For more background as to it’s design, and further technical info on the Oyaide DB 510 series digital link please see:
I have absolutely no affiliation with either the manufacturers, distributors, or dealers of these devices. I bought them online and paid just what the going rates were at the time, from Tweek Geek, and Kosmic A&V.
what floats my boat, sonically speaking?
What I want and what I can get are three different things…. Or so I was told a good while back. It’s true too. what I want is a system that turns the invisible into visible, the non dimensional into halographic. The artificial into organic
Good luck with all that… but indeed, I dig. . So I as well as other’s aim to get just as close to those parameters as is possible for me. Compromise for an uncompromising sort is an obstacle all by itself. But one learns to live with it and keep those compromises to a minimum.
With the passing of considerable time, I’ve become less and less, the pickiest person on earth, nor am I now the hardest to please, but I am still more demanding and not casual with my audio’s sound.naturally, there are considerations and constraints both philosophical and financial. I think I’m somewhere in the middle of the high end audio enthusiasts ‘erect a set’, or ‘get a system’ game, as the result.
Some things of course need more attention than others to be sure, but in the sound of the system what I always look for is the same. Ideally it is a sound that can capture and involve me. The idea of turning it off is one which makes me feel depressed, or sad.
Nothing in the systems’ invisible musical stage needs be perfect, or even close to it, it just needs to be close enough to gain me the illuision that it is. Instruments need to be easily descernable and differentiated. I hate to ask myself, “Was that a horn or a Sax?’, for instance. Voices and pianos are what I strive to tune my system by. The more natural sound I can get with those items seems to translate well into establishing a very good setting for all the rest of the music save for the extreme ends of the bandwidth, and those too are nearly as important to me.
Symbols, for instance, need to have the shimmer and splash they should. Reed string and brass instruments which can reach way up simply have to retain their identities and remain free from glare, stridency, and grain. I also very much enjoy a somewhat sweeter caliber in the upper registry, if or whenever possible, as my normal preff.
Bass reproduction, for me, points to a couple instruments right off, bass with cabinets and without, and drums. In the bass acquiring better graideients of delineation and those aspects associated with them, are key to aiding the presentation’s appeal, and their ” designs on achieving a more formidable illusion which then approaches better believability.
These ideals or goals aren’t all that difficult to acquire and ordain a system to exude. Neither does it have to be exhorbitantly expensive a task to undertake. Consequently, I feel quite honestly, to a high degree much of these aforementioned aspects are what my audio system provides given the recording is as well on par. My system however is not a rig that has truncated my collection to the point I listen only to a few handfuls of albums. It will show up a bad disc for a bad disc though, I will say that. It won’t prevent me from enjoying the whole of my library, it’s simply that the better recorded discs I come across allow for greater enjoyment. I’d not wish to own a stereo which could only play a couple handfuls of extremely well done discs, front to back. Why cut off one’s nose to spite their face? Such an outfit seems senseless to me these days.
In the digital world among other things jitter is your worst enemy. Nearly all masters of this realm say you can never completely eliminate it, though it can be severely ameliorated. When that instance does occur, trust me, you’ll know it. Your audio will be less fettered and stayed. Jitter induced hardness will vanish. Stridency and etching from the upper mids and above will become purely fascinating articles of the music. In short, you may well rediscover your collection all over again in a new and intriguing fashion. Things will sound more right than they have ever sounded before. To a quite large degree, this is what the M2Tech Hiface 24/192 and as well, the Oyaide DB 510 series digital link has done for my outfit.
If you’re new to the world of PC audio and don’t want to dive in head first without looking for the rocks, this essay might be able to introduce to you an inexpensive but totally capable pair of audiophile level appliances which can unlock that door for you. Predominately this article is about the Oyaide DB 510 silver BNC digital interconnect, and it’s effects once in my system (s), yet some notes are also made here on the M2Tech Hiface USB to SPDIF converter for refference.
It’s a whole new ball game now!
With both the Hiface and Oyaide plugged in and the M2Tech drivers loaded on my XP Pro box, right off the bat things weren’t quite so right. If you hung a one word tag on the sound they ushered forth from the office speakers, it had to be thick. ‘smooth’ would have been an understatement. A huge understatement. Think malted milk shake. Lugubrious. It’s no fair peeking during most break in periods of equipment usually, but I can’t help myself. I peeked. Gladly, I didn’t race off screaming and moaning at least.
About six hours into it all, the resolution began to tighten up and declare itself with descriptive insight. No real edge or grain was in the mix and the heavy cream had been skimmed off the top a little more. At roughly 12 hours on, both the Hiface and the Oyaide DB 510 were much much more on track. Space in the sound stage was orienting itself and gaining separation between the players. The previously distorted upper & mid bass ranges had ceased their rumblings, and became more structured, showing itself as more pointed and less wooly and vague. Lower treble range still has some sibilance though it’s not terrible; it is distracting on some tracks.
Some 50 hours in the sound proceeding thru the Hiface and Oyaide had become enjoyable. Well formed, open, detailed and inviting. Such gains so soon hinted that the balance of their run in time would exhibit far more subtle progress in the whole of the presentation. Of note was the degree and depth of the bass now on tap, and it’s overall structure.
My Bel Canto DAC III has excellent transparency but many fail to mention it’s capacity for depth charged bass impact and tunefulness when cellar notes are the ticket. The Hiface BNC & Oyaide DB 510 BNC cable passed quite adeptly just that information along for the BCD III’s conversion stages to weild a sharpened outline of it all, gaining for me a significant boost in the grin factor area.
Weeks passed and the Hiface & Oyaide DB 510 have seen sporadic yet plentiful playback sessions. Enough so that I feel comfortable both are well done now. The fascinatingly fun part of posting these notes is due to the engaging, inviting and ‘don’t turn it off yet feeling I get from this new pair of conduits for streaming music into the Bel Canto DAC III. Much of the listening during run in has been done with my office system.
Dell desktop w/dual core CPU maxed out RAM, 32 bit system using XP Pro, Fubar 1.0.3, in kernel Streaming mode, an assortment of music files ranging in both genre and sampling rates.
Power is supplied by a thor MK II line stage preamp, a Butler TDB 5150 5ch hybrid amp, or my former flagship 3 way towers from Phase Technologies, the PC 10.5s.
Cabling used is Nirvana SX Ltd (source/DAC to pre), HT Magic II (main IC), and SR Alpha Quadd bi wire active network speaker cables. PS Audio Duet (Shunyata Python VX); Running springs Haley passive PLC, w/Elrod Sig III as supply cord; Voodoo Tesla II (BC D3) Shunyata Taipan Helix Alpha (Dodd/Butler amps) Nirvana pc (preamp), VD Power III (computer).
Shelving/storage is from Iomega 1TB NAS drive; Sound Anchor OEM tuned and filled 6 level ack and a pair of amp stands for the Dodd MK II monos. Isolation by Bright Star. Tube dampers by herbies Peak tube rings.
Of the more noticeable factors, timberal acuity, articulation of notes across the bandwidth, and minor sonic cues conspired to form a presentation that instantly gets your undivided attention. Nothing by way of artifacts, hardened leading edges, siblance or grain were even slightly apparent. Even listening to what I term hot recordings wherein the recording was not up to audiophile levels were remarkably interesting and took on new life, now less encumbered from the clutches of jitter induced attributes contained within the signal’s own digital path throughout the system. Of course, nothing can be done with the jitter captured into the recording itself.
The whole of each presentation then possessed greater depth inside the tracks abilities to communicate venue details. I’ll credit the greater insight to the Hiface, and the ease of the presentation to the Oyaide DB 510 cable. I feel very comfortable with that call as my former Stereovox XV2 had no such affinity with easing the sound out of the personal confuser, and into the BC DAC III. It was always a straight forward near clinical rendering by comparison to the DB 510. On the other hand, one should not take from this assignment any notion that the DB 510’s sound was subdued or the leading edges blunted in any way shape or form, regardless the genre being played, or the degree of resolution it had inherently. Details, inner and overt, were yielded easily and quickly. Decays were appropriate to the notes and the music was unveiled quite intimately.
Rave On? …not just yet..
I needed to make sure what I was getting on a well, lets say lesser resolving, yet still entertaining system would translate well, into one of higher performance. So I made the needed cabling changes, and fired up my main power amps, Dodd MK II 120s w/cap upgrades in place of the Butler TDB 5150 multi hybrid. Along with that replacement, we’ll use better speaker cables, and certainly better speakers my Sonata IIIs.
The outcome was a greater revelation and much, much more enjoyable event. Each note had gained more substance and harmonic value. Surprisingly too, the bass was as impactful yet a tad less pointed and descriptive showing outright the diffs from the hybrid design to that of the PP Ultra linear topology of the Dodd MK II EL34 mono block amps. It also verified the differences in how a room can enable or disable bass presence merely by it’s size. The trade off there for me, is acceptable. Primarily because I know there is a slight power drop off moving from the Butler amp to the Dodd mono blocks by as much as 100 wpc. Naturally there will be less control on the bass driver and this becomes noticeable as a bit less speed and a touch more looseness down low with instruments like double fiddles, for instance. The sound doesn’t come off like something broke during the switch, merely that it becomes more ambiguous in the same lower regions.
The main speakers reside in nearly triple the space of my office, so when the Dodd amps are running I employ a Velodyne DD 15 to compensate for the lack in lower end presence and impact. By such addition, the overall effect is a more distinct and tuneful bass along with just as seamless a blending with the Sonata IIIs. In fact the assistance which exudes from the DD 15 supports well above it’s own range and into the lower mid band, or such is my assessment of the 3rd speaker supported presentation. It also aids in venue acquisition from the increase of sonic cues it provides during playback. Subs just have a way of aiding the whole of the sound and I love ‘em for it. I’m not as happy about the process needed for dialing one in however… but we do it Don’t we?
In spite of the sub’s addition or use, something else had changed. I found it to be the resolve the bass now had between 20Hz and 200hz approximately. Definite changes down there were now audibly and effortlessly discovered. This one area and now it’s positive improvements, made for more entertainment and easier listening.
With the whole of my main system hot now and still using predominately Fubar 1.0.3, lossless files, and a Kernel Streaming output, my initial thoughts on how my stereo’s sound has been affected weren’t hard to express. It amounted to one really big but hushed, “Wow!” falling off my lips almost silently as to not disturb what I was hearing.
In spite of the awesome improvements in the system’s sound, I was a bit uneasy about what I was experiencing and for the first full day I could not figure out why, but something was amiss. A bit off. The sound stage dimensions were well, crowded. The overall size of the stage lay within the confines of the speaker boundaries. There was decent focus to the images, but the presented venue was inordinately diminished. Why is this? It sure wasn’t this way before. It never had been this way before. Is this it? This is what I now have to live with? A Lilypution like sound stage?
The next day I spent going back thru all the connections and settings and making one or two alterations, but to little avail, then it suddenly came to me…. The Sonata IIIs and SR Sig 10 active speaker cables had not seen any duty at all for about 3 months or more! Some further loosening up there was required! The Dodd monos too were as seldom played and required just as much attention.
Following a few days of now and then casual playback sessions, lasting from late evening till well tpast dawn’s early light, the sound stage opened back up once more and the music was let loose from the local confines around and about the area just nearing both speaker’s cabinents again. The stage grew and grew laterally and towards the LP filling the room and making for a front row listening event yet again. Whew! I was relieved.
Confident then that the rig was on better footing, what I heard in well recorded fare was a greater sweetness. Vibrancy and color. Everything had become renewed and a sweeter breath of life had been bestowed into the system. Transparency levels were improved upon and perceived as fresh and revitalized fixtures to the sound stage.
Still stunned by the new sound the first cut I played was one by Ella F. and following it, one by Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane. To date I’d not heard the sound quality I was experiencing just then. I was still in the Pinch me condition the sound had been propelled into.. The transformation which had sprung up from the addition of roughly $400 worth of converter and cabling in total simply was fascinating. I managed to not break my arm by patting myself on the back for it either. I was waiting for the other shoe to fall.
Notes were fuller and more resonant than they had ever been before. Leading edges and decays were spot on with their definition and timing. Unbelievable was another notion that continues to beset me as I listened to Mathis, Hiroshima, Spyro Gyra, Cincinnati Pops orchestra w/Eric Kunsel, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Diana Krall the yellow Jackets, and so on. Each cut took on a new sense of air and a much richer flavor they had not enjoyed previously. In short, the sound was simply lovely, full, rich and harmonically fulfilling. It was in a word, “exhilarating”.
Wet. Not syrupy or dark, merely more substance was contained within the tones. Notes now possessed a glow all their own. A sound I had only heard once before from a pair of sET like Thor 30wpc mono amps. Although this new heft and color each tone displayed was brilliant and riveting, it did not equal the Glow those amps can routinely provide. It did however approach it and get close enough to see the white’s of it’s eyes.
One should not at this point confuse the voice of the Oyaide cables as being distorted or plumper than what one ordinarily would hear from any given instrument. It merely allows instruments to achieve the singularity they normally possess, or if you prefer, maintain their own identities better. Yet the sound was much richer overall than normal. Perhaps and I tend to believe it as such, I was hearing the true voice of my components now, the high dollar tube preamp, and the likewise Dodd mono blocks. I found it delightful.
In retrospect, the RCA Hiface plus the Stereovox XV2 cable proved less signature oriented giving information more by contrast, yielding more so the outlines of each instrument and not as much the deeper inner details they always contain in a live session. Neither have I discarded the XV2 cable, it became a part of the trickle down effect supplanted gear can sometimes find itself deposed to.
My mono amps run in Ultra linear mode. They’re pretty quick, extended and yield a defined leading edge, approaching that of SS amps, but with a better flow and ease to them, generally speaking. Consequently resolution and details are not obscured, vague or hidden within the sound stage as a rule. With the BNC Hiface & DB 510 combo installed, resolution and detail were plentiful yet they became a ‘part of’, rather than a part from. Disallowing their own separate identities from working against each other for attention and thus detracting from the presentation. The well heeled involvement of the system’s newfound higher levels of transparency , presented a better blended and well formulated outcome. Finding very often, my lower jaw resting in my lap reinforced that opinion solidly. The now greater harmonic flavor and enhanced cohesion of all the musical information reached out and captured my attention welding me into place, over and over again. It was like I was frozen stiff and couldn’t turn away so long as the spell the music cast was at hand. Indeed, it was like the first time you walked into the ‘big room’ at a well appointed high end audio dealership.
From a comparative view point, all of the rougher and straighter edges that once were common in most all presentations were vanquished from the music on display.
It’s so odd how one can find a particular sound vastly enjoyable even when it’s filled with ‘lesser than’, artifacts within it’s composition. Until, of course, they hear a more honest sound. Ignorance is bliss … but it does cost less. I hesitate to add here that the sound I’m getting is THE sound I’ve always wanted, but it’ll most assuredly do until that one comes along. Given how this skinny little wire has reframed the audio I’m getting, so such a period might be a fairly long one.
Raising the bar still more I moved into busier and more complicated music and my standards here are Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Illinois Jacquette, Eddie Daniels and some R&B Soul, from Quincy Jones (|Q’s Juke Joint), Solomon Burke (The Definition of Soul), Ray Charles (Ray sings, Basie Swings), and some Acid Jazz from groups like Bob James’ Fourplay with Larry Carlton on lead guitar, and the urban Jazz Coalition’s album “Long Street, to frame just a few.”
The large band ensembles remained defined and honest. The abundant lower end wealth in the more Hip hoppy tunes was well, abundant. Their vocals however were not coverd up by the added bass emphasis. Stephanie Mills, Esther Phillips, Regina Bell (Baby Come Back), Dana Owens (The Dana Owens \Album -Queen Latifa) and Gladys Knight (Before Me), all were exceptionally well delineated and well delivered in as natural a way as I’ve heard them ever. Each performers’ signatures and stylings contained more resolve and expression than I normally enjoyed with the Stereovox XV2 or the Ultra in place.
Not just the bottom end was dramatically altered for the better, but the mid range took on further insights with the instruments. On “Jacquette’s Got It!” during the track “Tickle Toe”, there’s a round robin hand off of mini solos from various band members. Following the trombone’s statement is an enthusiasticly wailing introduction of a clarinet. You can hear not only the bell of the instrument, but well into its body as the notes are breathed into life, then trail off and eventually die out during the brief yet exciting riff. I had only found this level of resolution using a MIT Magnum IC in past systems. The Magnum series slices away many of the veils obscuring resolution and inner detail exactly like this. It also subtracts from the actual harmonic richness or color contained within the timber itself., leaving a more pastoral or faded residue of the sound as it’s tradeoff for that closer look. With the well recorded tracks, nothing got faded using the Oyaide silver link. Quite the contrary.
Rock & Roll artists gained another level of drive and impact, despite the often compressed recording value they presented more so than not. Closely miked folk and country vocalists gained greater immediacy and contrast. Much more of the original venue information was evident. Acoustic music took on more vividness and a certain life essence seemed commonplace as notes were struck and then decayed..
Listening to the cut, ‘Blue Ridge’ off the Seldom Scene’s live album, “15th Anniversary of The Seldom Scene” was a near spiritual experience. Four piece harmonies from the likes of Little Big Town placed each singer in their own space and the images were far more than cookie cutter outlines. The greater substance and defined positioning of various & numerous harmonic groups like Manhattan Transfer, All 4 one, The Nylons, etc., made finding the files on the computer and playing them back an exceptional pleasure, all over again and oh so compelling.
There was a newfound depth of stage as well. More so than I had experienced prior to the Hiface and Oyaide’s introduction to my system. It did not appear initially, but came along with the re-opening of the main outfit’s devices, , the SR speaker cables, Sonata III speakers, Dodd monos, and DD 15 sub. This added depth however did not seem to contain as much of ‘rear of stage’ info as one could prefer, yet I found the whole of it as enjoyable, for it supplied the setting with added dimension.
In the final analysis
With materials like 24k gold plated connectors, jewelry grade 5 9’s Silver conductors, hand polishing, and several different layers of foil and dialectic to address interferences, the DB 510 75 ohm BNC cable stacks up as at least a formidable product. It comes in two ready made & terminated lengths, 1.3M & 0.7M and is available in RCA/SPDIF or BNC terminations. The RCA version is the DR 510, the BNC type is the DB 510. There is also an AES/EBU sort as well I think. See the posted link for those details.
The DB 510 has a quite balanced bandwidth. Fine resolution in the lower end and as well a hand at illuminating the upper regions. It is because of this more resolving influence, one can easily observe hidden in plain sight features to the music. It’s backdrop is black and deeply so. The mids seemed to be where gains in realism were had most of all. However, leading edges or transients were not ever softened, blunted or diminished. Nothing about the wire made the music appear to slow or dull. It does not add hightened or artificial luster or shine to the music, nor does it subtract from the images own density. It merely allows. It flows.
Blasting brass still blasts but is not piercingly injurious. True, deeper and better articulated bass was where it helped my system a lot. There it provided me the opportunity to perceive more info and another level of tunefulness as it enabled me to realize more resonances from the cabinet of the instruments themselves. Previously I’ve found it difficult to delineate and segregate the various tones below 100hz or so. That was a very nice addition.
Triangles and symbols gained a new ring and sheen making them appear far more organic. Whatever minutia and inner detail you are currently enjoying in your files, or CDs you very well may hear and enjoy them more using the Oyaide DB 510, if your system is capable of revealing such things.
It has speed. Thrust. Impact and does not subtract from the music. Nor is it one of those wires you need to get used to all over again. It’s own silver content is readily noticeable but the often discounts of silver being bright or spot lit just DO NOT apply to this wire even a little. If there is indeed some additive or quantitative aspect to the DB 510, I’d say it enables more than it reveals. It’s enabling Prowers gain for it an extremely high quotient of transparency. It also maintains the Oyaide corporations reputation for engineering and producing very high quality equipment whose performance is vastly over the means needed to acquire it. If you were hearing a certain thing before, adding the DB 510 won’t hide it away with greater bloom, it’ll simply allow that ‘thing’ to become more of itself. I’d not prescribe this cable as a patch, or balm, for an errant system. I say with some confidence that the DB 510 will redeem more musical content for you and do it in a mannerly fashion. Honestly and with dynamic appeal and aplomb.
The Oyaide DB 510 BNC silver cable is a as impressive for not much more money than the Hiface BNC unit. I paid $220 incl’d shipping from Joe at Kosmic High Performance Audio and Video up in WA state. I found it more refined and insightful than either the Stereovox XV2 or it’s later sibling, the Ultra. However each of these Stereovox cables were 1M RCA digital wires. BNC adapters could and were used on them at times too. there is a substantial argument for the actual length of a digital link to provide the best electrical path for digital response and performance. Some say that length is 1.5M. As well the type of interface has properties of it’s own, and as I know it, AES?EBU is the top knot, followed by BNC, Spdif, and the rest. There might well be something to those arguments though I can not say emphatically one way or another at this time. I can say however with only a .3M diff from my other XV2, and the loaned Ultra also a 1M RCA – BNC cable (s), BNC terminated is handily a better sounding arrangement. As to what part the rest of the make up of the DB 510 adds to it all, is another topic for another day. It is definitely a more than next step up component IMHO. I feel comparatively speaking of course, the dB 510 BNC Oyaide silver link is easily double the performer and perhaps triple, that of the ultra XV2. The DB 510 is very close to the jaw meet floor event as I’ve encountered since the M2Tech Hiface’s arrival. Together they make a dramatic and exceptionally interesting coupling.
‘No brainer’ recommendation.
M2Tech Hiface 24/192 USB to SPDIF converter.
I could go on & on trying to tell everyone about the changes in sound, staging, and clarity the Hiface brings to my table, and the ease and refinement the Oyaide DB 510 arranges that message into, but in a nut shell, it’s like this…. The Hiface is a sheer no brainer appliance if you are looking to provide your DAC by way of SPDIF or BNC interface digital content from Red Book to 24/192.
….or if you don’t want to employ an expensive sound card, or expressly use the USB interface with it’s inherent limitations of only 24/96, which BTW not all DACs accept via USB. Some USB cables can cost as much as both the Hiface & Oyaide combined!
…and if you would prefer to not explore the variety of near or at $500 list of USB to SPDIF converters already on the market which have less word and bit rate handling abilities and the aforementioned as much as triple costs, do consider either or both of these listed devices.
The only thing ‘budget’. About them is their price tags!
The M2Tech Hiface 24/192 reduces jitter, yields greater bandwidth via higher sampling rates and larger word lengths and thus, higher resolution. By such a greater reach, it affords one versatility and a much broader field of file choices for their libraries.
The resultant far more jitter free audio I experienced was cleaner, clearer, more harmonically accurate and therefore possessed a better tilt towards natural presentations. Vocalists gained more than mere lips and throats, they acquired chests and abdomens. The immediacy or ‘presence’ bar, if you will, was lifted up remarkably. Although the diffs from the use of ASIO and Kernel Streaming were more than marginal. As well likely the player being used had it’s own degrees of influence there, the Kernel Streaming modality & Fubar 2K latest ver., was the combination I found best suited for the Hiface’s use. It simply sounded more right to me in my arrangement. I did not choose to upgrade a second time in one year, and perhaps one more before years end, to another iteration of J River Media Center. The current model is #15, BTW. It affords both WASAPI & Kernel streaming, so it’s use with the Hiface seems the way to go instead of the previous #14 model.
Brief experiences with the MC 15 Beta release showed very good to excellent results using it’s version of the Kernel Streaming plug in output module in conjunction with the Hiface RCA unit. The main diffs from Fubar to MC 15 beta lay in the way the sound stage was represented. Tone and timber were equally satisfactory , So in my case it’s simply an axe I wish to grind with J River MC sales philosophies …. Not their performance quotient. BTW… and it is my axe so I’ll grind it for now.
I’ve to date, not experienced such a clear window to the music, as I enjoy as the result of the little bent stick M2tech gizmo and it’s partner ship with the Oyaide silver digital cable.
The only issue I had with the Hiface was right after the first two or three days of operation. The locking nut which keeps the housing in place on the device was noticed to be loose. I tightened it finger tight and haven’t had a problem since.
If only the RCA outfitted Hiface is a viable candidate for yourself and your gear, I will still strongly recommend you pursue it. The BNC rig is better though not by night and day standards… it is better by some fair bit in delivering a cleaner window to the tunes.
As I know it during this writing M2Tech is about to debut another USB oriented appliance later this year, which will have more interfaces, inputs and outputs, as well as it’s own power supply. It will have a higher price tag too. Around double, from my understanding. I know not it’s projected release date.
Another No Brainer, recommended.
For more technical info on the M2Tech Hiface 24/192 please see:
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