• S/PDIF (BNC) Interface

    by Published on 04-21-2014 08:28 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 02:18 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 09:19 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    4. UPnP / DLNA
    Article Preview

    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 07:57 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 05:00 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. ...
    by Published on 08-16-2012 09:10 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    6. AES/EBU Interface,
    7. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface

    Many people don't realize it yet but nearly all the high tech devices in use today are computers. Even iPhones and Android based smartphones are just small computers that fit into our pockets and enable us to communicate via voice. I remember the days of analog phones that never needed a reboot. Those were the good old days. Many audio components are no different from small purpose built computers. Some companies suggest their devices are for people who don't want a computer in the listening room or near an audio system. In reality these same companies' products are computers running Linux operating systems disguised as traditional audio components. Good, bad, or indifferent virtually everything is a computer today. Wadia's 121 Decoding Computer follows a long line of products with apropos names. Calling the company's Digital to Analog converters DACs is a bit too simplistic. Wadia writes software that runs on multi-purpose processors to decode and process digital audio. This audio is received, buffered, and processed by Decoding Computers such as the Wadia 121 similarly to conventional computers. To the end user a Wadia Decoding Computer looks, feels, and functions the same as any DAC. Connect a USB cable to the digital input and analog cables on the output and music flows without any user configuration. What happens inside the Wadia 121 Decoding Computer is another story complete with an advanced design similar to Wadia's very high end reference components. The 121 isn't the largest component on the block but is capable of competing at large component levels. ...
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