Douk Audio U2 Pro DDC - Poorman DDC for an affordable & clean digital signal
Sep 17, 2022 at 10:54 PM Post #316 of 583
Nice!
Which LPS do you recommend?
Affordable.
Maybe from AliExpress.
I bought this DDC, taking a leap of faith, and it improved the sound of a Bifrost 2 using coaxial.
Mine is Leaf Audio, the most clock one.
I guess it's the same configuration from Douk.
Yeah I just use a cheapie talema transformer upgraded AliExpress one and it works fine. I think I paid like $40 for it.

@quicklytoo4 I'd definitely suggest at least some kind of linear power supply. Idk if you are powering it off just the signal USB, but if you are, chances are that's why it's not working all that well, it's basically inheriting all the noise from the PC.
 
Sep 18, 2022 at 12:08 AM Post #317 of 583
Yeah I just use a cheapie talema transformer upgraded AliExpress one and it works fine. I think I paid like $40 for it.

@quicklytoo4 I'd definitely suggest at least some kind of linear power supply. Idk if you are powering it off just the signal USB, but if you are, chances are that's why it's not working all that well, it's basically inheriting all the noise from the PC.
I was using external power didn't try a LPS though I'll try to give it a shot once I have the space for it
 
Sep 18, 2022 at 2:46 AM Post #318 of 583
As for the Gustard R26, I'm pretty sure it'll be an improvement over the Peg. At least according to Sandu, who's review brought the Peg to my attention in the first place.
That is, I call a marketing. If Sandu says that Gustard sounds better than some heavily advertised DACs for $3k, it is a half truth. My R2R-11 does the same while a cost was $350 plus $30 DIY clocks upgrade. A new version is now selling with fem-to second clocks and a galvanic isolation on USB port option just below $700.
 
Sep 19, 2022 at 7:30 AM Post #319 of 583
You can try to add PSU to the U2Pro or another redirector (better) like ifi Defender

Yup, our iDefender was designed to eliminate ground loops on USB and provide clean external 5V for it. Thanks for mentioning it!
 
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Oct 7, 2022 at 1:35 PM Post #320 of 583
I compared the U2pro (non-upgraded clock version) coax vs direct USB from Hiby R6pro to Hugo 2. The coax is clearly an improvement over USB: more warmth, better delineated bass, deeper and wider soundstage, smoother treble.

The USB at first sounds as if it has more detail (e.g. drums), but that’s because of ultra-sharp transient peaks that stand out above the rest of the music. With coax from U2pro, those details are still there, but they blend in better with the music, making the overall sound more natural than USB direct. Also, compared with optical and didn’t notice any difference with coax. I am using a 5V power adapter that was lying around. The slight downside is, coax does not allow me to play DSD128, as it caps at DSD64, but its a very minor issue since DSD128 is rare in my collection.

I also had a chance to compare the Douk with Schiit Eitr, another good and cheap DDC (not as cheap as Douk) that I have. With both devices, I get the same improvement over USB, as stated above. Sonically, I hear no difference between the Douk and Eitr. However, Eitr has serious issues with device compatibility, whereas Douk has no such issues. So, this makes the Douk a better choice IMO.
 
Oct 9, 2022 at 5:42 AM Post #321 of 583
The coax is clearly an improvement over USB: more warmth, better delineated bass, deeper and wider soundstage, smoother treble.

Coax is often better, unless a USB input is done really (I mean REALLY) well. On the upside, USB as a standard can be vastly improved and that's a nice thing about it.
 
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Oct 9, 2022 at 6:10 AM Post #322 of 583
Coax is often better, unless a USB input is done really (I mean REALLY) well. On the upside, USB as a standard can be vastly improved and that's a nice thing about it.
Absolutely!
 
Oct 9, 2022 at 2:13 PM Post #323 of 583
Coax is often better, unless a USB input is done really (I mean REALLY) well. On the upside, USB as a standard can be vastly improved and that's a nice thing about it.

Thanks. Yes, I know that. That’s why, investing in DDCs. When we talk about USB inputs, the source of the signal matters as well I think. Hugo 2 apparently implements it’s own reclocking mechanism with good jitter performance, as mentioned here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/chord-electronics-hugo-2-the-official-thread.831345/page-112. However, it does not galvanically isolate the digital signal from the power. https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/chord-electronics-hugo-2.22209/reviews

So, what could be happening possibly (I think) is, the source here (Hiby R6 pro) is introducing noise that cannot be addressed using reclocking alone, but also needs galvanic isolation, which the Douk provides. I understand that Hiby is a battery powered device and hence not susceptible to power mains noise, but perhaps it’s USB out is not very high quality to begin with (I am using Neutron player and USB exclusive mode), and introduces noise. Commenting anything further is beyond my expertise.

I also notice that adding ipurifier2 before Douk in the signal path improves the sound in a subtle way (mainly instrument separation and taking out some sibilance), which perhaps agrees with the noise theory, since iPurifier implements ANC.

of course, all of these can be verified using a measurement rig, which I don’t have.
 
Oct 10, 2022 at 1:55 AM Post #324 of 583
Douk + Ifi xDSD Gryphon

On receiving the Douk U2Pro a few weeks back, I inserted it in between my Phone(s) (Samsung & Iphone) and my Ifi Gryphon xDSD (previously it was USB from phone to Gryphon), connecting via toslink into the Gryphon. The Douk is powered either via portable battery bank or a spare USB socket in my car. Music source is Tidal, either streamed via USB Audio Player Pro on the Samsung, or downloaded Tidal content on both.

The lift in performance - for both phones/all Tidal sources - is not subtle. It gives a great lift* to the sound, in terms of improvements to soundstaging and naturalness of note edges and decay in particular, but also micro and macro-dynamics and bass weight - and this is through my VW car stereo! Let alone through my Sennheiser or Hifiman headphones. It shows me that a fair bit of the raw capability of the Gryphon DAC and amp/line-out was untapped (I'd say 30-40%*) - fed via its USB input at least. I guess its USB section and reclocking/dejittering capability was understandably constrained given its price-point and physical dimensions. The combo now sounds far better than any quasi-portable rig or car stereo has any right to. The Douk has to be the best USD65 I've spent on audio.

@iFi audio - if you've not already done so with the Gryphon with the Douk or other DDCs, try it, it's quite an eye opener. Now if you could create a DDC in a compact form factor with rounded edges and a in-built battery for sub-USD250 I'd be in line...

*Edit- I initially wrote 'night and day' and 50% untapped potential/improvement etc, running from memory, then after a quick AB on my Hifiman HE400i's started second guessing myself, so moderated it a little to what I've written above. But on sustained listening and AB'ing across a range of music over the last half-hour, I think I was right first time. The addition of the Douk lifts the Gryphon into a completely different class.
 
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Oct 10, 2022 at 11:30 AM Post #325 of 583
Douk + Ifi xDSD Gryphon

On receiving the Douk U2Pro a few weeks back, I inserted it in between my Phone(s) (Samsung & Iphone) and my Ifi Gryphon xDSD (previously it was USB from phone to Gryphon), connecting via toslink into the Gryphon. The Douk is powered either via portable battery bank or a spare USB socket in my car. Music source is Tidal, either streamed via USB Audio Player Pro on the Samsung, or downloaded Tidal content on both.

The lift in performance - for both phones/all Tidal sources - is not subtle. It gives a great lift* to the sound, in terms of improvements to soundstaging and naturalness of note edges and decay in particular, but also micro and macro-dynamics and bass weight - and this is through my VW car stereo! Let alone through my Sennheiser or Hifiman headphones. It shows me that a fair bit of the raw capability of the Gryphon DAC and amp/line-out was untapped (I'd say 30-40%*) - fed via its USB input at least. I guess its USB section and reclocking/dejittering capability was understandably constrained given its price-point and physical dimensions. The combo now sounds far better than any quasi-portable rig or car stereo has any right to. The Douk has to be the best USD65 I've spent on audio.

@iFi audio - if you've not already done so with the Gryphon with the Douk or other DDCs, try it, it's quite an eye opener. Now if you could create a DDC in a compact form factor with rounded edges and a in-built battery for sub-USD250 I'd be in line...

*Edit- I initially wrote 'night and day' and 50% untapped potential/improvement etc, running from memory, then after a quick AB on my Hifiman HE400i's started second guessing myself, so moderated it a little to what I've written above. But on sustained listening and AB'ing across a range of music over the last half-hour, I think I was right first time. The addition of the Douk lifts the Gryphon into a completely different class.
Great idea! My wife would be unimpressed with more junk in the center console, but I may just give this a try on my own.
 
Oct 10, 2022 at 11:31 AM Post #326 of 583
When we talk about USB inputs, the source of the signal matters as well I think.

It sure does. To simplify, DACs work on signal from transports, so the better it is, the nicer stuff they receive to process further :)
 
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Oct 10, 2022 at 11:34 AM Post #327 of 583
@iFi audio - if you've not already done so with the Gryphon with the Douk or other DDCs, try it, it's quite an eye opener. Now if you could create a DDC in a compact form factor with rounded edges and a in-built battery for sub-USD250 I'd be in line...

In the past we had a DDC (USB>S/PDIF) product that was in our micro range. It was known as iLink and very good when it came out:

https://ifi-audio.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/iLinkTechNote.pdf

I'm not sure whether we'll make a compact DDC again and something smaller than our iLink, but we never say never :wink:

EDIT: sorry for a double-post!
 
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Oct 10, 2022 at 2:46 PM Post #328 of 583
In the past we had a DDC (USB>S/PDIF) product that was in our micro range. It was known as iLink and very good when it came out:

https://ifi-audio.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/iLinkTechNote.pdf

I'm not sure whether we'll make a compact DDC again and something smaller than our iLink, but we never say never :wink:

EDIT: sorry for a double-post!
Interesting re the iLink and fair enough re future plans, I do appreciate portable DDCs would be a niche within a niche within a niche. But for the brave/crazy few wiling to experiment and put up with a cable/device jungle (!) the sonic rewards are certainly there.
 
Oct 11, 2022 at 9:51 AM Post #330 of 583
Could someone answer this question?
Not sure, if doesn't say, probably not. I have a Nobsound (also Douk Audio) 8xTDA1387 DAC/HPA that it says can, it use a different USB receiver. I haven't tried, but there are two outputs coax and optical that fork a signal that goes to a TDA1387 chip. Whether there is a decoder inside a receiver or just path through, I have no idea.
 

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