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  1. #1
    Sophomore Member hytechrednek's Avatar
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    Silflex Toslink Cable

    I just received a Silflex Tolink cable for connection of my Macbook to DAC. While I have read user reviews that indicate the Silflex is good, they were not enthusiastic enough. This has removed a tremendous amount of grunge and performs much better than my Halide Bridge. I have no complaints.
    Hytek

  2. #2
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    I agree .. but there is little love here for toslink. Enjoy your new find.

  3. #3
    Sophomore Member Guidof's Avatar
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    Silflex glass is an excellent choice. Very transparent and detailed in my system. Toslink is much maligned in some quarters, but with the right transmitter/receiver and cable it can be the better than coax alternative. Perhaps it's the galvanic isolation.

    Guido F.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hytechrednek View Post
    ... This has removed a tremendous amount of grunge and performs much better than my Halide Bridge. ...
    This is a very interesting statement IMO and I hope you'll elaborate a bit more.

    The Halide Bridge has a very good reputation and as Guido mentioned toslink is indeed much aligned by more than some. We often see poor jitter specs as the reason for toslink disdain and it makes me wonder if the inherent electical isolation of a toslink connection offsets the often poorer jitter specs (as compared to coax or USB). In my system if I use my converter to feed the optical connection (including 24/192) to my DAC, the sound is gorgeous. It's not slow and mushy (as I've seen toslink described) or fatiguing in any way.

  5. #5
    Sophomore Member hytechrednek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melvin View Post
    I agree .. but there is little love here for toslink. Enjoy your new find.
    I have noticed that too and it's one reason I held off for so long before trying a better tosliink. My previous experience with generic / plastic toslink cables only helped to reinforce that myth. I hasten to add that my experience with a number of highly regarded USB/SPDIF converters and coax cables was marginally better than the generic toslink experience.

    The Silflex has been a godsend so far. Looks well built but not flashy in the cosmetics department. Reminds me of Audio Note gear in that regard.

    I've also noticed that the later Mac products seem to sound better. I've read claims that the later models exhibit less jitter but have found nothing to substantiate that.
    Hytek

  6. #6
    Sophomore Member hytechrednek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melvin View Post
    This is a very interesting statement IMO and I hope you'll elaborate a bit more.

    The Halide Bridge has a very good reputation and as Guido mentioned toslink is indeed much aligned by more than some. We often see poor jitter specs as the reason for toslink disdain and it makes me wonder if the inherent electical isolation of a toslink connection offsets the often poorer jitter specs (as compared to coax or USB). In my system if I use my converter to feed the optical connection (including 24/192) to my DAC, the sound is gorgeous. It's not slow and mushy (as I've seen toslink described) or fatiguing in any way.

    Hope I can adequately describe what I hear in comparison to the Halide. I hate to make comparisons to other gear as I know it can tick people off if you appear to malign a favorite component of theirs. Apology in advance.

    The Silflex has an effortless ease about it. Musical accompaniment does not seem to trample the feature instrument or singer the way it does on the Halide. Instead the accompaniment is harmonic and easily complements the melody line of the artist. People call it PRaT and that's fine. For me music is the language of emotion and that emotion comes through on the Silflex. It does not on the Halide, which makes the music sound mechanical and artificial. Switching from the Halide to the Silflex peels a layer of non-harmonic grunge off the sound. The bass is much more solid with a precise sense of pitch. The upper frequencies are sweet and detailed. The performance comes through with great feeling.

    While I know people will question the fitness of my particular Halide Bridge, I've had ample opportunity to compare it to a friend's Empirical Audio Off Ramp, the M2 HiFace, the USB Interface of the my Oppo BDP-105 and my Ayre QB-9. There is not a dime's worth of difference in all of them.

    The Silflex is the real deal with one proviso. When I first auditioned the Silflex at a friend's home, we noticed his later model Macbook Pro 2012, sounded much better than my 2008 model. At first I thought it was possibly because he was running Mountain Lion and I was still running Snow Leopard. A quick purchase, down load and installation of ML to another partition on my drive, proved that was not the difference. His Mac still sounded distinctly better. I acquired the 2012 model Mac and the Silflex cable. The two perform as his setup did. I've read claims that the later Mac models exhibit less jitter but have found nothing to substantiate that. The computer may account for some of the reason toslink has a bad reputation along with generic toslink cables.

    Right now I am using the 2012 Macbook / Silflex combo into a lowly Cambridge 840C and I cannot remember having better sound.
    Hytek

  7. #7
    Newbie Objectionist wgscott's Avatar
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    I have both and the toslink sounds as good as the Halide Bridge.

    The main problem is that my Nova's DAC sometimes can't lock onto the 96 kHz optical signal, which was driving me nuts, so I blew $500 on the Halide Bridge.
    Living Room: 2012 i7 Mac mini --> Halide Bridge-->Peachtree Nova --> Class D Audio 254 X 2 --> B&W CM7R + Rel R218
    (iTunes | Audirvana | BitPerfect | Decibel ) & Dirac
    iTunes on remote computer controls Audirvana on server

    Home Office: 2007 iMac --> Vanatoo powered speakers (iTunes | Audirvana | BitPerfect | Decibel )

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  8. #8
    Sophomore Member hytechrednek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
    I have both and the toslink sounds as good as the Halide Bridge.
    May I ask what computer you are using?
    Hytek

  9. #9
    Trouble maker... Audio_ELF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hytechrednek View Post
    I've also noticed that the later Mac products seem to sound better. I've read claims that the later models exhibit less jitter but have found nothing to substantiate that.
    HiFi News (if I have the right publication in mind) tested the MacMini in 2012 and found it much better in terms of jitter than the earlier MacMinis.

    Eloise
    ...in my opinion / experience...
    While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.
    And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hytechrednek View Post
    Hope I can adequately describe what I hear in comparison to the Halide. I hate to make comparisons to other gear as I know it can tick people off if you appear to malign a favorite component of theirs. Apology in advance.
    Very sensitive bunch we are, often needing intense validation for our egos .. err, purchases :-)

    The Silflex has an effortless ease about it. Musical accompaniment does not seem to trample the feature instrument or singer the way it does on the Halide. Instead the accompaniment is harmonic and easily complements the melody line of the artist. People call it PRaT and that's fine. For me music is the language of emotion and that emotion comes through on the Silflex. It does not on the Halide, which makes the music sound mechanical and artificial. Switching from the Halide to the Silflex peels a layer of non-harmonic grunge off the sound. The bass is much more solid with a precise sense of pitch. The upper frequencies are sweet and detailed. The performance comes through with great feeling.
    Your experience flies in the face of audiophile convention (ie, toslink sucks) and yet there it is. I've often read of others dismissing optical without actually trying it for themselves. Obviously the implementation is critical and when well engineered it can sound quite good. Thanks for sharing and for the validation ;-)

  11. #11
    Senior Member 4est's Avatar
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    Seeing as the Halide is a USB>SPDIF converter and the Silflex is a cable, I am not sure how one can directly compare the two. With that said, this quote makes me think that there is a problem with the coax connection, or your computer spits out a tremendous amount of noise. In having used some of these devices with different cables and such, there was a marked difference for better or worse- more so than with any cable change that did not have a problem or issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by hytechrednek View Post
    While I know people will question the fitness of my particular Halide Bridge, I've had ample opportunity to compare it to a friend's Empirical Audio Off Ramp, the M2 HiFace, the USB Interface of the my Oppo BDP-105 and my Ayre QB-9. There is not a dime's worth of difference in all of them.
    Forrest:
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  12. #12
    Trouble maker... Audio_ELF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4est View Post
    Seeing as the Halide is a USB>SPDIF converter and the Silflex is a cable, I am not sure how one can directly compare the two.
    Well the comparison being made is between Mac via TOSLink and Solflex cable to a DAC vs the Mac via USB and Halide Bridge to the DAC which does make sense as a comparison (at least to me).

    Eloise

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audio_ELF View Post
    Well the comparison being made is between Mac via TOSLink and Solflex cable to a DAC vs the Mac via USB and Halide Bridge to the DAC which does make sense as a comparison (at least to me).

    Eloise
    Makes sense to me as well and is what made me contemplate Hytek's original post.

  14. #14
    Newbie Objectionist wgscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hytechrednek View Post
    May I ask what computer you are using?
    It was a 2010 mac mini. I should try it with the 2012 mini, but I am using the optical out to my 5.1 receiver.
    Living Room: 2012 i7 Mac mini --> Halide Bridge-->Peachtree Nova --> Class D Audio 254 X 2 --> B&W CM7R + Rel R218
    (iTunes | Audirvana | BitPerfect | Decibel ) & Dirac
    iTunes on remote computer controls Audirvana on server

    Home Office: 2007 iMac --> Vanatoo powered speakers (iTunes | Audirvana | BitPerfect | Decibel )

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Señor, señor, let's disconnect these cables
    Overturn these tables
    This place don't make sense to me no more.

  15. #15
    Youngest Senior Member elcorso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audio_ELF View Post
    HiFi News (if I have the right publication in mind) tested the MacMini in 2012 and found it much better in terms of jitter than the earlier MacMinis.

    Eloise
    Until now I realized I can DL Hi-fi News from the Apple Store.

    Do you remember the Issue No. (or month)?

    Also, from which output was the jitter measured?

    Thanks,

    Roch
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    Trouble maker... Audio_ELF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elcorso View Post
    Until now I realized I can DL Hi-fi News from the Apple Store.

    Do you remember the Issue No. (or month)?
    I may have been wrong and it was HiFi World. April 2012 perhaps.

    Also, from which output was the jitter measured?
    Measured from TOSLink output.

  17. #17
    Youngest Senior Member elcorso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audio_ELF View Post
    I may have been wrong and it was HiFi World. April 2012 perhaps.


    Measured from TOSLink output.
    This what I got form Audio-Talk-UK audio forum:

    "Been having a look at the noise and jitter performance of the Mac Mini and it is very impressive.

    S/N at 16 bit is 92dB unweighted
    And at 24 bit is 144dB
    Signal related jitter measures 15 pS
    And random jitter measures around 10pS

    This according to Hi-Fi World measured performance whilst driving a 10M optical cable."

    Looks like nice specs and hard to believe, but in this crazy computer audio world, who knows?. Since I have the Silflex I'll make a test.

    Thanks,

    Roch
    "Skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls"• Emile M. Cloran
    •Emile M. Cloran listened to digital audio only by Audirvana Plus
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    "The man (especially the audiophile) seeks answers to find questions"• Anonymous

  18. #18
    Sophomore Member hytechrednek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4est View Post
    Seeing as the Halide is a USB>SPDIF converter and the Silflex is a cable, I am not sure how one can directly compare the two. With that said, this quote makes me think that there is a problem with the coax connection, or your computer spits out a tremendous amount of noise. In having used some of these devices with different cables and such, there was a marked difference for better or worse- more so than with any cable change that did not have a problem or issue.
    I assume you're talking about the coax from the USB/SPDIF converter. In the case of the Halide Bridge, it connects directly to the back of the DAC, so no coax is involved.

    I owned the M2 Hiface before the halide and coax had to be used with it. I found the coax made a small difference, as did attenuators. I used the Veloce Black Cat Coax cable. It was good after break in.

    As far as computer noise, I have tried, 9 different ones (2 PC & 7 Macs of various models). There were differences in each. Some better than others, but none made a huge improvement until the 2012 MBP.

    In the past three years since I retired, I've explored the connection of a computer to an outboard DAC quite a bit. I tried a considerable number of highly regarded products, either by owning or giving them extensive audition when a friend would lend them to me. Not to mention the use of different software. I appreciate your trying to explore weaknesses in my findings but I remain confident with my conclusions. The 2012 Macbook Pro and the Silflex Toslink combination are clear winners for me.
    Hytek

  19. #19
    Sophomore Member hytechrednek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melvin View Post
    This is a very interesting statement IMO and I hope you'll elaborate a bit more.
    Most systems are hampered by muddle between the instruments. There is no clear distinction of each instrument for pitch timber or the rhythmic part being played over the base timing. This condition is diminished significantly with the 2012 MBP/Silflex combo. More so than anything I've tried thus far. I am very happy for the first time since starting down this road. That makes me want to share it with others, hence my post. My only remorse is that it took so much money, time and hassle to get here. I never really considered Toslink because of my limited experience with generic cables and what others said. Sure there may be something better, but I have not heard it. I can at least enjoy music for long periods where I'm not constantly feeling the impulse to change tracks in pursuit of enjoyment and satisfaction. But to each his on.
    Hytek

  20. #20
    I had an opposite result with different gear...I was using an iMac to Audioquest Toslink to a Benchmark DAC. This sounded good to the point I felt no need to fiddle. Then my wife bought me a Music Fidelity Vlink192 for our anniversary...

    I cannot describe how much better the system sounded. It was a bigger difference than replacing a major component. It took me weeks of listening to find anything to criticize. Clear, grain free...a well recorded CD is now sounding as good as I was getting with a 24/96 High rez file. The Hi-Rez files sounded amazing.

    I know nothing of Silflex. I am glad you had the results you did.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member 4est's Avatar
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    Actually I meant the coax input of your DAC, not the cabling. Regardless of what you find sounds better, there (might) ought to be larger than a dime's difference between the USB>SPDIF converters. IME, that conversion has been just as important as the DAC conversion. Unless of course you are using something akin the the Benchmark DAC 1 that resamples everything for better or for worse.
    Quote Originally Posted by hytechrednek View Post
    I assume you're talking about the coax from the USB/SPDIF converter. In the case of the Halide Bridge, it connects directly to the back of the DAC, so no coax is involved.

    I owned the M2 Hiface before the halide and coax had to be used with it. I found the coax made a small difference, as did attenuators. I used the Veloce Black Cat Coax cable. It was good after break in.

    As far as computer noise, I have tried, 9 different ones (2 PC & 7 Macs of various models). There were differences in each. Some better than others, but none made a huge improvement until the 2012 MBP.

    In the past three years since I retired, I've explored the connection of a computer to an outboard DAC quite a bit. I tried a considerable number of highly regarded products, either by owning or giving them extensive audition when a friend would lend them to me. Not to mention the use of different software. I appreciate your trying to explore weaknesses in my findings but I remain confident with my conclusions. The 2012 Macbook Pro and the Silflex Toslink combination are clear winners for me.
    Forrest:
    Win8/i5 HQPlayer DSD/DXD>i2s>Twisted Pear Buffalo II>UTC HA100x over TX 2575 I>V
    >Bent Audio TAP>Bedini 100/100 mkI >Tannoy System 15 DMT; some expensive cables, some cheap ones too.

  22. #22
    Sophomore Member hytechrednek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
    It was a 2010 mac mini. I should try it with the 2012 mini, but I am using the optical out to my 5.1 receiver.
    Might be worth a shot based upon what I experienced. Maybe find a friend with a later model MBP that can drop over for a few minutes. Doesn't take but a second to hear the difference.
    Hytek

  23. #23
    Sophomore Member hytechrednek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James1776 View Post
    I had an opposite result with different gear...I was using an iMac to Audioquest Toslink to a Benchmark DAC. This sounded good to the point I felt no need to fiddle. Then my wife bought me a Music Fidelity Vlink192 for our anniversary...

    I cannot describe how much better the system sounded. It was a bigger difference than replacing a major component. It took me weeks of listening to find anything to criticize. Clear, grain free...a well recorded CD is now sounding as good as I was getting with a 24/96 High rez file. The Hi-Rez files sounded amazing.

    I know nothing of Silflex. I am glad you had the results you did.
    Interesting. I always thought about trying to V-Link but based upon what I heard between the HiFace, Halide, Off Ramp, Wavelink, and the Ayre / Oppo with their USB interface, I figured it would likely not make much of a difference. I hoped to run across someone using the V-Link and give it a listen too but never did. But I will keep your comment in mind.
    Hytek

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by hytechrednek View Post
    Interesting. I always thought about trying to V-Link but based upon what I heard between the HiFace, Halide, Off Ramp, Wavelink, and the Ayre / Oppo with their USB interface, I figured it would likely not make much of a difference. I hoped to run across someone using the V-Link and give it a listen too but never did. But I will keep your comment in mind.
    There are a lot of products that do the same thing but the V-Link appears to be on big discount .

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  25. #25
    Sophomore Member hytechrednek's Avatar
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    Comparing Apples to Apples

    Quote Originally Posted by Melvin View Post
    We often see poor jitter specs as the reason for toslink disdain and it makes me wonder if the inherent electical isolation of a toslink connection offsets the often poorer jitter specs (as compared to coax or USB).
    Electrical Isolation may be playing a part as you indicate. Still there is another issue to keep in mind. A toslink cable is not an active device trying to correct jitter. It's a slave of the jitter coming from the computer and does nothing to correct poor jitter performance. However, an asynchronous USB interface is an active device that tries to circumvent what the computer is doing poorly by using a precision outboard clock. Likewise these USB devices are often a slave to the computer's power supply, which I am told can greatly affect jitter. (It reminds me that one of the very first modifications to come out for CD players was a replacement clock with separate power supply.)

    This would explain why people often found Tosliink to be less than desirable when compared to active devices that circumvent the jitter performance of a computer. I suspicion that it was not the toslink's fault so much as it was the fault of the computer's jitter performance. Hence my caveat about using a 2012 Mac Book Pro with the Silflex. I still suspect but have no documented proof of reduced jitter from the MBP.
    Hytek

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