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  1. #1

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    Default Question about these newer asynchronous USB DACs

    A lot of high quality USB DAC's on the market and I've been looking at the W4S DAC II in particular. I haven't paid much attention because I've been using a Squeezebox Touch to DAC using the SPDIF connection. So with the W4S DAC II I could go directly computer to DAC and eliminate the SB Touch right? Is this a better way to go SQ-wise? Does it depend much on the quality of the computers USB interface or are they basically all the same? Of course I would give up the remote control capability I currently have with the Touch using the Duel Controller but I'm assuming using a different computer SW and a phone I could gain that back? Sorry....stupid in this particular area. Looking strictly at the SQ ramifications.
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  2. #2

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    Removing the Squeeze box and using your computer as the source will be an improvement. I'd suggest using a quality player instead of iTunes. When I tried this with a quality DAC it sounded better than my Modwright tube Oppo 83 player. But to really hear it's potential you gotta have separate usb converter. This will further reduce jitter and so will the Asynch DAC. There's lots out there right now. Computer audio is exploding with new gear. I started my computer audio rig only 6 months ago, so still learning alot. Check out this link to Steve Nugent website which I found helpful. He is one of the computer audio gurus at Empirical Audio: http://www.empiricalaudio.com/computer-audio/

    A lot of people are using the Mac Remote app to control their player. You would need an iphone or ipad/mini to use it. I don't know what you would use if you have Microsoft operating system for a remote, but I'm sure there is a program from that too.

  3. #3

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    Why would I need the usb converter? The DAC has all the required jitter control if I'm understanding the technology correctly.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon1952 View Post
    The DAC has all the required jitter control if I'm understanding the technology correctly.

    What the W4S DAC II has is the ESS Sabre ES9018 chip with ESS's Time Domain Jitter Eliminator. I have a high regard for that DAC chip and assembled a DIY dual mono DAC using two ES9018 DAC boards, one for each channel. Inside CD players they use I2S communication which passes separate clock and data from transport to DAC chip. The SPDIF interface is more complex as clock and data are embedded in the signal and must be decoded.

    Unlike other DAC chips decoding with the ESS Sabre chip is done using a method that does not require an explicit measure of the embedded clock frequency. The ESS chip does a remarkable job and SPDIF sounds very, very good. However, the better the clock, the better the sound. I tapped I2S out of my SB Touch and Denon 3910 to pass it to my DAC via LVDS (Low-voltage differential signaling) as I2S is not meant for long distance over wire on its own. I get some improvement over SPDIF, but not huge. Other DAC chips can get huge gains using I2S instead of SPDIF. I also have a USB to I2S module in my DAC, but don't have a tablet with remote desktop yet (have to walk up to the 'putie to select music). Thus I use the SB Touch via I2S out for convenience. I can control the Touch with my smart phone or SB Controller.

    There are USB to SPDIF converters that reclock before passing the signal off to the DAC. If you get the Wyred, try it both ways (USB and SPDIF from your Touch). May the best method win. You could check with Wyred and ask how the USB signal is passed to the DAC chip, via I2S or SPDIF. The Wyred also has an I2S input via HDMI, but folks smarter than me say over a few inches of wire you start to run into clock recovery issues and can lose the advantage of I2S.

    If desired, you can read the ESS Sabre white paper here.

    http://www.esstech.com/PDF/sabrewp.pdf

    Oh you ain't stupid, you just need information/education to make a decision. Like I will if I go remote desktop.
    Last edited by SCompRacer; 03-12-2013 at 03:33 AM.
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon1952 View Post
    Why would I need the usb converter? The DAC has all the required jitter control if I'm understanding the technology correctly.
    I think what erndog meant was that his Modwright tube Oppo 83 player sounds best when its used with a usb converter to hook up to the asynchronous usb port of his dac

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