I have found an improvement in SQ between my two digital music sources

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by Bill Ferris, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. Bill Ferris

    Bill Ferris Super Member

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    I have the same exact WAV. music files on my main rack`s lap-top as is on a SSD feeding my OPPO UDP-203`s S/PDIF coax.
    And my DAC has USB and S/PDIF switchable inputs.

    I had been switching between the two digital WAV. file sources via my DAC and noticed bit of grittiness on the lap-tops USB music feed SQ that wasn`t present from the OPPO`s S/PDIF coax feed to it.

    So I thought to try to use my Peachtree X1 USB to S/PDIF converter/transcoder adaptor(that I already had laying around, to see if inserting it would clean up the SQ of the audio from the lap-top to the same DAC via a 4X1 S/PDIF switch so I can easily switch between the two constantly running digital music sources(now totally S/PDIF configured)..

    Well, that change over/conversion cleaned up the USB fed grittiness from the lap-top`s digital music duplicate feed to my satisfaction, and now I can switch between either sources without grimacing on the lap-top`s edginess SQ while working on, or updating the music files on one or the other while keeping the all important all day music flowing that I insist on here, hence this music file redundancy of mine..

    I forgotten how bad/dirty USB delivered digital music can be after using(really being spoiled) first the OPPO 103 & now the 203.

    And I thought to possibly encourage other digital music AK`er`s to consider thinking about & exploring cleaning up their USB fed digital music feeds, if they think there`s room for possible SQ improvement.

    If your happy with what you have, well, good for you..

    Take care and enjoy the music as you see fit, no matter your source.

    Kind regards, OKB
     
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  2. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

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    I've contemplated trying out the Schiit Eitr for this reason. I've read my DAC has a very good USB implementation but always curious.. and for the price the Eitr is an easy try, could sell it if i don't hear an improvement.
     
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  3. Bill Ferris

    Bill Ferris Super Member

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    Yeah give it a try.
    My DAC is very high quality, but as would be expected, it`s only as good as it`s digital source, as it probably doesn`t have any, or much USB signal cleansing circuitry..
    And I don`t really care, as I bought it for It`s performance, S/PDIF input primarily, and it`s 7 year warranty.

    And USB feed without some cleansing, unless high performance tower computer/power supply, etc. can result in a dirty sounding USB music data signal delivery to a DAC.

    Limited what can be done from a lap-top without external devices, like my X1 USB to S/PDIF coax converter did, which in my case did the trick for me.
    Good luck kray
     
  4. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    Well, it is the USB input on the DAC is the issue. Any time you convert, you are adding more errors, possibly. Those errors are not fixed using S/PDIF since it is uses synchronous transmission and are not put through ANY reclocking mechanism, which USB is (if the DAC has it built in). It may be the USB input was an after thought for this DAC. Also, if using Win 8 or above, do not use ASIO drivers as they seem to be noisier and the WASAPI interface is built in to those versions of Windows.
     
  5. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Active Member

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    Does the gritty USB DAC use an asynchronous transfer protocol? i.e. is the DAC the master of sample timing, or is the laptop the master of sample timing?

    The problems associated with USB and SPDIF clocking have been discussed at length on these forums.

    Ideally, the DAC should be the data clock master, with the data source as the slave.
     
  6. EngineerNate

    EngineerNate AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I think this has less to do with "grittiness" in the USB signal and more to do with something deficient in the USB side of the DAC design.
     

     

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  7. Yamaki

    Yamaki Not For Hire Subscriber

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    The biggest change in SQ through a USB connection (music server to DAC) I've found was adding a Wyred 4 Sound Recovery USB reclocker.

    It was amazing and cleaned up that gritty, slightly jittery, connection.
     
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  8. EngineerNate

    EngineerNate AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I don't think that should make any bit of difference unless the DAC is running in synchronous mode and/or has a crappy built in clock.
     
  9. Bill Ferris

    Bill Ferris Super Member

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    FWIW. The DAC is a Grace Design "M920 High resolution monitoring system", and the lap-top is a 2010 Gateway model : NV79c i5 core 2.4 Gig CPU, with 8 Gig of memory 500 Gig. Intel SSD, 120watt PS, and a non switching type 4 amp wall wart PS powering a USB hub.
    The OS is Win 10 Home 64 bit. free upgrade from Win 7 a year before last with all unnecessary background programs/services uninstalled or disabled and using WMP as my player.

    If you folks want to research/theorize/speculate why the lap-top`s direct USB connection to the high quality DAC above doesn`t sound as clean as the OPPO UDP-203 S/PDIF coax connection to the same DAC, well, have at it, as it`s academic to me & no disrespect intended, nor should be inferred towards those who wish to.

    All I care about in my setup, is with the now use of the already owned Peachtree X1 USB to S/PDIF coax converter, my lap-top`s music is much cleaner sounding than the direct lap-top`s USB to the DAC`s USB input, for whatever the technical reason/s.

    And since I had not used this X1 USB converter on this computer before because of the preferred OPPO 103 & now 203`s S/PDIF feed for various reasons, I wasn`t thinking with a preconceived notion that it`s use would be better than the OPPO, I just wanted the lap-top`s digital music to sound cleaner than it was with the direct USB connection.

    And it does, based on running it all day for a few weeks now, and feeding my 5 room high quality analog stereo distribution system.
    I find it difficult to discern any SQ difference switching between the OPPO and Gateway playing the exact same duplicated WAV. music files..

    Enjoy your digital music as you folks see fit.

    Take care

    Kind regards, OKB
     
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  10. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    USB regenerators have been available for a while. The microRendu renderer I use in the main system has one built in.

    Enjoy the improvement!
     
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  11. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Active Member

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    I like to try to apply some engineering understanding to why changes have an effect, otherwise, we're into the realm of 'audiophile woo'. And there's far too much of that around.

    With understanding of the problems, diagnosis and resolution becomes much easier.

    Without understanding, you have to keep making random changes, and hope you happen upon a solution.
     

     

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  12. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    Laptops have issues that is why I never use one for music. Many laptops do not put out the proper voltage for USB. I have used laptops that is why I don't use one any more.
     
  13. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    USB was never intended for music and is inherently noisy. Follow the link in post #10 for some answers.
     
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  14. SWL3600

    SWL3600 Super Member

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    What do you use? I've been thinking about getting away from using my laptop as a server for a while now.
     
  15. olson_jr

    olson_jr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    This is what I have found. I went from USB, to USB Cleaners, to Ethernet based systems.
     
  16. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Active Member

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    Thanks. I'm an electronic engineer; I know what the issues are, and how they should be fixed...
     

     

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  17. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Then why question the obvious?
     
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  18. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    I am using a computer I built myself. One with a large PS (850 watt). This seems to work well for me.
     
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  19. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Agree. I want the renderers as far away from the server as possible. The main system lives on a different floor than the server connected via a 50 foot run of CAT6.

    Gee, the 350 watt unit in my eight year old Dell Studio is more than adequate for an SSD and one 2.5" spinning rust drive.
     
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  20. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Active Member

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    Which bit is obvious?
     

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