Jump to content
The Klipsch Audio Community
jwc

The rabbit hole of USB audio connection "upgrades"

Recommended Posts

Ok, I'll bite.  I've been doing PC based audio for about 12 years now.  Music playback is now the best I’ve had in this house...ever.  
 

I think I need to know more about what you have upstream from your Yaggi.  You've got Unison USB, so I suspect you've maximized your USB connection already.   Hanging dongles of various types on the cable between your PC and your DAC won't likely offer much if any bang for the buck.  Been there, done that.  I have found that the right PC...or better put...having the USB designed correctly inside the PC is a significant element in the chain.  
 

Are you using a laptop or a desktop PC?  A budget laptop can kill a good setup, and so can a cheap desktop.  The USB PCI card that has been linked above might not be necessary If the USB is already on its own bus inside your PC.

 

After that, Windows of any version is the least satisfying OS to use for music playback.  Linux has its issues as well, but one can get excellent results if you work at it a bit.  Ubuntu Studio Linux was mentioned above.  I used that for a number of years with a program called “mpd”.  Truly excellent playback, and noticeably better than anything I ever experienced when using Windows 7 or 10.  I also used this setup for both music and some movie/TV audio as you currently do. 
 

Lately I've become fond of a Linux variant called Daphile.  Daphile is what you get when you mate Logitech's Music Server software with Linux.  https://www.daphile.com/   It's a project run by one guy, so if God forbid he ever dropped of the face of the earth the user community would be SOL.  However, Daphile let’s you playback from multiple sources (connected USB drive, network drive) as well as services like Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz and Spotify.  Daphile is setup to run on your PC or laptop, but playback is controlled by your tablet or smartphone, or any other PC on the same network.  The sound is quite simply the best I've ever enjoyed here at home.  
 

So, I'd suggest visiting choice of PC and operating system first before messing with anything else. Also, the good thing about Ubuntu Studio and Daphile is that they're free to use, so trying them as potential solutions will cost you nothing.  However, if they work for you and improve your listening experience as I suspect they might, you might consider making a donation.  
 

if you go down this path, please keep us posted.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, whell said:

Ok, I'll bite.  I've been doing PC based audio for about 12 years now.  Music playback is now the best I’ve had in this house...ever.  
 

I think I need to know more about what you have upstream from your Yaggi.  You've got Unison USB, so I suspect you've maximized your USB connection already.   Hanging dongles of various types on the cable between your PC and your DAC won't likely offer much if any bang for the buck.  Been there, done that.  I have found that the right PC...or better put...having the USB designed correctly inside the PC is a significant element in the chain.  
 

Are you using a laptop or a desktop PC?  A budget laptop can kill a good setup, and so can a cheap desktop.  The USB PCI card that has been linked above might not be necessary If the USB is already on its own bus inside your PC.

 

After that, Windows of any version is the least satisfying OS to use for music playback.  Linux has its issues as well, but one can get excellent results if you work at it a bit.  Ubuntu Studio Linux was mentioned above.  I used that for a number of years with a program called “mpd”.  Truly excellent playback, and noticeably better than anything I ever experienced when using Windows 7 or 10.  I also used this setup for both music and some movie/TV audio as you currently do. 
 

Lately I've become fond of a Linux variant called Daphile.  Daphile is what you get when you mate Logitech's Music Server software with Linux.  https://www.daphile.com/   It's a project run by one guy, so if God forbid he ever dropped of the face of the earth the user community would be SOL.  However, Daphile let’s you playback from multiple sources (connected USB drive, network drive) as well as services like Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz and Spotify.  Daphile is setup to run on your PC or laptop, but playback is controlled by your tablet or smartphone, or any other PC on the same network.  The sound is quite simply the best I've ever enjoyed here at home.  
 

So, I'd suggest visiting choice of PC and operating system first before messing with anything else. Also, the good thing about Ubuntu Studio and Daphile is that they're free to use, so trying them as potential solutions will cost you nothing.  However, if they work for you and improve your listening experience as I suspect they might, you might consider making a donation.  
 

if you go down this path, please keep us posted.  

I only stream now and also play full scale video streaming as well.  I no longer need a music server and software to play my owned music files.

 

You and Bruce have brought up the idea of linux operating system variants.  I never gave this a thought so I do need to look into this.

 

This particular PC has a decent name brand power supply.  There is no CPU fan.

http://global.shuttle.com/products/productsSpec?productId=1707

I have two slots available for a USB card variety if needed.  I had a professional EMU sound card that occupied those two spots and worked very well.  It was to play my music storage of FLAC files.  That card Can't do the higher resolution available today.

 

upstream......just this PC with USB out to Yggy with a cheap cable.  Also a Cabinet with some good Bourbon.

 

I have a Youtube Premium (no TV) account and stream music and music videos from here.

 

I was to entertain other packages such as Tidal in the future as they have expanded there video selections.   Thing I can't fix is my Super $hitty Bandwidth.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/16/2021 at 9:09 AM, rplace said:

I don't understand why anyone would use a USB output from a computer anymore.

Well it's super convenient for one reason.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, jwc said:

I only stream now and also play full scale video streaming as well.  I no longer need a music server and software to play my owned music files.

 

You and Bruce have brought up the idea of linux operating system variants.  I never gave this a thought so I do need to look into this.

 

This particular PC has a decent name brand power supply.  There is no CPU fan.

http://global.shuttle.com/products/productsSpec?productId=1707

I have two slots available for a USB card variety if needed.  I had a professional EMU sound card that occupied those two spots and worked very well.  It was to play my music storage of FLAC files.  That card Can't do the higher resolution available today.

 

upstream......just this PC with USB out to Yggy with a cheap cable. 

 

Hard to tell without looking at the guts, but just looking at the pics of your PC I suspect the USB inputs are on their own bus.  This should be all you need, and I suspect you'd see limited if any benefit from an expensive USB card. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/16/2021 at 9:11 AM, Shakeydeal said:

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

 

Maybe.  I also own a Node 2i, haven't tried a Lumin and it wouldn't make sense in my setup since my system includes a Benchmark DAC 2 already to handle digital conversion and preamp duties.  Bought the Node 2i just because I thought it could replace the PC in my system.  It sounded good, and for some folks it will certainly add simplicity and flexibility.  Did it "greatly improve my sound"?  No, not at all.  A properly setup PC with Daphile at least equals it...subjectively I think the Daphile setup is sonically superior.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, whell said:

Maybe.  I also own a Node 2i, haven't tried a Lumin and it wouldn't make sense in my setup since my system includes a Benchmark DAC 2 already to handle digital conversion and preamp duties.  Bought the Node 2i just because I thought it could replace the PC in my system.  It sounded good, and for some folks it will certainly add simplicity and flexibility.  Did it "greatly improve my sound"?  No, not at all.  A properly setup PC with Daphile at least equals it...subjectively I think the Daphile setup is sonically superior.  

Were you using the Node DAC or external DAC?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, CECAA850 said:

Were you using the Node DAC or external DAC?

I did try the Node DAC.  Ultimately the Node 2i feeding the DAC in my Benchmark DAC 2 was more satisfying.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, whell said:

I did try the Node DAC.  Ultimately the Node 2i feeding the DAC in my Benchmark DAC 2 was more satisfying.  

Streaming to a quality outboard DAC seems to be the best option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, jwc said:

Also a Cabinet with some good Bourbon.

 

That usually helps the sound quality...

 

9 hours ago, jwc said:

Thing I can't fix is my Super $hitty Bandwidth

 

You mean your ISP? We two options for gigabit to the desktop here. One is ATT, the other out local power utility. Price is the same for each, although ATT told us the will never raise the price once we got it. We are trying it, and could switch if the raise rates on the phones too much. The local power utility actually has superb service.

 

My linux PC (one of them), gets over 750 mbit on downloads... the Win10 and Windows Server 2019 not as good, but I haven't worked on tweaking much yet.

 

Bruce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/16/2021 at 10:27 AM, jwc said:

So the point of Jitter .....  that is a point of discussion but keep USB and not convert.

 

BTW...I really don't have an "issue".  Not a problem.  Just getting ideas for improvement with this connection.

Clock jitter itself is tough to measure because it occurs in the Pico Second range. All the resultant anomalies are typically 120db down in the high end of the 20-20Khz. audio range, to which, we are not very sensitive, if at all. Much ado about nothing, like most Audio BS nowadays.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been using optical for a couple months now w/o any issues I can hear. Spotify through '09iMac/Schiit Modi3+/Fisher 440T/klipsch R610f. I do have a good internet connection so it could contribute to my satisfaction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, geezin' said:

Been using optical for a couple months now w/o any issues I can hear. Spotify through '09iMac/Schiit Modi3+/Fisher 440T/klipsch R610f. I do have a good internet connection so it could contribute to my satisfaction.

How are you getting optical from the iMac?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, whell said:

I did try the Node DAC.  Ultimately the Node 2i feeding the DAC in my Benchmark DAC 2 was more satisfying.  

Can you stream Youtube videos with these?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, jwc said:

How are you getting optical from the iMac?

 

I think the 1/8 inch headphone jack also has an optical connex in it. I believe a cable like the one here ... (it should tell in the iMac manual. MacBooks as well)

 

https://www.amazon.com/KabelDirekt-TOSLINK-Optical-Digital-Audio/dp/B00GZQWM54/ref=asc_df_B00GZQWM54/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=194017009123&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=6153980745020955687&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9013290&hvtargid=pla-309635895016&psc=1

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, jwc said:

How are you getting optical from the iMac?

 

 

The audio out is dual purpose. Has a Toslink with the proper cable as well as headphone output. Not all iMacs have it and the ones that do are a well kept secret apparently. Takes this cable to work. The 3.5mm is a little longer than the standard and activates the optical on my iMac.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, geezin' said:

 

 

The audio out is dual purpose. Has a Toslink with the proper cable as well as headphone output. Not all iMacs have it and the ones that do are a well kept secret apparently. Takes this cable to work. The 3.5mm is a little longer than the standard and activates the optical on my iMac.

Yep, I got one and it works great. But I sold the unit I bought it for. Kind of like I have winter tires for a car I no longer own! LOL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/17/2021 at 4:28 PM, jimjimbo said:

so is this, so what?

 

moosehead-canadian-beer.jpg.5e1733a13425ccb2e3f989b37d0b78b9.jpg

 

Too many Moosehead... give you Moosehead! 🤕

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...