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  1. #1
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    Intona USB thing

    I have a Pi-Pico player hooked into and April Music DAC and a Squeezebox Touch running via an Audio GD Digital interface into and old (i.e. not NOS) Audio Note Dac 3 Signature.

    I was originally going to sell the Audio Note Dac but just can't do it.

    Anyway I sometimes do A/B comparisons either through my main amp or a headphone amp by syncing the 2. If I need to do a DBT I level match and then get my son to switch sources. I can tell the difference between the Touch Analogue (noisy) vs a cheap NOS dac (less noisy) but not really between the other 2.

    Having this setup I have been able to check whether different cables etc make a difference - I can only spot the really bad ones.

    So context set. I was reading about USB re-clockers etc and the consensus on the web seems to be that the Intona makes a difference. This product is not marketed as an Audio device but for medical / industrial purposes. The fact that the company recommends using the cheaper one for audio made me think it was worth a try.

    So I got the device today. And tried it in the April Music chain. A/B check (I know not perfect) it may have widened the sound-stage, but I doubt if I could reliably tell a difference.

    Switched it around and put in the chain SB Touch -> Intona -> Audio-GD -> Audio Note and BAM. The volume has gone up massively.

    Any ideas why this might be? I had level matched before putting the thing in the chain and it must be 10 db louder - I mean it hurt.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by foxesden View Post
    I have a Pi-Pico player hooked into and April Music DAC and a Squeezebox Touch running via an Audio GD Digital interface into and old (i.e. not NOS) Audio Note Dac 3 Signature.

    I was originally going to sell the Audio Note Dac but just can't do it.

    Anyway I sometimes do A/B comparisons either through my main amp or a headphone amp by syncing the 2. If I need to do a DBT I level match and then get my son to switch sources. I can tell the difference between the Touch Analogue (noisy) vs a cheap NOS dac (less noisy) but not really between the other 2.

    Having this setup I have been able to check whether different cables etc make a difference - I can only spot the really bad ones.

    So context set. I was reading about USB re-clockers etc and the consensus on the web seems to be that the Intona makes a difference. This product is not marketed as an Audio device but for medical / industrial purposes. The fact that the company recommends using the cheaper one for audio made me think it was worth a try.

    So I got the device today. And tried it in the April Music chain. A/B check (I know not perfect) it may have widened the sound-stage, but I doubt if I could reliably tell a difference.

    Switched it around and put in the chain SB Touch -> Intona -> Audio-GD -> Audio Note and BAM. The volume has gone up massively.

    Any ideas why this might be? I had level matched before putting the thing in the chain and it must be 10 db louder - I mean it hurt.
    You seem badly confused about level matching. You do it AFTER you put the components under test into the test system.

    The fact that one component is louder than another is simply the nature of things, and it is why we do level matching.

    You also seem confused about proper testing. It appears that what you are doing is a Single Blind test, and those have been known to be hihgly prone to being rediculously invalid since the early 1800s, and the fact that they proved the existence of horses that could decode complex spken commands and do aritmetic in their heads. Search on "Clever Hans"

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mnyb's Avatar
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    Well some Audio Note DAC's may not actually be transparent some of thier design desicions are "unortodox".
    So it migth always stand out .

    But it's cool that anyone owning AN products trying .
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Main hifi: Touch + CIA PS +MeridianG68J MeridianHD621 MeridianG98DH 2 x MeridianDSP5200 MeridianDSP5200HC 2 xMeridianDSP3100 +Rel Stadium 3 sub.
    Bedroom/Office: Boom
    Kitchen: Touch + powered Fostex PM0.4
    Misc use: Radio (with battery)
    iPad1 with iPengHD & SqueezePad
    (spares Touch, SB3, reciever ,controller )
    server HP proliant micro server N36L with ClearOS Linux

    http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

  4. #4
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foxesden View Post
    Switched it around and put in the chain SB Touch -> Intona -> Audio-GD -> Audio Note and BAM. The volume has gone up massively.

    Any ideas why this might be? I had level matched before putting the thing in the chain and it must be 10 db louder - I mean it hurt.
    That sounds really odd - The intona product is an isolator, it doesn't change the data going through it at all.
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies

    Julf - Exactly I am trying to fathom out why a regen device would be causing this effect. I had some notion that the touch outputs 24 bits vs 16 bit sources and this padding is being "corrected" by the intona maybe volume maxed. The A/N DAC is 20 bit so it may be affected, but I am no expert hence the question.

    ArnyK
    re level matching. My point around this is that I level matched the control April Music Dac vs the audio note dac before changing anything. I then added in the Intona device to the Audio Note chain where-upon the devices were no longer level matched. Not even close; I think it was also clipping so I reverted and sure enough the level dropped. I would have rechecked the levels if I was going to do an AB or DBT test, but thought I might damage some kit or worse my ears. I really wasn't expecting to hear any difference despite the multitude of rave reviews so this result was quite a shock.

    MyNB - the audio note Dac is an old one with a conventional filter albeit with a valve/tube output stage. So quite conventional by A/N standards.

    I know some of you guys have strong opinions on valves, however I just think they are amplification devices and can be done well or badly, I like them for cosmetic reasons. The reason why I bought the A/N was because it was the best that I auditioned back in 98 and I got it ex demo for 50% discount. At that time, I auditioned a bucket load of DACs and this is the only one in my price range that imaged well and didn't draw attention to itself. I bought the April Music DAC to replace the Audio Note and a valve headphone amp as it was more compact, they sound almost identical.

    I haven't bought any kit for 3 years so I am just scratching an itch to see if I can squeeze anything more out of the digital chain by further over-engineering it.

    To be honest I am not expecting much/anything. I found early on that replacing the crap freeby cables that came with gear in the 80s did make a difference, so assumed that paying more will make it better. However in the last 20 years where I thought I have heard a difference it has either been: Placebo, a dodgey product e.g. picking up RFI, or me mixing the L/R connectors.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by foxesden View Post
    Thanks for the replies


    ArnyK
    re level matching. My point around this is that I level matched the control April Music Dac vs the audio note dac before changing anything. I then added in the Intona device to the Audio Note chain where-upon the devices were no longer level matched. Not even close; I think it was also clipping so I reverted and sure enough the level dropped. I would have rechecked the levels if I was going to do an AB or DBT test, but thought I might damage some kit or worse my ears. I really wasn't expecting to hear any difference despite the multitude of rave reviews so this result was quite a shock.
    Level matchhing is not all that is required for a proper test. It has to be double blind and there has to be time synchronizing of the music being listened to.

    Please read here for more details about DBTs https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,16295.0.html
    Last edited by arnyk; 2017-02-04 at 20:37.

  7. #7
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    Agreed, and it is easy to do on the squeezebox platform as all you need to do is synchronize 2 or more players into an amp with a source switch and have someone switching them who doesn't know which source is which.

    As I have mentioned I generally only do this last part if I think I can hear a difference sighted and I can't find a reason for it.

    In the end any testing that I do is to satisfy my curiosity, once I get bored with it I stop and just enjoy the music.

    So no opinions on why a USB isolator may be altering the signal in such a way? I am getting the impression that no one believes me. Ho hum.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foxesden View Post
    So no opinions on why a USB isolator may be altering the signal in such a way? I am getting the impression that no one believes me. Ho hum.
    It's not that we don't believe you, but at least I am at loss to explain how it could alter the data in any way - any interference with the actual data would make it unusable for the purposes it was designed for. Can you try the isolator between, say, a PC and a memory stick?
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by foxesden View Post
    Agreed, and it is easy to do on the squeezebox platform as all you need to do is synchronize 2 or more players into an amp with a source switch and have someone switching them who doesn't know which source is which.

    As I have mentioned I generally only do this last part if I think I can hear a difference sighted and I can't find a reason for it.

    In the end any testing that I do is to satisfy my curiosity, once I get bored with it I stop and just enjoy the music.

    So no opinions on why a USB isolator may be altering the signal in such a way? I am getting the impression that no one believes me. Ho hum.
    Since you seem to have said that you aren't all that serious about this, why should I go any further?

    The book answer is Placebo Effect. Ever hear of it?

    Have you read Archimalgo's Blog with relevant technical tests?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
    The book answer is Placebo Effect.
    Yes, the placebo effect is powerful, but in this case the OP is talking about a 10 dB difference in volume.
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

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