Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › M2Tech HiFace 2?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

M2Tech HiFace 2? - Page 20

post #286 of 525

Chodi,

 

Done!!!

 

Listening to "Old Love"  Eric Clapton Unplugged.

 

Much more engaging and vibrant! The soundstaging has widen quite significantly and also the layering.

 

Gonna listen to "Le Temp Passe" Michel Jonasz and test out the bass.

 

Many many thanks......... 


Edited by spkrs01 - 1/30/13 at 7:10am
post #287 of 525

Hi,

 

has anyone compared the Hiface 2 with the JKSPDIF MK3 (modded version of the Hiface 1)?
 

post #288 of 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew_WOT View Post

1) Download driver from here http://www.luckit.biz/downloads/Luckit%20WaveIO%20Drivers%20(v1.63.0).rar
2) Uninstall existing driver
3) Unrar downloaded driver and replace inf and ini files with attachment
4) Unplug HiFace2
5) Start setup.exe and follow instructions

Modded inf files attached


HiFace2-1.63_inf.zip 4k .zip file


Hello,

i installed the driver as shown, but unfortunately the setup ends with an error:
Pre-installation of ´C:\Program Files\Luckit\USBAudio_Driver\USBLuickitks.inf´ failed.

I use Windows 8, tried in Win7 Compatibility mode as well... Hiface 2 Drivers 1.57 run withoiut problems.

Thanks for help!!


Found the solution ! It's a Windows 8 specific problem.
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f11-software/preinstallation-failed-please-run-setup-again-if-you-are-asked-confirm-installation-software-please-confirm-13783/
Edited by Loenn - 2/2/13 at 11:40am
post #289 of 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loenn View Post


Hello,

i installed the driver as shown, but unfortunately the setup ends with an error:
Pre-installation of ´C:\Program Files\Luckit\USBAudio_Driver\USBLuickitks.inf´ failed.

I use Windows 8, tried in Win7 Compatibility mode as well... Hiface 2 Drivers 1.57 run withoiut problems.

Thanks for help!!


Found the solution ! It's a Windows 8 specific problem.
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f11-software/preinstallation-failed-please-run-setup-again-if-you-are-asked-confirm-installation-software-please-confirm-13783/

You may have hit on why M2Tech hasn't released this. I am using Windows 7 64bit and no problems. I would doubt that compatibility mode would work for drivers but I have no experience with Windows 8. Unfortunately this new driver did not solve the problem of the driver not being recognized all the time on boot. The sound is so fantastic that I don't care about the minor issue with having to sometimes unplug and replug the device to get the driver recognized.

 

Just curious- did you uninstall the device and the old driver before doing the new install? If it was me I might try that before giving up. Believe the sonic difference is worth the effort.

post #290 of 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcoc1712 View Post

Hi,

 

has anyone compared the Hiface 2 with the JKSPDIF MK3 (modded version of the Hiface 1)?
 

I haven't had the opportunity. But it would be interesting!

post #291 of 525

Tried an interesting experiment with Hiface Two yesterday. After hearing about the "biblical" scale improvements an external power source could bring to the Hiface, and all the people raving about it, and after checking the retail prices of different power solutions (Aqvox USB power supply, JKSPDIF, Kingrex Li-ion, LiFePO4 batteries...), I decided to try and make a basic external power supply myself.

 

So, I found an old Samsung phone charger from like 2005 in one of my drawers, 5V 700mA, which seemed appropriate to power the Hiface. And a basic USB extension cable (USB A, Female to Male connectors) with fairly good quality connectors. Time to chop some cables!

 

I cut the phone side connector from the phone charger and cleared about 1cm / 1/2" of the core cable (+5V) and shielding (Ground), twisted them and tinned the ends. I chopped off both the male and female connectors from the USB extension cable, hacked my way through the thick plastic around the connectors, trying hard not to destroy the plugs, and eventually revealed the backside of the connectors with 4 very convenient slits to solder cables on each connector (where cables were soldered originally).

 

Alright, I now had a ready to solder power supply and naked USB male and female connectors ready to be soldered on. A USB plug and cable has 4 lines: +5V, D+, D- (the two data lines in the center of the plug), and Ground. Apparently, to use external power on a USB peripheral you still need to have the ground connected along with the data lines and only leave the +5V line disconnected (otherwise the peripheral is powered on but not recognized by the computer).

 

Next, since I needed to connect two data lines and the Ground between both naked USB connectors, I cut three 2.5 cm / 1" pieces of quality Mogami cable that I had left over from a previous project and stripped and tinned these. With both USB connectors facing in a complementary way (like if I were to plug one into the other, so that the lines can be soldered straight across and not have to be inverted, but not facing each other), I soldered the data lines and ground between plugs. Then I soldered the external power supply +5v and ground lines to the peripheral (female connector) side.

 

Tested, it worked (powered on the Hiface Two and it was recognized by the computer, unlike the prototype I made, which didn't have the USB ground soldered and was useless). Which just left the insulation and strain relief steps, drown the solder points and cable in hot glue (basically drown everything but the plugs in hot glue), add heat shrink over everything but the end of the male plug (so it can be plugged...), add even more hot glue wherever you still can inside the heat shrink (you can never have enough glue), apply heat to heat shrink until it, well, shrinks. And voila, you have a external power supply hooked to a USB cable for your Hiface! An inch and a half long, sturdy, and for free, not for $100 retail or whatever you paid for your Hiface in the first place...

 

Now, I wasn't expecting much out of this mod, it was meant more as a test to see just how much of an improvement I should expect to see on the Hiface Two using any other power than the "dirty" computer USB. Well, for an hour-long free essentially free mod, I was flabbergasted!

 

Not only did the external power supply work, it turned the Hiface into a totally different beast! We're not talking about minor improvements but something like a different product. Much better soundstaging and instrument separation, much better upper and low extension (outrageous low mids and bass), extra-detailed and natural presentation. Gone the ever-so-slight upper mid glare, replaced with a balanced frequency response and beautiful mids. And fast, fast, fast sounding too, decay is so unlike the plain vanilla Hiface I didn't even imagine you could get that kind of sound with the Hiface (this is a must-do mod if you use a Hiface with orthos, if not just for those gorgeous mids).

 

Anyway, I was not expecting a change that dramatic with a crappy 5V switching phone charger; now I'm wondering what kind of improvements I could get from a linear power supply or different kind of batteries (without hacking the Hiface itself, that's my limit). I strongly encourage anyone with a soldering iron, hands and a Hiface to try this. For an hour of work, it is more than worth it!

 

And again, I made no changes to the Hiface itself, so no warranty or reselling issues, you'll still have your plain vanilla Hiface afterwards. And you can reuse the USB external adapter for other devices!

 

Next I'll try to make another USB adapter that delivers 5V with batteries, again just to test and see the difference (if there is one), maybe a very basic 4 x 1.2V Ni-MH battery powered USB adapter. Ideas and suggestions are welcome!


Edited by Audiofanboy - 2/12/13 at 8:06am
post #292 of 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiofanboy View Post

Tried an interesting experiment with Hiface Two yesterday. After hearing about the "biblical" scale improvements an external power source could bring to the Hiface, and all the people raving about it, and after checking the retail prices of different power solutions (Aqvox USB power supply, JKSPDIF, Kingrex Li-ion, LiFePO4 batteries...), I decided to try and make a basic external power supply myself.

 

So, I found an old Samsung phone charger from like 2005 in one of my drawers, 5V 700mA, which seemed appropriate to power the Hiface. And a basic USB extension cable (USB A, Female to Male connectors) with fairly good quality connectors. Time to chop some cables!

 

I cut the phone side connector from the phone charger and cleared about 1cm / 1/2" of the core cable (+5V) and shielding (Ground), twisted them and tinned the ends. I chopped off both the male and female connectors from the USB extension cable, hacked my way through the thick plastic around the connectors, trying hard not to destroy the plugs, and eventually revealed the backside of the connectors with 4 very convenient slits to solder cables on each connector (where cables were soldered originally).

 

Alright, I now had a ready to solder power supply and naked USB male and female connectors ready to be soldered on. A USB plug and cable has 4 lines: +5V, D+, D- (the two data lines in the center of the plug), and Ground. Apparently, to use external power on a USB peripheral you still need to have the ground connected along with the data lines and only leave the +5V line disconnected (otherwise the peripheral is powered on but not recognized by the computer).

 

Next, since I needed to connect two data lines and the Ground between both naked USB connectors, I cut three 2.5 cm / 1" pieces of quality Mogami cable that I had left over from a previous project and stripped and tinned these. With both USB connectors facing in a complementary way (like if I were to plug one into the other, so that the lines can be soldered straight across and not have to be inverted, but not facing each other), I soldered the data lines and ground between plugs. Then I soldered the external power supply +5v and ground lines to the peripheral (female connector) side.

 

Tested, it worked (powered on the Hiface Two and it was recognized by the computer, unlike the prototype I made, which didn't have the USB ground soldered and was useless). Which just left the insulation and strain relief steps, drown the solder points and cable in hot glue (basically drown everything but the plugs in hot glue), add heat shrink over everything but the end of the male plug (so it can be plugged...), add even more hot glue wherever you still can inside the heat shrink (you can never have enough glue), apply heat to heat shrink until it, well, shrinks. And voila, you have a external power supply hooked to a USB cable for your Hiface! An inch and a half long, sturdy, and for free, not for $100 retail or whatever you paid for your Hiface in the first place...

 

Now, I wasn't expecting much out of this mod, it was meant more as a test to see just how much of an improvement I should expect to see on the Hiface Two using any other power than the "dirty" computer USB. Well, for an hour-long free essentially free mod, I was flabbergasted!

 

Not only did the external power supply work, it turned the Hiface into a totally different beast! We're not talking about minor improvements but something like a different product. Much better soundstaging and instrument separation, much better upper and low extension (outrageous low mids and bass), extra-detailed and natural presentation. Gone the ever-so-slight upper mid glare, replaced with a balanced frequency response and beautiful mids. And fast, fast, fast sounding too, decay is so unlike the plain vanilla Hiface I didn't even imagine you could get that kind of sound with the Hiface (this is a must-do mod if you use a Hiface with orthos, if not just for those gorgeous mids).

 

Anyway, I was not expecting a change that dramatic with a crappy 5V switching phone charger; now I'm wondering what kind of improvements I could get from a linear power supply or different kind of batteries (without hacking the Hiface itself, that's my limit). I strongly encourage anyone with a soldering iron, hands and a Hiface to try this. For an hour of work, it is more than worth it!

 

And again, I made no changes to the Hiface itself, so no warranty or reselling issues, you'll still have your plain vanilla Hiface afterwards. And you can reuse the USB external adapter for other devices!

 

Next I'll try to make another USB adapter that delivers 5V with batteries, again just to test and see the difference (if there is one), maybe a very basic 4 x 1.2V Ni-MH battery powered USB adapter. Ideas and suggestions are welcome!


Would be interesting to see how your perception of the improvement change if, with someone's help, you can do a series of blind tests. Not saying that there won't be any.

post #293 of 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew_WOT View Post


Would be interesting to see how your perception of the improvement change if, with someone's help, you can do a series of blind tests. Not saying that there won't be any.


Ah, the blind test argument... I see what you're getting to. Never was a fan of either true blind testing or the opposite extreme (i.e, raving about thousand $ power cables without comparing). I usually try to trust my ears over a few thorough hours of testing and try to reach a fairly unbiased conclusion that way (audio is by definition quite subjective, though I do like to have some objective measurements to ground my testing on of course).

 

Yes, I tested, numerous times between with and without an external 5V power supply. No, it wasn't blind. Yes, I found a difference. Yes, the difference was immediately obvious. No, it wasn't immediately obvious that the difference was positive (for a a moment, it seemed negative, external sounded thinner for a few tracks, while USB powered sounded thicker). Yes, after testing with a number of single tracks 10 times each and switching every time, I quickly realized that the major difference was in favor of the external power supply (thinner as in much better defined and immensely more extended, thicker as in, less defined and more bloated which can lead to think that the sound is more pleasant - just like high jitter bass that sounds heavier because it's less defined). No doubts after an hour of testing. Trust me, I'm pretty thorough in my audio tests, blind or not. If I have a doubt, I'll say so and keep testing until I can decide if a mod is worth it or not (especially if money is involved). In this case, there was no expectation bias, as I my goal was basically to prove to myself that it wasn't worth it to buy a $100 Aqvox linear power supply. Guess I killed two birds with one stone... I didn't spend $100 and a found an interesting way to improve my Hiface ;) .

 

This being said, I understand what you mean, and I would love to be able to abx such mods just to make sure and quantify the change. Alas, I can't. And in this case, the degree of improvement surprised me so much that I intend to make a second battery powered trial.

 

What reassures me is that I'm not the only one who found out that the Hiface 1 or 2 and most SPDIF interfaces benefit from "clean" 5V supplies, I just managed to get the same result without spending any extra cash. So, I'd be surprised if I were totally wrong in my conclusions...

post #294 of 525

Interesting test and results. This is bound to cost me some money as I am now obligated to try this and I am not inclined to build it myself. I do use an external power usb port but now I must try one of these low noise power supplies. Since installing the new driver the sound is so good that further improvement may bring on cardiac arrest. We will just have to see as I can't leave this untested.

post #295 of 525

Just for the record, the H2 is following the XMOS datasheet implementation and has a Semtech SC4626A switching-mode voltage regulator(with a working freq of 2.5MHz) feeding the XMOS chip itself. The noisier the input PSU, the worse SQ will get because HF noise will mostly end up being amplified, so there is no question that even a silly cellphone charger with a very short DC cable could provide a SQ improvement over the shared ATX PSU IMHO.


Edited by leeperry - 2/12/13 at 6:16pm
post #296 of 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post

Just for the record, the H2 is following the XMOS datasheet implementation and has a Semtech SC4626A switching-mode voltage regulator(with a working freq of 2.5MHz) feeding the XMOS chip itself. The noisier the input PSU, the worse SQ will get because HF noise will mostly end up being amplified, so there is no question that even a silly cellphone charger with a very short DC cable could provide a SQ improvement over the shared ATX PSU IMHO.


No doubt about that.

For anyone interested in cheaper than Aqvox solution

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=97076.120

post #297 of 525
Great, I'd been looking for a good cheap linear power supply. Do you know if it only comes with a US plug for 110V, or if it's universal 100-240V? Or basically where to get a similar linear supply with other types of plugs (say western european)?
post #298 of 525

Have anyone had the opportunity to do A/B comparison between two Hiface2s? We have made some days ago.. because the other owner didn't liked his system's sound with his Hiface2. He has a Hiface2 with Serial: 3xxx , mine is an earlier with serial 1xxx. We made the comparison at a friends system on a Macbook pro with more types of music (aiff cd quality& above).

The two Hiface2 -s didn't sound the same ! Most of the time we preferred mine with serial 1xxx... the two piece is quite different... Mine has a bit small soundstage, and a bit less bass but it's sound character is playsome/loveable. The Hiface2 with serial 3xxx has a much bigger soundstage, has more bass (sometimes too much!) but it has nothing from this loveable char.. :(

 

Is there somebody who knows anything about Hiface2 firmwares ? We think that this could be maybe the reason why they sound so different. + in the windows driver there is the opportunity to make a firmware change, there can be browsed the firmware file, some .bin . Is there someone... who knows where can be the firmwares downloaded ? Or only M2Tech has these files?

post #299 of 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by hubee View Post

Have anyone had the opportunity to do A/B comparison between two Hiface2s? We have made some days ago.. because the other owner didn't liked his system's sound with his Hiface2. He has a Hiface2 with Serial: 3xxx , mine is an earlier with serial 1xxx. We made the comparison at a friends system on a Macbook pro with more types of music (aiff cd quality& above).

The two Hiface2 -s didn't sound the same ! Most of the time we preferred mine with serial 1xxx... the two piece is quite different... Mine has a bit small soundstage, and a bit less bass but it's sound character is playsome/loveable. The Hiface2 with serial 3xxx has a much bigger soundstage, has more bass (sometimes too much!) but it has nothing from this loveable char.. :(

 

Is there somebody who knows anything about Hiface2 firmwares ? We think that this could be maybe the reason why they sound so different. + in the windows driver there is the opportunity to make a firmware change, there can be browsed the firmware file, some .bin . Is there someone... who knows where can be the firmwares downloaded ? Or only M2Tech has these files?


My hiface two has a 05xx serial number and *sounds* quite like you describe in general terms, intimate realistic soundstage and very musical and balanced frequency response.

 

I  haven't had a chance to hear an other unit, but I wouldn't be surprised to find hardware differences. After all, the first hiface had that one revision at some point with the poor smaller 44.1 clock that sounded like crap, and eventually reverted to a large quality clock generator, after trying to cover up the problem for a while. So, the differences could be on the board and not in the firmware (never found firmwares for the hiface two anyway, and wouldn't be from Thesycon like the drivers, and not from m2tech, so with no real variety compared to other XMOS based chips?).

post #300 of 525

Alright, I just finished making and testing a different battery-powered prototype to supply 5v to the Hiface Two. For the record, here's a pic of the previous phone charger-powered prototype.

 

 

The easiest way to do this was with a set of 4 Ni-MH rechargeable batteries (1.2V nominal voltage each, a bit above that for quality rechargeables, so somewhere between 4.75 and 5V hopefully, at least before the batteries discharge too much), Li-Ion/Li-Po would have been ideal but it's 3.7V per cell, or 3.2 for LiFePo4 and supposedly not for beginners. I bought a cheap cheap USB battery pack with no electronics or regulator (which is what I needed for Ni-MH, normal AA would need to be regulated down to a stable 5V though), essentially a plastic case with space for 4 AA batteries and a female USB output. So, "pure" 5V-ish power going straight to the Hiface. I bought the one shown below because it has an on-off switch too so I don't need to fiddle with the USB cable too much. But I saw many different models, and honestly you could probably just make one yourself, soldering four batteries together with prongs and some green wrap. I used 4 average 2500 mAh batteries, I'll probably upgrade to some nice Eneloop low self discharge ones eventually, I wanted to see if it worked before that though.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002PHC1XU/ref=pe_217191_31005151_3p_dp_1

 

 

 

Based on my previous USB to USB 5V hijack hackjob, I made another similar one replacing the 5V and ground input from an external charger with a shielded USB male cable (pics below). I also used better inner cabling for the data lines (shielded Mogami 2549, 22awg copper, shield attached to D- line on the source side and left "floating" on the device side) for the inch of cabling in the USB adapter, and tried to add some shielding to the data lines.

 

 

Basic extender as you can see. Yes, matte red shrink wrap is fugly, but it was all I had, and yes I went a little crazy on hot glue. But at least it's solid and safe to use. And as you can see, it only adds about an inch of USB cable, plus the plugs, compared to the stock Hiface. The whole mess once plugged into the Hiface is actually not that long, and even the battery supply has a short cable that shouldn't pick up too many interferences.

 

 

Now, on to testing. Well, first of all, it works, which I really wasn't sure it would, as the voltage should be a bit on the low side of USB specs. And, this time as expected, it sounds great, much better than the crappy 5V phone charger mod (duh).

 

Same improvements as going from USB power to basic external power, but better on all aspects. Great soundstage and separation (it sounds corny, but it's one of the first times I feel that the musicians are almost there in the room, or at least it's the closest I've ever gotten to that feeling), balanced frequency response and slightly better extension (especially on the low end, which seems very sensitive to power supply), best PRaT and decay I've ever gotten out of my system too. And above all, very musical, so natural I just end up relaxing instead of testing.

 

At any rate, I don't believe it makes the Hiface compete with $1000 transports, but it really shows how much of a bottleneck getting a good clean S/PDIF signal out of the computer is, and how much your converter and its power supply are critical to getting that (and the clocks used, but that's another story). Probably the only way to get better sound out of the Hiface Two is to tap directly into the components with 3.3V from LiFePo4 batteries like JKenny does, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet haha; plus it would actually come out quite expensive with the batteries and charger, whereas I spent less than $20 here.

 

Now the only remaining problem is to figure out how long the Ni-MH batteries can supply enough voltage to stay within USB specs and power the Hiface, as they should quickly drop below 1.2V and therefore below 4.75V total, which is the low end of USB specs...

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › M2Tech HiFace 2?