Digital wows on a budget

Well it's not like 25k is really budget. Yes- there are guys out there that think 7k for speakers is a bargain- Lets get all that off the table...

My main source these days is my Mac Mini. I don't have every last thing switched of because I do stream Spotify and I listen to my sons radio broadcast at school, but It's not an email running spam machine.

I run usb through a KingRex ud192 to SPDIF into my pre amp and use the dacs in the Parasound c2.

So-- it does sound nice, but I am certain that I hear smearing at higher volume. Not distortion, just some sort of crap that I know I don't like.

What to be done---change mini power supply. Go external usb dac, master clock, better dig music manager...So much info and without spending the money, who's to know.

Amps, speaker and pre are much more straight forward.

Because my family wants to use stereo, I have had to combine HT into music-
I once had a real simple setup with AR LS9, Muse 160, Aerial 5's- so nice.

Now it all dig and I know it can be better without spending next semesters tuition-
Why don't you choose a track you know well and compare a CD (or better yet high resolution) version to Spotify. I'm wondering if you aren't chasing after spending money when the problem is a lossy source.
Try this.....

Please read this post for details on the dual USB cable with seperate power
supply cable


Its a great cable and will ensure a clean signal from the usb. The enercell
power adapter is as good as my battery supply and can be purchased from
eBay for $7 - believe it - surprised the heck put of me also

Total cost around $66 + shipping

This should fix a bulk of the problem

I'm running an iMac into my Schiit Bifrost USB port and it sounds superb

I also stream from internet radio and the hires stations also sound great


Please give more details on the dual USB cable as the link was not going anywhere for me. Thank you.
Sorry about that - I did verify it would work - anyway try these links...

USB Cable

Enercell Power Adapter

There is also a very good ASUS power adapter for $40 - I've tried both and they performed as well as my USB rechargeable battery - no noise at all.

The cable above outperformed my DH Labs USB cable and a more expensive Kimber USB cable

Let me know if you have any problems with the above links

Please post your findings

Your problem is jitter. The only way to fix this is to use a USB interface with better jitter performance. Most USB DACs will not get you this.

The jitter in the digital source is actually more important than the DAC. Spending on lot on the DAC without addressing the jitter is like buying a cheap stylus for your high-end turntable.

I have a lot of customers that spend more on the USB converter than the DAC. Many buy Chinese DACs. It makes sense. A good USB converter is the Off-Ramp 5. For a value proposition, the Audiophilleo. If you get upgraded high-performance linear power supplies for either, this will be even better.

Until you address the jitter, it will be harsh, fatiguing or soft and smeared.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Koestner - just a quick update...

Yesterday, I dusted off a DVD player that has a S/PDIF output and attached an extremely high resolution S/PDIF cable from it to my DAC.

I performed several A/B auditions with various tracks and found the USB implementation using the cable and power supply listed in my prior posts to sound marginally better.

Granted, the DVD player was not perhaps the best available, which may have contributed to it's slightly degraded performance - emphasis on the "SLIGHTLY" here.

But, both approaches provided extremely high resolution playback of the same tracks with very little, if any, jitter.

Hope you find the same:-)