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Audiophilleo 1 and 2 USB to S/PDIF transport - Page 7

post #91 of 1146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioexcels View Post

Anyone want to shed light on this or at least let me know I have any sanity left?:)))


It's a confusing subject, no question. There is a theory that says that a high quality DAC will be able to equal out even the worst $50 Walmart DVD player with a $60K Burmester transport. I do not agree with that assertion because I haven't experienced it to be true. The transport still matters, otherwise there would be no reason for these converters to exist. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a USB to S/Pdif converter when optical digital straight from the motherboard will do the job? Further, why would there be any difference between optical and coaxial? Even if we accept that optical would produce higher incoming jitter, if the DAC is supposed to be able to eliminate that, then the medium shouldn't matter. There'd be no need for glass fiber cables either, what's a little more jitter from an acrylic cable?

 

I can't answer the question of whether the Jkenny Hiface or the Audiophilleo with battery is better, I haven't heard either. The only way to answer that is to try them both. I can say however that using a motherboard USB port is far from ideal. Whether you want to use the AQVOX supply, or the SoTM card, or just a powered USB hub, it seems that anything is better than USB straight off the motherboard. I won't even get in to USB cables.

 

I do think that a computer can be a truly high-end transport, but it has to be done right. If you just want to buy something ready to go there are models like the Sonore servers, or you can DIY.

 

 

post #92 of 1146
Thread Starter 

Audioexcels: You are not crazy. There aren't clear answers to any of this, at least not generally. There are only different answers for different DACs. 

post #93 of 1146

Does anybody compare Audiophilleo vs Wavelink HS?

 

Thank you,

 

Leonardo.

post #94 of 1146

Thanks all.  It's a tough subject and I think as is with most any case, it's simply best to go with what you know, and when you do not know, simply trial/error as much as you can to hear what exactly people are hearing.  I LOVE that the Audiphilleo has the 30 day trial and if I am not mistaken, shipping back to them would be cheap if they are in the US.  Problem with the Jkeny MKIII is the false advertising about a free trial.  I have spoken with John and he seems like a person I would very well get along with by how he seems...in other words, I do have respect for what he has achieved, but I have more respect for the type of person he seems to be.  Anyhow, it's something like 20EUR for shipping the MKIII.  Then you have to pay $30 USD to get the unit back.  That's basically $60 to trial/error, not free.

 

I think I will rely on that one reviewer's review that included the MKIII and said both were on equal playing fields with the MKIII sounding "smoother" and Audiphilleo sounding more live/clear/lively with better bass.  I have a Touch and a plain ole Hiface, along with a cheap but very good dvd transport to play around with.  I figure if the reviewer's ears are at least partly accurate and the Audiophilleo is indeed even "almost" as good as the MKIII (though he did say it is equal to it), and I don't hear whatever he was hearing or do not feel any sense of clarity/transparency/etc. gain in my system, then I can pretty much stick with the most convenient for me, device that there is and with hope, the cheapest as well:))

 

Do not mean to be off-topic in any way as I will put in an order for the Audiophilleo so long as I only have to pay like $10 to ship it back if it doesn't provide a sound from a transport that is remarkably more transparent or makes me say, "wow"...WTF????  This thing, whatever it is doing, is doing something good!  Maybe time to build a hub system!!!!:))


Cheers all!

post #95 of 1146

I thought I'd put my 2 cents into this discussion. I had the Audio-gd DI with PSU for a while now but wanted to try the Audiophilleo based on Currawong's remarks as we have a similar setup. I did my best to A/B them, using a well recorded song that had nice detail. I would focus on the bass and vocal clarity each time at a certain point in the song. What I noticed is that the 2 are very close. The main difference to my ears is that the Audiophilleo has better defined bass, not dramatic but noticeable. Also,vocals (female in particular) are "cleaner", less grain maybe. All this is subtle but noticeable on my speakers and my D7000. Overall, I'm a bit disappointed for the money spent (I wish it were about $350) but I am keeping the Audiophilleo. I think anyone would be more than satisfied with the DI on a mid-tier setup (or even higher end) but the Audiophilleo provides that last few percentage improvement that most of us crave.

I really wish there was a BNC adapter that was male-male at a 90 degree. I searched a lot and found nothing. I ended up buying a BlueJeans 18" coax as the unit sticks out too much with the direct connection.

post #96 of 1146
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post

I thought I'd put my 2 cents into this discussion. I had the Audio-gd DI with PSU for a while now but wanted to try the Audiophilleo based on Currawong's remarks as we have a similar setup. I did my best to A/B them, using a well recorded song that had nice detail. I would focus on the bass and vocal clarity each time at a certain point in the song. What I noticed is that the 2 are very close. The main difference to my ears is that the Audiophilleo has better defined bass, not dramatic but noticeable. Also,vocals (female in particular) are "cleaner", less grain maybe. All this is subtle but noticeable on my speakers and my D7000. Overall, I'm a bit disappointed for the money spent (I wish it were about $350) but I am keeping the Audiophilleo. I think anyone would be more than satisfied with the DI on a mid-tier setup (or even higher end) but the Audiophilleo provides that last few percentage improvement that most of us crave.

I really wish there was a BNC adapter that was male-male at a 90 degree. I searched a lot and found nothing. I ended up buying a BlueJeans 18" coax as the unit sticks out too much with the direct connection.


Are you using a USB port straight from the motherboard? The Audiophilleo is bus powered, so that matters more than it does for some other devices. You probably don't wish to spend a few hundred more on something like the AQVOX or the SoTM card, but if you're comfortable with a bit of DIY it's not that hard to rig up an external power supply in place of the USB power.

post #97 of 1146

Maybe someday, I am pretty spent at the moment (monetarily and mentally). I just want to enjoy the music now.

post #98 of 1146
Thread Starter 

tim: Thanks for the feedback. I think it made far more difference on my Reference 1 than the Reference 7.1 or NFB-10SE, as since I got the Ref 1, Kingwa has made considerable progress with the quality of the digital input in his designs. The result is, of course, that devices such as the Audiophilleo aren't as worth it.  I did find that the DI was very pleasant-sounding, if not quite as refined as the AP, much as you've described. If you have the PSU, I'd be interested to know what you think using it to power the Olimex USB Isolator as I do.

post #99 of 1146

I actually already sold the DI to help recoup the money spent.

post #100 of 1146
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post

Maybe someday, I am pretty spent at the moment (monetarily and mentally). I just want to enjoy the music now.


I felt the same way as you going from a very old Theta TLC w/ linear PS ($120 total used) to the AP2, pretty subtle.  Adding the AQVOX to the AP2 made a more significant impact.  Clean power seems to be important for a DI to do its thing.

post #101 of 1146
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post


I felt the same way as you going from a very old Theta TLC w/ linear PS ($120 total used) to the AP2, pretty subtle.  Adding the AQVOX to the AP2 made a more significant impact.  Clean power seems to be important for a DI to do its thing.


Indeed. John Kenny's original Hiface mod wasn't the radical change to the product that the MK3 version is. Basically he just cut the USB power to the most sensitive components and replaced it with batteries. I don't believe that the USB spec was designed to power sensitive components, it was made for things like thumb drives.

 

post #102 of 1146
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post


Indeed. John Kenny's original Hiface mod wasn't the radical change to the product that the MK3 version is. Basically he just cut the USB power to the most sensitive components and replaced it with batteries. I don't believe that the USB spec was designed to power sensitive components, it was made for things like thumb drives.

 



True, but why would a reviewer state the Audiophilleo is as good, even saying better in certain areas taste dependent, than the MKIII?  Likewise, people here have used battery supplies and reading elsewhere, have too.  Consensus with the unit battery driven has been an improvement, but one that is not so easily defined, meaning, sure it's better, but how/why/how much so/etc. etc.  

 

When I read some words by someone like Tim, for example, it makes me feel that yes, there are some differences, but it's not such a clear difference that we cannot go to Tim's place, swap in the GD before Tim gets back to listening, and have Tim wondering what happened to the sound of the system.

 

In the meantime, people in the Jkeny modded thread have literally said how much of a night/day difference the MKIII is, one person going so far as to say it's like changing headphones...LOL!!!  If this is so, they would say the same about the Audiphilleo especially if what the one reviewer stated about the MKIII vs. Audiophellio is really true.  

 

The one thing that has been about the most interesting thing so far is what Pompon (sp) said about his hub system made for the Audiophilleo.  It would be interesting to hear if he tried a battery based supply, battery+hub system, etc. etc.  I have to go back and read that post again because many others were impressed, though no one else has talked about the hub system and using it with their Audiophilleo or Jkenny, etc. USB based devices with excellent clock systems and implementations, but perhaps, not quite whatever Pompon was onto with his hub system development.

 

It is still difficult to say where we are at with these products because with what Tim stated, if he is only getting some tiny improvements, so tiny that it doesn't sound like he can truly/clearly define them, or if he does, it is only things like better female vocal sound and better defined bass.  I would put money down that if we put in some mega buck device for computer transmission of the digital signal as transparent as possible (I don't know all the best gadgets out right now cost-no-option), and we put it into Tim's system, we would have similar results of noticeable improvements, but that's about it.

 

 

post #103 of 1146
Thread Starter 

The Computer Audiophile computer system, which costs about $1500 (including a $300 isolated USB card) might do the trick.

post #104 of 1146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

The Computer Audiophile computer system, which costs about $1500 (including a $300 isolated USB card) might do the trick.


It can actually be done for much less than that. Chris spends a ton of money on the case, purely for aesthetic reasons. I'm building my own dedicated PC for music to experiment with JPlay's "hibernation mode" using a traditional $100 Lian Li mini-tower rather than an expensive home theater style case. The other big expense is the SSD. With JPlay that's completely unnecessary, as the files are first moved to RAM before playback. Standard hard drives cost much less for the amount of storage needed, and using an internal drive eliminates the need for expensive silent NAS enclosures. Basic Seagate or WD external drives make a racket and are completely unsuitable for audiophile use with open headphones. I have a very quiet Samsung drive that will be placed inside the Smart Drive Neo internal enclosure (quietest commercial enclosure I've seen) and since the drive should be completely idle during playback, it should be inaudible.

 

Where I think Chris makes a mistake with the CA system is his choice of power supply. He said he decided against a linear supply for cost, size and "scarcity" (whatever that means) reasons, but I can almost guarantee that the switching supply has buckets of DC ripple and terrible voltage regulation which are sent straight into the motherboard, as usually with these the 12V is sent direct from the switching supply. You could spend several hundred on a Hynes or B-P-T custom 12V linear supply, but I think a basic fanless computer PSU like the Kingwin Stryker makes a lot more sense. $150, and the DC output is near flawless.

 

Switching power brick 12V DC ripple:

 

test4-12V.jpg

 

Kingwin Sryker 12V DC ripple:

 

T5-12V1.jpg

 

My build is going to come in way under $1000, including the $300 SoTM USB card.


Edited by DaveBSC - 11/3/11 at 11:26pm
post #105 of 1146

Mind posting your build once you're satisfied with it, Dave?  I might be building a music server for someone who isn't computer literate and have been considering building a cheaper variant of Computer Audiophile's pocket server.  Due to too many years building gaming PCs, I'm having to repeatedly remind myself that I don't need to shove in a pair of GeForce cards in SLI to play flacs through Foobar.

 

Any thoughts on the Auraliti PK90, btw?  I figure the MSRP ($749) is at least twice the BOM, but I read a few favorable comments so I'm curious, if only on an academic level.

 

Chances are I'll spend a few nights on silent PC review and hash something out under $800.  I'm kind of annoyed that Win7 OEM will run $100-130 of the cost, but I'm not going to go the Hackintosh route for this one.  Foobar Media Library is just too good cool.gif If only they'd start selling Anedios again...

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