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Contemplating building a hi-def music server - thoughts?

Re: Contemplating building a hi-def music server - thoughts?

Postby jsaliga » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:52 pm

Don't spend a lot of money on a USB cable. A $500 audiophile USB cable is not going to make the bits sent over it sound any better. :lol: It will, however, make your wallet a lot easier to carry around since it will be much lighter.

Mine is a 10 foot Belkin USB 3.0 cable and I paid about $12 for it. Works perfectly.

--Jerome
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Re: Contemplating building a hi-def music server - thoughts?

Postby tmazz » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:05 pm

jsaliga wrote:I have lots of thoughts on this subject.


I knew you would. :grin:

But know that this question is right in your wheelhouse , from a lot of angle and in my book you are the man when it comes to this stuff.

Thanks for the summary, it was right to the point and cuts trough a lot of the industry BS on this stuff getting right to the point of what yo really need to get this done as opposed to what they want to sell you.

And this topic in general has a lot of relevance to us baby boomer (OK, old fart) audiophiles. As we start approaching our retirement years many of us are facing the possibility of a big shift in our participation in this hobby. Most of us have built our systems and our software collections around space available to us in the family home. As we approach retirement many of us are in a situation where our retirement homes may not have the same kind of space we now have in our family homes so keeping the same size physical software collection may become impractical. So moving to a file base music collection may necome an important move for many of us in the near future.
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Re: Contemplating building a hi-def music server - thoughts?

Postby tmazz » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:09 pm

jsaliga wrote:Don't spend a lot of money on a USB cable. A $500 audiophile USB cable is not going to make the bits sent over it sound any better. :lol: It will, however, make your wallet a lot easier to carry around since it will be much lighter.

Mine is a 10 foot Belkin USB 3.0 cable and I paid about $12 for it. Works perfectly.

--Jerome


Jerome have you tried any of the USB cables that split the power and data over separate cables. I have heard a lot of good things about them.
Or in your case since the iDAC is not USB powered you could try disconnecting the leads from the power pins so that only data is transferred from the computer and any of the noise from the computers power supply remains isolated from the DAC. Unless of course the iDAC somehow isolates those pins in its USB port in which case this is already done.
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Re: Contemplating building a hi-def music server - thoughts?

Postby etcarroll » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:07 pm

Tom -

" As we approach retirement many of us are in a situation where our retirement homes may not have the same kind of space we now have in our family homes so keeping the same size physical software collection may become impractical."

Is one of the things driving me, with my present house on the market I'm looking to downsize.

As for the split cable, thats what the ifi Gemini cable is;

http://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/accessory-gemini/

But to start, to keep initial costs in check, I respect Jerome's opinion and it will be a Belkin for me.
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Re: Contemplating building a hi-def music server - thoughts?

Postby jsaliga » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:47 pm

The split cable is completely unnecessary IMO. When confronted by these choices it is a good idea to refer to the specifications. Keep in mind that USB is a digital transport, all it knows is 1 and 0s. It is subject to different rules and is not at all like analog audio.

https://www.usb3.com/whitepapers/USB%203%200%20(11132008)-final.pdf

Note the expected error rate is less than 1 in 10(12) bits -- that is 1 bit in every trillion bits. Each packet includes a CRC for error checking and handling. Error handling will retry a failed packet 3 times before raising an error flag to software. I have no worries whatsoever that a powered USB connection might cause data integrity problems. if it did then USB would useless as a digital data transport. USB is a very robust interface.

Now it is an entirely different question about whether USB power (5VDC) might introduce noise into the analog section of your DAC. If it did so then my first reaction would be that the DAC in question is not very well designed. I have owned many USB DACs and have never experienced this -- not even once. It should be noted that I only use very high quality power supplies in my computer systems. My current computer power supply is a Corsair AX1200i that is platinum certified and sells for $399 list. It uses best in class components and has extremely low noise/DC ripple. You don't have to spend that much for a good PC power supply, but when building my system I generally choose what I consider to be the best parts available. So this just isn't something that concerns me. If you build your audio system (your entire system including the computer for digital audio) from high quality components and take care in your approach the small stuff tends to take care of itself. And there is no getting around the fact that your DAC has to get power from someplace. I do not get any noise or hum at all.

Correction: The original iFi iDAC that I am using is in fact USB powered and I edited my post to reflect that. :blush The newer iDAC2 is also USB powered. That being the case I still think that a good PC power supply is all you need. A good 80 Plus Platinum certified power supply in the 600 to 750 watt range should set you back between $120 and $150. If you are going to put a high powered GPU in your system be mindful of its power requirements before choosing a power supply.

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Re: Contemplating building a hi-def music server - thoughts?

Postby jsaliga » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:23 pm

I read over the specs of the new iDAC2 and the differences between it and the model I own are as follows:

1. iDAC2 uses Burr Brown DAC vs ESS Sabre DAC in the original iDAC
2. iDAC2 has 119db SNR vs 111db in the original iDAC
3. Improved headphone amp section in the iDAC2

There is nothing here that would motivate me to replace my iDAC with the iDAC2 as I don't see it as an upgrade. But for someone looking for a high quality DAC that supports just about every high resolution format out there, the iDAC2 is a nice offering for $350. My guess is changing to a TI Burr Brown chip helped them lower the cost a bit, not that I think the choice of chip matters all that much.

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Re: Contemplating building a hi-def music server - thoughts?

Postby etcarroll » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:01 pm

"A good 80 Plus Platinum certified power supply..."


Thanks again Jerome, I'm pretty sure I already have as much.
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Re: Contemplating building a hi-def music server - thoughts?

Postby jsaliga » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:48 pm

http://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/micro-idsd/

I must have missed this one. iFi has a new flagship DAC. Dual discrete Burr Brown DACs to provide up to Octa DSD and 2X DXD. I am not aware of any commercially available content using DSD512 or 768KHz double DXD. Price is $549.

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