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 Post subject: M-audio super dac
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:21 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:36 pm
Posts: 149
Location: Burlington, ON, CA
Looking to turn a PC into a music server, streamer etc in an economically. What I like about this one is it's versatility it's a dac and USB to spdif converter. If I don't like the DAC section it becomes a converter.

Can users comment on it's sound qualities and their experiences

www.m-audio.com


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 Post subject: Re: M-audio super dac
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:55 pm
Posts: 1899
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Don’t think you could go wrong with that. Probably better than the cheap Sound Blaster I linked in your previous thread. M-Audio has a pretty strong presence in the prosumer market. Although I have never used their products, I have yet to hear anything negative about them. Good find!

Long & McQuade has them on sale.
https://www.long-mcquade.com/64274//Con ... verter.htm


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 Post subject: Re: M-audio super dac
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:29 am 
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Location: Burlington, ON, CA
I'm slowly getting educated. USB output has issues. The converter needs to do reclocking or it's nfg. Then again maybe I'm wrong. Still researching but this is the best so far on the cheap


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 Post subject: Re: M-audio super dac
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:56 am 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
There are issues with every interface, it’s whether the designer has addressed them or not.

Asynchronous USB (which is what the M-Audio employs) is the transmission of data without the need of an external clock where data can be sent intermittently rather than a steady stream such as SPDIF. The receiving device will provide it own clock.

With SPDIF, the clock and data information are both sent in a steady stream – the DAC receiver can reclock (if this has been implemented within the DAC) but it is still reliant on the clock of the source. In ortherwords, if the source if providing high clocking errors, the DAC may not have the ability to reclock to the point where jitter becomes inaudible. Problem is, without the skill set and tools to objectively measure, we do not know this is happening outside of what we hear.

As mentioned M-Audio has a pretty strong presence in the prosumer market with nothing really negative said against them. I think for your budget this will be a solid device. Can’t guarantee there won’t be any issues – these things have a tendency to pop up out of nowhere! Where ever you purchase it from, just ensure they have a good return policy in the event it does not work out for you.

PM sent.


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 Post subject: Re: M-audio super dac
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:21 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:02 am
Posts: 25
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Kel34 wrote:
I'm slowly getting educated. USB output has issues. The converter needs to do reclocking or it's nfg. Then again maybe I'm wrong. Still researching but this is the best so far on the cheap


My digital source setup is a MacBook Pro with BitPerfect and JRiver software and with Audioquest Jitterbug on the USB port. Very happy with it, total cost of BitPerfect+JRiver+Jitterbug less than $100.

-- 23 Nov 2017 16:23 --

... and of course then you need the DAC of your choice


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 Post subject: Re: M-audio super dac
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:35 am 
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Location: Courtice, ON, CA
Kel34 wrote:
Looking to turn a PC into a music server, streamer etc in an economically. What I like about this one is it's versatility it's a dac and USB to spdif converter. If I don't like the DAC section it becomes a converter.

Can users comment on it's sound qualities and their experiences

http://www.m-audio.com

No personal experience to relay to you but, I can say this .... life in the digital world today is such that you can rejoice in the fact that it is very difficult not to get an objectively perfect performing DAC. Perfect being a DAC that recovers 100% of the data inputted to it and rejects associated noise and jitter distortions ….. down to inaudible levels. IOW, you can’t buy a "cheap" DAC that has poor performance nor can you buy an "expensive" DAC that has high performance.

I would certainly expect this to be the case when buying a product from a company such as M-Audio, who are in intense competition to sell quality product and have access to top engineers who are equipped with the best design/manufacturing facilities in the world.

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A listening test comparing components is valid only when you are able to instantaneously switch between components which have been properly level matched and whose identities are unknown to you.


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 Post subject: Re: M-audio super dac
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:36 pm
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Location: Burlington, ON, CA
Thank you for that comment. I've been out of digital for decades it has changed a lot. I'm getting quite the education.


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 Post subject: Re: M-audio super dac
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:19 am
Posts: 1482
Location: London, ON, CA
Pneumonic wrote:
Kel34 wrote:
Looking to turn a PC into a music server, streamer etc in an economically. What I like about this one is it's versatility it's a dac and USB to spdif converter. If I don't like the DAC section it becomes a converter.

Can users comment on it's sound qualities and their experiences

http://www.m-audio.com

No personal experience to relay to you but, I can say this .... life in the digital world today is such that you can rejoice in the fact that it is very difficult not to get an objectively perfect performing DAC. Perfect being a DAC that recovers 100% of the data inputted to it and rejects associated noise and jitter distortions ….. down to inaudible levels. IOW, you can’t buy a "cheap" DAC that has poor performance nor can you buy an "expensive" DAC that has high performance.

I would certainly expect this to be the case when buying a product from a company such as M-Audio, who are in intense competition to sell quality product and have access to top engineers who are equipped with the best design/manufacturing facilities in the world.



just to be clear here....

Are you saying?:

A) all dacs sound the same
B) all dacs are perfect but have other reasons why they sound better or "different"
C)that a $200 dac will sound the same as my Calyx Femto
D) there is no reason to buy an expensive dac as power supplies, emi sheilding in the chasis, improved usb or other input performance, superior clock performance, analogue stage superiority etc will not make a difference?

E) any of the above or all of the above


While I cant help the OP on this particular dac your statement is willfully misleading with respect to the bigger picture looking past perhaps the sigma delta chip itself.


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 Post subject: Re: M-audio super dac
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:41 pm 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
I am unaware of any SPDIF or USB DAC that can recover 100% data. In the case of a computer front end through either SPDIF or USB (be synchronous or asynchronous), if the audio buffers are not filled in a timely manner due to high latency, garbage data is inserted into the buffer and sent to the DAC. No DAC that I am aware of can correct this. So how is it possible to have 100% data recovery?


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 Post subject: Re: M-audio super dac
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:05 pm 
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Location: Courtice, ON, CA
ADCO wrote:
Pneumonic wrote:
Kel34 wrote:
Looking to turn a PC into a music server, streamer etc in an economically. What I like about this one is it's versatility it's a dac and USB to spdif converter. If I don't like the DAC section it becomes a converter.

Can users comment on it's sound qualities and their experiences

http://www.m-audio.com

No personal experience to relay to you but, I can say this .... life in the digital world today is such that you can rejoice in the fact that it is very difficult not to get an objectively perfect performing DAC. Perfect being a DAC that recovers 100% of the data inputted to it and rejects associated noise and jitter distortions ….. down to inaudible levels. IOW, you can’t buy a "cheap" DAC that has poor performance nor can you buy an "expensive" DAC that has high performance.

I would certainly expect this to be the case when buying a product from a company such as M-Audio, who are in intense competition to sell quality product and have access to top engineers who are equipped with the best design/manufacturing facilities in the world.



just to be clear here....

Are you saying?:

A) all dacs sound the same
B) all dacs are perfect but have other reasons why they sound better or "different"
C)that a $200 dac will sound the same as my Calyx Femto
D) there is no reason to buy an expensive dac as power supplies, emi sheilding in the chasis, improved usb or other input performance, superior clock performance, analogue stage superiority etc will not make a difference?

E) any of the above or all of the above


While I cant help the OP on this particular dac your statement is willfully misleading with respect to the bigger picture looking past perhaps the sigma delta chip itself.

If the DAC’s in question are performing with frequency and distortion (incl jitter and noise) errors that are below audibility then, yes, they will sound identical … to anyone who performs a listening test that accounts for variables that remove sighted bias as well as proper level matching.

My point to the OP is that the vast majority of today’s DAC's all easily perform to these levels.

-- November 23rd, 2017, 11:08 pm --

sthomas1049 wrote:
I am unaware of any SPDIF or USB DAC that can recover 100% data. In the case of a computer front end through either SPDIF or USB (be synchronous or asynchronous), if the audio buffers are not filled in a timely manner due to high latency, garbage data is inserted into the buffer and sent to the DAC. No DAC that I am aware of can correct this. So how is it possible to have 100% data recovery?

Yes, sorry, that was lazy wording on my part. I should have worded it to reflect data integrity differently ..... that if the DAC gets the same data as that which is contained in the storage media (ie hearing no clicks and dropouts) and it processes associated noise/jitter/distortions …. down to inaudible levels.

_________________
A listening test comparing components is valid only when you are able to instantaneously switch between components which have been properly level matched and whose identities are unknown to you.


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 Post subject: Re: M-audio super dac
PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:59 am
Posts: 1778
Location: Caledonia, ON, CA
Theoretically many well designed d-a's should be able to convert a signal with excellent results (just through the chip that is). However, once the signal becomes analog, well that's another story. The quality of parts in the analog output section is just one of the things that separates the good sounding, from the great sounding, from the absolute mind blowingly superior. There are coupling caps (among other things), just before the analog rca ouput jacks. The quality of these is absolutely critical.
Over the last couple years Ive upgraded from Sonic Cap, to Mundorf silver/oil, to Deulund copper foil/oil and finally to Deuland silver foil/oil. The sonic improvement was nothing short of astounding at each step of the way. The same could be said for the analog rca output jacks. My upgrade path was from factory jacks, to original classic WBT copper, to WBT next gen copper and finally to WBT next gen silver. And again the sonic gains were not subtle.

I could go on, as even on the digital input side there is a single rca jack and input coupling cap. Upgrading these to WBT next gen silver and Deulund silver offered a much clearer window into the sound.
In its current state my upgraded d-a has parts quality perhaps only found in the absolute reference. (check the price of Deulund silver foil/oil caps at Parts connexion if you don't believe me). My initial inspiration for the upgrades was taken from studying internal photographs of the Lampizater Golden Gate d-a.

I should add that the tech who performed these upgrades for me works for a reputable high end audio company and is the designer of the d-a. I have a transport with multiple digital outputs. So we can hook up the upgraded d-a right beside the original, (unmodded one), and blindly switch the pre amp back and forth instantly with the same source material. This makes it very easy to hear the sonic variations between the original and modded d-a, one upgrade at a time. Fun, fun fun. :D


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