Need help selecting an I2S/DSD/SPDIF connector for my impending Buffalo II - diyAudio
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Old 9th February 2010, 08:03 PM   #1
orpheus is offline orpheus  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: NYC
Default Need help selecting an I2S/DSD/SPDIF connector for my impending Buffalo II

I have been searching for information about I2S and DSD connections, and have not been able to get a handle on the requirements and limitations of the cables and hardware that can be used to make these connections.

I want to be able to connect a DSD output from an SACD player, SPDIF, and I2S to the Buffalo II board.

I had thought about using a switch to be able to connect all three to the buffalo, but then I realized that I could just switch by changing the cable, since any change would require powering down anyway. No switch would be easier and probably result in better sound.

Summary of ramblings below: 4 pin XLR, RJ45, 2 BNC's, or Lemo for DSD/I2S cable and input connector?

The easiest way I can think of (and using what I have on hand, which is always easiest) would be to connect a BNC to the SPDIF input and ground, and then a 4 pin XLR to the 3 I2S/DSD inputs, and share the ground connection between the BNC and the 4 pin XLR. This way I would have all the inputs covered with two connectors.

I could use two more BNC's instead (for a total of 3 BNC's between DSD/I2S and SPDIF), but that would lead to more complicated cable making (which I don't mind if it would function better).

I could also use LEMO connectors, would these be better than a 4 pin XLR for digital signals? The LEMO's would cost more, but I would spend the money if it would be a much better digital connection.

I could also try to implement an RJ45 connector for the DSD/I2S, in which case I would be sharing the ground with the SPDIF BNC. Is this a better connector? In some ways this would be easiest because I could just use already built ethernet cables to make the connection. There are panel mount RJ45 connectors on Digikey, but I can't tell how difficult it would be to solder the cables to the connector.

Would any problems result from sharing the ground connection between a BNC on the SPDIF connection and the ground connection with the DSD/I2S input?

I am open to suggestions if anyone has one. I am not an EE or very knowledgeable about the requirements of digital connections, so any help is greatly appreciated.

I have read that Cat5 cable is supposed to be best for DSD, does the same hold true for I2S? I had read that I could run about 1.5 meters of DSD cabling and be OK, and about the same for I2S. Is this true?

Thank you for reading my ramblings. I appreciate your time and consideration in offering assistance.

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