USB Nervosa Thread Decrapifiers, pro interfaces, and bears oh my

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by zerodeefex, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. nachocheese70

    nachocheese70 Facebook Friend

    Contributor
    Joined:
    May 10, 2017
    Likes Received:
    155
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    US and China
    Nervosa is nervosa, regardless if it’s playback (USB, DAC, amp, headphone) or live including being a musician (can’t get more “live” than if you’re one of the people playing).

    Going to a live concert, one can worry about the “best” acoustic seat (is the $150 more expensive center orchestral seat worth it). Being a musician there’s endless potential nervosa regarding is this the best sounding instrument. Maybe the neck or bridge (or whatever) needs a little work. Did the luthier mix the glue right that day when binding the wood for you instrument, or some other obscure but nervosa inducing thing.

    While some nervosa is good (it can drive people to truely find better things) sometimes the best thing is to take a deep breath, keep everything in perspective (ones whole life, family, friends), and sit back and enjoy what one already has. Just my 2 cents.
     
  2. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,640
    Dislikes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
  3. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2017
    Likes Received:
    593
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Poland
    True that, agreed. Besides, to really know a given hardware takes a lot of mix&matching and thus time. That's why I'd add loads of patience here too.
     
    nachocheese70 likes this.
  4. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    8,523
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    The live, South-Indian-classical music scene here is somewhat odd in that a combination of sponsors and fairly low payments to the musicians make most concerts (and there are lots and lots) free to us audience.

    Yes, I know, acoustically, where I want to sit in a couple of places that I attend regularly, along with where to avoid too. I have also wandered halls trying to find less-bad sound! I'm no acoustician, but I find it helps to know a couple of basics from speaker positioning: about reflections from walls, and about being where you are within an acceptable cone for the tweeter. All to no avail when trying to get as far away as possible from any speaker because they are all too damned loud. Yes: this is "acoustic music," and how it is often mistreated here.

    My other consideration with live (not synthesised) music is the experience of being close to the musicians. I feel that Indian-classical (North or South) is an intimate form of music and can be best experienced from close up. This changes somewhat for western-classical, where I like to see as well as a hear the music (who, what, where, is making that sound?) and a good view of the orchestra is ideal, eg from the front row of the balcony, rather than that of the stalls.

    Once upon quite a long time ago, I read that a lot of "audiophile night and day" differences can result simply from the ears being in a slightly different place. Whilst I was not ready to give up all of my own audiophoolery at that time, I still felt that this was a great listening hint, both for home and for the concert hall. That was when I started to think about where to sit in acoustic terms as well as just getting a good view. Sometimes even a slight shift can change everything!

    I believe that the writer of that article might have been talking about comb filtering. I adopted the practice, but did not master the theory of the why and how of this. Basic knowledge of what what sound does, especially when coming from a speaker(s), and where it is going to bounce, is enough.
     
    pavi and nachocheese70 like this.
  5. Hogcryat

    Hogcryat Rando

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2018
    Likes Received:
    11
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    @Hands has been advocating for usb decrapifiers from his old posts, e.g. Mutec 1.2/3+. With USB Gen 5 now, is it still relevant? And if so, what is the difference between the 2 products? I cannot find a post where @Hands actually explains this, he only says you can go for 1.2, or all-in for 3+.

    P.S. Sorry if this has been asked before, I cannot find it.
     
  6. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    11,506
    Dislikes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    I gave up on USB stuff for any "serious" listening. Using a Soundaware D100 now. Sounds good but has some usability quirks.

    But it sounds like most people really like the Schiit Eitr and have mostly abandoned the Mutec stuff or other similar products (pricey, complicated, etc.). I'd say just use USB Gen 5 or Eitr if you're tied to USB and want to keep things simple.
     
    bixby likes this.
  7. Hogcryat

    Hogcryat Rando

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2018
    Likes Received:
    11
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    If I am not mistaken unless you get a sound card, USB is the only option for CAS, guess this is what I will do then.
     
  8. gefski

    gefski Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2017
    Likes Received:
    99
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest USA
    Though Dante Ethernet/uDO/AES has been my preferred file delivery since 2016 (with Yggdrasil-A then B), I've been running 24 hrs USB Gen 5 for this last week. Must say it sounds very good. Actually WAY good, definitely better than my previous outboard USB solutions. However, I wonder if I'm bumping into periods of time or days when it seems less "alive", whereas Dante delivery always seems the same to me. (Power grid issues affecting USB more?)

    This is off the cuff music listening, not a controlled comparison at all, so may be unlikely.
     
    a44100Hz likes this.
  9. johnjen

    johnjen Doesn’t want to be here but keeps posting anyways

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    619
    Dislikes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Well Grounded
    I concur with gefski's assessment.
    AOIP has delivered the most consistent and desirable sonic qualities of any digital pathway from source to dac I have ever heard.
    And it too responds very well to tweaks, so it scales really well, which just widens the gap between it and any other pathway.

    And like I previously mentioned, Gen-5 USB is a suitable backup digital audio pathway, but doesn't reach the same levels of SQ nor does it scale well from DIY tweaks (there are so few and none are 'easy').

    And the consistency is a big plus, at least for me anyways as it allows for changes made elsewhere to be 'isolated' to a much greater degree.

    JJ
     
  10. trung225

    trung225 Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2015
    Likes Received:
    151
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    43
    I rate Gen V USB much higher than my old Mutec MC-1.2 and probably higher than the Mutec MC3+ USB (stock form) I demoed. It is a fantastic upgrade for only 150 USD. Gungnir Multibit with Gen V USB sounds both smooth and resolved at the same time, actually it makes some Youtube videos 128kbps sound good, which is an achievement for me.

    The drawback of USB gen V is that even the details of music is pretty well-resolved but it is only applied when coming to limited numbers of voices/instrument. The clarity in complex passages of music is not as good as BNC output of my streamer.
     
  11. Hogcryat

    Hogcryat Rando

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2018
    Likes Received:
    11
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Did a brief research, looks complicated, can you explain how you do it?
     
    a44100Hz likes this.
  12. gefski

    gefski Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2017
    Likes Received:
    99
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest USA
    My setup is as simple as it gets. Buy a Dante device with AES out. (Atterotech unDAES-O for example) Download Dante Virtual Soundcard ($30), and Dante Controller (free) to Mac or PC, "making" it a Dante device. Now you have two Dante devices that will communicate. Run an Ethernet cable from Mac/PC to unDAES-O, and AES cable from unDAES-O to Yggdrasil. Select Dante in your player software (Audirvana, Jriver, etc). Watch Dante's set-up videos and you're good to go.

    The most pristine file delivery I've ever had. Pure nothingness. One big caveat -- no automatic sample rate following, it must be changed manually. Since my files are 98% Redbook and Tidal's FLACS are also, I'm more than fine with it.
     
  13. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,640
    Dislikes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    So not going via a switch/router then and no DHCP? Are you using a null-ether cable or just regular?
     
  14. frenchbat

    frenchbat Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,402
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Take the cable that comes with the Dante device. I assume it will have a standard one (my rednet had one anyway). Straight connection between pc and dante's receiver.
     
    GoodEnoughGear likes this.
  15. gefski

    gefski Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2017
    Likes Received:
    99
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest USA
    As @frenchbat said. I'm just using a BlueJeans Cat 6 cable. No cable nervosa (or "fun" depending on one's leanings) with Dante.

    The only other change I made was replacing uDO's cheesy SM wall wart with an Acopian LPS. Some of the Rednet guys here in Seattle have also done power supply upgrades.
     
  16. Gruss Gott

    Gruss Gott Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2017
    Likes Received:
    277
    Dislikes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I finally had some time to do a few informal listening tests of 4 USB cables > Eitr > Modi Multibit > Jot > HD600, using Tidal hi-fi. The testing was simple and non-scientific and the 4 cables were:

    * crap cable
    * AQ Forest
    * Pangea premier
    * AQ Carbon

    TLDR: yup AQ Carbon was identifiable much more than random chance - almost every time ... but it's SQ is not a big difference, maybe like wiping the dust off of a table; the surface is now a bit more resolved. a bit.

    So the question is, was/is that identifiable SQ difference worth it to me? yes. Why, if the difference is small?

    Because the eitr > Modi Multibit > jot > hd600/th-x00/zmf dynamics is, for now, the house I live in. I don't need to save up for any future house because I'm not moving for now and when I do I'll buy what I need then. So as long as I'm here, I'm gonna mow the lawn every three days instead of every week ... it's a bit more expensive, but it keeps the grass the way I like it.

    Lastly I'll say this about the great cable/decrapifier debates: the LAST person I'd ask about audio quality is an electrical engineer - that'd be like asking the guy that designed a car's control pedals how to heel-toe; he's an expert on how to design and build pedals, not how to use them ... unless, of course, he's been racing for 3 decades ... but one needn't be a mechanical engineer to do that. ;)
     
  17. Johnny2Bad

    Johnny2Bad Rando

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2018
    Likes Received:
    7
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Canada
    RE: EE's

    It takes a certain kind of person to decide to be an electrical engineer, and that isn't the type of person likely to accept subjective opinions on ... well, anything. Then they are taught in absolutes, so they see the world that way. And finally, a good EE might one day become employed in audio ... most won't ... and a good EE is the guy who can design a product that costs not one penny more than it has to in order to function.

    Bad Engineers do crazy things like listen to the designs and see if there can be an improvement in sonics. Just the idea that there could be an improvement in sonics when the prototypes work and meet the usual test metrics is a concept that must be banished from the Good EE's World View, or he won't be able to sleep at night.

    Bad EEs don't last long in the industry unless lucky enough to find a job with a like-thinking employer, of which there are few.

    If that sounds negative, it shouldn't be. We need both Good EEs and Bad EEs in audio, if only because the purpose of which a given component is required to excel at is reproducing music (the Bad EEs field) by using standard components available at reasonable cost (the Good EEs field).

    We only get into problems when we expect the roles to be reversed. Not going to work.
     
  18. Gruss Gott

    Gruss Gott Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2017
    Likes Received:
    277
    Dislikes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Maybe ...

    A few signal processing engineers gave me some great advice for cables and interconnects: look at them all like stacked panes of glass since, if all are dirty and you only replace one, you won't notice much of a difference looking through them all; but if all are clean and you put one dirty pane in the mix you'll notice it.

    Thus the trick with cables is to upgrade them all at once, live with it for a bit, then swap back in your lesser cables. If you play around and don't hear a difference then return them all and use coat-hangers.

    That's really worked for me because nowadays I have all AQ cables which replaced a mix of mediabridge, Blue Jeans, etc and it sounds great, but when I switch in any of my previous cables it's immediately noticeable, especially with USB which I did some informal blind testing with. (that said it's not a big enough difference that a new USB cable should take the place of a decrapifier or new DAC or whatever - it's just slightly less veiled)

    I'm in this hobby for entertainment, not to write a dissertation, so I'm only interested in "that thing does this ..." versus "that thing does this because ...", but I'd be lying if I said I didn't research why :oops:
     
  19. Johnny2Bad

    Johnny2Bad Rando

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2018
    Likes Received:
    7
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Canada
    Well, you went to the right EEs to ask about cable*. You will also get good advice from Microwave and RF Engineers, because things like interconnection, trace configuration on PCBs, stray capacitances, small resistances and the hash in the air and in AC lines is their bread and butter, and they know it makes a difference, sometimes a huge difference to get that stuff right. And they get backup from the Bean Counters because warranty returns and tech support cost money.

    But talk to an audio EE and they will argue that none of those things matter, or don't matter much, once you handle a few basic fundamentals at audio frequencies. **

    There is a bit more to the cable swap thing but they did steer you in a useful direction. I agree that any cable evaluation requires a look at all interconnections. I don't think it necessary to swap out everything as a group (not that it also isn't a bad way to go), but I believe it is necessary to insure clean contacts and proper routing.

    In many environments just six months exposure to the local atmosphere will cause enough airborne corrosion to degrade contacts. Certainly there is a difference in things like NOx and Sulphur Dioxides between living in, say, Los Angeles, versus Montana. Or maybe you are near saltwater. A proper connector is supposed to make a gas-tight mating to another, but the RCA is a poor example of how to achieve this, as there are no standard dimensions to even use to send to manufacturing.

    May as well pull everything and take care of those things before you start listening, and if you do, then swapping out a single cable might still lead to something useful and valuable. I think it important to revisit the stock setup with clean contacts to re-set your base configuration, as it may change without any new cable introduced.

    I also think it important to remind ourselves to caution against expectation bias and to remember that a change is not necessarily an improvement.

    This is two replies I've made that are veering towards off-topic to the OP anyway. Not sure how big of a sin that is here, but I would rather not find out, so that's all I will say on EEs here, at least.

    * as in "Mama didn't raise no fool"

    ** I don't mean to stereotype (despite the fact that it's exactly what I did). Average does not equal Individual.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
    a44100Hz and Gruss Gott like this.
  20. gefski

    gefski Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2017
    Likes Received:
    99
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest USA
    ...and cleaning ALL contacts is almost free, relative to cables, black boxes, and components.
     
    Gruss Gott likes this.

Share This Page