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post #226 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

 

i2s physically splits the lines into a bit clock, L/R clock, multiplexed L/R data, and a maybe a master clock. i2s is how DACs operate internally. Splitting this information into separate physical lines helps keep jitter to a minimum. i2s also avoids an extra SPDIF to i2s conversion step. The downside is that because i2s is supposed to be internally used, there is no standard for interconnects.

 

Its worth mentioning here that some of the guys using I2S externally have agreed on a standard amongst themselves. They also don't use it in plain vanilla form, rather they've adapted it to make it more robust when used between boxes. In my understanding this has been done by sending it out in differential (balanced) form over a cat5/6  cable with 4 twisted pairs. I think (by no means sure) they're using LVDS tx/rx for low EMI footprint.

post #227 of 6360

#7 Schiit Gungnir (USB) Gen2 USB Board

 

Too bad you don't add list prices to the ranking. If so, I think it would be evident that the Schiit packs the greatest value in terms of performance/dollar. Correct?

post #228 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by schneller View Post
 

#7 Schiit Gungnir (USB) Gen2 USB Board

 

Too bad you don't add list prices to the ranking. If so, I think it would be evident that the Schiit packs the greatest value in terms of performance/dollar. Correct?

+1. I have not heard any other DAC in this list (or any other list that has been compiled on Head-fi). TO MY EARS, this is $850 very well spent. I had been toying with buying the Vega, or NAD M51 or Audio GD 7. Living in India, one is stuck most of the time with no choices to review, hear and then decide. So I had to read these forums extensively before buying anything. Aside of the Audio GD, I am pleased to see the Vega and the M51 below the Gungnir (and that's just performance).

 

Edit: I certainly don't mean to anger the owners of the Vega and M51 but this is more relief than anything else :biggrin:


Edited by kothganesh - 1/9/14 at 5:31am
post #229 of 6360
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
 

 

Thanks for the nice explanation of i2s purrin!  No doubt there are some budget components in that ebay converter, but I thought the cm6331/6331a were actually supposed to be pretty decent, although not quite competitive with the amanero boards or well executed xmos solutions?  

 

Just to clarify, CM6331A is better and what's in the Gen2. XMOS is OK/good, but I haven't heard a great XMOS solution - they all kind of sound the same.

post #230 of 6360
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sapientiam View Post

 

Its worth mentioning here that some of the guys using I2S externally have agreed on a standard amongst themselves. They also don't use it in plain vanilla form, rather they've adapted it to make it more robust when used between boxes. In my understanding this has been done by sending it out in differential (balanced) form over a cat5/6  cable with 4 twisted pairs. I think (by no means sure) they're using LVDS tx/rx for low EMI footprint.

 

I'm sure you are familiar with the AGD M7 thread where a HF'er was seeing a lot of noise on the scope for the singled ended i2s implementation with the OR5 using ethernet cable. It makes sense why the PWD2 (and a few other manufacturers who have signed on) uses LVDS over an HDMI cable. 

post #231 of 6360
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by schneller View Post
 

#7 Schiit Gungnir (USB) Gen2 USB Board

 

Too bad you don't add list prices to the ranking. If so, I think it would be evident that the Schiit packs the greatest value in terms of performance/dollar. Correct?

 

That's for you to figure out. :-) I'm not worried about price until it gets over $5-7k. If something $99 sounds better than something $4999, that would be great.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kothganesh View Post
 

+1. I have not heard any other DAC in this list (or any other list that has been compiled on Head-fi). TO MY EARS, this is $850 very well spent. I had been toying with buying the Vega, or NAD M51 or Audio GD 7. Living in India, one is stuck most of the time with no choices to review, hear and then decide. So I had to read these forums extensively before buying anything. Aside of the Audio GD, I am pleased to see the Vega and the M51 below the Gungnir (and that's just performance).

 

Edit: I certainly don't mean to anger the owners of the Vega and M51 but this is more relief than anything else :biggrin:

 

I wouldn't say the Gungnir is "higher performance" than the Vega or M51, just that the Gungnir suits my personal tastes better (warmer, more "natural" tone and treble, bass extension, tone, overall slam, uncompressed dynamics.) Both the M51 and especially Vega are more resolving than the Gungnir. They are better at extraction of low level information and reproducing the softest sounds. 


Edited by purrin - 1/9/14 at 11:09am
post #232 of 6360

I may have missed this, but with the OR5 are you running the PWD2 in Native?

post #233 of 6360
Thread Starter 

Yes just Native, not NativeX.

 

The internal "Digital Lens", i.e. NativeX of the PWD2 is not as good as Native mode with the OR5. I assume this is probably because Native mode relies more on the higher quality clocks of the OR5. It doesn't stick the FIFO buffer in the middle.

post #234 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

............


I wouldn't say the Gungnir is "higher performance" than the Vega or M51, just that the Gungnir suits my personal tastes better (warmer, more "natural" tone and treble, bass extension, tone, overall slam, uncompressed dynamics.) Both the M51 and especially Vega are more resolving than the Gungnir. They are better at extraction of low level information and reproducing the softest sounds. 

Thanks for setting me straight there. It looks like we share similar tastes overall and extraction of the most minute details and sounds is not a priority for me as much as the overall sound.
post #235 of 6360

In terms of interconnects with the Gungnir, are you using simply USB from source (PC) to DAC or some other fancy equipment?

 

I guess my concern with the Schiit is overly extended or bloated bass at the expense of the mids and crisp highs. Can you shed light on this?

post #236 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by schneller View Post
 

In terms of interconnects with the Gungnir, are you using simply USB from source (PC) to DAC or some other fancy equipment?

 

I guess my concern with the Schiit is overly extended or bloated bass at the expense of the mids and crisp highs. Can you shed light on this?

I'm sure the question is meant for Purrin but what the heck ? :wink_face:. FWIW, I connect my Macbook Air to the Gungnir twith the BNC Halide. Thus, it goes from the USB port on the MBA to the SPDIF of the Gungnir. 

post #237 of 6360

I wonder how good my Anedio D2 among these DACs? And one more question - how good is the headphone output of Hilo? I like all-in-one solutions :smile:

post #238 of 6360

Very interesting thread

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6-dac-digital-analog-conversion/15-universal-serial-bus-industry-standard-cables-connectors-and-communications-protocols-between-computers-and-electronic-devices-spdif-converters-shootout-15327/

 

"M2Tech stack for example, has a very distinctive sound. I would describe it as ethereal - great resolution, smoothness and vast soundstaging, but at the same time it is a bit light on its feet, lacking some substance and midrange texture. 

ORT5 on the other hand sounds warmer, fuller with more texture, but at the same time, lacks the top end resolution and extension that Evo (and to lesser extent the Scarlatti transport) is capable of.

You can say that BADA is best of both worlds, and then some. Alpha USB has all the texture of the ORT5 and Scarlatti transport, but combines that with the outstanding resolution, smoothness and soundstaging of the Evo stack. In fact, it even goes one step further that the Evo in that department - with BADA not only you can hear all the detail, but you can actually feel a sound wave developing and moving the air, which makes the instrument outlines more 3D. Quite frankly, I was stunned when I first heard this. 

The BADA Alpha USB made the sound smoother, with ZERO artificial edge, grain or digital glare.

There was also much better layering of instruments, and air around the outlines. The instruments sounded not only better separated in space, but also much more 3-dimensional.

The resolution also improved quite a bit. You could hear the sounds that you were not aware are on the recording, the HF decays had much longer trails and hung in space much longer.

The most fascinating thing was that sound had better resolution, but at the same time, was so much smoother and fluid. Usually, it is another way round. Very often we try a new component or a cable and at first are fascinated by improved resolution, only to find out a few days later (after we had X-rayed all our recordings), that the increased resolution brings listener fatigue and makes the listening far less enjoyable.

Not this time. BADA pulls this incredible trick of sounding both more resolute, more transparent, and much smoother at the same time.

To me Berkeley Audio Designs Alpha USB defines the current state of the art in USB/SPDIF converters design."

post #239 of 6360
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by schneller View Post
 

In terms of interconnects with the Gungnir, are you using simply USB from source (PC) to DAC or some other fancy equipment?

 

I guess my concern with the Schiit is overly extended or bloated bass at the expense of the mids and crisp highs. Can you shed light on this?

 

A few HD800 users I know have felt that the Schiit Gungnir sounded too mid-forward. The HD800 has a 5-6 peak. That the region which gives sounds an edge or a snap. This has not been my experience at all however, at least with the equipment use in this test. I surmise the Gungnir's overly dynamic nature contributes to this effect. So in essence, I would say the highs are pretty crisp with good attack.

 

Overall, the Gungir is slightly warm sounding. It is not bloated at all in the bass. As for being "overly extended" in the bass, I would consider that a good thing. The Gungir can hit very low and with appropriate authority. In other words, with specific harpischord tracks, I can hear a very palpable, yet low-level sub/low-bass "thump" "thump" of the action of the keys. It's harder to heard this with the leaner sound DACs.

 

In other words, the Gungir is not the Audeze of the DAC world.

post #240 of 6360
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hun7er View Post
 

Very interesting thread

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6-dac-digital-analog-conversion/15-universal-serial-bus-industry-standard-cables-connectors-and-communications-protocols-between-computers-and-electronic-devices-spdif-converters-shootout-15327/

 

"M2Tech stack for example, has a very distinctive sound. I would describe it as ethereal - great resolution, smoothness and vast soundstaging, but at the same time it is a bit light on its feet, lacking some substance and midrange texture. 

ORT5 on the other hand sounds warmer, fuller with more texture, but at the same time, lacks the top end resolution and extension that Evo (and to lesser extent the Scarlatti transport) is capable of.

You can say that BADA is best of both worlds, and then some. Alpha USB has all the texture of the ORT5 and Scarlatti transport, but combines that with the outstanding resolution, smoothness and soundstaging of the Evo stack. In fact, it even goes one step further that the Evo in that department - with BADA not only you can hear all the detail, but you can actually feel a sound wave developing and moving the air, which makes the instrument outlines more 3D. Quite frankly, I was stunned when I first heard this. 

The BADA Alpha USB made the sound smoother, with ZERO artificial edge, grain or digital glare.

There was also much better layering of instruments, and air around the outlines. The instruments sounded not only better separated in space, but also much more 3-dimensional.

The resolution also improved quite a bit. You could hear the sounds that you were not aware are on the recording, the HF decays had much longer trails and hung in space much longer.

The most fascinating thing was that sound had better resolution, but at the same time, was so much smoother and fluid. Usually, it is another way round. Very often we try a new component or a cable and at first are fascinated by improved resolution, only to find out a few days later (after we had X-rayed all our recordings), that the increased resolution brings listener fatigue and makes the listening far less enjoyable.

Not this time. BADA pulls this incredible trick of sounding both more resolute, more transparent, and much smoother at the same time.

To me Berkeley Audio Designs Alpha USB defines the current state of the art in USB/SPDIF converters design."

 

As to the BADA USB and OR5 comments, I actually agree with this (the sense of air and space) but to much more limited extent (based on testing with the Alpha2 and Vega.)

 

OR5 AES +15

Berkeley Alpha USB AES +16

 

Even, then I felt the differences were too close to call (especially when we went back and forth). Changing the OR5 from Kernel Streaming to WASAPI in JRiver MC seemed to even up the score. I still gave the BADA USB the benefit of the doubt by giving it one extra point. All this keeping in mind that my OR5 is close to stock, lacking any SPDIF upgrades.

 

Where the OR5 runs away from the BADA USB  is with the i2s output, which the Berkeley does not provide. And only a few DACs offer an compatible i2s input.

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