How to improve USB performance

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audioengr

How to improve USB performance
« on: 24 Sep 2018, 04:40 pm »
USB performance has been a challenge for most of us.  Most jump through a lot of hoops or purchase an expensive server to get there.  Most spend a lot of time tweaking computers, power supplies, software and cables.

After initially comparing my XMOS USB interface to my Ethernet renderer, the Interchange, I found the USB to be lacking, even though the designs are almost identical and both have extremely low jitter.  I could not account for this.

Well, I learned something when the U.S. dealer for SOtM (South Korea) came over and brought some gear with him.  We installed this device between my Mac Mini and my XMOS USB converter (required one more USB A-B cable):

https://sotm-usa.com/collections/sotm-ultra/products/copy-of-tx-usbultra-regenerator-1

It evidently reclocks the USB signal and maybe provides some isolation.  Anyway, for the first time my USB sounds almost identical to my Ethernet renderer.  The additional cable we added was not as good as my WW Platinum USB cable, so this may account for not being identical in SQ.  I was using my excellent older version of Amarra as player.

I can wholeheartedly recommend this device.  The regenerator and power supply sells for around $1500.

Steve N.

speshal

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 36
Re: How to improve USB performance
« Reply #1 on: 26 Sep 2018, 07:10 pm »
I've tried several of these usb reclockers.

The ones that provide galvanic isolation seem to help the most, but a lot depends on two factors.

1.  The quality of the server -- The worse your existing server and USB... The more these things can help.

2. The quality of power supply on the reclocker. A poor power supply on these things  can actually make things worse if you already have a great server.  I think people have even measured worse performance due to power delivery issues.

I suspect if you used one of your modified Paul Hynes power supplies on a good reclocker, then you would get even closer (or better) performance than Ethernet.

Jon L

Re: How to improve USB performance
« Reply #2 on: 26 Sep 2018, 07:29 pm »
At $1270, is it just me who is tired of throwing more and more money and devices at USB audio, which was supposed to save us from the ills of flawed spdif?   

paul79

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 897
Re: How to improve USB performance
« Reply #3 on: 26 Sep 2018, 09:59 pm »
Well JonL,
This does provide another rung up the ladder for people that have allot invested in a USB system without spending a ton to beat it. Surely you must understand that perspective.I for one appreciate discoveries and possible hidden gems on a realistic budget. Although $1270 is a hefty sum for another device to add, it gets its own supply, own ground, own chassis, makes the USB source matter less. It is helping a big problem.

Another option, the Totaldac GIGAFILTER. It is a similarly priced cable that has been amazing in my system. Of the many upgrades in my digital system, this one was the most significant. I believe it is doing allot of the same thing as the one mentioned in the OP.
« Last Edit: 28 Sep 2018, 01:26 am by paul79 »

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: How to improve USB performance
« Reply #4 on: 27 Sep 2018, 03:56 am »
There are many cheaper options to improve usb performance.

The Uptone Regen, AQ Jitterbug, Shiit Audio and IfI make products that also improve usb.   Many are DAC dependent.  I own a Regen and Jitter Bug.  The Regen significantly improves the sound of my Luxman DA-06 DAC and my little Emotiva Big Ego  DAC.   The Jitterbug vastly improves the sound of the Emotiva and it improves detail in my Luxman but it makes it sound a little bright.

Sometimes they make things worse.  I heard the Regen with a Hegel H160 integrated and its built in DAC and the sound was veiled, not sure why.

Of course a great usb cable like the WW Platinum as mentioned in the first post helps tremendously with sound.  I heard one in my system and it was awesome.  The Regen improved the sound with the Platinum but not as much as with my WW Starlight Red.

Jon L

Re: How to improve USB performance
« Reply #5 on: 27 Sep 2018, 11:34 pm »
I already own WW Platinum USB cable and Uptone Regen, not to mention multiple linear power supplies for USB devices and battery solutions.  I have SoTM and JCAT devices and cards, etc, etc.

Every few weeks or so, there seems to be some people who try new USB cable/filter/device/PS and claim USB audio has taken a leap forward, usually costing $$$$.  Analogous to golf drivers that "shatter distances" every year, USB audio quality should have passed master tapes by now  :scratch:

adydula

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Ottoa52

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Re: How to improve USB performance
« Reply #7 on: 30 Aug 2022, 05:56 pm »
I am a newbie here, but at 70 years old, very into audiophile hobby ( I mean compusion  ahha ) This is an older thread, but I thought I would start here. I have been listening to a JDS EL DAC II  through BT, and it sounds very good to me. I am a life long musician and teacher. I will dispense with the micro details. I stopped using an ALLO Signature One streamer with a RASP pi 3+, Now 4 )   with SPDIF. I was trying to use something other than Volumio and downloading Moode, and trying to use my Android phone as a remote, frustrated to +10.

My point, last night I fired up a 2nd Desktop and listend to Qobuz through USB and to ME, it was not as good as the Bluetooth WIFI JDS. I am not here to argue USB vs the world. I read here a WW Platinum and another model they make seem to be the go to cables. I have a SUPRA USB cable, in the past very fav reviews.

Any updates on a USb cable than might be, uh  better than the Supra and not as expensive as a WW? I also have a Schiit USB WYRD I have NOT tried yet. It involves a 2nd cable and this in itself adds another layer. I will try it tonight.

I have a monthly subscription to Audirvana  *** just started 1 month have not used it much yet, still learning HOW TO....where I can use it to stream Qobuz. It has a remote but I do not understand the PATH to use it? It seem logical that I need to connect the Windows PC  ( running 11 ) via USB to the JDS DAC. Then download the Audirvana remote and connect to the PC through BT?  I dont know.

I can buy a Topping D10s and convert the USB to SPDIF, then I will be able to use the ALLO SIG One again and connect the the DAC with SPDIF instead of USB, where I started.

If this subject has been discussed to death already, please help me to find where past discussions are for me to learn and interact.

Thank you so much,
Otto

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: How to improve USB performance
« Reply #8 on: 31 Aug 2022, 02:17 am »
Otto, usb cables are so system and DAC dependent.  I am a huge fan of the WW Platinum cable but $600 is more than I am willing to spend.  I need a 1 meter cable. I am looking for a used one.  I have gone through several cables.  The AQ Carbon sounds great in my system with my Luxman DAC.  It sounds ok with my sons Chord DAC but a $40 cable from Ghent Audio beats it in his system and it sounds great.  The AQ Carbon can sound muted in some systems.  You can find them used for about $150.

I have tried the WW Starlight 7 Red.  It is muddy sounding in my system.  The Regen and Jitterbug clean it up some though. Also tried the Oyaide Neo d+ Class A cable and it is pretty good.

http://www.ghentaudio.com/usb/usb-jssg360.html

audioengr

Re: How to improve USB performance
« Reply #9 on: 1 Sep 2022, 04:29 am »
I get outstanding performance with local .wav files played with Amarra older version on an older Mac Mini.  I have done many hardware mods.  The configuration:

1) Mac Mini has increased memory, SSD and external linear power supply
2) USB cable is 2m Wireworld Platinum
3) Next is SOtM USB reclocker powered from Dynamo linear supply
4) USB cable - 1m Wireworld platinum
5) Power Block USB power generator with short USB cable
6) Off-Ramp 6 USB converter powered from Dynamo Linear supply
7) Empirical Audio Reference BNC-BNC Reference S/PDIF cable
8) DAC, either my Overdrive or newer SOTAPRAT

The playback software is critical to getting good results with USB.  Even the software version makes a big difference.  Other Amarra versions, Jriver, Roon are not as good IMO.

The format is equally important.  I use only .wav files because they are better, cleaner sounding.  FLAC is unnecessary unless you have to have tags.

I also use this configuration to stream from Amazon Prime HD music with superb results, also .wav files.