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Thread: Maximising sound quality from USB

  1. #21
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: London N2

    Posts: 815
    I'm Edward.

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    I went from WHS to win7 and then win10 - each time a noticeable improvement. But I guess anything that can take LMS and soft squeeze. (I've never gone down the LMS route so I'm blank on that front).

    You have plenty of ram (and I think that is the max the micro can take anyway).

    I placed the SSD drive on the CD SATA bay so did not have to free up a regular SATA bay. (I did a BIOS edit so the CD SATA port operated at full speed but still much faster than a regular drive without the edit).

    Just plug the Caiman SEG in with a good quality cable and play.

    I doubt you can get a good quality half height coax or toslink card and anyway fitting half height cards into the Micro is somewhat a pain. One thing I thought of trying but never got round to is use HDMI for sound (but you would need to have an external HDMI audio extractor as well as an HDMI half height card). I think I have spare fanless HDMI half height card going spare if you are interested. Maybe your Micro already has an HDMI card?
    Source: Tidal/Roon
    DAC: Metrum HEX NOS

    Amp: Sugden Masterclass 2018 spec, Radford Revival STA25,
    Speakers:, Tannoy Eaton


  2. #22
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse

    Posts: 4,291
    I'm GettingFunky.

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    The Asus Xonar DGX fits - apparently.
    Contemplating life, the universe and use of HiFi forums.

    Life is too short to worry about the opinion of others.

  3. #23
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

    Posts: 1,426
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CageyH View Post
    As a computer audio newbie, I am wondering how best to maximise the sound quality from my HP Proliant N36L (no sound outputs) to my Caiman SEG DAC.
    Thanks to Stryder5 (Gary) I have a decent USB cable, which is connected directly to my DAC.

    Would I be better off getting an internal sound card (needs to be low profile to fit the PC) or a USB device before the DAC?
    I use an RPi/Allo Digione into a Caiman SEG. The sound quality is exceptional and I doubt if it could be bettered in terms of VFM. I use Volumio for local streaming and web radio. However, I have just splashed out 2.99 for the licensed version of Bubble PnP. This allows me to stream directly to the Rpi from my Tidal Hifi account.

    If you prefer to stay with your pc then don't rule out Soundblaster sound cards. I have one of their external units and rate it highly. It links to the PC via usb but outputs include optical. https://uk.creative.com/p/sound-blas...premium-hd#buy

    Geoff

  4. #24
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: London N2

    Posts: 815
    I'm Edward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CageyH View Post
    The Asus Xonar DGX fits - apparently.
    But why get something like that when you already have the Caiman which is streets ahead. Just connect via asynchronous USB. Or are you trying to achieve multi-channel audio?

    I used HDMI as the Microservers were also great for simple Home Theatre duties.
    Source: Tidal/Roon
    DAC: Metrum HEX NOS

    Amp: Sugden Masterclass 2018 spec, Radford Revival STA25,
    Speakers:, Tannoy Eaton


  5. #25
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse

    Posts: 4,291
    I'm GettingFunky.

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    That is the point of this thread. Do I just stick with the USB into the SEG, or do something different.
    At the moment, my money is on stick with USB unless I find something way better.

    The USB sounds damn fine to me.
    Contemplating life, the universe and use of HiFi forums.

    Life is too short to worry about the opinion of others.

  6. #26
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

    Posts: 1,426
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CageyH View Post
    The Asus Xonar DGX fits - apparently.
    If you were going for an Asus card, the DSX is a much better card for not much more than the DGX. Same low profile design too.

    Geoff

  7. #27
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse

    Posts: 4,291
    I'm GettingFunky.

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    Thanks for the advice. I don’t think that a sound card is the way I am going to go though.
    Contemplating life, the universe and use of HiFi forums.

    Life is too short to worry about the opinion of others.

  8. #28
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: London N2

    Posts: 815
    I'm Edward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CageyH View Post
    That is the point of this thread. Do I just stick with the USB into the SEG, or do something different.
    At the moment, my money is on stick with USB unless I find something way better.

    The USB sounds damn fine to me.
    Yes indeed and I agree stick with USB. USB tech has improved vastly from the early days when sound quality was generally dire. All the other stuff I mentioned are tweaks to take/make things further/smoother.

    Another tweak is to separate out the rendering of music from where you store your file based audio. I have a fanless pc to render audio to my DAC and the music files are on another machine in a different part of the house (ethernet makes the bridge).
    Source: Tidal/Roon
    DAC: Metrum HEX NOS

    Amp: Sugden Masterclass 2018 spec, Radford Revival STA25,
    Speakers:, Tannoy Eaton


  9. #29
    Join Date: Dec 2014

    Location: UK, East Midlands

    Posts: 984
    I'm Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwardlon View Post
    Yes indeed and I agree stick with USB. USB tech has improved vastly from the early days when sound quality was generally dire. All the other stuff I mentioned are tweaks to take/make things further/smoother.
    I use USB from my Mac in preference to the SPDIF output ... it just sounds better.

  10. #30
    Join Date: Apr 2008

    Location: Warrington

    Posts: 2,976
    I'm Neil.

    Default Maximising sound quality from USB

    USB to SPDIF is the way to go IMHO, even if the DAC has a USB input. The reason is that modern USB front ends have so much lower jitter and clock drift than CD transports, staple SPDIF receiver chips like the CS8416 respond very well to this, and are way less noisy inside the DAC than a USB input.

    To get an in-DAC USB front end right is much more difficult, and introduces new EMI and noise issues. It is possible, look at some specialist units out there, mainstream ones are usually not good enough. They need to be absolutely isolated from the DAC unit, which means dedicated transformer windings, dedicated power supply (the USB +5V should not be used), and use of a signal transformer / optocouplers for galvanic isolation, not to mention excellent grounding and decoupling at RF frequencies.

    Also, with USB, you do need to ensure that you are outputting bit perfect files. This generally means using WASAPI or ASIO, NOT using software volume in the OS, and ensuring that renderers and servers are not resampling files. Configuration is key!
    Mana Acoustics Racks / Bright Star IsoNodes Decoupling >> Custom Silent Media Server >> Halide Bridge USB (with AQVOX USB power) >> Pedja Rogic's Audial Model S DAC + Pioneer PL-71 turntable / Vista Audio phono-1 mk II / Denon PCL-5 headshell / Reson Reca >> LFD DLS >> LFD PA2M (SE) >> Royd RR3s.

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