I would say if it's possible to hook your 3 inputs into the D2 (not sure what kind of outputs your components have) directly, bypassing the TV then that would be the way to go. But if you can't then through the TV shouldn't be horrible since it's a digital signal. You may add jitter but that's a huge controversy that might be only applicable if you've spent thousands on your audio setup. I don't think there would be any latency issues. I have a friend that runs HDMI out of his computer to his TV then optical out to his receiver and he's got no latency complaints. Now, if you were passing an analog signal, I would be concerned.
Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2 (Dedicated DAC) - Review, FAQ & Info Thread - Page 2
Gear mentioned in this thread:
I've had my D2 ever since they released, paired with Audioengine A5's and boy are they great!
Mainly use Solid Output because it sounds more digital and upbeat for hiphop music, rather than the fuzzy mixed tube output. maybe im wrong, should i give the tube another try?
So sad that it only does 24bit/96khz and not 24bit/192khz, is there any way to upgrade the chip to support such?
Also people on this thread has said the OPA 627 was a good upgrade, which i saw on Ryan's website is now paired with that too for $40 more.
I don't want to buy a new one, and am pretty decent when it comes to soldering. Which OPA 627 do i need? the OPA627 AP, AU, or BP?
They can be had for around $7-10 a piece. i would be needing 3 right?
and does it matter if theres BB on the top left, or those numbers underneath the chip?
Edited by cssarrow - 6/30/12 at 2:52am
cssarrow, I think you should give the tube output another try, not because it's better or worse than solid state output but because that's the fun of audio, trying different things! You can also get different tubes if you want to play with the sound.
I don't think it's sad that the DAC only does 24/96 I mean, very little content is 192KHz and while it's double the sample rate, it's certainly not double the quality. Downsampling 192KHz content to 96KHz probably isn't noticeable for most people. I think you would need to have 5 figures into your system before you worry about that.
I've heard the OPA627 is a good upgrade. You don't have to buy a new unit, I'm pretty sure you could just ask Ryan and buy the opamps from him, that way the adapter they come on is known 100% to work with the D2. The OPA627 are actually single opamps so you would need 6 of them, plus an adapter that converts single opamps to a dual socket. There's also counterfeit issues, especially with ones on eBay. I'm sure now that you've read this, you'll send an e-mail to Ryan instead of hassling with it yourself :)
thanks for the rapid reply spanky. I will give the tube output another try and see if it's been improved after the long burn ins that i've had.
Mainly was looking for the 24bit/192khz DAC Output so that i could listen to my Blue Yeti Pro Microphone at the higher rate, and didn't want to be missing out on the highest quality.
Also thanks for letting me know about needing 6 of them, i stumbled onto his thread and found it.
Also stumbled upon this one
Because of that, i will be making a review so ryan could give me the op amp upgrade package for free. :D what great discovery!
I think i've found the converter that you were speaking of.
and put two of these on , for the 3 of them right?
Sorry for asking a lot, im a computer science major, i know very little of audio equipment.
Edited by cssarrow - 7/1/12 at 1:54am
Would TubeMagic D2 do well with an integrated tube amplifier, or is it so redundant that I should just get a $30 optical to RCA adapter and let the integrated tube amplifier add its flavour? Or should I just use the D2's SS output so that I don't have tube + tube sound and still hear an improvement from having a DAC?
csarrow, those are the "adapters" I was talking about. On Ryans, the OPA627 are SMD which means they're surface mounted, there's one on top and one underneath. You still need 3 (for a total of 6 OPA627, 2 on each adapter).
JonnyBGood, I think there's a lot to say about the D2 as a DAC. It's really good and the USB is one of the best, if not the best chips out there. But, you say optical? Out of what? If it's a computer, I would recommend USB on the D2 instead. As for the tube redundancy, it's up to you really. I don't think it would add any benefit aside from being able to have more control in tweaking your audio the way you like but like I said earlier, that's part of the fun in learning about audio. IMO, do some research in the DAC chip on that $30 optical to RCA adapter versus the one in the D2. I would wager the D2 would be better in that aspect.
Now that I've ordered an OPA627 D2 I'd like to ask you experts about the BNC port as I wait for my parcel. To me the BNC port is just a "bonus", as-is and I can upgrade the "bonus" status to "useful 2nd digital coax w/ RCA port" with a $0.25 BNC Male to RCA Female adapter from Flea Bay. I am worried, though, that I'll end up with an analogue-only adapter because the listings don't state if the adapters are for composite video, digital coax, etc. And while I'm on the subject of inexpensive digital connections, can we also agree/admit that a $100 USB cable will not improve SQ as long as the $2 USB cable meets or exceeds USB standards? It makes no sense when people say they can hear a difference UNLESS there's a deep-scan on the part of a DAC prior to sound transmission to determine cable bandwidth/competency and the DAC can do something "special" with the extra bandwidth. Otherwise if you're talking about a real-time SQ boost then I don't understand how it's possible because if the cable isn't up to par then sound would cut out or become robotic (the audio equivalent of visual pixelation).
Also, my PC has a digital coax output. Is everyone in agreement that the Tenor 7022L from USB is better than OPA627 from coax, or should I experiment with both inputs? I'm not really an experimenter and would prefer to know what's considered superior, so that I don't have to keep re-wiring.
P.S. Is head-fi for headphone-related items, only, or are we good talking about the D2? :)
JonnyBGood, I think you're confused on a few things :)
First, a BNC adapter would just be a straight metal connector. It doesn't have to be "meant" or "built" for analog or digital. Metal is metal (although some metals conduct better) and it will pass whatever signal through that you feed it.
USB cables are highly controversial. Personally, I wouldn't use the cheapest one I could find but I wouldn't go out and buy a $100 one either. I have a Belkin Gold that I got many years ago, it's got gold plated pins for better wear (which is why it's lasted this long) and is a shielded USB 2.0 compliant cable. Sure it could be "better" in some people's eyes but it transfers data and I don't feel it's holding me back. There's plenty of other things in your chain to spend $$ on before going "crazy" with USB cables. I mean, analog cables matter more than USB ones, I think everybody will agree on that.
Finally, the Tenor 7022L would be your best bet from your computer. But, the "is better than OPA627 from coax" doesn't really make sense. The opamps are used no matter what input you use. Personally, I would avoid using onboard audio, even if it's digital output. The Tenor chip is 24/96 and driverless. Simple and works.
For your P.S., Head-Fi is for a bunch of topics, there's threads for computer audio and speakers. With that said, you'll primarily find headphone related items. This sub forum though is "Dedicated Source Components" which is exactly what the D2 is.
Now that is something I'm totally clueless on. I have a receiver on a secondary setup with the analog out from the computer going into the CD input. Works fine, no issues. I certainly wouldn't use the phono input though :)
I thought there was an incompatibility with Win 8 when no pop ups occurred and D2 wouldn't show up in my list of USB devices on my taskbar, etc., but there it was in Control Panel->Sounds all perfectly detected waiting for me to select it.
Question: Which non-Apple portable flac player w/ digital out that bypasses its internal DAC is generally recommended? It would be nice to have something w/ a large display like the Logitech Squeezebox w/o the networking capabilities. Just a medium sized flash drive, or w/ memory cards slots.
Oh, why does the red light inside turn off when USB source is selected? What is being disabled? Thanks!
Edited by JohnyBGood - 7/9/12 at 1:53pm
Red light? Could you elaborate more on that, my D2 doesn't have a red light.
For a portable music player, you're kind of asking a lot with all of that. I would be tempted to recommend a netbook. I just picked up a ASUS EEEPC 4G and use it strictly for music but it also goes online, plays games and you can even watch videos on it. Got mine for a steal at $40 but even at double that, it's still a cheap solution. You could then get a USB transport, something like the Teralink X2 with the Tenor chip that will pass a digital signal out and doesn't require an external power source. You could get a short USB cable and velcro it to the top of the screen so you're not carrying around a bunch of stuff. Just a though. Aside from this, I don't really have any recommendations.
Spanky, there's a red LED on the inside of the unit and to the right (looking down on it through the vents) that turns on and off depending on source selected (USB=off).
Your netbook has a digital audio output? What type? I have a not-too-bad netbook w/ HDMI and a good graphics card, but no digital audio out. I think I'll ask about audio players on different sites to see what I get. Lots of people use iPod + a special attachment that allows one to bypass internal DAC and get binary out of it...but that special attachment is very pricey.
UPDATE: LED comes on when I'm changing channels, so I guess it's an indicator of zero digital signal?
Edited by JohnyBGood - 7/11/12 at 9:44pm
Hmmm, I can't typically see inside my D2 but I'll have a look sometime. I wouldn't be too concerned about it but I'm not sure why it would be there in the first place.
My netbook has analog output which is plenty fine for the rest of the audio chain. Like I said, if you NEED digital output of a netbook, a simple USB transport would do good. Take a look at the Teralink X2. Those iPod attachments are called Line-Out Dock cables or LOD. They aren't passing digital audio but analog. They simply bypass the internal headphone amp but the audio is still converted into analog format. Unless Apple changed this in their newer iPods... I don't keep up to date on that. You can get those cables for under $15-20.
I wanted to be able to hear my Playbook tablet via stereo instead of just through TV when connecting via HDMI, but my TV only outputs sound in optical and my PS3 is already using the D2's optical input. So, I ordered a 3 input optical to 1 output optical Selector off of Flea Bay. I was thinking that since I will now have an extra optical input on my Selector, what else could I attach? That's when I searched and found RCA/analogue to optical converters (composite in, optical & coax out). I guess it would be called an ADC and was wondering what you guys thought about using it as a Pre-DAC with my CD player. I've already confirmed that my Pioneer CD player is low-end and although I wouldn't be bypassing the internal DAC, which is MANY years old, I was wondering if it could improve going through the D2. Or would it basically be using a BAD DAC source w/ pre-determined limitations (i.e. poor bass/treble) through a good DAC and not improve? The ADC listing states:
"The output digital audio signal is 2-channel uncompressed LPCM (Linear Pulse Code Modulation) with sampling rate at 48 KHz."
"Supports sampling rate at 32, 44.1, 48 and 96 KHz."
"24-bit S/PDIF incoming bit stream on left and right channels"