USB Nervosa Thread Decrapifiers, pro interfaces, and bears oh my

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by zerodeefex, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    looks similar to the SESCOM AESEBU1 that @purr1n has recommended in the past, and that I used with success with a Pi2aes for awhile.
     
  2. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Sometimes the inputs can tolerate a simple direct adapter, but it's not just an impedance difference I believe there's a voltage difference as well.
     
  3. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

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    Hi folks,

    I have had the opportunity to recently review some state of the art clocking options from Mutec.

    [​IMG]

    This review was exclusively done on speakers, it was done as an experiment over several months with no expectation to purchase thanks to https://indiehifi.com.au/ once again for supplying the test equipment.

    Gear used:
    PC ROON or sft-1 SE+ cd transport usb/aes/spdif > mc3+ -ref10/rockna bal sig > ATC sca2 pre > ATC150ASLT in a purpose built listening room.
    DAC settings, Linear/Local/Dither OFF - I tested stream as well

    In this comparison between the Mutec mc3+ using the ref10SE as an external clock I spent several weeks at first comparing PC USB direct to my DAC, vs PC USB to the mc3+ reclocked and AES to the DAC.
    mc3+ is not capable of true bit perfect play back and is probably not the best DDC option so I found no improvement in SQ other than it was more inconvenient as I could not get ASIO to completely lock to it.
    It really wasn't better or worse.

    So I decided over this weekend to compare on my cd-transport which I've used for years as a reference. To see if re-clocking the signal would offer any benefit compared to just straight to the DAC,

    SPDIF direct to DAC vs AES to mutec/clock AES back to DAC

    Maybe there was a tiny bit more energy when using the Mutec XLR vs the spdif, but the more I switched back and fourth the more I felt that wasn't the case.
    So i switched it around:
    AES direct to DAC vs spdif to mutec/clock spdif back to DAC and I can't identify one from the other.


    So I detect no difference with usb from PC, no difference from AES or spdif from my cd-t transport.
    Who needs this product?
    I guess if someone needs a clock distributor for busier pro environments, in a hi-fi environment I think if you have a DAC that has poor clocking you should buy a better DAC rather than buy this combo at the asking price of something like 7kusd for the combo.

    Perhaps my system is not resolving enough, or my ears not good enough to detect the differences that actually do exist.

    Perhaps Rockna just doesn't get the potential improvements due to its design:

    "With these facts in mind, we designed for the Wavedream an advanced clock system called the femtovox. With femtovox in place, one is assured that only extremely small amounts of jitter are present at the dac conversion clock input. It’s unique architecture employs that conversion clock is directly synthesised at the dac input, without any conditioning, giving constant jitter performance at any sample rate. The conversion clock is controlled with 1 ppb precision, while exhibiting about 300 fS of jitter. The smallest jitter figure in the world? No. The smallest jitter figure where actually matters? Probably."


    I feel what is probably more likely true, is this product is unnecessary, at least in my situation. I don't have any other DACs to compare because it could of been fun to take a DAC with known jitter/clocking sensitivity and test to see if the mutec could resolve the issues.

    At least my clocking nervosa has been well and truly put to bed.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway I must apologise for not being very active over the last year, I haven't tested much new and have minimal interest in headphones now days. I will strive to make some useful community posts in 2023.

    May all the joys of the holiday season fill your heart and follow you throughout the coming year.
     
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  4. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Mutec MC-3+ is one of the few games in town if wanting to provide a Rubidium referenced digital audio data stream to components without word clock inputs. It was very useful for disciplining a Modi Multibit at a show years ago with very good results. Lately I have sending Rubidium disciplined LiveClock to word clock on Focusrite D16 and dispensing with MC-3+ with slightly better sounding results.
     
  5. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Main use of an external clock to me is to keep multiple devices in sync, not necessarily to be super accurate. I can maybe see an application with a transport -> DAC and connecting the clock to both.

    Where I really see this to be applicable is for for a multi-way system with DSP crossover. A 3-way system has 3 DACs plus miniDSP processor and possibly the source or ADC for analog source. That’s 5 digital devices that need to have an accurate clock to have coherent sound. Also for an over the top home theater system where all 7.1 channels have their own DAC

    Usually this is a 1-box solution which would already use the same clock, but if you want to use R2R DACs you’re not likely to find it.
     
  6. GoldenOne

    GoldenOne Friend

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    Whilst from a functionality standpoint the MC3+ is quite handy regarding clock distribution etc, it's worth noting two things:

    1) It is NOT bitperfect in all situations. I'm not sure exactly when it is/isn't but some configurations do have some digital processing involved. (And I don't just mean the DSD to PCM conversion, I mean PCM to PCM)

    2) Jitter performance was pretty mediocre ( https://goldensound.audio/2021/10/05/mutec-mc3-usb-ddc-reclocker-measurements/ ). far higher jitter than a much cheaper pi2aes for example. As well as most of the DDCs I've tested.
    I'm not sure how it may change when used with a 10Mhz clock, though regardless of whether you're running it standalone or with a 10Mhz input, it is being forced to use a fractional PLL due to neither the 1000Mhz internal clock or the 10Mhz clock being able to be divided into 44.1khz or 48khz base rates.

    Subjectively I didn't find it impressive either, and that was before measuring.
    Idk, it certainly seems it'd fill a use case in some professional environments, but for consumer/high end listening, it doesn't seem to be a great option imo
     
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    Last edited: Dec 19, 2022
  7. Huhnkopf

    Huhnkopf Friend

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    GoldenOne, is the Holo Audio Red Streamer your new reference now?
     
  8. Baten

    Baten Friend

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  9. GoldenOne

    GoldenOne Friend

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    At the moment the two best performing digital sources I've tested have been the Rockna Wavedream NET and the Holo RED. Both perform at very similar levels and within margin of error of eachother.

    But the Red is an order of magnitude cheaper so for me it's the current reference. (it also has more I/O functionality and higher sample rate support, though of course lacks the CD ripper and server features of the NET)
     
  10. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Almost "Made"

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  11. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    I use a small chinese "Xing AF200" box. Works very well, supposedly good clocks and ultra low jitter..
    The Singxer F-1 is pretty old.
     
  12. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Almost "Made"

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    Cool, thanks. That looks good. Would be nice if it didn't require power, but it is what it is! Any other devices that came up in your search similar? Cheers!
     
  13. jowls

    jowls Never shitposts (please) - Friend

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    White paper HD580 is also pretty old.
     
  14. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Check out the FiiO E10K. It's a USB headphone amp but it has a coaxial output as well and pretty cheap
     
  15. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Well for me it was either something like the Xing, iFi Zen Stream, Pi2Aes or the Holo Red (which is both DDC and streamer) but expensivee. Right now I've got both a Xing(USB DDC) and since this week, also a WiiM Pro(Streaming coax out).

    Good point of course. I love my HD580 to death. But this is digital so we've come a bit further since then IMO, especially with these XMOS-based converter devices.
     
  16. jowls

    jowls Never shitposts (please) - Friend

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    Some vintage DACs and digital equipment still shit on most of the stuff they release these days too ;).

    If you really just need galvanic isolation into your DAC then another simple inline solution is the Intona thing.

    https://intona.eu/en/products/7054
     
  17. tatsugiri

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    I had a wyred4sound recovery going to the USB (2013 xmos) of my Auralic Vega on exact clock mode for a few years before recently switching to a good ddc.

    If I stuck to 192khz or below it did actually add stability, to the point where I had to try and find desync scenarios instead of it just happening randomly, and it greatly improved sq all around. I used it with the stock psu most of that time, but added a 9v ifi ipower x for the last month or two it was in my system, which didn't seem to do much -- the Vega isolates itself from USB power afaik.

    The issues came about when I inserted a topping D10s as a ddc, with the recovery preceeding it in the signal chain and giving it power, just to see if a cheap DDC with an xmos xu208 fixes the Vega's USB issues (it does), and found it very harsh specifically when playing with sampling rates at multiples of 48khz -- multiples of 44.1khz were fine but less fleshed out than the Vega's USB was with the recovery. I blamed the topping and didn't think to take out the recovery at first, because of how well it had worked with the older xmos chip.

    I removed the w4s recovery, though, after seeing some different head-fi takes on it, powered the topping D10s with a 5v ifi ipower x routed through an ifi idefender+, and then 48khz multiples sounded exactly the same as 44.1khz, and stability was still perfect -- by this I mean I can keep the Vega on exact clock while the computer is under high loads or doing things very unoptimized for audio, but while having the fidelity spike the exact clocking brings.

    A douk u2 pro with femtoclocks rolled in and an ifi ipower x has the same stability and sounds a bit better than w4s -> Vega did.

    Conclusion being that I don't think in-line reclockers like the recovery make sense anymore. Maybe the pci-e USB cards with femtoclocks still make sense, idk, but the ddc solution is very good already.

    I know no one else is using an Auralic Vega, but my point is always that if it works on my setup, it's objectively very low jitter. Things that cause me severe issues may not jump out at those with DAC's that operate with less bigotry toward jitter, but it's still probably lowering your sq.
     
  18. tatsugiri

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    "The Line Lens" - advanced long-range USB transmission platform:

    PC -> ifi isilencer + --15ft powered USB 3.0 extension cable w/ifi ipower x + ifi ipower USB in its aux power port --> ifi idefender+ -> w/e short high-quality USB cable you like -> DAC or DDC

    (My config is 16ft long)

    I was talking about this setup without the isilencer + before, and how it actually works astoundingly well for how sensitive my DAC (Vega on EXACT) is to these things. The sound quality was already so good that I didn't think adding the isilencer + would do anything, but I tried anyways because it's a cheap tweak, and it actually did make an improvement!

    I don't know what ifi are talking about when they say it "rebalances" the signal, as it's not a reclocker, but I'm guessing that's the aspect of the tweak I'm hearing -- my DDC is already double-isloated from the 5V power and ground.

    The 15ft USB 3.0 extension (made for VR stuff) is actually pretty well-shielded and robust for its price. Since the isilencer + is cleaning up its male end and the signal attenuator at the female end has its own extremely-clean psu, I'm guessing it has exceptionally little work to do in preserving the signal.

    I should also add that I've tried it with an idefender + on each end (I own multiple), and that didn't sound any different from having just one idefender at the female end before the short good cable. I think the order of isilencer -> extension cable w/aux psu -> idefender is the only one that makes sense based on what the devices do.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2023
  19. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    The above is also my favorite part.

    do you think this USB Line Lens solution would be amazing at 10-15 meters?
     
  20. tatsugiri

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    I would guess so! I've seen the cables up to 50ft long.
     

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