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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 49  

post #721 of 1712
i wonder how long it will take until we will see audiophile pc parts.
post #722 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cer View Post
There's nothing theoretical about the sound a normal external HDD creates during operation. It is easily audible if you are close enough. SSD really has a clear advantage because it does not operate mechanically and therefore is dead quiet. Still, as old as it sounds, bits are still the same bits both on HDD and SSD, internal or external. On the other hand it is possible to isolate the computer good enough so that the operational sound of the HDD is not an issue anymore. Probably much cheaper than buying a large enough SSD.
The consumption of CPU resources while transferring data from USB devices is also very real and can easily be observed. With most modern computers it's not really an issue. At least if you are not pushing your computer to its limits.

Regarding those spikes. They might exist. Unfortunately I also don't have the resources to thoroughly test their audible effects on USB converters. Do they matter? It seems we don't know and therefore here between us this topic is actually more hypothetical than theoretical. That said, I have not experienced any difference between external and internal HDDs other than the operational sound of the external HDD raising the overall noise floor in my room. Of course, this does not prove anything.

And then measurements. I'll be brief, because I am well aware, that this has been discussed over and over again. Measurements is all we have when we talk about measurable things. Sound is measurable. IMHO if measurements show that a component is audibly transparent and I'm still not happy, I have to look elsewhere. Sometimes I close my eyes.
Not all external hard drive are noisy. Some of them are less noisy than my laptop.

As for the spikes, I don't understand your logic. You say that we don't know if they are audible ... but yet when someone notices a difference (that you don't agree with) you say that it is a hypothetical subject?

And after reading the following I really feel bad for you:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cer View Post
Measurements is all we have when we talk about measurable things. Sound is measurable. IMHO if measurements show that a component is audibly transparent and I'm still not happy, I have to look elsewhere. Sometimes I close my eyes.
First, you seem to not be aware of the importance of the exhaustivity of measured parameters. If your set of measurements does not cover all that is important you are bound to make mistakes in interpretations.

Second, you seem to mistake what type of transparency is important. If you listen to a device that is supposed to be transparent in measurement (low thd and low SNR) and that you are not happy with it, there is a simple explanation: that specific device might have good THD and SNR measurements but it has most certainly very poor measurements either in jitter, impulse repsonse, phase response, TID, ...
So the real benchmark for transparency should not be a fixed set of measurement but rather the real music. If a device, whatever good are its specs sheet cannot reproduce music in a transparent and faithfull manner, then you can definitely say that it is not transparent even if some measurements are good.

Here is one advice, listen to real live music and to the EMU 0404 usb (which has a thd of 0.0006%) and tell me if you don't notice a difference.

So once again, if a component is truly transparent, you wouldn't have to make an effort to make the listening experience more tolerable. Real music is not harsh, with over articulated transients and boring. Real music can be warm, rythmically engaging, detailed, and dynamic. If a system fails to represent all those parameters then it is definitely not transparent even if one or 2 parameters tell you otherwise. In that case, we are just not measuring the right thing.

Cer, I really invite you to read the articles I pointed out and about jitter and time intermodulation distortion. It will probably broaden your knowledge and will show that most of the measurements commonly used do not take into account all the factors that makes the sound and music.
post #723 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
to broaden the discussion a little, do those uber-low jitter interfaces still make sense on a CS8414 instead of a DIR9001?

Audio-GD says that the CS is in the 200ps region and the DIR in the 50ps

and the diff between PCM2902E(USB Adaptive Mode for Playback)/PCM2704 for coax transport is not too clear either...apparently 2902 is newer/better?
Yes a low jitter source makes even more sense with the CS841x than with the DIR9001.
There might be a point of diminshing return where you wouldn't notice improvements with the CS841x ... and while it would still be beneficial with the DIR9001, but I have never experienced that.

When I tried the CS8416 and DIR9001 on the Audio-gd FUN, both benefited from the Hiface (vs other devices) and the DIR9001 sounded better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowlord View Post
i wonder how long it will take until we will see audiophile pc parts.
It would be very expensive to build a pc only from audiophile parts (capacitors, ...). However, it would be nice to see some "audiophile" power supplies (either for laptops or workstations). Running my computer from its battery (instead of the wall wart SMPS) improves a little bit the sonic performance.
Also, I think it would less expensive to buy a de-jitter device that recolock the data stream and isolate galvanically the computer than to build a whole computer from audiophile parts... But that is just my opinion, we might see audiophile pc parts in the future ...
post #724 of 1712
Does your HDD sing?
post #725 of 1712
my floppy does: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4SCSGRVAQE

it should be entirely doable on a HDD.
post #726 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
Yes a low jitter source makes even more sense with the CS841x than with the DIR9001.
There might be a point of diminshing return where you wouldn't notice improvements with the CS841x ... and while it would still be beneficial with the DIR9001, but I have never experienced that.

When I tried the CS8416 and DIR9001 on the Audio-gd FUN, both benefited from the Hiface (vs other devices) and the DIR9001 sounded better.


It would be very expensive to build a pc only from audiophile parts (capacitors, ...). However, it would be nice to see some "audiophile" power supplies (either for laptops or workstations). Running my computer from its battery (instead of the wall wart SMPS) improves a little bit the sonic performance.
Also, I think it would less expensive to buy a de-jitter device that recolock the data stream and isolate galvanically the computer than to build a whole computer from audiophile parts... But that is just my opinion, we might see audiophile pc parts in the future ...
1) oh ok, I didn't see it like this...thanks for the impressions!

I still wonder whether PCM2902E is better than PCM2704 for coax transport over USB, but it would very much appear so.

2) well, HDD's are a nightmare...they flush a lot of junk to the ground, increase the 5V/12V ripples massively when under stress, and the reading heads can make random spikes as well.

it'd make a lot of sense to make an audio PC on a flashcard or SSD, and use a NAS for file storage.
post #727 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a
Second, you seem to mistake what type of transparency is important. If you listen to a device that is supposed to be transparent in measurement (low thd and low SNR) and that you are not happy with it, there is a simple explanation: that specific device might have good THD and SNR measurements but it has most certainly very poor measurements either in jitter, impulse repsonse, phase response, TID, ...
So the real benchmark for transparency should not be a fixed set of measurement but rather the real music.
This statement is very contradictory. I have never said that THD and SNR are the only measurements describing audible transparency. If a component has very poor (audibly poor) measurements either in jitter, impulse response etc, then it is not transparent. And I don't see why there cant be a fixed set of measurements that would be a benchmark for transparency. You actually listed most of the variables in that theoretical benchmark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a
Here is one advice, listen to real live music and to the EMU 0404 usb (which has a thd of 0.0006%) and tell me if you don't notice a difference.
Yes, I do notice a difference. And the difference is huge. But it is not the EMU 0404 (0202 USB in my case). It is the mics, pre-amps, post-processing, speakers, room etc that make a huge difference.

Here's a test: listen to an instrument (for example an electric guitar) through the EMU with your headphones (so you would only hear the amplified sound) live in direct monitor mode while you record the sound in whatever bit-depth and sampling frequency you like. And compare the playback of the recording to the live instrument. This way the supposed jitter and other anomalies caused by the supposedly inferior ADC-DAC chain of the EMU 0404 can be heard. Or not. Without DBT this test is very subjective, but still, might be interesting. IMHO it takes an open mind to admit that the differences are minor.
post #728 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cer View Post
This statement is very contradictory. I have never said that THD and SNR are the only measurements describing audible transparency. If a component has very poor (audibly poor) measurements either in jitter, impulse response etc, then it is not transparent. And I don't see why there cant be a fixed set of measurements that would be a benchmark for transparency. You actually listed most of the variables in that theoretical benchmark.
Where is the contradiction in my statement? I said that if a component has low measured THD and SNR and is subjectively not transparent it probably means that are parameters (that were not measured in the test) are probably poor.

By the way, if you can show measurement tests that not only include frequency domain performance but also time domain performance, I would very much like to read those magazines. Unfortunately, most of the measurements I see are incomplete in my opinion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cer View Post
Yes, I do notice a difference. And the difference is huge. But it is not the EMU 0404 (0202 USB in my case). It is the mics, pre-amps, post-processing, speakers, room etc that make a huge difference.

Here's a test: listen to an instrument (for example an electric guitar) through the EMU with your headphones (so you would only hear the amplified sound) live in direct monitor mode while you record the sound in whatever bit-depth and sampling frequency you like. And compare the playback of the recording to the live instrument. This way the supposed jitter and other anomalies caused by the supposedly inferior ADC-DAC chain of the EMU 0404 can be heard. Or not. Without DBT this test is very subjective, but still, might be interesting. IMHO it takes an open mind to admit that the differences are minor.
Last time I tried to listen to a Vivaldi CD through the EMU 0404 usb (with the sennheiser hd-650), I could bare the sound for more than a few minutes. The violins sounded really horrible. I also tried Glenn Gould Recording - The Goldberg variations and it sounded like a synthetizer.

I also did that test with some friends (audiopphile and non-audiophile). When they listen to the EMU 0404 usb they describe the sound in the best case scenario as detailed, or hi-fi ish. Some of them don't even see a difference with an iPod.
However, when they listen to the dac19mk3+c2c, they start talking about the quality of the peformance, they start recognizing instruments, they are amazed about the soundstage, ... As an example, I have a friend who plays piano but she is not an audiophile and she couldn't care less about hi-tech equipment. However, when she listened to the Glenn Gould - Goldberg variations she immediately said that it must be a Steinway & Son Grand Piano. This is something the emu 0404 usb (as well as other so called good measuring equipment) failed to do.

Anyway, I have said enough on the subject and I will stop here.
I will conclude with this Albert Einstein quote that would hopefully give some perspective.

"Not everything that counts can be measured. Not everything that can be measured counts."
post #729 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
Anyway, I have said enough on the subject and I will stop here.
That is wise. I'll also stop and go back to my cave of objectivity.
post #730 of 1712
@slim.a: that'd be pretty sweet if at some point you could compare a glass toslink cable to your top coax interconnects...because glass toslink would appear to really be a viable solution nowadays, thanks to its much higher bandwidth than coax/plastic toslink and its immunity to EMI/RFI, dielectrics and whatnot

TOSLINK Interconnect History & Basics - Audioholics
Quote:
An often-overlooked cause of jitter is bandwidth limiting of the digital signal. Quoting from the Rémy Fourré Stereophile article "Jitter and the Digital Interface" published in the October, 1993 issue; " A word about optical links. Still using the example above with digital signals A and B, a low-pass filter at 5MHz-typical of TosLink-causes a time difference of 121ps. A 6MHz low-pass filter causes a time difference of 33ps. For adequate performance, optical links must have a bandwidth of 9MHz minimum. To operate at 48kHz and have a 15% margin for speed adjustments, the interface bandwidth must be at least 11MHz."
most companies are simply rebadging products from this manufacturer(same logo on the plugs). I've got the top cable in 6ft length(the SQ is ): SHIN KIN - GLASS TOSLINK CABLES

and some feedback: Introducing the dt700 Glass Toslink Deluxe! - Agoraquest - Sony Forum, News, Reviews
Quote:
the traditional Glass Toslink that I have been recommending here at Agoraquest for the last 3 years.
LITE AUDIO DAC AM REVIEW
Quote:
In my opinion, the Dayton glass optical cable was a little smoother and warmer than the coax but with better sounding highs and imaging.
Parts-Express.com:*Dayton GOC-3 Glass Optical Digital Cable 3 ft. | toslink optical cable glass optical fiberoptic. digital optical Dolby digital 5.1
Quote:
You can literally see the higher level of light transfer.
glass toslink - Agoraquest - Sony Forum, News, Reviews
Quote:
you will have to go far above a $600 Digital Coax maybe even all the way up to the $1,000 Tara Labs THE ONE to possibly be able to top the sound quality of Fused Silica Glass Toslink.
post #731 of 1712
Wireworld's Supernova 5+ also uses glass fiber and I'm under the impression that there are others, too.
best regards
André
post #732 of 1712
yes, it'd be great if slim.a could try one of these chinese glass cables...they're dead cheap, and are said to kill coax in some/many/most cases

I will compare mine to an AudioQuest VDM-XR 2m coax cable, but my DAC runs a CS8414 and I don't have an hiface anyway..
post #733 of 1712
I use a glass fiber optic cable but I much prefer my custom made sys concept fiber optic cable, which is reasonbly priced, well made.
post #734 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
@slim.a: that'd be pretty sweet if at some point you could compare a glass toslink cable to your top coax interconnects...because glass toslink would appear to really be a viable solution nowadays, thanks to its much higher bandwidth than coax/plastic toslink and its immunity to EMI/RFI, dielectrics and whatnot

TOSLINK Interconnect History & Basics - Audioholics


most companies are simply rebadging products from this manufacturer(same logo on the plugs). I've got the top cable in 6ft length(the SQ is ): SHIN KIN - GLASS TOSLINK CABLES

and some feedback: Introducing the dt700 Glass Toslink Deluxe! - Agoraquest - Sony Forum, News, Reviews

LITE AUDIO DAC AM REVIEW

Parts-Express.com:*Dayton GOC-3 Glass Optical Digital Cable 3 ft. | toslink optical cable glass optical fiberoptic. digital optical Dolby digital 5.1

glass toslink - Agoraquest - Sony Forum, News, Reviews
Hi leeperry,

I will definitely try the glass optical cable you pointed out. Also thanks for the links.
The only decent optical I have is the Mitsubishi Eska POF I bought from Blue Jeans Cable. I never bothered buying a glass optical cable because they are usually too expensive for an expected return that is probably inferior to some of the high end coaxial cables I have.
However, this one is cheap enough that it worth taking the risk for the fun of trying

However, when comparing optical vs. coaxial, one has to keep in mind that it is very dependant on how the transports and DACs were designed... It will probably work better (and even outperform coaxial) on noisy sources, but who knows, I might be surprised when I actually try it. I will order one and keep you guys updated once I get it.

By the way, I have also received about 2 weeks ago a Usb to Spdif converter from Purepiper who looks like a lot the HA NG unit you mentioned earlier. I was too busy reviewing the Purepiper DAC (see review here: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f7/rev...et-dac-476557/), but from the little listening I did, it appears that unit is slightly better than the built-in usb inputs of the dacs but it is outperformed by the Teralink-X and Hiface. Those are only early impressions and I have yet to do some real critical and comparative listening with the other units.
Anyway, for something that is going to be sold for around $22 (I think), it woud probably serve well the purpose of isolating the DAC from some noisy/lousy motherboards with poor spdif outputs.
post #735 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosgr63 View Post
I use a glass fiber optic cable but I much prefer my custom made sys concept fiber optic cable, which is reasonbly priced, well made.
Is the sys concept fiber optic cable a glass optical cable? How much does it cost?
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