What about the alternatives to USB DAC?
Nov 7, 2008 at 3:28 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

theeviljesus

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I'm looking for a DAC for my home rig: HP 8510p -> ??? -> Yamaha RX-V659 (no dedicated HP amp yet)-> Ultrasone PRO 750.
After reading through many threads I'm considering: Keces 151 or 131 / DACMagic / Beresford / something bought second hand.
(This list is not at all fix and I'm still open for recommendations
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)

But now to my question:

My notebook has no SPDIF output so it would be the easiest to get a USB Dac like the Keces 151.
But I've read that USB is inferior to a SPDIF (maybe not that much of a difference?) , that's why I also consider to go another way. What do you think of the options :
  1. card with digital output (which should do justice to the rest of the setup...also want to get a dedicated HP amp some day)
  2. media server (rather expensive / quality?)
  3. DAC with USB and other inputs (so that I can decide later on wheter I get a good digital output device)

Or do you think that this makes no sense and I should buy a USB Dac (and maybe upgrade later)?

Thanks for any input!
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 4:00 PM Post #2 of 9

moogoob

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Quote:

Originally Posted by theeviljesus /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'm looking for a DAC for my home rig: HP 8510p -> ??? -> Yamaha RX-V659 (no dedicated HP amp yet)-> Ultrasone PRO 750.
After reading through many threads I'm considering: Keces 151 or 131 / DACMagic / Beresford / something bought second hand.
(This list is not at all fix and I'm still open for recommendations
bigsmile_face.gif
)

But now to my question:

My notebook has no SPDIF output so it would be the easiest to get a USB Dac like the Keces 151.
But I've read that USB is inferior to a SPDIF (maybe not that much of a difference?) , that's why I also consider to go another way. What do you think of the options :
  1. card with digital output (which should do justice to the rest of the setup...also want to get a dedicated HP amp some day)
  2. media server (rather expensive / quality?)
  3. DAC with USB and other inputs (so that I can decide later on wheter I get a good digital output device)

Or do you think that this makes no sense and I should buy a USB Dac (and maybe upgrade later)?

Thanks for any input!



Many DACs come with multiple inputs, and having choice for the future certainly helps.
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Nov 7, 2008 at 4:58 PM Post #3 of 9

krmathis

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I think it makes sense to get a DAC with multiple alternative inputs (ex. USB, TOSLINK, BNC, ...), since it give you alternative for the future. That said, most external DAC's out there have more than one input anyway.

Happy choice!
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Nov 8, 2008 at 9:31 AM Post #4 of 9

theeviljesus

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Thanks for your replies!
beerchug.gif


Quote:

Originally Posted by moogoob /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Many DACs come with multiple inputs, and having choice for the future certainly helps.
smily_headphones1.gif



What DACs do you (or anyone else) have in mind? (Let's say $500 at most) So far I can only remeber the DACMagic offering that in my pricerange...

@krmathis: in an other thread concerning a similar question you said:
Quote:

Originally Posted by krmathis /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You may want to look into this one:
Hagerman Technology LLC: HagUsb USB to SPDIF Audiophile Converter



I made a search and this seem quite intersting was well, because USB input would no longer be a criteria for the DAC.

Any opinions (sq-wise) compared :
notebook -> HagUSB (or M-Audio / Aegophile USB SPDIF...whichever would suit my needs most) ->amp VS. laptop -> USBDAC -> amp

I'm aware that this in the end depends alot on the DAC etc choosen, but is it justified to expect a noticeable improvement?
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 10:35 AM Post #5 of 9

krmathis

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theeviljesus. I believe a DAC who take direct USB inputs are to prefer, since it involves one less unit in the signal path.
The HagUSB are very useful when you don't have a DAC with USB though, or any other combo where the DAC can't be directly hooked up to the computer.

We used an HagUSB for our DAC comparison at the Norwegian Head-Fi meeting, but no direct comparison were made using the same DAC with or without the HagUSB. So no real experience in how it affect the sound.
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 11:41 AM Post #6 of 9

theeviljesus

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I guess you're right, I forgot that every link in the setup has (probably negative) influences on the signal. And not buying another component saves me the money to invest in other stuff (better DAC or an amp
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So a DAC with multiple input only makes sense if I one day aquired another source like a cdp? Because I don't see that happening in the near future as I have all my music on my pc (mostly 320mp3 and flac files). Maybe a Squeezebox would be nice but don't know wheter that would be an appropriate improvement (coax of SB vs. USB of laptop) for the price (~300$ here)... Damn why are decisions so hard
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Nov 29, 2008 at 12:41 PM Post #7 of 9

fordgtlover

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Quote:

Originally Posted by theeviljesus /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I guess you're right, I forgot that every link in the setup has (probably negative) influences on the signal.

snip



It's an interesting question. USB and SPDIF are both in the digital domain, I wonder how much the conversion hurts the data stream?
 
Nov 29, 2008 at 6:11 PM Post #8 of 9

nick_charles

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fordgtlover /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It's an interesting question. USB and SPDIF are both in the digital domain, I wonder how much the conversion hurts the data stream?


Pragmatically not very much in my experience. I use an Edirol USB sound card solely to generate an SPDIF stream for my DAC. I have done time aligned tests comparing this arrangement to a CD transport to (the same) DAC setup. If there is extra noise or distortion I cannot hear it.
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 2:31 AM Post #9 of 9

Greeni

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Quote:

Originally Posted by krmathis /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The HagUSB are very useful when you don't have a DAC with USB though, or any other combo where the DAC can't be directly hooked up to the computer.


Besides the HagUSB suggested by krmathis, also take a look into the Blue Circle Thingee. According to the review below the HagUSB was outclassed in everyway by the Thingee.
GoodSound! Equipment Review -- Blue Circle Audio USB Thingee Digital Converter (5/2008)
 

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