Digital Transports - USB Solutions, CD and SD Players, DAPs, and More!

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Hands, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. drez

    drez Acquaintance

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    Don't get me started on magical fix-it boxes. We are now in the second wave of USB tweaks IMO. The first wave we had full speed galvanic isolation, devices to fix the USB power, and some inline filters. Now with Jitterbug, Wyrd and Regen, there is a new wave of USB tweaking terror. Most of what I gather is the general approach is to jam as many of these devices as possible which doing little to improve the computer at one end or the DAC at the other. If one box doesn't fix it - just add more boxes.

    Thankfully I am cured of the madness and could see through the first wave devices as soon as I put them in my chain and took on a puzzled expression as the sound just became softer and a little more laid back, and lost micro detail. Maybe I just needed to add more of the devices and that would fix it LOL. The degree of turd polishing is amazing - not saying that USB is a turd - just that the limitations of a source and a DAC should not ideally be fixed by jamming reclocking boxes in the signal path. Thankfully my DAC has an USB input that surpasses external D/D so I have nothing to gain.

    Medical practitioners have the right mentality. First do no harm.
     
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  2. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

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    Okay, first impressions of the Rednet 3 (mirrored from HF):
    • Holy crap, this is twice as big as my mind's eye told me it would be.
    • Why the hell did they give me a brand new device with firmware so old it won't be recognized by what they tell me to download?
    • Ugh, what a pain in the butt, this is taking forever, give me my music.
    • Wait, after my manual firmware update you're updating the firmware again? Amateur hour.
    • I regret my purchase. This is gigantic and a sloppy user experience.
    • Okay, finally, it looks like I've made progress and just need to click a couple of channels to get things working.
    • God damnit it sounds great.
    • Time to hook it up to my Sonic Frontiers SFD-1 MKII... wtf, they don't include the DB25 AES breakout cable? Grumble.
    Currently I'm just pumping 192kHz S/PDIF to my MHDT Labs Canary of all things because that's what I had hooked up. It may very well sound better than the Mutec MC-3+USB. I'm honestly afraid to chain that after the Rednet 3 now because I don't want to keep both.

    [​IMG]

    Dayum.

    I technically built my machine for gaming first and audio second, but that translates to great audio performance as well.

    Sample Rate: 192kHz
    Dante Latency: 4ms
    Buffer: 128 samples
    Encoding: 24 bits / sample
    Asio Latency: 1 ms
    Rednet Latency: 150 microseconds

    My machine's relevant specs:

    CPU: Intel i7-4790K
    Motherboard: Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT
    RAM: 16GB G.Skill TridentX DDR3 2400
    Ethernet: Killer E2200 (Qualcomm Atheros)

    After a night of listening, I had one random dropout. I went to a link @atomicbob provided and changed a pair of settings in Windows and didn't get another all night. That said, I get zero dropouts ever with the Mutec MC-3+USB. If I get one dropout a night on Rednet, it's getting a week of tweaking effort then it's going away. The sound is outstanding, but I care a lot about things being rock solid as well.

    I believe @Clemmaster also picked up a Rednet device.
     
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  3. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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    So, to clarify. Rednet at $930 (or so) beats Mutec 3+ at $1040 or so? You know what this is asking for, right? CHAINING!!!!!
    Looking forward to your results, lol.

    Just madness.
     
  4. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar GUTB 3.1: Class A MOSFET and AKM396 4EVAR!

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    A transformer-coupled AES PCI card is only 600-700 bucks too.
     
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  5. Aklegal

    Aklegal Acquaintance

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    This is the direction I went. I got a Digigram vx222e sound card for $200 bucks used on ebay. I don't know if the AES output is transformer coupled or not but it sounds equal to the Rednet D16 that I tried out earlier this month and sounds better than any usb device I have had before. "Better" as in Audiophile diminishing returns "better" though.
     
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  6. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

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    I am honestly trying to convince myself that I don't need this Rednet 3. It sounds excellent, but I really wasn't expecting a full rack size device. I'm trying to make myself return or sell this thing and get back into AOIP after a more basic device exists.

    If someone wants a discount on a day old unit, feel free to try to push me over the edge via PM. ;) I'm still using the free trial of Dante so you'd still get the code.
     
  7. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

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    If you're in the market for a Rednet 3 ping me.
     
  8. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

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    My desktop looks so stupid right now...
    • Lynx E22 hidden in my computer
    • Mutec MC-3+USB
    • Focusrite Rednet 3
    • Mastech HY6003D Linear PSU
    • MHDT Labs Atlantis+
    • Garage1217 Project Horizon III
    • ampsandsound Mogwai
    Right now I'm comparing the E22 into the Mutec vs. the Rednet into the Mutec.

    The Lynx has a little more air to it, the Rednet has a little more oomph to it. On my favorite acoustic test tracks (William Carter, Le Calme: Fernando Sor Late Works), the Lynx has a bit more of a sustain and ring to string plucks. With the Rednet, I can feel the impact of the pluck more.

    So far, my impression of the sound of the Rednet is that it's overall better. Better separation and soundstage, and I quite like the impact. The Lynx is really not far behind. In some ways, I feel like it's actually more capable of rendering microdetail and letting me hear subtleties.

    In both cases, I feel like the sense of softness that I've come to recognize as a USB trait is completely gone. The only USB device I've used that largely does away with that fluffy feeling is the Mutec MC-3+USB.

    What has really surprised me in my latest audio journey is how much simply getting a digital signal to a DAC can influence sound. I'm not sure I'll ever be comfortable using USB direct into a DAC anymore.

    I am trying to convince myself to just stick with a Lynx E22 alone. It's so close in capability to the Rednet 3 and it's inside my PC. That said, the Rednet 3 might edge it out.
     
  9. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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    I'm out on USB alone, also. I've seen as a problem unless you have a reference, your own preference could lead you to liking one sound versus the other for a given piece of music. And when that music changes that preference could make the sound off. A reference always helps, I think. Otherwise its just one sound vs the other.
     
  10. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

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  11. kevnin

    kevnin #facetweeting - Friend

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    Great writeup - informative, entertaining, and well-written.

    My favorite line: "I couldn’t deal with the size or redness"

    I was planning to buy a Mutec 1.2 after hearing the loaner but now considering the Singxer SU-1 instead.
     
  12. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

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    If you grab one, there's a US distributor now:
    KitsuneHifi.com
     
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  13. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I wish I could send my D100 for others to try, but I'm not going to. I like it too much. It sounds like it might be up there with the RedNet, if I had to guess.
     
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  14. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

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    The D100 is on my eventual list to try.

    Does it do sample rate conversion?
     
  15. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    You mean like upsampling or what? As far as I can tell, it's bit-perfect, what you feed is what you get, etc. Maybe it applies dithering, but I'd have to test for that, and note that audio programs like JRMC apply dithering by default (according to the settings).
     
  16. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

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    So I'd have to downsample and convert to 44.1/48kHz to feed the Sonic Frontiers...

    When I get closer to trying one out I'll have to look into how to do that without loss.
     
  17. Artasia

    Artasia Friend

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    I wish you could try my microRendu. I guess it would be somewhere between the stock MC-3+USB and the Rednet/D100.Paired with the Mutec, it's a very nice setup, but together it is an admittedly costly solution. I purchased the Mutec thinking I would be done until impressions started rolling in indicating otherwise, which is why I wanted to try out the microRendu. I still think the Mutec is a really useful Swiss Army Knife type-device, but I would rank the microRendu above the Mutec, and that's with the cheapo iFi PSU (still waiting for my LPS). It is a breeze to setup and takes up a small footprint, unlike the Rednet. Thus, I could theoretically sell the Mutec but am stubbornly telling myself it does add something I would miss from my source. Because it can also be used as a reclocker, the Mutec's wide-ranging utility is difficult to let go. I am quite content with this setup for the time being.

    With that said, I'd really love to hear the Rednet, the D100, and MisterRogers uber-modded Mutec setup at some point.

    Oh, the madness...
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
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  18. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    I never thought I would read "guesses" as to how something would sound or rank on sbaf.

    Seems like what you would read elsewhere by newbies who describe a unit without ever actually hearing it...........

    Carry on
     
  19. Artasia

    Artasia Friend

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    Did you read Luckbad's link? Why don't you forget the word "ranking," which he used, then? Moreover, since I have not actually heard the Rednet (and he who has done the ranking does own the Rednet) but do own the Mutec and the microRendu, I would GUESS he would place the microRendu between the two, as my exchanges with Clemmaster, who has owned the microRendu and the Rednet, did. I am personally interested in where Luckbad would place it. I don't KNOW for certain where he would, but I can hypothesize. Maybe you don't care, but then just move on.

    There's no need to pass on a passive aggressive, condescending remark about it.

    Since Luckbad ranked the R3 higher than the Mutec 3+USB, and I would say the microRendu is above the Mutec 3+USB, perhaps he would find it fall between the two, which is all I was simply trying to say.

    /toggle passive aggressive remark

    "Carry on"
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
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  20. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    I am not trying to be hostile nor condescending, I just am expressing my disappointment with a style of writing which offers some guess worthy or conclusive placement without full first hand experience.

    I find it ironic that several posts throughout sbaf ridicule the folks on other forums for offering conclusions or recommendations without ever having first hand experience with the unit in question. That's all.

    I do enjoy reading about experiences from many here and the comparisons they have made first hand.
     
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