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USB to SPDIF converters shoot-out : EMU 0404 USB vs. Musiland Monitor 01 USD vs. Teralink-x vs.... - Page 2  

post #16 of 1712
Your right, the CM108 is inherently inferior to the async implementation. However the sum of the teralink's parts are greater then the musiland 01. Higher quality capacitor's and clock. That's why he was a bit surprised to see the teralink win. Maybe the Musiland 02 is a closer match. I was thinking of getting a Musiland, but it's hard to justify really, because my DAC(made by the same people who make teralink x) uses the same clock and chipset as the Teralink-x for usb input, and it dosent sound like even the M2Tech is a big upgrade.


Quote:
Originally Posted by glt View Post
Slim.a,

Thanks for the detailed review. Have you tried the new driver for the musiland? Some people report improvements. Also, based on the pictures here: TeraLink-X USB audio converter (USB-to-SPDIF) - Windows Live the Teralink seems a step down from the Musiland. The usb receiver is a c-media device.
post #17 of 1712
At this point in our upgrade path, there really aren't that much of upgrade from going one route to another. If we are using a cheap $100 DAC, sure, but people with pretty darn good DAC/AMP/Cables, how much of real upgrade do you really expect?

My point is, even the small upgrade at this point is pretty darn good and that's what we spend our money on. I think this device is excellent for what it does and for what it asks for.

If someone in Atlanta, GA has a Musiland and wants to compare, shoot me an email and we can do a small meetup and such.
post #18 of 1712
The point for me, is not LOSING SQ and trying to use USB without any drawbacks. I am all for improvement but at the same time I only am looking to maintain transparency and SQ through USB.
post #19 of 1712
Thread Starter 
By the way, I update my second post to include links to various comparisons made in this thread. So do not hesitate to remind me if I miss anything.
post #20 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gevorg View Post
I actually find very small differences (if any) between EMU 0404 USB vs Musiland as a SPDIF transport. Maybe because I've upgraded the power supply on EMU to linear one, or maybe because your system is more resolving.
I did not report it in my review but I noticed that using the Audigy 2NX 5v power supply with the EMU 0404 usb instead of its stock power supply did improve slightly the sound.
I believe that using a linear power supply like you did might indeed bring the EMU 0404 usb to a comparable level to the Musiland.
However, it is hard to recommend buying an EMU 0404 and a power supply while the Musiland or other units can outperform it at a lower cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glt View Post
Have you tried the new driver for the musiland? Some people report improvements.
I have yet to try the new driver for Musiland. I read reports from people that noticed an improvement the sound. I will definitely try it at some point and will update my review if there is a big difference.
However (and I don't want to sound like a fanboy), the difference (in my system) between the m2tech and Musiland is much bigger than the difference between the Musiland and EMU 0404 usb.
post #21 of 1712
Have you noticed any cracks, pops or dropouts with M2Tech? I currently have this problem with M-Audio Audiophile 192 coaxial output that when I switch on or off the lighting in my room, turn on my stove or oven etc. the sound drops at the same time. It continues but you can clearly hear the dropout which lasts like 1/10 seconds. My house is very old so the electric grid is poor. I haven't noticed this problem with many other sound cards though. I also wondered if it would help to get a beefier PSU for my PC. I now have some dead quiet Antec 430W PSU there. It has served me well.

I have ESI Maya44 ordered so I'll try with that one. M2Tech sounds very interesting though.
post #22 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patu View Post
Have you noticed any cracks, pops or dropouts with M2Tech? I currently have this problem with M-Audio Audiophile 192 coaxial output that when I switch on or off the lighting in my room, turn on my stove or oven etc. the sound drops at the same time. It continues but you can clearly hear the dropout which lasts like 1/10 seconds. My house is very old so the electric grid is poor. I haven't noticed this problem with many other sound cards though. I also wondered if it would help to get a beefier PSU for my PC. I now have some dead quiet Antec 430W PSU there. It has served me well.

I have ESI Maya44 ordered so I'll try with that one. M2Tech sounds very interesting though.
I have noticed a slight crack when I first start playing music. However that crack doesn't repeat itself when changing songs (even with different sample rates) while playing.
I don't know if it is an issue with the dac (which shuts the inputs when there is no signal) or with the converter.

As for what you are experiencing, I used to have dropouts with my creative gigaworks speakers that are gone since I plugged them on Belkin pureav powerbar filter. I have never noticed such a problem in my main system for which I am using this Essential Audio Tools parallel filter.
post #23 of 1712
Pretty good review but basically meaningless to review computer as transport without checking for bit-perfectness.

Please add the DTS test to your reviews, it will give it a lot more weight.

Thanks.
post #24 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
Pretty good review but basically meaningless to review computer as transport without checking for bit-perfectness.
I agree that it would have been interesting to check for bit perfectness but I am not sure it will change anything to the outcome of the review.

First, 3 out of the 4 converters tested here work at 24 bit which means that even if they were not bit perfect, only the last bit would be affected and we still would have more than 23 bit of resolution which well below the noise floor of most (if not all) converters.
I did however test the Teralink at 16 bit with the Audio-gd DAC-19mk3 and RMAA and it gave me a the maximum result of the test at 16bit (around 98db). So at least there wasn't any resampling done that shows at the analog outputs of a dac (the creative audigy cards when resampling show measurable distortion even at the analog outputs of a DAC).

Second, I have come to realize that bit perfect or the resolution of the file is not as important as having a good sounding dac with a low jitter transport. I can easily spot differences between any mp3s and lossless encoded files in my current system however I would rather listen to 192kbps mp3s with the DAC-19mk3 rather than listening to 24/96 files with the EMU 0404 usb. Weirldly enough, the perceived resolution and sound quality is much better with mp3+dac-19mk3 than with 24/96+EMU 0404 usb.
Now, I understand why there are still people buying mega-buck cd players ($10,000+) while any SACD or DVD-Audio player is supposed to perform better on paper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
Please add the DTS test to your reviews, it will give it a lot more weight.

Thanks.
I didn't try DTS or Dolby digital tests because I don't have a A/V receiver to try it on. If there is a way to test them with a computer, I can try that.
post #25 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
Second, I have come to realize that bit perfect or the resolution of the file is not as important as having a good sounding dac with a low jitter transport.

It is of utmost important for people who use their computer to play DTS, HDCD, and Dolby.

Does your DAC have an HDCD indicator light? If it does you can check for bitperfectness by playing a HDCD, if it lights up you're good. I haven't received my 19MK3 yet, but I am guessing the HDCD light is on the PMD100 board.
post #26 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
It is of utmost important for people who use their computer to play DTS, HDCD, and Dolby.

Does your DAC have an HDCD indicator light? If it does you can check for bitperfectness by playing a HDCD, if it lights up you're good. I haven't received my 19MK3 yet, but I am guessing the HDCD light is on the PMD100 board.
I have never been able to be sure 100% that I was playing HDCD right.
Using the Musiland and Teralink-X, the few HDCD files I have showed a bigger improvement in sound quality over regular files when I used the PMD100 than they did on the DF1704. Anyway, I wasn't sure it was due to the better quality of the files (over regular CDs) or because of the HDCD decoding.

It would be nice to know if there is a way to check bit perfectness using a computer. If there is an easy way, I will do it and update my review.
post #27 of 1712
Just play the DTS files on the PC and connect it to your receiver. If the DTS lights up and play by the receiver, then it's bit perfect.
post #28 of 1712
Opinions on the Bel Canto USBLink that I have as compared to the M2?
At the time, I needed BNC and 24/96 and this was about it without spending $1000 (got it used for $300), now they're everywhere!
post #29 of 1712
these converter's arnt exactly peanuts, you really have to weigh their cost into a better dac to begin with. You've got 4 converters there, at roughly 465$. Could have bought a 465$ more expensive dac. Or a 160$ more dac if you just count the M2tech. With all you've spent, you could have damn near bought an Off Ramp, then you'd not worry about these comparisons because there is no better. It is a good shoot-out though and I appreciate the comparison. I'd really love a comparsion to an EMU 0404 PCI, as I suspect it may better all of these, based on specs alone. It cannot be compared to the USB Version, it's in another league entirely for SPDIF output. Just look at the tech specs at E-mu website. USB vesion is not transformer coupled, and the claimed Jitter specs are 4-5x higher. Although it's been said that the M2Tech is better then the Lynx and we can certainly assume that lynx betters the EMU. Though no one has talked about how the lynx actually sounds, only specs. The 0404 PCI can be had for about 80 bucks too, it's closest compeititor's would be Musiland 01 and Teralink x.
post #30 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeW View Post
these converter's arnt exactly peanuts, you really have to weigh their cost into a better dac to begin with. You've got 4 converters there, at roughly 465$. Could have bought a 465$ more expensive dac. Or a 160$ more dac if you just count the M2tech. With all you've spent, you could have damn near bought an Off Ramp, then you'd not worry about these comparisons because there is no better. It is a good shoot-out though and I appreciate the comparison.
That's a good point. But, what if you already bought your DAC? Would you sell yours just to get a better DAC that you can possibly buy?

These purchases are incremental. It's like not someone buy these all at once. If I had accumulated all money that I spent on Audio equipments, I can buy the THE DAC that I want. But then, I didn't know better, neither most of us are.
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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