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post #61 of 75 Old 01-11-2013, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post

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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

The USB DAC should have been either a neutral step or a step backward from the SP/DIF link.

In theory. Indeed that's what I had thought too and used SPDIF from a sound card for a couple of years. However with the card's native ASIO bit-perfect interface, it sounded great providing I didn't do anything on the PC while music was playing. Even just moving the mouse pointer caused dropouts and pops in the playback. I had to use universal ASIO4ALL instead for stable playback although it didn't sound as good but at least I could keep using my computer for other tasks and it didn't need to be just a dedicated music server. Kernel streaming or WASAPI didn't work very well with the card and the various media players I tried either. Jplay sounded good and gave reliable bit-perfect playback, but wasn't as user-friendly as a normal media player so didn't get used that much even though it had a very good sound.

These are common situations that can usually be resolved by adjusting some somewhat hidden parameters, upating drivers, moving other cards in the machine, etc. Sometimes they are not resolvable. In general, when they happen they are as you said unmistakable and non-subtle.
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But things took a nice step forward when I finally tried some USB DACs. JRiver Media Centre 18 with its WASAPI event style is working very well between my PC and DAC. I am now preferring music playback better from my AVR even though I am feeding it an analog source than the digital SPDIF.

As I said above in post 56, using an analog interface is far from an instant kiss of death. It can sound as good as a digital interface. It can be sonically neutral.

However, you don't have to spend > $100 to obtain a good-sounding USB interface. Behringer's UCA 202 runs about $30 and both measures and sounds very good.

Analog interfaces get really awkward is multichannel, where you end up with a mass of analog cables.

There's a whole 'nuther path that is available to you if you switch over to HDMI. HDMI video interfaces run as little as $30 and can interface both audio and video well with AVRs. If you've got a modern desktop, there's probably an open slot for it.
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post #62 of 75 Old 01-11-2013, 02:29 PM
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My only concern with that design would be the power supply from the PC. I've seen other designs like this that use rechargeable battery that is charged from the USB power. This is a cheap form of power conditioner and the results are good although it's $900 which is more than I would likely budget for that component.

Even cheaper ways to isolate PC power, is to use a power USB hub between the PC and DAC. You can even place a bit of insulation tape over pin 1 on the USB cable that goes from the PC to the self powered hub so you can be sure no power is being drawn from the PC's USB port.

Then there is the iFi iUSBPower which is like a glorified powered USB hub.
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post #63 of 75 Old 01-11-2013, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

There's a whole 'nuther path that is available to you if you switch over to HDMI. HDMI video interfaces run as little as $30 and can interface both audio and video well with AVRs. If you've got a modern desktop, there's probably an open slot for it.

I'v got an older motherboard that doesn't have any HDMI ports but my fanless graphics card has HDMI which I use as the video feed to my AVR. Unfortunately it only supports up to 16bit 48 kHz stereo. I want to keep my 24/96 downloads bit-perfect without the resampling so I don't use it. When I get my next graphics card or motherboard I will make sure it's HDMI audio supports higher sample rates and more channels and try it out.
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post #64 of 75 Old 01-18-2013, 03:43 AM
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Great discussion (re the last bit, use ubuntu and ALSA!), but to get back to the original post I bought a Nuforce DDA-100 about 4 months ago and am/was very happy with it, though from the above I see I should have probably bought an AVR for half the price and a lot more features. (Mind you as people said above, AVRs are very big and ugly, and that includes their remote controls.)

Ah well, I'm a total noob and had originally been attracted to Nuforce by the cool-looking Dia (about €310) but as that only outputs 24W and I wanted some biggest bookshelf speakers (I eventually got Monitor Audio RX2s - I thought the 8" woofers would give me enough bass without needing a subwoofer) I punted out €600 for the DDA instead. Plus the all-digital, look Mummy, no DAC spiel was very seductive.

The DDA-100 looks very nice (though not as nice as the Dia). It's a bit bigger (depth-wise) than I had expected. It comes with a dinky little remote control that I really like. It also sounds impressive when I talk about it to other people. About the only neg I have/had is that neither of the 2 toslink connections at the back snugly holds the cable - you can wobble the head around a bit, whereas on the PC-end the cable head fits perfectly into the connection on the motherboard.

However, as it turns out the RX2s don't give me enough bass (nearly, but not quite), and after reading the above I can see why - I need a subwoofer (duh!). But the DDA has no subwoofer out! So now I'm about to buy a Velodyne EQ-MAX 10 (€690) as that seems to be the only thing within reason that I can connect to the DDA (via the speaker level inputs) and maintain I hope remote volume control plus giving me an AUTO-EQ system (that I could have got with an AVR) plus going down (supposedly) to a reasonable 28hz. And it comes with a dinky little remote control. But it looks hideous - a huge ugly box (though I suppose I can sit the DDA and a lava lamp on top of it). And what a mockery of the original all-digital purity conceit.

What I don't understand is why two amps seem to be needed in most 2.1 set-ups. Why not a subwoofer with the one amp that can also drive the other two speakers? It could be all-digital too, with digital in, all input via a PC. Anyway, it seems I've spent (or am about to) €600 (DDA) + €625 (the RX2s) + €690 (EQ-MAX) + ~€100 (delivery) = €2015. When perhaps I might have done something else.
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post #65 of 75 Old 01-18-2013, 07:15 AM
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wherearewenow:
How about a REL subwoofer with it's speakon connection?

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post #66 of 75 Old 01-18-2013, 01:56 PM
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If you mean the Gibraltar series (G1 & G2) - these are the only ones I could find with speaker out connections (by the way REL, your site navigation sucks) - then at ~€3000 for the cheapest (G2) they're way out of my league. Plus they look huge and have fins coming out the back (maybe Steven Spielberg could use some).
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post #67 of 75 Old 01-19-2013, 06:32 AM
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wherearewenow:
Those are the top-of-the-line models. There are quite a few other models in the current lineup and even some of the older lines available (e.g., Vanns) . Just to clarify, you don't want a "speaker out connection" or at least I don't know why you would given your application. ALL Rel subwoofers can be connected to an amp with very little impact on the amp through their "Speakon" connections.

I just noticed that you are in Ireland. Sorry, you will have to research the availability of REL subwoofers in Ireland...
Good luck,
Mike

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post #68 of 75 Old 01-19-2013, 11:32 AM
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Thanks for that mnilan, I didn't know that - that opens a whole new field of stuff.

I notice now looking at the REL manuals that a shared connection from the speaker terminals to the subwoofer is actually their preferred way to connect - and they include the appropriate speakon cable (has bare ends on the amp side, but you knew that).

I'm liking the look and size of the RELs, and have enquired about delivery to Ireland of an ex-demo REL R-218 (€750) which is Class D (no fins!) and goes down to 25Hz - ooh er - and is only 12"x13.6"x12.5" in size.

Thanks again for your info and interest.
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post #69 of 75 Old 01-19-2013, 01:36 PM
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I recently replaced my AVR 354 with the sony 1030 thinking my 354 was broken (found out if was my cables or something) and there was a deffenate difference.

In Halo 4, navigating the menus sounded like a dull "boop" instead of the "beeep tit tit tit" I got with my 354 or with my Denon AH-D5000's plugged in, while this was rather annoying at first this tells my that this amp actually had more detail. Same when firing the BR, a burst from the BR for some reason had a lot more bass to it than on my 354 but also sounded less squeaky and metallic it just sort of sounded like a 3 round burst DMR. All the other guns pretty much sounded the same. Music sounded flatter and less interesting, but these are the kind of objective comments people don't like so I gave the very specific ones from the video game first.

With that said I don't get how people think expensive digital cables make a difference... my 1's and 0's (on and off's) arrive safer with my silver cables lol
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post #70 of 75 Old 03-22-2013, 08:50 PM
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post #71 of 75 Old 06-12-2013, 04:08 PM
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Has any one used the STA-100 amp from them?

My humble Cinema
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post #72 of 75 Old 11-15-2013, 01:18 PM
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Just got one, too. Haven't owned a two-channel stereo amp in years! (Not since a Marrantz 3300 preamp/Crown DC 300A power amp - so we're talkin' MANY years.) All my music is digital and on hard drive. I have no need for analog I/O, and I refuse to listen to "castrated" MP3/AAC-type music, so it's all AIFF or Apple Lossless. This amp is so clean it almost squeaks! The imaging is phenomenal, and the background is so quiet that it resembles a black-velvet canvas. Only two criticisms: it could use two sets of speaker outs instead of one, and it could use about 4 times the RMS output power (it's only 50 W into 8-, and 75 W into a 4-ohm load). At near max volume, it's plenty loud enough with my speaker set-up (4-ohm load), and still not a lick of distortion, but I prefer to run my equipment closer to idle than full-throttle, if at all possible.

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post #73 of 75 Old 02-19-2014, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post


One point being that no Rolex user has ever told me that his Rolex is mind-blowingly more accurate than my Casio. The magic cable, amplifier, and DAC people tell me that all of the time. They tell me that they are sorry that I lack the taste and discretion that it takes to appreciate the improved sound quality of their audio jewelry.

 

First of all, Rolex is not above 20k.

 

Second, the point of buying a 20k (and it can get much much much higher than that) watch is the same point of buying any rare luxury good.

It is not to keep time accurately.

 

If you want to keep accurate time, you look at your phone which is sync'ed with server time periodically.

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post #74 of 75 Old 02-19-2014, 11:31 PM
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First of all, Rolex is not above 20k.

Second, the point of buying a 20k (and it can get much much much higher than that) watch is the same point of buying any rare luxury good.
It is not to keep time accurately.

If you want to keep accurate time, you look at your phone which is sync'ed with server time periodically.

Wow dude, that post was made over a year ago, nicely done.................

Spinning the rear tire at 150mph while at 3/4 lean angle will put wrinkles in your seat
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post #75 of 75 Old 02-19-2014, 11:36 PM
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First of all, Rolex is not above 20k.

Second, the point of buying a 20k (and it can get much much much higher than that) watch is the same point of buying any rare luxury good.
It is not to keep time accurately.

If you want to keep accurate time, you look at your phone which is sync'ed with server time periodically.

Wow dude, that post was made over a year ago, nicely done.................

Lol sorry.
I was just researching the product mentioned in the thread and found the bit about watch too irresistible to leave alone.
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