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Thread: sound cards vs usb dac

  1. #11
    Join Date: Apr 2008

    Location: Warrington

    Posts: 3,031
    I'm Neil.

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    Hi Ken, just to clarify, the OP is using a sound card as his source, so no USB involved. It's a surprisingly good card with proper attention to layout & grounding & a very decent DAC chip.
    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.

  2. #12
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Durham - UK

    Posts: 1,516
    I'm Ken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yomanze View Post
    Hi Ken, just to clarify, the OP is using a sound card as his source, so no USB involved. It's a surprisingly good card with proper attention to layout & grounding & a very decent DAC chip.
    The clue is in the thread tittle.

    I appreciate he is already committed on a particular path and is approaching things from a different angle.
    Ken

    http://www.jkwynn.co.uk/
    DIY Technics/ProJect based Turntable + Terminator linear tracker + AT 33PTG II / AQVOX Phono 2 CI / Pro-Ject Pre Box RS / ESP Active X-Over / Nord MC500 Power Amps/ Modified semi-active Yamaha NS1000M Speakers / Stello CDT100 Transport / NAD M51 DAC.

  3. #13
    Join Date: Apr 2008

    Location: Warrington

    Posts: 3,031
    I'm Neil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qwin View Post
    The clue is in the thread tittle.

    I appreciate he is already committed on a particular path and is approaching things from a different angle.
    Ah ha, get ya! Out of interest what problems do you see with USB? I think it does need a lot of special attention to get right, especially if the DAC has a USB input itself, guess a Raspberry Pi eliminates that variable...
    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.

  4. #14
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Durham - UK

    Posts: 1,516
    I'm Ken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yomanze View Post
    Ah ha, get ya! Out of interest what problems do you see with USB? I think it does need a lot of special attention to get right, especially if the DAC has a USB input itself, guess a Raspberry Pi eliminates that variable...
    Yeh, there is a load of traffic on USB and devices powering off it. The internal (exclusively) Audio PC bus is i2S so a built in CD or sound card for instance, will shunt the audio to the processor using that bus. When you export using the USB the audio is handed over to that additional bus, so its just taking that process out of the path. There are devices to try and clean up the USB, but better to bypass it altogether. The Pi board etc with a "Top Hat" (piggy backed) DAC board has zero cable length which is always a good thing and is a logical approach, as the i2S goes straight into the DAC. More and more devices are starting to have i2S connections (my Stello CD Transport for one) but there is no standard, so some manufacturers use RJ45 some BNC and others use HDMI connectors, and their own protocols of course.

    I have a Hypex DLCP (DSP) and in the manual they suggest avoiding USB, their digital input choice in order of preference, is AES, Spidif, Toslink, and if you must, USB.

    My CD transport maker prefers the Spidif (coax) output rather than the AES, when connecting to 2nd party gear and I can confirm, that for what ever reason, it does sound better using that method. When connecting to their own partnering DAC they recommend the i2S link. Pro-Ject (RS Box Series) also recommend using the i2S on their CD/Dac combo.

    i2S was originally for very short signal paths on the boards, I don't know how they get round that now, when exporting.
    I think the USB was a convenient and easily implemented method of shunting information between two boxes over longer distances, but not the most ideal for critical applications like Audio.
    Ken

    http://www.jkwynn.co.uk/
    DIY Technics/ProJect based Turntable + Terminator linear tracker + AT 33PTG II / AQVOX Phono 2 CI / Pro-Ject Pre Box RS / ESP Active X-Over / Nord MC500 Power Amps/ Modified semi-active Yamaha NS1000M Speakers / Stello CDT100 Transport / NAD M51 DAC.

  5. #15
    Join Date: Sep 2017

    Location: greece

    Posts: 7
    I'm nikolaos.

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    hi, I would like to share my experiance after some time I spent working on varius solutions, on how to get quality music from youtube (yes I know the discusion but I like youtube..)
    first I, according your suggestion, I powered the xonar essence card with a quality and stable power unit, I also used an intel i5, everything was closed on a silverstone orizontal box. There was a net improvment in quality. I changed the the capacitors of the musical fidelity A1 (bought in 1987 in UK), the cost was 100 euro an I serviced my 1987 kef c60 (cost 40 euro) and the result is amazing, one more thing, I added an 8" Koda subwoofer powered from the loudspeakers

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