• S/PDIF (BNC) Interface

    by Published on 09-09-2014 10:01 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    4. AES/EBU Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
    Article Preview



    Rarely do I hear a component that's truly a game changer, a component that's so good I can't stop listening through it, and a component that's so good it renders much of the competition irrelevant. I can't remember, off the top of my head, the last time I heard such a component. That is, before the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series arrived. The Alpha DAC RS, every bit a true game changer, blew me away from the first listen in my system. Since its arrival I've listened to more complete albums and heard more new sounds from old albums than any time in my life. The Alpha DAC RS is so good and such a game changer it may force consumers to reconsider their desire for high resolution music. Sure the Alpha DAC RS can reproduce high resolution music better than any DAC I've heard in my system, but its absolute magic can be heard with standard CD quality 16 bit / 44.1 kHz material. The Alpha DAC RS is without question the best DAC I've heard anywhere when it comes to 16/44.1 playback. I've never heard detail, delicacy, and transparency with my favorite music like I have when listening through this DAC. The Alpha DAC RS is so outstanding that I equate its presence in my system to that of a new pair of loudspeakers. That's correct; the Alpha DAC RS had an impact on my system equivalent to a new pair of loudspeakers. In fact, the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series is the most remarkable sounding product I've ever reviewed. ...
    by Published on 04-21-2014 09:28 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface

    (Computer Audiophile Contributor Ted Brady completes his thorough review of the Chord Qute HD / EX with this final update. I don't think there is anyone in the industry with more insight and time spent with this DAC than Ted. His original review of the HD and two updates can be read HERE. Below is Ted's wrap up with incredibly high praise for the EX. - Editor)

    I have owned the Chord Qute EX (aka EX) now for a couple months (arrived Feb 10) and wanted to wrap up my feelings about this DAC; i.e what is different about it from the HD I reviewed above, and what additional information or impressions I have of the Qute DACs since last writing about them. ...
    by Published on 01-05-2014 03:18 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface





    Confessions of a DSD-Aholic, by Ted Brady

    One aspect of being able to have review/demo units on one’s system for review (thank you Chris) is that there comes a time when you need to send them back. And although I’ve demo’d dozens of DACs over the years I’ve never really experienced the angst that a return could bring on. Until now…

    I really miss the Chord QuteHD. There I said it; I was once a strong man of principle, and now reduced to a weak yearner of days gone by. In reality, I borrowed the Chord for WAY too long a period (as some of you who know me understand that this review is like 4 months late ☺) and I thank the NA distributor, Jay and Katherine Rein of Bluebird Music, for their patience…which ultimately I tested for too long of a period. I don’t blame them at all. ☺ But I do miss that thing.

    OK, so why did I have the Chord for so long, and what is it about the thing that I miss? Well, this story ultimately began when I first discovered the DSD format back in September of 2011. ...
    by Published on 04-30-2013 10:19 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    4. UPnP / DLNA
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    High end audio can be a polarizing hobby. Audiophiles like to select a product or technology and support it vigorously as if they have a large financial interest in its success. I was born an audiophile. I completely understand the desire for one's selection to be validated by the audiophile community. I also completely understand how unhealthy that desire for validation is and the neurosis it can cause. Audiophiles, myself included, must realize the products we select today will sound just as good in five years regardless of competing products, newer technologies, and others' opinions. One polarizing topic in computer audio is digital interfaces. Two digital interfaces that have strong vocal support from users are USB and Ethernet. Users of one technology frequently turn a blind eye to the merits of the other technology and won't even consider its use. Many users selected one technology a few years ago based on the information available at that time and refuse to update their own knowledge for any number of reasons. This leads to armchair engineer arguments based on half truths and old information. These discussions are a disservice to all readers. Based on my experience with both USB and Ethernet interfaces it's clear to me that both can sound excellent and both will have a strong presence in high end audio for the foreseeable future. One Ethernet interface that caught my attention a couple months ago is the UPnP AV 2.0 / DLNA compliant Simple Design Rendu Ethernet to S/PDIF Converter. Admittedly I was drawn in by the features and specs, notably its ability to play DSD, 24/192 PCM, and gapless audio streamed over Ethernet. I've since listened through the Rendu for countless hours and put it through a number of network audio tests. At first the Rendu was a bit picky and had some playback issues. Today using the newest firmware I'm happy to report the Rendu works very well and continues to sound very good. The Simple Design Rendu Ethernet to S/PDIF Converter is a product to watch in both two channel and whole house network audio. ...
    by Published on 04-09-2013 08:57 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface
    Article Preview

    Good USB to S/PDIF converters have been around for years, but the presence of great USB to S/PDIF converters is a fairly new phenomenon. The original Bel Canto USB Link was a good product when introduced in 2009. Since then new USB to S/PDIF converters seem to have hit the market every week. Several of these new converters offer the same or similar performance as products released years ago. In some cases the chassis have been upgraded to version 2.0 while the sound quality remains at version 1.0. A bump from 24 bit / 96 kHz to 24 bit / 192 kHz support by itself means nothing in terms of sound quality. In fact it can reduce sound quality because of the increased power draw and noise introduced by the high speed circuitry. The need for exemplary digital design has never been greater. The Bel Canto uLink USB to S/PDIF converter is a substantial step forward from previous Bel Canto converters and on par with some of the best converters available today. The uLink's unique features, great design, and great sound quality combined with its less than reference grade price point place it in a very sweet spot. It's far better than commodity converters and very close to reference quality converters. Computer audiophiles, without budget constraints, seeking the final 5% in sound quality may want to consider the Bel Canto REFLink and Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB. Everyone else, myself included, should seriously consider the Bel Canto uLink. ...
    by Published on 02-26-2013 06:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. Digital to Analog Converter,
    4. USB Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    7. AES/EBU Interface,
    8. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface

    The T+A DAC 8 has been in my audio system off and on for several months. There was something about this DAC that just didn’t sound right for much of this time period. I knew the DAC 8 was engineered very well with several user adjustable settings and DSP unique to the T+A brand, so I continued using the DAC in between reviews of other products. I had faith in the DAC 8 but admit at one point I even started writing an email to prep T+A for an unfavorable review. Roughly two weeks ago I decided it was time to fish or cut bait. I couldn’t hold up the review any longer. In my last ditch effort to squeeze better sound from the DAC 8 I re-read the user manual and discovered I wasn’t using the correct digital filter for my musical taste. This entire time I thought I’d set the DAC up to use its pure Bezier interpolator for better timing and dynamics. To my dismay I’d accidentally selected the Bezier interpolator with IIR filter that produces a highly analog sound similar to vinyl records. There’s nothing wrong with the Bezier interpolator with IIR filter but it was far from my expectations of accurate playback. Once I selected the pure Bezier interpolator all was right with the world. I’d found the magic I knew was inside the T+A DAC 8 and couldn’t have been happier. ...
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