|The Sonore SOtM (Soul Of the Music) sMS-100 is an excellent Network Music Streamer that connects via Ethernet and outputs Aysnchronous USB to your DAC. It supports Vortexbox/LMS SqueezeLite, Apple Airplay, DLNA, and MPD.|
Should all new DACs’ be expected to feature both a high quality Asynchronous USB interface (that supports at least 24/192 resolution) and a similar high quality Ethernet interface (either with or without Wi-Fi)? Why does this matter? Not everyone needs this? The reason is simply that it (a) provides longevity to the device's usefulness, and (b) ensures the best possible performance from the device at minimal extra cost (and analogy to this might be building the latest model Rolls Royce or Bentley, but deciding to only put in it a Mini Cooper fuel injector or carburettor system – which will work but will never allow the vehicle the option to reach maximum performance if you do choose to 'put your foot to the floor’).
|The Perreaux Audiant DP32 Pre-Amplifier with USB DAC has an excellent Asynchronous USB implementation.|
Sonore SOtM tX-USB card - an excellent solution for outputting Asynchronous USB 2.0 audio from a computer at resolutions up to 32 bit. The tX-USBexp version adds USB 3.0 support.
Why hasn’t Ethernet been deemed of equivalent quality to Asynchronous USB in the past? Primarily in the past Ethernet connectivity was prone to drop outs, and jitter, much as early forms of digital streaming were (and still are with some devices, including some CD Players, via S/PDIF and such). However this principally related to the implementation – mainly computer (or device) O/Ss’ which didn’t manage the data transmission well, or had overworked clocks, as well as other issues with older Network devices such as switches & hubs.
Sonos was one of the first commercial products to adequately manage streaming via the network (and Wi-Fi) – this combined with improvements in computer O/Ss’ (e.g. Windows 7 & 8 have far superior inherent network interface stability to Windows XP – curiously Linux implementations have always seemed to have a pretty solid network management) has now shown that Ethernet may now be a true equal to Asynchronous USB when it comes to streaming music digitally. And while cabled Ethernet (i.e. CAT5 or CAT6 cable) is preferred, with the newer 802.11n and 5GHz wireless protocol(s) - when used in areas with little or no radio interference - reliable Wi-Fi streaming is also possible via Ethernet.
|The Musical Fidelity V-LINK 192 Asynchronous USB Adaptor allows you to convert high-resolution USB to S/PDIF (Co-Ax or XLR) up to 24 bit 192 kHz - for use with DACs that do not support full 24/192 resolution on their existing USB interfaces (or lack USB entirely - this gives the benefit of Asynchronous USB via a DAC's S/PDIF interface).|
* By ‘musical’ we mean it does not sound sterile, thin, or stretched – this is often caused by loss of data or more often by the timing being off (e.g. jitter), as much as it can be affected by the DAC's processing itself, in any of these cases tricking our ears into hearing the sound as sterile, bland, thin, and/or the speed of the song as wrong.
Jitter: slight irregular movement, variation, or unsteadiness, especially in an electrical signal or electronic device - typically with audio it will cause drop outs, pops or clicks, and other anomalies. Read more at Wikipedia.