Will a Wavelink or Offramp make a difference?

I posted this on CA a few days ago, but got no response, so here goes:

I'm a little baffled by all the arguments for/against USB implementation, but the consensus seems to be that a USB/SPDIF converter will be better than going straight USB from my Benchmark Pre.
My question is, the USB converter the kind of tweak that would be fairly obvious (presuming I don't have cloth ears?) Or is it more akin to the, 'maybe you'll hear an improvement, maybe you won't.' ?
I have a modest system, but a pretty revealing one: A jungson 200 watt amplifier, the aforementioned Benchmark, fed into SP Tech Timepiece 3.0's. Cabling is mostly Blue Jeans, Signal Cable, and some homemade Venhaus recipe p/c. Any thoughts?
The Off ramp is to be used in conjunction with a DAC. It is a USB converter but also re-clock the signal. The improvements are significant and not subtle and highly recommended.
I’d say “Yes indeed”. There should be an audible diff applying either into your system.

Are you sure you want to spend that much for the conversion of USB to SPDIF though?

Both are reputable for sure, and both are IMO, costly converters.

Thought about using a Hiface, or sound card instead?

Any or either of these might just suit your system and/or budget, saving money in as well.

As I understand it, converting to SPDIF enables you to achieve those HD tracks with sampling rates above 96KHz. Otherwise it’s my understanding that is the ceiling using only USB..

So far, in my own exp, I’ve been able to discern easily, the diffs from inexpensive sound cards <$250 – 400; the Hiface 24/192KHz; and most recently the Lynx AES 16E sound card using a Gotham cable.. All fed my Bel Canto DAC 3. In order each one brought a different perspective of the music and it’s own inherent issues or advantages.

Even the cable connecting the converter/interface to the DAC made audible diffs and eventually gains.
I personally couldn’t justify upwards of $1500-2000 for the conversion interface . hence the Lynx vs the Offramp. $500 +/- vs $1,000 +.

Everything matters in the signal chain room etc. In pc the DAC is the main bit. But again, everything matters. Just how much is always the question. I’ve no doubt choosing Steve’s solution or Gordon’s, not necessarily in that order, will be able to yield a different sound than you are getting now I’d suspect it/them to be better too. How much though I doubt anyone can accurately indicate here.

Were I to make another step up from where I am currently, it would very likely be to go an altogether different path for converting pc audio to analog. I’d also be inclined to lessen those devices in the signal chain if possible. I’d probably opt for some direct USB to ???? or 1394 to ??? converter. Rather than fooling around with adding more clocks and cabling . Or by merely exchanging out my DAC.

But that’s just me. If I can simplify the signal process by reducing items in it, I feel I’m improving signal integrity or at least removing other problem areas from arising. I’m reducing costs and usually am elevating the sound quality in the process.

Once I found the right cable to attach my stock Hiface BNC to my DAC, I was a pretty happy camper. I had no real bug to step up from there. I did so only to satisfy my curiosity about the Lynx card as I could find no recent account of how its influence on the signal affected the sound. So I got one just to satisfy my curiosity as to all the hype I saw about it/them online, and especially at CA.

For $350 – 500 depending on the model and condition, it’s a decided step up from anything priced below it, IMHO, which converts the pc ausdio output to other than USB.

That’s it though. Above $550 and then add in the cost of another cable and I’d not feel good about it’s value at all IOW it’s bang for buck.

Lastly, some folks are using one for their interface to $6K DACs too, so there’s something to think about and I can see why now.

I also see those rigs that run firewire or USB right into a DAC/preamp/controller stand alone units which then feed some pricey downstream products.

So pick your path and apply money liberally . Depending on that roads’ tolls.

Different abounds! Better is about as subjectively plentiful, and the system itself is the only real limiter, as to what degree of change is going to be revealed.
Hi, I'm just starting out playing with PC audio and currently I am using the Halide Bridge USB/Spdif on my MacBook Pro with iTunes. It's feeding a DIY DAC (K&K Audio RAKK DAC). While it's not as open and transparent as my PS Audio PWT feeding the DAC via I2S on HDMI, it is closer to the PWT connected through S/pdif. I recently downloaded Pure Music from Channel D and will see if its memory play and superior upsampling will level the playing field. The Halide device uses Gordon's code which adds a lot to the cost, but is very easy to use. There is the possibility of modding it for PS Audio I2S on HDMI. That would get around the limitations of S/pdif. Kevin Carter of K&K Audio has modded my Logitech Touch for I2S output. When I have both devices I will compare audio quality through each and decide which way to go.
Davidm1108- I know that I am going to get into trouble for
saying this. I am currently using M2Tech EVO USB Converter
out of PC-Windows 7. The EVO is feeding Space Tech Labs
Vacuum Tube DAC via AES/EBU Digital. Tubes are renowned for
picking up Power Supply related noise, and I have four on
DAC Balanced Output Stage, plus two huge Tubes for DAC
Rectifier. Switching Mode Power Supply Noise from PC precludes use of installed Sound Card, and DAC doesn't have USB Input. External USB Converter, with own Analog Power Supply, became a must. This applies to my type of DAC only, not necessarily anyone elses. My DAC is just simply going to sound better with external Converter with its own Analog Power Supply. It just puts an extra layer of separation between SMPS PC and DAC Analog PS. This is done out of Engineering necessity for my type of DAC ONLY! Are there Sound Cards that have Special Power Supply Filters for rejecting SMPS Noise? Some DAC's even have Switching Mode Power Supplies themselves, do they have exceptional Power Supply Noise Filters themselves? I don't know. It DOESN'T seem to be a problem with a percentage exceptionally sounding Sound Cards and DAC's. Switching Mode Power Supply is used as a means to conserve Power, and help the Environment. It does produce some noise, which must be filtered, especially when it comes to connection to Analog driven Equipment. My case is just an extreme example of this. I use external Converter, with external Analog Power Supply, out of Engineering necessity. Others WILL have different, if not better, results. It does make me wonder, though, if mixing SWPS with Analog Power Supplies does cause compatibility problems leading to mixed results with PC Audio. There does seem to be a wide mixture of results utilizing different PCs, with different DAC's, with different USB Converters/Sound Cards/USB DACs. Call it total nonsense if you want, there is still some basis in electrical theory to back it up. That is, unless you want to throw out the Baby (All Electrical Theory) with the bathwater. How do you explain ALL different results, to the total exclusion of Electrical Theory, with PC Audio? Sounds like Flat Earth Logic, and reason. Why is it that whenever anyone discusses these differences with PC Audio, it is handled here like the Spanish Inquisition? No one here DARE have a difference of opinion in Electrical Theory-Really! Hang everyone up by their thumbs? Chill out! Anyone carrying big
guns out there, keep them in your holsters. This isn't the
Wild West here. It is, after all 2011, not 1885! Don't make me sic Wyatt Earp on you, is it really necessary to dig the poor Man out of his grave?
I’d say “Yes indeed”. There should be an audible diff applying either into your system.

Are you sure you want to spend that much for the conversion of USB to SPDIF though?

Both are reputable for sure, and both are IMO, costly converters.

Thought about using a Hiface, or sound card instead? ......

Blindjim (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

The Off Ramp is much much more than a USB convertor. It significantly outperformed a HiFace and Lynx card in my system. The improvements it brings are not small or subtle.

I have been through the same exercise and here is what I have decided for my setup and its brilliant...http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=84115.0

Don't take this the wrong way but that forum doesn't really say anything or compare those two units.

However in terms of functionality I will point out the latest Off Ramp will sample all the way to 24/192. Also it is a sophisticated re-clocker which virtually eliminates jitter. I cannot accurately describe what a huge difference it makes in front of the dozen DACs I've heard it paired with. But I will say that I think it is a critical component in my system.

I do not have personal experience with the Wavelength USB converter though I have heard their technology because I have heard their DACs.