Pure Pleasures from Pisa
Italians are pleasure seekers, we all know that they make fantastic food, wine and cars. But also the first piano and some great loudspeakers derive from Italy, as well as the scientist Alessandro Volta, who invented the first battery in 1779. So the love for music as well as the technical background the Italians have in common. And let´s then dive more into this small little wonderful product from Pisa, Italy, known as the hiFace Two.
hiFace Two SPDIF to Coaxial Converter is a clever designed small thing, which can clone your PC or Mac´s USB output to a digital SPDIF ditto. This is NOT a DAC (Digital To Analog Converter), but very good to have at hand when using your favourite DA converter with the sound you fell in love with at the first time. You just need some SPDIF output from your computer … and by the way which
It´s the size of a smallish USB memory stick, albeit a little larger on the output side, where you can choose either to have a coaxial phono or a BNC plug. Latter has proven to be the best jitter wise, but if your digital cable is born with phono plugs, it´s no go to use an adapter with the BNC version of the hiFace Two. I know this from my own testing, and also from the nice Marco Manunta, who is the mastermind behind all m2Tech´s products.
hiFace Two let´s you use sample rates to the maximum of 192 kHz, and with a 24 bit resolution that should do it for the most demanding streaming tasks - except for DSD and DXD of course.
m2Techs small plug uses a pulse transformer to galvanically isolate the SPDIF output from the noisy computer environment. And the combination of an asynchronous transfer, the use of ASIO mode, and two quartz precision oscillators are all mouth watering ingredients for every digital sound aficionado.
The small stick can even be used with a (2.0) USB HUB - also that´s not widely accepted to the “KISS - keep it simple stupid” rule of HiFi.
You don´t need to install additional software when running it on a Mac or Linux system, if you are more of a Windows guy, the small drivers are ready to be downloaded from m2Tech´s website:
“Brother Can You Spare A Dime” performed by George Michael from his Symphonic disc was transferred to my hard disc in a 24 bit 96 kHz resolution. And played back through this little gem, the sound was fluid, with a deep low end, and the singers vocal´s standing right in front of me.
Quite impressed with what I heard, the next track on my (never ending) list of joyful tunes, was Derrin Nauendorf´s “Shatter Like Stars”, where there is a clear and open window to both his guitar playing and his voice.
Danish immigrants band Outlandish comes with a quick, deep bass drum that can kick the hell out of your bass-speakers. The song is “Aicha”, a beautiful song, with some world-music background sounds, and with lovely vocals and guitars spread on top of it.
Tchaikovsky´s “The Nutcracker, Op. 71 - 16. Act 2: Character Dances (Divertissement): Trépak (Russian Dance)” which I have in a recording performed by Valery Gergiev Mariinsky´s famous Theatre Orchestra was next on my listening list. The strings are soft, and the attack of the drums are perfectly rendered on my reference system, as I wrote on my notes that very evening.
Speaking of drums, I found this track: “Concerto for Jazz Drummer & Symphony: Movement One” with Kroumata Percussion Ensemble & Manuela Wiesler on my discs. If you are in for attack and drums on a high level, this track might be just perfect for you.
Are you kidding me? Is all this joyfulness coming from a small stick? Yes, indeed it is! But don´t just take my word for it. Try this for yourself if your computer doesn’t have a SPDIF output and your DAC is still not outdated, and I am sure you like this small wonder too.
PS m2Tech also makes even more serious converters and stuff, named Vaughan, Young DSD or the Joplin 384/32 A/D converter.
Text and photo: ©Kurt Lassen 2015
hiFace Two Hi-End S/PDIF Output Interface
RCA or BNC version
Price: 149,00 € / App. 170 USD