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Computer To Dac... Best Option

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

i have a laptop ... so getting a PCI card is out of the question..

 

I currently have hte Lite AM-Dac which has for inputs

 

coaxial, optical (toslink), Aes

 

 

this dac runs to a WooAudio6 with upgraded tubes through RCA outputs (the woo audio is not balanced.. the dac is)...

 

in any event im trying to find the BEST way to go from my computer to my dac... (only the three inputs mentioned above.).. It would obviously have to be something USB or expresscard... but im not sure.. I was told that it doesnt really make a difference and i bought this.,..

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829270009

 

 

i would only be using hte optical part of that.. so it would not be movin the signal around?

 

or do i want to go for another direction...

 

whats my best option..

 

post #2 of 16

It would appear by the number of threads that you have started, that you are more inclined to have some help than to read all the infomation that's available both here and on the internet elsewhere. Nothing wrong with that. Some just don't get all the lingo or computer speak.

 

Seems to me that you are bringing some preconceived notions about computer audio to the table that you have either read or heard somewhere. You keep mentioning "movin the signal around" and "make my dac/amp the bottleneck" and I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but I'm gonna take a stab and say that you want your computer to be "all that it can be," and have someone here tell you what you need in order to do that, using a usb to spdif and/or toslink converter to send an spdif signal to your dac. 

 

Before going any further, are we getting warm?

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

we are getting warmer and im just curious to the effect of what i should do to make sure the hindrance of my audio quality is my dac or source file. (i dont want the computer or converter from usb to toslink to affect the sound.. i posted in another thread... what about buying this>

 

http://www.audiophileproducts.com/usbtospdif

 

would that be completely different than buying

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829270009

 

 

.... quality difference.. etc.. is there? i have heard that digital is digital but from what i have read from many sources here that is not the case...

post #4 of 16

yep, I reread all your posts before posting here.

 

The thing from newegg, it only does 44.1kHz(CD sample rate) and 48kHz(DVD sample rate), which is fine if all you're gonna listen to is CD anyway. Also that device requires software with drivers. Not sure what's up with that if the only sample rates supported are 44 and 48, so ....stuff that only uses 44 and 48 doesn't usually need any external software or drivers, but this device also supports 5.1 and 7.1, etc. so i'm gonna take a stab and say that it probably won't be the best solution on the planet.

 

There is a thread on the other firestone device(I think) somewhere here on this forum.

 

I'm no expert on computer audio, but have done a fair amount of research and tried many different software players and devices to do exactly what you want to do. My main rig is a laptop (I actually play around with 2 different laptops for audio) and so I can kinda see where you're coming from. I also take USB and turn it into spdif coax(for the RCA digital spdif plug on the back of your dac), although my latest device doesn't need a coax, but instead just plugs directly onto that RCA digital spdif connector on the back of any of my dacs.

 

Do you have a ballpark budget in mind, or just keep it as simple as possible and cheap as possible?(You never know when you might be speaking to someone in school or on a fixed income)

 

Can you tell me what your dac is again, so we can be certain of what is being used?(EDIT: nvm, i see it's the Lite am dac)


Edited by digger945 - 8/22/10 at 2:24pm
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

yea im in school.. i mean i dont want to spend $1000's on this.. as stated its just taking usb to digital toslink/coax...

 

umm... what is needed.. dont need anything with the bells and whistle's i liked that $170.. but i can go a little more... i just dont think i would need to (i could be very wrong here)?

 

am i looking for something like this...

http://www.audiophileproducts.com/usbtospdif

 

im more lost in the what i have to get from the computer to the dac...

post #6 of 16

yea, I looked at the Bravo converter. I think leeperry has had it for a while now. I don't know all that much about it, and it seems like few people have it on this forum, so can't really advise for or against it. I've never listened to it.

 

Another option in that price range would be the M2Tech HiFace, which does usb to spdif conversion. I think there are some here on the Cables, tweaks, etc. FS forum, one may be a little cheaper than new. I have listened to the HiFace and it is a step up from some of the others I have owned and listened to.*

 

Maybe I can just rank the ones that I have owned.

 

#1. Halide Bridge(a wee bit out of your price range, but by far the best sounding yet, I think there is one her FS for ~$350)

#2. HiFace(you might find this one here for somewhere in the $120 to $130 shipped range, new for ~$160 for the RCA output one)

#3. Musiland 02 US(this is a good converter somewhere in the $100+ range, also has a headphone amp which you can compare to your Lite am dacs amp)

#4. Emu 0404usb(this one also has a headamp, and can do async conversion using ASIO drivers, but is VERY hard to get set up right, and takes a lot of fiddling around to work right, and I didn't care for the sound anyways)

 

Another one that I haven't tried yet but seems to get OK marks would be the Teralink X2 which looks to go for around $80 shipped. Possibly find it here for less used.

 

Basically what all these converters do, aside from the Teralink, is use a form of usb data transfer known as "async" which means the device that's plugged into the usb port is doing the timing control of the computer and telling it when to give audio data, as opposed to some other previous converters(and stuff made today even) that are known as "adaptive" that take the audio data as the computer gives it and try to time it as best as can be done. Aside from the technical aspects, I have to say that I enjoy async better than adaptive myself, just speaking from actual listening experience alone. You would think that just supplying the dac with ones and zeros would be enough to work, and it is, up to a certain point(apparently) and then the timing plays some part of the overall sound output.

 

I'm guessing you have a digital spdif coax or toslink cable to use with these.

 

*Although I didn't experience any problems at all when I owned a HiFace, others here have reported some problems with the output using certain media players. This device does use drivers that must be installed on your computer to work. I suggest some reading before making any hasty decisions, about any device, not just the HiFace. Aside from that, I think you might like it.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

is there a performance difference between the Hiface and the Hiface evo?

 

btw that last post was awesome!

 

i see the price difference is it justified?

 


Edited by ambush276 - 8/22/10 at 5:19pm
post #8 of 16
The evo is kinda new yet. I think most are saying it is some better. It costs more.



Justification of price will depend on the listener. I can justify it so far, and will spend more when I can.
post #9 of 16

Thanks for the comparisons digger. Very informative.

 

I'll just add that the Teralink-X2 isn't as good as the HiFace or Musiland 02US IMO. Its attack and transient response are slower and soundstage, while big, is fuzzy and diffused.


Edited by Shahrose - 8/25/10 at 10:48pm
post #10 of 16

Yea, I believe you can only go so far using other people's opinions and suggestions*. At some point you gotta just break down and try something and see how it goes. There are so many options available now. As a side note about he HiFace, there are 2 recent reviews released, one on enjoythemusic.com, and the other on Computeraudiophile.com. The one on CA.com has some interesting technical points about the device.

 

 

I think if I had to pick the next one up to try out(armchair picks I've never heard), it would be the ART Legato, or definitely a Wavelink product like the Proton or just-released Wavelink. An interesting new dac to try would be the Arcam Solo rDac which uses dCS async USB and a Wolfson 8741.

 

Too many options and not enough play money.

 

*edit...I was speaking to ambush here.


Edited by digger945 - 8/26/10 at 1:10pm
post #11 of 16

Good advice. Aside from preferences, these things will also sound a little different sometimes depending on the supporting gear they're used with.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by digger945 View Post

Yea, I believe you can only go so far using other people's opinions and suggestions*. At some point you gotta just break down and try something and see how it goes.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

got the bravo and so far very happy with it.. very happy!

post #13 of 16

 

Originally Posted by ambush276 View Post

got the bravo and so far very happy with it.. very happy!

 

the good sides of the Bravo are:

-compatible w/ ADUM4160 to kill any groundloop from the computer

-compatible w/ their linear regulated Supplier DSP w/o any soldering or DIY skills required, for a much improved SQ.

-no beta drivers required, and no need to whine for bugfixes

-WM8804 reclocking to output 50ps coax no matter what: http://hifiduino.blogspot.com/2010/02/programming-wm8804.html

 

the bad sides:

-no 88.2 or >96kHz...tbh, I only have one 88.2 DVD-A from Seal and one 192kHz DVD-A from Grover Washington Jr., so it's not much of a big deal to me.

-it's not USB powered(only a drawback for ppl on a laptop).

 

Anyway, I keep upgrading my rig and this transport scales amazingly well...I've never been this close to my music [:backfire:1]


Edited by leeperry - 9/13/10 at 6:33am
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

yea if you dont need the portability...

 

the only thing i can say about that..

 

 

get a usb and power cable and get a thinkpad (;

 

 

they have a powered USB port and you can get a custom cable that will plug into the power port and usb slot and will converge into one usb port that plugs into the powered usb port in the back.. (;

 

 

if portability is an issue...

 

buy yea except for rare circumstances 96 khz is perfectly fine...

post #15 of 16

Of these, an external converter is clearly the winning choice. We used both interfaces like M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496, Assus Xonar Essence, as well as Lavry DA10 converters, Rockne RD25, MHDT Havana. They finally delivered a superior signal.

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