Audio-gd Digital Interface
May 16, 2012 at 8:35 AM Post #2,836 of 4,156

uelover

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I know what you mean. I had the same feelings when I switched from the jkeny modified HiFace to the DI, I didn't found the HiFace to sound muddy or veiled but it couldn't compete when swapping it directly with the DI.
I don't know if the DI V2 will sound as good as the U3 but the Stello must be pretty good then. Although, its price tag is much higher so the new DI has a point again on the market here.
 
When I saw the bump in SQ going from a USB converter to another, or the improvements brought by a dedicated PSU for it, I guess there's a lot of headroom in the end before my DAC becomes the limitation of my system.
I think there will be other big bumps in quality these next few years regarding USB converters, or we me saw completely new type of converters arriving with new kind of technology, as this is a pretty recent market.

 
I got my U3 for very cheap so I couldn't complain at all.
 
New DACs are getting equipped with better USB receiver units. Could be a matter of time before all these USB converters disappear from the market. Nobody will know =)
 
May 16, 2012 at 9:54 AM Post #2,838 of 4,156

drez

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OK, but did you have the 1ppm TCXO clock upgrade in the DI? 
 
4160 veils the trebles and modifies the SS drastically IME....but I like it like that 
happy_face1.gif

 
This said, I'm ordering a USB-only DI-V2 and I will use it with a linear regulated PSU fed to a 4160 dongle in order to output I2S to my DAC via a very short RJ45 cable, it's gonna be good! I will post pics and impressions in due time.

 
I just tried a ground breaking mod to my JKPDIF mk3 - I made a 7cm USB cable - really blew my mind.  I made it out of the same OCC copper wire used in my Neo D+ USB which I thought sounded crap (quite literally as I stripped to the D+ down to make the new cable).  Used parallel pair signal conductors and a separate ground wire, no +5V.  Only mylar/aluminium shield on the digital conductor pair, not grounded shield.  
 
Honestly mind blown, it absolutely murders my 0.6M Furutech GT2.  BUT thing is HiFace was originally designed to be plugged directly into the USB port with no cable in between, and a 7CM OCC USB cable is about as close to that as possible, so not sure how this would work with other USB to SPDIF boxes.  With parts costing maybe $10 I would definitely recommend to try this though, it really is a huge difference with the JKSPDIF.
 
I mean if you could get computer right next to DI right next to DAC all with ultra short cables I bet this would be insanely good, but I think the Audiophilleo style of hanging the USB to SPDIF converter directly off the DAC may not be the only way to optimise this kind of setup.  It is well worth the hassle of having to crawl on the floor to switch my JKSPDIF on and off twice a day, to put it another way.  I think the logic behind the AP approach is that they felt their USB receiver setup was robust enough not to worry about USB cable effects.  To be honest though I do wonder how much jitter/noise a good SPDIF cable would add anyway vs a direct SPDIF adapter, esp after passing through a PLL.
 
I think the issue with I2S is that it doesn't pass through a PLL as SPDIF does so any jitter that is there is not filtered out at this stage as it is with SPDIF, thus why you want to keep the the cables as short as possible.  I guess the performance will depend on whether the I2S signal without filtering is as clean as the SPDIF after being processed by the digital input receiver chip.
 
May 16, 2012 at 10:31 AM Post #2,839 of 4,156

Pacha

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I've been using a quite good adapter (RCA-RCA) between DI and DAC since a while now (to get rid of SPDIF cable) and it's truly better than any cable I tried. Besides, I heard a few differences between adapters (tried 3 different brands). Good point also is that it's a very cheap solution.
 
May 16, 2012 at 10:35 AM Post #2,840 of 4,156

drez

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I've been using a quite good adapter (RCA-RCA) between DI and DAC since a while now (to get rid of SPDIF cable) and it's truly better than any cable I tried. Besides, I heard a few differences between adapters (tried 3 different brands). Good point also is that it's a very cheap solution.

 
which one are you using at the moment?
bigsmile_face.gif

 
May 16, 2012 at 11:20 AM Post #2,841 of 4,156

Pacha

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which one are you using at the moment?
bigsmile_face.gif

 
I have 3.
 
Please read this post I wrote quite a while ago :
http://www.head-fi.org/t/446375/usb-24-192khz-m2tech-hiface/1800#post_6972839
 
At the moment I use a Viablue adapter which sounds better to me than the two others mentionned in the post above. It is 24K gold-plated, dielectric seems to be teflon. It's longer and much heavier and looks far less cheap than the two others.
http://hpics.li/19c45f2
 
It was a bit hard to find it on the web but if you consider it, here's a link to buy it (more or less 6€ for a set of two pieces, I couldn't find somebody selling only one and I think this hasn't changed since then) :
http://cgi.ebay.fr/2-Stk-ViaBlue-XS-RCA-Adapter-Cinchadapter-male-male-High-End-vergoldet-/330731622029?pt=DE_Computing_Audiokabel_Adapter&hash=item4d01240e8d#ht_2723wt_899
 
May 16, 2012 at 4:26 PM Post #2,842 of 4,156

JulienM

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I've been using a quite good adapter (RCA-RCA) between DI and DAC since a while now (to get rid of SPDIF cable) and it's truly better than any cable I tried. Besides, I heard a few differences between adapters (tried 3 different brands). Good point also is that it's a very cheap solution.


Agreed! An adapter instead of a cable for the spdif connection is the way to go. I got a BNC to BNC from Markertek (US) that works quite well. I do have to suspend my DI to reduce stress. It's an odd instalation, but it does work very well.

Now my struggle is to build a USB cable that sounds better then my Monoprice. I've tried so many, and I always come back to the Monoprice... I guess they just build it right regardless of price. I like the Monoprice, but my experimentation never ends...

Hopefully the new DI will render all those USB tweaks pointless...
 
May 16, 2012 at 7:19 PM Post #2,843 of 4,156

Pacha

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Hopefully the new DI will render all those USB tweaks pointless...

 
I hope so! I'm tempted by the new DI I must say.
I'm glad to see somebody else here use the adapter thing because I tried to promote it a bit a while ago to help people upgrade their setup for cheap but nobody took it in consideration so I let it be.
 
May 16, 2012 at 8:12 PM Post #2,844 of 4,156

uelover

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I hope so! I'm tempted by the new DI I must say.
I'm glad to see somebody else here use the adapter thing because I tried to promote it a bit a while ago to help people upgrade their setup for cheap but nobody took it in consideration so I let it be.

 
Haha I think it is not that nobody took it in consideration but it is not feasible for some of us. For me, there is no way I could mount my USB converter at the back of my DAC given space constraint on my desk. Given the design of my DAC, I can't mount it directly to my Macbook pro either.
 
May 17, 2012 at 1:35 AM Post #2,845 of 4,156

LosNir

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Yes, some setups are limited in space, especially desktop / computer ones. You must be very lucky to have the DAC & DI spdi/f connection in the same height, or use some funny trickery too.
 
May 17, 2012 at 2:05 AM Post #2,846 of 4,156

drez

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yeah adapters can be a bit tricky depending on setup - in my case I need to crawl to turn my USB transport on and off
blink.gif
 still worth it though.
 
With regard to USB cables I think the most important factor is length, and after that construction with material not being so important.  I had an OCC copper cable from Oyaide which sounded rubbish, took the conductors out, removed braided shield and made a 7cm cable and it sounds a million times better.  Same conductor material, similar wire geometry (parallel pair), just much shorter and without braided shield.  Monoprice must be doing something right.
 
May 17, 2012 at 7:07 AM Post #2,847 of 4,156

Pacha

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My DI leans a bit, it is supported by the cables behind my DAC so that's a bit funky I agree. The PSU sit comfortably on the desk just next to it. I imagine easily that some don't have enough space or cable arrangement allowing this kind of setup though. I suppose most of you guys may need to use a little dedicated support to hold the DI that could be placed vertically for instance in order to save space. That's making your setup looking weird like mine, but the sound quality and economy is worth it when you can implement it.
 
May 17, 2012 at 1:13 PM Post #2,848 of 4,156

LosNir

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yeah adapters can be a bit tricky depending on setup - in my case I need to crawl to turn my USB transport on and off:blink:  still worth it though.

With regard to USB cables I think the most important factor is length, and after that construction with material not being so important.  I had an OCC copper cable from Oyaide which sounded rubbish, took the conductors out, removed braided shield and made a 7cm cable and it sounds a million times better.  Same conductor material, similar wire geometry (parallel pair), just much shorter and without braided shield.  Monoprice must be doing something right.


In that regard, I'm wondering whether I should place the DI (when it arrives) on my audio stand, or just on top of my computer. The distance between the two is about 2 meters (or 6.5ft), so it is really a choice of 6.5ft usb cable vs 6.5ft coax cable. What do you think?

The only downside is that I won't be able to use I2S between DI & DAC (6.5ft definitely won't work!).
 
May 17, 2012 at 6:18 PM Post #2,849 of 4,156

uelover

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In that regard, I'm wondering whether I should place the DI (when it arrives) on my audio stand, or just on top of my computer. The distance between the two is about 2 meters (or 6.5ft), so it is really a choice of 6.5ft usb cable vs 6.5ft coax cable. What do you think?
The only downside is that I won't be able to use I2S between DI & DAC (6.5ft definitely won't work!).

 
Taken from the Audiophilleo website:
 
Quote:
Is it better to have a longer USB cable or longer S/PDIF cable when the computer is far from the DAC?

It is definitely better to have long USB cable runs instead of long S/PDIF cable runs. The S/PDIF cable carries the low jitter audio signal from which the DAC extracts its clock, and shorter cables help insure the highest accuracy.

 
 
I have, however, also read some arguments saying that the S/PDIF cables should not be too short.
 
But I believe that having a shorter coaxial cable is a safer bet.
 
May 17, 2012 at 10:02 PM Post #2,850 of 4,156

JulienM

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I've been experimenting with USB cable design and it seams that I might have beaten Monoprice after all. I still need some more listening to be conclusive.
 
After building cast cables using Canare DA202. I decided to try them as USB as well. One needs 2 runs since they are twisted pairs. One run for the Data + and -, and another for V+ and Ground (or -). Shield connects to connector shield.
 
So far I've built 2 1 meter USB cables, one using the DA202 which is a low capacitance 110 ohm AES/EBU digital cable, but also sounds great as an analog XLR or cast cable. The impedance is slightly higher than recommended, but that doesn't seem to be an issue. And another using Canare L-2E5 microphone cable. This is a miniature of the L-2T2S which is a 88 ohm cable (its impedance being within to the USB 2.0 cable specification of 90 ohms with a 15% tolerance - not sure how critical this is since 15% is quite a wide range). I've tested them both with a hard drive and speeds look like USB 2.0 (sorry, can't be more scientific than that). I also plan to have another USB cable built using L-2T2S.
 
They both sound very good! I'm waiting for a little more break-in to start a shoot out. Probably early next week.
 

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