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Musical Fidelity V-LINK USB SPDIF - Page 8

post #106 of 189

Sorry, I haven't tried the V-link on Windows, and 99% of my music is redbook.

post #107 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by tubesound View Post

One question: after I connect V-Link to the computer (Windows Vista or Window 7), the computer installs the driver automatically. However, this driver only supports 24/44.1, 24/48 and 24/96. No 24/88.2 or any 16 bit formats on the drop down list (although 16 bit is supported). Is this the same case for you?


That's what I have when I go into the Sound properties.  The drop-down menu contains only 24-bit with 44.1, 48, and 96 kHz.  (I have Windows 7 64-bit.)

 

post #108 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by tubesound View Post

One question: after I connect V-Link to the computer (Windows Vista or Window 7), the computer installs the driver automatically. However, this driver only supports 24/44.1, 24/48 and 24/96. No 24/88.2 or any 16 bit formats on the drop down list (although 16 bit is supported). Is this the same case for you?

If those options are coming up in the Advanced options then relax- those options are for shared mode. Best to run it in exclusive mode where those options are disabled.

 

The V-link should perform best at 96 kHz if your player can upsample. Check it out.
 

 

post #109 of 189

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nada View Post

The V-link should perform best at 96 kHz if your player can upsample. Check it out.
 

 


I use Foobar as the music player but I didn't use any DSP and ideally I wanted to use 16 bit output (but with V-Link I have to use 24 bit). In your experience, what's the best upsampling DSP plug-in?
 

 

post #110 of 189

If you have 16/44.1 music there shouldnt be a problem with the 24 bit because as far as I know itll be filled up by zeros..

post #111 of 189

Ok, I had to pipe on this thread. Your guys frank comments on the V-Link and surrounding setups and issues really helped me decide to go for it. So thank you all!

 

So, to give back:

First off YES it does work VERY well with Linux (Ubuntu 10.6 and Mythbuntu 10.4, not tried Fedora 12 yet). I took a chance on this, we have no Windows machine around. Most plug and play I've had form a device on Linux bar my keyboard lol. And since its so damn simple with one output there is no messing around with choosing mixers, devices ETC.

I can’t see it listed with lsusb for some odd reason, but cat /proc/asound/VLink/stream0 looks all kinds of correct ;) (also Pulse/ALSA recognise a single mixer called V-Link)

 

As for DTS pass through I'm going with maybe. My Yamaha surround amp swallows the signal (temporarily wired it in direct bypassing my DAC), but I've not got the full set of 5.1 speakers wired atm to be 100% sure, but a DTA test audio file picked out left and right correctly. I'll pull out my centre speaker and try again later. I think the Yam may have a DTS valid logo in it's display but i need to check the manual to remember.

 

For my personal setup and our family setup (MythTv Linux box) it's been a massive improvement.

 

I have a Ubuntu PC with an on board nVidia spdif coax output (V-Link replaces this), feeds into a Midiman / m-audio Flying cow 24bit DAC feeding into a Yamaha RX-396 (weak link but drives headphones and some bookshelf Gale's well for now). The main fidelity for me being my Denon AH-D2000 headphones which got me into recent Audiophile mode. 

The family setup was a Creative live 16 USB soundcard (now v-link) via optical toslink to a m-audio DAC ( i forget which, superdac i think ) and into either a nice Mission Cyrus amp and mission speakers or passed out to a Creek OBH-21 headphone amp and into the same Denon headphones. (This is obviously the more respectable setup)

 

The improvement is breathtaking. I've hot swapped the V-Link between setups to listen. Beethoven sounded sooo clear and respectable on the Cryus and mission speakers, the Creek and Denon 2ks were beautiful and detailed. Dido Flac16 sung beautifully, which is normally a good test track.  My own setup (it’s ultimate home) is singing to me now with yet another step of clarity, detail and smoothness I had only dreamed of squeezing out of my it. Craig Armstrong is currently wirring into my brain :)

Obviously these setups were very weak on the PC to SPDIF production side of things so it’s no wonder it’s better but I’m so damn happy with how much. For us it’s essentially a £80-90 effin good soundcard as neither DACs had USB.  I personally really wanted an independent hi fidelity link so my PC rig can be upgraded as i like. The Flying Cow only has Coax in and many onboard souncards or PCIe ones are optical only these days, presumably premoted by the natural isolation.  As well as an added bonus be being able to reliably play 24bit Flac and DVD-A now with far less concern of complex drivers or audio cards or devices offering silly configs or setups that accidentally set you to a lower samplerate (New Radiohead Album FLAC-24 download kicked me into this)

 

I just need to confirm some suspicions that ALSA sound daemon is reported to “upsample” everything to 44.1k. Which of course is a nockdown for 24bit/96k or higher. I’ve heard word of an Alsa plugin which trades higher CPU for less meggering with audio and allows straight through “whatever” bitrate materials.

This said the 24bit tracks i have do sound far better by ear. I wish my flying cow had sample-rate indicators on to confirm :P Probably find some diagnostics data in /proc to help out.

 

Now to stop myself buying an SSD disk drive to cut down on HDD hum I can’t even hear yet lol. Headphone amp first me thinks.

 

cat /proc/asound/VLink/stream0

Musical Fidelity Musical Fidelity V-Link at usb-0000:00:02.0-1, full speed : USB Audio

 

Playback:

 Status: Running

   Interface = 1

   Altset = 1

   URBs = 3 [ 8 8 8 ]

   Packet Size = 582

   Momentary freq = 44100 Hz (0x2c.1998)

 Interface 1

   Altset 1

   Format: S24_3LE

   Channels: 2

   Endpoint: 1 OUT (ASYNC)

   Rates: 32000, 44100, 48000, 88200, 96000

post #112 of 189

V-Link, V-Dac, V-Power, V- ...

 

Remember MF's original marketing blurb about keeping it simple and cheap? 

 

Why not one box?

post #113 of 189

Quote:

Originally Posted by zappp View Post

V-Link, V-Dac, V-Power, V- ...

 

Remember MF's original marketing blurb about keeping it simple and cheap? 

 

Why not one box?


Say, If you already have a very good DAC and you became interested in PC HiFi, then you may only need the V-Link and you'll have no need of V-Dac. It's like Integrated Amp vs. Pre Amp + Power Amp. They all have its own place on the market.

post #114 of 189

If you want one box solutions, get their M series.


 


Edited by grokit - 4/11/11 at 12:19pm
post #115 of 189

JetBlackStar,

 

Thanks for your post. As a Linux user myself it's good to have confirmation that the MF V-Link works under Linux. I use KDE distros rather than Gnomed based Ubuntu. But it's really commands at the CLI that will allow you to see how the V-Link is functioning.  It's curious that nothing appears in the list of devices shown by "lsusb". Perhaps it's there, but under an unexpected name.  

 

I have an external USB DAC (adaptive mode) which lusb just shows as: 

 

Bus 002 Device 002: ID 08bb:2902 Texas Instruments Japan

 

This is because my DAC uses a PCM2902 chip for USB input. the "dmesg" command as root shows a little more info:

 


usb 2-1: Product: USB Audio CODEC
usb 2-1: Manufacturer: Burr-Brown from TI
input: Burr-Brown from TI USB Audio CODEC as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:02.0/usb2/2-1/2-1:1.3/input/input1
generic-usb 0003:08BB:2902.0001: input,hidraw0: USB HID v1.00 Device [Burr-Brown from TI USB Audio CODEC ] on usb-0000:00:02.0-1/input3


I wonder if the V-link shows up in the dmesg list in some form?

 

 

Just like windows you'll get the best out of Linux audio by avoiding sound mixers and any sample rate conversion that ALSA might perfom. And in Linux I have avoided using PluseAudio as it seems to add an unnecessary (in my case) addititoinal software layer. If possible it's also best to avoid any kind of software volume control which will have a detrimental effect on SQ. As my DAC has a variable line out, I set all software volume settings to max and use the DAC's volume control.

 

The basic heirarchy of sound devices in ALSA are dmix (mixing sound source and possible sample rate conversion), plughw (bit padding/sample format conversion eg 16bit to 24bit to match sound source format to hardware device ) , and hw (no conversion of rate or format).

 

I can address the USB inut of my DAC as a "hw" device, I would hope you could do the same for the V-LINK.  Whether you have one or more soundcards in any of your PCs, you can find the correct way to address the V-link on your system by using "aplay -l" at the command line.

 

In may case the output is:

 

 

aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: A71 [Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1], device 0: ICE1724 [ICE1724]
Subdevices: 1/1
Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: A71 [Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1], device 1: ICE1724 IEC958 [ICE1724 IEC958]
Subdevices: 1/1
Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: A71 [Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1], device 2: ICE1724 Surrounds [ICE1724 Surround PCM]
Subdevices: 3/3
Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
Subdevice #1: subdevice #1
Subdevice #2: subdevice #2
card 1: default [USB Audio CODEC ], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
Subdevices: 1/1
Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

 

So my the USB inut of my DAC is device hw:1,0  or hw:1:0 depending on the software used for audio playback. In your case if it's the only sound device it would be hw:0,0 or hw:0.0

 

If you have sound samples in WAV format at different resoultion, aplay can be used to show if these a playing at native rates and the V-Link is autoadjusting as it should. e.g aplay -D hw:x,y sample.wav. Substitute x and y with the value you get from aplay -l for the V-link which should be seen as externel USB sound device.

 

Alternatively you could use mplayer at the command line, with something like:

 

 

mplayer -ao alsa:device=x:y  sample.flac

 

or 

 

mplayer -ao alsa:device=x:y -srate 96000 sample.flac

 

The srate option forces a given audio playback rate. The output of mplayer will show you if any samplerate conversion is happening.

(note slight difference in the format of the device address between aplay and mplayer)

 

For other Linux GUI sound apps, it's normally just a case of finding how to pick the right sound device and make sure is using the "hw" address.  I hope that might help with some further experimentation and if you get a chance to post again I'd be interested to see any relveant output from dmesg etc. 


 

 

 


Edited by BrightSpark - 4/12/11 at 3:59am
post #116 of 189

REF : linux support above.

 

Can someone confirm a few points for me

 

1) Output bitrate relative to input - ie is what you put in, what you get out? ie 16/44.1 in... 16/44.1 out

2) Are any output formats dithered in any way (ie internally in the card)

3) Does it only support 24 bit samples? Or can you feed it 16 bit (appears from above it's 24 bit only)

 

Just wondering if this is worthy upgrade from my Trends UD-10, which I only use as a usb>spdif convertor.

 

Thanks in advance..

 

Abaxas

 

post #117 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by abaxas View Post

REF : linux support above.

 

Can someone confirm a few points for me

 

1) Output bitrate relative to input - ie is what you put in, what you get out? ie 16/44.1 in... 16/44.1 out

2) Are any output formats dithered in any way (ie internally in the card)

3) Does it only support 24 bit samples? Or can you feed it 16 bit (appears from above it's 24 bit only)

 

Just wondering if this is worthy upgrade from my Trends UD-10, which I only use as a usb>spdif convertor.

 

Thanks in advance..

 

Abaxas

 


About point 3 above. If it's true that the V-link hardware requires a 24bit format, then in Linux it will be addressed in ALSA as a plughw device, as format conversion  (not the same as sample rate conversion) is required to match the audio format to what the hardware needs. Yes, of course it will play back 16bit sound files, ALSA/LINUX will bit pad to convert the format. So there is a slight CPU overahead as compared to when no format conversion is needed. But you will not notice any loweirng of sound quality.

 

This is exactly what happens if I use my internal sound card (Envy24HT chipset) to feed my DAC via its toslink input. So the typical mplayer command becomes something like:

 

mplayer -ao alsa:device=plughw:0:1 CDImage.flac

 

In my case the internal soundcard is the first card, and its optical out is seen by ALSA as device 1 on card 0.  In some configurations you might find ALSA  gives the optical out a different format of name as shown by the aplay -l command, e.g.

 

mplayer -ao alsa:device=iec958=A71.0 CDImage.flac

 

iec958 is the optical out on a card A71, device 0.

 

(In Linux you can get access to the full freq range on an cheap Chaintech AV710 s/card without trying to flash the cards to an  Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1. By simply loading the s/card's ALSA module ice1724 with the option model=prodigy71. )

 

Hope that helps.

 

 

 

 


Edited by BrightSpark - 4/12/11 at 7:48am
post #118 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrightSpark View Post

About point 3 above. If it's true that the V-link hardware requires a 24bit format, then in Linux it will be addressed in ALSA as a plughw device, as format conversion  (not the same as sample rate conversion) is required to match the audio format to what the hardware needs. Yes, of course it will play back 16bit sound files, ALSA/LINUX will bit pad to convert the format. So there is a slight CPU overahead as compared to when no format conversion is needed. But you will not notice any loweirng of sound quality.

 

 

MPD supports S24_3LE format, so you can bypass the ALSA completely addressing the card with hw,0,0 (or whatever is your device number)

I'm sure other players do the same.

post #119 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Uthadude View Post

Has anyone read the writeup in April's Stereophile?

In that same April 2011 issue of Stereophile, the V-Link is one of the Class A recommended components (p. 82). 

 

Towards the end of the review, the V-Link was compared to the Halide Bridge:

"Well, as much as I would have liked to say that the $169 V-Link equaled the $450 Halide, with the Sibelius symphony the Halide did provide a slightly more transparent window on the Walthamstow Town Hall acoustic, with slightly more precisely defined stereo imaging.  (Although, if I had to swear, the Halide's bass sounded a little less rich.) Reverting to the expensive glass AudioQuest TosLink did even matters up, the V-Link still sounding slightly richer than the Halide and the Halide still ahead in precision and transparency. But these are small differences in absolute terms- and with a DAC that offer better jitter rejection than the Benchmark, those differences may well vanish." (Stereophile, Vol 34, No. 4; April 2011, p 167).

post #120 of 189


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by realmassy View Post



 

MPD supports S24_3LE format, so you can bypass the ALSA completely addressing the card with hw,0,0 (or whatever is your device number)

I'm sure other players do the same.


While I probably should have said "then in Linux it might  be addressed in ALSA as a plughw device" , I believe your own statement is incorrect. It's not just a case of what format a particular Linux sound player supports (MPD, mplayer etc.) but also if this matches what the hardware supports. Take for example my own sound card. Compare these two outputs from mplayer:

 

mplayer -ao alsa:device=hw=0.1 "Johann Christian F. Bach Concerti.ape"
MPlayer SVN-r33057 (C) 2000-2010 MPlayer Team
Can't open joystick device /dev/input/js0: No such file or directory
Can't init input joystick
mplayer: could not connect to socket
mplayer: No such file or directory
Failed to open LIRC support. You will not be able to use your remote control.

Playing Johann Christian F. Bach Concerti.ape.
libavformat file format detected.
[lavf] stream 0: audio (ape), -aid 0
Clip info:
 Year: 2009
 Genre: Klassik
 Artist: Freiburger Barockorchester
 AlbumArtist: Freiburger Barockorchester
 Album: Johann Christian F. Bach Concerti
 Tool Name: Easy CD-DA Extractor (http://www.poikosoft.com)
Load subtitles in ./
==========================================================================
Opening audio decoder: [ffmpeg] FFmpeg/libavcodec audio decoders
AUDIO: 44100 Hz, 2 ch, s16le, 0.0 kbit/0.00% (ratio: 0->176400)
Selected audio codec: [ffape] afm: ffmpeg (FFmpeg Monkey's Audio)
==========================================================================
[AO_ALSA] Format s16le is not supported by hardware, trying default.
[AO_ALSA] Unable to set format: Invalid argument
Failed to initialize audio driver 'alsa:device=hw=0.1'
Could not open/initialize audio device -> no sound.
Audio: no sound
Video: no video


Exiting... (End of file)

 

This fails not because mplayer does not support the s16le format, but because the sound card does not support it. It cannot be addressed as a "hw" device.  Using a "plughw" address, the audio file plays successfully as the necessary format conversion takes place.

 

mplayer -ao alsa:device=plughw=0.1 "Johann Christian F. Bach Concerti.ape"
MPlayer SVN-r33057 (C) 2000-2010 MPlayer Team
Can't open joystick device /dev/input/js0: No such file or directory
Can't init input joystick
mplayer: could not connect to socket
mplayer: No such file or directory
Failed to open LIRC support. You will not be able to use your remote control.

Playing Johann Christian F. Bach Concerti.ape.
libavformat file format detected.
[lavf] stream 0: audio (ape), -aid 0
Clip info:
 Year: 2009
 Genre: Klassik
 Artist: Freiburger Barockorchester
 AlbumArtist: Freiburger Barockorchester
 Album: Johann Christian F. Bach Concerti
 Tool Name: Easy CD-DA Extractor (http://www.poikosoft.com)
Load subtitles in ./
==========================================================================
Opening audio decoder: [ffmpeg] FFmpeg/libavcodec audio decoders
AUDIO: 44100 Hz, 2 ch, s16le, 0.0 kbit/0.00% (ratio: 0->176400)
Selected audio codec: [ffape] afm: ffmpeg (FFmpeg Monkey's Audio)
==========================================================================
AO: [alsa] 44100Hz 2ch s16le (2 bytes per sample)
Video: no video
Starting playback...
A:  18.6 (18.5) of 4652.9 ( 1:17:32.9)  3.0%


MPlayer interrupted by signal 2 in module: play_audio
A:  18.6 (18.5) of 4652.9 ( 1:17:32.9)  3.0%

Exiting... (Quit)
 

 

I can use ""hw" address on my USB DAC because the PCM2902 chip only supports 16bit at 32/44/48 Khz, so no format conversion is needed.   It looks like the V-link is a 24bit device, hence I think if will be a "plughw" device as far as ALSA is concerned. Perhaps someone can confirm that either way. It's not really that important,  as it appears to works as an async usb device in Linux with no need for drivers, a big plus for Linux users who might liked to have had something like the M2Tech hiface work for them.

 

 

 

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