PC USB to AC200

Posted by: JCW

PC USB to AC200 - 2019-01-16 13:43

Now the proud owner of 2 Meridian systems in 2 rooms I need another USB to SPDIF or TOSLink so I don't have to keep unplugging my MF Vlink II to use a PC on either of them.

Things seem to have moved on since I bought the Vlink and they are not available anymore so I'm wondering what people do to bridge the interface gap. The AC200 (which used to belong to Alistair - thanks, its very nice) does have a USB input but it's limited to 44k, 16bit (Meridian, WHY?). I'm looking at the hiFace Two by M2Tech, does anyone have experience of using that?

I'm still considering a 218, in place of the AC200 but it has more limited input options, I have a couple of analogue sources I may want to plug in one day (No USB at all for music, Meridian WHY? again). So I would be interested in people's views on whether the 218 would actually be an upgrade? I'm sceptical whether much of the music I listen to will ever get onto MQA. Modern Classical and Jazz on small labels. MQA seems to be getting a bad rap from some parts of the music business as being as much to do with skimming extra money out of people as the sound quality.

My music sources are mostly JRiver Mediacenter with some 88.2 and 96k files but mostly 44.1 and BBC iPlayer/Sounds for Radio 3 and 6. I have JRiver set to pass through music at its native resolution so the Ac200 upsamples the CD quality material.

Interestingly the BBC stuff (using Firefox) comes through to the AC200 at 48k. The BBC are very coy about their streaming specs so no idea how many times that has been resampled (after decompression of course, shame the flac based proms in 2017 didn't reappear in 2018).


Posted by: Gianni

Re: PC USB to AC200 - 2019-01-16 14:06

You have PM
Posted by: Alastair

Re: PC USB to AC200 - 2019-01-16 20:54

Hi John

Glad the AC200 is going well.

I’ve not tried the M2Tech unit however I am wondering, have you tried the USB option on the AC200? I know it’s ‘old’ and not technically as good as other options out there but I’d be inclined to give it a go, especially if most of your source material is 44.1./16. Apologies if you are already doing this.

I have tried the 218 for a weekend in my system but I was not running DSPs at the time and I did not have the AC200 at that point. For what it is worth I enjoyed the 218 yet I was not convinced enough of the MQA abilities in my set up. Not wanting to dismiss MQA here as I know plenty of people are enjoying it, just saying it did not work for me to warrant the purchase. I do still have the Tidal music MQA account and plenty of albums in my library.

Personally I would try the AC200 and if feasible borrow a 218 for a weekend.

In my gym (the garage) I’ve actually got an old Apple TV (version 2 I think) and as I can get WiFi I listen to music (via Roon) that way as well as the old school cds. Admittedly it’s a garage and acoustically poor but the apple solution is not that bad and allows me to access all my music.

I guess if you get really stuck you could also try to get my MF V link (96/24) which is currently boxed up in a cupboard!

Good luck