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Schiit Decrapifier released - USB power isolator - Page 8

post #106 of 223

Has anyone tried powering a USB to SPDIF convertor through the Wyrd? I have a Hiface 2 and am curious if powering it through the Schiit will make a difference vs the computer.  

post #107 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesC View Post
 


The fact that the Wyrd exists suggests that USB audio may be overrated.  Perhaps we should be pushing for more computer SPDIF solutions.

 

In the days before google there used to be medical dictionaries and we all knew that they were bad for our health. You pick one up and start leafing through it; some long word catches the eye, and you start reading. Before you know where you are you you are convinced you have the disease!

 

(not "you" you, of course: all of us)

 

Now we have audiophiles and the process goes on in much the same way.  I had practical problems with my PC dropping its recognition of the ODAC when I turn on the powered speakers. A simple power glitch no doubt: the PC is fine in every other respect. I connected the ODAC via a powered hub and the problem is gone.

 

Next thing is that I find myself worrying about this whole USB Power thing, which I had never given any thought to before. I can turn the volume up to full on silence, and there is no sound, so I don't think any background can be quieter (blacker?) than that. There is no interference from any other hardware. None of this mouse-moving, graphics-updating, etc etc interference that people have reported.

 

I have, therefore, no evidence whatsoever that the power supply to my ODAC is dirty, yet still I wonder if it could be cleaner! I am not in the least concerned about the data:   If there is a problem with any cable costing more than 5c/p/paise/etc then there is something else wrong. USB1.0 had its problems with audio, but those days are long gone. I don't believe there is anything inherently  wrong with USB2.0 audio data transmission over normal to-spec cables.

 

But somehow I feel oh-so-tempted to give this thing a try. It is within my budget for occasional just-for-fun experiments, and it does not come in any area I reject on principle like expensive "audio" computer cables.

 

But wait... Saved by the bell. Or, at least, for now, saved by the fact that it is for US voltage only. How can they do this to us?

 

I guess I just have to wait and see if I am still having  a shopoholic-audiophilic attack when they do come out with that 230v adaptor.

 

PS... About clicks, pops and dropouts connected with DPC latency (mentioned in a previous post): this is like a cancer to an audio PC and is very often terminal. 


Edited by Thad-E-Ginathom - 8/16/14 at 9:55am
post #108 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad-E-Ginathom View Post
 

 

But somehow I feel oh-so-tempted to give this thing a try. 

 

So true.  I've convinced myself that the wyrd has to improve the output voltage on the DAC. How could it not?

post #109 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesC View Post
 

The fact that the Wyrd exists suggests that USB audio may be overrated.  Perhaps we should be pushing for more computer SPDIF solutions.

 

S/PDIF is a crappy hifi protocol from the 70's, let it die already: http://www.gearslutz.com/board/1788545-post2.html

 

I can't wait for 230V decrapifier PSU's to be avalable, hopefully soon :ph34r:

post #110 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad-E-Ginathom View Post
 

I guess I just have to wait and see if I am still having  a shopoholic-audiophilic attack when they do come out with that 230v adaptor.

 

This just in ... From Schiit, by amazingly-prompt email response to my enquiry about 230v...

 

Quote:
 
Not yet, we’re still waiting for 230V wall-warts. 
We should have them in a couple of weeks.
post #111 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad-E-Ginathom View Post
 

This just in ... From Schiit, by amazingly-prompt email response to my enquiry about 230v...

 

Got the exact same email a few weeks ago heh, It'll be in when it'll be in I guess :triportsad:

post #112 of 223

:confused_face:

Maybe it's an automatic answer!

 

Hey-ho, what's a week or six between friends?  Especially when it comes to solving a problem we probably don't have anyway! :happy_face1:


Edited by Thad-E-Ginathom - 8/16/14 at 3:01pm
post #113 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
 

 

S/PDIF is a crappy hifi protocol from the 70's, let it die already: http://www.gearslutz.com/board/1788545-post2.html

 

 

Duly noted.  I'll order the USB Modi tomorrow then I'll have to get the Wyrd next month.

post #114 of 223

I am doing some testing on the Wyrd today for a review, wanted to post some initial findings here as the thread might be interested. Please let me know if my findings are wrong somewhere.

 

I am fully aware that I haven't talked about sound quality or jitter here, I am just starting that testing now.

 

 

Why not just prevent all USB power from going into the DAC?

 

Obviously USB powered DACs require power over the USB cable, but not so obvious is why AC powered DACS wouldn’t work with the +-5V USB lines cut.  The DAC doesn’t need the power, and wouldn’t that be the “cleanest” signal?  Just two wires, data only?  Since we are worried about ‘crapified’ power let’s remove it from the USB line entirely and save ourselves the cost of the Wyrd !  Right?

 

To test whether this could be done I used the following USB cable configurations with various DACs I have available right now:

 

  • Standard USB cable – control to make sure the DAC works
  • USB cable with +5V USB line cut – removes the power from the line
  • USB cable with both + & -5V USB lines cut and a phantom load to PC – removes power & presents a load to the PC.  I built this cable as a few commenters indicated that this ‘tricks’ the PC into seeing a device & thus sending\accepting data from the USB port.  As it turns out, results were the same for both ‘powerline cut’ cables, regardless of the phantom load.

 

I tried the cables both with and without an external power source feeding USB power to the DACs.  And I also tried cables with the Wyrd, since this is a Wyrd review after all. :bigsmile_face:

 

Device works with...

+5V USB line cut

+-5V USB lines cut Phantom Load to PC

+5V USB line cut

External USB power to Device

+-5V USB lines

Phantom Load to PC

External USB power to device

Findings

Schiit Wyrd (USB Repeater)

No

No

Yes

Yes

Wyrd requires power input from the USB line at all times, you can’t cut the power lines leading into it.

Schiit Modi

No

(USB Powered DAC)

No

(USB Powered DAC)

Yes

Yes

Modi should work with any third-party power source via USB (not just Wyrd)

Schiit Gungnir

No

No

Yes

Yes

Gungnir should work with any third-party power source via USB (not just Wyrd), but it does need power via USB at all times

Schiit Loki

No

(USB Powered DAC)

No

(USB Powered DAC)

Yes

Yes

Loki should work with any third-party power source via USB (not just Wyrd)

Questyle DSD

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Questyle DAC needs only the two data lines functional to work – technically the “cleanest” USB input tested. No power handshake needed.

Mytek

Yes*

Yes*

Yes

Yes

Mytek functions with both +-5V USB lines cut & no external power, but it did require USB power for the PC to initially register the DAC.  “Phantom Load” on the USB cable did not correct that.

OPPO HA1

Yes*

Yes*

Yes

Yes

OPPO HA1 functions with both +-5V USB lines cut & no external power, but it did require USB power for the PC to initially register the DAC.  “Phantom Load” on the USB cable did not correct that.

 

Summarizing my findings, the three non-Schiit brand DACs worked with data only being fed via USB, although Questyle was the only DAC to allow you to do this without the initial power-handshake to the PC.  Therefore you could spend $6.99 on a Y split USB cable and 15 mins with an exacto knife to get a data-only connection for all these DACs.  No ‘dirty’ power transmission, no power conditioner needed.

 

All the Schiit products require constant power.  Two are USB powered, yes, but the Gungnir and the externally powered USB repeater Wyrd also need a constant +5V on USB to function.    Maybe we need to get another clean third party power source to feed the Wyrd? ;)   In any case, any third party power USB power source would work for all the Schiit DACs.

 

What don’t all vendors just make their AC powered DACs work with no power over the USB line?

 

No idea.  I presume because 1) the USB spec indicates the power will be there and it is useful for making the initial USB handshake, and 2) no one has been crazy enough to care about it.  A DAC obviously can be designed to reject and isolate the USB power and for all I know some already do, but since there has been no specific demand vendors don’t see a need to do so.

 

What are my conclusions for people who want a resolution to ‘dirty’ USB power issues?

 

  • The “cleanest” USB power is no power at all.  For non-Schiit DACs you could easily make a cable with data-lines only & an external power feed and test that before trying the Wyrd or another third party power supply.

 

  • For Schiit DACs or others that require constant power you could try a less expensive third party power source to power your DAC, or you could get the Wyrd.  For its price, availability and simplicity it’s a very sensible option.

 

  • Some company will soon be offering audiophile “Clean Power” USB cables that remove the power lines.  If theyr'e not already. I didn’t bother to look.

Edited by ogodei - 8/17/14 at 10:12am
post #115 of 223

Nice, you did keep the ground intact in all cases right? Only the +5V pin must be disconnected as the PC will use the ground in order to detect USB hotplug AFAIK.

 

I guess both the iFi iUSB and decrapifier use the +5V signal coming from the PC in order to detect it.

 

The PCI/PCI-E USB controllers from SoTM both come with a switch to disable the +5V line, many people confirmed that it gave them a free-lunch SQ upgrade due to the fact that the power line wasn't "polluting" the data lines anymore. Placebo or not, I've always enjoyed data-only cables with DAC's from Asus & Ami Musik or when feeding my own linear PSU on the DAC side of the USB cable. Several friends of mine also gave positive feedback after breaking the pin on the PC side.

 

After all, Wireworld's USB cables sales pitch is that their data and power lines are physically separated.

 

Oh well, I was just told that the 230V wallwarts might not even be available by the end of this month.


Edited by leeperry - 8/17/14 at 11:02am
post #116 of 223

Are most of you guys that use the Bifrost of Gungnir sitting the Wyrd on top of your DAC (or DAC and headphone amp stack) or just sitting the Wyrd behind your gear out of sight?

 

Yes, I know it doesn't matter, simply got used to the look of the Gungnir with the Lyr or Asgard 2 sitting on top of it. A first world problem at best...

 

 

post #117 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
 

Nice, you did keep the ground intact in all cases right? Only the +5V pin must be disconnected as the PC will use the ground in order to detect USB hotplug AFAIK.

 

On the "+5V USB line cut" cable, pin 4 was cut.  On the "phantom power" cable, both power and ground pins (1&4) were cut & a resistor and LED shunted across them. I left the shield ground intact in both cables.

post #118 of 223

More findings for an eventual review.   Tests are ongoing.

 

Can I hear a difference when I use the Wyrd?

 

To determine if Wyrd made an audible difference, I added the Wyrd into my signal chain in three different configurations:

 

Power & Data from Wyrd

Standard USB cable into Wyrd, standard USB cable out.  This is the way it’s designed to be used, both providing USB power to the end device and re-clocking the data.

Data Only from Wyrd to DAC

This was to test the data re-clocking feature of the Wyrd separate from its power function.  A standard USB cable is connected from the PC to the Wyrd.  A split USB cable with data-only from the Wyrd (only pins 2&3 connected ) and power only from a port on the same PC USB bus (only pins 1&4 connected) is connected between the Wyrd and the DAC.  End result: DAC gets Same ‘dirty’ laptop power and a Wyrd re-clocked data signal.

Power Only from Wyrd to DAC

This tested the ‘clean power’ feature of the Wyrd separate from the re-clocking feature.  No USB signal was fed into the Wyrd.  A split USB cable with data-only from the PC (only pins 2&3 connected) and power only from the Wyrd (only pins 1&4 connected) is connected to the DAC.  End result:  DAC gets “Clean” power from the Wyrd and the un-retouched data signal from the PC.

 

Since many people seem to be interested in using Wyrd with Schiit Modi or Gungnir I tested using those two DACs. Perhaps since Modi is a USB powered DAC a larger difference could be heard?  The Gungnir tested is the recent USB2 version and uses AC power.

 

The amp was an audio-gd Master 8, headphones were Sennheiser HD800s, player is Jriver19.  Tracks were a mixture of bit rate FLAC and DSD (see elsewhere in this review for details).

 

For testing I did an A/B between the Wyrd scenario under test and the control (no Wyrd in the chain).  I listened to various parts of the tracks, at various volumes, for various lengths of time, usually going back and forth 3 or times times.  Testing often became blind as the identical USB cables were routed behind the laptop and I frequently lost track of which configuration was playing.

 

Wyrd with Schiit Modi (WASAPI)

Scenario

Results

Control (no Wyrd in chain)

N/A

Power & Data through Wyrd

 

 

Track: “Smother” – possibly louder in control?

Track: “Just Like A Woman” - no discernible difference

Track: “War” – Thought footsteps at beginning were louder, transients possibly louder in control?

Track: “Got My Mojo Workin” - no discernible difference

Track: “One More Cup of Coffee” - no discernible difference

Track: “My Rival” - no discernible difference

Data Only from Wyrd to DAC

Track: “Smother” - no discernible difference

Track: “Just Like A Woman.”  Hiss equal in both control and this scenario.

Track: “War” - no discernible difference

Track: “Got My Mojo Workin” - no discernible difference

Track: “One More Cup of Coffee” - no discernible difference

Track: “My Rival” - no discernible difference

Power Only from Wyrd to DAC

Track: “Smother” - no discernible difference

Track: “Just Like A Woman” - no discernible difference

Track: “War” - no discernible difference

Track: “Got My Mojo Workin” - no discernible difference

Track: “One More Cup of Coffee” - no discernible difference

Track: “My Rival” - no discernible difference

 

During music playback in the first scenario (standard Wyrd usage) I thought I heard a volume difference on two of the first three tracks I tested (“Smother”, “War”).  Specifically I thought the level might be 3 to 4 dB louder when the Wyrd was out of the chain.  Not the background noise in particular but the overall level based on vocals in “Smother” and transient peaks (drum crashes) in “War”.  Note both that 3dB is miniscule to the point of you may or may not be able to discern it, and that I went on I didn’t notice any more volume mismatches through the next 15 test samples. Was the difference actually there? Did my ears just get fatigued really fast?

 

After completing all the tests with Modi I went back with the SPL and measured with power & data both going through the Wyrd.  Playing pink noise at approximately 65dB, 75dB, and 85dB showed no differences in levels between when Wyrd was in or out of the chain.  So is something going on?  Testing continued with Gungnir.

 

Schiit Wyrd with Schiit Gungnir (with Schiit ASIO driver from C-Media)

Scenario

Results

Control (no Wyrd in chain)

N/A

Power & Data through Wyrd

Track: “Thriller” - no discernible difference

Track: “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” - no discernible difference

Track: “Got My Mojo Workin” - no discernible difference

Track: “One More Cup of Coffee” - no discernible difference

Track: “My Rival” - no discernible difference

Track: “Just Like A Woman” - no discernible difference

Data Only from Wyrd to DAC

Track: “Thriller” - no discernible difference

Track: “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” - no discernible difference

Track: “Got My Mojo Workin” - no discernible difference

Track: “One More Cup of Coffee” –heard one “click” in the tune while playing it VERY loud but it was present on both Wyrd and control scenarios

Track: “My Rival” - no discernible difference

Track: “Just Like A Woman” - no discernible difference

Power Only from Wyrd to DAC

Track: “Thriller” - no discernible difference

Track: “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” - no discernible difference

Track: “Got My Mojo Workin” - no discernible difference

Track: “One More Cup of Coffee” - no discernible difference

Track: “My Rival” - no discernible difference

Track: “Just Like A Woman” - no discernible difference

 

No beating around the bush here, I can’t claim I actually heard a difference in any scenario with either DAC with Wyrd in the chain.  The volume difference I thought I may have heard?  It was on two of the first three tracks I tested and that belief went away long before I used the SPL meter which showed no measurable differences.

 

What are my conclusions about audible differences when using Wyrd with Schiit Modi or Gungnir?

 

  • I didn’t hear any.

 

  • Swapping out USB cable continuously is a PITA, testing would be much easier with duplicate DACs.

 

  • These tests were done on my system with my dirty-ish power and my cables. You are free to disregard my findings and test for yourself, and I encourage you to do just that.

 

  • I am still in love with Frazey Ford after hearing her track an umpteen-bazillion times and I think that says a lot about the strength of our relationship in the future.
post #119 of 223
Thanks for all the work you put into this. In case you aren't completely sick of this project, I would love to know your impressions of going from iDecice to Modi both with and without Wyrd. You da man!
post #120 of 223

I'm not sure what iDecice is.  Typo?

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