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New(er) DACs jitter reduction capability?


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5 hours ago, musicbee said:

 

I agree, Its important to listen. Measurements can only tell you so much. 

 

For instance, I really like the sound of some R2R dacs. But whether they would measure as well as a Delta Sigma solution?

 

I think the Topping DX3 pro v2 is a good start. 

Its AKM based which I typically prefer over Sabre implementations. 

It measures decent, and would be a perfectly acceptable/logical place to start. 

 

Maybe head to Addicted to Audio and listen on some headphones. 

 

 

I'd echo these comments.  I have a Holo May R2R DAC driven from a Mac Mini via USB.  Yes, the jitter rejection characteristics of the May are impressive, but what is more relevant is how it sounds.   It is as close to analogue as any DAC I have heard (and that's via USB).  But as importantly, the USB interface puts pretty much no restrictions on the level of upsampling that can be applied by Roon or HQPlayer and no limitation on format - which is not the case on other inputs.  

So, in response to the OP, I'd say we have come a fair way in terms of the jitter performance of USB interfaces over the last few years.

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4 hours ago, aussievintage said:

I thought you were posting the link to show he'd changed his mind, but he doesn't mention jitter at all in the second article.   So unless we think jitter is the only way a cable can affect the sound, I am not sure it contradicts exactly.  Bit puzzled...

So are you saying usb cables in an asynchronous dac can/do sound different but not due to jitter? 😁 

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4 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

 

No, but I think he is.


 

Google USB cable impedance and audio. 
 

Cables should be 90ohms. 
Many are not 

 

TheUSB standard stimulates this for compliance. 

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17 minutes ago, musicbee said:

Google USB cable impedance and audio. 
 

Cables should be 90ohms. 
Many are not 

 

TheUSB standard stimulates this for compliance. 

 

So , if it's not, what happens, especially to jitter? 

 

What if it's 91 ohms, or 92, or...  ?   Do you think that the sound degrades gradually, or does it just stop working at some point?

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6 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

 

So , if it's not, what happens, especially to jitter? 

 

What if it's 91 ohms, or 92, or...  ?   Do you think that the sound degrades gradually, or does it just stop working at some point?

 

I have no idea. Without trying to sound rude, its not something I care about or would over think.

I would just stick with a decent 90ohm cable from Supra or Wireworld for example, and call it a day. 

 

I actually use a generic cable. 

Here is a good link:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-wireworld-starlight-7-usb-cable.6599/

 

Shows you the difference a USB can make,. Is this audible? 

 

image.png.232e9fee7c834fed2715f7fb54aea6d9.png

 

 

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3 minutes ago, musicbee said:

I have no idea. Without trying to sound rude, its not something I care about or would over think.

I would just stick with a decent 90ohm cable from Supra or Wireworld for example, and call it a day. 

 

I actually use a generic cable. 

Here is a good link:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-wireworld-starlight-7-usb-cable.6599/

 

Shows you the difference a USB can make,. Is this audible? 

 

 

I dunno.   A quick look seems to indicate that is about noise which may find it's way in - which would due to shielding I would think, not the 90 ohms.  All I was saying is that it would seem modern USB interfaces do a lot to eliminate jitter problems of yesteryear.  Nothing to do with this.

 

Anyway,  I think you meant this as an answer to frednork.  He was the one who asked...

 

 

2 hours ago, frednork said:

So are you saying usb cables in an asynchronous dac can/do sound different but not due to jitter? 😁 

 

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16 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

 

So , if it's not, what happens, especially to jitter? 

 

What if it's 91 ohms, or 92, or...  ?   Do you think that the sound degrades gradually, or does it just stop working at some point?

 

Well, havent seen data on this but maybe it just changes a bit, well, to a point anyway...

this following is from here https://audiobacon.net/2017/09/18/curious-cables-usb-review/

USB Cable Design

To get a better idea of what goes into the design of a USB cable, let’s break it down.

F6YEXICGTCP49GL.MEDIUM.jpg

We have the two data lines (D+ and D-), the 5V power leg, and the ground leg. USB works via differential signaling, much like balanced cables. What determines whether the signal is a logic “0” or “1” is the differential voltage differences. On the receiver end:

  • Differential Logic 1 – D+ is 200mV above the D- signal
  • Differential Logic 0 – D+ is 200mV below the D- signal

Put simply, on the transmitter end, when D+ is above 2.8V, it’s a “1” and if it’s below 0.3V it’s a “0.” D- is the inverse so when it’s below 0.3V, it’s logic “1.”

 

These signals are square waveforms and any slight slope, tilting, or mistimings are measurable and audible. With USB’s fast transfer rates (various voltages at 480 MHz+) and our noisy gigahertz speed PCs emitting electromagnetic radiation into the USB port, it doesn’t seem unlikely that ‘0’s are mistakenly represented as ‘1’s and vice versa. The digital signal is a bit more analog and fragile than you would think. Due to various environmental and internal factors, these voltages might be skewed one way or another. I’ve broken down some of these factors:

  • Crosstalk – The electrical interaction of adjacent conductors with one another. We want to isolate and prevent any “leakage” of energy to other conductors.
  • Capacitance – Electrons get temporarily “stuck” in the cable typically in the insulation/dielectric. When electrons are held and release, this nonlinear propagation attenuates the signal causing plenty of signal timing issues.
  • Inductance – As a signal is going across a wire, a magnetic field is created. This magnetic field will create eddy currents in the conductor. These eddy currents will generate an opposing magnetic field which will impede the propagation of the signal and could potentially convert some of that signal energy into heat. Typically, the larger the conductor, the stronger the opposing force.
  • Resistance – Impediment in voltage typically correlated to the length and gauge of a conductor. Generally speaking, the shorter the USB cable, the better. From my listening sessions, imaging and resolution seem to improve with shorter cables. Both of my Danacable TruStream USB cables are less than 2 ft.
  • Impedance Mismatch – USB cables are 90-ohm, a mismatch may cause reflections in the signal. Something like the UpTone ISO REGEN may help here.
  • Quality of Connectors & Termination 
  • Geometry – Unsurprisingly, conductor layout is very important in all cable design. Shielding approaches need to be in place to prevent noise from affecting the signal path.
  • Clocks – This isn’t cable related but an accurate clock on both the PC and DAC side are imperative to a clean, jitter-free, and pure USB audio signal.
  • EMI/RFI – External factors could introduce noise into the signal. Proper shielding will help mitigate this.
  • Conductor – Higher quality conductors won’t degrade the signal over reasonable lengths

An audio signal needs to be heard in real-time. Anything less would introduce some level of artificialness of the music. The USB standards themselves don’t even take into consideration the inductance or capacitance of a cable, which really only affects an audio or video signal. Many of these electrical parameters could introduce jitter into the signal (timing errors), which all human ears are unequivocally sensitive to. It’s apparent the quality of the material and geometric design used for a USB cable is correlated to the level of signal deformation. Coming up with the right dielectric that matches well with the choice conductor material and figuring out how to arrange all of it is a big part in USB cable design.

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4 minutes ago, frednork said:

An audio signal needs to be heard in real-time. Anything less would introduce some level of artificialness of the music. The USB standards themselves don’t even take into consideration the inductance or capacitance of a cable, which really only affects an audio or video signal. Many of these electrical parameters could introduce jitter into the signal (timing errors), which all human ears are unequivocally sensitive to.

 

So, if no jitter, no change.  If jitter, big changes.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, musicbee said:

 

Worth a read of the whole thread,   the bit you quoted is far the most valuable stuff in there.

 

I found this bit, for example  

 

Think of John Swenson's explanation for how USB cables affect the sound - no bits are flipped, but cable qualities cause the DAC's USB receiver chip to work harder with some cables than others, resulting in noise that slightly changes the ground-to-signal comparison timing and amplitude in the DAC chip, causing jitter and thus distortion. Or you could just get some cables transmitting more electrical noise than others; or it could be Gordon Rankin's explanation of impedance mismatches.... 

 

Makes more sense...     I would love to see more evidence this has any real world effect.  It's a nice theory though.

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The question regarding impedance is answered for me as I recently tried a usb cable which prides itself on an extreme level of accuracy regarding the impedance spec.  It is one of the more expensive USB cables I have tried. While it had some positive characteristics in the end I prefer others in my setup.  For me at least having a high tolerance  spec usb cable was not the ultimate answer to the best usb.  

Edited by frednork
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13 minutes ago, frednork said:

The question regarding impedance is answered for me as I recently tried a usb cable which prides itself on an extreme level of accuracy regarding the impedance spec.  It is one of the more expensive USB cables I have tried. While it had some positive characteristics in the end I prefer others in my setup.  For me at least having a high tolerance  spec usb cable was not the ultimate answer to the best usb for me.  

 

Am I allowed to say that was sort of expected?  All the fancy theories I read about the impedance spec etc., are borderline plausible, but then that's what sells new products.  A plausible sounding for them making a difference is all you need.

 

I haven't tried super expensive cables, but I have tried a few lower end ones, plus ferrite filters added, plus length changed dramatically.    As I said earlier, I am putting that down to the 'recentness' of my experience.  I only have 5 USB DACs, all relatively cheapies, but they all seem to cope admirably with the supposed problems of USB.

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1 minute ago, aussievintage said:

 

Am I allowed to say that was sort of expected?  All the fancy theories I read about the impedance spec etc., are borderline plausible, but then that's what sells new products.  A plausible sounding for them making a difference is all you need.

Yep sure, but my theory on audio  is unless you try it, it is all theory and ultimately not necessarily right.

1 minute ago, aussievintage said:

 

I haven't tried super expensive cables, but I have tried a few lower end ones, plus ferrite filters added, plus length changed dramatically.    As I said earlier, I am putting that down to the 'recentness' of my experience.  I only have 5 USB DACs, all relatively cheapies, but they all seem to cope admirably with the supposed problems of USB.

 

In the end some of us make decisions by listening. Both of us seem to subscribe to that maxim and act accordingly.

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How do people listen for jitter in cable interfaces?

 

What do they listen out for?

 

What music tracks are best for manifesting the said degradatory effects of interface jitter?

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22 hours ago, musicbee said:

Here is a good link:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-wireworld-starlight-7-usb-cable.6599/

 

Shows you the difference a USB can make,. Is this audible?

The Amazon basics USB cable doesn't meet specification. A few cents more would have made it comparable to the Wireworld one.

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2 hours ago, Ittaku said:

The Amazon basics USB cable doesn't meet specification. A few cents more would have made it comparable to the Wireworld one.

 

Measurebating. 

 

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FWIW and replying generally to the OP, I think most recent usb implementations have improved considerably. I have an Uptone Regen which a few years ago I found to make a noticeable improvement. With my latest DAC, however, the difference is much slighter, if it's there at all...  Obviously will depend on the quality of the DAC.

Edited by lemarquis
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Thanks for the conversation all - just to close out, I ended up buying a Shiit Eitr from the classified here, I think I'll stick with the Rega a bit longer. I'm guessing the Schiit will at least match the Hiface-2 in the performance stakes, which will suffice for the time being.

 

But it's great to know things have moved along regarding usb implementations - when the time comes it'll be nice to ditch one box and just have the straight DAC.

 

Cheers,

 

Dan.

Edited by dannyboy
needed some more sauce
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On 29/10/2020 at 5:09 PM, dannyboy said:

G'day Folks,

 

After posting a WTB advert over in the classified section for a new USB/SPDIF converter - and getting zero bites, got me to thinking (yes, my wife was amazed that this is actually possible).

 

How far improved from 2011-2013 are DAC's these days in regards to jitter / re-clocking etc? At the time that I purchased my set up, most Usb implementation on DACs were rubbish, and the mighty Rega is not immune to this statement.

 

To purchase a new USB/SPDIF converter looks like it'll run me ~$600 for something decent, something like a WFS Ulink. Alternatively, assuming that things have changed regarding the need for external cleaners/re-clockers of USB signals, I could buy a new DAC? I really like the Rega, I do, it's a lovely DAC, I'm just not that keen on forking out 600 bucks or so for what looks to be an obsolete bit of kit these days.

 

 Can someone much wiser than I provide some advice on where things stand today in this regard?

 

Thanks,

 

Dan.

 

 

Something to consider. These sound very good. 

 

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