Newbie question re: USB quality

Thanks to everyone who has guided me to this point that I'm able to even ask this question! I'm learning quickly about computer audio and right now using a USB thumb drive with DSD files plugged into an OPPO 105 (non-Darbee edition). I'm getting good quality sound that is certainly superior to rebook CDs.

However, I've seen it mentioned in various articles on audio websites that USB as the interface has various weaknesses. Usually, this is just stated without any mention of other options. What other ways would I be able to get audio files to my Oppo. I have a Macbook Air, but other than connection via USB from the computer, I don't know if any other way to get files to the Oppo.

Again, I appreciate your willingness to help a technophobic newbie.


Showing 3 responses by loftarasa

I think it's ironic that it's argued above that USB done right is context of converting it back to S/PDIF :)

To the OP, yeah, two paths - one would be a USB-SPDIF converter from Mac to Oppo (loads of them around now). Another would be to double-down on improving the USB from the Mac with stuff like iFi iUSB, iFi iPurifier, a better USB cable.

It still comes down to what the Oppo seems to do better with. Try to do some comparisons across the different inputs to see if you can detect the baseline preferences it may have between optical, coax and USB.
Bcgator, OK I looked at the Peachtree. It has Toslink, USB,
RCA and BNC coax inputs.

You need to determine which input kind of sounds best as-is,
and double-down on improving that.

From the PC, are you running JRiver in WASAPI/ASIO mode? Do
that first to setup bitperfect playback over USB direct.

Then see if you can compare that vs coax, say using a CDP or
DVD or Blu-Ray player with coaxial out.

On paper, the best inputs are likely USB or BNC.

To improve USB, consider the iFi iUSB device and better USB
cables (I use the iUSB with their Mercury and Gemini

One of the best BNC S/PDIF converters is meant to be the
Audiophileo, but it's not cheap. You should not buy a PCI-E
(sound) card. You want the conversion done outside the
computer for power noise reasons. Even if going S/PDIF, the
iFi iUSB is still a beneficial device, so maybe I'd start
there and you can get it from several places with
return/refund guarantees.
Can't agree with Cerrot here, the [email protected] is fine but it's embedded in the PC, via the motherboard, and all the crap that entails. I used to use a modded EMU1212M and the sound was good for its day but USB and SPDIF converters supercede it.

Regardless, if we've established that the Peachtree's USB is good, then again, Bcgator, look at optimizing that. And if you're happy with the sound you already have, why spend anymore!