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USB-to-S/PDIF Convertors - Halide Bridge

Article Index
USB-to-S/PDIF Convertors
KingRex UC192
Halide Bridge
Musical Fidelity V-Link
SOtM dx
Audiophilleo 1
Conclusion
All Pages

Halide Bridge  £329

USP: Integral cabling and Wavelength 24/96 asynchronous DSP code that makes Windows drivers unnecessary.

halide-spdif-bridge

The Halide Bridge convertor has a standard USB plug at one end, and a giant phono plug at the other, that plugs into a normal S/PDIF electrical input. Inside the plug lies the convertor.

 

This is a compact and very easy to use convertor that runs Streamlength USB code from Wavelength Audio to interface with Windows Vista and 7, or Mac OS-X asynchronously. As Wavelength Audio seem to specialise in valve amplifiers, alongside USB products, this is a company with a broad outlook. The Halide runs up to 24/96kHz bit depth/sample rate and is USB powered. It can be used with a USB power supply. In Windows and Mac the device must be selected as usual, to get sound through it, but special drivers do not have to be loaded.

 

SOUND QUALITY

After a cursory survey of the different adapters concerned, I was immediately drawn to this unusual audio piece. It is literally a cable, with the electronics built into the cable – the S/PDIF end. It takes it’s power from the USB on the laptop, but can be cleverly upgraded by providing dedicated power.

Listening to the Linn Records’ version of Mozart’s Prague Symphony, conducted by the late Sir Charles Mackerras, I was blown away by the smoothness of the sound, combined with a fulsome and rich quality, which imaged beautifully. The use of the optional dedicated power supply further enhanced this most luxurious of sounds. The link seemed to have a natural sense of authority with this large orchestra. The basses roared with the right amount of grip and grunt, with no noticeable overhang. The violins sounded very natural, big scale, but never shrieking. Listening to Rimsky Korsakov’s 'Dance of the Tumblers' on Chesky HD tracks, there is superb separation of the orchestral sections, lovely clean tambourine shakings and an overall sound that is airy, but with control. This is up with some of the best servers I have heard, and I am surprised to be getting these results from a humble Toshiba Windows 7 laptop!

aqvox-usb

AQVOX USB POWER SUPPLY

This USB power unit supplies 5V at 1A to a USB line by breaking the power connection from the computer and inserting itself with an in-line adaptor plug – a neat idea. Rafael used it with the Halide Bridge convertor and felt they worked well together.

 

MEASURED PERFORMANCE

The Halide Bridge managed very low jitter figures right across the board from our 48k sample rate test. Clock drift was a low 30pS and signal related jitter 25pS, our analysis shows.

Signal related jitter fell to just 10pS  from a 44.1 CD track un-resampled, from the Mac. Clock drift sunk to 25pS and these figures were almost  as good as it gets with digital.

These are consistently good results, suggesting the Halide Bridge withstands whatever is thrown at it very well, making it a robust convertor.

halide-bridge-jitter

Recording sample rate 44.1/Output sample rate 48k

clock drift 30pS

signal related 25pS

random 5pS

 

Halide Bridge £329

Halidedesign

www.halidedesign.com

 



 

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