NuWave Dac point of interest...


I found on Ebay a used “noise sniffer” devices that shows if you have line noise.

I am enjoying my NuWave DAC.

Here is my question. I found that I (grudgingly) needed to buy a Smart Back UPS for my PC because of a few power outages recently. When the power went out I needed to restore my sound-card because the outages knocked out the sound.

Since then… This is what I noticed: … When I have the Smart Back Ups plugged in to the wall - with nothing plugged into it… the Noise Sniffer shows that the Smart UPS generates lots of noise into the line. . If I bypass the Smart Back UPS? And plug the PC directly into the AC? It also pours lots of noise onto the AC line.

I am using a respected line conditioner for my audio components. When I checked its outlets of the line conditioner with the noise sniffer, it was dead silent. So, it looks like the noise being discharged into the line by my PC system is not entering into the audio components. Its only effecting the PC domain.

Now… the NuWave DAC is plugged into my separate line conditioner. These outlets do not reveal noise…

I am wondering. Since I use an optical connection to the NuWave DAC? There should be no electrical connection made between the PC and DAC to contaminate the signal transfer to the DAC with EMI/RFI from the PC. Because of that? I am wondering how much of that electronic noise generated within the PC itself is effecting the DAC’s audio? I have found that to my ears the optical connection always sounded so much cleaner than the USB connection. Is that because that electronic noise within the PC is being bypassed in transferring to the DAC? Or, that, much less of the electronic noise in the PC makes its way to the optically isolated DAC?

What exactly causes the EMI/RFI noise with a PC? Is it the PSU? Or, the Intel chip? Or, both?

The Back UPS is something I need to live with until something better comes along…

Thanks… Gene


Those noise sniffers are little AM radio receivers that pick up noise around 10kHz or so. They are kind of useful sometimes, but really don’t show a lot. Most line conditioners help lower this noise they sniff by placing a lowpass filter in series - which is both good and bad depending on how the filter is designed. Most aren’t designed for good sound.

In general, I wouldn’t be overly concerned. The DAC probably sounds better with coax or a hard connection rather than optical. But see which sounds best.


Thank you, sir.

I do have an Audioquest Cinnamon USB cable that I had laying around But, at present I am breaking in an Audience Adept Response conditioner and do not want to add any variables to what I hear until it settles in. Just the same, after your suggestion, I did switch to the Cinnamon for a short while and did like what I heard. I was surprised. For when I first got the NuWave DAC it did not sound as good as it does now with USB. I guess that’s because the DAC was not burned in at that time. Your suggestion re-sparked my interest.

Thanks, Gene Z.