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Old 3rd September 2012, 04:49 PM   #1791
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Hi everyone,

Several days ago I've purchased an 24/192 USB-I2S async module and I've installed it on my Buffalo II dac. The module uses a separate power supply(Placid HD). Everything works fine with USB module, until I use the switch to change from I2S to SPDIF. After I do that, strange noise (suspected gnd loop!!!) is coming out. If I disconnect the P/S of USB(power down the module), the SPDIF works fine. So, my question is: how can I fix this?

Thanks.
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Old 18th September 2012, 01:34 AM   #1792
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Old 2nd November 2012, 06:15 AM   #1793
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I am considering some changes to my existing BII DAC. Can anyone let me know whether they have noticed a big difference going from a SPDIF input to I2S? I have a good soundcard driving the spdif (Auzentech Prelude) of the DAC through an isolation transformer. I would like to think the soundcard has a good quality spdif output, but don't know how to check its jitter performance. I have been thinking of going to an asynchronous USB input from either Lorien or exadevices.

Also, has anyone compared the digital volume control, which I am currently using the volumite for, to a Joshua Tree attenuator with an opamp buffer or equivalent? I am considering this as another upgrade too. I tested a fixed resistor voltage divider with AD797 buffer at low output levels and found it to be much better quality than with digital volume control, but that wasn't really a fair test. I had to use digital channel level matching in J River and output a 24 bit signal. So not directly comparable to the internal volume control at all.

I am hoping for a subjective quality assessment from people with experience with one of both of these questions. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by reactivepower; 2nd November 2012 at 06:18 AM. Reason: Fix grammar.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 10:54 AM   #1794
Goto is offline Goto  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reactivepower View Post
I am considering some changes to my existing BII DAC. Can anyone let me know whether they have noticed a big difference going from a SPDIF input to I2S? I have a good soundcard driving the spdif (Auzentech Prelude) of the DAC through an isolation transformer. I would like to think the soundcard has a good quality spdif output, but don't know how to check its jitter performance. I have been thinking of going to an asynchronous USB input from either Lorien or exadevices.

Also, has anyone compared the digital volume control, which I am currently using the volumite for, to a Joshua Tree attenuator with an opamp buffer or equivalent? I am considering this as another upgrade too. I tested a fixed resistor voltage divider with AD797 buffer at low output levels and found it to be much better quality than with digital volume control, but that wasn't really a fair test. I had to use digital channel level matching in J River and output a 24 bit signal. So not directly comparable to the internal volume control at all.

I am hoping for a subjective quality assessment from people with experience with one of both of these questions. Thanks in advance.
Hi

I can comment subjectively on both points. Just my opinions, of course.

USB-I2S will provide a good improvement in making music sound more natural and detailed compared to a typical SPDIF interface. I use the exadevice, but I know many people are getting great results using Lorien's device too. As long as the rest of the chain is up to it, you will hear further into the music. Having said that, the improvements are not as stark as some might expect, when feeding the Buffalo Dac, which I think demonstrates the excellent dejitter processes within the DAC itself.

The other question is not so easy to answer though. There are some very clean attenuators in the analogue domain and the Joshua Tree is a very good example. For me, running a balanced audio path, using the 64bit digital volume control within JRiver wins on every count. It's simpler, is less noisy and removes the need for a balanced attenuator (double the trouble and cost of single ended). But, digital attenuation works best when it doesn't have to drop lots of level - so it depends on the overall gain in the system, the efficiency of the loudpseakers, the size of the room, the levels you wish to listen at. I am happy as long as the slider in JRiver doesn't need to go below -58db (just above halfway on the graphic!). Any more attentuation and it begins to lose some impact to my ears. So I have engineered the gain in the rest of my set up so that I can get enough level to rock out, but not so much that I have to work in the higher attenuation zone.

Hope that helps

Mark

Last edited by Goto; 2nd November 2012 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 01:35 PM   #1795
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goto View Post
Hi

I can comment subjectively on both points. Just my opinions, of course.

USB-I2S will provide a good improvement in making music sound more natural and detailed compared to a typical SPDIF interface. I use the exadevice, but I know many people are getting great results using Lorien's device too. As long as the rest of the chain is up to it, you will hear further into the music. Having said that, the improvements are not as stark as some might expect, when feeding the Buffalo Dac, which I think demonstrates the excellent dejitter processes within the DAC itself.

The other question is not so easy to answer though. There are some very clean attenuators in the analogue domain and the Joshua Tree is a very good example. For me, running a balanced audio path, using the 64bit digital volume control within JRiver wins on every count. It's simpler, is less noisy and removes the need for a balanced attenuator (double the trouble and cost of single ended). But, digital attenuation works best when it doesn't have to drop lots of level - so it depends on the overall gain in the system, the efficiency of the loudpseakers, the size of the room, the levels you wish to listen at. I am happy as long as the slider in JRiver doesn't need to go below -58db (just above halfway on the graphic!). Any more attentuation and it begins to lose some impact to my ears. So I have engineered the gain in the rest of my set up so that I can get enough level to rock out, but not so much that I have to work in the higher attenuation zone.

Hope that helps

Mark
Does the exa have spdif out in so that you can compare directly? Here I have compared it directly with the i2s and spdif outs on both the Loriens WaveIO and M2Tech Evo. On both accounts, i2s was s definite step up and worth the effort. Not night and day, but certainly one step closer. Interestingly, the spdif switch on the BII doesn't change a thing. Maybe I just misunderstand it.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 06:07 PM   #1796
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Default My

experience suggests that you will be better off using the digital VC in the ESS 9018. Here is what I compared:
Using the B-II/Legato with its on board VC vs. Using my Ayre K5-xeMP preamp with its discrete switched resistor VC.
Using the volume control in the B-II was clearly superior to having the preamp in the chain, and remember, this is a Stereophile Class A rated preamp.

My system is gain matched such that I do not use more than around 20 dB of attenuation for critical listening.

Honestly, adding another gain stage, and a bunch of resistors and switches in the signal path sounds like a step backwards to me. The VC in the ESS chip operates at 48 bits, and is properly dithered, with any digital artifacts at -170 dB. This is going to be totally transparent unless you need huge amounts of attenuation.

Get rid of your sound card, any sound card like that which includes clocking onboard (for SPDIF or I2S out) is going to have a lot of jitter, as the power supply is coming from the computer, and any clock powered by a computer supply is going to be compromised. Clocks need a clean power supply to perform well. Maybe you should try a separate isolated low noise power supply for your sound card first-I suspect high jitter from your sound card is going to obscure the results of listening for other things (like volume control differences).
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Old 2nd November 2012, 06:54 PM   #1797
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Hmm. Thanks for the comments. I wonder what Russ/Brian use since they have access to both. IIRC Russ also said he uses the digital volume control...
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Old 2nd November 2012, 06:56 PM   #1798
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I have heard that Ayre preamp too. That's a nice unit. I think that's one of the items that started to get me thinking of upgrades. Honestly, I love the sound of the relay switched attenuator.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 07:02 PM   #1799
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Default yup...

Quote:
Originally Posted by reactivepower View Post
I have heard that Ayre preamp too. That's a nice unit. I think that's one of the items that started to get me thinking of upgrades. Honestly, I love the sound of the relay switched attenuator.
The Ayre is a good unit, and now mine is making someone else happy, as I sold it because my system sounded better running direct from my Buffalo into my Pass X150.5 using the Buffalo onboard volume control. For me, DAC direct was clearly better with no downsides. Of course, if one has analog sources, then one may actually need a preamp. I prefer a single source system and less stuff in the way of the music.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 07:14 PM   #1800
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We both prefer digital volume in the ES9018.
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