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Which route to high res audio?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Ok, so I was planning on getting an inexpensive, but good USB-SPDIF converter (Yulong U18 is front runner) to use between my MacBook Pro and Denon AVC-A1SE amp (very good for music) and my second system using a Xindak DAC5. I want to play 24/192 Flac files.

 

However, I then though that either a dedicated media source like the QLS-QA660 or Aune S1 & X6 may be a better option, although twice the price. Then, deciding right now that I can't afford to spend over £150, I considered a Ibasso DX50 or a Blu Ray player capable of Falc playback via USB, such as the 2013/14 Panasonic range.

 

Now, my dilemma is, which will result in the best SQ and that is where you guys come in. For £150, which route will get me the best sound? Remember, my DAC's only have Coaxial or Toslink. Do any of the affordable Blu Ray players have low jitter outputs via SPDIF or do they only concentrate on HDMI jitter reduction now?

 

I do believe that when I have more money, I will plump for either an Oppo 105 or a dedicated HiFi file player/DAC that is also capable of DSD (QLS-QA860 for instance) but for now, I just want the best improvement over straight Toslink out of my laptop that £150 can buy.

 

Thanks for any advice.

 

Kane

post #2 of 27
Thread Starter 

The Pioneer BDP-450 or 160 seem to be good, but I have no idea if the SPDIF output will be lower jitter to that of my Macbook Pro. Any ideas?

 

I also considered the latest Panasonic players, but they only have optical, part from the top of the range, which is out of my budget. I can Get an ex demo BDP-450 for £150. I read that Samsung players have had very low jitter SPDIF outputs but what about their latest players?

 

Thanks again for any input

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

I have read that the Samsung BD-P2500 had extremely low jitter, but not sure if this is via it's SPDIF out? Do all Samsung players have low jitter? Anyone know?

post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 

Samsung tell me that the BD-F6500 & 7500 will have same low jitter specs as both the old BD-P1600 & 2500. I think most of these use TOSLINK, which I was always under the impression was worse for jitter than electrical SPDIF? So, will the BD-F5500 be better for low jitter, having coaxial SPDIF?


Edited by Kane Williams - 3/28/14 at 3:13pm
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

Ok, I realise nobody seems to be interested in using a blu ray player as a high res music source, but I thought I would continue to write what info I do find, in case someone else is looking for info like me.

 

I have read that the Samsung BD-H6500 will convert FLAC's to 48kHz. Now, I'm not sure if this mean all files, including those at higher sample rates, or just those at lower (44.1kHz etc)? For now, this has put me off buying a Samsung. however, Samsung themselves recommended the BD-F6500, knowing my requirements, so either that machine at least will play 24/192 files natively, or they wasn't aware themselves that it will downsample them to 24/48?

 

Looking at Sony players now.

post #6 of 27

Ok, I will bite, I have a similar question, and not getting any responses either.

 

I have a number of high res sources, decent gear, HE-500 cans, and and Audio-GD DAC.  Do you think you can hear the difference between a proper 16/44 file and a 24/192?  I am not talking about MP3's here but properly encoded files?

 

I honestly dont know the answer and dont have any gear right now that will allow me to test to find out.  In the context of your question do you know if you hear a difference.

 

Here in the states I am looking at an Oppo bd103, about USD $425 used as a source, it would also play DSD files.... or is my phone streaming over a DLNA network good enough?

post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorengineer64 View Post

 

I have a number of high res sources, decent gear, HE-500 cans, and and Audio-GD DAC.  Do you think you can hear the difference between a proper 16/44 file and a 24/192?  I am not talking about MP3's here but properly encoded files?

The HE-500's are awfully nice.  

 

There are a number of people who hear no difference between mp3, 16/44, and 24/96.  For others, the difference is important. It may well depend on what aspects of music are important to you.  I mean, does it drive you crazy when cymbals and triangles don't sound right? Or maybe instruments in an orchestra seem to have impossible overtones -- which in real life they do not have.  Etc.   

 

For better or worse, I'm pretty sure this is one of those issues you'll have to resolve for yourself--  based on your own listening preferences.  IMO.

post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
I hear a difference. The interesting thing is, my hearing is damaged, more so in the right ear. Most people assume as hearing deteriorates, that sound quality becomes less important but in my experience, it is the opposite. I am not hearing the music as good as when I was 20, but the higher resolution, soundstage and separation of instruments and the wider dynamic range that allows me to listen at lower levels (higher levels at certain frequencies are unvomfortable) all equate to a clearer sound for me for sure. The difference is not night and day between high res and CD res and never has been but it's enough to appreciate it.
post #9 of 27

I would just use the optical out from your MacBook Pro, rather than a converter. There are a whole host of possible electrical issues (jitter is the least of them) that might affect the sound quality of a digital connection. Without buying a bunch of equipment (or borrowing it if you can) and attempting to compare it all, or having a suitable scope to measure the output, which then may or may not make any difference, it is impossible to give a useful answer I reckon. 

post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kane Williams View Post
 

Ok, so I was planning on getting an inexpensive, but good USB-SPDIF converter (Yulong U18 is front runner) to use between my MacBook Pro and Denon AVC-A1SE amp (very good for music) and my second system using a Xindak DAC5. I want to play 24/192 Flac files.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

I would just use the optical out from your MacBook Pro, rather than a converter. There are a whole host of possible electrical issues (jitter is the least of them) that might affect the sound quality of a digital connection. Without buying a bunch of equipment (or borrowing it if you can) and attempting to compare it all, or having a suitable scope to measure the output, which then may or may not make any difference, it is impossible to give a useful answer I reckon. 

 

I was just about to suggest that, no need for a converter, just grab a mini toslink to toslink cable off amazon for a couple dollars.

post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, TOSLINK on MBP is limited to 96kHz, so can't do as suggested. Also, the jitter from it is on the high side according to my research. In this excerpt from 6Moons, you can see that the SPDIF from the MBP is not good and even the USB-SPDIF converter he used, the "Bride", one if the best on the market I believe did not lower it to respectable levels either.

John even bravely tested the output of his MacBook, which via Toslink showed jitter over 1000ps. And the particular USB-S/PDIF interface that was the subject of the review—the Halide Design S/PDIF Bridge, an interesting in-line design— was only able to reduce this to 780ps. This number is still not that good in my opinion at least for critical listening on reference-grade gear. So the bits are all there but the listening experience is going to be marginal for high-end applications because of the large jitter values.
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Actually, it says Macbook not MacBook Pro so may be the MBP's are better but still, I want 24/192 playback which it can't do. I am now set on using a blu ray player as my high res music source.
post #13 of 27

I'd forgotten about the 96k limit for the optical. Ultimately, in my experience, choosing a CD/SACD player or DAC that suits one's sonic preferences is more important than the type of connection, even if it is technically poor. For example, I use an $800 USB to S/PDIF converter with only femtoseconds of jitter, but it is still susceptible to the quality of the power supply feeding it. Discussing the issue with a number of manufacturers, they all basically stated that other electrical parameters related to an S/PDIF signal transfer seem to make more difference than jitter. It is one of those complex topics that one can't just put down to numbers.

 

Anyhow, I would definitely go with a USB-capable player of some description, as everything on the market nowadays should be basically decent, however make sure that the product states that it is 192/24 capable, as there are a few products of various kinds out there with only the old, 16/48 maximum chips in them.

post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that advice. I know PSU is very important with anything digital. Pretty sure that the effects the PSU has on the signal is also jitter. Basically, all issues with a digital signals are jitter, it's just there are several places jitter can be introduced.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 

It's really hard to find out which players will output 2 channel 24/192 PCM from SPDIF (derived from FLAC or WAV etc).

 

Anyone know a good resource for this info? I have emailed the manufacturers and waiting for replies. However, Samsung recommended the F6500, yet I then read that review which stated that the H6500 (higher up player) is limited to 48kHz, so...

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