Substitute for Waveterminal U24

About a week ago I ordered a Waveterminal U24 to use in converting a USB signal from my computer to a sp/dif signal that I could feed into my Musical Fidelity Trivista DAC. I got a note back today from the company that I ordered from saying that the model had been discontinued. I've done some checking around on the internet and that appears to be true.

Does anyone know of a comparable external device that will do a good job of converting USB to (RCA coax) sp/dif?
Yes--we are bummed out by this as well. I'm in the process of testing the M-Audio Transit as a substitute. It will not have the SNR of the U24. The U24 was a great product. There are some other possible substitutes, but most of them have a bunch of extra "baggage" that is not useful to us, or to most people, such as variable gain inputs and outputs. The computer can control that--so let it. I will post here once we've finished our testing on the M-Audio Transit.
I ditched my Waveterminal U24 and switched to the M-Audio Revolution 5.1 and don't miss anything so far. The M-Audio card has great D/A SNR (109db vs 110dB of the U24), but can go high on the sample rate (192kHz vs 48kHz of the U24). In fact I'm starting to like the M-Audio Rev 5.1 better than the U24 when in Foobar.

In your case, the M-Audio Rev 5.1 has SPDIF out too. It's not an external device as you required, but like I said, I like it more than the external U24. Check out its user manual at the M-Audio's website and see if it fits your needs. And, you can have it for less money as well (I paid $75 for it).
If this is used for the digital output, how does SNR matter?

I use Transit for digital output. If you are willing to spend more, there are many Transit-based mods.
Empirical Audio Off-Ramp Turbo, based upon Transit.
Squeezebox 3. I use it with my Tri-Vista with good results, awaiting a modified version to see if mods help.
Just an update: I have found a device that appears to be very similar to the waveterminal u24. It is made by Hagerman Technologies and retails for about $100 less than the waveterminal. I ordered one a couple days ago and will report back on how it sounds.

I also recently ordered a Wavelength Cosecant USB DAC. I am very curious to hear how this will sound compared to using the Hagerman USB to S/PDIF converter with my MF Tri-Vista DAC.
Steev - Please report back about how these components compare. I now use an M Audio Audiophile for USB to S/PDIF in to a MF XDAC/X10 combo (with a DIY powersupply). Together they are very similar to the Trivista. I'm thrilled with the sound, but am considering a USB DAC like the Brick.
Well, I'm going to have to hold off on doing a comparison, as a tube blew out on my Trivista (the tubes are soldered in and the unit has to be returned to the US distributor to be replaced; what a PITA!).

The Hagerman HagUSB was easy to install: I just plugged it in and my Apple G4 Powerbook recognized it. The Hagerman HagUSB only converts USB to SPDIF (Unlike the Waveterminal U24, it does not have the ability to be used as a DAC).

I'll reserve comment on Cosecant USB DAC, other than to say its presentation is significantly different from my experience of Trivista (using a CD player as a transport). I'll wait until I can compare the Trivista driven from a computer by USB to say anything else.

Audioengr: I do not know what a s/w driver is.
If the Hagerman works without loading a special S/W driver, then this is what I am talking about. The hardware usually comes with a CDROM that contains the software driver.
The Hagerman works without a software driver on the mac under os x. Still testing the sound quality.

Still don't have my Trivista back from repair, so I am unable to use the Hagerman. I'll post something as soon as I have the Trivista back.
Thanks Steev_n,

I may go ahead an order a built Hagerman. I can't find my Waveterminal.

I can't wait to see your review. What made you think the Hagerman was similar to the wave-terminal? Can you connect the USB to Any computer port or does it need to come out of the Audio card. Did you try the professional audio Cards out to your Dac ?
Hamburg- The HagUSB is similar to the U24 in that it can convert USB to SPDIF. No, it does not need to come out of the audio card. I have not tried a "pro audio card" out to my DAC - what do you suggest? I have actually been trying to completely avoid using the audio card, and instead sending a pure WAV digital stream out to an external DAC.


My Trivista came back from repair yesterday, and I hooked it up to my Apple G4 through the HagUSB using a generic USB cable and a Kimber D60 digital interconnect. How did it work? Like a champ. The Trivista still sounds like a Trivista (which is to say, great), but now it has a deeper soundstage, more focused images and close to zero grain.

The HagUSB was easy to set up on my G4. Just plug it into the computer’s USB port, go to System Preferences, click on Sounds, and select it as the output device.

How does the computer feeding the Trivista through the HagUSB sound compared to the computer feeding the Wavelength Cosecant? Very different. The Trivista has little tiny tubes in it, and the tubes seem to make a little tiny difference (in fact the Trivista sounds a lot like my prior solid state DAC, the Bel Canto DAC2). The Cosecant, on the other hand, is obviously tubed.

The Cosecant really deserves its own review, which I am working on and hope to post in Audiogon’s review section in the next week or so. That said, here is a quick summary: the Cosecant sounds tubed in both the good way (liquid, holographic ...), and the less good (slightly rolled off frequency extremes, lack of bass punch, a bit of coloration ...). It also presents music in a highly addictive and almost magically real way. So much so that, despite the Trivista’s superior dynamics, punch, frequency extension and neutrality, I am having trouble deciding between keeping the Cosecant or Trivista. One will eventually need to go, as I can’t afford to keep both; but it’s a tough call.
Steev --

Thanks for posting your comparison. I'm very surprised by your result. I would have expected the Cosecant to blow away the Trivista because of its direct USB input. I use a combination of X-DAC/X-10/DIY Power supply (together they are very similar to the Trivista), with my USB>S/PDIF conversion through an M-Audio Audiophile USB. I'm very impressed with the sound. I was considering upgrading the Audiophile for one of the modded Transits. But given your findings I'm deciding I may not gain much by the upgrade. I'm supposing my Audiophile is at least as good as the Hagman (it uses it's own drivers and AC power).

Thanks again for your post.
I think there are way too much credits given to "USB DAC".

Other than the low end USB DACs which actually use USB DAC chips, many "USB DACs" are just "regular" DACs with USB interface built-in.

There are certainly theoretical advantages in a tightly coupled USB interface, versus an external USB/SPDIF box. But a DAC is still a DAC. The DAC chip and the analog output stage are still crucial factors in producing the sound.
I don't want to give the impression that the Cosecant is anything less than excellent. It is, in fact, fantastic. All audio gear involves trade-offs. The Cosecant's seems to be maximum musicality at the expense of strict neutrality. In this way, it is a lot like a single end triode amp: a solid state amp will have more slam and extension, and measure much better, but a solid state amp will never approach the palpable realism that makes a SET amp so enjoyable to listen to.

With regard to whether the M-audio sounds as good as the HagUSB, I really don't know because I've never heard the M-Audio. That said, this might be a situation where simpler is better. The HagUSB only converts USB to s/pdif. The M-audio has pots and switches which, at its price point, may not be beneficial to the signal passing through it. Maybe someone will do a head-to-head comparison.

On the issue of whether a USB DAC can be superior to a s/pdif dac, all I can say is that the Cosecant is the most musically satisfying DAC I've had in my system (and I've had a few). I think it is a very well executed product. It will be interesting to see what competition it has a year from now, as I-pods fuel the interest in computer based music systems.
hi all. steev -- i'm wondering if you are still using the hagUSB, and if you are still pleased with it after a couple months. also, if any pc users have snagged one, have you been able to get it working with the "asio4all" asio drivers?

another query: is there any significant benefit to using a USB transport with AC powere as opposed to one that is powered by the USB bus itself? (e.g. m-audio usb audiophile vs. hagUSB)