OK after years of computer audio exploration - I have reached the mountain top. The 'Game Over' end solution for source chain - and the results are beyond any thing I could have imagined when I started this exploration a few years back - see my previous ground breaking threads. http://www.head-fi.org/t/736294/gustard-u12-usb-interface-8-core-xmos-chip But this one is what I will run with for the foreseeable future - I can not ask for anything more or better. No improvement could come to mind - just more time to listen to my entire music collection again - with a whole new take on things - really like hearing some of these recordings (even 30yr old and heard countless thousands of times) - for the first time. I know the USB/Ethernet chain I will describe below with shock some people. Oh how I love reading those threads on other blogs - especially that profanity laced one. Starting back in June of this year - when my XU208 F-1 discovery was announced here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/803111/xmos-xu208-usb-bridges-the-latest-gen-has-arrived Then later with this thread on AOIP and the Focusrite Rednet gear: http://www.head-fi.org/t/806827/audio-over-ip-rednet-3-16-review-aes67-sets-a-new-standard-for-computer-audio The MARV-E-LOUS ranting on my listening results - and then reading all the happy folks trying the F-1 and then the SU-1, then later the REDNET. Oh how MARV-E-LOUSLY ridiculous the ridicule seems now in hindsight ! Yes these USB gizmo's and devices work and with just the right combination - to world class sound quality levels. So on with the show. Just want folks who have not read my previous threads to know a little on my background. Been a music fan and musician almost my entire life. Mostly Guitar for me - both electric (love my Fender Tele!) and acoustic (Takamine!). Starting back in the 70's with vinyl and cassettes. Owned three different Nakamichi cassette decks in college and after - and so many vinyl rigs I could not list them all here. But later (around 15 yrs ago) my vinyl rig got serious and seriously expensive - culminating in this analog chain: Dynavector XV1-S (Benz Ebony LP as well)>VPI Super Scout Master Signature (Nordost Valhalla tone are wiring)>Valhalla IC>Bent Audio Silver Step-Transformers>Conrad Johnson Phone Pre (NOS Siemens CCa tubes)>Valhalla IC>Conrad Johnson CAT2.... I thought I had this vinyl thing sounding pretty good. Mostly virgin pressed vinyl every one of those amazing 200gm Classic Records QUIEX SV-P I could find (a lot of them!). The height of vinyl greatness (esp the 45rpm ones). So I know what great vinyl sound like - and let me say that what I have now for a digital source - RUNS CIRCLES AROUND IT! Yes that's right this digital chain smokes the best I could get from vinyl. Not saying if you spend $200-$300K you can't get better from analog - but that's not the kind of money I have to spend. I firmly believe that even with that investment you will never get the level of ink black floor noise - that will reveal all this hidden detail. And why that detail is so important to realistic music production...but more on that latter. AOIP or USB - That is the real question - because the discovery of AES67 Audio Over IP Dante (through REDNET and BURL) is where I felt the best of analog was finally beaten. But the trail to get here, and to that question was a long arduous one. Why blog about that journey? Good question - I have suffered much derision and abuse on these past threads - but also have learned some things and have had the true satisfaction of seeing my skeptics proven wrong time and time again (oh to see all those crows eaten!). And for the most part the feedback has been universally positive - so thanks to those kind folks. This is my journey - and I'm not asking anyone else to purchase anything - or follow my path. If you do great! But as always YMMV. I post this, as with my other audio discoveries (like the 1975 Reflektor Silver SWGP tubes - I call the 'HGs'), to give back to the community. I am in no way associated or affiliated with any audio company. This new thread will likely be the most controversial of them all. So please holster the flame throwers - I don't want this thread shut down like many of the others. OK on to the serious business - what has got me so enthralled: Here would be my current ratings and rankings (the numbers are just a relative number - they are not percentages). The Breeze Audio (Talema) DU-U8 = 100 Obviously these are my subjective ratings YMMV - and yes I have owned (had a loaner) all these for an extended period of time: Ultra USB chain (details to long to list) 370 BURL B2B DAC with DANTE Brooklyn II/ modded w/LPS power 285 REDNET 3/Cerious Graphene/Mutec 3+ USB (SPDIF)/Antelope OCX (RN wClock) 270 REDNET 3/Cerious/Mutec 3+ USB/Audience au24 se digital cable 250 REDNET 3/Cerious/Mutec 3+ USB (SPDIF reclocker)/AS Sliver Statement dig cable 240 REDNET 3/Cerious Power Cord 220 Singxer F-1 DC30W/Cerious/Recovery/DCiPur/ iPur2/Startech GB LAN Iso USB 170 Mutec 3+ Smart Clock USB/Cerious Power Cord 155 Singxer F-1 DC30W/Cerious/Recovery/DCiPur/ iPur2 145 PUC2 Lite TeraDak DC30W/Cerious/Regen 135 Singxer F-1 DC30W/Cerious 135 DXIO Silver/TeraDak DC-30W/Cerious 130 Singxer X-1 DC30W/Cerious/Recovery/DCiPur/iPur2 125 PUC2 Lite - USB power 110 Singxer F-1 Stock feed 110 Breeze/Cerious Graph/WBT RCA Nexgen 109 Breeze DU-U8 with Cerious Graphene 108 Breeze DU-U8 (Talema version) 100 Breeze DU-U8 (BingZi version) 95 Hydra Z with LPS 92 Melodious MX-U8 (upgraded caps) 85 Melodious MX-U8 (stock) 81 Gustard U12 (upgraded caps) 76 Gustard U12 stock 72 iDAC DAC2 (used as a DDC) 65 Musiland USB3.0 US Dragon 65 M2Tech EVO with LPS 60 Audiophileo 2 USB Power 50 M2Tech Hiface 40 USB ULTRA CHAIN: DATA CHAIN: WIN10 MUSIC SERVER (SSD for OS)>JB (modded as a VBUS Blocker)>LH LABS 2G(Data leg)>Startech LEX>BJC CAT6 550Mhz Ethernet>Startech REX>JB (modded as a VBUS Blocker)>LH LABS 2G(Data Leg)>W4S Recovery>stock Recovery 6in USB cable>iFi iPUR2>Singxer F-1>SR Element Copper(Galieo MPC)>DAC60 (heavily modded/HG tubes). POWER CHAIN: PC SeaSonic fanless high PSRR (El Fidelity SATA filters) LEX - TeraDak X1/X2 (Nichicon HW caps) REX - MEIYAN low noise LPS (24VDC - 11uv noise) Recovery (which feeds the F-1 with the iPUR2 in between) TeraDak DC-30W 9VDC/DC iPur. Note the PC Server is running Fidelized Pro - Purist level The key here is a discovery I found after someone who PM'd me to ask if I ever tried USB sticks (for music files) in the REX? I tried it and was very pleased, so I purchased three 256GB USB sticks for the three empty slots - giving me approx 750GB for music storage. So with this storage - no moving parts in the music server - all music files are stored outside the PC and powered by a LPS. On the Startech I use - and there a few different ones out there - it is this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HFGQESY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Note it must be the four port GB LAN version. I have tried some others and they sounded awful. ICRON is the OEM producer of this unit but has since changed the chipset from XLINX SPARTAN 6 FPGA to custom ASIC's. I have not heard this version, so can not give a good or bad verdict on it. Here are some pictures of the one I run: So how does it sound? Versus Rednet AOIP? I posted this on my AOIP thread recently: Why does it sound so good? Well great question I posted this: Further comments: I have tried to simplify the chain - notably replacing the TeraDak DC302/DC iPur and Recovery with a LT3042 .8uv LPS to feed the F-1 by the power leg of the 2G and the SQ deteriorated - so a no go.