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

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

  1. restrav3

    restrav3 Likes Audio-GD

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  2. ohshitgorillas

    ohshitgorillas Almost "Made"

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    I recently bought a USB PCI-E card from Anker off of Amazon, thinking it would help (or at the very least not hurt) to put my DAC on a separate bus from the keyboard and other peripherals. I didn't think too much about which card I got, since I assumed that the model or manufacturer would make a minimal difference.

    Well, not all USB cards are created equal, as it turns out, because this one actually refuses to pass a musical signal to the DAC at all. It did, for a minute, then kept dropping out to the point that my software (MusicBee) said "Look, bro, this isn't working."

    Suggestions for a decent USB PCI-E card that will actually pass music along?
     
  3. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    The Allegro ones are pretty solid.

    The Pro version is OOP, but theoretically better because it's a 4X PCI-e bus.

    The non-pro is a 1x. Though is seriously doubt the bandwidth of the pci bus comes into play for audio.
     
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  4. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    I have the Allegro Pro and it didn't work with the Yggdrasil, but worked with my other dacs. Kept cutting out like you said on the Yggdrasil.
     
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  5. Yethal

    Yethal Rando

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    Depends on how much you want to spend.
    Matrix makes an audio-dedicated pcie card (X-Hi) for ~ $160. Dunno whether it makes a difference to the SQ though.
    Jcat and PPA also make such cards but they are even more expensive.
     
  6. Yethal

    Yethal Rando

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    Allo USBridge and iFi iPower arrived. Not sure whether it's caused by RPi being so bad or Allo being so good but the difference between those two devices is massive. Smoothness in the highs, resolution, bass clarity, imaging. Can't believe I put up with rpi for that long.
     
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  7. ohshitgorillas

    ohshitgorillas Almost "Made"

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    What are you powering the RPi with? My laptops have always had terrible USB out before Eitr and I chalked this up to their cheap power bricks and just generally being noisy. Putting a linear 5V power supply behind it might help clear it up?

    I'm here wondering if there's any truth to the idea that the ideal length for USB cables is 1.5m due to reflections that cause jitter? or is that only for coaxial SPDIF?
     
  8. Yethal

    Yethal Rando

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    I used the stock power supply that came with the Pi. I also tried the iPower with the RPi and that did make it sound a bit better but still not as good as the USBridge.
     
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  9. Sonorus

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    I have this Fiio dac/amp https://www.fiio.com/k3 which can act as usb to spdif converter.
    I wonder from a technical point of view is such a device sufficient to remove / isolate noise and jitter
    from the pc usb source or it's just doing a simple conversion without added benefits?
     
  10. haywood

    haywood Almost "Made"

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    There’s a lot of stuff attached to the usb bus internally, clean power into the Pi isn’t going to help all that much by itself. On the other hand if you can isolate the hat power from the Pi (like the digione signature and 502dac) then you can get really good results. Nice to see the usbridge gives a clean usb output for people who want to use usb out.
     
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  11. Baten

    Baten Almost "Made"

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    it can provide galvanic isolation, especially on optical rather than coaxical, but it does depend on the quality of the spdif conversion
     
  12. Sonorus

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    So we can't be sure of what is happening inside.
    I guess the conversion is embedded in the XMOS receiver?
    I am not sure , I will try to find out what is happening if I can find some decent photo of the internal.
     
  13. Baten

    Baten Almost "Made"

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    Pretty much guaranteed that is the case. Don't know how good the firmware/software/clocks/power filtering/... is though.
     
  14. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I wouldn’t count on any real decrapification being built into this converter, especially since this is not touted as a feature with the product. I have a portable IFi device that does conversion as well to coax and found it mostly benign, but don’t count on it improving on your USB signal from a noise or jitter perspective other than, as @Baten suggested, if you use the Toslink out (electrical isolation). But there’s also a decent chance of more jitter being introduced from a Toslink connection, even though it may be more electrically isolated. The conversion is for convenience only and for supporting DACs without a USB input.

    The best reason to use this would be, again, if your DAC doesn’t support USB OR, if your DAC has a poor USB implementation (which many do). The coax input in this case may sound better on your DAC than the USB, so you gain that way, but not necessarily from USB decrapification.
     
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  15. ohshitgorillas

    ohshitgorillas Almost "Made"

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    Here's something that has been driving my nervosa crazy lately.

    To start, I have a particularly bad case of USB nervosa because for years I relied on laptops with cheap power supplies. Eitr was my first breath of fresh air away from how awful the laptop's USB out could be... I literally went from "HD800 are cold, dry, and lifeless, and I am going to sell them" to "The HD800 are gorgeous and amazing and I could never ever sell them" thanks to Eitr.

    At work, I use a SDAC+CTH (w/ LPS) into ZMF Classic (source is a newer PC). I LOVE this combo and think the Classic run circles around the HD6*0 at not much more money but that's neither here nor there. I used a Wyrd with the SDAC for a long time, never questioning its utility for a USB-only DAC. One day, seeking to reappropriate the Wyrd, I took it out of the system and, lo and behold, immediate improvement in sound quality. Yes, SDAC sounded better without Wyrd, it sounded like there was a veil that was lifted. Mostly the improvements came in the form of better bass slam/kick/transients and a hair more clarity overall.

    Initially this baffled me, but I thought maybe the cheapo USB cables I was using were the issue. I managed to snag two Audioquest Cinnamon USBs used at reasonable prices. I also have a Straightwire/Pyst on the way. Now, A/Bing between the SDAC with and without Wyrd, I am extremely hard pressed to find any difference between the two. I am on the fence whether or not there is any difference, but if there is, I am leaning towards "without Wyrd" being very slightly cleaner with better impact.

    This is what's driving me crazy. After years of using garbage laptops, I find it very very hard to accept that USB could sound better without more power regulation and reclocking. It feels like I am definitely leaving a lot of sound quality on the table by just using a direct USB connection from the motherboard.

    In my heart, I know what the solution to this issue is: leave good enough alone. it's an $80 DAC, it's not worth going insane trying to squeeze every last drop out of it. fucking relax, bro, enjoy the music. clearly the PC's output is clean enough that it doesn't matter. But my nervosa from years of shit laptops keeps insisting that there is no way that a direct USB connection could possibly be good enough. That said, for the time being, I am going to leave it alone, because to be perfectly honest I'm not sure what else I could try (besides galvanic isolation, which I am interested in trying in the future, but at the moment my audio budget is blown on DIY cable materials).
     
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  16. Sonorus

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    @rlow and @Baten thank's.
    That's what i was thinking , it's just for convenience and not a real cleaner.
    I am using it temporarily because as you suspected my cd player/dac usb input is crap so i am using
    coaxial in.
    I guess i should buy an eitr an be done with it!
     
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  17. Yethal

    Yethal Rando

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    And it has an ability to be powered by two separate power supplies (one for Sparky and one for USBridge). Personally I don't use that feature since it overcomplicates the entire setup but I appreciate the option.
     
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  18. Metro

    Metro Friend

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  19. Sonorus

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    Damn , must raise funds....
     
  20. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    Equally important is that Jason confirmed the new Unison USB and that it will be rolled out slowly and will not be available for Windows 7. Previously Mike had stated they were delaying launch until end of life for Windows 7 which is January 2020, so there is the possibility that the new USB might be rolled out slowly some time this year, perhaps summer. Since the Unison USB will not be made available in a successor to Eitr, if you want it you will have to buy a Schiit DAC.
     
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