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Old 18th July 2011, 03:29 AM   #1
ebinal is offline ebinal  United States
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Default Best USB->I2S Option?

Hi I just wrapped up a design that hit the market recently (playGo) and am working on the next generation follow up. I'm curious what the enthusiasts here recommend for us on the USB DAC? A lot of hype around the XMOS, is that best or the Via Envy or what else do you guys recommend? Our main goal is to support 96/24, 192 would be nice but could cause some design challenges because our product is wireless. Thanks for any feedback!
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Old 25th July 2011, 04:48 PM   #2
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Tenor TE7022L works up to 96/24. Example is Teradak X2. Personally I'd look at asynch devices. Musiland do some asynch usb devices up to 192/24. M2Tech Hiface can be hacked for I2s too so you could have a look at these for "inspiration" ;-) I like Wolfson dacs.

Your site has some very confusing info :

Audiophile quality 2-channel analog output
24-bit/96khz analog output (192kHz option)

Analog cannot have a sample rate or bit depth. You need to remove stupid stuff like this.

If you're using an asrc you should have fractions of ps jitter - upgrade your mclk.

Is the volume control in digital or analog ? If digital, what bit depth ? I'd want floating 32-bit. If analog, is it a crappy pot or something like pga2311 control ?

So really, is it audiophile or just mutton dressed as lamb ?

106dB dynamic range
-93dB THD+N

Hmmmm....not exactly impressive.

Sorry, but it comes across as a nicely packaged bit of average electronics.

Last edited by KlipschKid; 25th July 2011 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 28th July 2011, 02:25 PM   #3
ebinal is offline ebinal  United States
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Default Thanks for the reply!

Thank you for the detailed reply KlipschKid. I will definitely research the different 96/24 options you presented.

I also appreciated the feedback on the website, you are right on - there were some confusing points so we addressed all the points you raised and have updated the playGo.us website.

We definitely did have to hit a certain price point so we weren't able to put in the ultimate digital to analog conversion however it sounds fantastic and if you insist on better audio quality the upsampled digital output is mind blowing. Our friends at THIEL Audio are raving about the sound quality, find out more on their facebook page. I don't know any USB Audio devices out there, let alone lossless and wireless ones, that have a SRC419x and are under $500.

If playGo is not high-end enough then I recommend stepping up to our zoet line, zoetaudio.com.

Anyways please keep me posted if you have any other feedback or if you'd like to play with playGo!
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Old 28th July 2011, 03:18 PM   #4
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Hi,

The clock you use with the src4192 will have a direct impact on sound quality. I have tried lots of clocks and I can recommend the Euroquartz xo91 oscillators for a budget smd part with low jitter. Get the 10ppm one if the budget allows.
EUROQUARTZ|12.000MHZ XO91050UITA|OSC, 5X7MM, SMD, CER, 12.000MHZ | element14 Singapore
Good luck.
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Old 28th July 2011, 03:40 PM   #5
ebinal is offline ebinal  United States
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Agreed! We went through quite a design process while picking the clock - using our AP SYS2722 we tested a number of different oscillators. We ended up using a custom spec'd Oscillator from Transko - it's 50ppm but customized duty cycle that is almost an even 50/50 (just like the Euroquartz part you recommended). We compared the different PPM ratings within a few different lines of oscillators and saw that they were all almost the same. I think it's a yield based specification, most oscillators operate at a very stable level these days. Heat is the key to having a stable ppm, so we have a huge ground plane to dissipate the heat nicely. In any case the TIE rating (Time interval error) is 1.9 RMS picoseconds. TIE Jitter is the variation in the clock’s transition from its ideal position over many cycles.
For comparison, will definitely sample the Euroquartz oscillator you recommended too.
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Old 1st August 2011, 06:28 AM   #6
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Hi there.

Check out exadevices

I do think the exaui would be the best USB-I2S solution.
It'll cover all kind of sample rates and you can run multichannel at a good quality from what I read.

The only disadvantage from my perspective is the propriatary driver,
which is Windows only. On the other hand without that driver they
probably wouldn't have been able to achieve todays performance.

As long as these guys stay in the market you'll for sure will have support for the drivers. And IMO driver support is a key subject.


Cheers
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Old 1st August 2011, 06:48 AM   #7
Zoran is offline Zoran  Serbia
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google for Pico modules
ZP eng?
FW + USB
Win + OSX drv
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Old 1st August 2011, 06:59 AM   #8
Zoran is offline Zoran  Serbia
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ZP - digital audio & industrial designs
and i think there is one DM5 usb only
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Old 1st August 2011, 07:57 AM   #9
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One more.

One of the key features of the EXA unit is its galvanic isolation from the PC.
There are not very many devices out there that I'm aware of offering this IMO pretty important feature. You'll find it also in top quality commercial products. E.g. an Ayre QB9 is offering galvanic isolation fom USB.

The EXA jitter performance on I2S is acceptable. It's actually not that great due to the chip which takes care on galvanic isolation.
A typical catch 22 scenario. Though I think they are working on improving that situation. Howeever. There are quite some rather trustworthy
people over here raving about that device as it is today. Its overall performance can't be that bad.

Cheers
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Last edited by soundcheck; 1st August 2011 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 1st August 2011, 04:41 PM   #10
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Thumbs up ExaDevices USB-I2S & loTech DSD Player (beta)

I agree with soundcheck's recommendation of ExaDevices USB-I2S. Over the years I have heard numerous DACs in home and show settings. The ExaDevice is stable and reliable, the price is reasonable, and it is in the top tier of I2S performance, IMHO. It is my new personal reference for USB interface.

Recently, the company introduced a beta loTech DSD Player which allows DSD DIFF files to be played. I am converting my music library from WAVE to DSD DIFF which is an additional improvement in playback performance, IMHO .
(DSD Playback with exaU2I).
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