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  1. #1

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    Default USB ->SPDIF Converters

    I'm looking to improve my 2 channel rig, and I think my next step lies in the source. See my sig for specs. I will continue using my computer at all costs, so I'm just trying to find a better way of getting the signal out of it. I have been using an ASUS Xonar Essence ST soundcard with a SPDIF out to a Parasound DAC-2000 Ultra. That soundcard has about as good of a SPDIF out as you can get in a computer. I have been thinking of trying a USB DAC instead, to try to eliminate the jitter that may be inherent with using the soundcard, but it seems you have to spend over a grand to get a decent asynchronous USB DAC. I've looked at the dacmagic and other less expensive units, but while they may get the signal out better than my sound card, I would imagine that their inferiorities to the Parasound DAC would negate any benefits.

    Sooooo, now I'm looking at asynchronous USB to SPDIF converters. The idea is that it would get the signal out of the computer as truly as possible, and then I could use my Parasound or any other standard DAC. It would greatly widen the DAC options, especially on the used market.

    I don't want to spend more than a couple hundred bucks. A few I'm looking at:

    http://www.m2tech.biz/index-3.html

    http://www.musicalfidelity.com/produ...INK/v-link.asp

    Here's a website that lists a bunch of different models:

    http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/HW/USB_SPDIF.htm

    So what do you think? Is this avenue worth persuing? Am I going to have to spend big bucks to get an improvement, or will the $170 Muisic Fidelity unit do the trick?

    Thanks for the input.
    Last edited by falconcry72; 02-26-2011 at 04:40 PM.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  2. #2

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    I have a Musiland Monitor 02 that does an excellent job and comes with some very nice software. Very nice piece, well built with a discrete power supply section.

    http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/...-monitor-02-us









    Pacific Valve sells them stateside, but they are about $50-60 more than you can buy them for direct from China. I was skeptical, but this thing works as advertised for USB to SPDIF conversion. It's also a dac, but I've haven't spent much time with it as a dac.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  3. #3

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    The new Arcam rDAC offers an asynchronous USB and is only about $500. If it sounds anything like their signature sound, it may be a winner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blueboxer View Post
    The new Arcam rDAC offers an asynchronous USB and is only about $500. If it sounds anything like their signature sound, it may be a winner.
    that is an interesting looking DAC, but it doesn't have a SPDIF out. I'm looking for a USB to SPDIF converter so I could use any number of non-USB DAC's with it.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    I have a Musiland Monitor 02 that does an excellent job and comes with some very nice software. Very nice piece, well built with a discrete power supply section.

    Pacific Valve sells them stateside, but they are about $50-60 more than you can buy them for direct from China. I was skeptical, but this thing works as advertised for USB to SPDIF conversion. It's also a dac, but I've haven't spent much time with it as a dac.

    H9
    That's a good looking unit. I'll definitely add it to my list. I think it's now between that musiland monitor 02 and the music fidelity vlink. It's nice that the musiland does have a DAC, so you can use it as a DAC in a pinch, if your primary DAC craps out, or in a future unseen application etc. But I like that the vlink is asynchronous, and I have more confidence in the Music Fidelity name, but that doesn't necessarilly mean anything. hmmm.....
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  6. #6

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    Question: if you have two USB DAC's hooked up to your computer simultaneously, would a signal go to both of them? If so, I could get both, hook'em both up, switch back and forth on the Parasound DAC, and then return the loser.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  7. #7

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    The Musiland is async as well (or I wouldn't have been interested). They have some slick software to and it can pass up to 192k signals. MF is good gear as well, but this thing has really surprised me and it's so flexible.

    Read the headfi link I posted, but it will take you a few days as I think there are over 100 pages. Very, very informative.

    Good luck

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    Question: if you have two USB DAC's hooked up to your computer simultaneously, would a signal go to both of them? If so, I could get both, hook'em both up, switch back and forth on the Parasound DAC, and then return the loser.
    Musilands software will allow that. Typpically I'd say no unless the software supports it.

    Let me rephrase that.....you can switch between the Musiland dac section and any dac you have hooked up via the USB/SPDIF conversion.
    Last edited by heiney9; 02-26-2011 at 05:23 PM.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  9. #9

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    Another great thing is it works with W7 64bit some of the software for other companies is behind, I think. Not sure about the MF or what it supports.

    Musiland support ASIO which is about the best, IMO.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Read the headfi link I posted...H9
    Started reading. Very informative; very long.

    What I find the most interesting right now is that macrog, a seemingly learned individual and the first big proponent of the 02 in that thread, says that the 02 outperforms his soundcard for getting a SPDIF signal out of his computer, and his soundcard happens to be almost identical to mine.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    Started reading. Very informative; very long.

    What I find the most interesting right now is that macrog, a seemingly learned individual and the first big proponent of the 02 in that thread, says that the 02 outperforms his soundcard for getting a SPDIF signal out of his computer, and his soundcard happens to be almost identical to mine.
    Async USB is superior to most sound cards because the USB greatly reduces jitter. I wasn't necessarily 100% convinced but now I am. USB is superior to a mounted sound card in a computer. Plus, it's so much simpler to run properly (outside of Windows kernel mixer, etc), IMO.

    It's just one of those neat, well made devices that has grown on me and I tend to be pretty picky, even for a computer office rig.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  12. #12

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    H9, how would you compare using the musiland monitor 02>SPDIF out>external DAC vs. using a quality CD transport>SPDIF out>the same external DAC?
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  13. #13

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    Don't know, this is strictly for my secondary office rig. I've only used my dac with a computer. My old computer I used a Chaintech soundcard with optical out. The new computer doesn't have a digital out so I use the Musiland to convert the USB to SPDIF to the same dac.

    I have a straight USB dac made by Populse, but I don't think it sounds as good as my AMC DAC8 so I needed a way to convert USB to use it.

    I use a Squeezebox Touch music server for my main rig. I have an upgraded external power supply and I use it with a heavily modded Adcom GDA 600 and control it with my Android phone.

    H9
    Last edited by heiney9; 02-26-2011 at 06:27 PM.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  14. #14

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    Default usb to spdif

    Have you seen the Hiface? http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...hiface_usb.htm

    Seems like a good way to get great digital out of a pc.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerboy View Post
    Have you seen the Hiface? http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...hiface_usb.htm

    Seems like a good way to get great digital out of a pc.
    I don't care that it runs off USB power. I am a BIG believer in having a nicely designed and isolated power supply.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Don't know, this is strictly for my secondary office rig. I've only used my dac with a computer. My old computer I used a Chaintech soundcard with optical out. The new computer doesn't have a digital out so I use the Musiland to convert the USB to SPDIF to the same dac.

    I have a straight USB dac made by Populse, but I don't think it sounds as good as my AMC DAC8 so I needed a way to convert USB to use it.

    I use a Squeezebox Touch music server for my main rig. I have an upgraded external power supply and I use it with a heavily modded Adcom GDA 600 and control it with my Android phone.

    H9
    Just curious on this converters DAC. It is one you would recommend as a dual workhorse both to convert USB to RCA and also use as a external DAC? I have been in massive debates about possibly getting an external DAC and then moving to powered studio monitors in my office (my new desk will be very tight on space). I only use my computer as my source.

    Since I can only use the coaxial digitial audio (SPDIF interface is broke on the motherboard), this seems like a really good viable option to run between a set of KRK Rokit 6's, or AudioEngine A5's. The other option I was looking at would be a M-Audio Firewire Solo. I would then use 1/4" TRS Male to XLR Male connections for the speakers. Not sure if one is prefered over the other...

    More than likely I would have to control volume with my computer and I am not sure if thats the recommended method or not...
    Last edited by EndersShadow; 03-10-2011 at 09:32 AM.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Just curious on this converters DAC. It is one you would recommend as a dual workhorse both to convert USB to RCA and also use as a external DAC? I have been in massive debates about possibly getting an external DAC and then moving to powered studio monitors in my office (my new desk will be very tight on space). I only use my computer as my source.

    Since I can only use the coaxial digitial audio (SPDIF interface is broke on the motherboard), this seems like a really good viable option to run between a set of KRK Rokit 6's, or AudioEngine A5's....
    I am currently using a Musiland Monitor 02 and it has really surprised me, not only because of the flexibility but it's performance. A big plus is it has it's own software. And it's asychronous which is what one should look for in a USB device of this type.

    http://www.pacificvalve.us/MusilandMonitor02.html

    If you do a Google search you will find a lot of info.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post

    More than likely I would have to control volume with my computer and I am not sure if thats the recommended method or not...
    It's really not recommended but everyone has to cofigure their system within the constraints fo what they are trying to accomplish.

    The ASIO driver will not allow the computer to control the volume for any of these types of devices, but there is a work around. There may be other options if you are running W7.

    H9
    Last edited by heiney9; 03-10-2011 at 09:37 AM.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    It's really not recommended but everyone has to cofigure their system within the constraints fo what they are trying to accomplish.

    The ASIO driver will not allow the computer to control the volume for any of these types of devices, but there is a work around. There may be other options if you are running W7.

    H9
    How do you think it would compare to something like the M-Audio FireWire Solo?

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    How do you think it would compare to something like the M-Audio FireWire Solo?
    Have no idea since I'm not at all familiar with that. There is a lot of info available on the 'net so I'd get my read on. That's pretty much how I arrived at my choice.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    The ASIO driver will not allow the computer to control the volume for any of these types of devices, but there is a work around. There may be other options if you are running W7.

    H9
    H9, I tried loading ASIO diver to my computer this past weekend to use with media monkey and I finally thought I got it right but I am still able to control the volume from the tool bar on the bottom of the screen. Based on your comments above do you think I have the ASIO drivers loaded correctly?
    I am using vista 64 and sending the signal to my AG NFB-3 DAC via USB and I have selected the ASIO driver in the MM output device.

    Sorry to OP if this is to off topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drselect View Post
    H9, I tried loading ASIO diver to my computer this past weekend to use with media monkey and I finally thought I got it right but I am still able to control the volume from the tool bar on the bottom of the screen. Based on your comments above do you think I have the ASIO drivers loaded correctly?
    I am using vista 64 and sending the signal to my AG NFB-3 DAC via USB and I have selected the ASIO driver in the MM output device.

    Sorry to OP if this is to off topic.
    Sorry, it took me long enough to adapt to Windows 7 64bit. I know nothing about Vista or it's driver scheme. Best to hit the 'net and doing some reading. That's how I have been learning about W7 and a few issues.

    The Musiland came with supporting drivers and they work fine. If your unit didn;t come with supporting drivers then the internet is your friend. One of the main reasons I went with the Musiland is the driver support.

    Wish I could be of more help, but for me it's about reading, and a bit of trial and error, and some help from my brother who is an IT person.

    I would say no, you don't have them loaded correctly if you can still control the volumes via the computer.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    H9
    You have been a help. If it wasn't for another post of yours I don't know if I would have known what ASIO is. Looks like I need to do some more googling. I think you posted in another thread but can't find it what you are using for for playback MM, winamp, foobar?
    Thanks again.

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