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Audiophilleo 1 and 2 USB to S/PDIF transport - Page 3

post #31 of 1173
Quote:
Originally Posted by axw View Post

Btw, did you see any credible reviews claiming OR4's (using SPDIF) sonic superiority over Audiophilleo? Or maybe did you happen to compare the two directly?

 

 


No, unfortunately I haven't seen the two of them together or had the opportunity to test them myself. The Audiophilleo does seem to be considerably better than any other bus powered converter like the Bridge or Diverter, and that is an impressive achievement. What I would really like to see is the Audiophilleo vs. the Legato at 16/44, and vs. the OR4. The Off-Ramp with super or ultraclocks, the Hynes regulator upgrade, and either the Monolith or a B-P-T battery supply is the most expensive converter currently out there, but I suspect that it's the best of the best.

 

Edit: better at least than the original 24/96, adaptive mode Diverter. A comparison test vs. the new 24/192, asynch Diverter would also be very interesting.

 


Edited by DaveBSC - 5/9/11 at 12:43pm
post #32 of 1173
Thread Starter 

I haven't had a look at the latest from Empirical and others, so it doesn't surprise me that manufacturers are going in the direction of battery power etc. Considering the costs mentioned, with a bit of DIY, that would make the Audiophilleo 1 great value if it can match the others.

 

While it doesn't make my Ref 1 match the clarity of the Esoteric K-01 I tried the other week, I am very pleased with the results. I did give it a shot with the Parasound DAC1600HD. Interestingly, the BNC to RCA adaptor included is obviously, by the plug, a 50 Ohm adaptor, not a 75 Ohm one, but I'm not sure how much of an effect that would have on the results.  Using the Reference 3 to feed both DACs, it was honestly splitting hairs trying to tell apart both. The Parasound has a more natural reproduction of instruments, yet is detailed with a wide soundstage (using the balanced output) and the Reference 1 has a slightly harder presentation. This is, as I understand, PCM63K + PMD100 versus PCM1704UK + DSP. Internally, both DACs are similar in concept, consisting of 3 separate transformers and considerable capacitance in the power supply and a fully balanced design. However, with the Audiophilleo attached directly, whereas I didn't feel there was any significant difference with the Parasound, the Reference 1 has taken a leap forward, losing what I'd describe as some glare and becoming yet more clear, without any discernible tonal changes.

 

Interestingly, blessingsx, who owns a bunch of Parasound DACs, made a comment elsewhere to the effect that (he thought) anyone who could hear a difference between optical and USB was full of it. Having now tried the different inputs on the Parasound and not felt there was any difference, I think that the design gives the same result as the Cambridge 840c I used to own that sounded the same regardless of what was feeding it -- straight optical from my MacBook Pro, DI or Ref 3.  So the irony here is that the Parasound, seemingly unaffected by input quality, cannot be improved from what it is, yet the arguably slightly flawed digital input of the Reference 1 can be improved upon to make it the greater (if, in the end with at least an Audiophilleo 2, close to 4x the cost) DAC.

 

My plans for the Parasound, incidentally, were to put it in the living room "family" system. Just in time for this today, Apple released an Apple TV update allowing one to limit output to 16 bit, which works perfectly with the Parasound.  I might have otherwise thought to attempt to, say, include the Reference 3 in that system, but now I know there wouldn't have been any point.

post #33 of 1173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Interestingly, blessingsx, who owns a bunch of Parasound DACs, made a comment elsewhere to the effect that (he thought) anyone who could hear a difference between optical and USB was full of it. Having now tried the different inputs on the Parasound and not felt there was any difference, I think that the design gives the same result as the Cambridge 840c I used to own that sounded the same regardless of what was feeding it -- straight optical from my MacBook Pro, DI or Ref 3.  So the irony here is that the Parasound, seemingly unaffected by input quality, cannot be improved from what it is, yet the arguably slightly flawed digital input of the Reference 1 can be improved upon to make it the greater (if, in the end with at least an Audiophilleo 2, close to 4x the cost) DAC.

 


That is interesting. I wonder if the digital receiver chip is the limiting factor with the Parasound (CS8412, right)? That was not a low jitter receiver by any stretch. EAD used their "digital flywheel" tech to try and clean up the incoming jitter, and Spectral had some type of similar system in the SDR-2000.

 

post #34 of 1173

this just goes to show that you cant make generalizations about how each piece of equipment sounds like. you have to try it on your own equipment to find out.

 

took me a long time to get to my current setup through experimenting with different usb to spdif converters and cables.

post #35 of 1173

There seems to be a lot of false information circulating around the forums with regards to USB to SPDIF transports.

 

Many forum members believe the following:

 

1) Asynchronous is better than Synchronous/Isochrnous transfer methods

2) USB powered devices are inferrior in comparisn to battery powered and/or external linear power supplies

3) The transport with the lowest jitter measurement will have the best performance

 

Members are putting a lot of emphasis on the above, believing that if a transport has some or all of the characteristics it will be "the best"

 

It is simply not the case. USB to SPDIF transports could boast asynchronous transfer, battery powered and less than .0001 ps of RMS jitter and it could sound like crap in your system. Having these features does not tell you how a transport will "sound"

 

While asynchronous communication, external battery supplies and low jitter measurements have been "proven" to increase "performance", none of these things tell you how the transport will perform in YOUR system

 

It should be mentioned that all transports have jitter, for example CD players/transports. In reading through the forums its clear that not everyone seems to understand that jitter has always existing in audio transports, its not something new to USB. Do you ever hear discussions about the jitter measurments of CD players....

 

There are many highly regarded CD transports that do not have the lowest measured jitter in their price range, however still consistantly "score" better marks, or have more recognition of being world class.

 

What it comes down to is...design, implementation, and system synergy.

 

If a manufacturer decides to use USB power, with a design thats meant to work with "dirty power", designed to clean and restore the signal. Do you think it will be less effective than battery power?

 

If a manufacturer decides to use a non asynchronous transfer method, say for instance the transport has been designed to specifically work synchronously. Do you think they cannot design it to work as effectively as an asynchronous implementation?

 

If a manufacturer designs their transport, which gets amazing reviews....then people find out it was voiced with 500 ps of RMS jitter. Does it make it inferrior to a device that boasts 5 ps of RMS jitter. Does jitter indicate how a device will sound in your system?

 

In truth all of these things matter and none of these things matter. It all comes down to design and implementation. Remember not all transports will sound good mated with your DAC in your system, no one will have the same results.

 

People who go around comparing devices like the Audiophilleo, Diverter, M2Tech, Bel Canto, Offramp, Stello, Blue Circle, etc  based solely on specs, not actually hearing these devices. Then posting in the forums spreading information like its fact when there is no truth behind what they are talking about.

 

Even then, its entirely possible that a Bel Canto will sound better than an Audiophilleo in your system and vice versa. There really is no "best" transport.

 

Its all about finding the a transport that mates well with your system, your DAC especially.

 

There is no way that anyone can prove that transport A is better than transport B because it will perform differently in different systems and each persons idea of the "perfect sound" is not the same as everyone elses.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by sk3383 - 5/17/11 at 3:28pm
post #36 of 1173

FYI...

 

I currently own the M2Tech hiFace, Halide Design Bridge and just recently got a used Bel Canto USB Link.

 

Sonically they all sound different. Not night and day different, but they each have strong suits and weak points, advantages and disadvantages. I am sure that any of these devices would mate well, given the right system/synergy.

 

I am very fond of each of these transports but havent found the perfect one for my system yet, quite interested in trying the Audiophilleo but only if the Sonicweld Diverter 192 doesnt work out for me.

 

 


Edited by sk3383 - 5/17/11 at 3:03pm
post #37 of 1173
Quote:

Originally Posted by sk3383 View Post

 

Many forum members believe the following:

 

[..]

 

It is simply not the case. USB to SPDIF transports could boast asynchronous transfer, battery powered and less than .0001 ps of RMS jitter and it could sound like crap in your system. Having these features does not tell you how a transport will "sound"

 

[..]

 

If a manufacturer designs their transport, which gets amazing reviews....then people find out it was voiced with 500 ps of RMS jitter. Does it make it inferrior to a device that boasts 5 ps of RMS jitter. Does jitter indicate how a device will sound in your system?

 

In truth all of these things matter and none of these things matter. It all comes down to design and implementation. Remember not all transports will sound good mated with your DAC in your system, no one will have the same results.

 

[..]

 

There is no way that anyone can prove that transport A is better than transport B because it will perform differently in different systems and each persons idea of the "perfect sound" is not the same as everyone elses.

 

What are you trying to achieve by such writeup? Deconstruction of collective wisdoms? Personally, I would appreciate substantial contributions rather than subjectivizations of everything -- this is neither helpful nor interesting.

 

"Low jitter -> better sonics" has been confirmed empirically by multiple members of this forum; it is known how exactly jitter affects sound or "what jitter sounds like". 

 

Transports are comparable, some of them measure and sound better than others. No magic and no wonderful synergies here, just physics and some math. Some DACs are more sensitive than others and this is also not quite magic, but digital filtering capabilities. 

 

Yes, apart from jitter, there's also the problem of SPDIF signal quality, influenced by power supply, which is also measurable if you dare to.

 


Edited by axw - 5/17/11 at 4:04pm
post #38 of 1173
Quote:
Originally Posted by sk3383 View Post

 

 

I am very fond of each of these transports but havent found the perfect one for my system yet, quite interested in trying the Audiophilleo but only if the Sonicweld Diverter 192 doesnt work out for me.

 

 


Having tested a near-finished prototype, I believe that the Diverter v2 will work out for you just fine.  The v1 wasn't bad, but the v2 is vastly improved in every way.  Can't wait to receive the production version, which should be really soon, according to Josh.  About time.

 

IMG_0302.jpgIMG_0304.jpg

 

post #39 of 1173
Thread Starter 

I think the point of sk3383's post was that you can't generalise with what specs are good or bad.

 

DaveBSC: The Parasound uses a PMD100.  The Reference 1 with its DIR9001 and DSP succeeded the DAC 8 which used the PMD100.   This reminds me of a discussion I read about the Berkeley Audio Alpha where someone said to the effect that the parts cost of one was very low, so you're paying for whatever magic is in their custom DSP.  What it all boils down to for me is: The focus on digital transport quality popular lately isn't misguided and I nailed it when I guessed that it was the right target to aim for to improve my system.

 

I know someone asked about the effect of the jitter simulator.  I've only had a quick try of it, but couldn't immediately notice any effect.  

post #40 of 1173



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

I think the point of sk3383's post was that you can't generalise with what specs are good or bad.



Exactly. I started out writing something very basic and ended up with a story book. Just a bit disspointed in how the head-fi community gets so easily influenced by false information. I wish I could articulate my words a little bit better but I am terrible at putting my thoughts and knowledge down on paper.

 

post #41 of 1173



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warp08 View Post




Having tested a near-finished prototype, I believe that the Diverter v2 will work out for you just fine.  The v1 wasn't bad, but the v2 is vastly improved in every way.  Can't wait to receive the production version, which should be really soon, according to Josh.  About time.

 



warp08,

 

I just recently purchased mine, looks like Josh is about a month away. Very excited to hear his transport.

 

post #42 of 1173


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by axw View Post



What are you trying to achieve by such writeup? Deconstruction of collective wisdoms? Personally, I would appreciate substantial contributions rather than subjectivizations of everything -- this is neither helpful nor interesting.

 

"Low jitter -> better sonics" has been confirmed empirically by multiple members of this forum; it is known how exactly jitter affects sound or "what jitter sounds like". 

 

Transports are comparable, some of them measure and sound better than others. No magic and no wonderful synergies here, just physics and some math. Some DACs are more sensitive than others and this is also not quite magic, but digital filtering capabilities. 

 

Yes, apart from jitter, there's also the problem of SPDIF signal quality, influenced by power supply, which is also measurable if you dare to.

 


 

 

axw, your statements have a lot of truth behind them.....

 

Not trying to deconstruct collective wisdoms. I am not sure exactly what I was trying to accomplish with that post, I think I was trying to enlighten members maybe, possibly help them look at things from another perspective ("outside of the box" so to speak)

 

Lower jitter -> better sonics = TRUTH. But having the lowest jitter measurements is not the end game.

 

Its all in the implementation and design, Device(A) can post the best measured jitter but not sound half as good as Device(B) that has a much worst measured jitter.

 

Transports are comparable, YES, DAC input sensitivity does play a major role. There are attenuators that can assist with input sensitivity issues but not neccessarily resolve issues completely or even very well for that matter.

 

Power supply, filtration, etc. plays a huge part in the SPDIF transport.

 

I guess the point I was trying to make, was to inform people that measurments, chipsets and protocols used dont necessarily equal the best sonics. Its a combination, primarily design and implementation, then you can look at measurements and protocols used, etc.

 

Sites like the Audiophilleo that post a comparisn graph basically showing that their transport is #1 to me is just poor representation of good sonics. Gullable people who have no idea will fall for that marketing ploy and its unfortunate, a bit upsetting. Thats not to say their Transport isnt top notch, just that it may not be "the best" in your system.

 

 

 


Edited by sk3383 - 5/17/11 at 8:28pm
post #43 of 1173

That's right man it's all about design, implementation and synergy.  I totally agree with all of that.  In the end just trust your ears and don't fall into the hype easily. It's nice that audiphilleo has a 30 days risk free trial.  Just buy it, try it, and return it if you don't like it.  biggrin.gif

post #44 of 1173
Quote:
Originally Posted by axw View Post

..."Low jitter -> better sonics" has been confirmed empirically by multiple members of this forum; it is known how exactly jitter affects sound or "what jitter sounds like"...

 

 

i must still be in the dark regarding all of this.

 

so what does jitter sound like?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

 

...I know someone asked about the effect of the jitter simulator.  I've only had a quick try of it, but couldn't immediately notice any effect.  


and therein lies the rub.

 

 

 

also: collective wisdom is highly overrated. one hard fact, and it all comes tumbling down. just ask Copernicus.

 

post #45 of 1173
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sk3383 View Post

Exactly. I started out writing something very basic and ended up with a story book. Just a bit disspointed in how the head-fi community gets so easily influenced by false information. I wish I could articulate my words a little bit better but I am terrible at putting my thoughts and knowledge down on paper.

 


I have more bad days than good when writing. 

 

Anyhow...yes, there is more than jitter. It was the designer of the diverter that suggested that a device sending out a digital signal could be likened to an analogue amp (output stage) that was trying to send a perfect square wave. Optical output through a scope (can't find the link to the pic presently) looks rather round instead of square, which is far from ideal.  That's not jitter (a timing error), that's just bad output as I understand it. What I don't understand well enough is what happens on the input with such bad waveforms except that with some DACs, using optical, for example, results in a poorer sound in some manner or another.

 

I'm thinking of getting that scope attachment for the iPad and seeing if I can't test a few things with it.

 

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