Having successfully ‘hacked’ my Squeezebox Touch to add the linux drivers necessary to enable the hiface One it seemed only logical to try using the new M2tech hiface Two. The hiface Two is USB 2.0 audio compatible – it uses a XMOS solution – so does not require drivers for OS X or Linux.
Comparing the original hiface to the new version Two was just a matter of plugging in the hiface and selecting it in the Advanced/Digital Output menu options (assuming Triode’s excellent Enhanced Digital Output App is enabled). Each change of convertor requires a SBT reboot, but it happens automatically and takes very little time.
The sound quality differences between the hiface and its newer sibling were not as great as the difference between using the SBT from its S/PDIF output and using a hiface – that’s a complete no brainer imho – but they were obvious and the hiface two was the clear winner.
The original hiface in comparison was a little more raw, a little rougher round the edges, a little less ‘relax back into the chair’. To put it into some sort of perspective, if I owned a original hiface I wouldn’t upgrade unless I also owned a SBT and couldn’t face the ‘hacking’
If I owned a SBT was using the S/PDIF output and didn’t try the hiface Two I’d potentially be missing a huge chunk of performance.