Empirical Audio USB, Paul Pang's USB card, and the ApeXi AXF-104 Filter card

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Newk Yuler

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 43
Hi Steve.

I'm about to do an overdue overhaul on my music server which includes an Off Ramp 3.  I know the Short Block isn't an option for me but I have kept in mind the possibility of using a SOtM USB card for a while.  I recently looked for alternatives to that card and found a hacked USB 3 card (link below) I'm probably going to try if it passes your muster.  It adds a 24 MHz TCXO to clock the output before running into a silver wire transformer that I'm guessing is there to create galvanic isolation, although I'm not sure.  There are some other alterations apparent in the images.  While I'm focusing on it as something other Empirical Audio owners might consider, how do you think it will work with your newer async USB products?  This USB card doesn't have a lot of attention on the net but it's gotten some interesting approval in the JPlay forum.  I really just need to know if it will improve on an Off Ramp 3, especially since the Short Block is out of the question.

http://ppaproduct.blogspot.tw/ Paul Pang Professional Audio Studio

An interesting and inexpensive noise suppressing card has gotten some discussion in the XXHighEnd forum.  It's a passive noise filtering or smoothing device with banks of caps on a combination PCI/PCIe card.  Users (including Phasure's PeterST) have had mixed results that seem to change form day to day.  VALAB is an outlet also for reference although I'm not trying to promote the card.  I just want to know what you think about it.  The filter card is available in two forms, one of which is a "pro" version apparently with some better components which may be just Dale resistors.  Very good images in the first link:

http://goo.gl/epH86 ApeXi AXF-104

Thanks very much.

Edit Aug 25, 2013:  Changed PPAStudio link, old link went dead.  Pang has added a second less expensive version of the USB card.
« Last Edit: 25 Aug 2013, 04:06 pm by Newk Yuler »

audioengr

Hi Steve.

I'm about to do an overdue overhaul on my music server which includes an Off Ramp 3.  I know the Short Block isn't an option for me but I have kept in mind the possibility of using a SOtM USB card for a while.  I recently looked for alternatives to that card and found a hacked USB 3 card (link below) I'm probably going to try if it passes your muster.  It adds a 24 MHz TCXO to clock the output before running into a silver wire transformer that I'm guessing is there to create galvanic isolation, although I'm not sure.  There are some other alterations apparent in the images.  While I'm focusing on it as something other Empirical Audio owners might consider, how do you think it will work with your newer async USB products?  This USB card doesn't have a lot of attention on the net but it's gotten some interesting approval in the JPlay forum.  I really just need to know if it will improve on an Off Ramp 3, especially since the Short Block is out of the question.

http://ppacat.blogspot.com/ Paul Pang Professional Audio Studio

An interesting and inexpensive noise suppressing card has gotten some discussion in the XXHighEnd forum.  It's a passive noise filtering or smoothing device with banks of caps on a combination PCI/PCIe card.  Users (including Phasure's PeterST) have had mixed results that seem to change form day to day.  VALAB is an outlet also for reference although I'm not trying to promote the card.  I just want to know what you think about it.  The filter card is available in two forms, one of which is a "pro" version apparently with some better components which may be just Dale resistors.  Very good images in the first link:

http://goo.gl/epH86 ApeXi AXF-104

Thanks very much.

Both of these would probably improve the jitter from the computer, which is important with OR3.

I doubt if they would have much effect with Async interfaces, although the capacitor board may improve common-mode noise from the USB interface which is helpful for Async.

Steve N.

ted_b

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 6345
  • "we're all bozos on this bus" F.T.
Although not an OR customer I use Paul Pang's card (and his usb cable which is an amazing cable for $299, and LAN cable, of which the jury is still out.)  I love the card, but have yet to put my excellent SOtM PCIe and battery pack back in to do a true a/b.  His card needed 200+ hours for break in but is very smooth, analog--like, yet still detailed, with a great soundstage.  I power it externally with a linear ps.

DaveBSC

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 110
The PPA Studio card does seem impressive for its price. A third option is the Adnaco optical card. It's the only way to get total ground isolation from the PC, the filter cards can't do that. Vbus is provided at the receiver end of the optical cable where it's converted back to USB by a basic wallwart, but that's easy enough to replace with a battery or linear supply.

Some people have found that the Adnaco outperforms the SoTM. The guys at JPlay are working both with PPA on new USB and SATA cables, and with Adnaco on an "audiophile grade" optical USB 3.0 card. The latter I'm REALLY interested in.