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M2Tech HiFace 2? - Page 10

post #136 of 520

You could do like AudioPhilleo and connect direct to back of your DAC with an adapter, but the HiFace was designed to plug into the back of the computer, using a USB cable changes the level of jitter the device and drivers is designed around IMO.  With my modified hiface I found it sounded best when plugged directly into the computer.  Might be different with the HiFace 2, ie XMOS and Thescyon drivers.

 

When I had heaps of things hanging off my computer I used to tie a little piece of string from one of the bolts to the appendage in question in order to relieve stress.  Not pretty I knowtongue_smile.gif

post #137 of 520

Hiface 2 came today. Not too bad to interface with jriver in ASIO playback. The Adcom will only take/decode 24/96 as the highest bitrate. Maybe when I get a better cable, but not going to hold my breath. (two days of trial/error pass)...

 

After a couple of days use, I gave up on the DAC in the Adcom as it wouldn't decode the SPDIF stream without conflict from the Hitech 2 set-up, involving stops and crashes. A bit of trial with the Hiface 2 sending SPDIF to the Bifrost, no issues decoding 24bit 192K signal, and no problems interupting the music no matter what I am doing on my laptop. I feel I can confidently pay for a full-version of jriver with the audio quality improvements and no crashing or noise. I have been running ASIO with no issues for 8 hours already today with no problems, (using the esata USB port on the side),

 

In review my Sony Blue-ray player doesn't have hi-bit rate streaming (best to just use it for movies in surround mode), so everything audio can be better served throiugh the Dell/Hitech 2/Bifrost and through the direct analog of the Adcom. I'm sure there are othe option of DAC's to explore but for the rest of July at least, (I'm tapped out), I'm happy the whole thing worked out with better audio from the system and no issues listening and playing on my computer at the same time.


Edited by tp280 - 7/14/12 at 2:30pm
post #138 of 520

using the hiface 2, i sometimes have problems with it on start-up.

ie  no sound and a red cross over the speaker icon on the taskbar.

 

if i un-plug and then re-connect the hiface 2, the problem goes away.

any ideas?

 

i am using a usb extension lead, otherwise the hiface 2 protrudes too far out the back of my case and fouls my desk's backing.

post #139 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by drez View Post

You could do like AudioPhilleo and connect direct to back of your DAC with an adapter, but the HiFace was designed to plug into the back of the computer, using a USB cable changes the level of jitter the device and drivers is designed around IMO.  With my modified hiface I found it sounded best when plugged directly into the computer.  Might be different with the HiFace 2, ie XMOS and Thescyon drivers.

 

When I had heaps of things hanging off my computer I used to tie a little piece of string from one of the bolts to the appendage in question in order to relieve stress.  Not pretty I knowtongue_smile.gif

 

Best direct USB side using zero USB cable correct?  How is this sound direct like this vs. the pricey (i.e. $150 on up to however much) USB cables?

post #140 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioexcels View Post

 

Best direct USB side using zero USB cable correct?  How is this sound direct like this vs. the pricey (i.e. $150 on up to however much) USB cables?

 

To me with John Kenny's battery modified Hiface 1 (aka the JKSPDIF mk3) using an adapter or very short DIY usb cable (with wire cannibalised from another USB cable) clearly beat out the $150 Furutech GT2 cable I had on hand.  Timing was much tighter and detail /imaging improved.  Using a BNC adapter (removing the need for coaxial cable) might also be another optimal solution.

post #141 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by drez View Post

 

To me with John Kenny's battery modified Hiface 1 (aka the JKSPDIF mk3) using an adapter or very short DIY usb cable (with wire cannibalised from another USB cable) clearly beat out the $150 Furutech GT2 cable I had on hand.  Timing was much tighter and detail /imaging improved.  Using a BNC adapter (removing the need for coaxial cable) might also be another optimal solution.

 

What you could do is pull that enclosure apart and give access to doing the two way deal (USB to USB and Coax to Coax).  You could even de-solder the coaxial ends of both MK3 and your Dac and solder them as one...heck, de-solder the USB sides of MK3 and computer and solder them together.  May look a little ghetto, but I bet it sounds a whole lot different/superior and so long as you have no plans or need to have this system be "mobile" (that is, it will be there for at least a few years), why not have some fun with the soldering iron;)...

post #142 of 520

After more listening fatigue, the Bifrost is gone. TEAC America who is the US distributer for M2Tech reccomended for the Hface 2, Foobar2000 which is free. Not as fancy as jriver, and a few trial/error keystrokes to get kernal streaming installed. I get a few pauses an hour while using the laptop for other things while listening, but they are not crashes.  The sound is very good with the Adcom DAC which decodes output of 24b/96k. For just over $210.00 with a 15' Mogami Coax cable, I'm happy and can live with a few pauses. Someime in the next year, I will update pre/pro and amps. Its very likely my choice for pre/pro will have asych USB input direct.

post #143 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldson View Post

using the hiface 2, i sometimes have problems with it on start-up.

ie  no sound and a red cross over the speaker icon on the taskbar.

 

if i un-plug and then re-connect the hiface 2, the problem goes away.

any ideas?

 

i am using a usb extension lead, otherwise the hiface 2 protrudes too far out the back of my case and fouls my desk's backing.

Late with an answer but I just noticed this post. You probably set the Hiface as your default speaker in Windows. You should not have the Hiface set as default. Select whatever you use for your normal Windows sound as the default (onboard sound or sound card). That alone may solve your problem. It will also prevent Windows from trying to access the Hiface for normal Windows sound. I assume you are using some form of bit perfect output selection in your software player (Foobar, JRiver,etc.). I use the Hiface with Foobar set for kernal streaming and it works perfectly. After making the same mistake as you, I did have to reset things by powering down and holding down the power button for 30 seconds. That reset the computer to look again at the usb ports during boot and completely solved the problem.

post #144 of 520

Chodi thanks, The Hiface 2 worked really well with the Bifrost for clocking showing the issues ar with the Adcom. I am waiting on a new (to me) pre/pro (Integra DTC 9.8). I'll report when I have gone through the paces with a more modern unit with a better DAC section.)

post #145 of 520

Yesterday I got a Belkin powered usb hub to power the Hiface Two. I figured that whatever power noise existed inside the computer must be working it's way into the usb ports as well. Very inexpensive tweek just to see if it would make a difference to give it it's own power supply. I have been listening to it this way for two days and I can say without question that it is an improvement. Better focus, more depth in the soundstage and cleaner overall. The difference is subtle but I can hear it clearly. Very cheap way to tweek your Hiface with some reward. This also helps to get the tension/weight of the Hiface away from your computer usb port. 

post #146 of 520

As the power supply died on my Adcom GTP-880, (played it evereyday for six years of ownership), I picked up an Integra DTC-9.8 pre-pro for a decent price used. off topic the Audyssey sound tuning with Dolby Digital 5.1 is outstanding. I'm using my existing Adom GFA-7607 amp using 4 channels to power my KEF Reference 4 mains and the other three to power my KEF 200C center and Reference 2 surrounds. For audio listening (direct 2-channel) output, I tried my cabelbox and blue-ray/streamer and Dell XPS laptop using the Hiface 2 and all three input through good quality Mogami 75 ohm spdif cables.  the Hiface 2 was decoded in the full 24/192 setting with no issues on keystroke or track pad strokes. Overall maybe the Adcom sounded a bit better but the Integra is performing flawlessly with all three digital sources in DD 5.1 or direct 2 channel.

 

Most would argue that the spdif inputs will outsound the HDMI audio digital signal.  With the Integra DTC-9.8 I switched between SPDIF and HDMI and with all 3 digital sources I prefer the direct 2 channel (and DD 5.1) output played through the HDMI signal input.  Through trial /error through a dying prepro (Adcom GTP-880), quality outboard USB/SPDIF DAC (Schiit Bifrost),I proved the Hiface 2 is a good USB SPDIF converter but for my pre/pro its not nneeded. I know I'll likely get flogged for suggesting that digital signal from notebook to pre/pro through HDMI vs. Hiface 2 is equal in perfomance but to my ears I'm happy with the sound.

 

To those with older laptops or models without HDMI outptu or pusing 2 channel exclusive audio components without HDMI input, the Hiface 2 makes perfect sense to link to your existing DAC. I liked its perfomance better than the USB DAC connections for both the Nuforce ICON HDP and Schiit Bifrost that picked up keystroke noise and trackpad gestures and interupted the audio playback, (although the Bifrost with much less frequency of instances). Both weren't as good sonically as the Hiface 2.

 

Well the Hiface 2 and SPDIF cable are going to my sister who has a modest HK 3490 receiver and a non HDMI output laptop to improve her PC audio experience. Hope this all helps some with product knowledge.

post #147 of 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by tp280 View Post

As the power supply died on my Adcom GTP-880, (played it evereyday for six years of ownership), I picked up an Integra DTC-9.8 pre-pro for a decent price used. off topic the Audyssey sound tuning with Dolby Digital 5.1 is outstanding. I'm using my existing Adom GFA-7607 amp using 4 channels to power my KEF Reference 4 mains and the other three to power my KEF 200C center and Reference 2 surrounds. For audio listening (direct 2-channel) output, I tried my cabelbox and blue-ray/streamer and Dell XPS laptop using the Hiface 2 and all three input through good quality Mogami 75 ohm spdif cables.  the Hiface 2 was decoded in the full 24/192 setting with no issues on keystroke or track pad strokes. Overall maybe the Adcom sounded a bit better but the Integra is performing flawlessly with all three digital sources in DD 5.1 or direct 2 channel.

 

Most would argue that the spdif inputs will outsound the HDMI audio digital signal.  With the Integra DTC-9.8 I switched between SPDIF and HDMI and with all 3 digital sources I prefer the direct 2 channel (and DD 5.1) output played through the HDMI signal input.  Through trial /error through a dying prepro (Adcom GTP-880), quality outboard USB/SPDIF DAC (Schiit Bifrost),I proved the Hiface 2 is a good USB SPDIF converter but for my pre/pro its not nneeded. I know I'll likely get flogged for suggesting that digital signal from notebook to pre/pro through HDMI vs. Hiface 2 is equal in perfomance but to my ears I'm happy with the sound.

 

To those with older laptops or models without HDMI outptu or pusing 2 channel exclusive audio components without HDMI input, the Hiface 2 makes perfect sense to link to your existing DAC. I liked its perfomance better than the USB DAC connections for both the Nuforce ICON HDP and Schiit Bifrost that picked up keystroke noise and trackpad gestures and interupted the audio playback, (although the Bifrost with much less frequency of instances). Both weren't as good sonically as the Hiface 2.

 

Well the Hiface 2 and SPDIF cable are going to my sister who has a modest HK 3490 receiver and a non HDMI output laptop to improve her PC audio experience. Hope this all helps some with product knowledge.

How does the Hiface 2 compare to direct optical from a computer source?

post #148 of 520

Tough comparison because my last tower PC had an older high-end Creative Sound Blaster card with the SPDIF output (over five years ago). I had it in another room from my entertainment system but did connect it determine if the SPDIF worked.  It did (but I hadn't considered a network set-up because I had yet to purchase a DVD player with newtwork/wi-fi to integrate my Adcom GTP-880) and had it play into some Creative desktop speakers via analog. Five years ago my PC audio was just low level downloads and CD quality playback. Eith the Dell XPS I have now, I couldn't get the Optical port to be reccognized by the Adcom GTP-880.

 

I would say the sound from the Hiface 2 into the DAC sections of both the Adcom GTP-880 and now the Integra DTC-9.8 is more acurate then the two USB connection laptop-to-desktop DAC set-ups (Nuforce Icon HDP and Schiit Bifrost) that I have owned. Using the Hiface 2 through the SPDIF input of the Bifrost was still below the sonics of connecting Hiface 2 directly it to the two foremantioned pre/pros.  with the Adcom (there were connectivity issue (given the unit was dying undertsandable) and with the Integra perfect performance.

 

If you have a desktop PC tower or a laptop, (and neither your receiver or pre/pro with DAC or your outboard DAC) has HDMI or USB arangements for digital transfer, I would be inclined to reccomend the Hiface 2 over a Sound Card or paying extra for a DAC with a USB input. I have read good thngasabout the Asus sound card, but since I ony use a laptop it wasn't an option.

 

Given the fact that I can get the same sonic playback (to my ears) of the digital information from my Dell XPS laptop via HDMI to Integra's Bur-Brown DAC as with the Hiface 2 using SPDIF,. I'm going to keep things simple with HDMI. The only drawback is I need to adjust my laptop settings for long playback sessions (from the laptop going into sleep mode) and I turn the TV (LCD) off unless I want to use dual monitor support.  Before I upgraded to Integra DTC-9.8 when I used HDMI from my laptop to my Phillips LCD TV and used the SPDIF output to my Adcom GTP-880, the sonics were just so-so, so I moved my Nuforce Icon HDP into the entertainment system, found lots of keystroke noises, moved up to Bifrost, (better clocking fewer errors, mediocre sonics), then went to the Hiface 2, and discovered how performance was a wash against HDMI with the Integra pre-pro. In the end I'm glad I picked the Integra pre-pro which for its cost (used) I caould barely get a decent preamp or stand alone DAC alone.  It also has a decent headphone jack, which I will explore in the future, when I can borrow some decent cans for demo.

 

Listening to pc audio through the Integra and 4 channels  of my Adcom GFA 7607(175 RMS ea) biamping my KEF Reference 4 speakers ($5K MSRP) is very enjoyable. I'm thinking that for keeping a pre/pro that can do surround or 2 channel playback it's hard to beat.  (looks like I would need to spend three-fold to update to a top preamp with built in DAC's (The Bryston BP-25 with DAC was a thought, but I'm not sure I want to commit to 2 channel exclusivley), As the Integra has balanced outputs, I will be updating my amp in the near future to something more appropriate for the 5 KEF reference speakers I use for video and to make the big KEF 4's shine in 2 channel direct mode.

 

Given the competition/cost of other USB to SPDIF converters, I think M2tech has done a god job with Hiface 2 for simplicity and performance. Given your environment for using your laptop with your entertainment system, other system may make more sense or given your laptops performance using a powered hub may improve performance.

 

PM me direct for other specific questions. The Hiface 2 and 15' Mogami SPDIF coax cable I have are available for consideration.


Edited by tp280 - 8/3/12 at 2:21pm
post #149 of 520

hi guy,

 

I hope you guy don't flame me on these questions I'm about to ask as I've been reading through the whole thread but couldn't really get a hold of the whole idea as to what this hiface 2 will do to my setup.

 

Here goes.  First of my understanding is this USB-to-SPDIF is to allow music to "transport" to connect to DAC as lowest jitter as possible.  The question is this: does it just transport the same level of music or it does the upsampling when transport also?(I think that what the DAC job is right?) 

 

Second, most of my music is in lossless FLAC format 16/44.1 CD rip.  So will it make any different when I use normal USB connection to my DAC or will it be better to use this Coax connection.  My DAC is 16/48 max for USB port and 24/192 for Coax port. 

 

Thank you in advance I'm still new to this DAC thing.

post #150 of 520

I'm still a newbie on this site still despite I've shared my experiences with the Nuforce Icon HDP, Schiit Bifrost, and M2Tech Hiface 2 to connect my laptop to my home system.

 

Question 1) Answer-Hiface 2 will transfer the native level without upsampling, so you can set your PC soundcard at the highest setting your DAC can decode and your DAC should decode your digital stream at native signal level, so you FLAC material will be at 16/44.1 when decoded by your DAC, unless it performs updampling.

 

Qusetion 2) Answer-From my limited experience as well as from what I have read, I would concur that you will probably like the results of your PC music through Coax into your DAC converted with a product like Hiface 2 over just using a USB cable to your DAC. Other considerations include what other sources you need to connect to your DAC as well, (not too many of them have multiple coax inputs, with switchable inputs). I'd A/B a dsic played from your PC via USB to the DAC against say a dedicated disc player feeding its coax stream to your DAC.

 

Do your comparison with a decent USB cable.  If you like the USB-DAC fed sound, can use your computer for other tasks while listening without sound errors, your DAC's coax input is already used by a dedicated source, get a better USB cable and be happy with USB. If unhappy with the sound or you get clocking issues while doing other tasks on the computer while listening, by all means give a USB converter like the Hiface 2 a shot. I'd have a tough time buying a DAC with USB input without hearing the perfomance and making sure it didn't have any issues while using my laptop with other aps. The fact that Hiface 2 did well means you can probably buy a DAC for its chipset processing prowess and if it doesn't have USB, you win by using Hiface 2 over a unit with a not-so-impresive USB section.


Edited by tp280 - 8/3/12 at 6:09pm
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