Halide Bridge vs hiFace Evo vs Sonicweld 192

I've given up on the Squeezebox Touch and as skeptical as I am from previous experience with some cheap USB converters (Trends(?) and HagTech) I'm intrigued to try it again based on some reviews, mainly the Halide Bridge (even after reading; USB audio receiver code, Streamlength™, by Wavelength Audio*).

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I've wanted to use my iMac/iTunes (Front Row) for years but nothing sounded satisfying enough, including $1K-$3500 USB DAC's*. My system is very resolving and uses the Reimyo DAP-777. The reviews give the Bridge a slight edge in musicality compared to hiFace Evo and no comparisons with Sonicweld 192. Plus I'd rather not pay $1200. Wow! Price increase since I last looked into it - $1,799.00! &*%$!
Sakahara-I am currently using Hiface EVO between Windows 7
PC and Space Tech Labs DA-64XT Super Vacuum Tube DAC via
AES/EBU Digital Input. Every DAC is particular to type of
Input from PC, as well as Design of DAC, and its type of
Output Stage, even the DAC's Power Supply. My DAC uses Tubes, which are highly vulnerable to PC Switching Mode Power Supply. This is only particular to my type of DAC,
not relevant to any other DAC. Each DAC is going to have its own particular needs from PC Audio, based on its design, and the type of Input the DAC is optimized for.
There is no, "ULTIMATE", Converter/Input for ALL DAC's
with PC Audio. All DACs are different, and not all Inputs
will perform the same. Because of this, there has been such a mixed bag of results with; Firewire, USB, AES/EBU,
Toslink, Glass Fiber Optical, Wireless, SPDIF, Asynchronous, Non-Asynchronous, Soundcard based on PC
Switching Mode Power Supply, External Converter with separate Power Supply. You are just not going to be able to
design a DAC that sounds wonderful with all of these.
I would contact Reimyo, and find out which Digital Input
performs best with DAP-777 with PC Audio. Was DAP-777
designed to sound best via its USB Input, AES/EBU, or
whatever Inputs it utilizes. Will DAP-777, based on its
design, sound better with Digital Soundcard or External
Converter? Don't assume anything! With PC Audio, compatibilty is more critical with three more times as many different types of Inputs. Others can defer, I will still say feed DAC what it was designed to be optimized with for maximum performance. This will be different for every DAC, because each DAC IS radically different.
Upsampling, Non-upsampling, Oversampling, Vacuum Tube Output Stage, Solid State Output Stage, Fully Balanced
Output Stage, Balanced Input, Vacuum Tube Rectified Power
Supply, Solid State Power Supply, Switching Mode Power Supply, Analog Power Supply, and this doesn't even include the DAC Conversion Rates and different types of Inputs.
If Reimyo DAP-777 is your DAC of choice, then design your PC Digital Input around your DAC's design. Then try to choose a Converter that works best with your Reimyo DAC.
Try a friends $1200.00/$1790.00 Converter first to
determine Compatibility with Reimyo DAC. Try a High End Store with MAC, DAP-777, and various PC Converters to determine best Compatibility.
I get it - too many variables, no way to know for certain. Thanks.

Reimyo-DAP-777 doesn't have USB. OPT, COAX, BNC only. Probably designed/suited for COAX, which is what I use. And I actually had the perfect matching music server; iTransport/iPod. Should have kept it. May buy another one if these USB converters don't work out. I realized after trying different priced USB DAC's and converters a few years ago that I would need a very special DAC to give me the sound I was accustom to hearing with my previous CDP (Accustic Arts). So once I decided on the Reimyo DAP-777 and had heard what the SB3 could do it was clear that the iTransport was the best solution at that time - still is. But I wanted a larger GUI.

As for now, the SBT is being returned and I'm going to try AirTunes from both AE and AppleTV, followed by the Halide Bridge. Hopefully one of these will be the one. The only way to know for sure is to try it in my system.
Sakahara-You only get 1/2 of it. Too many variables to
just guess, there is a way to be reasonably certain.
Contact Reimyo, look up past Reviews of DAP-777 on
The Absolute Sound/Stereophile Websites. Reviewers have
a tendency to try ALL Inputs to find Sweetspot Input. You
can contact others who own Reimyo DAP-777 here and other Forums on Audiogon. Try to find someone using DAP-777 with
PC Audio, or CDP, and has tried various DAP Inputs. Contact
the Dealer who sold you the Reimyo, he probably has experience with other Reimyo Customers, and what works best
for them. This can either be CDP or PC Audio Input. The more info the better. Need to really research the DAC to
determine best Input. So many who don't, end up buying
$1790.00 Converter which should sound great; but, doesn't
due to Compatibility issue. Compatibility issue can be just using alternate non-optimized Input on DAC. Not the
Converters fault. Any Input can be the optimized Input on
DAC, the other Inputs not so much. Design of DAC can be made to sound best around BNC, different design around
COAX-SPDIF, different design around OPTICAL to sound best with these. You want a DAC that sounds best with ALL Inputs, be prepared to shell out $10,000.00 for other Inputs you will never use. Many Inputs on many DACs are just Window Dressing pretending to be Swiss Army Knife,
which does sell alot of DACs. Other Inputs will function,
but not nearly as well. It is whats under the hood, that
corresponds to what is plugged into the back that counts.
Some DACs have no problem dealing with Switching Mode Power
Supply from Computer and Audiophile Grade Digital Sound Card. Some DACs have Switching Mode Power Supplies themselves, their Power Supplies designed robust to reject
SMPS noise. Other DACs desperately need Power Supply
isolation from PC via Analog self Powered Converters. So even concideration of the Power Supply of the DAC is a critical factor with PC Audio. IMHO, all of these missmatches are the true cause of radical differences in the positive/negative results with PC Audio. Please don't ask me to drag the PC Software into this as well. Five times more possible combinations means five times more
opportunity to get it wrong. Yeah, the connections will fit, they were designed to fit, but don't assume that they were ALL designed to sound the best simply because they do fit. This is one of the greatest misconceptions of all Audio, and five times more complex with PC Audio. Know your DAC to minimize variables, you will know yourself, and you will know for certain. Things suddenly get allot easier after that!
To make things more complicated, one has to consider three variables in this connection: the digital cable, the USB cable and the USB converter. I definitely don't want to spend the time and money trying to figure out the best combination.
Which makes the simplicity of the Halide Bridge appealing and probably the best bang for the buck when considering the costs of the two other cables needed otherwise.
Lokie-Spending $1,799.00 on a Converter, that would normally sound great; but, sounds awful due to compatibility problems with DAC IS a waste of time and money. Turning this into Russian Roulete, or Crap Shoot is
never more simple, and definitely more complicated. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any one of these Converters, except they will benefit certain DACs; but,
not others. The critical factor is the design, and type of
DAC, the optimum Input based on that design, not to mention the Power Supply for the DAC. All DACs are nowhere
near the same, and not all Converters will behave the same
with all DACs-no matter what the price or quality. Some get
best Sound Quality with Firewire, others with USB, some
with Fiber Optic, Wireless, SPDIF, BNC, AES/EBU. They can't
be all optimized for best sound quality for all DACs, that
would be impossible. The only deciding factor here is the
design of the DAC, and the optimized Input based on that
design. This will limit what Input to use, limit what
Converter to use, and which type of connector. Process of
elimination doesn't make things more complicated, guessing in the dark does! Try Halide Bridge before you buy, if you
want to make things simple. If you even want to make things
more simple, do a little research on your DAC. Wonderful thing the Internet, saves time and money! Do a search on
Reimyo DAP-777, who knows what you might find out.
Knowledge is Power, lack of it is never simple!
Sakahara-Internet search produced review of Reimyo DAP-777
by Positive Feedback Issue 34 in 2007. Review includes both
Reimyo DAP-777 and Reimyo CDT-777, both Solid State Units.
It looks like the DAP-777 has a volume control, couldn't
quite tell, reviewer didn't cover this. Reviewer also didn't cover what DAP-777 can decode (24/96, 24/192...?)
Presume that you know this already. CDT-777 utilizes Philips CDM-12 Drive, and only has Co-axial Digital Output.
DAP-777 has Optical, Co-axial, BNC, and AES/EBU Digital
Inputs. DAP-777 also has Balanced, and RCA Audio Outputs.
Transport sounds like it was designed specifically to go
with Reimyo designed DAP-777, Reviewer didn't try with other Transports and DACs. It sounds like you already have.
Have you ever owned Reimyo CDT-777? Usually, Transport and
DAC are designed by same Manufacturer to go together. Trying DAC with other Sources might work well, but usually
not as well as designed Transport. Recommend taking DAP-
777 to local High End Store, and trying it with various
Transports utilizing various DAP-777 Digital Inputs and
various Analog Outputs. Balanced in, balanced out usually
sounds best; but, listen and verify with your particular DAC what sounds best to you. That Input is more than likely
going to be your optimum Input from PC/Converter.
Manufacturer is listed as COMEBACK CORPORATION, JAPAN. Web
Address: www.combak.net. Try and contact them by E-mail to
get best recommendations for PC Audio/ Converter/ type Input for DAP-777. Importer Info: MAY AUDIO MARKETING, INC. Tel: (800) 554-4517. Web Address: www.mayaudio.com.
E-mail Address: mayaudio1@aol.com. Contact Importer and try to find out what most Reimyo Customers use for PC Audio and their DAP-777. Try searching Audiogon Forum for
Reimyo DAP-777. Find other DAP-777 owners to see what they are using. You only have $1800.00 to lose; but, if it is the right device for your DAC, atleast you will know.
You didn't need to write all of that. I know that much about DAP-777, Harmonix/Combak Corp, May Audio, contact info,..etc. Not ignorant. Did my research before buying it. Know how to "search internet". Many owners and reviewers know it's capabilities as a very analog-esque sounding DAC. Knob is not volume control, it is input selector. Yes, CDT-777 was designed for it and probably best match, but I haven't tried it and don't want to use a CDT. I chose DAP-777 at the time for it's least sounding digital sound. Also, I don't have the time to drive around with my DAC and ask of the dealers time to let me try different sources/inputs to hear which is best. And by posting here I am reaching out to other DAP-777 owners who're using music servers. Sure, I could search AudiogoN as well.

Btw, here's what Combak had to say with regards to best input;

Thank you for your mail.

........ Second, there should be no deviation in the quality of sound among the
inputs. If often say so, it may be due of the different materials of
connectors and shielding of cables but not input itself.
It's totally no sense to be said so.


K. Kiuchi
Pettyofficer: Thanks for the advice to search the internet. I didn't know you do that.
Wavelength Audio WaveLink HS 24/192 USB to SPDIF converter.

To throw another one into the mix. ;-) Better then Halide Bridge apart from 24/192?

I wish there were some other members who've compared these devices. At least to have some others experience, opinions,... beyond which DAC input is best.

Btw, I'm currently using AppleTV via AirPlay with Optical cable. Not bad actually. It is early though. Still having wireless drop out problems, not as bad as SBT.
"not all Converters will behave the same with all DACs-no matter what the price or quality. Some get best Sound Quality with Firewire, others with USB, some with Fiber Optic, Wireless, SPDIF, BNC, AES/EBU. They can't be all optimized for best sound quality for all DACs, that
would be impossible."

Total nonesense. An async USB converter with low jitter will improve the sound quality of virtually all DACs. The only variable is the S/PDIF coax cable or AES/EBU cable used.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
There is apparently some miscommunication here. My apologies for the missunderstanding here. I have been
buying High End Audio for over thirty years. In that
time I have owned Theta Data/Theta DS Pro Gen. IV
Processor with Theta's Single Mode Glass Fiber optic
connector. I have owned Mark Levinson No. 37 Transport/
No. 360s Processor with AES/EBU Digital out and DAC
with fully Balanced Topology-not just another AES/EBU
Input. PS Audio makes a Transport/Processor known as the
Perfect Wave System that utilizes an I2S connector. Exact same as Audio Alchemy? You would be wrong! PS Audio reworked the I2S when they developed the Perfect Wave
System. These Inputs do NOT sound the same, I have heard them, and I have owned them. It would be theoretically
impossible, based on simple Electrical Theory. that they
would even sound the same. All Fiber Optical Connectors have to go through two conversion Stages, one converts
Electrical signal to optical signal, another converts
optical back to electrical. This gives good Electrical
isolation between Source and Processor, but requires Digital Signal pass between two conversion stages. AES/EBU
does NOT pass through the same two conversion stages, and you lose the Electrical isolation. Basic Electrical Theory
would deny that you could even concieve of recieving the
exact same signal from both. Based on simple Electrical
Theory, it isn't possible. They are simply not the same
process, hell they are not even close. Yes, I DO hear a difference which verifies what simple Electrical Theory
tells me. I have not owned these Transports/Processors in a Vacuum, others have owned them as well. They also report hearing the same thing, variation in Sound Quality based on the type of Input. Reviewers have been reporting on these differences (Stereophile, The Absolute Sound...etc)
and the compatibility with other equipment based on different Inputs for well over 30 years of Reviewing Digital Equipment. All Digital Outputs (CD) sound exactly the same has been the longest lie that has ever been foistered on the American Public. Now it is being ressurected with PC Audio despite 30 years of experience to the contrary. It would be impossible to get so many of them exactly the same, Electrical Theory says it can't be done. Nothing in this Universe is THAT perfect, unless you live in an Empirical Audio Universe where the Earth is
concidered perfectly flat! Of course you don't understand
how a round Earth works, the same way that you don't understand how different Inputs could affect Sound Quality. Explain then, how SAKAHARA can't seem to get anything that sounds satisfying with his System. By your standard, the Sound Quality he recieves is nonsense! "The
only variable is the S/PDIF coax cable or AES/EBU cable
used"! Well there you go SAKAHARA, according Empirical Audio, its all in your head. According to them, you just have the wrong cable! You are looking for another Converter/Processor because you know you have a compatibility problem. They say pretend no difference exists. I gave up pretending when I was 5 years old, and I am not going back! Stop trying to rewrite the laws of Physics, and stop trying to rewrite 30 years of historical
experience with Digital Audio. All CD Players sound the same, all PC's sound the same, all Inputs sound the same,
what is the next Wives Tale you want to sell the American Public? You would have to make a concerted effort to even try and make them sound the same, and you would still lose!
Stop playing God, your not very good at it, and besides the position is already taken. Perfect in every way? Based on Human Inperfect Manufacturing? Now who is talking
Nonsense? You think it is that Perfect? Don't make me laugh! In your Dreams, maybe!
Nice GCE Audioengr. I already gave multitude of variables
in my Statement, unless you can't tell the difference between a S/PDIF coax cable, Toslink, and USB Cable? Are you trying to say, in your Universe, that Firewire/BNC/
ST Glass Fiber/Wireless/Toslink don't exist? The only thing that does is S/PDIF coax and AES/EBU? I suppose you fancy yourself as the center of this imaginary Universe.
Perhaps the other Connectors fell off of the edge of your
Engineered Flat Earth Design. You are comparing Apples to Apples and claiming no difference. I am comparing Kiwi to Watermelon, and can't understand how you can possibly miss the difference! Optical goes thru two conversion stages, electrical to optical, then optical back to electrical. Its like sending your Digital signal through
a meat grinder, and expecting a T-bone Steak to come out the other end. This is the same as Co-axial or AES/EBU?
Only if you were the Son of God! So step off of your
mile high pedestal, you are nowhere near that Holy! If you
still think that you can walk on water, I would love to see that! What kind of Empirical Audio Engineering Nonsense
is this? Go back to basic Electrical Theory 101, Electricity doesn't quite travel through Glass or Plastic
fibers quite as well as it does through Copper Wire. You
are aware of those two little conversion stages in the
optical medium, right? You didn't really think that those
Optical Fibers were passing live current more efficiently
did you? Hey, hey, what about a DAC with a USB Input?
Gee, Professor, "the only variable here is the S/PDIF coax
cable or AES/EBU cable used"-huh?! "An async USB Converter
with low jitter will improve the Sound Quality of virtually all DACs", does that also include DAC's with USB Input too? Gee, Audioengr, I have nipples-can you milk me too?
Based on his resume, I believe Steve Nugent (Audioengr) probably knows what he's talking about.

From the Empirical Audio website:
"Steve Nugent...is an Electrical Engineer with 25 years digital design experience in the computer industry designs all of our products. He has a broad experience in digital system and interface design, board layout, transmission-lines and other relevant technologies. Steve was a design-team lead on the Pentium II at Intel Corp. and holds 22 patents in various cable and digital technologies.
I take that back about AppleTV - it sounds terrible compared to Squeezebox Touch. Another let down, besides the constant wireless interruptions.

iTune (AirPlay)>AppleTV>Optical(AQ OptiLink-1)>DAP-777
iTunes/SqueezeBox Server>SBT>S/PDIF RCA (Kimber D-60)>DAP-777
Sakahara, any update on your progress ? I too have the same dac..not too happy with my experiments with Trends/Airport Exp/M-audio firewire...
I have been talking with Steve N. from Empirical Audio. He
is an experienced Audio Engineer with extensive knowledge
on PC Audio. Where I disagree with him, is his conclusions
of 30 years of Research, development and experience in designs of other Transports and DACs. I suppose that this is nothing new since every Audio Engineer has his own idea
of how to design equipment, usually dismissing lessons learned by others earlier. He appears to be successful at
what he is doing, and I wish him further success. I just have an honest disagreement about some of the conclusions
that he has drawn from the last thirty years of Digital
Audio Development. He does dismiss many Audiophile beliefs,
be they based on personnal experience or not. I get a little wary when someone tells me what I am supposed to be
hearing, when it conflicts with what I am actually hearing.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, based on their own
personal Audio preferences. The problem is when we dismiss
someone elses Audio preferences by calling them, "Total
nonsense", when after all, they are nothing more than
just a difference in preferences. I have a tendency to
over react when faced with intolerance, by some, in
PC Audio over different Audio preferences by many. Audio
will ALWAYS have room for different opinions, regardless
if it is PC or CD. When this stops, Audio will no longer be a Hobby worth pursuing. I would like to think that this can be avoided with PC Audio, but everyone (including myself) needs to just loosen up a little bit. Would really like to enjoy this Hobby once more.
I've had it. No more USB for me.

I tried the WaveLink HS. It sounded terrible, especially with the upper frequencies. It made me cringe when playing loud. Sometimes it would sound good at lower levels, or with higher quality recordings, but after more listening I could hear the inherent deficiencies. I couldn't live with it. Even Pure Music and Amarra Mini didn't help. Perhaps the dealer supplied WireWorld USB and digital BNC>BNC cables were partly to blame (I didn't have a BNC>RCA adapter for my D-60), but I have my doubts that better cables could make up for it enough. And imagine the total cost; USB converter, playback SW, high-end cables, and a dedicated iMac or Mac Mini since running 20+ feet of USB cable isn't recommended. You may as well go back to a high-end CDT. The WaveLink costs about twice as much as a new 171iTransport and iPod Classic and yet sounds half as good. So what is it? My systems too resolving? The cables? The connections used (BNC,..)? Or is it that USB just sounds bad - to me and my system? I tried, again (four years later).

I also tried the hiFace Evo. It wouldn't work. Set up is simple enough on OS X. It showed under Sound>Output once the driver was installed, but the sound only came out the built in speakers. And I'd swear OS X was glitchy after installing their driver. I want plug-n-play.

Arj: Try Squeezebox Touch or iTransport w/ COAX O/I. Any other type of ready-to-play music server with SPDIF out should suffice also. Stay clear of all USB converters and DAC's. Ic an't speak for FireWire (Weiss,..etc), but I have a feeling it's similar.
I also tried the hiFace Evo. It wouldn't work. Set up is simple enough on OS X. It showed under Sound>Output once the driver was installed, but the sound only came out the built in speakers.
Sakahara (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
I'm not going to try too hard to convince you otherwise, but I do want to share my experience using a HiFace and Pure Music.

I also had the issue of sound coming only out of the Mac computer's built in speakers. Drove me nuts. Had the whole computer front end up for sale. Ready to throw in the towel.

Then, I recalled that my DAC was capable of a maximum sampling rate of 96Khz. Up until that "Ah-Ha!" moment, I had thought it was capable of 192Khz. I went to check the configuration setting in Pure Music's Advance Audio Set-up, and sure enough, I had selected 192Khz as the target output sampling rate for the HiFace. When I changed this setting to 96Khz, I finally had excellent sound through my system's speakers.

I see the Reimyo DAP-777 has a choice of 48Khz of 44.1Khz. Just in case you haven't checked, you might take a look and see if you configured the Evo in Pure Music for a target output sampling rate of no higher than 48Khz. This just might do the trick.

Be sure to do the same in the Apple Midi application.

I agree with you that computer audio is not plug-and-play. It can be a PITA.
Unfortunately for both the manufacturers and the customers, Microsoft and Apple have put some software impediments in the way of making this easy. These impediments can prevent smooth installations and affect sound quality.

Both companies operating systems, in an effort to make things easy, force the sample-rate to a default setting and resample any files that are not this sample-rate. For those only familiar with CD's, all of these hi-res sample-rates are new, so it catches them by surprise and is a pitfall that they all fall into. How to access this info and change it or avoid it is not obvious.

Then there is the matter of sound quality. Microsoft audio stack is well-know for compromising this, and there are tools including Kernel Streaming, ASIO and WASAPI to overcome this. How to install these is not obvious. Likewise, iTunes sound quality leaves something to be desired, so there are third-party playback software packages like Amarra, Pure Music and AyreWave to address this shortcoming. At least these are easy to install and all have free audition versions.

Then there is the ripping software and drive. These also must be carefully selected and configured for good results, otherwise the customer may end-up re-ripping his whole collection.

Since the device manufacturers are aware of all of these things, it is up to them to provide concise instructions and guildelines so that customers have a good experience with computer audio and discover how great it is. Instructions like these are required:


Once the Sample-Rate, Audio Stack and Ripping are learned by the customer, there is no reason why computer audio cannot exceed the quality and ease of use of a CD player.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I agree with SAKAHARA, although I am still getting pretty
decent sound with EVO. I had to go thru 9 levels of
Technical Hell, being led by the Prince of Darkness himself
with the loure of so-called CONVENIENCE! You buy a High
End CDT, and you get a real paper Manual that treats the
Customer like an idiot (Thank God!). With PC Audio, everyone expects you to already be a Rocket Scientist, and then they won't even waste their time on you if your not!
The difference is Night and Day, CDT-loads of Customer
Support, PC Audio-vacuum of Customer Support. Contact
Manufacturer CDT, and get immediate response to resolve
problem. Contact PC Audio Manufacturer, and be deflected to Customer Forum to solve problem. What the hell does the
Customer know about the Product, he didn't Manufacture it!
Around and around you go getting mountains of misinformation, without any Quality Control. I would say that I am batting 50/50 with Forums, half the time its
accurate helpful information, the other half is nothing but
Gross Conceptual Error. Substituting Amature Customers for Trained Customer Support Staff will be PC Audio's Downfall.
It is just an attempt to save loads of money off of the
skin of the Customers. You may not agree, but certainly PC
Audio has a reputation of Customer Support that Sucks,
regardless if it is well earned or not! "If you don't like
it, don't buy it"! Well, if you want to replace all other forms of listening to Audio with PC Audio, its Customer
Support has to measure up! People are going to expect the same Customer Support that they are used to getting with
other competing Music Sources. They are not going to step
w-a-a-a-y-y-y down into the gutter of PC Audio Vacuum of Customer Support. There is nothing CONVENIENT about this!
It costs the Customer valuable Time, and Money, to do so!
The real threat to PC Audio, is more and more people
become painfully aware of this! SAKAHARA won't be the first, and he certainly won't be the last. Who exactly is
responsible for letting him down, who? Accountable Customer Support Agent, what Customer Support Agent? Is
PC Audio simply the lazy Manufacturers Music Source, to
replace all other accountable Music Sources? Gee, who can
turn down a deal like that! Be still my aching Heart! Really getting sick and tired of the excuses for PC Audio
Customer Service. Also getting sick and tired of the attitude that everyone just has to suck it up! No, we don't! We can, and should demand better Customer Support, regardless if you buy PC Audio or not! Otherwise, take half off the price if you want to take cost of Customer Support out of my wallet! That goes for any Product, PC Audio or any other competing Music Source! PC Audio WILL
serve me, because I sure as hell am not going to serve it!
Refer to your Emacipation Proclamation, if you can't figure it out! I am Human, and the Machine serves me, NOT
the other way around! The alternative isn't something that,
"don't buy it if you don't like it", are you kidding me? As
if Humans serving Machines is even a serious option!
sakahara, I'm not a MAC guy but I'd like to share my experience with you in building a PC music server. Over the last 4 months I've played around with multiple hardware configurations and a few basic rules have emerged

1) processing power is king
2) faster memory is a close second
3) SSD drive for your OS partition will make you smile
4) swap files, prefetch, indexing, all those cycle stealing background tasks are your enemy for musical transparency

How old is this iMac? Your initial comment makes me suspect many years old i.e. underpowered. I thought initially that I could use a 3 year old PC as my music server but when I compared the older, slower processor/memory machine to a newer faster machine it lacked the transparency of the faster machine with the same USB DAC. Are you able to try a faster MAC to see if that helps? Im pretty happy now with the proximity of my machine to CD, but like you I am looking for the right choice for USB digitalI/O since I distrust internal sound card digital output.
Davide256: My iMac is previous model (purchased new a year ago); iMac,8.1, 2.8GHz INtel Core 2 Duo, 4GB 800 MHz DDR2 SDRAM. And I have nothing running except iTunes/SW player (Amarra, PureMusic). The device is also on it's own High-Speed USB Bus (not shared and up to 480 Mb/sec).

I don't think it's my computer or system. It's USB (converter and DAC's). It doesn't sound good to me, nor through my system. Compare to Wadia 170iTransport, also SBT, to Reimyo DAP-777 (via COAX), which sounds better then $6K Accustic Arts CDP.
One question, Davide256- why can't SAKAHARA (or yourself)
get help from the actual Manufacturers of the MAC/PC Products? Why are Customers being forced to seek help from
those who never Manufactured or Produced these products, WHEN it comes to PC Audio? Rely soley on other Customers
to resolve issues, and keep your fingers crossed that it is
accurate information? Well, THAT it is not exactly
working out for SAKAHARA, and he is not alone. Who does he turn to now? PC Audio has a Disease, and its spreading
like Cancer-" Would you mind if I kindly ask you to take your Silly-___ problem down the Hallway "! What has started
out as a saying, has become the Holy Bible of PC Audio
Customer Service! PC Audio Community will crucify anyone
who dares blasphemes against PC Audio, constructive
criticism or not! Manufacturers skinning the Customers
alive, if not taking a pound of flesh out of their hides,
when it comes to PC Audio Customer Support. No, you just
don't have the proper Tools to do the Job, when it comes
to making PC Audio a real sustainable thriving Industry.
The ad-libbing that struggles on, is laughable! If it was
any other Product, say your Car, would you even tolerate
being forced to use other Customers as the ONLY source of resolving problems with your Vehicle? Manufacturers on
permanent vacation! You would be pulling your hair out by the roots, and you know it! People have a certain expectation with ANYTHING they buy, of a certain level of Customer Support. When it SUCKS, people complain, because that is what they do! THEY have to spend the extra
valuable Time, and Money, to compensate. Why is PC Audio
the ONLY Retarded Stepchild exception to these Rules of the Market? AIN'T-THAT-SPECIAL! Fine then, cut the Price in half, and everyone will be happy. I am getting sick and tired of PC Audio Manufacturers having their Cake, and
eating it too. PC Audio Customers forced to eat dirt, with a PC Audio Community physically whipping them into being grateful for that dirt! PC Audio marketing model spreading to other Industries, Car, Refrigerator, Washing
Machine.....etc? AHHH...NO! "But its more convenient"-
HELL NO! Customer Support isn't necessarily that great in
other Industries, but atleast you are not castrated for
complaining about it! "If you don't like it, don't buy it",
isn't used as a fig leaf, because it won't cover EVERYTHING you buy! That boat will not float. "If you don't like the boat, don't buy it". Sure, if I survive by
bailing water, if I don't drown, I will be sure to get right on that!
M2Tech Support still hasn't replied to my request for help with using the hiFace Evo. At least it was a friends who let me borrow it to try so no loss. Hopefully he'll have more success since it's being set up by someone who knows it.

I'm not even going to bother trying the Halide Bridge after the less then satisfying experience with the WaveLink HS.

I was about to buy the new Wadia 171iTransport but decided to try the Sonos ZP90 first. Then I just came across comments that it doesn't support 24/96. Is this true? Does that make any sense if it's to be used with a high-end audio system connected to a DAC (SPDIF/COAX)? I only play Red Book CD's ripped in Apple Lossless. What does it mean in terms of sound quality?
SAKAHARA-M2Tech Support only understands Italian. You have
got to send it to them in Italian. How good is yours?
I have the M2Tech EVO, and you have to have EVO plugged into Computer and powered up prior to installing Driver.
Without it, you are making configuration changes in
reference to an attached device that MAC can't see.
Could be reason OS X is acting flaky. Still having problems, try another USB Output. Verify Power light is on
with EVO (make sure it is getting power). Eating dirt here,
and being grateful for that dirt! Yummmm!
Non buon.

Evo was plugged in prior to driver installation (I realized it required a driver after noticing the device wasn't listed under Sound>Output Prefs). Everything looked fine, power on,..etc, except for the fact that it would only play through the internal speakers. Oh well, one more USB interface debacle to chalk up to experience.

The Sonos ZP90/ZB combo was also another failure. Requires computer or NAS and at least one ZP90 or ZB to be wired to router. Not practical with my set up/lay out. Can't use NAS wired to ZP90, and supposedly you can wire ZP90 to computer but it didn't work for me. They recommend another ZB and NAS (translation; spend more $$$). This is why I never tried Sonos in the past. Over priced (compared to Squeezebox) and not made for high-end audio, just mass-produced mainstream electronic consumer waste.

Back to the reliable iTransport; ordered 171i and iPod Classic. Not the most convenient, small screen, and no remote control, but it's simple, plug-n-play, and produces fantastic sound for the price. No technical, wireless, network, USB, settings, ethernet, extra wires, drivers,... etc., to deal with.
01-25-11: Sakahara
Everything looked fine, power on,..etc, except for the fact that it would only play through the internal speakers.
You have to select it to play through the external speakers in the Apple Midi application. It will not do play through the external speakers automatically (the Apple Built-In Output is the default). Selecting it to play through the external speakers is not intuitive in my experience.

I had to highlight the HiFace in the menu of available output devices, then two-finger tap on the trackpad to pull up the configuration menu, and then select the external speakers from the configuration menu. I you didn't get this far (and I can understand how you might not have), then it was a configuration error and not a hardware problem.

I know you've moved on, so I'm mentioning this for future readers who may encounter the same issue.
"I was about to buy the new Wadia 171iTransport but decided to try the Sonos ZP90 first. Then I just came across comments that it doesn't support 24/96. Is this true?"

Correct, both of these do 44.1 only. I have customers reclocking both. Sonos has the highest digital output jitter of the WiFi devices. If you dont like EVO or Wavelink, this will be worse IMO.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
"Evo was plugged in prior to driver installation (I realized it required a driver after noticing the device wasn't listed under Sound>Output Prefs). Everything looked fine, power on,..etc, except for the fact that it would only play through the internal speakers."

This is really simple. You go to preferences - audio and select the EVO and then you get output.

It is the operating systems that are causing these problems and confusions, not the device. Dont blame the device or the driver. If you install the driver according to the instructions and select the device in preferences, it just works.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
In simpler language AUDIOENGR, it is Operator Error, NOT lack of adequate Manufacturer Instruction that is at fault-is that it? Not buying it! If Manufacturer is advertizing
USB Converter/Driver to be compatible with Windows 7 or
MAC OS X System, Manufacturer never tests these Devices in
these specific Operating Systems to make sure they work?
What do they do, just cross their fingers and hope for the best? Customer becomes the Guinee Pig? If you drove a brand
new car off of the Salesman's Lot, and the wheels fell off,
I don't think that you would be so gracious! Especially if
Salesman ran up to you waggling his finger in your face,
"Whooops....must be Operator Error"! You will have to forgive some of us for not being as gracious with PC Audio.
Some of us want to break that finger off, and shove it were the sun don't shine. If that just makes us uncivilized
brutes, so be it. Just how many times do the wheels of PC Audio have to come off, before we learn anything? I have
learned one thing, Operator Error is a piss poor excuse for
lack of Manufacturer Prior Proper Planning in Adequate
Instruction for the Proper operation of any Device. In
simpler language, that boat won't float no matter who is
operating it! What, the Operator simply didn't bail water fast enough, so says the Boatmaker? How convenient!

by Audioengr: "This is really simple. You go to preferences - audio and select the EVO and then you get output. It is the operating systems that are causing these problems and confusions, not the device. Dont blame the device or the driver. If you install the driver according to the instructions and select the device in preferences, it just works."

Steve, I've been using computers since '95 (self taught/administrator on UNIX/IRIX SGI, WIN DOS/NT/2K/XP, and MAC OS X). I know how to select the sound output device under OS X System Prefs. Evo showed up after installing the driver, but would only play through iMac speakers. Is that clear now? I've used other USB DAC's and converters and know what I'm doing. Don't just presume user is to blame.

Fyi; There was no mention on the M2Tech website about a driver being needed. And at first I ignored the small folded 2"x5" strip of paper included in the box that informs the customer they'll need to download the instruction manual and driver. But I'll accept the blame for that one. I should have known that tiny scrap of paper held the answers. Point is, set up on OS X is easy, practically does it on it's own (yet look at the WIN instructions. Geesh!).

by Tvad: "You have to select it to play through the external speakers in the Apple Midi application. It will not do play through the external speakers automatically......"

Yes, did that too. Already learned from setting up other USB converters as mentioned.
01-26-11: Sakahara
I've been using computers since '95 (self taught/administrator on UNIX/IRIX SGI, WIN DOS/NT/2K/XP, and MAC OS X).

There was no mention on the M2Tech website about a driver being needed.
All USB devices require drivers. It would seem a UNIX/IRIX SGI, WIN DOS/NT/2K/XP, and MAC OS X administrator would know this.

Did you configure the Evo to output sound via external speakers in the Apple Midi Setup application (did the application display the speaker icon next to the Evo)?
Well...it seems you have made an excellent decision to move on!
Excellent Decision- Tvad? After investing money in PC Audio
only to have the wheels fall off for the upteenth time due
to lazy Manufacturing! Whatever you do, DON'T you dare try
to demand that PC Audio Manufacturing get its act together!
Pay no attention to this horrendous accident-Folks! Just
move-on! Move-on!
"Just crawl back into the Ship, and await in the dark
so you can't see what is eating you"! Is that the idea,
I know one thing, when the dying starts this whole
psycho family of PC Audio is just going to just rip itself apart! Don't you cry for PC Audio....don't you DARE!
Update/Last Post;

I discovered that the temporary power cord being used between the wall outlet and power conditioner had had a detrimental effect on the systems sound, thus negatively affecting my judgement and what I was hearing with the USB converters. I have since replaced the power cord and recently tried a Stello U2 for a few days. It was a limited listening experience but it actually sounded surprisingly good compared to playback from a Marantz BD8002 BDP being used as a CDT. Once my system is complete I'll give them another try. There may be hope yet.

Time for a new thread as this one got off track anyways...
Only thing off track, is complete lack of adequate directions and instructions from PC Audio Manufacturers.
If you really want to limit your Market to only Nasa Engineers, there is only so many of them. Your Market isn't going to be worth squat! Don't PC Manufacturers
test their Equipment/Drivers in current Operating Systems?
They advertize compatability-based on what? If the
actual PC Manufacturers don't know how to install the damn things, how is a bunch of Customers in a Forum going to figure it out? They owe it to their Customers, to get off of their lazy butt and figure it out! What is the point of
manufacturing something that you have no clue as to how to
install? Fifty percent failure rate is unacceptable, time to get results oriented with PC Audio Manufacturers (way
past due)!
Addendum: Even though the Stello U2 sounded decent for the limited time spent listening, I've decided once again to not use USB. It still doesn't do it for me. I've since bought the Bryston BDP-1 to use as a music server with a Lampizator v3 Level 3 DAC. I think this will prove to be far more musically satisfying then any USB converter/DAC.
Yes the Lampazator L3 dac. I bet you are shocked that digital can sound this good with such a dac.