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Steve M

Singxer SU-1 USB Bridge ~ A Game Changer for USB and Computer Audio.

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Steve M   
Posted (edited)

I have been meaning to start a thread on the Singxer USB bridge ever since hearing this device a few months ago ...

 

This is really an adjunct away from Rocky500/Rob's thread about the r2r Holo Spring DAC on this forum, on which thread I have made several favourable comments about the excellent Singxer SU-1. For those not quite up to speed with what this thing does, it takes the USB data output from a computer or dedicated music server and converts the information to be outputted to a DA Convertor, via an HDMI i2s connection (the best option); or out through a spdif/coax (almost as good); a three pin balanced out connection or BNC connector(likely better than coax).

 

Put simply, the Singxer lets you optimize the connection between the computer information (stored music on a PC/laptop or an external drive) and to send it to your DA convertor, amplifier and speakers to produce glorious music. Now, in my not so long experience with computer audio (CA), music servers and uber 9-12v DC power supplies and players (JRiver and the like) - the most critical aspect seems to be the 'timing' of the computer information delivered to the dac. Succinctly, in my experience bad timing means bad/muddled computer audio. A good example is a long i2s lead which mucks up timing in ca big time!

 

Enter the Singxer SU-1 USB bridge @ $500 ...this device in my experience has it all sorted in terms of connectivity-functionality-hi-iend performance-and moderate pricing. It has all the latest chipsets, best Crystek femto clocks and a strong linear power supply. It is the best sounding USB convertor I've heard and sounds better than the Audiophilleo at double the price ($1,100).

The Singxer does not have that veiled, edgy, hazy character that digital audio can exhibit when things are not quite right. The Singxer sounds explicit, detailed and fleshed out with clear spaces between the performers and instruments, the Singxer performing its bridge duties has no such timing foibles, instead it sounds clear and accurate.

 

So far, the Singxer has enhanced (made better) every DA convertor that I have tried it on from a lowly $80 Crystal Semi Conductors eBay Gigadac - to the $2500 r2r Holodac - to my venerable Pedja Rogic/Scott Thomson Phillips TDA1541 Killerdac @ $5K. What it has done to the Killerdac has floored me, simply amazing! It has turned it from a nice refined sounding if somewhat 'characterful' DA convertor to a no-holds-barred accurate sounding device. To the point where one such reputable person I trust who heard it alongside the Holo described the Killer as being similar to the Holo (which usually sounds more accurate) ...something you never would have said about the Killer before the introduction of the Singxer into the mix. I now think the Killerdac exceeds the Holo in terms of better tonality and naturalness, and almost equal to it in clarity and accuracy.

 

Long story short, I would contend that  the bottleneck with a lot of DA convertors and computer audio is the USB input on the dac. I would recommend the Singxer USB bridge with all DA convertors old and new - you will see an improvement in 90% of cases.

 

Regards,

 

Steve.

 

31ZxjFMpaPL.jpgfc6FU6Y.jpg_-3_25.jpg

 

 

 

DSC_0010.JPG

Edited by Steve M

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rocky500   
Posted (edited)

I agree on the Singxer. Such a great device. It really lifted my Schiit Modi Multibit to a much higher level. Using S/PDIF from Singxer.

The sticker on the back says 220V but they are actually using a 230V Talema transformer. Was confirmed by the Singxer people. :)

 

Your one Steve has 230V. (Thanks to my label maker :-)

Edited by rocky500

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Nap250   
11 hours ago, Steve M said:

I have been meaning to start a thread on the Singxer USB bridge ever since hearing this device a few months ago ...

 

This is really an adjunct away from Rocky500/Rob's thread about the r2r Holo Spring DAC on this forum, on which thread I have made several favourable comments about the excellent Singxer SU-1. For those not quite up to speed with what this thing does, it takes the USB data output from a computer or dedicated music server and converts the information to be outputted to a DA Convertor, via an HDMI i2s connection (the best option); or out through a spdif/coax (almost as good); a three pin balanced out connection or BNC connector(likely better than coax).

 

Put simply, the Singxer lets you optimize the connection between the computer information (stored music on a PC/laptop or an external drive) and to send it to your DA convertor, amplifier and speakers to produce glorious music. Now, in my not so long experience with computer audio (CA), music servers and uber 9-12v DC power supplies and players (JRiver and the like) - the most critical aspect seems to be the 'timing' of the computer information delivered to the dac. Succinctly, in my experience bad timing means bad/muddled computer audio. A good example is a long i2s lead which mucks up timing in ca big time!

 

Enter the Singxer SU-1 USB bridge @ $500 ...this device in my experience has it all sorted in terms of connectivity-functionality-hi-iend performance-and moderate pricing. It has all the latest chipsets, best Crystek femto clocks and a strong linear power supply. It is the best sounding USB convertor I've heard and sounds better than the Audiophilleo at double the price ($1,100).

The Singxer does not have that veiled, edgy, hazy character that digital audio can exhibit when things are not quite right. The Singxer sounds explicit, detailed and fleshed out with clear spaces between the performers and instruments, the Singxer performing its bridge duties has no such timing foibles, instead it sounds clear and accurate.

 

So far, the Singxer has enhanced (made better) every DA convertor that I have tried it on from a lowly $80 Crystal Semi Conductors eBay Gigadac - to the $2500 r2r Holodac - to my venerable Pedja Rogic/Scott Thomson Phillips TDA1541 Killerdac @ $5K. What it has done to the Killerdac has floored me, simply amazing! It has turned it from a nice refined sounding if somewhat 'characterful' DA convertor to a no-holds-barred accurate sounding device. To the point where one such reputable person I trust who heard it alongside the Holo described the Killer as being similar to the Holo (which usually sounds more accurate) ...something you never would have said about the Killer before the introduction of the Singxer into the mix. I now think the Killerdac exceeds the Holo in terms of better tonality and naturalness, and almost equal to it in clarity and accuracy.

 

Long story short, I would contend that  the bottleneck with a lot of DA convertors and computer audio is the USB input on the dac. I would recommend the Singxer USB bridge with all DA convertors old and new - you will see an improvement in 90% of cases.

 

Regards,

 

Steve.

 

31ZxjFMpaPL.jpgfc6FU6Y.jpg_-3_25.jpg

 

 

 

DSC_0010.JPG

Thanks for the review, if I was using a computer I would give this a go. I'm not sure how it would work between an Antipodes DS server and a Dac?

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scumbag   

I've owned a few of the newer XMOS chipped devices now including the Singxer F-1. I haven't owned this one though I believe the F-1 shares a lot of the circuit design of the SU-1. I'm sure that the SU-1 is superior to the F-1 due to the power supply being integrated rather than being drawn from the device. I found F-1 really benefited from something like a IFI IUSB3 that seemed to smooth things out a bit.

In my experience with the XMOS XU208 generation devices, I would agree with Steve but would include one caveat. These devices can add zest, juice and dynamics, they can add timbral qualities and they can inject bass punchiness and treble energy into a system which (to not put words into Steve's mouth) will see improvement in about 90% of systems. The reason I say this is because if you already have an amplifier / speaker / room combination that is very detailed or bright then the XMOS might push it too far. As with everything, it's all about balancing the system. In the case of a Devialet running a later firmware such as V10 (which makes the sound quite bombastic in my opinion), the XMOS gear might be too much of a good thing. With older firmware however (V7), the XMOS can add a bit of zing to work with the greater fluidity of the Devialet.

So if you are running a valve integrated or a valve power amp / preamp combo this could be just the ticket. Indeed any SS gear that tends towards smoothness (insert adjective of your choice) may really get a kick out of this - I'm thinking NAD from my own experience and also a lot of the British stuff. Of course anyone running a non-optimised source (laptop or noise PC) will get an instant upgrade in sound if not simply from the benefit of galvanic isolation but also the XMOS does wonders in sorting out the asynchronous stream from devices.

I don't want to derail this conversation in any way. I hope my experiences will provide some pointers for people.

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scumbag   
Posted (edited)

And without derailing things totally. I have to say that the Yellowtec PUC2 is quite a piece of work when used with the Devialet. On your first listen it sounds almost diametrically opposed to the XMOS chipped stuff. It's one of those classic cases of not having to call a winner. They are both winners in their own right in a system that calls for them. The XMOS brings excitement, the PUC2 relaxes. Neither has any discernible shortfalls in their performance and both can make a case for themselves to the listener. 

Choose your poison. Or get both and choose between them as the mood takes you.

Edited by scumbag

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scumbag   
1 hour ago, Nap250 said:

Thanks for the review, if I was using a computer I would give this a go. I'm not sure how it would work between an Antipodes DS server and a Dac?

Only 1 way to find out ;)

 

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Steve M   
Posted (edited)

NAP250: The Singxer should work with the Antipodes DS and likely improve the sound of both dac and server. I am using my Singxer with an Antipodes DX clone and the Holodac. A Curious USB cable connects from the DX-clone to the Singxer and then a digital coax/rca goes from the Singxer to the Holodac then out to the Supratek 4P1L valve preamp and system. I think all the Singxer is doing is properly transferring the data out of your Antipodes to the dac, lowered jitter and less timing errors at this interface - means better sound for computer audio.

 

Mark: Can't disagree with anything you have said above and great advice all round. One thing to note is that the SU-1 has a well implemented linear power supply with Talema transformer on board, whereas the F-1 takes power from the 5v line of the usb, which can be noisy. The sonic benefit of the Singxer I am hearing is that the hazy sound (when digital replay is not quite right) between musical notes and the players has disappeared, replaced by the sort of sound you are describing with your gear ...perhaps a bit brighter, a projected and firmer midrange, better clarity separation and detail. The type of coherent sound that comes as our systems become more refined and when there is an overall lift in timing.

 

Steve.

Edited by Steve M

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Hi Steve, you have probably seen reports of folks replacing the power supply with an external one, including the LPS-1. I haven't tried it myself yet, but plan to do so.

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Steve M   
Posted (edited)

G'day Richard,

 

Yes, I have seen the online articles about an external linear power for the SU-1. Will keep an eye on the progress of that and will also be pursuing an i2s connection between the Phiilips TDA-1541 Killerdac and the Singxer USB bridge, which should improve things further. Just gotta work out where Word-Clock-Data is coming and going from the two devices.

 

I think you guys being familiar with the kdac, would be amazed at how good (accurate) the Killer sounds with computer audio ...sacrilege to some I know, but hey it works big-time!

 

Cheers,

 

Steve.

Edited by Steve M

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mivarpet   

I have one of these too, running my Audio GD Master 7 via HDMI I2S.

 

It was a great improvement over the Amanero USB (and I sold my Regen + PSU + Curious Cable + JitterBug and recouped my outlay on the SU1).

 

I've since upgraded the 5V regulator to a TPS7A4700 based drop in replacement (well, not quite a drop-in - it needed legs crossed over and a new mount point on the heatsink) and that yielded a nice improvment to the noise floor and detail.

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Steve M   
Posted (edited)
On 06/03/2017 at 4:41 AM, Nap250 said:

@Steve M where did you get your Singxer from?

 

This eBay shop seems to be the best price for the SU-1. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Singxer-SU-1-XMOS-XU208-USB-Digital-Interface-CPLD-DSD256-DOP-/252462057013

 

 

On 06/03/2017 at 5:56 AM, Sir Rab of Everest said:

Hi Steve, I won't be amazed because I have been doing it for years!

 

That's good to know Richard that you are also enjoying the kd with computer audio. I don't know why I didn't try it earlier other than I had some stuck up notion that that Killer was best with its own dedicated CD94 Zen clocked battery cd transport. :unsure:

 

 

On 06/03/2017 at 4:45 PM, mivarpet said:

I have one of these too, running my Audio GD Master 7 via HDMI I2S.

 

It was a great improvement over the Amanero USB (and I sold my Regen + PSU + Curious Cable + JitterBug and recouped my outlay on the SU1).

 

I've since upgraded the 5V regulator to a TPS7A4700 based drop in replacement (well, not quite a drop-in - it needed legs crossed over and a new mount point on the heatsink) and that yielded a nice improvement to the noise floor and detail.

 

It doesn't surprise me that the Audio GD dac is improved by the Singxer. The dac circuit in it is probably good, but the USB input wouldn't be as cutting edge as the Singxer with its newer XMOS chips and Crystek clocks. The two A-GD dacs I have had in house in the past have sounded quite pleasant, but a bit mellow and congested. This just confirms to me that a lot of dacs are perhaps smearing timing information at the usb input, a problem solved by the Singxer.

 

Steve.

Edited by Steve M

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Nada   

1. A  USB-SPDIF/I2S doesnt have any particular sound.  Its the way they synergise with a particular DAC that matters.

2. In my system the Singxer was not as as good as an Auidophilleo1 running on linear power feeding a ML360 with coax SPDIF so saying "X" is better then "Y" is misleading

3. The reason for improved sound quality is probably not about timing or jitter. Most USB devices now have jitter <200ps which is likely inaudible  on  most DACs. So its probably down to isolation and packet quality.

4. If you think I2S is good on a TDA1541a DAC you better try the Audial USB in  simultaneous mode

5. It would be nice to find a modern DAC with USB input that isnt improved by a dedicated USB bridge. The Phasure is one so it can be done.

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Steve M   
Posted (edited)

Good Morning Nada/H,

 

1&2. You may notice that in my description of the Singxer's sound above, I do not discuss its musicality or other subjective measure. Instead I mainly describe how to me, with it, my computer audio sounds more accurate, more fleshed out, better separated and how the Singxer removes the haziness that I associate with badly done digital replay.

 

3 & 4. I did hear Statman/Mick's top-of-the-wozza DIYAudio TDA1541 dac last week, with the Audial boards in sim-mode and with all the IanCanada stuff on it. It sounded fab!  another level of connectedness and firmness with the music, a slight jump on the Holo overall maybe? He felt the Holodac had a bit more resolution than his TDA1541, but the 1541 perhaps easier to listen to. He left the house for a couple of hours to look at a Ducati motor bike and I had a quiet listen to his dac. To me the three dacs Holo/Statman/Killer were very close in performance. Don't take this as meaning the system or my ears/brain was blending things - it wasn't and they all sounded quite distinct. The Holo was open and detailed, but maybe a little whispy and lighter, the Statman dac a bit more fleshed out. My own Killerdac (obtained from and nicely tuned by the infamous Kajak12/Mario) was the surprise package for both Mick and myself! We had this dac pegged as perhaps a bit warm and cuddly, but through the Singxer and computer audio - it sounds deadly accurate, clean and has the best tone and refinement, for me personally. At the end of the day you can't buy tone, its a personal perception and you either hear it or you don't (on a personal level) and the TDA1541 is all about correct tone. All I can say is well done Mario with building the Killerdac, there must've been a method to his madness! (said with the utmost niceness, as he is a good fella/mate).

 

Cheers,

 

Steve

Edited by Steve M

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Good honest post there Steve.

 

Often when you are at this level there are only shades of differences as opposed to the much quoted 'this killed that - no contest' etc etc.

 

One of the real talents of people like Mario / Craig C / Steve G is ability to slowly tweak a system / DAC design forward by a combination of

very small incremental changes that are hard to perceive on their own but the final outcome being a definite step in the right (or desired) direction.  

 

WRT tone - yes spot on. The endless quest with digital is to get some analog like tone and timbre. For me TDA1541 is the benchmark. Can a

modern DAC (chip) be persuaded to produce at least something like this - that is the challenge.

 

Terry

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Nada   

@Steve M

 

Your such a lucky man being in WA with all the active DIY guys around. Whats Mario up to these days? Which system did you listen to at Statman's?

 

The new Pedja Audial USB simultaneous mode board should easily fit inside your TDA1541A DAC.  Its a relatively simple board compared to Ian's DIYaudio boards. Its  also less expensive then a Singxer.  Its the one mod that can be expected to fundamentally improve the TDA1541a core processing.

 

With computer audio you have access to some fun DSP stuff eg

Oversampling eg x2 often improves the clarity and dynamics

Precise equalization can take out room modes etc

 

 

 

 

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soundfan   

I was considering buying a Singxer SU-1 to try with my Denafrips Ares dac.

But have been informed on head fi that the Ares already has xmos208 implemented already.

If so, would this make a Singxer SU-1 unnecessary?

 

Like everyone I suppose I just want to extract the most I can with equipment I buy, and this thread from @Steve M got me interested.

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rocky500   
45 minutes ago, soundfan said:

I was considering buying a Singxer SU-1 to try with my Denafrips Ares dac.

But have been informed on head fi that the Ares already has xmos208 implemented already.

If so, would this make a Singxer SU-1 unnecessary?

 

Like everyone I suppose I just want to extract the most I can with equipment I buy, and this thread from @Steve M got me interested.

Thats a tough one.

Unless the Singxer offers a little more in say isolation, clocks, PSU layout etc

Hopefully with this Steve's thread more people might be looking to buy a Singxer in Australia and you may be able to borrow one soon to try. :) 

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scumbag   
1 hour ago, soundfan said:

I was considering buying a Singxer SU-1 to try with my Denafrips Ares dac.

But have been informed on head fi that the Ares already has xmos208 implemented already.

If so, would this make a Singxer SU-1 unnecessary?

 

Like everyone I suppose I just want to extract the most I can with equipment I buy, and this thread from @Steve M got me interested.

Chris,

I can lend you my Gustard U12 if that is of any interest. Not quite up to the level of the Singxer but if you hear some improvement I would suggest that this would be a good pointer to what an XMOS based converter could do for your DAC. Personally, if I were a betting man I'd say it will have little difference. 

 

 

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Nap250   

I'm considering getting one (Singxer) and have sent off a query to  Meitner to see whether they think it would be worthwhile. 

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