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Frank1938

Toslink or USB?

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...Just listen!!

excellent advice. There are so many variables at play here that it makes my head tired. I read on the subject for many hours and have tried many different DACs over the last few years. You really have to find out for yourself given your specific system setup.

My final answer was to buy the best I could. While there are some great DACs that are cheap and take you 95% of the way, my favorite DACs include the MHDT Havana, but with Ayre, and Bel Canto sitting at the top of the heap. I apologize that this isn't answering the specific question. USB can give fantastic results. At some point it is all great and you are just talking about minutiae of greatness.

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It could be either your transmitting end (sound card/receiver/etc) or the receiving end (DAC) in your setup that makes you hear one digital method over the other sounds better. You should look into how these items channel signals. Different channels might get piped through different analog paths in the device.

For music..........any of the mentioned digital methods are plenty fast enough and since digital.......should produce the same exact signal at the receiving device. I don't subscribe that Toslink is "laid back" and USB is "something else"..........they are digital and identical and have no identity like that at the point of transmission. The difference in sound resides elsewhere either before they are transmitted..........or after they are received and converted (more than likely here).

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Good post, Mark. I know that USB used to be more problematic as of interrupts on the system buss. Firewire was, and still is, more stable and could handle more channels/datastreams.

The sound quality or character wouldn't be a part of the equation.

Bruce

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It could be either your transmitting end (sound card/receiver/etc) or the receiving end (DAC) in your setup that makes you hear one digital method over the other sounds better. You should look into how these items channel signals. Different channels might get piped through different analog paths in the device.

For music..........any of the mentioned digital methods are plenty fast enough and since digital.......should produce the same exact signal at the receiving device. I don't subscribe that Toslink is "laid back" and USB is "something else"..........they are digital and identical and have no identity like that at the point of transmission. The difference in sound resides elsewhere either before they are transmitted..........or after they are received and converted (more than likely here).

such logical thinking would have you skinned alive over on the Computer Audiophile forums. They argue down to the hard drive make/model and SATA cable details on what effects sound quality - it's so maddening to have guys with no real understanding of computers and data based music argue about minuscule details just so they can be on the same Audiophile plane as turntable guys.

It's not a 1:1 equipment configuration or experience going from analog to digital.

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Digital is digital..........there is no sound to it. I love it when I read some of these posts. Entertaining.

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uh yeah, digital is digital... but it is about what happens to it on the way from beginning to end. Yes, I can tell you that the hard drive you choose or playing your FLAC files from RAM can make a difference. Some SSD drives have some interesting latency issues. Even in so called "bit perfect" setups there can be differences.

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uh yeah, digital is digital... but it is about what happens to it on the way from beginning to end

Exactly, which is why I always like to try both Toslink and coaxial cables with new equipment, I almost always can hear a difference between the two and while the difference may not be from the cables directly something along the way does affect the sound.

Digital coaxial cable does carry more digital information than Toslink cable but this is supposed to not be anything that is able to be heard by the human ear. I believe the actual difference has more to do with something else and most likely is in either the sending or receiving component and not the cable itself. But I always recommend to listen to both and then decide because they usually do have a slightly different sound, the main differences I have noticed are in amounts of detail and also bass. I have much less experience with USB.

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It could be either your transmitting end (sound card/receiver/etc) or the receiving end (DAC) in your setup that makes you hear one digital method over the other sounds better. You should look into how these items channel signals. Different channels might get piped through different analog paths in the device.

For music..........any of the mentioned digital methods are plenty fast enough and since digital.......should produce the same exact signal at the receiving device. I don't subscribe that Toslink is "laid back" and USB is "something else"..........they are digital and identical and have no identity like that at the point of transmission. The difference in sound resides elsewhere either before they are transmitted..........or after they are received and converted (more than likely here).

such logical thinking would have you skinned alive over on the Computer Audiophile forums. They argue down to the hard drive make/model and SATA cable details on what effects sound quality - it's so maddening to have guys with no real understanding of computers and data based music argue about minuscule details just so they can be on the same Audiophile plane as turntable guys.

It's not a 1:1 equipment configuration or experience going from analog to digital.

Thaddeus:

You had offered to provide a short introduction to digital music at the next gathering. I think it would be very helpful for many of us. At some point I know I am going to want a server to link to my system.

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It could be either your transmitting end (sound card/receiver/etc) or the receiving end (DAC) in your setup that makes you hear one digital method over the other sounds better. You should look into how these items channel signals. Different channels might get piped through different analog paths in the device.

For music..........any of the mentioned digital methods are plenty fast enough and since digital.......should produce the same exact signal at the receiving device. I don't subscribe that Toslink is "laid back" and USB is "something else"..........they are digital and identical and have no identity like that at the point of transmission. The difference in sound resides elsewhere either before they are transmitted..........or after they are received and converted (more than likely here).

such logical thinking would have you skinned alive over on the Computer Audiophile forums. They argue down to the hard drive make/model and SATA cable details on what effects sound quality - it's so maddening to have guys with no real understanding of computers and data based music argue about minuscule details just so they can be on the same Audiophile plane as turntable guys.

It's not a 1:1 equipment configuration or experience going from analog to digital.

Thaddeus:

You had offered to provide a short introduction to digital music at the next gathering. I think it would be very helpful for many of us. At some point I know I am going to want a server to link to my system.

I'll put something together. I think it will be a primer on computer audio: the methods, the basic components, the technologies. I will avoid brands, prices, and HIFI theories as much as I possibly can.

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