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Anyone favoring AES/EBU or SPDIF over USB connection to connect with HI END DAC ? Digital Converters
Old 17th February 2013
  #1
Anyone favoring AES/EBU or SPDIF over USB connection from computer to HI END DAC ?

Hi guys I will be buying a Lavry or some High End DAC for my studio, and I wondered from your experience if I should do with USB to connect it to my computer ? Or the sound is more clearer and defined when using AES-EBU or SPDIF ?

Also if anyone could advise me some very neutral and clinically detailed DAC in the 1000-1500 Euro price tag ?

Thanks you for your help
Old 18th February 2013
  #2
No one ? really ?
Old 18th February 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
It doesn't matter which kind of digital connection you use. All sound the same.
Old 18th February 2013
  #4
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JonMiller's Avatar
Come out of USB AES SPDif Coax or
Optical is all digital until it hits an analog convertors. It's just 1s and 0s.

Further proof you do not need high end digital cables.
Old 18th February 2013
  #5
I asked because we tested with a friend a Yulong D100, the sound was different when we used the USB and compared to the Spdif.

There might be only 1 and zero but there are different chips and electronics involved too no ? Even for the USB there are different chips used.

Anyone experienced this on here who could give me some expert advice ?
Old 18th February 2013
  #6
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phas3d's Avatar
 

What may change the sound is the selected clock source.
Old 18th February 2013
  #7
Gear Nut
 
vito's Avatar
 

You would think USB would have issues with interference and latency. Not sure. AES /Tsolink/Spdif and word clock for clocking are the standards.

It's not as simple as saying "It's only 0s and 1s". There is a lot going on: audio data, clocking and power would presumably be passed through USB.

Something about mixing multiple data signals and a power signal, just screams "problem".
Old 18th February 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Baldomr View Post
I asked because we tested with a friend a Yulong D100, the sound was different when we used the USB and compared to the Spdif.

There might be only 1 and zero but there are different chips and electronics involved too no ? Even for the USB there are different chips used.
The only reason USB could sound different is because it is easier for the end-user to screw it up--like by changing the volume control in iTunes or whereever in software so that it's not outputting unity.

The previous posters are correct: USB, AES, SPDIF are all the same PCM audio. There is no difference. That is the expert advice.

vito, power cannot interfere with a digital audio bitstream--if it did, the audio would not work at all. That is an analog phenomenon and should not be applied to digital audio.
Old 18th February 2013
  #9
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Barish's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Baldomr View Post
I asked because we tested with a friend a Yulong D100, the sound was different when we used the USB and compared to the Spdif.

There might be only 1 and zero but there are different chips and electronics involved too no ? Even for the USB there are different chips used.

Anyone experienced this on here who could give me some expert advice ?
Yes. I am an expert and I can categorically say that you and your friend were hallucinating. It is a quite commonly seen phenomenon called Cerebral Audiophlegma Syndrome. An immediate visit to Digital Electronics Lab 101 does away with it so no worries.

No difference whatsoever in the digital domain, until the information hits the DA stage. So use whichever protocol you like. All the same.
Old 18th February 2013
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barish View Post
Yes. I am an expert and I can categorically say that you and your friend were hallucinating. It is a quite commonly seen phenomenon called Cerebral Audiophlegma Syndrome. An immediate visit to Digital Electronics Lab 101 does away with it so no worries.

No difference whatsoever in the digital domain, until the information hits the DA stage. So use whichever protocol you like. All the same.
I am sorry but have you actually tried it yourself ? Please do and tell me about it.

I wish the theory was true, but strangely in practice it's different, and trust me my life would be simpler if they simply sounded the same.
Old 18th February 2013
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

USB i.e. Universal Serial Bus is a bus and thus may be shared with many concurrent apps and services. I agree with a previous poster that this is just asking for trouble. Hopefully your PC would have the AES/EBU or S/PDIF more directly mapped and could avoid bus traffic.

Your cables are another variable - are they the same length / quality / shielded well etc... It's probably psychological but I like the click-lock and solid feel of XLRs over "loose" USB :-)

To answer the original question - yes, I am using AES/EBU (and analog) between AD/DA and DVR, but am using f/w between DAW and AD/DA.
Old 18th February 2013
  #12
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Baldomr View Post
I am sorry but have you actually tried it yourself ? Please do and tell me about it.

I wish the theory was true, but strangely in practice it's different, and trust me my life would be simpler if they simply sounded the same.
I have read that if you share your USB port with some other device, there might be bottleneck problems and that different designers and brands can use different chips in their DAC devices, which can yield different sonic results depending on their effectiveness.

The first USB DACs had sonic problems, but I think that this problem has been cured nowadays.

Try to get some information on the LAVRY forum.

J
Old 19th February 2013
  #13
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Earcatcher's Avatar
Most USB electronics resample the source material before transport, so yes this can have an effect on the final sound quality. I don't like USB for high quality sound transport and prefer SPDIF or Firewire out of the computer.
Old 19th February 2013
  #14
Lives for gear
If you don't want to believe any of the engineering science facts that have already been presented, use AES or SPDIF, ignore USB, and just move on.

Or find out what Lavry has to say about it and ask him: Lavry Engineering • View topic - Are Quality of USB Cable important for Async Converter?
Old 19th February 2013
  #15
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jupiter8's Avatar
 

I hear SP/DIF uses larger zeroes and ones hence the higher quality. Or as we say in the biz: it's not the zeroes and ones that's the problem,it's the halfs.
Old 19th February 2013
  #16
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Hi
Although I have not 'played' with digital audio for a few years you should probably consider the 'timing'. AES and SP/dif is related to wordclock (usually tied to it in one way or another) whereas USB is on a 'timeshare' with other equipment (mouse, keyboard etc so although the bits will eventually all get there and be correct, WHEN they get there is a different matter. The interleave, error correction and data block size used may also be different, creating a degree of variability to a USB signal. It ought to 'catch up' if the link is fast enough but it is a poor relation to a dedicated 'audio' channel.
Matt S
Old 19th February 2013
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Sayin' digital is just one's and zero's is about the same as saying that analogue is just voltages. While we're at it, let's say that music is just notes. Literature is just letters. It's all the same.
Old 20th February 2013
  #18
Gear Nut
 
vito's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barish View Post
It is a quite commonly seen phenomenon .
This particular phenom would actually be heard, not seen.
Old 20th February 2013
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Baldomr View Post
I asked because we tested with a friend a Yulong D100, the sound was different when we used the USB and compared to the Spdif.

There might be only 1 and zero but there are different chips and electronics involved too no ? Even for the USB there are different chips used.

Anyone experienced this on here who could give me some expert advice ?
Yup, that you've either got a serious problem in terms of clocking (unlikely) or you're imagining things.

Computers don't deal in digital audio streams - they deal in digital data streams.

So...to get the digital data into a digital audio stream (to connect via SPDIF for example) you need an interface. If you're using the USB connection - that's built into your converter. If you're using the AES/SPDIF input - you MUST have an additional interface that you're locking the standalone converter to, because otherwise you can't just plug a SPDIF stream into a USB socket.

The choice isn't "USB vs SPDIF", because you need something to take you from computer to digital audio. It's "USB vs FW vs PCIe vs Thunderbolt", and it's "AES vs SPDIF", with or without clocking via Word clock.

You can't compare SPDIF and USB - that's like comparing apples and alarm clocks.
Old 28th February 2013
  #20
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Barish's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Baldomr View Post
I am sorry but have you actually tried it yourself ? Please do and tell me about it.

I wish the theory was true, but strangely in practice it's different, and trust me my life would be simpler if they simply sounded the same.
Unless the data format conversion involves some sort of destructive data compression such as Dolby E or DTS during encoding, the conversion between two lossless data encoding/transportation/decoding formats will not yield any audible nor measurable difference whatsoever, as far as the core data is concerned. And neither AES3 (which is the standard that defines how SPDIF will carry data), nor USB formats involve any kind of destructive data compression. They just carry whatever they are loaded with.

As for the USB data "bottleneck" issue, if that were to be such a problem, we should be having a lot of timing problems all across the industry, for I can not think of any studio where a USB or FW data connection is not used somewhere on the audio data line. As long as you adjust the buffers appropriately, you should be just fine.

And, as for that "well, the practice is a whole different story" thing, we've heard that one quite a lot before. No difference in that every time we hear it either.

Systems are designed based on theorems, and not theories. Please note the difference between those two concepts before getting into argument with people over design issues.

B.
Old 28th February 2013
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

Wouldn't a re-clocking ppl thingy mess slightly with the sound? If all pieces delivers in time thru USB, a standalone clocking unit should win.

But what do I know? (apparently a whole lot!).
Old 28th February 2013
  #22
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phas3d's Avatar
 

The clock would need to be really bad or you would need to have connection issues for that to be even noticeable. You would probably hear dropouts and not slight degradation.
Old 1st March 2013
  #23
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Arksun's Avatar
The most obvious question is, will you be using this for producing and thus require ultra low latency drivers?. If so then you'd be best using a seperate audio interface and running spdif or AESEBU off of that.

The Lavry has pretty good jitter immunity so I wouldn't worry too much about which input to select.
Old 21st February 2015
  #24
Zek
Gear Head
 
Zek's Avatar
 

Quite old thread, however, Andreas I'm with you and can confirm your experience. I just received my Lavry AD11 and tried different connections today.
Record some vocals and E-Bass (DI). First I connected the AD11 via USB to my 2014 MacPro and then the same takes by connecting the Lavry AD11 to my Apogee Symphony I/O via
AES/EBU. As you described the sound was definitely more clear, accuratelly defined and more live and really better. It's not only the highs but also the lows and the overall sound improved.
The stupid thing is that the actual interface, which is the Symphony I/O is still connected via USB to my MacPro.
I remember that I had similar results in 2008 with a Benchmark ADC1 USB connected via AES/EBU to an RME Fireface vs Benchmark ADC1 USB connected via USB.
Old 21st February 2015
  #25
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Plush's Avatar
We always use only an AES connection.
Old 30th September 2015
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
scvo's Avatar
 

Just wondering if there is any new empirical data on this subject?

Allot of the original info in this tread dates back several years… any new thoughts on the subject?

USB vs S/PDIF vs AES vs Toslink optical - as far as jitter performance is concerned?

Thanks.
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