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The rabbit hole of USB audio connection "upgrades"


jwc
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I use the USB connection of my PC audio digital source to my Schiit Yggy.  

 

There are an endless number of products to improve this connectivity especially coming from a PC.   This included "isolaters", "grounders", "cables, "hubs", "ie......   I have no plans to change my source such as a "silent pc" or doing the whole raspberry thing.  Also I don't wanna start the Roon endpoint stuff either.  I wanna keep my custom made PC with USB audio.  

 

I've read on other forums the long threads on this subject.  Let me first throw out there.....Yes I get it if you think the data connection is just "1" and "0" s.  I don't really need to hear this argument again as there are certain individuals who refuse to listen.  If that is your opinion.....so be it.  I'd like to entertain some reasonable investment into this from those that have experience.  No I'm not talking about a $1000 USB cable.  I'm not doing that.  I am interested in purchasing some items to possibly improve the results from cables to other inserted gadgetry in the connection line.

 

jc

 

 

 

 

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Do the AudioQuest DragonFly DAC/headphone amplifiers fit in your ideal signal path, or did I misunderstand your question?  Whenever I’m using my headphones to listen to a digital source with a USB or Lightning or Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 socket, I almost always reach for one of the DragonFlys (I have the Black, Red(with JitterBug), and Cobalt.  Support your local hi-fi shop, right?), because they really improve the sound.

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Isn't what you are referring to a USB DAC that converts to a 1/8 inch mini plug? 

 

I already have a DAC..... so I want to send my computer signal to my DAC with USB cabling. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I get where you are coming from, but I haven't tried any of the the external DACs, etc., except I do use audio interfaces to put analog audio INTO my computer, for recording myself/friends. So I can also play back thru said devices. The ones I use all sound good too me, but they weren't high end, so I don't have the experience to say what a higher priced DAC would bring to the table. Sooo, the audio interfaces I have don't even say what chips are used.

 

And I use pretty much whatever usb cable I have on hand.

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Now that is very interesting. I have considered a USB card out.

 

Have you tried one or heard of one that is good?

 

I have several spare computers laying around and I would certainly consider trying Linux.   I've used Linux in the past and what currently is a good download operating system that would have included drivers upon installation such as motherboard chipsets?

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27 minutes ago, jwc said:

Now that is very interesting. I have considered a USB card out.

 

Have you tried one or heard of one that is good?

 

I have several spare computers laying around and I would certainly consider trying Linux.   I've used Linux in the past and what currently is a good download operating system that would have included drivers upon installation such as motherboard chipsets?

I use Ubuntu Studio, which comes with lots of video and audio software. It even was able to drive a Playstation USB camera that was 15 years old... 

https://ubuntustudio.org/

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Is the goal to improve the sound by removing the noise? But the constraint is the source of the noise (the PC) has to remain? Furthermore, a Rpi solution like allo digione or hifiberry digi+ pro is not an option because your not "doing the whole raspberry thing". If so have you considered a DDC from Denafrips to sit between your PC and DAC? 

https://www.denafrips.com/ddc

 

If I'm wrong above, what are you trying to accomplish over your current configuration?

 

I'm assuming USB out from the computer, please correct me if I'm wrong. What would be the input to the DAC SPDIF/I2S/AESEBU/OPT?

 

 

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2 minutes ago, rplace said:

Is the goal to improve the sound by removing the noise? But the constraint is the source of the noise (the PC) has to remain? Furthermore, a Rpi solution like allo digione or hifiberry digi+ pro is not an option because your not "doing the whole raspberry thing". If so have you considered a DDC from Denafrips to sit between your PC and DAC? 

https://www.denafrips.com/ddc

 

If I'm wrong above, what are you trying to accomplish over your current configuration?

 

I'm assuming USB out from the computer, please correct me if I'm wrong. What would be the input to the DAC SPDIF/I2S/AESEBU/OPT?

 

 

 

I stream video with audio from the PC so I don't want to move onto the "berries".

 

The Denafrips appears to convert USB to other digital outputs before my DAC.  I would prefer to use the USB input on my DAC.

 

I'm not having a problem per se with what I am doing now.  The USB input on my Yggy seems to have a better detail and resolution than the SPDIF options.  However, a bit sterile or bright at times.  Using a cheap cable.  So I would like to keep this connectivity but wanted to hear options of those that kept this connectivity but invested and tried upgrades of this path.

 

For instance.....the USB card as stated above, or

IFI defender

IFI purifier

iFi Nano iGalvanic3.0

AudioQuest JitterBug

Intona USB 3.0 Galvanic Isolator

SOtM tX-USBhubIn

UpTone Audio USB Regen

USBe Perfect

tX-USBUltra

....and so on

And a plethora of different USB cable options that make design claims of benefit.

 

jc

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, jwc said:

The Denafrips appears to convert USB to other digital outputs before my DAC.  I would prefer to use the USB input on my DAC.

 

So you want USB out from PC to "some magic box" to USB input of DAC? To be more clear you are not trying to eliminate the USB as to what is feeding your DAC, correct? 

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Correct.  keep USB connectivity and consider "things" to make this "better".

 

When I asked Schiit regarding this question...they said a decent quality USB cable then your done.  However, ......yes I know of snake oil..... but there are forum theads and multiple reviews of those that have improved this connection with a variety of methods.

 

 

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With all the options for stand alone streamers these days, I don't understand why anyone would use a USB output from a computer anymore. You can greatly improve your sound by going with something like a Node 2i, or if more ambitious, something from Lumin or Innuous.

 

Shakey

 

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4 hours ago, jwc said:

Isn't what you are referring to a USB DAC that converts to a 1/8 inch mini plug? 

 

I already have a DAC..... so I want to send my computer signal to my DAC with USB cabling. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You don't have HDMI on your computer?  If so, just that and a $45 HDMI extractor that converts to optical.  I've found that with my DACS in the past it sounds better than usb.  High end DACs handle usb better but mid to low end DACs, not so much in my experience.

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3 minutes ago, CECAA850 said:

You don't have HDMI on your computer?  If so, just that and a $45 HDMI extractor that converts to optical.  I've found that with my DACS in the past it sounds better than usb.  High end DACs handle usb better but mid to low end DACs, not so much in my experience.

 

Very good point.  I've done that.  I used my oppo as an extractor then bought an extractor from Amazon to get me Coax SPDIF.  It was good...however, they did not have the resolution of the USB on this DAC.  I also have a optical out on my McIntosh Processor.

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20 minutes ago, jwc said:

It was good...however, they did not have the resolution of the USB on this DAC.

That's probably the difference in DACs, not delivery.  If you still have the extractor and an HDMI cable, you might try it.

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The Schiit Mani 3+ is a DAC, I realize you don’t need a DAC. But at $100 it is cheaper than most designer cables and it’s said to clean the USB of noise. I’m very happy with mine, it replaced my sound card as a connection to powered speakers and made a noticeable improvement over the sound card. I never compared it to bare USB and a competing DAC. 
 

I missed the fact that you have a Yggy. The new Yggy’s have the Unison USB circuit, does yours have that or can it be upgraded?

 

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"""The new Yggy’s have the Unison USB circuit, does yours have that"""

 

 

Yes I do.  It sounds different than the SPDIF...more clarity and resolution.  Can be a tad edgy on a few tracks though.  Probably because we have horns.  So I'm trying a little investment to get an ever so slight improvement.

 

 

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