Very interested Baetis Audio conversation with John Mingo on the fence


ukeleleplayer
I have been saying for years that USB is the poorest interface to use for music.  It was designed for peripherals (mice and keyboard and printers), not music.  The PC manufactures want you to use usb as every time a user opens up a computer, it generates customer service calls, which they do not want, because it costs them money.  So, they create the computers bellybutton...everyone has one and keeps customer service calls down. USB is incredibly polluted.  You don;t want that feeding your DAC.  Oh..wait...it doesn't feed your dac (usually). Usually, its fed by a $149 usb to spdif converter...going into a $10k dac, and everyone says they are okay with that?  Well, not me!  
(you will actually have posts that say they make usb sound bad on purpose so you buy into the supremacy of spdif/aes/ebu).  This is utter nonsense.  The only thing that blows my mind are the engineers who still build around usb.   
Interesting as this weekend we have been experimenting with different output connections to find what "sounds best."  SPDID out of a PC, USB out of laptop, SPDIF from another media server source, Toshlink from different PC.

All going into McIntosh D100 digital inputs, out of the D100 to Primaluna Dialogue HP premium amp w/KT150s and to Focal Aria 936 speakers.  Using WireWorld USB and IC cables, Audioquest Cinammon coax and toshlink.

Playing same songs on Tidal on these machines, song starting at the same time, and then changing the input on the D100 with the remote so we can do the A/B change (essentially instantaneous change of source.)

Difference was not there.  Sounded exactly the same no matter what source/connection we used.  If any, the USB connection sounded little bit better (I can't even describe the difference?)

For me and my system, it makes no difference what we use, happy with a Windows 10 PC USB output controlling it with IPAD using Google Remote and no reason to even consider spending thousands of $s on Reference servers or AES/EBU.
Have you tried spdif on your computer and compared it to your usb?   I have on mine. It is a large difference.  A good sound card costs $150.  
cerrot, I did in direct comparison to USB.  In my system, USB sounds slightly but noticeably better, especially on vocals compared to the other 2 SPDIF connections/inputs.  Maybe the cables (can't believe I'm even thinking this) Audioquest cinnamon on SPDIF, Wireworld on USB.
How find you get spdif out of your computer?  

How far of how did?  Sound card from PC has SPDIF output, Heos Link was the other SPDIF source.  SPDIF cables (AQ) were 2m, USB cable (WW) is 1M, all similar price nothing fancy (AQ cables $80, WW USB $100.)
Having ripped all my cd's to flac, I recently traded in my old K-01 for the Esoteric N-05 dac/network player as I would like to control all my music in redbook/hires pcm/dsd formats via tablet/phone and so no longer need a spinner. With the N-05, Esoteric has improved its usb design and implementation by leaps and bounds. The N-05 via usb from the PC handily beats the K-01 spinning CD/SACD’s in its venerable VRDS Neo transport and of course, its usb input too.

This indicates the importance of the new dac chip(AKM 4490 compared to the K-01’s discontinued 4399), usb design and implementation, enhanced power supply and analog output stages which all allow the N-05 to surpass the K--01 in every sonic parameter.

Usb implementation isn't just about the usb interface but more the sum of all the parts that make a usb-dac sound excellent.

I marvel at how good redbook can get today. The new gen dac's via usb narrow the gap so much that well-recorded redbook sounds just as good as hires pcm/dsd. An expensive spinning transport with its moving parts and their potential to deteriorate over time can now be dispensed with.
More about usb....

http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2016/05/gordon-rankin-on-why-usb-audio-quality-varies/
Thanks.  
Most welcome!