Have you ever noticed that your fancy new streaming device’s digital output doesn’t sound as good as your old CD player? You even upgraded your DAC but still it doesn’t cut it? That’s because your streaming device’s digital output has been compromised by jitter.
Digital audio isn’t ‘just ones and zeroes’ and its transmission isn’t really digital – it’s analogue, a square wave where rise, hold and fall timing matters. Timing errors in this domain are commonly referred to as jitter. That little bastard creeps into everything: Sonos, Squeezeboxen and (especially) the Apple Airport Express and Apple TV.
Audio enthusiasts have been appending USB-S/PDIF converters (re-clockers) to the computer and the Squeezebox Touch for a good few years now but what if your digital device doesn’t pack a USB output? What if you’re a coaxial chap (Sonos, Squeezebox Duet) or optical outputter (Apple TV, Airport Express)?
From June 2014, Wyred4Sound will have the Remedy for your S/PDIF jitter ills. In similar palm-sized casing to their uLink USB converter (reviewed here) the Remedy takes a digital feed via either of its optical or coaxial inputs, re-clocks the datastream and then outputs it again over coaxial, optical or BNC. Howzat for US$399?
Output sample rates are capped at 96kHz but realists with wafer thin slices of hi-res content in their library probably won’t give a hoot. A pragmatic approach would be to put the money where most of the music is: Redbook. With the Remedy, lossless streaming flung from phablet to Apple TV now got a whole lot less jittery. The Wyred4Sound box could also be applied to the digital output of, say, a Pure i20 iPod dock, giving you a knockout digital front end for a smidgen over five hundred clams.
The brains behind Wyred4Sound, EJ Sarmento, and his trusty sidekick Clint Hartman will be formally launching the Remedy at T.H.E Newport Beach show next weekend.
Further information: Wyred4Sound