PDA

View Full Version : USB vs Toslink



pski
2010-08-17, 21:10
Is there any reason why one would have a sound quality advantage?

The target is a PS Audio DAC running balanced the rest of the way to the amps.

The Toslink would come from a Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI Express.

Processor should not be an issue (i7 ocho-way.)

Thanks.

P

pfarrell
2010-08-17, 21:23
On 08/18/2010 12:10 AM, pski wrote:
> The Toslink would come from a Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI
> Express.

I would not have thought of using a inside the computer sound card, no
matter what brand, as a source suitable for audiophiles. That is how I
got started with my very first SlimDevice SB-1 ages ago. PCs are evil
places with tons of noise, both physical vibrations and strange and
stray electrical signals.

My rule is do PC stuff in the PC, and do quality audio stuff out in an
external box. A Touch is a great way to get the signal out of any PC.


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

Phil Leigh
2010-08-17, 21:41
Is there any reason why one would have a sound quality advantage?

The target is a PS Audio DAC running balanced the rest of the way to the amps.

The Toslink would come from a Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI Express.

Processor should not be an issue (i7 ocho-way.)

Thanks.

P

THEORETICALLY, the toslink could be better as it is not electrically/galvanically connected so that is one less route for crud from the PC to get into your DAC. It can still go through the air and your mains wiring of course.
In practice - try them and see.

iPhone
2010-08-17, 21:53
If you must deal with a PC, Toslink is better IMO and experience. The biggest issue is the OS on the PC. If it is Windows Anything, the sound card output will be contaminated by Windows meddling. When WIndows is involved it might start as Bit Perfect but it is hosed before it even gets to the Sound Card.

Now you folks using Windows OS for SBS don't get nuts on me as this does not apply to using a Squeezebox with SBS. This only applies when using a PC sound card.

My real opinion with that DAC is buy another Squeezebox, preferably the Touch.

probedb
2010-08-20, 08:57
If you must deal with a PC, Toslink is better IMO and experience. The biggest issue is the OS on the PC. If it is Windows Anything, the sound card output will be contaminated by Windows meddling. When WIndows is involved it might start as Bit Perfect but it is hosed before it even gets to the Sound Card.

Now you folks using Windows OS for SBS don't get nuts on me as this does not apply to using a Squeezebox with SBS. This only applies when using a PC sound card.

My real opinion with that DAC is buy another Squeezebox, preferably the Touch.

Actually that's not true, you can stop XP, Vista and 7 from doing anything with your audio. I had bit-perfect playback on XP and again on 7.

There are various plugins for kernel streaming and WASAPI for various audio players on Windows, I suggest you go look at them.

pski
2010-08-20, 09:18
Thanks for all the info.

The current setup is either:

1. iTunes to USB to DAC, or

2. SBS to Receiver to toslink to DAC

Both iTunes and the Receiver are volume wide-open. Source is selected on the front-panel of the DAC. Volume is controlled by a passive line controller (GFP-750.) The OS is Win7HP-64.

I am gathering that #2 is favored here?

The third possibility is the X-Fi Extreme toslink out, and since the card supports ASIO, I would assume to enable that to eliminate the "windows" sounds...

P

iPhone
2010-08-20, 09:30
Actually that's not true, you can stop XP, Vista and 7 from doing anything with your audio. I had bit-perfect playback on XP and again on 7.

There are various plugins for kernel streaming and WASAPI for various audio players on Windows, I suggest you go look at them.

Actually it is true, just the fact that you say it can be stopped proves my point. If the everyday non-computer geek just uses XP, Vista, or Win7, then ones files are messed with if they go to anything inside the PC for music IE especially a sound card (this doesn't apply to FLAC/MP3 files sent to external Squeezeboxes). Are there hacks and kernel disables, there are. As far as I am concerned the jury is still out on how well these work. Several audio experts that have looked into it say they still see MicroSuck artifacts.

I guess my main point is why even mess with a sound card inside the interference and RF hell of a PC running Windows when Squeezeboxes are available? The Windows issue/question is just one more reason not to.