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The rabbit hole of USB audio connection "upgrades"


jwc
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I have been running my Mac Mini server for about 8 years or so now and I have always toyed with getting an audiophile USB cable but was  sure if they justify the price.

 

I  just run a decent computer grade USB cable (Gold Plated Belkin) out of my Mini into a Uptone Regen which is connected directly to the

back of my Musical Paradise MP-D2 DAC.

I have exclusively used Audirvana Plus as my music player on the Mac Mini.

I did try a couple other players but A Plus seemed to be my preference on the Mac, not sure if it would work as well with your PC?

 

I have been very happy with this set up and have had many compliments on how the Mini / MP-D2 play music.

 

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5 hours ago, HPower said:

Uptone Regen

Uh.  I wanna hear more about the difference that made.  I read good stuff on that.

 

jc

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4 hours ago, jwc said:

Uh.  I wanna hear more about the difference that made.  I read good stuff on that.

 

jc

Results are variable based on your DAC.  If your DAC already has a well implemented USB connection, you might hear no difference at all, or even possibly a reduction in sound quality.   If you've got an older DAC with a less than optimal DAC input, you might benefit from it.  In my case, it was the former.  I suspect a similar outcome with your Yaggi , which has the Unison USB input.  
 

The good news is that the units are easy to resell if you want to try one anyway.

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4 hours ago, whell said:

Results are variable based on your DAC.  If your DAC already has a well implemented USB connection, you might hear no difference at all, or even possibly a reduction in sound quality.   If you've got an older DAC with a less than optimal DAC input, you might benefit from it.  In my case, it was the former.  I suspect a similar outcome with your Yaggi , which has the Unison USB input.  
 

The good news is that the units are easy to resell if you want to try one anyway.

 

I now have the benchmark DAC2 as well and have been trying to sort my source out between a mini ITX pc (with some fans, gasp) over USB and a raspberry pi4 running RopieeeXL (both USB and a coax HAT). I've not been able to discern any difference in sound quality between all three connections when using fairly revealing headphones. When using the PC, I'm running the roon server directly on the device itself. When using the RPi I run Roon server on a dual Xeon workstation with 64GB of memory and the added galvanic isolation of communication via ethernet. No discernable difference there either.

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3 hours ago, Thaddeus Smith said:

 

I now have the benchmark DAC2 as well and have been trying to sort my source out between a mini ITX pc (with some fans, gasp) over USB and a raspberry pi4 running RopieeeXL (both USB and a coax HAT). I've not been able to discern any difference in sound quality between all three connections when using fairly revealing headphones. When using the PC, I'm running the roon server directly on the device itself. When using the RPi I run Roon server on a dual Xeon workstation with 64GB of memory and the added galvanic isolation of communication via ethernet. No discernable difference there either.

I suspect credit is due to your DAC 2.  In an ideal world, there shouldn’t be any discernible difference is sound quality with whatever input you choose on a DAC.  The folks at Benchmark did a nice job designing the DAC 2, and it’s younger sibling the DAC 3.  

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13 hours ago, jwc said:

Uh.  I wanna hear more about the difference that made.  I read good stuff on that.

 

jc

 

That's a tough one to compare as it has been 6 or so years since adding the Regen, initially to the JKenny,  Ciúnas DAC USB DAC,

and then very briefly to a Chord Hugo DAC before settling on my current Musical Paradise MP-D2 DAC.

I would never claim to have a Golden Ear, but I am very happy with the Regen/MP-D2 combo.

 

It looks like the OG Regen has been replaced by the ISO Regen.

https://uptoneaudio.com/products/iso-regen

 

At only $325 for a brand new one, or maybe finding a used one at a discount... it's not a huge chunk of change to give it a try.

 

Experimenting with different music players might also be worth while, most have free trial periods.

 

 

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On 4/19/2021 at 6:44 AM, JL Sargent said:

Well it's super convenient for one reason.

 

 

You were quoting my quote not the original person that made that statement....not a huge deal but kind of sloppy, as I did not say that. I did however agree with the statement.

 

As for convenience, when did anyone on this form ever take easy over better sounding? 😎 I think we are all far end of the inconvenient spectrum.

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On 4/20/2021 at 10:45 AM, Thaddeus Smith said:

 

I now have the benchmark DAC2 as well and have been trying to sort my source out between a mini ITX pc (with some fans, gasp) over USB and a raspberry pi4 running RopieeeXL (both USB and a coax HAT). I've not been able to discern any difference in sound quality between all three connections when using fairly revealing headphones.

 

Exactly, the data is a stream of 1 & 0s, framed with timing bits

which are buffered, then decoded in to the analog section

Most, all, name brand DAC chip sets are almost certainly superb at this point.

DAC design differences would appear in how they handle errors

 

The noticeable differences would appear in  the analog implementation

The little inexpensive Op Amps may be the biggest part of the sonic signature in a system.

Gate Array, Delta Sigma & R to R, maybe there is something else out there

 

The new horizon for DACs may be digital EQ, dynamic range expansion, high & low pass filters

DACs, will IMHO keep taking on more functions and features

as the companies that make them add more digital and software expertise

 

TEAC has been staying busy, one of many in the space

Even a dual mono, guessing class D Amp with meters.....

The DAC offers upsampling, has anyone tried the feature on any units

I would like to hear a woman speaking, with and without upsampling

also the three main decoding techs

https://www.techweekmag.com/news/hi-fi/teac-ud-701/

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1 hour ago, rplace said:

 

Bhaaa, your right, what does accuracy matter?

Reminds me of a while back when you had limiters on Xilica at -20dB instaed of +20.....what's 40 dB amongst friends?:)

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