..looks like (amateur) DAC pr0n to me.
.. I need a cigarette.
Thanks for the input. this just raises more questions though, some of these points just try to correct the issues with USB, whereas Optical has none. In a decicated audiophile source that has the option of USB and Optical, would't it be wiser to just choose the input that has no chance of interferance? instead of a USB system that has (possibly amazing) technology to remove the problems inherent of it's wires?
USB is flavour of the month right now.
You are correct, Optical does have on big advantage: no direct electrical connection.
This is big.
Just for once, I'd like to see a realistic 3 way audio comparison between SPDIF Coax and Toslink and USB.
Does anyone have any links?
I'd love to see something, anything.
I have no real opinion myself, other than I often use Optical because there is normally less interconnect drama, but then that could just be my Stone Age computer's moodiness.
Maybe I'm deaf, or maybe it's my gear, but I don't hear a difference between Toslink and USB.
Actually, for those wondering, the thing that is lopsided on top of the Stealth and irDAC is the 5-way Niles switch -- the DACs are all nice and level... though stacked on top of each other a bit. The switch has worked well so far. I put it there because I needed it somewhere in the middle so that (1) all the wires would reach it, and (2) I could easily reach it from my seat. It doesn't really care about being off kilter, and it is pretty small and light -- plus it is held in place by 6 cables -- so it is fine where it is.
Actually arranging all of these boxes (along with 3 amps) in the cabinet has been a bit of a challenge, since until I opened the boxes I really didn't know if they would all fit. Amazingly, they all did... but with more coming, I don't think I'll continue to be this lucky. I'm gonna have to do some testing, then pull some units out, swap in others. And of course with its beautiful bump, the PureDAC can't be under any of the others. (Please read that as lewdly as you'd like).
Again, that's why I wanted the new ones up and running ASAP, so I could run them for a few days and have everybody in reasonably equal "break-in" status, then swap out as needed for comparison (and space) purposes. I'll swap the DM Source in on Wednesday when the adapter shows up after the others have already been in for at least 4 days (100 hours). I will then have it running in parallel on the side to burn in while I test the others. I had intended it to be in the first group, so it will have to be near the end of that group, but that will work.
The only other question is when the PureDAC will be here, but with 7 slots available and everybody else already burned in it isn't a big deal to run it on the side for 4-5 days to get it to 100 hours. I had planned to have it in the second group anyway, so that will work as well.
Sorry to bore you folks with all of the logistical details, but I wanted to give you a sense of what it's like to arrange a test like this. Not hard, but you do have to be somewhat organized and also flexible, because stuff never goes as originally planned. Plus I need to talk about something until I can actually start the testing...
I bought a bunch of stuff from Monoprice a couple weeks ago. RCA, USB and toslink, along with a USB hub. The idea was to test everybody using the same cables, excluding power cables... they all use their own power plug, except for the fancy plug for the Yulong, since they specifically recommended one... But even there, I bought an Emo cable for 1/3 of Yulong's special sale price for essentially the same cable. Similarly with external power supplies, a couple of "special" ones are coming for a couple of DACs where an upgrade has been strongly recommended, but for the most part, I'm using stock stuff.
And no, I will not provide a picture of the back of the rack... it is quite the rat's nest. I will clean it up some prior to testing to minimize any possibility of interference, but this is a lot of stuff, so there's no chance of a perfectly clean back-plane. And even if I cleaned it up every day, those suckers would get themselves all twisted up when I went to bed.
Another point I wanted to make: while 5 units are currently running through the Niles switch for burn-in, at this point that is just because I want to be able to check quickly that I am getting sound out of each DAC. When I actually start critical listening I will test at least a few of them straight into the Cyclops first, and then through the Niles switch. If I hear ANY difference on any of them I will not use the switch for testing. While it would make my life a lot easier if it doesn't color the sound or wash out anything, I don't want to let a $90 switch bias a decision on hardware that costs many times that. Quick switching would aid in discerning differences, but if the differences aren't real, or if real differences aren't getting through the switch, it ruins the test.
I like the procedure.
I finished my experimentations with the Ciunas DAC (I just got a LCD-X that I wanted to try with my most neutral DAC - which happens to be the Ciunas ), I ship the babies tomorrow. You should get them by Thursday.
By the way, the Dangerous Source uses a different 12V connector than the QuteHD... I think the DS is 5.5 x 2.5 and the Chord is 5.5 x 2.1. I'm sure there are adaptors available everywhere, if you want to buy one in the meantime.
Just a couple of quick notes:
UPS left me another note, so something else is being delivered tomorrow. Don't know what it is, so I get to be surprised.
The PWD will make an appearance in this comparison, as I will meet with Preproman sometime this week to get it from him. Since it doesn't have to be returned to him for a refund no matter what the outcome, it's no big deal if I have to take a few extra days to get it tested.
The burning in of the new DACs continues, though I lost several hours today, as the power apparently blipped while I was at work. Nothing was damaged as everything is on decent surge protectors, and the computer and some of the DACs are on a UPS -- the computer did not even restart, but JRiver decided the blip meant it was supposed to stop playing. No big deal, it just means the schedule to start serious listening might have to wait until Thursday. Or I could just start before I hit 100 hours... I mean, I don't think the DACs are actually counting... and I'm guessing that most of the benefit comes in the first few, or few dozen, hours anyway. .
One thing I can say already...
Wait for it...
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Sorry, but that's all I'm willing to say right now.