You might want to look at the Audio GD Digital Interface. I found it a significant improvement over my stock HiFace
16 responses Add your response
There is a USB to SPDIF converter comparison in a recent issue of Positive Feedback Online. An interesting option is the unit from Audiophilleo, which can be connected directly to your DAC, avoiding the use of a SPDIF cable. (The Halide Bridge does this, too, but you are stuck with the Bridge's built-in USB cable.)
Wavelength also has a converter for $900.
I think the first question you would have to ask yourself is "How much am I willing to spend?" Relative to the cost of your source material, preamp, amplifier, and speakers, do you really want to spend as much as $895 for something like the Audiophilleo? I am currently using a modified HiFace, into a budget-level Beresford DAC. I'm please with the results and doubt adding a $900 USB/S/PDIF converter would greatly improve the system as a whole. As long as the converter supports up to 24bit/192k resolutions and has independent reclocking circuitry, you should be set. To get any more granular would require a great deal of downstream upgrades for proper upgrade justification.
To more directly address your question, I would say that you are most certainly picking the wrong priority. I say this, of course, without knowledge of your system as a whole.
It may be that in some particular systems one converter is as good as another, but there is a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that the various converters "sound" different in some reviewers systems.
For the record, the Audiophilleo can be had for $495. It appears to perform identically to the more expensive model, but lacks the display, some options, a Wireworld USB cable, a choice of colors, and a fancy case. I haven't used this product, but it's interesting and I wish there were more reliable reviews of it and other converters head-to-head.
hmm, I see there is an asynch USB product for SPDIF out from Musical Fidelity, "V-LINK - USB To SPDIF Converter" that supports coax and optical SPDIF thats supports up to 96Khz. Anyone played with it yet? Price point ($169) is right for something thats likely to be obsolescing technology a year from now.
I'm very skeptical of the marketing mumbo jumbo for the V-Link. The whole point of asynchronous USB is so the target (DAC) doesn't not have to recover the clock from the data stream. This is why is it works so well compared to S/PDIF. With S/PDIF you have cable issues and variable frequency clocks on the DAC that help create jitter. So, anything that uses S/PDIF is flawed by design compared to what asychronous USB end-to-end provides.
Larry, while I agree with you in principle, the current reality is that a lot of people have DACs that don't have async USB, or don't have USB input at all. For those people, a converter allows them to get sound out of their computer, and a good converter allows them to get better sound. The growing number of USB to SPDIF converters on the market attests to the demand for these products, though I do think that over time the need for them will diminish.
What I'd really like to see would be some ethernet to USB or SPDIF converters (but that might require a layer of software that would make the products less convenient).
Cbw - I agree. The adapters make it easy to connect any PC to a S/PDIF DAC. I was going to also mention in my previous post that people worry about jitter instead of "do they like what they hear?". Anything past that I stay away. Too many people think their recollection of music they heard seconds, minutes or even days previously is accurate, but it's been proven many times that it's not.
For this redbook manic, 16bit 44.1 / 48 I recommend finding nos ( 3 months nos) musical fidelity's v-link version 1 189. new - very hard to find, no longer in production. Ver II 299.00 any change ??? I cant tell except the version # ??? ver III 399.00 I notice a pattern here 24bit @ 192Htz it is upgraded internally if you want to overclock and sample... I notice a pattern ... but still wont say a single bad thing about this product except the rapidly increasing price. BTW try Blue Jeans cables for your usb and optical link. in fact, I swapped out some very pricy cables, all of them to try out all solid conductor BJC. My system has never sounded better - Seriously.
V-Link I and V-link II are basicly identical - the only difference beeing a different case. I had confirmed this info @ MF. V-Link II is $189 from Amazon and other online sources.
There is no V-Link III. The one that sells for $399 is called V-Link 192, and it is a completely different (more upmarket) model.