Computer Audio Asylum

Music servers and other computer based digital audio technologies.

Return to Computer Audio Asylum


Message Sort: Post Order or Asylum Reverse Threaded

Page: [ 1 ] [ 2 ]

Let the grenade throwing begin...

209.97.233.61

Posted on February 5, 2009 at 08:28:55
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
Earlier there were several questions about the forthcoming Ayre USB DAC that uses Wavelength's "asynchronous" USB transfer mode. We have finally posted the promised white paper with more information on our website. Look under the "Literature" section.

This is not meant to be an "advertisement". The white paper is meant to be a look at the issues involved with getting the data off your computer and over to your hi-fi.

I've tried to present the various methods fairly, but obviously have an opinion as to what methods work best. I'm glad to answer any questions. And if you guys think this post is inappropriate, please don't post a reply. Instead, just make a *separate* new post and I'll delete this one. Or the moderators can delete it. Thanks.

I'll put get into my bunker now....

 

Hide full thread outline!
    ...
RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 08:41:52
Romanesq
Audiophile

Posts: 96
Joined: December 23, 2000
Well is going with the optical audio out, say on an intel mac mini better?

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 08:52:32
???
If it's not meant to be an advertisement, then why is it an advertisement????

 

Interesting Read. No grenades from me, posted on February 5, 2009 at 09:05:17
AbeCollins
Audiophile

Posts: 27681
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
February 2, 2002
No grenades from me. I found the white paper to be an informative and interesting read. Thanks Charles

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 09:09:45
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 12646
Joined: June 1, 2002
I would try it if there are inputs other than usb and if the dac is 192k capable. As it is, ine is limited to a box with one use.

 

Thanks Charles nt, posted on February 5, 2009 at 09:19:05
Mercman
Reviewer

Posts: 6218
Joined: October 20, 2002
Contributor
  Since:
May 20, 2004
nt

 

More, more, posted on February 5, 2009 at 10:06:53
all300b


 
Awesome. Ready to read more about the DAC- chip selected, different approaches to analog output stages, battery versus AC... Great stuff!

There was a comment previously on this forum (by Benchmark) that asynchronous may force the computer to adapt to the requested sampling rate such that it may not be able to keep up accurately (terrible layman's recollection). Is there anything to this and if so, would the PC type / OS matter?

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 10:26:20
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
Optical out (TosLink) provides great isolation from the RFI of the computer. (You will still want to put a power line filter on the computer to keep the RFI from its switching power supply out of the rest of your system.)

The problem with TosLink is that it is S/PDIF, which inherently adds jitter. The faster the rise time of the data link, the less jitter gets added. TosLink is pretty slow and the rise times are slow enough that it can barely handle the data rates for S/PDIF. So there is more jitter added than with a coaxial cable. Therefore TosLink is better than coax in one way and worse in another.

The end result will depend on how well your external DAC rejects jitter. Unfortunately there is no such thing as an S/PDIF DAC that completely rejects jitter, except for the Chord. It has a big buffer and it takes 4 seconds after you hit play before you hear music.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 10:29:51
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
There were a lot of questions about the DAC after the Stereophile show report. Instead of making a giant post with all of the information from the white paper, I figured it was easier just to link to the white paper.

Unfortunately the white paper wasn't finished at the time of the thread. I could have put this post in that thread, but many people use the "Classic" view whereby old threads drop off of the screen and aren't seen. Sorry if this offended you. That wasn't my intention.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 10:31:47
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
Yes, the problem is that as you add more features the price goes up. We figured that most people using their computers for audio wouldn't also want to have additional digital sources. Time will tell if we made a good decision.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 10:35:03
Scrith
Audiophile

Posts: 1157
Location: Los Angeles
Joined: July 19, 2005
The theory sounds good. The grenades (or laurels) will be arriving once people have a chance to listen to it, I think. :-)

By the way, what about jitter from the other inputs? Or is USB the only input?

 

RE: More, more, posted on February 5, 2009 at 10:39:33
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
>> Ready to read more about the DAC- chip selected, different approaches to analog output stages, battery versus AC <<

We are finalizing all of the details by next week. The DAC chip is currently a Burr-Brown DSD1796. The analog output stages are (naturally!) zero-feedback and fully balanced. The prototype at CES had circuitry similar to the CX-7e MP CD player, but next week we are going to listen to a new discrete circuit I came up with. We'll see which one sounds better. The cost of the two approaches is (surprisingly enough) not all that different.

We've never used batteries. They have some great advantages sonically, but are obviously a pain in the neck practically. So what we try to do is make an AC power supply that sounds as good (or better!) than batteries.

>> There was a comment previously on this forum (by Benchmark) that asynchronous may force the computer to adapt to the requested sampling rate such that it may not be able to keep up accurately <<

That's news to me. Do you have a link to that post?

We license the "asynchronous" USB technology from Wavelength. Gordon is a really smart guy, plus he has sold hundreds of his DACs. If there were a problem, I'm sure he would have heard about it by now.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 10:41:29
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
USB only. Other inputs drive the cost up -- significantly if you want them to actually sound good. We figured that most people using their computers for audio don't need other digital inputs. Time will tell if we were right. Later on, I'm sure we will make a DAC box with multiple inputs, but it will cost a lot more than this box.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 11:08:36
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 12646
Joined: June 1, 2002
Then you are excluding the audio market and limiting resolution to 2496 aginst competition that does more.

I do know that 176.4/192k/dsd sdif3 sound considerably better.

Time will tell.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 12:33:14
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
Currently the DAC is limited to 96/24 due to the limitations of the TAS1020B USB transceiver. It is only USB 1.1 compliant, while USB 2.0 is required to achieve the speeds required to reach 192/24.

Gordon is working on ways to get USB 2.0 working. It appears that it may require a hardware upgrade, but it is possible that it could be done with just a firmware upgrade. In either case, currently only Mac's OS supports those high sample rates with the native USB driver -- not Windows and not Linux.

In any event the unit will be upgradeable, as the DAC is modular. In the meantime, there isn't much software available at sample rates past 96/24. I think the main use for a higher sample rate would be if one were transferring a vinyl collection. The problem there is that there aren't that many great sounding A/D solutions currently available.

I guess the bottom line is that computer-based audio is still in flux. It will eventually reach a stable state, but all new things take time to mature.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 13:13:35
Romanesq
Audiophile

Posts: 96
Joined: December 23, 2000
Well I'm using an Intel Mac Mini (Core Solo) and it is connected to a PS Audio Premier so it is getting nice clean power instead of just filtering.

The Lavry DA10 it's coupled to does a fine job on jitter.

But this is a nice discussion started on the issue(s).

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 13:40:50
Squonk
Audiophile

Posts: 1886
Location: Indiana
Joined: August 17, 2005
Do you think one day you will have a 'passive volume control' option with your USB DAC?

 

I hear you, but......, posted on February 5, 2009 at 13:44:54
Sordidman
Audiophile

Posts: 13252
Location: San Francisco
Joined: May 14, 2001
I for one, really need the other inputs....

Since it doesn't seem like elgato TV is going yet: plus, there's no blu-ray on computers....

In the new system that I'm setting up, - USB audio out is critical, - but so is DirectV, a Blu-Ray DVD.....

So, - it's Empirical handling the USB duties, then an optical input from a DVD player to a Stello, plus a SPDIF input from the DirecTV...



That's what we're paid for, that's what we're paid for here

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 14:31:59
Jonathan Tinn
Dealer

Posts: 232
Joined: March 10, 2001
Actually with the Playback Designs 2 dimensional DAC, the connection itself is irrelevant. Since the Playback Designs is immune to jitter, it does not matter whether you use Toslink, USB, SPDIF, AES, etc.

 

Sounds like you're launching a product using outdated technology *, posted on February 5, 2009 at 14:37:29
J.Mac
Audiophile

Posts: 3447
Location: Colorado
Joined: November 6, 2002

 

Not really, posted on February 5, 2009 at 14:45:43
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
It's the best technology available today.

When you buy a computer or an iPod or whatever, you know that next year or next month there will be a better one.

The difference is that at Ayre we have always had an incredible upgrade program. For example, if you bought an Ayre K-1 preamplifier in 1996, you could have it fully updated to the latest version for only about 5% more than the price has increased. And you could have been enjoying it for 13 years. And in it's current incarnation it is still one of the best preamps out there.

I don't think you can say that about any other product from any other industry.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 14:51:07
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
So you are saying that the DAC sounds the same with any transport, regardless of quality?

And that it sounds the same with any disc treatment (eg, Bedini Clarifier, Marigo mat, cleaning solutions, et cetera)?

That's pretty incredible!

By the way, the weblink you posted was indecipherable. Could you kindly explain how this thing works in plain English?

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 14:54:46
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
If you are trying to save money or eliminate boxes, the best place to put a volume control is in the amplifier (ie, an integrated amp). Then you can hook up all the sources you want. Or just use one source, either way.

 

An ipod, posted on February 5, 2009 at 14:54:54
J.Mac
Audiophile

Posts: 3447
Location: Colorado
Joined: November 6, 2002
doesn't cost $2500 and a trip to the factory plus another $1000 for someone to plug in a new board.

It's a gentle means of planned obsolescence. At least you don't try to hide it, which is refreshing.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 14:56:51
Squonk
Audiophile

Posts: 1886
Location: Indiana
Joined: August 17, 2005
I agree, but, my speakers are active.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 15:09:20
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
It's hard to please everybody.

If we added a volume control to the DAC, it would increase the price significantly. Then many people wouldn't buy it because the price was too high.

When you own active speakers, I think you have to realize that a preamp is pretty much going to have to be part of the deal. I guess you could get a Wadia or some other CD player with adjustable outputs. There just aren't that many sources with volume controls.

One of the problems is that a good sounding volume control ain't cheap. In the old days people just used potentiometers with carbon tracks. They sound OK, but not great. Nowadays people want balanced (which requires tracking within better than 1% between the phases), remote operation (which adds cost or places constraints or both), and good sound quality (perhaps the most difficult task).

The volume control in our $3,000 preamp is pretty darned good -- about as good as our competitor's $15,000 preamp. But the one in our $9,000 preamp is even better. And the one in our $18,000 preamp is better than that. The point is that a good volume control ain't cheap....

 

Obviously you are not an Ayre owner., posted on February 5, 2009 at 15:13:36
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
Let's say you bought a K-5x when it was introduced. Retail price was $3,000. When we brought out the "e" version a few years later, it cost $250 for the upgrade. And if you didn't want it, you didn't have to buy it.

I'd say that's the opposite of "planned obsolescence".

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 15:19:22
Squonk
Audiophile

Posts: 1886
Location: Indiana
Joined: August 17, 2005
I see. Thank you VERY much for your advice. Maybe it would be better if I kept the GFP-750 instead of trying to eliminate it. My choices have to be thought out extensively to get the best bang for the buck (I ain't rich). That's why I was looking for a DAC/volume control option. But, if the quality of the volume control in a DAC is inferior to my passive pre-amp, then maybe I should keep my GFP-750.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 15:29:53
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
I've never heard the GFP-750, but I did see some comments on it a few months ago in one of the AA forums. Most of the posters were less keen on it than the reviewers were when it came out....

In general, a passive preamp can give good bang for the buck but won't sound as good as a good active preamp. The sins of a passive tend to sins of omission. The main thing that goes away is dynamics, although I have no idea why this would be so.

As far as DACs with volume controls, obviously it depends on the particular implementation. I can't think of any off the top of my head, so I can't comment.

 

integrated amp..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 15:42:59
Scrith
Audiophile

Posts: 1157
Location: Los Angeles
Joined: July 19, 2005
I agree, and ended up getting an integrated amp for the QB-9 and/or other future components in my computer system.

The problem is that I ended up getting something from another company because Ayre's integrated is a bit on the weak side for inefficient speakers. Can we expect something along the lines of a 5-series integrated from Ayre in the foreseeable future?

 

RE: integrated amp..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 16:01:06
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
We've talked about it, but there isn't any definite plan to do so at the moment. Sorry.

 

RE: integrated amp..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 16:07:44
Scrith
Audiophile

Posts: 1157
Location: Los Angeles
Joined: July 19, 2005
One more question for somebody who ought to know (off-topic from the original post, I realize):

I've always thought that an integrated amp could, in theory, be superior to a pre-amp/amp combination with an external connection between them. Any thoughts on the idea that an integrated amp is greater than, equal to, or less than separates if they are built with the same attention to detail and quality?

 

DAC sound regardless of transport used, posted on February 5, 2009 at 16:24:55
Jonathan Tinn
Dealer

Posts: 232
Joined: March 10, 2001
Yes Charles, that is exactly what I am saying. To prove our point, at THE Show we used a Sony Discman, which generates an immense amount of jitter into the DAC section of our player and compared it head to head with the Esoteric drive mechanism that is built into our player and there was no sonic difference. We had the same exact results running from a computer using a Lynx AES16 sound card via AES cables into our DAC.

I cannot speak of disc treatments as I have not experimented with them. However, we believe that as long as the bits get to our DAC intact, nothing else really matters.

I think the explanation was pretty clear and I thought it was in English :) Although I cannot give you our proprietary recipe, but I will try a different way.

Imagine you are on a freeway going to a predetermined destination and there is another car which needs to arrive there as well at the same time. You are both in the fast lane and the other car is in front of you. As they speed up and slow down, it causes you to do the same until you both arrive at the destination. This is essentially what a PLL is.

With our 2 dimensional DAC we use a technology we call the Playback Designs Frequency Arrival System (PDFAS). This technology eliminates the need for PLLs and all we care about is that both cars arrive to the destination at the same time. We no longer care how they get there.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 17:40:14
Tony Lauck
Audiophile

Posts: 13629
Location: Vermont
Joined: November 12, 2007
"In the meantime, there isn't much software available at sample rates past 96/24."

This is a chicken and egg problem. With more equipment and more people using computer audio there will be more software. Very little extra work is required when mastering at one PCM rate to create versions for other sampling rates.

Don't wait too long to bring out 192 kHz capability or you will find that the world has moved on and the leading edge consumers are looking for 352.8 and 384 KHz. These data rates are well within the bounds of current computer technology and are presently in use at the best mastering facilities.


Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar

 

RE: integrated amp..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 18:33:41
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
Hard to say for sure. The advantage of an integrated is that you get rid of a pair of interconnects and two pairs of connectors. It's also less expensive, as you only need one chassis and one transformer.

On the other hand, it tends to be somewhat self-limiting. Our top-line monoblocks and preamp are $36,000 US retail. I suppose that we could make an integrated version for maybe $30,000 or os. I don't know that there would be a big market for $30,000 integrateds.

The other problem with integrateds is where to put them. Ideally the power amp is between the speakers to keep the speaker cables short. You could put an integrated there, but then it would have to be on a rack to be usable. And putting a rack between your speakers lessens the quality of the soundstage. So a lot of factors come into play.

The bottom line is that an integrated probably gives the best sound for the money and reduces the number of boxes. But if you want an all-out, no compromise system you probably need a separate preamp and a pair of monoblocks.

 

Did you settle on the analogue output stage?, posted on February 5, 2009 at 18:49:45
Jon L
Reviewer

Posts: 5583
Joined: April 6, 2000
Or is it going to stay, the Cx-7e circuitry..

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 18:53:47
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
I think that we are pretty much on the cutting edge here. If you look around, there are only a handful of companies that match what we are doing now.

Arguably the only mainstream one to match us is dCS, but at over 10x the price. (They have recently announced an "asynchronous" USB and-on module that only works with their equipment due to the word-clock cable required for best performance.)

And the one company to surpass what we are doing as far as high sample rates the Linn at $20,000. I am told that it sounds very good, but that it only works with its own software which apparently is problematic.

So for a component with this level of performance and technology for less than $2,500 (price not finalized yet), I think we are offering technology that nobody else is (except Wavelength, of course) at a price point that nobody else is matching. We will continue to stay on the leading edge of things as they develop.

 

RE: Did you settle on the analogue output stage?, posted on February 5, 2009 at 18:56:43
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
No, the PCB should be delivered Monday. We will hand stuff it (almost all surface-mount) and hopefully be listening to it by Wednesday. We should know how it works by the end of the week if all goes well. If it does what I think it will, it will not only sound great, but also open the door for a lot of new applications for us. It's a pretty cool circuit -- my favorite so far (at least on paper!)

 

RE: DAC sound regardless of transport used, posted on February 5, 2009 at 18:58:34
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
Uh. OK. Now it's perfectly clear...

 

Yep, I'm planning to upgrade, posted on February 5, 2009 at 20:37:49
Rufipennis
Audiophile

Posts: 995
Location: Utah
Joined: November 1, 2003
my CX-7 for a fraction of what a new unit would cost. That's VERY cool, thanks!

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 21:58:20
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 12646
Joined: June 1, 2002
I have 20% genuine hirez material and I am converting one low power pc to 176.4k upsampled CD playback using Audition 3.0.1. Files just sound that much better, although they don't sound as good as the genuine hirez stuff.

Don't buy resampled 'hire' matwerial being offered; do it yourself to your own satifaction.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 5, 2009 at 22:06:31
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 12646
Joined: June 1, 2002
dCS pro gear is not athat expensive and works better in some ways (more controllable sttings). I have been using the upsampling and dsd playback features for 4 years. This is hardly cutting edge. The other company is EMM.

One sad thing about dCS is that, following reorganisation, they seem to have stopped developing their pro range with new cutting edge features such as DXD.

You have said elsewhere that the AES3 interface is broken. Look at how dCS does these and you see almost perfect wave transmissions; something that most others do not do well. The other thing they do well is the lack of thermal effects, using closed boxes that stabilise at 70 C.

 

here's an idea, posted on February 5, 2009 at 22:32:56
Joe Murphy Jr
Audiophile

Posts: 4424
Joined: February 3, 2001
Since I'd rather not use a computer for music tasks, how about this: the QB-9, an external hard drive, an iPod and a Y-type USB dock connector cable to connect the three together (the iPod taking the place of the computer in a normal PC Audio setup). That would fucking rock!

 

RE: Not really-International?, posted on February 5, 2009 at 23:44:48
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 12646
Joined: June 1, 2002
This may be so for US users, but internationally one is left to the mercy of distributors or FedEx et al who not only charge for freight, but can TAX you as well. They even charge extra for liasion with tax authorities. No thanks.

Having seen some of the disgusting Wadia upgrades done at local level, I would rather not get involved.

dCS offers a prepaid mail service but this costs as well.

 

You need to get 192/24 capability soon, posted on February 6, 2009 at 05:09:42
The Sound Guy
Audiophile

Posts: 716
Joined: November 16, 2003
Just as Tony Lauck said, don't wait too long to bring out 176.4/24 & 192/24 capability.
There are already a few companies offering true 176.4/24 or 192/24 recordings:
Reference recordings: http://www.referencerecordings.com/HRxORDER.asp
ACOUSENCE classics: http://www.acousence.de/Seiten/digital_cd_en.html
(Their 192/24 recordings are available via Linn: http://www.linnrecords.com/label-acousence-classics.aspx)
2L: http://www.2l.musiconline.no/shop/displayMerchandise.asp?id=381&aid=28633

There are lots of companies offering true 88.2/24 or 96/24. The list is long and I can list only a few:
Linn records: http://www.linnrecords.com/index.aspx
HDTracks: http://www.hdtracks.com/(offers products from Chesky, RR, etc)
HDGiants: http://mgn.musicgiants.com/Albums.aspx?SUPERHD=TRUE)
Gimell records: http://www.gimell.com/catalogue.aspx?filter=Studio+Master+Pro
Unipheye Music: http://www.unipheyemusic.com/Results.cfm?category=6
ITrax: http://www.itrax.com/

In a recent discussion about the quality master tape, DSD & PCM in the Hirez forum, producer Bruce Brown says he can't hear a difference between DSD & 352.8 kHz PCM but he can hear a difference when the PCM sample rate goes down to 96 kHz! 176.4 & 192 is somewhere in the middle.
http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/t.mpl?f=hirez&m=253074

Good 192 kHz DACs will encourage this nascent market. Why don't you go one step ahead and offer 352.8 & 384 kHz sampling? Such resolution is already available!
http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html

I'm not sure why you say "I think that we are pretty much on the cutting edge here" when sadly 96/24 is not cutting edge. Don't mistake me, I want Ayre to succeed since without such help 192/24 and 384/24 will not succeed.

 

Fred the big problem is Windows does not support Class 2.0 Audio, posted on February 6, 2009 at 07:38:14
Gordon Rankin
Manufacturer

Posts: 2831
Joined: June 9, 2000
Fred,

The biggest problem right now is both Linux and Windows does not support Class 2.0 USB Audio. While it does support USB 2.0 devices, Class 2.0 is not supported but would be required for sampling rates above 24/96 without the use of drivers.

I am not against writing drivers. The up keep required for custom drivers is more than I want to take on at this point.

Charlie and I have a plan it is still brewing and when it's complete we will make sure the customer base is filled in and keep them satisfied.

The good news is we can work on Class 2.0 on the OSX platform and get it working.

Thanks
Gordon
J. Gordon Rankin

 

Yea but zero is unobtainable!, posted on February 6, 2009 at 08:58:43
Gordon Rankin
Manufacturer

Posts: 2831
Joined: June 9, 2000
Jonathan,

Two things with regard to jitter.

1) There is no such thing as zero. Even the intrinsic jitter of the dac chip you are using, the clocks and such can never approach zero. Nor is there anyway to test that.

2) We have been theorizing over jitter elimination systems and have come to realize that these act merely as filters. The more jitter that the system has the less the jitter reduction system can get out (be it upsampling, fifo whatever). To prove this we poured over recent Stereophile testing for jitter results with several dacs. There was always a increase in jitter from interface X over Y for all these dacs. Especially ones with USB using Adaptive mode. Well we also tested several dacs with our Wavecrest and Prism analyzer and came to the same conclusion.

I would assume since this dac only has a 16/48 capabilities that it is using off the shelf PCM29/270x type parts. We have seen upwards of 4300ps of jitter from these parts. The jitter spectrum also varies allot from PC to MAC and from computer to computer.

Therefore if you don't really know the destination, then how can you get there at the same time? A PLL is basically a filter, some better than others but it will change the sampling frequency to match the incoming signal which in a sense will inject jitter it self.

Thanks
Gordon
J. Gordon Rankin

 

RE: Not really-International?, posted on February 6, 2009 at 10:07:09
Paul-D
Audiophile

Posts: 285
Joined: September 29, 2000
As a VERY happy K1x onwner I must say I hold back for an upgrade to e status on the pre because of the UPS and customs red tape/costs to the US and back from Europe. A 20kg. box costs money to shift around, plus the waiting time and risk of damage in the process.

I will listen to the new Ayre DAC when I have the chance to hear it in the European lowlands, its up against the Apogee miniDAC firewire version, that can run @192/24 over firewire, with native OSX support and integration, at a third of the cost I would guess.

Paul

 

RE: Not really-International?, posted on February 6, 2009 at 10:16:45
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 12646
Joined: June 1, 2002
Charles seems to have been seduced by this asynchronous usb business. As I said to him , I would not be tempted to buy an expensive one box device limiting me to 2496.

Other than commericial interest, I cannot see why some inmates are rubbishing Firewire jsut as others rubbish hirez pcm and dsd.

 

RE: You need to get 192/24 capability soon, posted on February 6, 2009 at 10:52:56
fmak
Audiophile

Posts: 12646
Joined: June 1, 2002
Thanks for the info; I have kjust ordered the 192k disc from Acousence at realistic prices including postage. Don't see why i shoudl save by downloading from Linn when I can get all resolutions and comparison kit(?).

HD Tracks supplies 96k resampled RR files only, not the 176.4k original recording sample rate.

I too find 96 k inferior to >176.4k or dsd digital via the sdif3 interface.

 

RE: Fred the big problem is Windows does not support Class 2.0 Audio, posted on February 6, 2009 at 10:53:07
Tony Lauck
Audiophile

Posts: 13629
Location: Vermont
Joined: November 12, 2007
Get it working on one O/S and ship the product. This will shift the perception that the problem is with your products or with USB and move it to specific operating systems and their software support. People who buy your class of products can afford an inexpensive computer that runs the necessary O/S.

Just don't waste any time, otherwise USB might be permanently bypassed for hi-end audio playback.

Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar

 

RE: Yea but zero is unobtainable!, posted on February 6, 2009 at 11:39:38
Jonathan Tinn
Dealer

Posts: 232
Joined: March 10, 2001
Hi Gordon,

First of all, our Playback Designs DAC can receive up to 24bits/192kHz in addition to raw DSD. It has a discrete architecture meaning that it is not based on any standard-off-the-shelf chip. But the core DAC is a separate issue from clock generation and digital input reception.

There are digital transmission formats that limit the amount of bits per sample and/or the sample rate. Not all formats (i.e AES, SPDIF, Toslink etc.) support the same combination of bits per sample and sample rate. Some implementations of USB audio transmissions have their limitations as well. This still has nothing to do with jitter.

There is no reason why the clock generation should be determined by the audio transmission format nor by the DAC. It needs to be looked at as a totally separate problem and the solution for that is probably the beauty of the Playback Designs system. Think about it, if your clock generation is so dependent on the digital audio input format how can you ever achieve any decent quality and safeguard it? It will always be at the mercy of whatever the user connects to the DAC and however he connects it, no matter how many sophisticated band-aids you put on.

By the way, the DAC is not the only component in the digital audio chain that contributes to the jitter budget of your system. It is the A/D converter too that was used in the recording process. That jitter from the A/D, however, is left in the digital audio as a permanent mark, which makes matters worse and more complicated for the DAC.

Regards,
Jonathan
Playback Designs

 

Please forgive the natural scepticism - but we've heard that before., posted on February 6, 2009 at 11:44:27
carcass93
Audiophile

Posts: 7181
Location: NJ
Joined: September 20, 2006
And in every case it was nothing but wishful thinking - in resolving system, differences between transports, interconnects etc. were clearly audible.

Chord DAC64 is one of the examples of supposed - and clearly bogus - jitter immunity.

 

RE: Please forgive the natural scepticism - but we've heard that before., posted on February 6, 2009 at 11:52:29
Jonathan Tinn
Dealer

Posts: 232
Joined: March 10, 2001
I assure you that it was not only my ears listening at THE Show, but everyone who attended heard the same thing. There was no sonic difference regardless of the transport.

 

Another Excellent Hi-res Demo Page!, posted on February 6, 2009 at 12:08:08
Tony Lauck
Audiophile

Posts: 13629
Location: Vermont
Joined: November 12, 2007
Thanks for the link to Acousense.

They have a free demo page that contains portions from their recording of Mahler's 6th symphony. These are available at 44.1, 96, and 192 kHz. The 192 kHz cuts show the presence of high frequency content (e.g. trumpet overtones) out to about 50 kHz, so these cuts should be good for demonstrating the advantages of the higher sampling rates.

Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar

 

RE: Please forgive the natural scepticism - but we've heard that before., posted on February 6, 2009 at 12:13:43
???
"I assure you that it was not only my ears listening at THE Show, but everyone who attended heard the same thing."

I'm sure he's heard that one before too.

 

RE: Please forgive the natural scepticism - but we've heard that before., posted on February 6, 2009 at 12:34:11
Jonathan Tinn
Dealer

Posts: 232
Joined: March 10, 2001
It is okay to be skeptical. Being obnoxious or sarcastic is just impolite.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 6, 2009 at 13:51:51
Tony Lauck
Audiophile

Posts: 13629
Location: Vermont
Joined: November 12, 2007
If I were you, I would use a digital volume control in your player software. Then taking care to keep your volume control down (and all O/S noises have to have been thoroughly exorcised) see how much digital attenuation you customarily use. Find a setting for which 99% of the time you never need to go louder. That will be the attenuation you should use for your analog gain. Then make up a resistor network for each channel, consisting of a voltage divider and place it right at the line level input of each active speaker.

If you never listen to anything but your computer then you don't need the switching capabilities of a preamp, nor the phono capabilities. No preamp, no matter how good, is going to beat a passive voltage divider in sound quality, if that divider is placed right at the amplifier input. You will lose a small amount of resolution from your DAC if you customarily use much digital attenuation, but I'll bet it is considerably less than you will lose going through a preamp.

I have an amp with its own volume control, which I have set once and never change. It is set so that reference level pink noise (-20dbfs RMS) out each speaker is at 83 db at my seating position. (86 db when both speakers are playing) This is sufficient to play all genres of music and corresponds to the level at which most records were monitored when they were being mastered. For critical listening when the neighbors are away I keep my digital gain at 0 and listen at these levels. For quiet listening I turn down the volume with the software gain control in the player.

Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar

 

???????????, posted on February 6, 2009 at 14:37:17
Gordon Rankin
Manufacturer

Posts: 2831
Joined: June 9, 2000
Jonathan,

"Some implementations of USB audio transmissions have their limitations as well. This still has nothing to do with jitter."

Why not?

I mean sure if you write device drivers and send it as block data then sure. But you are not doing that or you would not limit yourself to 16/48.

Therefore what your saying is only true in other people's devices and not yours. Because believe me the PCM or Cmedia parts are clearly made to mass marketed products and jitter was of little concern.

~~~~~~~~~~

We can't at all control the AD process. Well maybe soon as we maybe working on that also. But...

The discussion here is that you are claiming zero. Common... zero that's just silly. What is zero? how do we measure zero?

Pico Seconds, Phase noise what ever ... when you get better than 120dB phase noise at 10hz or better than say 1pS, that's still not zero.

Thanks
Gordon
J. Gordon Rankin

 

I hope you're successful!, posted on February 6, 2009 at 15:39:44
Jon L
Reviewer

Posts: 5583
Joined: April 6, 2000
A asynch USB DAC with a great non-tube output stage is something I can get excited about.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 6, 2009 at 19:27:48
WilHenry
Audiophile

Posts: 507
Location: upper midwest
Joined: January 21, 2003
Wow!!!!!!! Just read your white paper and looked at the Wavelength Audio website. Is this the path to the future away from physical media products like CDs, SACDs and beyond? Is this the path to connect downloads to hifi systems?
Anxiously await comments from wiser heads than mine. I don't know enough to throw grenades but I do believe kudos are in order for what you have accomplished and for the path you are forging into a versatile Hi rez future. Way cool Mr Hansen!!!!! And of course Mr Rankin, you're the man!!!
Bill

 

A piece of advice, Jonathan, posted on February 6, 2009 at 20:43:26
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
When real-world, understandable explanations of a technology are not forthcoming, you are asking for trouble. Maybe Andreas has come up with something that will revolutionize digital playback. But if all of the explanations are wrapped in mumbo-jumbo, it will soon be branded as snake oil.

This is not a recipe for success. Look at the people that came before and learn from their mistakes. At one time George Tice made a line of AC power conditioners that were considered to be the best available. His products were carried by the best dealers. He got great reviews from all the magazines.

Then he came out with this thing called "TPT" for "Tice Power Technology". It came in what appeared to be a $25 digital alarm clock from Radio Shack that he sold for $300 after "treating" it with the secret "TPT" juice. He refused to say how it worked except for some nonsense about "coherent electrons".

To make a long story short, within a few years he was literally out of business.

Nobody wants to buy snake oil. When Gordon developed his "asynchronous" USB technology, it was clearly the best way to get the data out of the computer and into your stereo system. We could have spent a bunch of time and money copying him, but guess what? At the end of the day, everyone would just say that Ayre copied Wavelength. And they would have been right. So we simply licensed it from him. It's a win-win for both companies.

If you look at the companies that are successful, they don't hide their technology == they brag about it. Go to the B&W website and learn *exactly* why they think their speaker is better than anybody else's. Learn about their diamond tweeter. Learn about their crossover design. Learn about their cabinet bracing. Learn about their woofer designs. B&W is the most successful high-end speaker company in the world. Put two and two together -- it's not a coincidence that they are successful *and* they tell all about their designs in great detail.

Then when somebody makes a woofer with carbon skins over a Rohacell (foam) core, guess what -- everyone knows that all they did was copy B&W. It doesn't hurt B&W's sales -- it *helps* their sales, by helping reinforce the fact that B&W is the technology leader.

So tell Andreas to explain in plain English what his new method is, and how it "eliminates" jitter. If it is great, we'll license it from him. And anybody that copies him will just be seen as copy cats. It won't hurt Playback, it will only enhance their reputation.

 

A bit of advice to you Charles..., posted on February 6, 2009 at 23:32:56
Jonathan Tinn
Dealer

Posts: 232
Joined: March 10, 2001
If you want to give someone advice doing it in a public forum is self serving and very obvious. If you are truly sincere, private emails show it better.

It appears obvious to me with each of your responses that you are just fishing. If we wanted to share our technology with you, we would have. You kept asking for me to explain what we are doing and I tried to do so in a way that everyone could get a basic understanding without giving away our trade secrets which certainly gives us a big market advantage. As far as licensing and our business goes, that really is our decision and not yours to dictate.

You stated:
"When Gordon developed his "asynchronous" USB technology, it was clearly the best way to get the data out of the computer and into your stereo system."

With all due respect to both you and Gordon, his asynchronous USB technology is NOT "the best" way to get data out of the computer and into your stereo system". It is just one way and as I stated before, our DAC does not care what interface is used, they are all going to sound the same.

Charles you are not being professional and while I have respect for you, I am losing it quickly.

Respectfully,

Jonathan Tinn
Playback Designs

 

RE: Not really, posted on February 6, 2009 at 23:45:26
Jonathan Tinn
Dealer

Posts: 232
Joined: March 10, 2001
Charles, I cannot believe you actually said, "It's the best technology available today."

Statements like these crack me up. You know it is absolutely not true and this is the typical thing that makes me mad about manufacturers like you. Unless you know every technology out there and exactly what everyone else is doing, you are lying.

I have been reading through this thread and it is filled with total inaccuracies. I do not know if you are truly naive and believe what you are saying or that you are intentionally trying to decieve. I would hope it is the former.

 

I agree..., posted on February 6, 2009 at 23:47:21
Jonathan Tinn
Dealer

Posts: 232
Joined: March 10, 2001
Very well said Fmak.

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 7, 2009 at 01:12:22
Old Listener
Audiophile

Posts: 2053
Location: SF Bay area
Joined: February 6, 2005
I throwing a few roses. Your introducing an Async mode USB DAC will be good for audiophiles.

I'll throw more roses when the product appears and the pioneers who buy come back without arrows.

As a possible consumer, I appreciate your decision to keep the cost down by forgoing an SPDIF input and a volume control. I'd like to be an Ayre customer so this decision makes it more feasible for me.

I'm assuming that you will implement a digital filter at least as good as an off-the-shelf algorithm run in a PC. So I would not expect to use PC based upsampling. So the current limitation to a 96 KHz sample rate is OK for now.

Right now, there isn't much downloadable with a sample rate above 44.1 KHz that interests me. Some day there may be attractive content with sample rates greater than 96 KHz. If I've bought your DAC, I'll be looking for an upgrade then. Not a problem now.

So show us how good PC audio can be.

Bill

 

RE: Let the grenade throwing begin..., posted on February 7, 2009 at 02:28:47
audioAl
Audiophile

Posts: 1462
Location: So. Texas
Joined: December 16, 2007
Me too,me too! I'm enjoying my PC Audio.
Vista Ultimate 32bit/Diamond XS Dac/ Sterovox coaxial line in to Insignia Amp/Cambridge SoundWorks& Infinity RS 1001 Speakers

 

RE: A bit of advice to you Charles..., posted on February 7, 2009 at 07:41:37
davidspeed@shaw.ca
Audiophile

Posts: 89
Location: Vancouver Island
Joined: November 11, 2003
just a lurker here and mostly enjoying the read but Jonathan aren't you jumping into Charles' thread here and basically telling him his product is not going to be up to scratch, that he doesn't know about what he talks, all without a lot of detailed information about why .... start your own thread about your own white paper and I will happily read it. Sorry - just my grumpy 2 cents.

 

Thanks! The digital filter is explained in another white paper., posted on February 7, 2009 at 10:04:49
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
If you go to the "What's New" section of our website, the top item is a picture of the USB DAC front panel. It is small -- 8.5" wide.

Just below is a gold symbol with a squiggle. That is the logo on our new "MP" upgraded disc players. It is also the impulse response of our new filter. The link is to a white paper that explains the major features of the filter and how it is different from off-the-shelf filters.

 

RE: Thanks! The digital filter is explained in another white paper., posted on February 7, 2009 at 10:35:06
Old Listener
Audiophile

Posts: 2053
Location: SF Bay area
Joined: February 6, 2005
Before I spend a lot of money on anything, I want to understand why it is the right decision.

I'd suggest that you provide white papers on each element of the USB DAC product that contributes to its performance. When you put up a product page for the DAC, explain what elements go into making it sound great and provide a link to each white paper.

Some parts of the DAC may be like existing Ayre products but many potential customers will not already understand that part of your design approach.

Bill

 

Common!!!!!, posted on February 7, 2009 at 11:07:13
Gordon Rankin
Manufacturer

Posts: 2831
Joined: June 9, 2000
Jonathan,

This being said from someone who is offering a $15K dac and using 16bit 48KHz off the shelf USB technology.

I think for $2500 with 24/96 capabilities, async USB, ultra low jitter clocks, Custom FPGA digital filters with discrete output technology and no feedback is pretty damn impressive wouldn't you agree.

Thanks
Gordon
J. Gordon Rankin

 

RE: A bit of advice to you Charles..., posted on February 7, 2009 at 11:36:33
Jonathan Tinn
Dealer

Posts: 232
Joined: March 10, 2001
Hi David,

No, I do not believe so. This started with a statement that Charles made in:

http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/pcaudio/messages/4/45406.html

All I said in response was:

"Actually with the Playback Designs 2 dimensional DAC, the connection itself is irrelevant. Since the Playback Designs is immune to jitter, it does not matter whether you use Toslink, USB, SPDIF, AES, etc."

I certainly was just trying to make it clear that I disagreed with his statement. His questions took it to where it is now. I never intended this.

Best Regards,

Jonathan Tinn
Playback Designs

 

RE: Common!!!!!, posted on February 7, 2009 at 11:41:27
Jonathan Tinn
Dealer

Posts: 232
Joined: March 10, 2001
Gordon,

What is this WWA tag team?

USB is just one connection and that is all it is. You guys act as if it is some breakthrough technology. If you want up to 24/192 use AES.

Give it a break!

Jonathan

 

RE: Common!!!!!, posted on February 7, 2009 at 12:50:42
Old Listener
Audiophile

Posts: 2053
Location: SF Bay area
Joined: February 6, 2005
You have produced a string of posts devoid of hard facts. Every one makes you seem less credible and your product less likely to be worthwhile.

Bill

 

RE: Common!!!!!, posted on February 7, 2009 at 13:25:15
theob
Audiophile

Posts: 3179
Location: ann arbor michigan
Joined: November 4, 2000
absolutely agree.

 

RE: More, more, posted on February 7, 2009 at 13:48:01
wormturns
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Kalifornia
Joined: January 16, 2008
Hey,

>>The analog output stages are (naturally!) zero-feedback and fully balanced. The prototype at CES had circuitry similar to the CX-7e MP CD player, but next week we are going to listen to a new discrete circuit I came up with. We'll see which one sounds better.<<

Regarding the analog outputs on a couple of your products, if I have it correct, the C-5 has a discrete circuit, the CX-7 is op-amp based and you're still deciding for the USB DAC.

>>The cost of the two approaches is (surprisingly enough) not all that different.>>

Any chance the CX-7 in the future might get discrete analog outputs?

Thanks,

Scott



 

Step-by-step, posted on February 7, 2009 at 14:14:23
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
We've been in business for 15 years and these are the first "white papers" we've done. Normally after we finish a product we focus on making another new product instead of writing detailed descriptions of how the previous one worked. There are several reasons for this:

a) We have about 20 people at our company, but I am the only one that has both technical and writing skills. So if we want to have a "white papers", I'm the one that gets to do it. Often there are other items that are higher on the priority list.

b) Normally I spend a lot of time with the magazine reviewers explaining all of the technical details. Then this information is made available in the product review. This is a good way to reach a broad audience, probably far more than would go to our website and download a PDF file.

c) It's not clear how many people need the extra information that we can put in a white paper compared to what's provided in the brochure or a magazine review. Probably less than 10% of our potential buyers. (Of course, to that 10%, the extra information is exceedingly important!)

d) The actual content of a white paper can be tricky. On the one hand you want to explain why the product is better. On the other hand you don't want to give away all of your secrets. A balance has to be struck.

e) There are things for which there are no explanation. Writing a white paper on the digital filters was relatively easy. On the other hand, using different dither algorithms had significant sonic effects. Unfortunately, I don't know of any explanation for why this should be. In the first place we are talking about changing *only* the LSB input to the DAC -- the 24th bit. This should be -144 dB down from full scale. I would hardly think that *any* change to the LSB would be audible. But they were.

And I am at a complete loss to explain why the algorithm we chose sounded better than the other ones. But it did, so we used it. Doesn't make for a very compelling white paper. And most of what we do is like that. For example zero feedback. I have no idea why it sounds better. But it does. Someday I may try to put together a "white paper" explaining why we use it and why it is better than feedback. But it certainly cannot be as clear and concise as the two "white papers" recently posted.

But the bottom line is that you are right. We have a lot of great technology in our products, and we haven't done a great job of explaining that technology to our potential customers. So we'll keep working on additional "white papers". Just keep in mind that they are a lot of work, so just as we only introduce a few new products each year we will probably also only write a few new "white papers" each year.

The only other thing that I can tell you is that we pay close attention to *all* of the design details. So even though there may not be a "white paper" on our chassis materials, or our PCB layout, or our grounding schemes, or any of dozens of other design details, you can be assured that we take it all into account during the design process.

 

Or firewire. [nt], posted on February 7, 2009 at 14:15:17
alan m. kafton
Manufacturer

Posts: 4798
Joined: April 7, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
March 24, 2012
nt

 

For less than $2000...., posted on February 7, 2009 at 14:32:04
alan m. kafton
Manufacturer

Posts: 4798
Joined: April 7, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
March 24, 2012
....I've got a great Pro DAC that can play any file up to 24/192, without the need for custom after-market drivers or plug-ins to make it work, and its own low-jitter studio clock technology. With its word clock I/O's, I have the ability to add a reference-level studio master clock to gain even greater performance (which I've done). And all I use is an inexpensive firewire cable....pretty much plug-and-play.

So? Pretty damn impressive, wouldn't you agree?

 

The CX-7e does not use op-amps, posted on February 7, 2009 at 14:35:33
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
From a 2003 interview (linked below):

We are now using ICs (integrated circuits) in some of our less
expensive products designed by Dr. Barrie Gilbert, one of the
"godfathers" of analog circuit design. Now, it’s very important to
differentiate between the terms "integrated circuit" and "op
amp" (operational amplifier). We’re using integrated circuits,
which simply means that there are many transistors created at
once on a single piece of silicon. An op amp, on the other
hand, uses negative feedback as its fundamental operating
principle. You cannot use an op amp in a zero-feedback circuit.
The topology of the IC we use in the less expensive products is
very similar to the topology of our discrete circuits. We've fig-
ured out how to implement these monolithic ICs with zero feed-
back. By using two of them together, and modifying their char-
acteristics, we can get within spitting distance of the perform-
ance of our discrete circuits at a much lower cost. The critical
advantage here is that the monolithic design of the IC means
that all of the transistors are matched extremely closely. In con-
trast, with our discrete circuits we have to spend a lot of time
measuring, sorting, and matching transistors, which translates
to a more expensive final product. By using an IC in a way that
hasn’t been done before, we’re able to achieve a real break-
through in performance at a real-world price point. It's great to
make an all-out assault on the state of the art, when the only
limit is your imagination. But the real challenge is to bring those
lessons back to the real world where more people can enjoy
the fruits of our labors.

We are very happy with the analog section of the CX-7e MP. We are not planning to make any changes to it.

 

Totally agree!! nt, posted on February 7, 2009 at 14:42:29
Mercman
Reviewer

Posts: 6218
Joined: October 20, 2002
Contributor
  Since:
May 20, 2004
.

 

RE: Or firewire. [nt], posted on February 7, 2009 at 14:45:40
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
Like I said in the white paper, Firewire and Ethernet are both good possibilities for avoiding the jitter that is inherently added by S/PDIF (aka, AES/EBU,Toslink, etc.).

The problem with them is that they both require custom software to work -- at the very least custom device drivers. We made a decision that we would rather develop great new products than have to maintain computer software for all iterations of all operating systems on all hardware platforms.

Other people make different decisions. That is fine. If you find a Firewire DAC that meets your needs, then you should consider yourself happy. And for your sake, I hope that the manufacturer of your DAC continues to make the necessary device drivers for future operating systems, and that you can continue to find replacement computers that still have Firewire ports as you upgrade your hardware.

While I don't think that Firewire will disappear as fast as, say, an EISA slot (remember those?), it is clear that it is on the way out.

 

Re: "You guys act as if it is some breakthrough technology.", posted on February 7, 2009 at 14:52:40
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
Exactly.

This is the first way to get the audio out of your computer (Windows or Mac) and into your hi-fi while putting the fixed-frequency master audio clock 1" away from the DAC chip (right where it belongs for the lowest jitter) and doesn't require any custom software or special drivers.

So, yeah. It is a breakthrough.

 

In defense of Playback Designs, posted on February 7, 2009 at 14:59:45
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
The equipment is designed by Andreas Koch. He is a very sharp and talented designer who worked for several years with Ed Meitner of EMM Labs. The player has received good reports from those who have heard it, and I have no doubts that it is an excellent product.

The problem is that he is a "one man show" and has therefore contracted with an outside company to do his sales and marketing. You can judge for yourself whether or not this was a good decision.

 

RE: Or firewire. [nt], posted on February 7, 2009 at 15:27:30
alan m. kafton
Manufacturer

Posts: 4798
Joined: April 7, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
March 24, 2012
Like I said in the white paper, Firewire and Ethernet are both good possibilities for avoiding the jitter that is inherently added by S/PDIF (aka, AES/EBU,Toslink, etc.).

Glad you agree. My primary reason for choosing a firewire solution, besides the latency issue (or non-issue, as it were), was because I could have my cake and eat it too regarding hi-rez reproduction....I had no frequency limitations whatsoever.

The problem with them is that they both require custom software to work -- at the very least custom device drivers. We made a decision that we would rather develop great new products than have to maintain computer software for all iterations of all operating systems on all hardware platforms.

Charles....there's no problem. There are numerous pro companies that have been in business FOR YEARS, making highly reliable product. And their products have the necessary device drivers that make them reliable (in addition to their tried-and-true circuitry) and compatible for the various formats, or recording and mastering studios wouldn't be buying and operating them for these many years.

Other people make different decisions. That is fine. If you find a Firewire DAC that meets your needs, then you should consider yourself happy. And for your sake, I hope that the manufacturer of your DAC continues to make the necessary device drivers for future operating systems,

Re-read the above paragraph. Perhaps you are not as well-informed regarding the pro market, and the demands made by studios and live recording venues. The companies I'm referring to are among the best and most-respected in the industry. Some have created the technologies that must be bullet-proof in the field. No fly-by-nights, no start-ups, nor companies just entering the marketplace.

and that you can continue to find replacement computers that still have Firewire ports as you upgrade your hardware.

Now that's throwing up a straw man argument.

While I don't think that Firewire will disappear as fast as, say, an EISA slot (remember those?), it is clear that it is on the way out.

That wholly depends on who you talk to. I'll take my chances with tried-and-true pro companies, who have been around this block far longer, with proven technology. And you are overlooking the obvious....if the technology changes, you can be assured that pro companies will be at the forefront, not playing catchup with methodologies that are old hat.

 

Sorry, but that's a back-handed compliment...., posted on February 7, 2009 at 15:33:32
alan m. kafton
Manufacturer

Posts: 4798
Joined: April 7, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
March 24, 2012
The problem is that he is a "one man show" and has therefore contracted with an outside company to do his sales and marketing. You can judge for yourself whether or not this was a good decision.

Have you read Andreas' background? He did a hell of a lot more than working "several years with Ed Meitner".

Then you infer that Jonathan did not make a good decision. The same could be said for your decision to license Gordon's doo-dad, no? Not everyone thinks that Gordon is the sole repository of knowledge. There are many paths to digital Nirvana....Gordon's, Jonathan's, and yours being just 3 of them.

 

RE: The CX-7e does not use op-amps, posted on February 7, 2009 at 15:34:29
wormturns
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Kalifornia
Joined: January 16, 2008
Charles,

Thanks for the clarification and the link. Now I get it; I should have known "zero-feedback" and "op-amp" were mutually exclusive.

Just getting familiar with some of your products and rather enthused about the MP filter.

Scott

 

RE: we take it all into account during the design process., posted on February 7, 2009 at 15:53:55
rick_m
Audiophile

Posts: 6230
Location: Oregon
Joined: August 11, 2005
Bravo...

I appreciate your candidness.

I've done many a low noise, high sensitivity design, and sometimes you wonder (as you roll your eyes at the clock and it's midnight) if it's really worth spending the time on certain features of them. The killer is that you just don't know. Who's got the time to model every aspect of a design and layout and confirm it's performance correlation? But one thing is certain: if, to the best of your ability, you "take it all into account", the result will be a hell of a lot better than if you don't.

And that leads to happy customers and successful companies. Even if you CAN'T say for sure that it was worth three days to reduce the fringing on some particular line...

Few users of any product appreciate the importance that design nuance can make in their ultimate happiness.

Regards, Rick

 

RE: The CX-7e does not use op-amps, posted on February 7, 2009 at 16:23:36
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
>> rather enthused about the MP filter <<

We are too, now that all that hard work is done!

We had originally planned to listen to the filterless "non-oversampling" designs many years ago. Unfortunately circumstances prevented it at the time. It turned out to be a good thing in the end, though.

The original impetus for listening to the digital filters was simply to check out the "non-oversampling" option and compare it to our existing filter. But then we decided to also listen to Peter Craven's "apodizing" filter. After that, the project took on a life of its own as we kept thinking up new ideas to try out -- it was months before we finished.

Even when we *thought* we were finished, we realized at the last minute that there was one configuration option in the DAC chip we hadn't listened to. This realization occurred the afternoon before we were packing up the entire soundroom to go to CES. So three of us dropped what we were doing and met down at the factory to do some listening tests. We ordered a pizza and ate there while we were listening. When we finally finished at 1:30 AM, we were pleased with the work that we had accomplished. But one of the crew (Ariel Brown, Ayre's "secret weapon") only got about 3 hours of sleep before he had to get up and pack for the road trip to Las Vegas...

But if we had listened to the "non-oversampling" years ago, we could have only compared it against the off-the-shelf digital filters. At that time we didn't have the tools to make our own custom filters using the DSP capabilities of the FPGAs. Plus we knew about, but didn't have the software tools to design the "minimum-phase" digital filters that turned out to sound better than the standard "linear-phase" filters. All of the filter design software packages just assume that everyone *of course* wants "linear phase"! This feature was only recently added to our software package, a $2,000 tool.

 

RE: Or firewire. [nt], posted on February 7, 2009 at 16:43:48
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
I think the differences are just a matter of perspective.

The pro companies started working with computer audio many years ago, as it was a much cheaper way to do things than have dedicated, ground-up audio workstations. At that time, Firewire was being heavily promoted and people thought that USB was just for peripherals like mice and keyboards.

Apple was the main champion of Firewire, and they were about the only people that included it with their computers. If you were a professional audio person, having to buy a Mac instead of a PC in order to get Firewire wasn't a big deal. The computer only cost a small fraction of what ProTools or some of the other software packages did. So the whole pro industry focused on Macs and Firewire. That made complete sense given what was available and the needs of the pro industry.

But even Apple didn't think it was important enough to include support for Firewire audio devices, so the pro manufacturers were *forced* to write their own device drivers. (Not an easy task, but much easier than designing a complete computerized audio workstation from the ground up!)

But today is different, and we are designing for a different market. Most of our customers have PCs -- Apple still only has about a 10% market share, and even they are starting to drop Firewire from their products. So it doesn't really make sense for us to design something that has limited hardware support and requires custom device drivers. Not when we can design something that has universal hardware support and runs on the native drivers that come with the OS.

That doesn't mean that you should throw away your equipment and run out to buy new stuff. Obviously your equipment works great and there is no reason to change it. It's just that it wouldn't make sense for us to design a Firewire product in 2009.

 

Feeling a bit touchy?, posted on February 7, 2009 at 17:00:21
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
I'll try again. Old Listener said that with each of Jonathan Tinn's posts that the product was less likely to be worthwhile.

I was pointing out the fact that Jonathan Tinn did not design the unit. Andreas Koch did, and he is not making these posts.

The Playback Design player is what it is, regardless of whatever is posted about it. In other words, shoot the messenger if you must, but that doesn't mean that the product isn't worthwhile.

 

RE: Sorry, but that's a back-handed compliment...., posted on February 7, 2009 at 17:36:33
Old Listener
Audiophile

Posts: 2053
Location: SF Bay area
Joined: February 6, 2005
Charles said
>> The problem is that he is a "one man show" and has therefore
>> contracted with an outside company to do his sales and marketing.
>> You can judge for yourself whether or not this was a good decision.

Alan replied
> Then you infer that Jonathan did not make a good decision.

I didn't interpret what Charles said to be a slight on the designer. Rather it is a defence of him and the credibility of the product.

The sentences you quoted clearly refer to Andreas's decision to contract out the sales and marketing.

Bill

 

Bill...., posted on February 7, 2009 at 18:35:02
alan m. kafton
Manufacturer

Posts: 4798
Joined: April 7, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
March 24, 2012
I appreciate that you "didn't interpret what Charles said to be a slight on the designer", and thank you for stating so. However, to a certain degree, I did. And others might.

The sentences you quoted clearly refer to Andreas's decision to contract out the sales and marketing.

Echoing my response to Charles below, how do you know that Andreas "contracted out the sales and marketing"? To be fair, are you privy to Jonathan's and Andreas' business relationship?

 

You need to mind the rules..., posted on February 7, 2009 at 18:39:06
Chris Garrett
Bored Member

Posts: 16242
Location: Miami, Florida
Joined: October 9, 1999
Contributor
  Since:
June 19, 2000
you can address 'direct' questions to you, about your prodcuts and/or, you can post to 'clear' up any misinformation about your products.

Engaging in generic, wholesale commentary about products you sell or market, or really engaging in talk about competitors' products is against our rules.

Thanks, Chris

 

Good response...., posted on February 7, 2009 at 18:49:17
alan m. kafton
Manufacturer

Posts: 4798
Joined: April 7, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
March 24, 2012
I certainly don't question your business decisions, and your thorough explanation is completely sensible. I needed to point out that there are other very worthwhile solutions that already exist that exceed 24/96 (for those of us that wish to take advantage of the highest resolution files), are field-tested and proven, and manufactured by noteworthy pro companies. Their hardware and firmware was made for the long haul....recording and mastering studios will accept nothing less.

I purchased what I purchased knowing I won't need to upgrade for perhaps a number of years. With over 2000 CD's, I have plenty of 16/44 material for years to come, but my setup (with pro-level mastering software) allows me to playback any hi-rez available up to 24/192, more of which will be coming in the not-too-distant future via download. In fact, more is coming out weekly.

As I stated earlier, I wanted my cake, etc. etc. That's why I waited as long as I did to make my purchases. If someone else is happy with the limitation of 24/96, or in the alternative, doesn't see that as a limitation, more power to them. There are many paths to Nirvana. The whole point is to enjoy the music, as Stevie R. always says.

But, I do take issue with this statement:

But even Apple didn't think it was important enough to include support for Firewire audio devices, so the pro manufacturers were *forced* to write their own device drivers. (Not an easy task, but much easier than designing a complete computerized audio workstation from the ground up!)

So?? And the pro manufacturers, stepped up and wrote those drivers....years ago. And they still operate easily and efficiently in a myriad of pro interfaces, many of which have implemented 24/192 for some time. And to them, 24/96 is already in the rear view mirror, with some product already being fazed out because of that limitation. State-of-the-art is now considered at 24/352.4K and 24/384K. Heck, Tim de Paravicini deduced the digital equivalent of the best analog reproduction at 24/384, perhaps 20 years ago. This ain't new information.

But in your view, what is the difference between what these manufacturers were required to do, so many years ago, and the hoops that Gordon has been jumping through (recently) to make USB work properly, at 24/96?

 

Ummm... Jonathan..., posted on February 7, 2009 at 20:09:55
Mr. Hansen has a solid history and a well earned reputation on this forum.

When I read his advice for you the last thing on my mind is that he was fishing for anything from you. I've never seen him operate that way.

On the other hand, you seem to be working overtime to generate snake oil suspicions out of the box. Your analogies of how your technology works haven't been particularly cogent and your responses to questions in this thread have been less than impressive.

It might be a good time to take a deep breath and restart your introduction from the beginning.

 

Chris, are *you* feeling a bit touchy?, posted on February 7, 2009 at 20:12:44
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
Please re-read this sub-thread.

I am defending the Playback Designs unit as a great piece of equipment made by a talented designer.

Is there really a problem with that? Or is there a different specific post you have a complaint with?

 

RE: Bill...., posted on February 7, 2009 at 21:24:31
Old Listener
Audiophile

Posts: 2053
Location: SF Bay area
Joined: February 6, 2005
Bill said
>> The sentences you quoted clearly refer to Andreas's decision to contract out the sales and marketing.

Alan said
> Echoing my response to Charles below, how do you know that Andreas
> "contracted out the sales and marketing"? To be fair, are you privy to
> Jonathan's and Andreas' business relationship?

Alan earlier
> Then you infer that Jonathan did not make a good decision. The same
> could be said for your decision to license Gordon's doo-dad, no? Not
> everyone thinks that Gordon is the sole repository of knowledge.
> There are many paths to digital Nirvana....Gordon's, Jonathan's,
> and yours being just 3 of them.

I was simply stating that Charles referred to Andreas's decision to contract out the sales and marketing. You appeared to interpret Charles reference to a decision to be another slight on Andreas and raised the question of Charles licensing Async mode firmware from Gordon.

Charles did not take a position on the wisdom of Andreas's decision to contract out sales and marketing. That isn't a technical decision and has nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness of Andreas's approach.

My remarks clearly do not endorse Charles statement or draw any inference from it. They simply point out that my interpretation of what Charles said.

Bill




 

RE: In defense of Playback Designs, posted on February 7, 2009 at 22:29:44
Jonathan Tinn
Dealer

Posts: 232
Joined: March 10, 2001
Charles,

You appear to be going out of your way to mislead and manipulate people here about things you have no knowledge of. I have tried to email you privately but you will not accept unsolicited emails so I am left to do this publically.

"The equipment is designed by Andreas Koch. He is a very sharp and talented designer who worked for several years with Ed Meitner of EMM Labs."

You have no idea who is or was involved with the design and production of the Playback Designs products. You are making assumptions that may be totally incorrect, partially incorrect or entirely correct. Since you do not know, you should not speak as you do. It is the same as lying.

"The problem is that he is a "one man show" and has therefore contracted with an outside company to do his sales and marketing. You can judge for yourself whether or not this was a good decision."

Again, you state that there is a problem and also what you think that problem is. You also state that he contracted me out. How do you know such things? Would you swear to this as truth if your company and home depended on it? Where do you get your so-called facts? Why don't you acknowledge that you are making all of this up.

Your "compliment" toward Andreas is no such thing. It is a deliberate back door attack on me and you are out of line. Do not talk about my company again and I would suggest you be very careful as you proceed.

 

connections, posted on February 7, 2009 at 22:33:42
Joe Murphy Jr
Audiophile

Posts: 4424
Joined: February 3, 2001
Charles, are there any sites besides Stereophile with pictures of Ayre's pre-production USB DAC? What outputs will be available come production time?

I have no desire to use a computer in my audio system, but I may be able to convince myself that the Mac Mini (thanks to Abe's posts) is really just a media player. If I can set up the right peripherals and associated hardware, this (USB DAC) may prove to be a direction I'm willing to travel in.

 

RE: connections, posted on February 7, 2009 at 22:56:48
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6052
Joined: August 1, 2001
The SoundStage show report had a picture of the rear panel. Go to the link below and scroll down until you see our DAC. Then click on the hyperlink that reads "USB equipped".

The prototype doesn't have any labels. From the left are two AyreLink system communication ports, a group of XLR and RCA audio outputs, DIP switches for selecting the "Listen" or "Measure" digital filters, the USB input, and the IEC power cord.

The appearance has improved since that prototype was made. The production version will be the same width (8-1/2"), but 7/8" lower with a larger display window. You can see a tiny picture of it on our "What's New" page. It is really sleek now.

 

Page: [ 1 ] [ 2 ]

Page processed in 0.077 seconds.