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Gustard U12 USB Interface 8 Core XMOS chip - Page 80  

post #1186 of 3655
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuartmc View Post
 

This is a worthy question and I don't think anyone should be offended.  I commented on this subject on another Gustard thread where I was doing some mods/tweaks myself  ---

 

I'm definitely a tweak-a-holic. Everything I own gets fiddled with - cars, bikes, phones, the works. I find it to be particularly gratifying with audio gear. I think we're all frustrated musicians and we want to be part of the musical process in some way. By altering the sound, whether it be by cables, tube rolling, or any other hands on tweaks, we connect with the music on a much deeper level. We might not be the musician or conductor, but in a real, tangible way, we are like the studio engineer sitting at the mixing board getting the sound "just right." My late friend Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenburg used to speak of this as a deep, primitive connection that is hardwired into all of us. Harvey called it "tuning your bow." His take was focused on the gear itself, rather than the music, speaking of being connected to it with the hands on tweaking and transforming the gear into a totem. Either way you look at it, the experience is elevated when you mix the sound, or tune your bow.


Very well put, and I can absolutely understand what you mean by trying to engage and shape what it is you hear, Cheers.

post #1187 of 3655

I'm one of those guys who are not handy with tweaking/soldering PCB. Hence I'm more interested in stock performance. I have the Gustard. Its still breaking in. It is very very good. Clearly better than the amanero USB input I've on my Lampizator level 7 dac. I've not compared to any other USB to SPDIF converter. But I know a guy who preferred going direct to amanero on Lampi dac compare to Audiophilleo with pure power. To my ears - Gustard sounds more analog, smoother and relaxed. There's some slight harshness going direct to amanero USB which is mostly removed when I'm using the Gustard. Very impressive.

 

However, there's no doubt judging by the feedback here that Melodious is better than Gustard but at a significant price increase. I paid $140 shipped for my Gustard. And the Melodious is $240. So, IMO given the price Gustard has a very high value. Buying a Melodious and some clock upgrade would be the biggest bang for the buck - which I can't do.

 

I'm also very interested in the Tanly audio USB to SPDIF converter that someone has posted here before. It seems it can compete with the Berkeley Alpha USB ($2k). If that is true, it'd be a stellar bargain given the price would be around $600. Anyone considering Tanly Audio converter? I'm planning to get something state of the art for a reasonable price and be done with upgrading for a while. Looks very promising:

 

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Asynchronous-USB-interface-DoP-over-SPDIF-DSD-I2S-over-HDMI-LVDS-SDIF-3-XMOS/1982763625.html?spm=0.0.0.0.LrzqyZ


Edited by Radiohead99 - 4/13/15 at 1:46pm
post #1188 of 3655
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Defender View Post
 


Not at all trying to be an ass, but why are you all so keen on these type of mods? Are there really significant audible sonic benefits or are you a group of electrical engineers/enthusiasts who simple love doing this simply because you can? I really don't mean that question in a challenging tone, I'm just very curious what drives you to do this. Cheers.


A very good question - on offense taken.  Speaking only for me - I have been in this hobby (audio) intensely 25 yrs and have had all kinds of equipment - some insanely expensive.  Trust me when I say we are IN the audio golden age - right now.  So much amazing stuff coming from Asia right now at incredible prices. 

 

But many times this very good equipment can be taken to an even higher level by some simple component replacements with better quality parts.  The SQ is near sota at ridiculously cheap cost.  Look at his Melodious MXU8 - price out the components.  For $230 with shipping not much of a markup.  Very smart engineering design.  With another $100 can be taken very near sota .

 

I.m continually amazed at what a difference a seemingly innocent piece of gear like a USB interface makes.  At the beginning of the thread I list all the ones I've had - the U12 and especially the MXU8 take that up more then a few notches in sound quality.  And I'm feeding some really good DACs with a very refined PC server.  I mean a relaxed and musical presentation that makes hours of listening a shear joy!

 

Try a U12 and see what I mean - and jump past all the other gear I had to buy and sell to get here.

 

So encouraged by this success - why not spend a little more - and if your have the expertise try a few mods. I've had other great success with other simple cap changes in my DAC mod project.  I started this thread hoping to have it become what it is - lots of smart people -with mostly excellent ideas and information.  Can't thank the poster for the Melodious post enough.

 

Now if DHL would just get here with the second MXU8 - for my main music listening room - tonight could be quite fun!

post #1189 of 3655
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuartmc View Post
 

This is a worthy question and I don't think anyone should be offended.  I commented on this subject on another Gustard thread where I was doing some mods/tweaks myself  ---

 

I'm definitely a tweak-a-holic. Everything I own gets fiddled with - cars, bikes, phones, the works. I find it to be particularly gratifying with audio gear. I think we're all frustrated musicians and we want to be part of the musical process in some way. By altering the sound, whether it be by cables, tube rolling, or any other hands on tweaks, we connect with the music on a much deeper level. We might not be the musician or conductor, but in a real, tangible way, we are like the studio engineer sitting at the mixing board getting the sound "just right." My late friend Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenburg used to speak of this as a deep, primitive connection that is hardwired into all of us. Harvey called it "tuning your bow." His take was focused on the gear itself, rather than the music, speaking of being connected to it with the hands on tweaking and transforming the gear into a totem. Either way you look at it, the experience is elevated when you mix the sound, or tune your bow.

You knew Harvey 'Gizmo'!  Great guy - would read some fun stories about him in the early 'Absolute Sound'  had some interesting OTL amp designs.  A real champ of a fellow.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiohead99 View Post
 

I'm one of those guys who are not handy with tweaking/soldering PCB. Hence I'm more interested in stock performance. I have the Gustard. Its still breaking in. It is very very good. Clearly better than the amanero USB input I've on my Lampizator level 7 dac. I've not compared to any other USB to SPDIF converter. But I know a guy who preferred going direct to amanero on Lampi dac compare to Audiophilleo with pure power. To my ears - Gustard sounds more analog, smoother and relaxed. There's some slight harshness going direct to amanero USB which is mostly removed when I'm using the Gustard. Very impressive.

 

However, there's no doubt judging by the feedback here that Melodious is better than Gustard but at a significant price increase. I paid $140 shipped for my Gustard. And the Melodious is $240. So, IMO given the price Gustard has a very high value. Buying a Melodious and some clock upgrade would be the biggest bang for the buck - which I can't do.

 

I'm also very interested in the Tanly audio USB to SPDIF converter that someone has posted here before. It seems it can compete with the Berkeley Alpha USB ($2k). If that is true, it'd be a stellar bargain given the price would be around $600. Anyone considering Tanly Audio converter? I'm planning to get something state of the art for a reasonable price and be done with upgrading for a while. Looks very promising:

 

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Asynchronous-USB-interface-DoP-over-SPDIF-DSD-I2S-over-HDMI-LVDS-SDIF-3-XMOS/1982763625.html?spm=0.0.0.0.LrzqyZ

Lamp 7 - nice DAC.  The Melodious with it's stock clocks is worth the price difference over the Gustard - How much better with $50 worth of Crysteks or NDKs?  We'll see.  I super happy right now with the stock ones. 

 

I don't think the Tanley is a $600 BADA Alpha.  The Alpha has some special design aspects (see the CA shootout). The Tanley does have some good aspects -  like the ability to run an external clock.  So is the Tanley worth 2X+ a MXU8?  I don't know.  But I'd rather see how far a MXU8 could be taken first - for a $150-$200 (Better EI trans or RF filter, better caps, better clocks). 

post #1190 of 3655
Quote:
Originally Posted by MINORISUKE View Post
 

Melodious MX-U8: worldwide shipping started

http://www.shenzhenaudio.com/melodious-audio-mx-u8-ultimate-edition-32bit-384khz-dsd-xmos-usb-digital-audio-interface.html

 

Just ordered one in silver, thank you!

post #1191 of 3655
Thread Starter 

Reading more on the Tanley -  they do have an interesting design.  In lieu of the Pulse or Murata isolation transformers they use a FPGA and isolation before the XMOS.

 

As they say:

This is a USB interface to electrical isolation , the purpose is to isolate the noise transmitted over the computer via the USB cable , such as USB isolation chip on an input terminal , for USB2.0 , it might affect the bandwidth ; chip discharge isolation will bring the jitter at the output , so the use of FPGA, and isolation between the XMOS chip on the FPGA for signal isolation , and then apply the established multiple FPGA FIFO data buffer , with accurate local clock output data , in order to achieve the purpose of reduce jitter .

 

 

That is different then the Alpha - which uses very high quality isolation transformers

 

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/437-berkeley-audio-design-alpha-usb-review/

Quote:
 Berkeley' uses its proprietary isolation techniques that are said to provide much better performance than traditional opto-isolation methods while keeping computer generated noise away from the sensitive output clocking and driver circuitry. Powering the audio output side of the Alpha USB is a low noise linear power supply. This noise filtered linear supply feeds clean power to the oscillators and the digital audio output circuitry.

 

From the Compuer Audio 15 USB shootout:

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/

 

Quote:

The whole converter is divided into two parts - 'dirty' part (on the right) fed from the USB power, containing the XMOS USB receiver chip, and 'clean' part, fed from the onboard linear PSU, containing the clocks and SPDIF out. 

 

Quote:
 The 'dirty' and 'clean' sides are both isolated by a chip. The lettering on the chip was removed, but I’m pretty sure this is the ADuM* chip, isolating the I2S lines between the XMOS chip and the SPDIF output.

*The ADuM chips are digital isolators based on the Analog Devices, Inc., iCoupler® technology. Combining high speed CMOS and monolithic transformer technologies, these isolation components provide outstanding performance characteristics superior to alternatives, such as optocouplers.

 

 

 

Additonal info on cable length:

 

The cable company I have bought two spdif rca silver ref cables says that 1.5m is optimal to min echo and wave reflection as well.

Quote:

 In addition to recommending the balanced AES output Berkeley Audio Design also recommends using a 1.5 meter AES cable and USB cable when possible. This recommendation has everything to do with reflected versus original digital signal energy caused by return loss. A cable and its connectors is not a perfect transmission line as it suffers from reflected energy. When a 1.5 meter cable, 3 meters round trip internally, is used this reflected energy is delayed enough to minimize confusion with the original signal at the data receiver. These may be small or insignificant details to some, but are important and critical details for those seeking the highest level audio reproduction.

Edited by rb2013 - 4/13/15 at 4:42pm
post #1192 of 3655

Very good info! Only if I could hear some feedback from anyone who have used it.

post #1193 of 3655

just read a bunch of those pages on CAP, man does it get very granular and hyper-technical. Can anybody really hear these differences, I mean reliably in blind listening tests with enough trials. It seems some people are talking about very small, measurable levels of jitter and are posting like these are incredibly audible and impactful on the sound. I certainly can't say yes or no as I lack the experience or technical knowledge, but can these very small differences really be that audible?  

 

I mean the posters at CAP and I don't mean to imply they are wrong, I'm just very curious if people can actually here small differences in jitter? I don't know as I have no way of testing, I'm really interested in the impact of jitter and at what point it becomes audible.


Edited by Sonic Defender - 4/13/15 at 6:02pm
post #1194 of 3655
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiohead99 View Post
 

Very good info! Only if I could hear some feedback from anyone who have used it.


Well here was their sound results:

Quote:
 Sound wise – this is by far the best sounding USB/SPDIF converter I tried, better than the dCS Scarlatti transport.

The other top converters were very, very good, but still not perfect.

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 inUSB/SPDIF converters design.

The final shootout score is as follows:

Matrix 24/96 - 60
Hegel HD2 - 65
Musical Fidelity V-Link II - 75
Stello CDT-100 - 75
Bryston BDP-1 - 80
Halide Design The Bridge – 80 (+5 when powered from SOtM USB card)
M2Tech HiFace Evo - 80
Stello U3 - 85
JK SPDIF Mk3 - 90
M2Tech HiFace Evo + Evo Supply - 90
Soulution 590 – 90 (+5 when powered from SOtM USB card)
Audiophilleo 1/2 - 95
dCS U-Clock - 95 (+5 when used with dCS DAC and the Clock Link feature enabled)
Empirical Audio Off Ramp Turbo 5 - 95
AP1 with the PurePower battery PSU - 95 (borderline 100)
M2Tech HiFace Evo + Evo Supply + Evo Clock - 100
dCS Scarlatti CD/SACD transport - 100 (+5 when used with dCS DAC and the Clock Link feature enabled)
Berkeley Audio Designs Alpha USB – 110

To me as in comparison to the Audiophilleo 2 that was replaced by the M2TEch Evo fed by a $300 Acopian Yellow box Linear PS - the Musiland  USB 3.0 US that was better still - the Gustard unseating that - and now the Melodious MXU8 unseating it.  Many of the best attributes they describe about the Alpha I hear in the MXU8- especially the sound being liquid smooth - with all hints of glare and edge gone.  The detail, air (especially with the MXU8 vs the U12), and bass extension and definition even better.  I have found no downsides.

 

I have a very high end tuner - $1700(see my ad for the modded KT-917) and analog rig as well (Ortofon 2M Black) as a comparison - these are in my office system - the digital is now light years ahead (with my modded true R2R modded DAC - see the separate thread).  Each improvement moving further and further into the sota arena.  That's why I put my prized $1700 tuner up for sale.


Edited by rb2013 - 4/13/15 at 6:15pm
post #1195 of 3655
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Defender View Post
 

just read a bunch of those pages on CAP, man does it get very granular and hyper-technical. Can anybody really hear these differences, I mean reliably in blind listening tests with enough trials. It seems some people are talking about very small, measurable levels of jitter and are posting like these are incredibly audible and impactful on the sound. I certainly can't say yes or no as I lack the experience or technical knowledge, but can these very small differences really be that audible?  

 

I mean the posters at CAP and I don't mean to imply they are wrong, I'm just very curious if people can actually here small differences in jitter? I don't know as I have no way of testing, I'm really interested in the impact of jitter and at what point it becomes audible.


The improvement is not subtle or insignicant.  It is truly extrodinaary.  Of course it depends on you r system -  the highly reifned and developed the more noticible these changes are.  I listen to music 10-12hrs a day  - everyday.  I have two dedicated custom built servers with 3TB of music in each.  Over 2800 CDs, 300+LPs all digitalized with pro audio ADCs at 32 but 176K sampling, same for my SACD/DVD-A and DL collection.  Every change in USB interface has made a notable improvement.  The MXU8 has taken my system to a new level.  A $200 no brainer as far as I'm concerned - I have $800 worth of cables hanging off the back of it!

 

Advanced audio is what I call subtractive and additive.  Additive in the sense that when you add or change a component - if it's a true improvement you know it right away.  And when you go back to what you had before - it's a definite step backward.  But you'll never know what your missing until you hear it.

post #1196 of 3655
Quote:
Originally Posted by rb2013 View Post
 


The improvement is not subtle or insignicant.  It is truly extrodinaary.  Of course it depends on you r system -  the highly reifned and developed the more noticible these changes are.  I listen to music 10-12hrs a day  - everyday.  I have two dedicated custom built servers with 3TB of music in each.  Over 2800 CDs, 300+LPs all digitalized with pro audio ADCs at 32 but 176K sampling, same for my SACD/DVD-A and DL collection.  Every change in USB interface has made a notable improvement.  The MXU8 has taken my system to a new level.  A $200 no brainer as far as I'm concerned - I have $800 worth of cables hanging off the back of it!

 

Advanced audio is what I call subtractive and additive.  Additive in the sense that when you add or change a component - if it's a true improvement you know it right away.  And when you go back to what you had before - it's a definite step backward.  But you'll never know what your missing until you hear it.


No, I mean the minute differences in jitter. If the jitter is itself inaudible (not sure if it is, that is why I'm asking) at these tiny measurements (referring to the CAP thread not this one) I don't think the system matters as the ear and brain are the final system and if they aren't sensitive enough what would it matter?

post #1197 of 3655
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Defender View Post


No, I mean the minute differences in jitter. If the jitter is itself inaudible (not sure if it is, that is why I'm asking) at these tiny measurements (referring to the CAP thread not this one) I don't think the system matters as the ear and brain are the final system and if they aren't sensitive enough what would it matter?
Well good point. But as the white papers I linked to a little ways back highlight what's referred to as 'jitter' - is really at least five kinds of timing and related 'distortions. When we look at a digital reproduction system, it all just a very intricate approximation of a real analogue waveform. To accomplish this with just 1's and 0's requires some very sophisticated technology.

I remember when cd's launched to much exuberance in the '80s. All this perfect sound forever rubbish. To me it was horrible. Etchy, glaring, bleached of tonality. But hey you could play them in your car! And the tape didn't jam. Well nearly 40 yrs later we have realised that really good analogue is in many ways still better. So to your point, these minutely measured factors are amplified millions of times a minute. And the ear is very sensitive to these unnatural artifacts. The reason your two ears and mind can locate sounds in a 360 degree radius quite accurately is due to microsssecond differences in time it takes that sound to reachh both ears.
post #1198 of 3655

chasing the 'analog': a daw gone highly subjective chore indeed


Edited by m0reilly - 4/14/15 at 12:19am
post #1199 of 3655

Just heard from Stacy @ Shenzhenaudio.

 

She said that the MX-U8 Silver version is out of stock for about a week or so.

Black version is in stock and available for immediate shipping.

...I will wait for the silver.

 

A rather interesting point is that Stacy mentioned that there has been a change to the U8's under-chassis.

Apparently it's now gold!

I'm not sure if that's gold plating, anodizing, or a brick of gold...  (Ok, probably not a brick of gold).

She also hinted at the possibility that the casing itself could be changed by the use of higher quality materials.

The designer said that they want to improve on the current unit but hasn't specified all of the changes yet, so Stacy is still waiting to hear back on more of the details.

 

BTW, the revision change(s) will start with the new shipment coming in about a week.

The black color unit's that are currently in-stock are of the previous revision.

 

 

I will let you guys know what I hear in the coming days...


Edited by Jamiee - 4/14/15 at 2:38am
post #1200 of 3655
Quote:
Originally Posted by rb2013 View Post


Well good point. But as the white papers I linked to a little ways back highlight what's referred to as 'jitter' - is really at least five kinds of timing and related 'distortions. When we look at a digital reproduction system, it all just a very intricate approximation of a real analogue waveform. To accomplish this with just 1's and 0's requires some very sophisticated technology.

I remember when cd's launched to much exuberance in the '80s. All this perfect sound forever rubbish. To me it was horrible. Etchy, glaring, bleached of tonality. But hey you could play them in your car! And the tape didn't jam. Well nearly 40 yrs later we have realised that really good analogue is in many ways still better. So to your point, these minutely measured factors are amplified millions of times a minute. And the ear is very sensitive to these unnatural artifacts. The reason your two ears and mind can locate sounds in a 360 degree radius quite accurately is due to microsssecond differences in time it takes that sound to reachh both ears.

Something about Jitter: http://www.ndk.com/en/ad/2013/001/index.html

 

 

 

 

 

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