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The Useless Off-ramp USB Converter Thread

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Well, its useless until I get one. ;) And I might just do that because looking at the latest iteration of my system, the most logical upgrade is source *oriented*. Still, one of my main reservations with the Offramp is the default power supply which is a cheap-azz wall wart, with an option for an $1100 battery PSU. A mid-range in-house PSU would be an ideal option, in addition to the clock upgrades.

 

Anyway if there's any interest, this is the place for thoughts, impressions, questions, criticisms.

 

 

 

Manufacturer's link:

http://www.empiricalaudio.com/products/off-ramp-converter

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 

^ Interesting, although it has more functionality than I need and no USB implementation. Otoh for me the Isochrone DA brings attention to the Zodiac Gold/Voltikus, and a question of how it would compare.

post #3 of 21

That last 1% of improvements is always expensive. It sounds pretty good without the battery power supply. Just get his dual clocks and paul hynes regulators. You can also get a paul hynes power supply or a BNT battery power supply for it for almost half the price of the monolith power supply.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input KingStyles--its great to see positive first hand experience with the default power supply. Agree about the expense related to the pursuit of the last 1%. 

 

fathead, isn't that technology still somewhat under-developed? I could be wrong but I'd expect at least a few years of marketing and development before we see some mature offerings in the mid to upper component levels. 

post #5 of 21

 

 

Quote:
Also keep in mind future upgrades and trends of the industry. Companies like Cambridge Audio with their NP30 will continue to produce digital streamers that will make the need for usb conversion devices obsolete. Look for more and less expensive players to continue to enter the market from more manufacturers. You don't want to be stuck with a $1K usb door stop

 

Are we talking past one another here? Some converters merely convert, and others also reclock. The reclocking feature can be worthwhile independant of the format coversion, no? Why else would April Music incorporate the Stello U3 into the Eximus DP-1?

post #6 of 21

Also with the new technology, it is only good if you are willing to buy a new ------ that has it. I dont want to upgrade my dac since I havent found anything that is better so I need to use what works with it.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

Also with the new technology, it is only good if you are willing to buy a new ------ that has it. I dont want to upgrade my dac since I havent found anything that is better so I need to use what works with it.



Exactly. In one year I ran through 4 amps before settling on a 5th, and don't want to re-enact the hard won gains that went into fine tuning the basic sound signature. Still there's the desire to get the most out of what you have, and that's where the offramp comes in.


 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by FSonicSmith View Post

 

Are we talking past one another here? Some converters merely convert, and others also reclock. The reclocking feature can be worthwhile independant of the format coversion, no? Why else would April Music incorporate the Stello U3 into the Eximus DP-1?



 

That's a valid question and I think Antelope, Empirical Audio, and probably others are providing answers.  


Edited by pigmode - 1/28/12 at 7:04pm
post #8 of 21

Or you can try one of the Audio-gd dac's that has the DSP-1 in it. I ended up selling my Audiophilleo 2 because, in the end, I heard no difference between that and the optical out of my soundcard (and I really wanted to hear a difference).

post #9 of 21

Steve believes that the stock Off-Ramp 5 (with wall-wart) outperforms everything in its class, and supposedly is able to take down the considerably more expensive Berkeley Alpha USB. You do not need to spend the money for a Monolith, there are a few much more affordable alternatives. Both Hynes and Bolder make linear power supplies that will work with the OR. KingRex does as well, but I don't think their PS is in the same class performance wise.

 

You'll likely get a much better result with the OR5, dual TC, and a Hynes PS than you will with an OR5 and Monolith for about the same cash.

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigmode View Post

*I* said USB input. Perhaps not clearly enough because the inference was (and I may very well be wrong) to the fact that these components have integrated dacs? Really the point is the Offramp occupies a different point in the audio chain than all-in-one streamers.  


Actually, several companies are starting to offer dedicated PC derived music servers that have USB outputs designed to be used with USB DACs, such as the Auraliti PK90USB and the Sonore servers. As USB audio continues to improve, this will likely become more common as well implemented USB can outperform just about any sound card.

 

I'm not a fortune teller, but I don't think any single technology or method will take over and eliminate others from the market place. A system like the Sooloos doesn't appeal to me, but for some it's perfect. That's one way to go. Another is to have remote network attached storage, and something like the PS Audio DAC with its network bridge. A few other companies are exploring that direction as well. Then there's servers from companies like Linn, Naim, and Bladelius, or you can buy something like a Mach 2 Music Mini, or you can build your own computer and run a Linux build designed for audio use, or Windows and JPlay. I don't think any choice is right or wrong, it's what works for the individual.

 

This is what's so nice about digital storage and FLAC or wave files. With SACD and DVD-A, the content companies could dictate to the manufacturers what kind of outputs were allowed, and where and how you could listen to the music you own. Not anymore.


Edited by DaveBSC - 1/30/12 at 8:23pm
post #11 of 21

Good post..

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Do the Hynes PS eliminate the wallwart?

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigmode View Post

Do the Hynes PS eliminate the wallwart?


Yep. The Off-ramp needs a 12V power supply, but that can come from anything, the included AC adapter, a Hynes or Bolder linear 12V power supply, the Monolith, or a 12V battery from somebody else. I'm not sure if B-P-T still offers a custom battery supply, wouldn't hurt to ask if you want to go that route.

 

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Ah, that was just a stupid question--sorry.

 

What do you think about the gist of a few reviews, that a device like the Offramp may reduce the individual sound signatures of DAC's D/A chips, with the implication pointing to the overall significance of jitter management?

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post

Or you can try one of the Audio-gd dac's that has the DSP-1 in it. I ended up selling my Audiophilleo 2 because, in the end, I heard no difference between that and the optical out of my soundcard (and I really wanted to hear a difference).

I heard a major nuisance/aggitation with the AP2 in my system...sounded absolutely horrendous.  My friend had a similar experience, and yes, digital out via sound card is plenty good enough or in my case vs. AP2, at least listenable:)))

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