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Audiophilleo 1 and 2 USB to S/PDIF transport - Page 65

post #961 of 1147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

Well my new cables came in allowing me to compare the AP2 w/ WireWorld UV to my old EMU 1212m which also has dedicated crystal clocks for 44 and 48 as well as galvanic isolation.  As good as the 1212m was back in 2004 for PC audio... it just doesn't compete with the AP2.  In comparison the 1212m almost sounds broken.  The sound is brighter, edgier, not fuzzy and still focused but completely flat down low.  Imagine a sound that start flat and laid back and as frequency increases so does attack and dynamics... weird result let me tell you

 

My PWD2 should hit my door Monday or Tuesday and then the real, almost fair, comparison can begin.  A big part of me hopes the PWD2 has a USB input that is as good as the AP2 because well $600 is $600 ;)

 

But for now its fair to say the AP2 is without a question better than onboard spdif and professional soundcards as well.  The level above the EMU costs more than the AP2 so... not really relevant.  I'd love to have another usb>spdif on hand to see how much of the performance is from being out of the PC but since I'm happy with the AP2, not much point ;)

I see some things listed in your for sale section;):))

 

Ever heard or considered using the Off-Ramp 5 if you really want to hear a proper sounding USB converter?

 

My .02=I have listened to a LOT of converters/soundcards/plain vanilla dvd players etc. etc. etc.  I have heard differences, but at the same time, the differences are so tiny, I question what exactly it is that people hear. Now on different systems, I can hear very very apparent to simply more subtle but easily enough heard based differences.  This all said, every time I came back from auditions of extremely high rez/exceptional recordings+top flight front ends using the very best USB converters or all in one DAC's with superior conversion on the usb side, I find my system using a nice front end w/mediocre 'source" to sound vastly superior.  It is not to say I think my sound is something to take pride in, but when some of these systems I have heard have won the best of RMAF or CES shows, I scratch my head.

 

When I have tested various sources in my system, I hear differences, but the funny thing is, these differences disappear depending on the listening position.  I.E. I play a disc via dvd or cdp, I listen to a high end USB converter (I consider AP2 to be mid-fi in the scale of costs/performance/etc.), or even one of these budget mid-fi converters.  I say wow, this sounds very lively but not necessarily in a bad or good way...just initial impression vs. another source.  I put on the other source and say, ahhh, it sounds more "hi-fi", as in, more refined.  I put on a different one and say it sounds like this/that/and so on and so forth.  BUT, for whatever reason, when the listening position is changed, so is the sound of the source to the extent that even the most big buck source that supposedly rivals anything ever made as a source, is absolutely no different or so very subtle in difference I need to constantly a/b the two...I cannot be convinced to say one is absolutely and in fact superior or inferior.

 

I do not hear any of these adjectives or words you have said about bass drop off or sound stage focus and blah blah blah stuff.  If I had all the money possible, I would use the Off Ramp 5 since it has the most refined sound that I have heard, even if this sound is extremely subtle to be heard for me, it is there and I would pay the money for one if I had it.  Well I do have the money, but no offense to this exceptional converter that has made the AP2 sound absolutely atrocious and terrible/mediocre in another's system, I still find the differences of the sources I have to be so close that it really doesn't make any sense to dish out $1500 more than what I use.

 

In the end, I have concluded that the source is very important, but it is very important per one's own system.  I have been told that my system may not be high enough resolution to hear the grand differences, but I have never once told the person that their sound is absolutely terrible and misses a TON of information that my system is producing, along with far more musical satisfaction.

 

My .02 is to have a listen at various listener's positions to see if you still hear such drastic differences before you continue on the dac/source/blah blah blah path.  I may be the only one or one of few, but my ears are extremely discriminating even when in the end, the flawless system for me is the one we all know to be compromised, but fills in the majority of the things we love most about the sound we hear and enjoy as a hobby and pass time.

 

Cheers!

post #962 of 1147

You are saying at some point there is limiting return for what we spend on higher end audio gear?  That's not too hard to believe.  Really depends on how much each person is willing to pay for experimentation and acquiring subtle improvements.

 

Since you reviewed the Hiface 2 in one thread can you compare it to the AP2?  A lot of people are interesting in hearing such a comparison.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioexcels View Post

I see some things listed in your for sale section;):))

 

Ever heard or considered using the Off-Ramp 5 if you really want to hear a proper sounding USB converter?

 

My .02=I have listened to a LOT of converters/soundcards/plain vanilla dvd players etc. etc. etc.  I have heard differences, but at the same time, the differences are so tiny, I question what exactly it is that people hear. Now on different systems, I can hear very very apparent to simply more subtle but easily enough heard based differences.  This all said, every time I came back from auditions of extremely high rez/exceptional recordings+top flight front ends using the very best USB converters or all in one DAC's with superior conversion on the usb side, I find my system using a nice front end w/mediocre 'source" to sound vastly superior.  It is not to say I think my sound is something to take pride in, but when some of these systems I have heard have won the best of RMAF or CES shows, I scratch my head.

 

When I have tested various sources in my system, I hear differences, but the funny thing is, these differences disappear depending on the listening position.  I.E. I play a disc via dvd or cdp, I listen to a high end USB converter (I consider AP2 to be mid-fi in the scale of costs/performance/etc.), or even one of these budget mid-fi converters.  I say wow, this sounds very lively but not necessarily in a bad or good way...just initial impression vs. another source.  I put on the other source and say, ahhh, it sounds more "hi-fi", as in, more refined.  I put on a different one and say it sounds like this/that/and so on and so forth.  BUT, for whatever reason, when the listening position is changed, so is the sound of the source to the extent that even the most big buck source that supposedly rivals anything ever made as a source, is absolutely no different or so very subtle in difference I need to constantly a/b the two...I cannot be convinced to say one is absolutely and in fact superior or inferior.

 

I do not hear any of these adjectives or words you have said about bass drop off or sound stage focus and blah blah blah stuff.  If I had all the money possible, I would use the Off Ramp 5 since it has the most refined sound that I have heard, even if this sound is extremely subtle to be heard for me, it is there and I would pay the money for one if I had it.  Well I do have the money, but no offense to this exceptional converter that has made the AP2 sound absolutely atrocious and terrible/mediocre in another's system, I still find the differences of the sources I have to be so close that it really doesn't make any sense to dish out $1500 more than what I use.

 

In the end, I have concluded that the source is very important, but it is very important per one's own system.  I have been told that my system may not be high enough resolution to hear the grand differences, but I have never once told the person that their sound is absolutely terrible and misses a TON of information that my system is producing, along with far more musical satisfaction.

 

My .02 is to have a listen at various listener's positions to see if you still hear such drastic differences before you continue on the dac/source/blah blah blah path.  I may be the only one or one of few, but my ears are extremely discriminating even when in the end, the flawless system for me is the one we all know to be compromised, but fills in the majority of the things we love most about the sound we hear and enjoy as a hobby and pass time.

 

Cheers!

post #963 of 1147
Quote:
Originally Posted by WNBC View Post

You are saying at some point there is limiting return for what we spend on higher end audio gear?  That's not too hard to believe.  Really depends on how much each person is willing to pay for experimentation and acquiring subtle improvements.

 

Since you reviewed the Hiface 2 in one thread can you compare it to the AP2?  A lot of people are interesting in hearing such a comparison.  

 

I personally did not care for the AP2.  The Hiface 2 was nothing special but is a cheap method for a good enough source.  I would not say the Hiface 2 is superior since this is all system relative, but it wasn't obtrusive like the AP2 was.  A friend also could not stand the sound of the AP2 nor could another person that we tested the Off-Ramp 4 and 5 against AP2 stand.  But maybe others are getting a sound from the AP2 that is good for whatever their ears and system hear which is why I would not write off the AP2 since it's only been my own impression+a close friend's+a guy that has a truly top shelf system even if I think my own sounds superior.  I own some Tad based speakers and if I cannot hear these amazing differences between sources through them, I guess I need Tad's Reference Ones maybe?  Even my other speakers that are highly resolving were very similar with how each source is as I described and only a very subtle difference all in all.  I personally think my pre-dac has a lot to do with things, but that others have shared my same thoughts/opinion means my ears hear well enough.

 

AP2 is aggressive and was overpowering by comparison to the Hiface 2.  AP2 may have "seemed" more detailed, but after a lot of listening to various stuff, I absolutely would not stand to hear Charlie Parker's sax sound as if it was playing the sound of a horn without a person blowing into it to make that sound.  Hiface 2 was simply regular sounding, definitely more new sounding than the Hiface 1...kinda like comparing an older cdp with a newer one...you get more crispy/detailed/energetic sound, but after listening to the two and at different listening positions (cannot emphasize this enough), they sound the same.  I never did compare Hiface 1 vs. 2 like this because I did not realize how things were influenced or became influenced as a consequence, but my guess is that both would have or do sound quite similar enough if you listen to one at one position, one at another position.

 

The only thing I can say about what may be happening in my own situation is the issue of gain where a properly done source simply provides a proper coax that is as linear as is possible.  For example, the Hiface and even AP2 all pushed gain into my system, linear or not so, I have no idea.  It simply mean turning down the gain on my pre-dac.  The Off-Ramp had a very linear gain where it went in steps and made for a very clean signal from amps-preamp-dac-source.  Sure it uses very expensive and fancy clocks, but I don't "hear" these things IMHO, but do hear how well the device simply sits in the chain and enables the rest of the equipment to match well with it.

 

Sorry I cannot be of any help with the AP2 vs. Hiface 2 other than to say it really is user dependent more than anything else.

post #964 of 1147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioexcels View Post

I personally did not care for the AP2.  The Hiface 2 was nothing special but is a cheap method for a good enough source.  I would not say the Hiface 2 is superior since this is all system relative, but it wasn't obtrusive like the AP2 was.  A friend also could not stand the sound of the AP2 nor could another person that we tested the Off-Ramp 4 and 5 against AP2 stand.  But maybe others are getting a sound from the AP2 that is good for whatever their ears and system hear which is why I would not write off the AP2 since it's only been my own impression+a close friend's+a guy that has a truly top shelf system even if I think my own sounds superior.  I own some Tad based speakers and if I cannot hear these amazing differences between sources through them, I guess I need Tad's Reference Ones maybe?  Even my other speakers that are highly resolving were very similar with how each source is as I described and only a very subtle difference all in all.  I personally think my pre-dac has a lot to do with things, but that others have shared my same thoughts/opinion means my ears hear well enough.

AP2 is aggressive and was overpowering by comparison to the Hiface 2.  AP2 may have "seemed" more detailed, but after a lot of listening to various stuff, I absolutely would not stand to hear Charlie Parker's sax sound as if it was playing the sound of a horn without a person blowing into it to make that sound.  Hiface 2 was simply regular sounding, definitely more new sounding than the Hiface 1...kinda like comparing an older cdp with a newer one...you get more crispy/detailed/energetic sound, but after listening to the two and at different listening positions (cannot emphasize this enough), they sound the same.  I never did compare Hiface 1 vs. 2 like this because I did not realize how things were influenced or became influenced as a consequence, but my guess is that both would have or do sound quite similar enough if you listen to one at one position, one at another position.

The only thing I can say about what may be happening in my own situation is the issue of gain where a properly done source simply provides a proper coax that is as linear as is possible.  For example, the Hiface and even AP2 all pushed gain into my system, linear or not so, I have no idea.  It simply mean turning down the gain on my pre-dac.  The Off-Ramp had a very linear gain where it went in steps and made for a very clean signal from amps-preamp-dac-source.  Sure it uses very expensive and fancy clocks, but I don't "hear" these things IMHO, but do hear how well the device simply sits in the chain and enables the rest of the equipment to match well with it.

Sorry I cannot be of any help with the AP2 vs. Hiface 2 other than to say it really is user dependent more than anything else.

Wow! I have the EXACT opposite opinion:

I have been a Hiface 1 user for a long time and based on measurements and my own ears, its has always been the weakest link in my setup. The sound is just not as detailed as the AP2 and I find bass sorely lacking with the Hiface 1. I mean the AP2 was a magic moment when I first tried it - it was that much of a step up (I remember telling a fellow HeadFier that I had to turn DOWN the JH3A bass knob because all of sudden there was so much more of it).

Another problem with the original Hiface is the coaxial output was off spec which caused distortion. I believe this has been rectified by the Hiface2. But since the 2 is still not isolated from the USB bus, I am going to venture that guess is still some degradation in the signal (whether that's audible or not that's significant or not I won't comment on).

I am using MBP->Audirvana Direct Mode->AP2 w/PP->JH3A->JH16P.

What I DO BELIEVE you might have ran into because here is something I did notice:

Older recordings sound worse because the AP2 is very revealing. Poor recordings will just get worse and worse as your reproduction system gets better and better. I found the Hiface much EASIER on the ear because of this. Another way to balance or flavor your sound is to have a very revealing source and then use some high quality tube amp to soften the edges (fuzzy distortion can be quite sexy with older jazz recordings breathing new life in a digital world - its not for me, but I understand the appeal).

YMMV and I have not had the chance to try the Hiface 2 yet.
Edited by Trogdor - 11/20/12 at 1:50pm
post #965 of 1147

Hello, someone with Audiophilleo + PurePower experimented a "better" usb cable on it ? Signifiant difference or not ?

 

And with vaunix + purepower it's stack ?

post #966 of 1147
I have purepower ap2 here. I tried vaunix and didn't like it. Cables still sound a little different, they are worth trying IMO, I can recommend a good one PPAStudio green label. You can use vaunix with purepower but I did not like the results and did not find it to be an improvement. I think my computer 5v is already better than vaunix anyway, very low ripple, maybe that is why. I also dont like adding more cables and connections than is necessary, but that is just my philosophy.
post #967 of 1147
Thread Starter 

I started using the Vaunix before I got the Pure Power upgrade. Since the PP upgrade improves the S/PDIF output, which the Vaunix likely helped with, it wouldn't surprise me if the Vaunix would make for little, if any improvement afterwards.

post #968 of 1147

After repeated tests with and w/o the Vaunix feeding the PP, I have come to the conclusion that the benefits for the PP/AP2 combo are negligible. Remember that when the PP is active, the USB power source should be disconnected--the battery is supposed to be the primary power source. If there is a change, then something must be wrong with the DC/PP interface as the PP would be still drawing power from the USB power source. However, I still have the Vaunix in the loop because it's my only USB hub. 

 

For me the PP was a significant addition and allows the AP2 to get out of the way of the music. Any vestige of grain that was left with the AP2 alone is gone.

 

I like what I'm hearing.

 

I'd still like to audition the EA stuff, but I'm enjoying my music system too much to consider any changes at this time. (Well, maybe there are some new headphones in my future wink_face.gif.)     

post #969 of 1147

Oh, on USB cables? It made a difference for me, and I still love my Wire World Platinum Starlight USB cable. It's smooth and neutral (which is probably how my system as a whole sounds).  

post #970 of 1147

I have an AP2 with an AQVOX power supply hooked up to it.  I am thinking of sending it off to get pure power installed.  Has anyone ever compared PP to AQVOX, and if so is it worth it?

post #971 of 1147

I don't think the AP2 benefits much from either unless your power is really fubar because of where the AP2 puts its isolation.  That said, if you have to empty your pocket...

 

http://sotm-audio.com/english/products/tx-usbexp.php

 

This way the feed is clean and when you ditch the AP2 or get another DAC with a good receiver... you're still set.

post #972 of 1147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

I don't think the AP2 benefits much from either unless your power is really fubar because of where the AP2 puts its isolation.  That said, if you have to empty your pocket...

http://sotm-audio.com/english/products/tx-usbexp.php

This way the feed is clean and when you ditch the AP2 or get another DAC with a good receiver... you're still set.

The PP improves the AP2. Talk to Phil about the measurements, its worth the upgrade.
post #973 of 1147

The problem with measurements when trying to sell a power add-on is that you aren't going to seek out a noise free PC to do it ;)

post #974 of 1147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

The problem with measurements when trying to sell a power add-on is that you aren't going to seek out a noise free PC to do it wink.gif

Well...I'll say this, for everyday use with commodity (mainstream) notebooks and desktops, the PP is a worthy update. If you can achieve the same or better results via other third-party products, great.
post #975 of 1147

You could always upgrade computer poower supply if you are into DIY windows machines.

 

Purepower is a definite improvement, much better coherency and separation, I have compared stock and purepower side by side and the difference was obvious.  

 

IMO purepower should be a step above solutions that just feed power to the USB as it bypasses the AP2 internal regulator and feeds very clean power to where it matters most.  In fact I tested the Vaunix (which is not linear supply like the AQVOX bit is switching) with the PP AP2 and found it did more harm than good in my setup (my computer PSU already has very low ripple).  I might try a USB supply in the future but IMO purepower is pretty much optimal.

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