Logitech Squeezebox Touch with EDO and hiFace1 based USB DACs/converters

I spotted this blog over the weekend http://www.aysabtu.dk/blog/.

It explains, in detail, how to connect to a Squeezebox Touch to install a suitable Linux driver to enable a M2Tech hiFace or EDO to work connected to the SBT’s USB socket.

The performance when connected this way  using my hiFace 1 is significantly better than I was getting using the S/PDIF output from my SBT.

There were two elements that confused me: one was forgetting that case is sometimes important in http links and the other in logging in as root.

Here is the original instruction in italics and below it my suggestion of what to do

▪         Open a root SSH session (default password: 1234)  and execute the following 5 commands all followed by “return” (newline). The last one will reboot your SBT. Please be aware of any non-intended line-breaks inserted by your browser formatting the text.

▪          ssh -l root “IP Address of Player” <Return>

▪         root password (default is 1234) <Return>

Next I’d like to try the hiFace 2 as a comparison.  It should be even easier as it doesn’t require a special driver under Linux (or Mac).

Let me know how you get on.


Naim Label releases first Super Hi Definition download

Naim Label releases Meet Me In London – the label’s most successful recording – as a 24bit/192kHz download.

An early downloader can win a Naim ND5 XS network player

Some 14 years after the original recording was released as a Naim Label CD, Meet Me In London by world-renowned guitarist Antonio Forcione and sublime singer Sabina Sciubba is being reborn, but this time as a super hi definition download.

More information and images

Multi-award-winning Naim HDX gets SLC SSD

May 6 2010 High-End Show, MOC, Munich. Naim confirms, in an aggregate of abbreviations, that the multi-award-winning Naim HDX is to be offered with a 16GB Enterprise grade, Single Level Cell (SLC), Solid State Drive (SSD). This totally silent drive will contain the operating system and includes space for future upgrades. This and the performance upgrades are an upgrade option for existing HDX owners.

More Information and images

hiFace m2Tech part 2

Marco at M2Tech generously sent me the new Mac drivers for 10.6. The file is called hiface 1045106.dmg. What a surprising difference. The edginess that had been concerning me – an all pervading roughness that flattened the stereo illusion of depth and took away from the delight of female voices – was far reduced.

Performance is now really rather good and for the price it’s excellent.

But it is still not a high end solution.  The Firewire output from my Mac into the TC Konnect 8 is still significantly better in virtually every way: More detail, better low end, sweeter voices and the list continues.  There is a price difference of course: The Konnect 8 with a modified Naim PSC is around £500 making it around five times the cost of the hiFace.  The question is, are you trying to save money or are you an audiophile?

The hiFace M2Tech

Getting Pure Music was the motivation I needed to try the hiFace M2Tech again. Last time the results were a little dissapointing: it wasn’t the giant killer that various forumites had been writing about. It was OK value for it’s price of around £105 including the BNC output, but in my opinion no more.
To recap the M2Tech is a USB2 to S/PDIF device that comes in a small portable package.
More info here.
One caveat, and hence one more experiment required, is that I have been using the M2 with a 5metre coaxial digital cable terminated in BNC plugs. Maybe it would work better with a 5m long USB cable and a short digital? That’s for another day.

Remember that I’m comparing a budget USB to S/PDIF device with a more expensive Firewire based device powered by a good stiff linear PS (a modified Naim PSC). No great surprise that there was a difference especially as the Konnect 8 is my favourite way of getting digital music from a computer so far.

The results using the same system as used for the Pure Music listening, but substituting the M2 and cables for the Konnect 8 and cables, weren’t in the same league. The M2 is  rougher, more two dimensional and just lacks the sheer class of the Konnect 8 based interface.

Pure Music works well with it, and Memory Play sounded cleaner and tidier than standard play.

With this and the Pure Music listening it’s just the start of the process.  More when I’ve experienced them in more than one system.

Postscript: I experimented today with a 5m long hi-speed USB cable and a one metre BNC to BNC S/PDIF cable.  There was a small improvement over the 5m S/PDIF cable but the results were still a little dissapointing.  To be fair, the M2Tech is a budget product and as such sounds great.  It just doesn’t really cut it in a high-end system.

Naim updates award-winning CDX2 CD Player

Naim has updated its CDX2 CD player to coincide with the forthcoming launch of the Naim DAC.

More information and images

This is the first major revision for this product in over 7 years. This takes the CDX2 into new markets delivering greater performance and far increased flexibility. The price remains the same.

The new version CDX2 adds a switchable S/PDIF output on a 75 Ohm BNC connector for the correct impedance match.

Win a NaimUniti System with Radio Paradise

During the month of October 2009 Radio Paradise www.radioparadise.com (one of the most popular internet radio stations in the world) is running a promotion where one lucky listener can win a NaimUniti all-in-one audio player and a pair of Naim n-SAT speakers.

Radio Paradise (RP) is a commercial-free listener-supported radio station.  Listeners supporting the station during October are automatically entered into the draw to win the NaimUniti and n-SAT speakers.

The Beatles Remasters

I have copies of the original The Beatles CDs from when they came out in around 1987, as the EMI press office kindly supplied them. I’ve never been a huge Beatles fan so, other than the first plays when I reviewed them back then, they have sat on my shelves unplayed.

With the massive amount of publicity (some would say hype) surrounding the new remastered Beatles CDs I thought it was time to dig out the old ones  and compare them to a couple of the new editions.

I chose Revolver, my wife’s favourite and The White Album, the one that I dislike least.  You will notice below the comparisons of the dynamics of two tracks.

As you can see there has been some work done.  From what I’ve read they have talked about limiting to bring things up to date.  From what I can see and what I can hear they have cleaned up the sound , firmed up the bottom end considerably and added a degree of compression that is unfortunately almost essential for any modern release.  Compared to say the last Metallica released this is absolutely sonically fantastic dynamics wise.  Compared to the originals, somehow while they have more presence and more punch they also sound a touch too loud in places. The vocals in Back in the U.S.S.R. just shout.  Pity.

I know I’m biased, as I’m not a Beatles fan, but would I buy these new CDs for pleasure? No.  Will I listen to any again in the next few weeks? Yes. However, as I’ve just learn’t that the new Prefab Sprout album is in the post the answer may now be No.

Even more Musical Fidelity V-DAC versus the Cambridge Audio DacMagic

I’ve become increasingly interested in hard disk playback of audio and the many variables, that each creates a slightly different playback quality.  I’m increasingly beginning to believe that jitter while it’s become the well known bête noire of the audio industry is not the only serious concern.

I was listening yesterday to the Cambridge DacMagic connected to my HP2133 via USB. The sound quality was really unpleasant: especially in the treble where it was very splashy and relentless. I then connected the DacMagic via an optical isolating USB hub.  Not a practical solution as the hub, which is designed more for medical applications, is more expensive than the Cambridge. I won’t say the music was transformed into something truly audiophile but it was significantly better. The splashy quality was still there but much less obvious, the sound was more three dimensional and the bottom end was easier to follow. Realistically the jitter shouldn’t have changed (much). If anything, one would perhaps expect jitter to have increased but the sound was definitely better.

Today I played the DacMagic versus the V-Dac both connected via USB and using the USB isolating hub.  I think I can here now where the differences in opinion between CA and MF come from.  Back to Bananarama: Robert DeNiro’s waiting and the Cambridge sounds faster but the MF has a more airy 3D feel which is instantly appealing.  As I listen for longer though I become aware of a irritating quacky quality to sibilants from the MF.

Bananarama isn’t the last word in great quality recording so I chose Tumbleweed from Bill Miller’s album Reservation Road, a live recording of Bill singing and playing guitar. Again the MF does an excellent job and had I not compared it with the DM, I would have been happy.  The Cambridge just has more dynamics; it goes quieter.  Bill’s guitar playing  improved as it was now possible to easily here how hard he was strumming.  On this track the DM had the better sense of acoustic space and, most important of all, it communicated the passion of the song.

A friend is popping round tomorrow so I’ll play all this stuff to him and see if we hear any more differences.

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