I heard and not what about the supposed superiority of the Musiland. Later on, I found out some technical facts about the poor building quality of the Musiland that explained what I heard. Again, when I found out the Hiface to sound better than my other converters, I spoke my mind. Then later on, the only measurements we had about the hiface showed that it was on the same level as the Pro PCI LynxTwo card and better than some CD players and Nagra recorders.
After that a limited number of people complained about the sound of the Hiface (vs. the majority who loved their hiface). So you (regal) were among the first here to hypothesize that there must be some weird thing going on with the jitter. You first said that the 1ns jitter figure was a poor figure because it was power from the computer. Later on, when I showed you that the 1ns (in the digital domain) was an excellent figure, you said that there must be something wrong with the jitter spectrum. At the time, you didn't even liste to the Hiface in your system (if my memory is correct). So, because you had the idea that an async device that was powered from the usb port HAD to sound bad. So, you tried to find an "excuse" for the hiface to sound bad (hence your theory on a suspected jitter spectrum).
The weird thing is that your findings now that you have listened to the hiface match exactly the suspicion and preconceptions you had before listening to it. I am not saying it is impossible to draw conclusions from jitter spectrum but you have to fullfil 2 conditions:
1. you have to actually measure the device being commented on
2. you have to actually have the skills and understanding to comment on such a graph (only a handful of people might be able to do that like Dan Lavry or Steve Nugent).
So here is a thought: who is more affected by placebo: someone who used the unit for months or someone that knew it was going to sound bad before listening to it?
Also, I have to partilally disagree with the following statement: "Charts, graphs, measurements don't mean squat when it comes to human perception".
I agree that looking at a limited or wrong bunch of charts, graphs and measurements, you can draw the wrong conclusions. However, saying that they are totally meaningless is pure BS.
Of course that we have to trust our ears, but if we understand what graphs to look for and what measurements have to be done, it is even better as it is far more general.
Basically, there are 2 areas of performance for audio gear: the frequency domain and the time domain. Here is a simplified example: If you look at the measurement only at the frequency domain, all transports measure the same. If you look at the time domain measurement, you start seeing differences. This is true for everything else in audio: many engineers have been to focused on the frequency domain performance (frequency response, THD...) and didn't realize that the time resolution was more important. This explain why all speaker cables will have a linear frequency response on the 20hz-20khz frequency bandwidth but they would have different measurement on square waves and impulse responses (I believe that Steve Nugent measured some of his speaker cables that way).
But the best way to measure the real performance of a component is through a real complex musical signal. This is exactly what Nordost has done. They have found that a DCS converter obviously follows the signal better than a $250 cd player but they also found out that the performance of the cheap cd player could be further improved by applying "tweaks" (power filtration and vibration control). So in this case these measurements not only make sense but prove that what "audiophools" have found out using only their ears is relevant.
My point is that if there is a lack of relevant measurement we should of course trust our ears. However, if we relevant measurement we should use it in order to better understand where the origins of a problem exist in our system.
Say for example, my chain is composed of only 2 components A1 and B1. I find that my audio chain is harsh sounding. Then I try to look at the available measurements of both component to try to infer which is one is more likely to be the culprit. If there is no measurement, I usually choose the component that shows me the greater difference and variation between different albums being played even if the system doesn't sound right. My point is that the most transparent device will have the most details and will affect the sound less.
Say A1 is the most transparent but the overall sound is harsher than when I use the alternatives A2 and A3. I keep it anyway, and I try to find a different component to replace B1 later on with something more suited with my taste. That way, at the end, when I would have replace B1 with B2 for example, the new set-up (in this example A1+B2) will end up being not only tonally balanced but it will have more resolution than if I had settled on A2+B1 for example.
Unfortunately, a real world audio chain is more complex than that and everything matters and it is difficult to maintain a good balance between resolution and smoothness. It is even more difficult to achieve when people have preconceptions about things and are not willing to experiment with different interconnects, digital cables, power filtration (cords and filters) and resonance control. People who never tackle the power and vibration issue will most probably have a hard time achieving a system that is both high resolution and natural at the same time. Most choices will end up choosing component X over component Y because this one sounds smoother (or whatever else) than the other.
(As a side note, I have read that the conceptor of Lamm Industries which is known to make some of the most musical preamps and amps in the world don't even listen to his gear before lauching them into production. His psyachoustics models are good enough that measurements are sufficient to make excellent sounding equipment).
So if you read the above or read any of the many other reviews, you will that the hiface represents only a small fraction of my system. I am not stubborn and if I find anything better than the Hiface (at a reasonable price), I won't hesitate to sell the hiface and get the newer thing.
If you don't like the hiface in your system, that is good information for people to know. However, saying something like "I think it is pretty conclusive thoughout this thread that Isosynchrous lin regulated powered USB is superior to USB SM powered asynchrous" just shows how little knowledge and lack of deep understanding you have about usb converters.
A few months ago, jkeny was saying the same thing about me, that I was defending the hiface and he thought his modded Musiland sounded probably better. However, I admire jkeny because despite his preconceptions about the hiface, he recognized that it sounded good and chose it as a new base platform for his mods. That is probably also why he did a good job with his mod, as he probably listened with his ears and not with his pre-conceptions. As the audiophile grows up, he starts building a set of beliefs: R2R dacs are better than sigma delta, discrete is better than opamp, tubes are better than transistors for amplification... However, one has to keep their mind open. While it is good to have a few beliefs to avoid purchase mistakes, it is good to listen from time to time without preconceptions (which lead to placebo). While I am firm believer that discrete designs are the way to go, I am also open minded. When I was trying the Audio-gd FUN for example, I ended up favoring the IC LME49720 opamp over the Earth opamp. If I were close minded (like some people), I would have automatically chosen the discrete Earth opamp. On the other hand I prefered the Earth discrete opamp over the IC OPA604. So I am very pragmatic and use the 80/20 rule. You can get 80% of the performance of your system applying logic and the rest by actually trying different things even if they don't fall with the personal beliefs and preconceptions.
That is to say that accusing me of relentlessly defending a 3" plastic 1 ounce transport so fervently is a simplistic way to see things. During the 92 pages, you will find a lot intersting data that go beyond the hiface or even usb transports. I have done a lot of research, read many articles and talked about a lot of things. Implying that I have been only defending the hiface during the 92 pages is a little bit reductive and far from the truth. I could be wrong but I don't see many other threads on head-fi discussing theory of jitter, actual listening experiences with different transports, digital filters, upsampling, different medial players...