moving to pc based transport - some advice welcomed

hermit

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I am thinking about changing transport from a wired Squeezebox Classic with standard wall-wart to computer based audio.

To that end I have set up my pc to use fidelizer and foobar 2000 which is kernel streaming to a Hiface mk1 usb spdif converter.

I was expecting the pc to noticeably outperform the squeezebox as a transport but to be honest there isn’t much between them in my system. I doubt I could tell them apart in a blind test. I tried both long term testing and quick a/b switches. I could happily live with either

So just wondering where to go from here as I am on a tight budget?

Some research has thrown up the ifi iUSB power supply or the significantly cheaper AQVOX USB Low-Noise 5V Isolated Linear Power Supply. Has anyone any thoughts on how they perform and how they compare? Would you expect them to audibly improve the Hiface's output to the dac?

Another option would be to sell my cd player in addition to the squeezebox and use the proceeds towards a better usb-spdif converter to go with one of the above usb power supplies. I was looking at an audiphileo 2 or perhaps the ifi i-Link. Has anyone heard either of these?

Final questions – am I worrying too much about cleaning up the power supply and reducing jitter on the pc – could it just be foo? Should I just stick with squeezebox which is simple and convenient.

Thanks wammers!

 

gjm

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When I was looking at and evaluating S/PDIF converters, I talked to Item Audio. They hold stock of many different converters, including SoTM, KingRex, Audiphilleo and (for the well-heeled) Sonicweld, among others. The converter does make a difference, in my experience; the HiFace M2Tech is superb at it's price, but is readily bettered by some more expensive items.

When I tried them, the SoTM edged the KingRex; both comfortably beat the HiFace, and everything was out of hand destroyed by the Sonicweld. This was a while ago, and before iFi came to market.

I don't know how much difference the power supply makes, but there are many suggestions that a good PSU is beneficial.

I'm not a fan of the SB kit, but I know many people have had excellent experiences with it. I'd hang on to the CDP... If you ever have people over to listen to music, CDs are likely to feature.

 

hermit

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When I was looking at and evaluating S/PDIF converters, I talked to Item Audio. They hold stock of many different converters, including SoTM, KingRex, Audiphilleo and (for the well-heeled) Sonicweld, among others. The converter does make a difference, in my experience; the HiFace M2Tech is superb at it's price, but is readily bettered by some more expensive items.When I tried them, the SoTM edged the KingRex; both comfortably beat the HiFace, and everything was out of hand destroyed by the Sonicweld. This was a while ago, and before iFi came to market.

I don't know how much difference the power supply makes, but there are many suggestions that a good PSU is beneficial.
Thanks for that Graham. I'll check out those other options on the Item Audio site.

I'd hang on to the CDP... If you ever have people over to listen to music, CDs are likely to feature.
This bit made me smile, my user name is hermit for a reason :D

 

smegger68

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Item Audio - foo pedlars extrordinaire, IMHO.

 

hermit

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Item Audio - foo pedlars extrordinaire, IMHO.
Duly noted. Thanks James. To be honest so far in my hi-fi journey I have been very averse to foo and have spent the vast bulk of the cash on the electronics. I have remained agnostic on the subject of mains cables, interconnects and speaker cables. My main concerns have been to get inexpensive but well made, well screened cables with good connectors. For stereo I use IXOS 102 cables with locking phonos and for digital I am using a Flashback xlr-rca. The only power cable I have bought is for the power amp - Supra Lorad 2.5 with MK plug and Schurter IEC. The whole lot including Microphonic Audio speaker cables cost less than £90, much of it free or s/h.

 

gjm

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Item Audio - foo pedlars extrordinaire, IMHO.
That sounds a bit dismissive and final. :dunno:

They may have some foo to sell - many hifi dealers do - but they certainly have good kit too. (As do most hifi dealers.)

 

smegger68

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That sounds a bit dismissive and final. :dunno: They may have some foo to sell - many hifi dealers do - but they certainly have good kit too. (As do most hifi dealers.)
Agreed. I base this on the long thread a few months back on pink fish, where 'Item' of said website tried to convince people that a little device inserted between hard drive and motherboard could somehow magically make your music sound better. Along with a host of other goodies he will happily sell you. I have no doubt he has some nice product lines as well, but he is a man intent on selling you snake oil along with it.

 

harmonica98

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Final questions – am I worrying too much about cleaning up the power supply and reducing jitter on the pc – could it just be foo? Should I just stick with squeezebox which is simple and convenient.
Yes you are worrying too much, stick with the squeezebox (which is bit perfect) would be my advice.

 

AmDismal

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Yes you are worrying too much, stick with the squeezebox (which is bit perfect) would be my advice.
This. Unless you need a PC for any reason (as I do to act as a crossover), the SB is perfect. I use one with the Snells, always sounded great and is lovely to use.

 

meninblack

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In my system the squeezebox classic is indistinguishable from the dCS as a transport when playing FLAC rips of the same CD. Spend your money upgrading the DAC instead, that's where the real benefits come from in digital.

 
V

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if you would be happy with either and you are unable to tell a difference AND you are on a budget, why even bother ?

Id be tempted to just use it and enjoy the music, saves you money too, after all you could end up spending a lot more money for very LITTLE difference...

 

hermit

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Thanks to all for your replies which are really sensible. Certainly my buying fever has been calmed. This is where I am just now:

I am thinking of selling the Shanling and the squeezebox. I use a laptop stashed under the hifi rack as an HTPC so no need to keep the squeezebox if it doesn't offer improved sq over the hiface. I always thought the Shanling outperformed the Squeezebox in my system but since I upgraded the dac and the amps I feel the Shanling has been edged out both as player and transport - still there are times when it is nice to put on a cd rather than choose files.

I am thinking of asking Item Audio for a home trial of the AQVOX as its an inexpensive 'upgrade' to the Hiface. I could afford it without sellng the Shanling and if it doesn't work out I'll just send it back.

I could then just decide to go with the general advice on this thread a relax a bit or...

I might look at some of the better spdif converters - the Halide Bridge and the John Kenny Ciunas seem well liked and affordable but I would have to sell the Shanling to fund these. One step at a time, I guess.

Thanks again chaps - I appreciate your efforts to keep me foo free and on the right path:D

 

jon

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I am thinking of asking Item Audio for a home trial of the AQVOX as its an inexpensive 'upgrade' to the Hiface. I could afford it without sellng the Shanling and if it doesn't work out I'll just send it back.
If it helps calm the buying fever, I could lend you a behringer UCA 202 - £20-odd way of getting a digital out from my laptop, and works as well as the alternatives to my ears :) Could see if you can tell this apart from your converter in an ABX text, before looking at spending on upgrades?

 

hermit

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If it helps calm the buying fever, I could lend you a behringer UCA 202 - £20-odd way of getting a digital out from my laptop, and works as well as the alternatives to my ears :) Could see if you can tell this apart from your converter in an ABX text, before looking at spending on upgrades?
Thanks Jon - do you think it would better the asynchronous Hiface? I accept it might equal it but I already have the hiface which appears to be a better specced device.

 

jon

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I doubt it would better the Hiface. Equally, though, I doubt that the better specs on the Hiface would make any audible (as opposed to measurable) difference. I was thinking of it more as a way of convincing you that if these two boxes sound the same there may be little benefit in spending on upgrading that part of your system - look on it as a reverse sales pitch :)

 

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