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USB to SPDIF converters shoot-out : EMU 0404 USB vs. Musiland Monitor 01 USD vs. Teralink-x vs.... - Page 7  

post #91 of 1712
Can I use the the M2Tech hiFace with iTunes on a MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard, or I would have to wait for the Mac drivers?
post #92 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosgr63 View Post
Can I use the the M2Tech hiFace with iTunes on a MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard, or I would have to wait for the Mac drivers?
You could run windows in a virtual machine and emulate the drivers. Seems to work, but not with good results (noise and breaks in sound). Of course to run it with Snow Leopard you would obviously need drivers.
post #93 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkeny View Post
this link shows the Musiland jitter but I wouldn't take it as gospel. DIYHiFi.org • View topic - Musiland 24/192 USB Asynchronous Devices this shows a graph of the Musiland Vs AP SYS2722 Digital Generator
BTW, I just noticed that in the Sterophile link given earlier they use a SYS2722 to measure the jitter of various DACs - in the above graph I linked to, shows the Musiland jitter noise against the SYS2722. You can work out what this says
post #94 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosgr63 View Post
Can I use the the M2Tech hiFace with iTunes on a MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard, or I would have to wait for the Mac drivers?
Not yet, but the osx driver is coming out very soon, from what I was told.
post #95 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkeny View Post
this link shows the Musiland jitterbut I wouldn't take it as gospel. DIYHiFi.org • View topic - Musiland 24/192 USB Asynchronous Devices this shows a graph of the
Musiland Vs AP SYS2722 Digital Generator

The Stereophile jitter measures are useful as they give a relative measure of units so they can be ordered from lowest to highest jitter but I still wouldn't take the figures as gospel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkeny View Post
BTW, I just noticed that in the Sterophile link given earlier they use a SYS2722 to measure the jitter of various DACs - in the above graph I linked to, shows the Musiland jitter noise against the SYS2722. You can work out what this says
Jkeny, I haven't registred yet at the DIYHiFi forum so I cannot see the picture of the measurement you are talking about.
However, it seems that according to the discussion, the digital noise floor of the Musiland is 20db higher than that of the AudioPrecision system. Does it mean that the Musiland has 100x times the jitter of the SYS2722 ? (I am basing my guess on the fact that in power measurment 20db is equal to 100x more power)
Does the picture give ps/ns jitter measurements like those given by stereophile ? If it is the case, it might give us an idea on how the musiland compares to the Bel Canto and Emu 0404 usb that were measured by sterephile. But I am still skeptical to draw definitve conclusions from those measurements since they weren't performed with the same equipment (digital cables, ...) and the same test protocol. Too bad the stereophile test covered only 3 usb to spdif converters and didn't include a reference pci soundcard such as the lynxtwo to give us a base reference.
post #96 of 1712
tosehee, if you fed your DAC from the Mac's HP output using an optical 3.5mm/Toshlink cable would you be bypassing the soundcard's D/A converter?
What would the SQ be compared to a USB/M2Tech HiFace signal fed to your DAC?
post #97 of 1712
Thread Starter 

update on the first post

I updated my review with the following :

Test Protocol (added on 26/10/09):

Before writing my review, I did many A/B tests going back and forth between different units. And besides those A/B tests, I also did extended listening with all those units to get more familiar with their sound as sometimes

To make sure I was not adding any unforeseen parameters, for each A/B test I would use the same usb port, the same usb cable and the same digital cable (used in the same direction).
I did try various digital cables but did most my listening with the sobek digital cable as I was very familiar with its sound. For those who might think that digital cables do not matter, you can find Here a link of an old stereophile article that measures the jitter of various digital cables which show that even the direction of the cable can affect the sound. During my test I tried to beconsistent comparing units with the same digital cable (used at the same direction), and then compared again the units with a different digital cable.
I also tried different usb cables but I ended preferring the Wireworld Ultraviolet usb cable. I did most of my testing with that usb cable except with the m2tech who doesn't need a usb cable.


Follow-up (26/10/09)

When I initially wrote my conclusion, I didn't intend to make it sound like the Musiland was a bad sounding unit. But I guess I didn't choose the appropriate words. What I meant to say is that in my system, and with my ears I preferred the Teralink-x and m2tech Hiface. The Musiland is still a very good unit.
I did some other testing since I first wrote the review with another good digital cable (the stereovox xv2) and ended up with this conclusion : I would rather use the Musiland with a good digital cable (Stereovox, Sobek) than using the m2tech hiface (my favorite of the group) with the Canare or the Belkin coaxial cable. This means that while there are clear and audible differences between those units, I was talking about the last few percents of performance in my system.

Also, there are people who found it curious that the order of purchase coincided with the order of prefrence. First, as I explained in the test protocol, I went back many times to each unit and did not do my review from memory, I gave a fair listen to all units. I also kept all 4 units on hand and won't be selling them in the near future.
Second, a little explaining about why I was "lucky" enought to have a better unit each time I upgraded. I owned the EMU 0404 usb for more than 2 years and used it mainly as a dac/headphone amp before using it as a transport for my dacs. So it was never my intention to use it as a usb to spdif converter at the time I bought it.
However, the spdif output of the EMU 0404 usb worked only with asio, which meant that I had to keep switching between the usb input of my DAC (for watching movies) and its spdif input (for music). It is at that time that I found a very promising unit the Musiland. When I had it I was very happy with it but I was a little bit disappointed about the marginal improvement it brought upon the EMU 0404 usb. I started reading about the Musiland unit and I learned that while the async protocol and use of a FPGA were good things, however it didn't use audiophile grade components (clocks, capacitors). It was when I was looking for low jitter clocks on ebay that I stumbled on the Teralink-X converter. On theory, it was supposed to be inferior to the Musiland (it uses an old cm-108 usb adaptive chip) but it used a low jitter clock, Oscon capacitors, ... and since it was pretty cheap (less than my Wireworld usb cable), I took the chance and ordered it. When I got it, the sound was superior to the Musiland unit which was rather surprising. This lead me to the quest of another usb converter but this time I was looking for an async usb converters with audiophile grade components. Then someone mentioned this great new usb to spdif converter on the Audio-gd 19 mk3 dac (I started). I went to their web site and I was positively surprised to read on their white paper about the use of 2 low jitter clocks and an async usb protocol. So this is how I ended up buying the m2tech. If I didn't learn about the m2tech I would probably have had my musiland modded with a low jitter clock. But for now I am happy with the m2tech hiface and hopefully won't be looking for other converters in the next few months
I hope this explanation can shed the light on my upgrade path and maybe also avoid skepticism about why I ended up prefering my newest unit each time


Jitter measurements:


While jitter measurements should be interpreted with great care (different results with different equipment and test protocol), it is sometimes a nice tool to make jitter comparisons in the same group of transports done with the same equipment.
Here you can find jitter measurements of the m2tech, a LynxTwo pci sound card, a Nagra DII and a Marantz CD player. In that test the m2tech was slightly better than the LynxTwo which is a professional grade PCI card, and better than the Nagra and Marantz cd player.
On a stereophile test, there were measurements of the EMU 0404 usb and other converters. The EMU had the worst jitter of the bench, and its jitter was 8 times that of the one measured with the m2tech (Granted the tests were done with different measuring equipment).
So, it seems that at least, I must have gotten the order of those 2 units right
post #98 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
Jkeny, I haven't registred yet at the DIYHiFi forum so I cannot see the picture of the measurement you are talking about.
However, it seems that according to the discussion, the digital noise floor of the Musiland is 20db higher than that of the AudioPrecision system. Does it mean that the Musiland has 100x times the jitter of the SYS2722 ? (I am basing my guess on the fact that in power measurment 20db is equal to 100x more power)
Does the picture give ps/ns jitter measurements like those given by stereophile ? If it is the case, it might give us an idea on how the musiland compares to the Bel Canto and Emu 0404 usb that were measured by sterephile. But I am still skeptical to draw definitve conclusions from those measurements since they weren't performed with the same equipment (digital cables, ...) and the same test protocol. Too bad the stereophile test covered only 3 usb to spdif converters and didn't include a reference pci soundcard such as the lynxtwo to give us a base reference.
Simmconn, the guy that did the measurements corrected this 20dB figure earlier in the thread:
Quote:
I have to correct my previous measurement result, because I wasn't comparing apple to apple - the 20dB difference in jitter spectrum levels between the AP and the 01USD was not under the same sampling frequency. The 01USD was running at 192k but the AP was at 48k. So the 01USD's performance under the same sampling rate is better than I thought.
The graph shows a possible 2-5dB higher noise on the Musiland. The question is what is the jitter figure of the SYS2722? FMAK on Audioasylum did some measurements on the Musiland & it was he that suggested a value of <100ps AFAIR (I'll look for the link)
post #99 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkeny View Post
Simmconn, the guy that did the measurements corrected this 20dB figure earlier in the thread:


The graph shows a possible 2-5dB higher noise on the Musiland. The question is what is the jitter figure of the SYS2722? FMAK on Audioasylum did some measurements on the Musiland & it was he that suggested a value of <100ps AFAIR (I'll look for the link)
Jkeny, the only 100ps figure I have read about the Musiland was a theoretical figure guessed from the specs of the Xilinx FPGA used in the Musiland. That guess doesn't take into account the actual jitter at the spdif output which would have accounted for the layout of the PCB, the quality of the clocks and PLLs, the transformers ... You claimed the same thing about the 100ps figure on the Computer Audio Asylum without providing your source.
Also, while I haven't seen the graph, the comments made by the person who measured the Musiland talk about 20db of additional noise. Then he says that since the Musiland was measured at 192k, the jitter at 48k might be lower. But I don't read anywhere where he talks about 2-5 db. Do you ?
As for the SYS2722 used by stereophile, the lowest digital jitter they could get was 1.75ns (1750ps) with a Boulder 1021 disc player that costs $24,000. Do you really believe that the Musiland measures 17 times better than one of the best measuring CD players that exist ? Also, I have yet to find a jitter digital measuring device that can go below 0.5ns (500ps).
Could you please give a link to your sources ? It would be greatly appeciated. Also, could you please copy the graph and post it in this thread so that the readers could see by themselves ?
post #100 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosgr63 View Post
tosehee, if you fed your DAC from the Mac's HP output using an optical 3.5mm/Toshlink cable would you be bypassing the soundcard's D/A converter?
What would the SQ be compared to a USB/M2Tech HiFace signal fed to your DAC?
Yes. You are passing the digital to the DAC, bypassing the internal DAC.

As for comparison, it really depends on your DAC. My DAC has a very good jitter protection, but even with it, you can hear the immediate improvements with m2tech. You won't be disappointed.
post #101 of 1712
tosehee, thanks a lot!
Once the Mac driver is out, I'll probably go for it.
post #102 of 1712
When will folks realize that Jitter measurements are 90% hokus pokus and 10% science, an instrument that can acurately measure timings near the speed of light is not available to any magazine with $500k in annual sales.
post #103 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
When will folks realize that Jitter measurements are 90% hokus pokus and 10% science, an instrument that can acurately measure timings near the speed of light is not available to any magazine with $500k in annual sales.
That's probably true. I have no clue myself on how they measure and come up with these jitter measurements.

You can be the best judge of these products. Maybe it's a waste, and if you feel that way, you can always sell it back at a small loss.
post #104 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
When will folks realize that Jitter measurements are 90% hokus pokus and 10% science, an instrument that can acurately measure timings near the speed of light is not available to any magazine with $500k in annual sales.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tosehee View Post
That's probably true. I have no clue myself on how they measure and come up with these jitter measurements.

You can be the best judge of these products. Maybe it's a waste, and if you feel that way, you can always sell it back at a small loss.
In my opinion, if the jitter measurements are done right they can help buyers to make their choices if they can't audition the equipment beforehand.
The problem is that there is no standard yet for measuring jitter. Different methods of measuring jitter give you different results. Jitter at the spdif output (usually between 1ns and 10ns) is much higher than what you can measure at the analog output of a dac (50ps-1ns). The only useful information that can be had from those tests is a relative ranking of digital devices that have undergone the same test. However, there are people that tell you that the jitter spectrum is also a factor on how the sound is perceived which further complicates the measurements.
Therefore, measurements can be useful if we cannot audition digital units before buying them but ultimately, it doesn't tell the whole truth about how that particular will sound in a specific system (dac/digital cable combination) but there are not 90% useless in my opinion .
post #105 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
Jkeny, the only 100ps figure I have read about the Musiland was a theoretical figure guessed from the specs of the Xilinx FPGA used in the Musiland. That guess doesn't take into account the actual jitter at the spdif output which would have accounted for the layout of the PCB, the quality of the clocks and PLLs, the transformers ... You claimed the same thing about the 100ps figure on the Computer Audio Asylum without providing your source.
OK, I haven't found the reference to the 100ps yet but here's John Swenson's analysis of how the Musiland works with theoretical jitter figures Computer Audio Asylum: RE: Musiland 01 USD at 192k by audioengr
In it he suggests 300ps total!

Quote:
Also, while I haven't seen the graph, the comments made by the person who measured the Musiland talk about 20db of additional noise. Then he says that since the Musiland was measured at 192k, the jitter at 48k might be lower. But I don't read anywhere where he talks about 2-5 db. Do you ?
Here's the graph attached - you can see this is where I derive the 2-5dB figure from!

Quote:
As for the SYS2722 used by stereophile, the lowest digital jitter they could get was 1.75ns (1750ps) with a Boulder 1021 disc player that costs $24,000. Do you really believe that the Musiland measures 17 times better than one of the best measuring CD players that exist ? Also, I have yet to find a jitter digital measuring device that can go below 0.5ns (500ps).
The graph shows the Musiland Vs the SYS2722 - you make up your own mind & then answer your question

Quote:
Could you please give a link to your sources ? It would be greatly appeciated. Also, could you please copy the graph and post it in this thread so that the readers could see by themselves ?
Search on Audioasylum for author fmak & musiland - he has done a lot of testing of the musiland
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