PC/ Mac Connection
Operating System Support
The upsampler uses the "Audio Class" in USB. This means no special drivers are required, and any playback software can access the upsampler as an audio device. Tested on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X.
File formats supported
The audio flowing between the PC and the upsampler is packetised PCM at 32,44.1,48,88.2 or 96k. It is the job of the PC, and in particular codec's installed on that PC to decode file formats and present them to the upsampler in one of these formats. In general, if the PC can play the file ( using Media Player, iTunes etc ), it will work.
Preferences when ripping music
Please ensure that you rip your music at a lossless compression to ensure bit perfect reading of the CD. WMA, WAV and FLAC are all suitable methods of ripping data from a CD.
Can I connect my dCS DAC directly to the Firewire port on my PC to make it work?
No. The Firewire port on dCS products is for the transmission of encrypted DSD data from dCS players to dCS DACs. In order to connect your PC directly to a dCS DAC you must use either Puccini U-clock or Scarlatti Upsampler, both of which have USB inputs.
How can I listen to music on a usb pen drive through my dCS products?
The device connected to the upsampler doesn't have to contain all of the audio. It makes perfect sense to have something small and silent connected by a cable to us (e.g. Laptop), but then have a large HDD or even a small pen drive containing sound files connected to the laptop. In this scenario when the user selects the audio for playback, the Mac/PC streams all of it in one go from the pen drive, then outputs that down the USB.
Is it possible to connect a Mac Mini to the Puccini (to utilise the Puccini DAC) for playing back music files from a hard disc?
Yes. It is possible in two ways; Using a Toslink to SPDIF adapter you can connect the Mac mini from the single mini plug (3.5mm) optical / audio output connection direct to the additional digital inputs on the rear of Puccini. Alternatively, using patent pending (GB0817141.5) Puccini U-Clock, you can connect the Mac mini to Puccini Player using USB.
In USB, there are numerous modes for synchronising the audio between the PC (the host ), and an audio device. The most popular of these, Adaptive, is where the audio device synchronises itself to the USB "frame" provided by the PC. This tends to be relatively poor in terms of both absolute frequency and jitter. The one used by the upsampler is called "Asynchronous" (NOT to be confused with asynchronous rate conversion). In this scenario, the audio device synchronises the audio by providing a feedback pipe to the PC. The PC then is effectively locked to the audio device, which can have a much more accurate clock and much lower jitter. In our case, the use of a master clock can mean excellent absolute frequency as well.
USB vs. wi-fi
Wi-Fi cannot guarantee bandwidth, or quality of service. This means that for a user sitting down for a listening session can have dropouts caused by microwave ovens being turned on, sudden bandwidth spikes caused by e.g. other people on the network suddenly deciding they must download huge amounts of pornography, etc. Large amounts of buffering will help to a large extent, but we regard this as a compromise in sound quality. Our customers buy our equipment for no compromise listening to music and we believe that having the source connected by a wire to the U-Clock or Upsampler for the best sound should not be alien to our customers. You can now buy silent PCs/laptops/Macs, and as devices such as the iPod touch has proved, the remote interface can be in their hands at the listening position.
USB vs. Ethernet
USB is isochronous. This means that the host & client both know how much bandwidth is available at the outset, and the host can guarantee that bandwidth will be available all the time. Ethernet/wifi cannot guarantee bandwidth - there is a concept of "Quality of Service", but this is not set in stone - especially with wifi. The mechanism for transmitting real-time audio over Ethernet is not especially well defined.
USB vs. Firewire
USB was chosen because it natively supports a mechanism by which the rate of data delivery from the host device (PC) can be controlled by the receiver. This allows the receiving device to feature a high quality clock and/or slave to an external clock source and be immune from the jitter and other inaccuracies of the host PC's clock. Firewire does not provide for this type of feedback, so is less suitable for this type of application. Additionally, USB is more widely available, especially on older PCs, making our solution accessible to a greater quantity of potential users.
Can I stream music from remote or online sources?
Yes. The device connected to the upsampler doesn't have to contain all the audio. It makes perfect sense to have something small and silent connected by a cable to us (e.g. Laptop), but then have a large HDD somewhere else connected wirelessly. In this scenario when the user selects the audio for playback, the Mac/PC streams all of it in one go from the Network Assigned Storage (NAS), then outputs that down the USB.