Musiland Lilo 3 - 24/96 USB to SPDIF? - diyAudio
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Old 18th August 2008, 02:56 PM   #1
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Default Musiland Lilo 3 - 24/96 USB to SPDIF?

Looks like I may have finally found a USB to SPDIF converter allowing up to 24/96, in the form of the Lilo. I'm not 100% sure it will do 24/96 conversion, or if it is only the DAC that works at 24/96, but I am trying to find out more details.

The only downside is the optical rather than coaxial digital out. Would this be an easy mod to do 9change to coaxial)?

The manufacturer has apparently tried to keep jitter low and it also has inputs for mic and line, as well as a line out and headphone out (all 1/4 inch), so this will come in handy for my laptop music production.

It's cheap too. Here is the link to one retailer. http://vocativeaudio.com/eng_liloiii.html
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Old 18th August 2008, 07:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Musiland Lilo 3 - 24/96 USB to SPDIF?

Quote:
Originally posted by Kane Williams
The manufacturer has apparently tried to keep jitter low

How? It doesn't even have a proper PS. Somehow i feel a well designed 16/44 may sound better than this.
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Old 18th August 2008, 08:06 PM   #3
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This is the info I found on Pacific Valve & Electric's site. It mentions jitter reduction a few times. Hope this is of interest?


New from MUSILAND - a PC powered USB
DAC called the LILO. What makes the LILO
so unique is Musiland has completely re-
written the USB bulk protocol which results in
much lower jitter than the common, jitter
prone adaptive protocol. The LILO also offers
DSP capability, advanced conversion
algorithm and accompanying driver that aims
to take full advantage of the newly designed
I/O capabilities of Windows Vista, yet, the
LILO software is flexible enough to operate
efficiently in the XP / 2003 environment.

The LILO uses the advanced German
MICRONAS USB2.0 sensor to drive the USB
programmable controller. Firmware,
specifically built by MUSILAND, fully taps the
potential of the DSP hardware. MUSILAND
pushes the limit with the high performance
24-Bit High independent Burr-Brown codec,
the PCM3010. The MUSILAND LILO also
controls power through an advanced power
purification technology to ensure that as
much as 3 V RMS (8.5V MAX) analog output
level. The LILO has a CIRRUS LOGIC high-
performance CS8420 as an SPDIF digital
transmitter and high-precision optical digital
output.

The LILO software driver is a great and easy
to use software console with up sampling,
volume control, equalizer, bass balance
control and loudness control. The LILO
software and the driver act in tandem to
reduce jitter by redundantly sending packets
and hand shaking on the best ones that it
sees.
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Old 18th August 2008, 09:00 PM   #4
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Very interesting. Thanks. Certainly needs a proper PS and clock but it may turn out to be a real bargain.
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Old 19th August 2008, 09:28 PM   #5
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Are you saying the clock in it is not a good one, or are you saying you don't know which clock it has, but it would need to be a good one to make it a worth while purchase over something like the HagUSB?

Is it possible to fit an external PSU to this unit?

Things like the HagUSB run off the USB port and are considered decent devices, so why can't the Lilo?

It would be nice if someone could may be work out a way of using batteries with it.
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Old 19th August 2008, 11:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kane Williams

Things like the HagUSB run off the USB port and are considered decent devices, so why can't the Lilo?


It may be decent used with the HagDac which has a very efficient clock recovery. On its own it's quite mediocre.

The 12MHz clock shown on the Lilo board does not inspire too much confidence. In fact the only part which seems interesting is the custom USB chip. $60 may be a very good price for that chip alone as everything else will have to be redesigned to meet some basic quality requirements anyway. Or in any case that's what i would do.
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Old 20th August 2008, 09:52 AM   #7
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Ok, thanks for that info. I'm not actually a DIY person, but I am interested in what you "modders" do.

Looking at the board then, are you sayng you would consider designing a whole new board and just "steal" the USB chip from the Lilo, or do you think replacing other components on their board will result in a decent product?

How much time, effort and money would it result in?

I'm more interested in using the USB to SPDIF aspect of the Lilo above it's DAC capabilities (this is just abonus for use with my laptop). In your opinion, would replacing the clock and adding a good PS be enough to get top quality audio, when used in conjunction with a good ext DAC, such as my Xindak DAC-5?

May I ask a few tech questions?

1. I have been told that jitter can only be measured at the analogue outputs. Is this true?

2. If this is true, does this not mean that in some designs, the DAC may be the main cause of jitter and that before the signal goes through the DAC, it may have been low in jitter? I'm guessing a good clock is still required for low jitter, even in the didital domain?
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Old 20th August 2008, 01:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kane Williams

How much time, effort and money would it result in?


This is completely irrelevant to me. And i am not a "modder" in the sense that i enjoy building and not modding. Diy very seldom saves money, let alone time and effort. If you want great deals buy used high quality stuff from Audiogon - diy cannot (usually) produce the same value as used, sorry. But it's fun.

As far as jitter goes, very few of us can actually measure it and even fewer can make sense out of the measurements. To me this boils down to following empiric rules which hopefully minimise it. And yes, the dac chip itself would show varying immunity to jitter but it's always a good idea to try and minimise it at every stage.

The clock i was talking of has no effect directly on the dac. It provides 12MHz for the USB decoding and has indirect effect upon the output jitter. The 2707 chips i use for usb are sensitive to the quality of this clock. It seems the Lilo is not using the dreaded isohronous protocol, which us, diyers are commonly forced to use and may in theory be capable of much higher performance. Whether this is true or not i cannot say without actually trying the chip out. Too many possibilities for things to go wrong.

Improving PS is always a good idea. Improving the clock in this case may have no effect at all. Using spdif at any stage is something i religiously try to avoid. Especially the double conversion in this case. Surely there are I2S signals available in the Lilo which you can connect to your dac.
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Old 20th August 2008, 02:59 PM   #9
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I bet it's fun!

I'd love to modify or make my own gear and I'm sure one day I'll have a go at something like a mic pre amp (probably buy a kit). I have no electronics expertise or anything, so it's a bit daunting.

My DAC only has coaxial or optical SPDIF iputs, so how would I go about trying to get I2S into that? Are people making of modifying DAC's with I2S inputs?

I am tempted to buy the Lilo and compare it to the HagUSB into my Xindak DAC-5. If it is as good with 16/44.1 audio, I would sell my UNUSED HagUSB.

May be down the line, people will come up with some mods for it?
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Old 20th August 2008, 04:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kane Williams

I am tempted to buy the Lilo and compare it to the HagUSB into my Xindak DAC-5.

I am tempted to encourage you Very curious how it compares. And whether hidef does indeed sound better through it.

The CS8420 is capable of accepting three different data formats from the USB chip, only one of which is I2S. Other than measuring or just trying this out i cannot offer any way to know for certain it indeed is I2S. Unless, of course it is working in hardware mode 2 and then it's trivial to see the input data format from the board.

Your Xindak has an AD1852 dac, fed either from an ASRC or an input receiver chip. Comparing the pin connections to the datasheet will let you know if it gets I2S data but this is very likely. You then have a choice of either cutting pcb tracks (ugly) or (hopefully) just desolder several series resistors along the I2S lines. The I2S link cannot run long distances; more than 15cm is actually pushing it. It may be possible though to integrate the USB decoder chip inside the DAC case.
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