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NuForce Udac-2 and Cowon Q5W?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Was wondering if anyone has tried to use a USB powered DAC, like the NuForce Udac-2, through the USB host option on the Cowon Q5W. Would the Udac-2 work like that? The Cowon is a bit confusing. Anyone have experience with the Cowon and USB powered DACs?
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know the driver I need to download for the Windows CE platform to run a Udac-2? That is if it even exists. Somebody here surely had a Q5W, it is an incredible device for FLAC playback. Best I've ever heard by a mile. I would just like to have more power with my Udac-2 so I can choose from a larger variety of headphones. I know the usb host of the Cowon will power the Udac-2 and I can run spdif to it from the Cowon via the provided cable. I'd rather have the usb host handle both the power and digital driver duties together though as I really don't like the jumble of rcas on the spdif cable. The other question would be: Does Cowon make a cable with just spdif- the orange rca? Trying to keep it as simple as possible w/o having to get a rechargeable dac.
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by hatrack71 View Post

Somebody here surely had a Q5W, it is an incredible device for FLAC playback. Best I've ever heard by a mile. I would just like to have more power with my Udac-2 so I can choose from a larger variety of headphones.

 

Well, running off a 5V bus isn't likely to be enough power to allow using a (generallybetter) headphone that needs more mW, voltage or current well enough.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hatrack71 View Post

I know the usb host of the Cowon will power the Udac-2 and I can run spdif to it from the Cowon via the provided cable. I'd rather have the usb host handle both the power and digital driver duties together though as I really don't like the jumble of rcas on the spdif cable. The other question would be: Does Cowon make a cable with just spdif- the orange rca? Trying to keep it as simple as possible w/o having to get a rechargeable dac.

 

I don't get it. You want to run an SPDIF OUTput from the Cowon  as an INput into the SPDIF OUTput of the uDAC?


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 4/3/13 at 8:29pm
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, I was mistaken. For some reason I thought the coax was an input. That sucks, guess I should've known that. The Cowon does not recognize the Udac off the usb host although it does power it. Just no sound. I think I need the generic usb sound driver for Windows CE. Is a regular laptop bus more than 5V? I'm not real knowledgeable about this.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
The Udac-2 puts out 80mW into a 16 ohm load. More than twice the Cowon at 34mW.
Edited by hatrack71 - 4/4/13 at 12:28am
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by hatrack71 View Post

Well, I was mistaken. For some reason I thought the coax was an input. That sucks, guess I should've known that. The Cowon does not recognize the Udac off the usb host although it does power it. Just no sound. I think I need the generic usb sound driver for Windows CE. Is a regular laptop bus more than 5V? I'm not real knowledgeable about this.

 

Are you sure it "powers" it, or it just powers the indicator lamp on? Many devices work like that. iPad iOS 5.x.x doesn't send the normal USB power through the camera connection kit, but whether the DAC is compatible or not, the lamp (either the power indicator or the USB input indicator) on it can still take its power off the USB source.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hatrack71 View Post

The Udac-2 puts out 80mW into a 16 ohm load. More than twice the Cowon at 34mW.

 

Lots more factors to consider other than rms and peak power, like noise and distortion. Also, twice the power , in this case 34mW vs 80mW, won't always translate to being perceivably much louder (never mind noise and distortion). That might seem a huge lot for an 95db/mW IEM, provided it won't distort at 16ohms nominal impedance, but not much for - say - a headphone with 56ohm nominal impedance and 86db sensitivity. And again, there's the question of how it will manage distortion at that output level and impedance.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
The Windows CE platform is saying the NuForce is an Unrecognized USB device when plugged in. It is asking me to name/enter the appropriate driver. Is there a USB sound driver I can load for the unit to work and at least give it a try? On Vista, it shows just Generic USB Sound as the driver. Does such a thing even exist in Windows CE? It uses USB 2.0. Like I said, the light comes on so it is getting power but no sound through headphones, so the device is NOT working correctly or self loading the appropriate USB host function. Do you know what to do? Thanks for hanging with me on this ProtegeManiac.
Edited by hatrack71 - 4/4/13 at 9:31am
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by hatrack71 View Post

The Windows CE platform is saying the NuForce is an Unrecognized USB device when plugged in. It is asking me to name/enter the appropriate driver. Is there a USB sound driver I can load for the unit to work and at least give it a try? On Vista, it shows just Generic USB Sound as the driver. Does such a thing even exist in Windows CE? It uses USB 2.0. Like I said, the light comes on so it is getting power but no sound through headphones, so the device is NOT working correctly or self loading the appropriate USB host function. Do you know what to do? Thanks for hanging with me on this ProtegeManiac.

 

Don't mention it. However, like I said, it's hard to tell if it's a software or power issue. Even my iPad for example can detect an "unrecognized USB device" if I hook up an unsupported DAC (it just doesn't ask me to name it) even if the primary issue is power (this was during a meet, but before i jumped up to borrow a USB powerbank when I remembered the D-7 doesn't have a battery, a split second later I realized there's a driver download for it). AFAIK, there's no dedicated NuForce driver software unlike the D-7, as I've even seen some working with an iPad and a powered hub, and if you've ever tried customizing an Apple device, you'd know you'd have to have more advanced knowledge of software.

Best you can do is check with other forums too, see if anyone knows their way around Windows CE. There's a similar discussion here regarding software implementation of USB Audio on dozens of devices, but the problem is it's Android. AFAIK they are somewhat similar in architecture so you might want to try posting there in case anyone knows CE, however do note that even on Android USB Audio has been sketchy because of the USB chip design (there are two general designs for how the Host mode works, if it even has it), or at the very least some device manufacturers just didn't include the proper kernel (hence the software work-arounds in that thread). Expect running into similar (in)compatibility issues on CE.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Opened a thread on Windows CE forum. The driver that is used in Vista is the drmk.sys. Hopefully someone there can write a variant of this. I will report success or failure. The NuForce seems to have plenty of oomph off the 5V usb bus on my laptop to drive a pair of AKG 600 ohm K240 classic Monitors to more than sufficient volume levels. Would be killer to make this device work with the Cowon. It would open up a whole new ballgame for headphone choices.
Edited by hatrack71 - 4/5/13 at 9:14am
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Well, no luck. There is no plan to develop such a driver so I guess I'm sticking with spdif.
 

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