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Did anyone else happen to catch Soundcheck's remarkable post on diyAudio, Do we still need "audiophile" USB gadgets and bridges?" 

If you are a longtime reader of diyAudio, you know how critical and skeptical Soundcheck is, which is why I find this post and replies so remarkable.

As it happens, last year I bought the KTB he mentions. I was super impressed at the sound I got for US$100 but candidly I was reticent to say how good I thought it was because I haven't had audiophile ears for decades---age and noise exposure do that to one.[1] I don't hear, for example, evidence of the ESS "hump" that people get so worked up about. I do still have a musical ear, though, and can't make it through the day without listening to an old favorite or a new find.

Not trying to start a flame war here about DACs. I just like the takeaway from Soundcheck's post. It's getting easier and easier to get great sound with a minimal number of components at a reasonable cost. 

I can't wait to see (hear?) what happens next.

Regards,
Kent

[1] I've had to walk back the one negative thing I said about it...that it didn't support hardware volume control for DSD. That's a harder technical problem for USB DACs than I appreciated at the time. I still think it can be solved but I can live without it, if for no other reason than I just can't get excited about buying DSD remasters of everything I've already ripped from my CD collection.
I admit it takes a lot of work (or money) to get a tad better sounding DAC. Money in speakers is a far better option Wink
Yes the new USB DAC's are much much better in cleaning the signal and hence have lower jitter now. I think the Topping D50s is one of the best price / quality wise at the moment. If you hook it up to a Pi4 you should have a great streamer. I bought a Allo USBridge Sig but to be honest it's probably not worth the money and a Pi4 would have been smarter. If you are a hardcore ASR fan (I enjoy the forum) a $9 Apple Dongle DAC should sound be all you ever need but I don't (want to) believe that.
(01-24-2020, 05:53 AM)cryptout Wrote: [ -> ]Apple Dongle DAC
Low hanging fruit ?? Wink Smile Big Grin
(01-22-2020, 03:12 PM)TheOldPresbyope Wrote: [ -> ]Did anyone else happen to catch Soundcheck's remarkable post on diyAudio, Do we still need "audiophile" USB gadgets and bridges?" 

If you are a longtime reader of diyAudio, you know how critical and skeptical Soundcheck is, which is why I find this post and replies so remarkable.

As it happens, last year I bought the KTB he mentions. I was super impressed at the sound I got for US$100 but candidly I was reticent to say how good I thought it was because I haven't had audiophile ears for decades---age and noise exposure do that to one.[1] I don't hear, for example, evidence of the ESS "hump" that people get so worked up about. I do still have a musical ear, though, and can't make it through the day without listening to an old favorite or a new find.

Not trying to start a flame war here about DACs. I just like the takeaway from Soundcheck's post. It's getting easier and easier to get great sound with a minimal number of components at a reasonable cost. 

I can't wait to see (hear?) what happens next.

Regards,
Kent

[1] I've had to walk back the one negative thing I said about it...that it didn't support hardware volume control for DSD. That's a harder technical problem for USB DACs than I appreciated at the time. I still think it can be solved but I can live without it, if for no other reason than I just can't get excited about buying DSD remasters of everything I've already ripped from my CD collection.

Hi Kent, 

Thanks for the link to soundcheck's post. I have been thinking of getting a usb dac for quite a while and think that I will try the KTB. Are there any others in your opinion that I should consider?

Best,

     John
Kent,
 
I think that you like this sort of thing. The pic is of my latest COVID project, a 2E22 single-ended amp. You can see a moode box just behind it with an Allo hat, separate supplies, and all that. The leds on the front are not decoration, they are the bias supplies for the 6N1P first stage--both triode sections run in parallel.

    John
(01-26-2021, 03:11 PM)Listener Wrote: [ -> ]Kent,
 
I think that you like this sort of thing. The pic is of my latest COVID project, a 2E22 single-ended amp. You can see a moode box just behind it with an Allo hat, separate supplies, and all that. The leds on the front are not decoration, they are the bias supplies for the 6N1P first stage--both triode sections run in parallel.

    John

Sweet.

I like your esthetics, which remind me of gear I was making way back when. Tres chic. In contrast, most of my gear these days is breadboard chic with not a hint of glowing filament.

Thanks for pointing out the leds are functional. So many forget that d == diode. 

I tip my hat, sir. 

Regards,
Kent
@Listener

Regarding USB DACs, I think others might be better sources of current info. I lean toward the Topping and SMSL offerings based on price and specs (audio science review.com specs, that is) but...I have no personal experience with them either listening or trying to integrate them into my listening habits.

I’ve long since given up being a purist. Too much music still to hear and too little time left to waste any more of it than necessary to achieve a good-enough system. I hear my grandmother’s voice in my head: “ be happy with what you have.” As a kid, I thought she was being defeatist; as a grandfather I understand what she meant.

Regards,
Kent
(01-26-2021, 02:29 AM)Listener Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-22-2020, 03:12 PM)TheOldPresbyope Wrote: [ -> ]Did anyone else happen to catch Soundcheck's remarkable post on diyAudio, Do we still need "audiophile" USB gadgets and bridges?" 

If you are a longtime reader of diyAudio, you know how critical and skeptical Soundcheck is, which is why I find this post and replies so remarkable.

As it happens, last year I bought the KTB he mentions. I was super impressed at the sound I got for US$100 but candidly I was reticent to say how good I thought it was because I haven't had audiophile ears for decades---age and noise exposure do that to one.[1] I don't hear, for example, evidence of the ESS "hump" that people get so worked up about. I do still have a musical ear, though, and can't make it through the day without listening to an old favorite or a new find.

Not trying to start a flame war here about DACs. I just like the takeaway from Soundcheck's post. It's getting easier and easier to get great sound with a minimal number of components at a reasonable cost. 

I can't wait to see (hear?) what happens next.

Regards,
Kent

[1] I've had to walk back the one negative thing I said about it...that it didn't support hardware volume control for DSD. That's a harder technical problem for USB DACs than I appreciated at the time. I still think it can be solved but I can live without it, if for no other reason than I just can't get excited about buying DSD remasters of everything I've already ripped from my CD collection.

Hi Kent, 

Thanks for the link to soundcheck's post. I have been thinking of getting a usb dac for quite a while and think that I will try the KTB. Are there any others in your opinion that I should consider?

Best,

     John

Hi John,

I have the 9038SG3 from e1da at https://e1dashz.wixsite.com/index, bought mine from AliExpress.  I only use it for balanced out to IEM's and the sound is superb for the money.  There are many good reviews online for this dac, see YouTube etc, there's the 9038D with unbalanced out too and others I have no experience with.
I only use my USB DAC's for balanced headphone, IEM listening, via MoOde or UAPP so if you want a DAC for headphone listening I can recommend highly.
Hi there,

i don't share that dudes conclusions at all:

Quote:He reviews the iFi USB filter. That one reduces noise by let say around 30dB - confirmed by his measurements.
Then he measures his high quality DAC with the iFi in and out and finds no impact.
He concludes the iFi filter is useless. You see the flaw in his logic?

Now i would conclude that the noise on the USB connection didn't make a difference, because the signal itself is of digital nature. Analog noise (well, within limits of course) is meaningless at that point of the chain.
This however is correct, DACs have become incredibly good. I have a Topping E30 (120€) and it's objectively better than the one in my Yamaha CD-S1000 (2000€).