Steaming via USB from PC to Dac

jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
Do the same comments regarding noise and jitter apply if there is a USB - digital optical or coaxial device which then connects to my AVR's own DAC?
Based on what I've seen on AVR measurements that would be the least of the worries, or the last problem to solve on other terms.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
is steaming via USB from PC to Dac a poor way to stream music because of computer noise?
Is a deducted streamer cleaner, less noisy, by design?
Cambridge Audio has a good article:

Our Guide to USB Audio - Why Should I Use it? | Cambridge Audio

It is more about data control. If Asynchronous USB DAC (not all are) is used, the DAC will control the timing, that would theoretically avoid errors introduced by the PC if it controls the timing. Obviously all PCs are not equal so how much synchronous USB DAC would deliver audible difference would depend..

By the way, it is not a rule, but I think if you see a DAC that uses type B connectors, you can almost be sure that it is a asynchronous USB DAC, and obviously USB class 2 as well.

Note the square looking usb port

1606395472418.png
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Can you explain this?
I would think that some PCs have better quality motherboards and USB ports that others so the really good ones may not have issues with timing/data flow control that some PCs might have. That's just my educated guess.
There are also internal sound cards that have build in flag ship class DAC, so in that case one wouldn't even have to worry about using the AVR's USB input. And then there are USB soundcards, lots of variables..
 
V

VMPS-TIII

Audioholic General
I would think that some PCs have better quality motherboards and USB ports that others so the really good ones may not have issues with timing/data flow control that some PCs might have. That's just my educated guess.
There are also internal sound cards that have build in flag ship class DAC, so in that case one wouldn't even have to worry about using the AVR's USB input. And then there are USB soundcards, lots of variables..
If someone is concerned about the sound quality of a PC USB connection via DAC they can easily compare a CD playing on a quality CD player vs playing a lossless RIP of the same CD via the computer USB->DAC. Simply play both sources at the same time with the same song and switch between sources with the receiver.

Can you tell a difference? I can't with my Denon CD player vs an AIFF rip on the MBP. It's connected via USB to my Hegel H90 USB DAC port playing the songs with Audirvana on the MBP.

Maybe your test results will be different?

H90Back.jpg
 
S

steve64

Enthusiast
If "someone" made you scared of your pc, do as follows:
a) Get a usb B to usb C cable for your phone! Connect cable to your phone! Get a lovely app called "USB Audio Player Pro" for 7 bucks. This app will run you bit perfect to your DAC.
b) If "someone" made you scared of of your phone too, get some 5000 dollar dedicated streamer transport with a good return policy. Compare it side by side to your phone with "USB Audio Player Pro" or pc. If the 5000 dollar streamer transport didn't sound any better, return the streamer and do a lil dance.

A "good" dedicated standalone dac should be very forgiving of (compensate for) deficiencies in your streaming device extremely well. Consequently, a dedicated streamer is an area of extreme levels of snake oil and diminishing returns. It is primarily targeted towards old geezers with zero knowledge of computer hardware. Visualize granma fiddling around with a pc/smartphone. These geezers are no different than granma. Don't get screwed over by the theory crafting snake and its oil. Good luck
Is 69 1/2 a geezer? Looks that way in the mirror! Anyway, if there ia anything good about being a
geezer, it's that more funds are available to " invest " in this " hobby "! Be that as it may, I decided to try streaming. Went to Best-Buy. Bought a H-P laptop for $ 800 bucks. Connected it to my Mc C-50 via USB.
Started Amazon Prime, and played Ricky Lee Jones. Then I put the same CD into my OPPO,
connected via balanced cables to the C-50, synchronized the music, and switched between sources.
I COULD NOT tell any difference whatsoever. She still sounds like an angel.
My $6.00 USB cable worked just fine! This old geezer is sold on streaming. Even granma, ( my
sometimes better half ), likes my " stuff ". After 50 years, still haven't found anybody with golden ears.
Just people with a wish.
 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
I would think that some PCs have better quality motherboards and USB ports that others so the really good ones may not have issues with timing/data flow control that some PCs might have. That's just my educated guess.
There are also internal sound cards that have build in flag ship class DAC, so in that case one wouldn't even have to worry about using the AVR's USB input. And then there are USB soundcards, lots of variables..
The thing is that USB is a standard and as a manufacturer you have to adhere to that standard for it to even work. I get pristine, bit perfect, 24/192 out of my Raspberry Pi 3B+ running Riopee and JRiver as the DNLA server. That's about as cheap a solution as you can get at $70 all in (board, 32GB MicroSD, $8 case, $12 PoE breakout adapter). I've never heard a difference whether it be the $70 Pi or my $4000 HPZ420 workstation.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
The thing is that USB is a standard and as a manufacturer you have to adhere to that standard for it to even work. I get pristine, bit perfect, 24/192 out of my Raspberry Pi 3B+ running Riopee and JRiver as the DNLA server. That's about as cheap a solution as you can get at $70 all in (board, 32GB MicroSD, $8 case, $12 PoE breakout adapter). I've never heard a difference whether it be the $70 Pi or my $4000 HPZ420 workstation.
Me neither, I just like specs/numbers..:D

I mostly use the PC/JRiver, with externa dacs only, using their asynchronous usb ports. Its not about the USB standard itself, but the PC's clock timing performance vs the DAC's. Whether there is audible difference between the two ways or not I don't know as I rarely use the PC directly with my avrs/avps or amps. For the few times that I tried in the past, I would say I heard no issues/differences, but then I never heard any difference between my amps/preamps either. As we all know, once we get into the "audible difference or not" thing, it gets controversial, we get claims of no difference whatever under blablabla conditions, to night and day difference under just about any conditions blablabla..:D So my comments are all to do with the theoretical differences only.
 
Last edited:
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
Its not about the USB standard itself, but the PC's clock timing performance vs the DAC's
These interfaces are ASYNC... The computer clock has nothing to do with the DAC clock. They aren't related or connected any any meaningful way.

The only thing the computer has to do is keep the DAC fed so it doesn't underbuffer. Hit up YouTube and search for Clock Domain Boundaries.

The DAC takes the PCM, DSD, MQA and extracts the embedded sample rate clock and applies it as it streams it back out. The only clock that matters is the one on the DAC.

Peng, this is one of those situations where it is what it is. I don't know of a modern DAC that doesn't use ASYNC mode.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
These interfaces are ASYNC... The computer clock has nothing to do with the DAC clock. They aren't related or connected any any meaningful way.

The only thing the computer has to do is keep the DAC fed so it doesn't underbuffer. Hit up YouTube and search for Clock Domain Boundaries.

The DAC takes the PCM, DSD, MQA and extracts the embedded sample rate clock and applies it as it streams it back out. The only clock that matters is the one on the DAC.

Peng, this is one of those situations where it is what it is. I don't know of a modern DAC that doesn't use ASYNC mode.
I am not going to argue with you, as I don't want to spend time searching proving and you must done your research. I know from a few years back when was shopping Oppo's and other DACs, if they use Asynchronous (as you say so the computer clock won't be in control) they would highlight the feature and brag about it, like Cambridge Audio did. It seems that in the early days, many will even stick with the type B connector exclusively so as to make it distinctive, that they are Asynchronous. If by "modern" you mean within the last 2-5 years, and that they all (I know you didn't say "all", but..) are Asynchronous then okay I'll take your word for it, and it is a good thing too for sure.
 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
I am not going to argue with you, as I don't want to spend time searching proving and you must done your research. I know from a few years back when was shopping Oppo's and other DACs, if they use Asynchronous (as you say so the computer clock won't be in control) they would highlight the feature and brag about it, like Cambridge Audio did. It seems that in the early days, many will even stick with the type B connector exclusively so as to make it distinctive, that they are Asynchronous. If by "modern" you mean within the last 2-5 years, and that they all (I know you didn't say "all", but..) are Asynchronous then okay I'll take your word for it, and it is a good thing too for sure.
Async, I believe, was introduced in the USB 2.0 spec. It did take DAC designers a bit to get around to implementing it. The Emotiva DC-1 was introduced in eiher 2012 or 13 and back then most DAC's where Async.

It's a non-issue/solved problem for a while now. You simply have some old information that isn't relevant any longer.
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top