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Review: Jkeny’s modified Hiface - Page 2

post #16 of 431
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pricklely Peete View Post
Well as Mr Keny has pointed out relieving the Hi Face of it's dependency on the USB bus for power pays huge dividends and it is likely the main reason for the improvement over the stock unit
Just a small correction - the unit slim is reviewing has modifications done to the important circuits normally supplied by the internal 3.3V regulators. The 5V USB still supplies some chips within the unit & the remaining 1.8V regulator. The benefits slim has noted are NOT a result of replacing the USB 5V supply - this hasn't been done. His next review installment will be doing exactly this to both the stock hiFace & modded hiFace, I believe.
Quote:
although implementing the I2S interface is also highly desirable..... I still contend the PSU mod to battery power or an outboard linear supply is the reason why the unit gains are so dramatic vs stock.
with the qualifications I mention above that SIMPLY replacing the USB 5V will not confer these reported benefits. I suppose slim's review of the modified USB cable will answer this question.

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He is simply following the old maxim that PSU quality is half the ball game (in some cases 75% of it).
I am indeed & have come to this conclusion in practice
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That being said it's commendable of him to bring this mod to light and to make it available for low cost !
Thanks
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Slim.a I am really impressed by your growth as a reviewer, you manage to break down the subjective in terms anyone can understand (which is not easy) while remaining objective about the gear you analyze. Staying away from flowery verbiage is also to your credit and another noteworthy feat of your work. At times it's very difficult to purposely steer away from the all too often used phrases and word combinations that the mainstream rags seems to use over and over and over (). I've read over 1000 publications from cover to cover over the decades and I must say I enjoy your stuff over the pro rags by a fair margin. There are some exceptions to that since even the pro's forget themselves once in a while and tell the truth (mush to the publishers chagrin).

My only hope is that you stay here and keep up the good work

Double thumbs up on this review and the C2/DAC19DSP review you recently posted which was also an excellent thoroughly well thought out and covered piece of work.

Head Fi is a richer place.

Cheers

Peete.
I completely agree & believe his review work is exemplary!
post #17 of 431
Thanks JK for the clarification of the current prototype's config.

Peete.
post #18 of 431
Thank you for the review. Sounds like an excellent product.
post #19 of 431
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

Thanks for your very nice comments! I really appreciate it
post #20 of 431
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gattari View Post
Thanks Slim.a
Slim.a you've got to compare the Jkeny modded hiface vs original hiface?, Short, to define the Jkeny hiface better than the original you rely on memories or fact?
Thanks
As jkeny mentoned earlier (I kept him updated), I received back my stock hiface last week so I was able to compare both units directly and the difference is not subtle at all.

I have also to precise that I didn't try the special usb cable jkeny sent me for the review. I wanted the first part to focus on the changes brought by his mod (running the 3.3v from batteries). So the sound can probably be improved a little bit further if I had used his special usb cable and an external power supply for the 5v. Also, since I was also writing the review for the dac19dsp in parallel, I didn't want to introduce too many variables and stuck with the same 2m Belkin usb extension for the last week.


A little anecdote: I went to a friend's place yesterday. He just started building a speaker system (entry level amp + boookshelf Klipsch speakers). He was alternating between his internal soundcard and a Creative X-Fi.
He was curious to see if he should upgrade something so I brought along my Audio-gd FUN and Jkeny's modded hiface.

When we listened to the internal soundcard vs. X-fi vs. FUN, we both felt that the difference (in his budget system) was too subtle to justify the price of the FUN. In fact, he could hardly pick up any difference between the FUN running USB and the X-fi. Out of curiosity (and since I brought it with me), we installed the modified nontetheless and run it through the spdif in of the FUN. My friend didn't know what function it had and didn't know what inputs we were playing. As soon as I hit play from the spdif input of the FUN, he screamed "Now, I hear a difference and it is big".

I was very surprised, to say the least, to witness a non-audiophile pick up so easily the modded hiface over the internal usb input of the FUN on a very low end system.

A few days ago, I read Steve Nugent telling on a thread that the main reason people cannot distinguish different DACs is because of jitter. Personally, I always assumed that if we didn't hear much difference between 2 DACs, it is because the system is not transparent enough. Well, it seems that his explanation had some truth in it ...
post #21 of 431
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
As jkeny mentoned earlier (I kept him updated), I received back my stock hiface last week so I was able to compare both units directly and the difference is not subtle at all.

I have also to precise that I didn't try the special usb cable jkeny sent me for the review. I wanted the first part to focus on the changes brought by his mod (running the 3.3v from batteries). So the sound can probably be improved a little bit further if I had used his special usb cable and an external power supply for the 5v. Also, since I was also writing the review for the dac19dsp in parallel, I didn't want to introduce too many variables and stuck with the same 2m Belkin usb extension for the last week.


A little anecdote: I went to a friend's place yesterday. He just started building a speaker system (entry level amp + boookshelf Klipsch speakers). He was alternating between his internal soundcard and a Creative X-Fi.
He was curious to see if he should upgrade something so I brought along my Audio-gd FUN and Jkeny's modded hiface.

When we listened to the internal soundcard vs. X-fi vs. FUN, we both felt that the difference (in his budget system) was too subtle to justify the price of the FUN. In fact, he could hardly pick up any difference between the FUN running USB and the X-fi. Out of curiosity (and since I brought it with me), we installed the modified nontetheless and run it through the spdif in of the FUN. My friend didn't know what function it had and didn't know what inputs we were playing. As soon as I hit play from the spdif input of the FUN, he screamed "Now, I hear a difference and it is big".

I was very surprised, to say the least, to witness a non-audiophile pick up so easily the modded hiface over the internal usb input of the FUN on a very low end system.

A few days ago, I read Steve Nugent telling on a thread that the main reason people cannot distinguish different DACs is because of jitter. Personally, I always assumed that if we didn't hear much difference between 2 DACs, it is because the system is not transparent enough. Well, it seems that his explanation had some truth in it ...
That is very interesting, would we know whether jkeny would sell his modded units, I would recommend buying the complete modded hiface directly from him, in that way we don't pay more on shipping to us and then mack to jkeny for the mod.
post #22 of 431
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunalraiker View Post
That is very interesting, would we know whether jkeny would sell his modded units, I would recommend buying the complete modded hiface directly from him, in that way we don't pay more on shipping to us and then mack to jkeny for the mod.
Yes, that is the most cost effective way of doing it. Be aware that I'm in Ireland & we are suffering an air traffic grounding at the moment due to the Icelandic volcano.
post #23 of 431
Excellent review slim.a. Keep up the good work!
And it’s really nice of jkeny to offer his soldering skills and modifications to the public. : )

“While the modified version that jkeny sent me is still a prototype …” – Prototype? So, there's still more to be done? ; )
post #24 of 431
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weez View Post
Excellent review slim.a. Keep up the good work!
And it’s really nice of jkeny to offer his soldering skills and modifications to the public. : )
Thanks

Quote:
“While the modified version that jkeny sent me is still a prototype …” – Prototype? So, there's still more to be done? ; )
Only in the optics i.e the front switch will be changed.
post #25 of 431
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkeny View Post
Thanks

Only in the optics i.e the front switch will be changed.
Or fully-battery powered for all voltages? Looking at the pictures for the boxed one with the USB connector sticking out of the side, are you supposed to stick the whole box into the computer's USB port, which I would assume would be difficult due to the box's size, or use a USB adapter cable?
post #26 of 431
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post
Or fully-battery powered for all voltages? Looking at the pictures for the boxed one with the USB connector sticking out of the side, are you supposed to stick the whole box into the computer's USB port, which I would assume would be difficult due to the box's size, or use a USB adapter cable?
Yes, there is a bit more to be squeezed out of this sonically with a cleaner 5V supply & this is addressed with the modified USB cable. You can supply any quality 5V power you desire, battery, etc. However, this is not nearly as large a jump in sonics as the change to the 3.3V supplies.

The boxed unit is not recommended to plug into the USB port so a USB extension cable is recommended.

slim.a will be doing a review of the modified USB cable & is best suited to this as he has already reviewed a number of USB cables.
post #27 of 431
I am curious how this unit would compare to the AGD Ref-3 converter. I found the Ref-3 made a subtle improvement over the Bel Canto USB Link I had.
post #28 of 431

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post #29 of 431
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post
I am curious how this unit would compare to the AGD Ref-3 converter. I found the Ref-3 made a subtle improvement over the Bel Canto USB Link I had.
I would like to see Audio-GD come out with something like the hiFace.
- Asynch USB 24/96 or anything better
- Its own DC or power supply to feed all components and avoid DC coming from PC box.
- A very high end DSP clock to eliminate as much as possible jitter.
- Galvanicaly isolated from the PC.
- ACSS output

I don't feel that there is a need for upsampling IMO.
post #30 of 431
What is the theory about this being better then say the spdif out of an elite Pro?

How can USB to spdif be > spdif out of a better soundcard? Its not really that cheap 150$ which is essentially an Essence ST to put things into context. The mod adds some on top of that I am sure too.
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