Author Topic: USB to SPDiF Converters  (Read 931 times)

Offline mresseguie

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USB to SPDiF Converters
« on: January 20, 2019, 06:15:03 PM »
I'm researching different USB to SPDif converters. Prices (includes power supply) range from about $500 to more than $2000. Since I've never heard one, I just don't know which one to buy. Do I just order three or four units to audition and compare, and return the losers?

I've looked at CIAudio, Ciunas, iFi, Sonore, Empirical Audio, and ??? (forgot already!).

What makes a killer, super quiet converter better than the others?

Michael
Daedalus Audio Apollos; Fritz Loudspeakers LS/5-R
SW1X DAC III STD
dB Audio Labs Tranquility SE DAC w/Jupiter Caps
Don Sachs Model 2
Don Sachs Kootenay 120 KT88; Nuprime ST-10
TWL loom
PI Audio UberBUSS, DigiBUSS, Uber-MiniBUSS
PI Audio USB cable
Mac Mini

Offline jimbones

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Re: USB to SPDiF Converters
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2019, 07:17:57 AM »
I have the Cuinas and it is superb, I use it with just a switching supply to charge a battery and run it on the battery. super quiet. Shameless plus: I can put it up for sale if interested.
Modwright LS100 Pre, Wells Audio Inamorata Pwr, VPI Classic II/Dynavector 20X2L, Two plus Two Speakers,  Roon Rock, Auralic Vega DAC, Emotiva ERC-3, MIT, WireWorld, Wywires, Shunyata, TWL

Offline mresseguie

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Re: USB to SPDiF Converters
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2019, 07:45:04 AM »
jimbones,

Shameless plugging is encouraged.  :thumb:

I can't commit yet because I've only just begun contacting manufacturers/asking folks for opinions (such as yours!). There's still a possibility, though small, that I might instead opt for a server/streamer. I've already got a Mini that would kind of go to waste if I opt for a server/streamer....I won't even have my new DAC until March 15th (when I'm back in Oregon), so I've got some time to research things.

Michael

 
Daedalus Audio Apollos; Fritz Loudspeakers LS/5-R
SW1X DAC III STD
dB Audio Labs Tranquility SE DAC w/Jupiter Caps
Don Sachs Model 2
Don Sachs Kootenay 120 KT88; Nuprime ST-10
TWL loom
PI Audio UberBUSS, DigiBUSS, Uber-MiniBUSS
PI Audio USB cable
Mac Mini

Offline Nick B

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Re: USB to SPDiF Converters
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2019, 07:54:14 AM »
jimbones,

Shameless plugging is encouraged.  :thumb:

I can't commit yet because I've only just begun contacting manufacturers/asking folks for opinions (such as yours!). There's still a possibility, though small, that I might instead opt for a server/streamer. I've already got a Mini that would kind of go to waste if I opt for a server/streamer....I won't even have my new DAC until March 15th (when I'm back in Oregon), so I've got some time to research things.

Michael

Michael,
What will be your newest dac?
Nick
ICEpower 1200as2 stereo amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
KEF LS 50 speakers
Border Patrol SE dac
Auralic Aries Mini
Roon & Tidal
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A

Offline HAL

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Re: USB to SPDiF Converters
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2019, 11:18:23 AM »
I used the original M2Tech HiFace Evo USB to multiple I/O with my setup.  Had a LiFePO4 battery pack and worked well.  Then added the master clock. 

Eventually built a Wolfson DAC and used the I2S Bus feed from the Evo directly to the board.   Worked very well.

https://www.m2techusa.com/

Offline mresseguie

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Re: USB to SPDiF Converters
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2019, 05:24:32 PM »
jimbones,

Shameless plugging is encouraged.  :thumb:

I can't commit yet because I've only just begun contacting manufacturers/asking folks for opinions (such as yours!). There's still a possibility, though small, that I might instead opt for a server/streamer. I've already got a Mini that would kind of go to waste if I opt for a server/streamer....I won't even have my new DAC until March 15th (when I'm back in Oregon), so I've got some time to research things.

Michael

Michael,
What will be your newest dac?
Nick

My time with the dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC has taught me that I really love the NOS sound. Nearly all the music I listen to is Redbook CD quality, so a new NOS DAC makes sense to me. My new DAC will be a SW1X DAC III STD. It's being built now, and will be finished a short time before I return. I think it will complement my Don Sachs amp/preamp and Daedalus Apollos very nicely.
Daedalus Audio Apollos; Fritz Loudspeakers LS/5-R
SW1X DAC III STD
dB Audio Labs Tranquility SE DAC w/Jupiter Caps
Don Sachs Model 2
Don Sachs Kootenay 120 KT88; Nuprime ST-10
TWL loom
PI Audio UberBUSS, DigiBUSS, Uber-MiniBUSS
PI Audio USB cable
Mac Mini

Offline Nick B

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Re: USB to SPDiF Converters
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2019, 09:42:15 PM »
jimbones,

Shameless plugging is encouraged.  :thumb:

I can't commit yet because I've only just begun contacting manufacturers/asking folks for opinions (such as yours!). There's still a possibility, though small, that I might instead opt for a server/streamer. I've already got a Mini that would kind of go to waste if I opt for a server/streamer....I won't even have my new DAC until March 15th (when I'm back in Oregon), so I've got some time to research things.

Michael

Michael,
What will be your newest dac?
Nick

My time with the dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC has taught me that I really love the NOS sound. Nearly all the music I listen to is Redbook CD quality, so a new NOS DAC makes sense to me. My new DAC will be a SW1X DAC III STD. It's being built now, and will be finished a short time before I return. I think it will complement my Don Sachs amp/preamp and Daedalus Apollos very nicely.

I was on the SW website in the UK. Can I ask what this dac will cost in USD and have you ever heard the Border Patrol SE dac? Iím quite happy my my BP dac, but I quite like the components that youíve put together.
ICEpower 1200as2 stereo amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
KEF LS 50 speakers
Border Patrol SE dac
Auralic Aries Mini
Roon & Tidal
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A

Offline mresseguie

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Re: USB to SPDiF Converters
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2019, 12:09:43 AM »
jimbones,

Shameless plugging is encouraged.  :thumb:

I can't commit yet because I've only just begun contacting manufacturers/asking folks for opinions (such as yours!). There's still a possibility, though small, that I might instead opt for a server/streamer. I've already got a Mini that would kind of go to waste if I opt for a server/streamer....I won't even have my new DAC until March 15th (when I'm back in Oregon), so I've got some time to research things.

Michael

Michael,
What will be your newest dac?
Nick

My time with the dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC has taught me that I really love the NOS sound. Nearly all the music I listen to is Redbook CD quality, so a new NOS DAC makes sense to me. My new DAC will be a SW1X DAC III STD. It's being built now, and will be finished a short time before I return. I think it will complement my Don Sachs amp/preamp and Daedalus Apollos very nicely.

I was on the SW website in the UK. Can I ask what this dac will cost in USD and have you ever heard the Border Patrol SE dac? Iím quite happy my my BP dac, but I quite like the components that youíve put together.

The DAC III STD is listed for 3666.67 Pounds Sterling. Forex fluctuates daily, so USD cost will fluctuate as well. That said, my cost on the day I placed my order was $4860 USD. I'll have to double check the last two digits, but that's close. My price includes $100 (or was it Pounds?) for shipping. It's not chump change, I know.

Several events during the last two years funneled me in this direction. My exposure to the Denafrips Venus and reading all the glowing reviews of the Terminator. Had you asked me <approximately> a year ago which DAC I was going to buy next, I would have excitedly told you "Terminator!". Then, I got to hear Greg Fisk's Lampi Atlantic that MCA had sold him, and I was smitten. I very nearly ordered an Atlantic, but the cost  :duh was just too high.  :nono: [My timeline is a little fuzzy, so if you happen upon my posts here or on AC where I declare different dates, please forgive my aging brain's poor memory.] At some point about a year ago, I stumbled upon dB Audio Labs' existence and ordered a Tranquility SE with Jupiter Cu caps to audition fully expecting that I would return it for a refund minus restocking fee. Well, I never did return that, did I? Wow. What a great sound it makes! The Tranquility is in Taiwan now where it will most likely remain (that's my plan).

Sometime last Spring, AC member, Wig, emailed me about SW1X Audio Design encouraging me to consider Slawa's DACs. I did check the website, but there were precious few reviews about the DACs - plus I had just begun enjoying my Tranquility.  8) I placed that idea on the back burner along with the Terminator, the Atlantic, and whatever else kept bobbing to the surface. Wig has the same D Sachs amp and preamp that I have. Actually, his preamp has all of the latest tweaks, so his is better than mine.  :drool: He posted a review of his DAC II STD on Agon. It's an amazing read. Toward the end of that thread, he announced that he was trading it in for the next level up - the DAC III STD. I suspect he'll some day follow up with a thorough part 2 review.

Upon reading his posted impressions, I emailed him pestering him with questions about the DAC III STD. He answered them with enthusiasm. Much of his enthusiasm rubbed off on me, so I began emailing Slawa. Then, Wig introduced me to a friend of his (John) who just happens to also own a DAC III STD. John is even more enthusiastic than Ron! Together, their positive energy and willingness to brainwash....help me understand how great this DAC is pushed me all the way down that rabbit hole till I had to order one from Slawa.

The Tranquility and the BP DAC both are TDA1543 based. The DAC III is TDA1541 based with tubes and very high quality parts. I have not heard the BP DAC. I presume that the BP and the Tranquility share some SQ similarities. I further presume that there's no need for me to audition a BP DAC because there would be no benefit for me. [My emphasizing 'presumptions' will hopefully prevent folks from getting riled up.] Perhaps, someday, I'll get to compare them side by side, but I won't hold my breath waiting.

Honestly, if I weren't trying to improve my 'vacation' system in Taiwan, I'd still have the Tranquility in Oregon, and I wouldn't necessarily have stretched to buy this new DAC. I added a Taiwan made 6922eh based preamp in December. Without having my Model 2 here, I can't be specific about differences, but my feeling is that this preamp is warmer/tubier than the Model 2. I got it at an audio show in Taipei for $1250 USD. I've got a pair of Steve's V RCA interconnects here (need a second pair!). The preamp + Tranquility + Nuprime ST-10 + MiniBUSS + TWL speaker cables and American 10+ PC produce prodigious BASS in my Fritz Speakers LS/5-R two ways. Color me impressed.

I'll be 59 in June. My hearing is going to slowly deteriorate as I age. My financial situation and my health are very good now, but who knows what the future holds? I do not anticipate ever needing to upgrade again. [Knock on wood!] I do want to enjoy the hell out of either system for many many years. I want to enjoy life for as long as I can...20 years? 25?... not 30 based on my family history. I'm not being morbid; just trying to be realistic. Anyway, this is how I justify my recent purchases.

Geez. That's way more an answer than you expected, huh?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2019, 04:23:57 AM by mresseguie »
Daedalus Audio Apollos; Fritz Loudspeakers LS/5-R
SW1X DAC III STD
dB Audio Labs Tranquility SE DAC w/Jupiter Caps
Don Sachs Model 2
Don Sachs Kootenay 120 KT88; Nuprime ST-10
TWL loom
PI Audio UberBUSS, DigiBUSS, Uber-MiniBUSS
PI Audio USB cable
Mac Mini

Offline rollo

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Re: USB to SPDiF Converters
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2019, 10:05:41 AM »
  The best one is the Berkley. However for that price a nice server or different laptop may be in order. Keep it simple.


charles
contact me  at rollo14@verizon.net or visit us on Facebook
Lamm - Aqua Acoustic Formula & La Scala DAC- INNUOS  - Rethm Speakers - PI Audio Uberbuss - Triode Wire Labs- Kuzma - Furutech - Audio Hungry Qualiton - Fritz Carrera speakers -Gigawatt-Arion

Offline Nick B

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Re: USB to SPDiF Converters
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2019, 01:37:12 PM »
jimbones,

Shameless plugging is encouraged.  :thumb:

I can't commit yet because I've only just begun contacting manufacturers/asking folks for opinions (such as yours!). There's still a possibility, though small, that I might instead opt for a server/streamer. I've already got a Mini that would kind of go to waste if I opt for a server/streamer....I won't even have my new DAC until March 15th (when I'm back in Oregon), so I've got some time to research things.

Michael

Michael,
What will be your newest dac?
Nick

My time with the dB Audio Labs Tranquility DAC has taught me that I really love the NOS sound. Nearly all the music I listen to is Redbook CD quality, so a new NOS DAC makes sense to me. My new DAC will be a SW1X DAC III STD. It's being built now, and will be finished a short time before I return. I think it will complement my Don Sachs amp/preamp and Daedalus Apollos very nicely.

I was on the SW website in the UK. Can I ask what this dac will cost in USD and have you ever heard the Border Patrol SE dac? Iím quite happy my my BP dac, but I quite like the components that youíve put together.

The DAC III STD is listed for 3666.67 Pounds Sterling. Forex fluctuates daily, so USD cost will fluctuate as well. That said, my cost on the day I placed my order was $4860 USD. I'll have to double check the last two digits, but that's close. My price includes $100 (or was it Pounds?) for shipping. It's not chump change, I know.

Several events during the last two years funneled me in this direction. My exposure to the Denafrips Venus and reading all the glowing reviews of the Terminator. Had you asked me <approximately> a year ago which DAC I was going to buy next, I would have excitedly told you "Terminator!". Then, I got to hear Greg Fisk's Lampi Atlantic that MCA had sold him, and I was smitten. I very nearly ordered an Atlantic, but the cost  :duh was just too high.  :nono: [My timeline is a little fuzzy, so if you happen upon my posts here or on AC where I declare different dates, please forgive my aging brain's poor memory.] At some point about a year ago, I stumbled upon dB Audio Labs' existence and ordered a Tranquility SE with Jupiter Cu caps to audition fully expecting that I would return it for a refund minus restocking fee. Well, I never did return that, did I? Wow. What a great sound it makes! The Tranquility is in Taiwan now where it will most likely remain (that's my plan).

Sometime last Spring, AC member, Wig, emailed me about SW1X Audio Design encouraging me to consider Slawa's DACs. I did check the website, but there were precious few reviews about the DACs - plus I had just begun enjoying my Tranquility.  8) I placed that idea on the back burner along with the Terminator, the Atlantic, and whatever else kept bobbing to the surface. Wig has the same D Sachs amp and preamp that I have. Actually, his preamp has all of the latest tweaks, so his is better than mine.  :drool: He posted a review of his DAC II STD on Agon. It's an amazing read. Toward the end of that thread, he announced that he was trading it in for the next level up - the DAC III STD. I suspect he'll some day follow up with a thorough part 2 review.

Upon reading his posted impressions, I emailed him pestering him with questions about the DAC III STD. He answered them with enthusiasm. Much of his enthusiasm rubbed off on me, so I began emailing Slawa. Then, Wig introduced me to a friend of his (John) who just happens to also own a DAC III STD. John is even more enthusiastic than Ron! Together, their positive energy and willingness to brainwash....help me understand how great this DAC is pushed me all the way down that rabbit hole till I had to order one from Slawa.

The Tranquility and the BP DAC both are TDA1543 based. The DAC III is TDA1541 based with tubes and very high quality parts. I have not heard the BP DAC. I presume that the BP and the Tranquility share some SQ similarities. I further presume that there's no need for me to audition a BP DAC because there would be no benefit for me. [My emphasizing 'presumptions' will hopefully prevent folks from getting riled up.] Perhaps, someday, I'll get to compare them side by side, but I won't hold my breath waiting.

Honestly, if I weren't trying to improve my 'vacation' system in Taiwan, I'd still have the Tranquility in Oregon, and I wouldn't necessarily have stretched to buy this new DAC. I added a Taiwan made 6922eh based preamp in December. Without having my Model 2 here, I can't be specific about differences, but my feeling is that this preamp is warmer/tubier than the Model 2. I got it at an audio show in Taipei for $1250 USD. I've got a pair of Steve's V RCA interconnects here (need a second pair!). The preamp + Tranquility + Nuprime ST-10 + MiniBUSS + TWL speaker cables and American 10+ PC produce prodigious BASS in my Fritz Speakers LS/5-R two ways. Color me impressed.

I'll be 59 in June. My hearing is going to slowly deteriorate as I age. My financial situation and my health are very good now, but who knows what the future holds? I do not anticipate ever needing to upgrade again. [Knock on wood!] I do want to enjoy the hell out of either system for many many years. I want to enjoy life for as long as I can...20 years? 25?... not 30 based on my family history. I'm not being morbid; just trying to be realistic. Anyway, this is how I justify my recent purchases.

Geez. That's way more an answer than you expected, huh?

Michael, yes, itís a bit more info than I expected, but Iím glad you did! I was reading up on it a bit and Iím guessing the TDA1541 is more expensive than the 43, correct? I too, love the NOS sound,
but Iím financially challenged, so Iíll upgrade the BP dac tube to the one thatís Gary Dews favorite...the name escapes me. Great that you have the opportunity to hear some fine gear
Nick
ICEpower 1200as2 stereo amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
KEF LS 50 speakers
Border Patrol SE dac
Auralic Aries Mini
Roon & Tidal
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A

Offline mresseguie

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Re: USB to SPDiF Converters
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2019, 08:25:33 PM »
I used the original M2Tech HiFace Evo USB to multiple I/O with my setup.  Had a LiFePO4 battery pack and worked well.  Then added the master clock. 

Eventually built a Wolfson DAC and used the I2S Bus feed from the Evo directly to the board.   Worked very well.

https://www.m2techusa.com/

HAL,

Thank you. M2Tech was one that I had forgotten.  :thumb:

Rollo,

I hadn't known about the Berkeley Audio converter. I'll take a look.  :thumb:
Daedalus Audio Apollos; Fritz Loudspeakers LS/5-R
SW1X DAC III STD
dB Audio Labs Tranquility SE DAC w/Jupiter Caps
Don Sachs Model 2
Don Sachs Kootenay 120 KT88; Nuprime ST-10
TWL loom
PI Audio UberBUSS, DigiBUSS, Uber-MiniBUSS
PI Audio USB cable
Mac Mini