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Importance of good vs great USB->AES?

maxiepax, modified 4 Months ago.

Importance of good vs great USB->AES?

Youngling Posts: 0 Join Date: 4/24/21 Recent Posts

Im going to pickup a 8330-pack kitt in about 2 weeks but i'm struggling to determine what USB to AES interface to purchase.

I use both a mac and windows pc, and i will exclusively use the speakers to stream compressed audio from streaming services like Spotify and SoundCloud.

I will never use a microphone, so my requirements are really just being a good soundcard that outputs AES.


Several threads have recommended Mutec devices around 1000 euro, but what would the difference in sound quality be with a ?

Since most of my source wont be more than 16bit 41.1khz, and it's supposed to simply output the digital signal, are there other variables that a 5x more expensive usb->aes converter will actually offer me? I don't want to buy a pair of 8330s and a crap card and miss out, but if the 250 euro device will output the same signal as a 1000 euro one and i don't need any of the added mic inputs and whatnot, i can use that money on acoustic insulation instead :p

pogo, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Importance of good vs great USB->AES?

Youngling Posts: 12 Join Date: 3/15/21 Recent Posts

There'll be absolutely no discernable difference between the two. At most you could probably hear a difference if using the analog inputs, but you won't with AES.

janne-koo, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Importance of good vs great USB->AES?

Padawan Posts: 73 Join Date: 10/26/15 Recent Posts

Lossy-compressed audio... That's just inexcusable in 2021.

Get the cheapest viable digital connection option available and spend your saved money on Tidal or some other lossless service(s), there you'll have a bigger difference than any audio equipment (including monitors) can ever provide.
Dealing with room issues is, of course, good too, but nothing can fix that horrible, hissing, flat and cramped source material (and I used to do 320k CBR only).

To answer your question, even 250€ is already a bit overkill for listening. I might justify that just to get Real, Authentic AES/EBU, but in fact S/PDIF and an optional impedance and/or media format converter work just as well.

Only if you also need a good A/D converter, things change - including the price tag, that's when it starts to hurt.