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Digital Drive: REVIEW: Bel Canto Design USB Link 24/96 Other by bullethead

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REVIEW: Bel Canto Design USB Link 24/96 Other

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Model: USB Link 24/96
Category: Other
Suggested Retail Price: $495
Description: USB to Digital Out Converter
Manufacturer URL: Bel Canto Design

Review by bullethead on December 20, 2008 at 16:56:08
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for the USB Link 24/96

As an owner of a USB DAC that would support up to 16bit 48khz, I decided to upgrade to a high resolution capable USB transport to connect up to the current DAC that I own (Bel Canto DAC3). In this case I decided to purchase the Bel Canto USB Link 24/96 trying to keep everything in synergy with my other components. With many music sites now offering high resolution content I decided to take the plunge into hi-resolution capable playback using the computer (In my case I use a GNU/Linux operating system. The Bel Canto USB Link 24/96 also works with Windows and Apple computer operating systems).

I play back FLAC files at 16bit 44.1khz and 24bit 96khz using this USB link and have found the sound to better the USB connection built into the DAC3 with 16bit 44.1khz files. 24bit 96khz files sound at least double the quality of the files at 16bit 44.1khz. There is a lot more of everything when playing back hi-res files such as the ones I downloaded from hdtracks.com and archive.org.

The sound quality of the Bel Canto USB Link 24/96 betters my NAD M5 SACD player for both types of file types (redbook and high-res). However the sound doesn't quite have the life that my vinyl setup brings to the table. However the convenience factor and extreme high quality playback of redbook cd rips as well as the high-res downloads I have purchased make this a no-brainer upgrade as recorded media moves to lossless downloads and high-res lossless downloads.

Product Weakness: none for the price
Product Strengths: excellent sound from a compact package, well built

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: Bel Canto S300
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Bel Canto DAC3
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Linux Laptop / NAD M5
Speakers: Dynaudio Contour 1.3MKII
Cables/Interconnects: Audioquest
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Jazz, Brazillian, Rock, Electronic
Time Period/Length of Audition: 1 week
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Monster Power conditioner
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Bel Canto Design USB Link 24/96 Other - bullethead 16:56:08 12/20/08 ( 4)