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USB to SPDIF converters shoot-out : EMU 0404 USB vs. Musiland Monitor 01 USD vs. Teralink-x vs.... - Page 32  

post #466 of 1712

Ploytec driver

Just thought i would report back after listening to the Ploytec driver,

I personally have found that with the Teralink x it seems to do some weird things to the sound.

Most noticeably there is a lack of mid bass with this driver.

The mid high frequencies are very nice and clear and detailed , but there seems to be not enough punch to the mid bass for my liking.

On top of this, the overall sonic signature of very familiar recordings (and not so familiar) changes to the point where the mix just sounds very unfamiliar.

To me, the CM108 driver sound is dynamic and full and lively and forward, but still smooth and analog sounding and still plenty of detail.

With the ploytec, I found that the the leading edge of sounds became accentuated, and at the same time the decay of sounds became pushed further back in the mix. it sounds like there is some DSP going on with this driver, ( im not saying that there is DSP - just that it sounds like this)

I had the feeling that I was getting someones interpretation of what sound should be like, rather than what it is. To me it seems like the extra "clarity" in the mid - high frequencies has been obtained by pushing back the background sounds using DSP, sort of like a pshycho-accoustic effect.

I can understand why some people would like this, but at this point in time, im not very happy with it and have gone back to using the CM108 driver.

As always i reserve the right to change my opinion!

Anyone else noticed this effect???
post #467 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
Try the Terra-LinX with a linear regulated power supply, it is simply amazing. I think it is a huge advantage over the Hiface. Go to the tent labs site and learn how bad SMPS can be for clocks/jitter, they are highly regarded IMO as the experts on Jitter. They go to great lengths with special low noise power supplies to feed their clocks. I'm temped to build a Jung super reg or shunt reg to feed the TerraLinX.
Regal,

Have you triend the Hiface vs. the Teralink ?

I have spent many months with both units using different computers, different media players, different usb cables (for the teralink), different digital cables (including some "high-end" ones such as the Stereovox XV2 and Hifi Cables & Cie Sobek) and my conclusion is as follow.

The hiface is clearly superior sounding to a fully "tweaked" teralink using the following : the wireworld ultraviolet usb cable , ploytec usb asio ,a computer (with battery power). Even if an external power supply provided tremendous improvement, it wouldn't justify the cost of the set-up and it would still be limited to 16/48.

Here are some "logical" reasons why the hiface is superior :
1. the hiface uses Async protocol vs. adaptive for the Teralink. The Teralink tries to "cure" the incoming jitter from the computer while the Hiface derives the clock from its internal low jitter clocks.
2. The hiface has 2 clocks (One for 44.1 multiples and the second for 48 multiples). The Teralink-x has only one 12mhz clock which means that the 44.1 frequency must be derived from some sort of calculation.
3. The hiface does not need a usb cable. Which saves both money, time trying different quality cables, and improves quality. No cable is always better than a very good cable.
4. The hiface can do 24/192 which is becoming more important every day. I know that you have a collection of HDCD discs that are played by both converters, but today it is better to have a converter that is future proof.
post #468 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by erin View Post
Just thought i would report back after listening to the Ploytec driver,

I personally have found that with the Teralink x it seems to do some weird things to the sound.

Most noticeably there is a lack of mid bass with this driver.

The mid high frequencies are very nice and clear and detailed , but there seems to be not enough punch to the mid bass for my liking.

On top of this, the overall sonic signature of very familiar recordings (and not so familiar) changes to the point where the mix just sounds very unfamiliar.

To me, the CM108 driver sound is dynamic and full and lively and forward, but still smooth and analog sounding and still plenty of detail.

With the ploytec, I found that the the leading edge of sounds became accentuated, and at the same time the decay of sounds became pushed further back in the mix. it sounds like there is some DSP going on with this driver, ( im not saying that there is DSP - just that it sounds like this)

I had the feeling that I was getting someones interpretation of what sound should be like, rather than what it is. To me it seems like the extra "clarity" in the mid - high frequencies has been obtained by pushing back the background sounds using DSP, sort of like a pshycho-accoustic effect.

I can understand why some people would like this, but at this point in time, im not very happy with it and have gone back to using the CM108 driver.

As always i reserve the right to change my opinion!

Anyone else noticed this effect???
I have tried 3 drivers with the Teralink-x: the stock driver that automatically installs, then the CM-108 Driver v.5.12.8.2119, and finally the Ploytec usb asio.

The CM-108 Driver v.5.12.8.2119:
I tried after a few weeks of using the Teralink and I found the sound horrible. I tried to disable all the dsp effects but there was always a loss in resolution and sound quality. I did some research and found out it had only 14 bits of resolution vs. 16 bits of the stock windows drivers. I uninstalled it and went back to using the stock windows drivers.

The stock windows drivers that installs automatically:
This is a good driver. I did most of my listening with this one. However, the sound is the on warm side of neutral compared to all the other converters. After trying many digital cables to get a better perception of its sound, I noticed that there is a "dulling" of the sound and a smoothing/slowing of the transients. It has a pleasing effect but it is not accurate. The soundstage is very big but not very well defined.
Anyway, I am sure that people who like the "tube" sound will prefer it to most other settings or even converters for that matter. As for me, once I detected the added warmth, I could not continue to appreciate it.

The Ploytec usb asio driver :
This one improves the sound to a more neutral balance. There is less "dulling" of the sound. The soundstage size remained the same but the imaging improved.
This driver is closer in tonal balance to the sound of the Musiland and the Hiface which leads me to believe it is closer to the "truth".


Overall, I think that not all people are looking for "cleaner" sounding sources. In my experience, lowering the jitter (improving the quality of the transport) result in the following results : Bigger soundstage, less mid-bass warmth/bloat, more defined and deeper bass. Usually, you get less mid bass and more deep bass (if your equipment let you hear that) which might not be what people expect or want to hear.
post #469 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosgr63 View Post
slim.a is any of the above galvanicaly isolated?
As far as I know, the Musiland, the Teralink and the Hiface all use pulse transformers or isolation transformers that should make them galvanically isolated (but I could be wrong since I didn' test them nor now how to test them for that).
post #470 of 1712
Been playing around with hiFace (BNC version) a few days now. First impressions favour Slim.a's findings: I also prefer (slightly) M2Tech's toy in direct comparison with Musiland's 01 USD.

(Thinkpad -> hiFace/Monitor 01 USD -> RE-1 -> Roc -> balanced K-701; hiFace driver 1.02; Musiland driver 1.0.6.0 - have problem with latest 1.0.7.0)
post #471 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by FauDrei View Post
Been playing around with hiFace (BNC version) a few days now. First impressions favour Slim.a's findings: I also prefer (slightly) M2Tech's toy in direct comparison with Musiland's 01 USD.

(Thinkpad -> hiFace/Monitor 01 USD -> RE-1 -> Roc -> balanced K-701; hiFace driver 1.02; Musiland driver 1.0.6.0 - have problem with latest 1.0.7.0)
I prefer (very very slightly) the musiland 02 us.
I compared with coaxial no with BNC.
post #472 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gattari View Post
I prefer (very very slightly) the musiland 02 us.
I compared with coaxial no with BNC.
gattari,

you reported a while back that you prefered the hiface with windows xp and the musiland 02 with Windows Seven. Is this still true ?

Below is the post I am referring to :

Quote:
Originally Posted by gattari View Post
Slim.A I now for test are using another laptop with xp, normally I use seven, and the results are little bit differents to my ears, at this point I don't know what is more musical between musiland and hiface, in xp the hiface seems now preferable.
By the end so I have two very good toys, but the differences between them are small matters, I simply do not agree on the fact that you think is the musiland dramatically lower, no, both are excellent at roughly the same level.
What do you use xp, vista or seven?
Ciao
post #473 of 1712
slim a

"... less mid-bass warmth/bloat, more defined and deeper bass. Usually, you get less mid bass and more deep bass (if your equipment let you hear that) which might not be what people expect or want to hear. "

That's exactly what happens when i test my dac 193mk3 with Teralink in a friend system, he felts his CD player produces more "bass" but in my opinion the bass the CD produces is less defined an more mid bass than deep bass and his speakers can go deeper (he has a Onkyo TiB).
post #474 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JulioCat2 View Post
slim a

"... less mid-bass warmth/bloat, more defined and deeper bass. Usually, you get less mid bass and more deep bass (if your equipment let you hear that) which might not be what people expect or want to hear. "

That's exactly what happens when i test my dac 193mk3 with Teralink in a friend system, he felts his CD player produces more "bass" but in my opinion the bass the CD produces is less defined an more mid bass than deep bass and his speakers can go deeper (he has a Onkyo TiB).
Well, funny story, I have a friend who prefers my Creative gigaworks S750 to the sennheiser HD650 because there is more "bass" to the sound.
So, I tried some test tones with both systems and the the subwoofer of the S750 does not reach below 40 hz while the using the Sennheiser you can still hear/feel test tones at 10 hz and lower.
Common mistakes are to confuse mid bass with true deep bass and mid-treble brightness with true high frequency extension.
Anyway, there is no good or bad way, but just different expectations from the reproduction of music in our systems.
post #475 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
gattari,

you reported a while back that you prefered the hiface with windows xp and the musiland 02 with Windows Seven. Is this still true ?

Below is the post I am referring to :
Yes it is true, now I use only seven, but basically the differences are not evident between musiland 02 and hiface, both great products in my opinion.
A friend of mine with a high quality dac, made the comparison and very slightly preferred the musiland.
You prefer the hiface, well, ok, also other people think that hiface is higher, it is difficult to establish an absolute truth and it is not very important in my opinion, both are ok.
Ciao
post #476 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
Well, funny story, I have a friend who prefers my Creative gigaworks S750 to the sennheiser HD650 because there is more "bass" to the sound.
So, I tried some test tones with both systems and the the subwoofer of the S750 does not reach below 40 hz while the using the Sennheiser you can still hear/feel test tones at 10 hz and lower.
Common mistakes are to confuse mid bass with true deep bass and mid-treble brightness with true high frequency extension.
Anyway, there is no good or bad way, but just different expectations from the reproduction of music in our systems.
Just to clarify, the rolloff below 20hz is so extreme on the HD650 that there is basically no meaningful bass response there. Even 20hz is barely audible unless the volume is increased which you should not have to do as it indicates a significant drop in response.

Back on topic, slim.a, which do you prefer between the Teralink-x and Musiland. It's difficult to source a M2tech HiFace right now so I'd like to know what the next best option is.
post #477 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
Just to clarify, the rolloff below 20hz is so extreme on the HD650 that there is basically no meaningful bass response there. Even 20hz is barely audible unless the volume is increased which you should not have to do as it indicates a significant drop in response.

Back on topic, slim.a, which do you prefer between the Teralink-x and Musiland. It's difficult to source a M2tech HiFace right now so I'd like to know what the next best option is.
To clarify for the sennheiser bass response : I did use to have a high rolloff below 30 hz back when I using the stock cable and the EMU 0404 usb as a dac and headphone amp.
After doing many many upgrades (usb converter, better dac, better headphone amp, upgraded headphone cable and interconnect, vibration control, power filtering, ...) I have achieved a very noticeable improvement in bass extension.
At normal listening level that I would use even on the most compressed recordings (i.e volume not crancked up very high), I can hear/feel test tones as low as 10 hz. This wasn't the case before those upgrades and I used to have a high roll off in the bass. It is the cumulative effect of many months of tweaking my system that allowed to get that kind of frequency response from the sennheiser hd650. By the way, I used Burninwave generator as well as audacity to generate tones at specific frequencies.

Back to the topic, it is hard to recommend one unit over the other : the teralink is better sounding than the musiland 01 (to my ears and with my system) but it is limited to 16/48.
Some people have found that the musiland 02 is better than the 01 I am currently using so it might be on the same level or better than the Teralink-X. I really don't know.

But to help you make your decision, I found out that the Teralink-x with its stock driver is "warmer" sounding than the Musiland. So depending on the balance of your system, you might want to choose one over the other to get the best synergy with your system. If you need 24/96 support, the choice is pretty simple (Musiland) unless the Teralink x2 gets out in the next few days ...
post #478 of 1712
Thanks for the quick response and advice slim. With regards to the HD650's bass response, I would still argue otherwise, but we'll leave that for another thread or relegate it to PM.
post #479 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
The CM-108 Driver v.5.12.8.2119:
I tried after a few weeks of using the Teralink and I found the sound horrible. I tried to disable all the dsp effects but there was always a loss in resolution and sound quality. I did some research and found out it had only 14 bits of resolution vs. 16 bits of the stock windows drivers. I uninstalled it and went back to using the stock windows drivers.



The Ploytec usb asio driver :
This one improves the sound to a more neutral balance. There is less "dulling" of the sound. The soundstage size remained the same but the imaging improved.
This driver is closer in tonal balance to the sound of the Musiland and the Hiface which leads me to believe it is closer to the "truth".


Overall, I think that not all people are looking for "cleaner" sounding sources. In my experience, lowering the jitter (improving the quality of the transport) result in the following results : Bigger soundstage, less mid-bass warmth/bloat, more defined and deeper bass. Usually, you get less mid bass and more deep bass (if your equipment let you hear that) which might not be what people expect or want to hear.

Slim, a question for you:
Where did you read that the CM108 only gives 14 bits of resolution?
I would like to read up on that.

Ok, so actually we have heard the same thing with the ploytec driver,

I agree that there was more definition to the lower bass, and certainly an overall sense of cleanliness and definition to the overall sound.

I also noticed better L/R channel separation, and stereo imaging.

I listened to vinyl for years on some very good turntables with good pre amps.
I use vinyl as the benchmark sound, when I listen to CD/digital source, I want to hear something very similar to the vinyl. This is because the mix, and the overall presentation of the sound is what i remember, and like, so for me if the CD/digital source does not sound like what i remember, then i become upset with the sound. I am mostly not a fan of "remasters" except for "foreigner - the definitive" which is a great remaster, as the mix still sounds like the Vinyl, but actually with extra dynamics and extra clarity, but mostly remasters tend to unnecessarily brighten the sound, change the mix of instruments, and compress the dynamic range, i prefer the original CD over the remaster 99.8% of the time. - i'm not the only person to feel this way about remasters.

So getting back to the driver topic, In my system, the CM108 gives me a sound closer to analog, I openly admit that i like the analog sound. Frankly i think most people have to admit that they do too, as all recordings made up until the beginning of digital are analog (obivious -but often forgotten), unless someone never listens to 50s-mid80s music. Even the red hot chili peppers and ((white stripes ( i think)) record some of their new albums on analog tape.

In my system CM108 gives the punchy warm sound of analog which I enjoy.

I do like lots of detail, but i don't feel that I am a "detail freak".

I aspire for my digital front end to sound as good as my analog front end.

The CM108 driver gives me this in my system, whether, It is flawed in its specifications, it does not bother me.

But its always good to have another driver to swap over to in the event that I am in a different mood.
post #480 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
) unless the Teralink x2 gets out in the next few days ...
What the scoop om the Teralin x2, will it be asynchrous USB ?
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