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DAVE's box includes cables, amongst them is an optical cable.
Lifatec tos cable is the best I’ve heard and reasonably priced
I use canadian Sysconcept which I think is really good and ship to uk with reasonable costs. I have not compared to Lifatec but seem to understand that these 2 are among the best. QED also make a glass one that has great reviews. Have you or anyone else compared any of these as I have not?
According to Gordan Rankin (actual inventor of asynchronous USB audio):
"No matter what asynchronous USB is going to be better than most any SPDIF system, especially Toslink."
I also think (but am not certain) that USB audio is capable of higher res files than optical, at least on Macs.
It is absolutely true about resolution... that's why BluDAVE requires 2 x SPDIF whereas USB AC 2 can handle 768kHz.
This becomes more of a factor with DSD than PCM....
And on the jitter (optical) vs electrical noise (electrical, be it SPDIF or USB), I guess it depends on quality of your optical output on PC, environment, length, etc -- horses for courses....
Jitter on SPDIF makes no difference to DAVE. So that's not a reason not to use optical.
The sample rate limit of 192KHz is a reason, so if you own music with higher sample rates then you should be using USB (you literally have no choice!).
On the other hand, USB cannot offer perfect galvanic isolation like optical.
I have the QED glass toslink cable and it is a class above the other toslink cables I have used. I apparently I only have plastic toslnk cables until I purchased the QED. So at the risk of being flamed, I guess glass cables transmit light pulses generally better than plastics.
Having said that, the Kimber USB cable I have (KS-2436) is a step above the QED again in terms of DAVE making great music in my system.
Make sure you disconnect the USB cable when you want to listen to optical. If you don't disconnect the USB cable, you have lost all of the galvanic isolation that the optical cable provides.
So far, DAVE is awesome with USB. But I have not tried any other connection. I just decided to quit while I was ahead and go the plug and play route.
About burn in:
My DAVE seemed to take a few days of use and being powered up to reach what sounds like full potential to me (especially transparency in the bass), but now all is well.
I guess this is the same phenomenon as with the Yggy (to some degree; just guessing here).
But now I see what all the fuss was about with the DAVE.
The Xilinx FPGA chip is not made from microscopic resistor that needs to be in thermal equilibrium like the ones from Yggy. You probably get a brain burn-in in this case.
OK, maybe brain burn in it is. Thanks for the info on the Dave vs. Yggy innards. I'm not sure about this. I didn't see much about it on the Dave thread, but if anyone else has comments on this, I'd be curious.
With so much discussion about recreating live acoustic performances on home audio gear on this and other Chord threads, some might find this Hans Beekhuyzen video of interest -
I’ve noticed mine opens up more after about 30mins, but I don’t keep it on standby. It’s powerd off completely after each session.
Rob Watts has cited 10 minutes in https://www.head-fi.org/threads/chord-electronics-dave.766517/page-204#post-12596126
Though I leave mine on all the time.
That’s burn-in he’s referring to. I was talking about warming up the unit for 30mins each session before critical listening.