The Better Connection

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James Tanner

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The Better Connection
« on: 6 Apr 2012, 08:38 pm »
Hi Folks

Been experimenting with different digital connections on my computer and was wondering if the tech types have any opinion on which type of digital connection is the best option to use for transferring digital music files from a drive to a player or DAC?

So USB2, USB 3, ESATA, BNC, COAX, AESEBU, OPTICAL, FIREWIRE,  etc.  :scratch:

James

skunark

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Re: The Better Connection
« Reply #1 on: 6 Apr 2012, 09:10 pm »
James,

Transferring a file: (i.e. no jitter is involved, it's just data)
HDD to Digital Player/computer: Thunderbolt, USB3, eSATA, FW800, FW400, USB2   (sorted by speed)

Playback of digital music stream (i.e. jitter is involved, it's a PCM stream):
PCM/DSD to DAC: I2S, AES/EBU, BNC, COAX, Optical   (sorted by general recommendations, ymmv)

Playback of digital music stream with USB/FW DACs:
USB DAC: USB3, USB2, USB (sorted by speed)... USB3 has more error checking than USB2 and 1.
FW DAC: FW800, FW400 (sorted by speed)


For BDP-1 today:
Disk Drive -> USB2.0 ->  BDP-1 ->  AES/EBU -> BDA-1
100Mbit Etherenet -> cat5e -> BDP-1 -> USB2.0 -> Hard Drive

For BDP-2 tomorrow:
Disk Drive -> USB3.0/eSATA -> BDP-2 ->  AES/EBU -> BDA-2 (same as BDP/BDA-1 approach)
Gigabit Ethernet -> cat6 -> BDP-2 -> USB3.0/eSATA -> Hard Drive (file transfers are ~10x faster)

Possible improvements.
Disk Drive -> USB3.0/eSATA -> BDP-2 ->  I2S -> BDA-2 (possible improvement in jitter)
Gigabit Ethernet -> cat6 -> BDP-2 -> USB3.0/eSATA -> Hard Drive (file transfers are ~10x faster)

I have zero interest in using a FW/USB DAC since they add one more level of complexity, would rather see the BDP-2 just provide the I2S output.
Disk Drive -> USB3.0/eSATA -> BDP-2 -> USB2.0 -> USB Controller -> S/PDIF or I2S -> DAC

Jim
« Last Edit: 6 Apr 2012, 11:49 pm by skunark »

Sasha

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Re: The Better Connection
« Reply #2 on: 7 Apr 2012, 02:49 am »
I agree with skunark with one remark, it is very implementation dependent and for that reason cannot be assumed that the theoretically better one is in fact better one.
For example a drive connected to PC based transport (i.e. BDP-1) can introduce a lot of noise over USB bus that can impact the amount of jitter in sound card’s digital output.

werd

Re: The Better Connection
« Reply #3 on: 7 Apr 2012, 03:05 am »
I agree with skunark with one remark, it is very implementation dependent and for that reason cannot be assumed that the theoretically better one is in fact better one.
For example a drive connected to PC based transport (i.e. BDP-1) can introduce a lot of noise over USB bus that can impact the amount of jitter in sound card’s digital output.

I agree and i also agree with his breaking the play back and transfering files into two different categories.

Its important here for folks to understand what cabling does here and how it affects what we hear. From all my experience, cabling in digital is all about beats and keeping rythyms intact. Its hard to notice unless you are listening to musical scores that are assembled with intricate time sigs. Usually found in jazz or classical. Its hard to notice with mainstream tunes or hard rock, etc.. What happens is cabling can drag down rythyms, especially found in harmonies and such. Lousy cabling will miss the mark. Beats just will not show up in the soundstage with any real toe tapping appeal. It will lose a lot of lustre. The bdp/bda are prat gods. These two pieces are excellent at showing how cabling can shut down your harmony and melodies and how good cabling will bring make the those two pieces sing.


Sasha

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Re: The Better Connection
« Reply #4 on: 7 Apr 2012, 03:26 am »
I agree and i also agree with his breaking the play back and transfering files into two different categories.

Its important here for folks to understand what cabling does here and how it affects what we hear. From all my experience, cabling in digital is all about beats and keeping rythyms intact. Its hard to notice unless you are listening to musical scores that are assembled with intricate time sigs. Usually found in jazz or classical. Its hard to notice with mainstream tunes or hard rock, etc.. What happens is cabling can drag down rythyms, especially found in harmonies and such. Lousy cabling will miss the mark. Beats just will not show up in the soundstage with any real toe tapping appeal. It will lose a lot of lustre. The bdp/bda are prat gods. These two pieces are excellent at showing how cabling can shut down your harmony and melodies and how good cabling will bring make the those two pieces sing.

If by “keeping rhythms intact” you are referring to jitter than yes, cables used in digital audio signal transport to DA conversion can influence sound quality, but there is no influence of any kind possible if we are talking about data transport or files if you will, be that USB cable connecting disk, or Ethernet cable connecting NAS, or whatever else.