USB PCIe cards

Discussion in 'Computer Audiophile: Software, Configs, Tools' started by jdev, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. jdev

    jdev Rando

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    Instead of pinning a Wyrd or Eitr with the task of fixing an imperfect USB port, I want to replace the port. I see a lot of USB 3.1 cards available with various chipsets but can't find any reviews beyond transfer speed with CrystalDiskMark, and even that is rare and hard to find. Is transfer speed a good indicator of accuracy/latency/jitter performance? This started out where I was gonna pop in a $15 Rosewill USB card with power direct from the PSU and now I'm looking at a $400+ JCAT FEMTO clock card. Plz halp
     
  2. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    For that money I'd be sidestepping USB altogether. What DAC? If it has spdif get an Eitr.
     
  3. jdev

    jdev Rando

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    Wouldn't Eitr benefit from a better source? Feels like an MP3 that I'm converting to FLAC.
     
  4. nithhoggr

    nithhoggr Author of the best selling novel Digital Jesus

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    That analogy isn't entirely accurate. An MP3 has had data permanently removed from it for the sake of file size; that data is permanently gone. The Eitr, however, as I understand it, is supposed to clear up jitter, which is more-or-less the digital signal being a little mis-timed. All the data's still there, it just needs to be re-synched.
     
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  5. Mshenay

    Mshenay Barred from loaner program. DON'T SEND ME GEAR.

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    No, the Etir IS a digital source, it's like asking "can I add gasoline to my gasoline to increase it's effectiveness" and again the answer is no, just plug it in to what ever crappy USB port you have and the Etir will provide a higher quality digital output to then be fed into your dac
     
  6. jdev

    jdev Rando

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    So there is still a benefit to upgrading the source USB port but it is limited to decreased lag?
     
  7. Mshenay

    Mshenay Barred from loaner program. DON'T SEND ME GEAR.

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    NO, there is no benefit to upgrading the USB source you intend to plug the Etir into
     
  8. jdev

    jdev Rando

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    That cannot be true. Eitr cannot ressurrect a totally dead port. Therefore there is a limit to what Eitr can do. Before ports die, they operate further and further out of spec. Where is that line? Does Eitr really produce perfection from a port approaching death?
     
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  9. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    (stabs eyes with fork)
     
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  10. thegunner100

    thegunner100 Hentai Master Chief

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  11. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    wrap the usb cable to the Eitr about 5-7 times through a ferrite and hear what the eff happens.

    You still want to argue that the source does not matter?
     
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  12. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    If a USB port is totally dead, it wouldn't transport data... therefore if your USB port is fucked, no it won't resurrect anything. But if your port is working correctly (regardless of the type), it's not going to improve the data transfer. The transfer is going to work or it is not. I would honestly check your computer settings to ensure the USB output on that port is a full 5V and 500mA.

    I would also heed you to forget about getting an "audiophile" grade USB port or what have you, and focus on a quality ethernet transport or Lynx AES16 (et al.) PCI card with an AES breakout cable. You can then get a simple transformer that will take XLR -> BNC from Sescom or Neutrik, and use that for a coax input (and get a BNC->RCA adapter if required for a buck or two).

    I can certainly understand how USB can drive some mad to establish the cleanest/best signal but in the end you need to accept that it is simply not the best method and don't spend oodles of money trying to turn it into something it is not. I have not tried the Schiit Eitr or Gen5 but enough people seem to think it reaches the pinnacle of what USB is capable of, so I would just go with that and call it a day at $150 USD or whatever it costs.

    If the Eitr doesn't work, it simply means that your USB port is broken to being with.

    Unless you're into DNA amps, thousand dollar DACs and a pair of Utopias, I would suggest that from personal experience the money could be better spent elsewhere (ie: a savings account for better "fun" gear). It's been said before but worth mentioning again, this is to get you that last 1-5% and the change will be subtle at best.
     
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  13. nithhoggr

    nithhoggr Author of the best selling novel Digital Jesus

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    I mean, yes, in extremis, if your USB ports are dead or dying, there would be audio issues that the Eitr couldn't deal with. However, if you suspect your USB ports that bad, any cheap PCIe card should suffice to get you new ports working in spec, assuming your PCIe slots are still working OK on your apparently dying motherboard. Basically, if you really want to be 100% sure that your USB is performing up to spec, you could get the $15 Rosewill card, since there's really no reason to suspect that the $400+ card will make a difference for something like the Eitr. (Since the Eitr is really just doing the same job as the $400 card is doing anyway, and doing it for cheaper) However, there's probably no reason for it...it seems quite doubtful that even audiophiles could detect an audible difference between a functional USB port that's a few years old and a new one. And, really, if your ports are dying, why would you trust your PCIe more than your USB ports?
     
  14. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    That people think such an argument is even logical, let alone valid, is mind-blowing.

    Adding a supercharger to your car won't increase horsepower if the engine is ceased, genius. FFS
     
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  15. jdev

    jdev Rando

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    More like, the supercharger will work but won't be as effective if the transmission is stuck in first gear.
     
  16. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    If I decided to smash my fully functioning computer with a sledgehammer (for science) how many whacks would it take before the Eitr no longer passed a proper signal?
     
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  17. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    licking machine.png
     
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  18. GraveNoX

    GraveNoX Rando

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    I recommend a USB 3.1 PCIE card only if you don't already have it on the motherboard. USB on laptops are very bad (because lack of space) so it should be avoided.
    I have a motherboard with USB 2.0 (4 of them), USB 3.0 (8 of them), USB 3.1 (2 of them).
    Chord Mojo which is very susceptible to interference, sounds bad on USB 2.0, better on 3.0 and way better on 3.1. Optical sounds better than any USB, but a bit grainy.
    If you want to go this way, I recommend Renesas/Asmedia chipset with 2 ports maximum. A $30 card will work just fine.
    Lets assume you have 4 USBs on chipset X and you plugged your keyboard/mouse etc in the same chipset, your DAC will capture interference from the plugged in devices, so you need to use only 1 port and 1 DAC/chipset/card.

    Another way is to add EMI filters on power cables(10khz-30Mhz filtering) and RFI filters (10khz to 30mhz and up to 3Ghz filtering).
    Or many ferite chokes on all cables: USB, power cables (not for analog cables).

    I don't want to mention audiophile filters that increase price by 1000% just because it's for audiophiles and it looks nice on the table.
     
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  19. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Wow, that is quite revealing, thanks for the assessment.

    When I had my Mojo I might have gotten just a tiny bit better performance on the usb 2.0 vs 3.0. In fact on my main setup I disabled 3.0 due to its reputation for high rfi. Not really sure if that made any difference at all. Tempted to try a pcie card though to hear if it is any better than the built in usb ports. Nice thing is nothing else is on my usb ports or hubs other than the dac and mouse on another hub that gets pulled for serious listening. And I had no problems with Mojo on either setup.

    I too have ferrites on all sorts of switcher power cables, haha

    On the Renesas/Asmedia is that either chipset and do you feel 3.0 is fine or go for 3.1?
     
  20. GraveNoX

    GraveNoX Rando

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    I assume 3.1 is better because requires more capacitors from the manufacturers to include because of more amps and that filters more noise. Any DAC should work because is backwards compatible.

    On an older build, yes, somehow USB 2.0 sounded a little better.

    Try an extended power cord with multiple outlets that has something in specifications as "EMI filter" and you get better sound on anything you plug into it. Even the built-in speakers on a monitor will sound better using an EMI filter. I know the digital is digital, but it made big difference in my house.

    On a PCIE card, try without power supply cable connected. That cable is used only for high transfer speeds when using external HDDs. Also the power supply includes an EMI filter at the entrance, like this http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/filter.html

    Almost everything in your house includes EMI filter: washing machine, fridge, air conditioners etc just because the law enforce them, but it's something stardard to meet requirements of polution. For high sound quality, it's better to use as many as possible, or a big one.

    Found out that new buildings after '96 should include a big amperage emi filters before the entrance in your house (depends on the house). If you have your own house, you can do whatever you want with the electricity. Also many decent EMI filters are symmetrical so they filter noise that comes from your power provider and noise that comes from devices in the house.If it's put only at the PC, it will filter only the PC and some devices connected to it.

    Also the USB cable matter a lot, don't use a mobile cable you had from a phone or whatever, use a proper shielded cable. A cheap cable acts like an antenna.

    Or just try optical with a $2 cable and forget about USB. Optical can be improved too, but it's expensive, it's mostly depends in the transceiver that sends the light and many devices/sound cards, use a cheap one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
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