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Need help with Computer with I2S output to DAC
Need help with Computer with I2S output to DAC
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Old 6th April 2011, 07:32 PM   #1
HP8903B is offline HP8903B
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Default Need help with Computer with I2S output to DAC

I want to build or purchase a computer (PC or MAC) that I can use the I2S connection going straight to a DAC.

Could you guys tell me how I can get the I2S signal from the computer?
I was told that the I2S signal comes from the sound card.

Could you guys also tell me what to look for in a computer for audio application. Things like processor, mother board, sound card, memory, etc. Please make specific recommendations on which model.
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Old 6th April 2011, 08:31 PM   #2
nightanole is offline nightanole  United States
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The γ1 Modular Miniature DAC

build the usb to i2s version. if you want misterX will build it cheap.

As for a pc, its doesnt matter, a old 233mhz will sound just as good as a $2500 mac. I would go with win7 with wasapi capable software so its sends the sound directly to the sound hardware and bypasses all the windows mixers (even volume control).

Hope that helps.
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Old 6th April 2011, 10:37 PM   #3
HP8903B is offline HP8903B
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Thanks for the link.

I don't want to use any kind of converter, especially the ones that go through the USB.
I want to use the I2S directly from the computer.

I have seen a computer with I2S connection that goes straight from the PCI sound card.
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Old 6th April 2011, 11:22 PM   #4
bambadoo is offline bambadoo  Norway
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Easy I2S from Juli@ PCI sound card - Page 5 - Head-Fi.org Community
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Old 7th April 2011, 01:09 AM   #5
nightanole is offline nightanole  United States
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I think you need to do a lot more reading before coming back here.

Directly from the computer????

Look any I2S converter is just a simple sound card that has the sound card chip and dac on diff chips. So it goes from the sound card, to the dac via either i2s or spdif.

A pci card is not going to sound or be different in anyway from a firewire,usb, pci-express. The only thing you have to have to get PURE sound out of your pc, is some THING that puts out I2S or spdif via a driver that supports ASIO or WASAPI. Thats it. As long as it supports those then it will be BIT PERFECT which is what you are shooting for. You can do that with a $150 dell refurbish special with a gig of ram running xp with asio and a usb gamma set for is2 out. It will be bit perfect and sound just like a $5000 system right down to the last binary.

All the money needs to be spent on the dac and the rest of the analog system were all the nice power filtering and jitter reduction and resampling is done. All the pc has to do is send out the correct 1's and zero's.

Good luck even getting I2S to work going several feet in a cable. If you are still hell bent, then is is the only way, and guess what, its usb.


Last edited by nightanole; 7th April 2011 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 8th April 2011, 09:01 AM   #6
KlipschKid is offline KlipschKid
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Join Date: Aug 2007

As a diy Windoze option, you could use a mobo with a high FSB (e.g. 1333Mhz) for low latency, Realtek on-board sound for kernel streaming from Foobar, and an spdif header/output. The spdif can be converted into I2S using a Ti DIR9001.

If you go for a low power mobo then you could avoid a switching psu and use a linear one.

I've built something similar - the Intel D945gsejt mobo + ssd powered by an AMB sigma11 psu and I use an Onkyo se-200 soundcard in the pci slot. I changed the op amps on it to 6x LME49620HA and also upgraded the output coupling caps. It's 100% silent except for the beep as it boots.

I'm so pleased with this I never bothered to do the spdif to I2S. However, I keep promising myself I will one day. The plan is to feed the spdif from the mobo and/or Onkyo into a Ti SRC4392EVM board I have to de-jitter it, then feed this into a dir9001 and then a nos dac. The I2S will need a line driver and so far the best one I've seen is the 74vhc type chips.

So many plans, so little time.

Last edited by KlipschKid; 8th April 2011 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 3rd October 2011, 12:02 PM   #7
ArthurDK is offline ArthurDK
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Converting SP/DIF to I2S gives no meening and is not a good thing to do. What you want is to stay clear of SP/DIF in the first way, to get rid of a parallel to serial conversion and jitter.

USB -> I2S -> DAC wtih ASIO or Kernel Streaming drivers is preferable.

Also there is a posibility in XP to check ´dont go through the Windows mixer´ in device handling in ´This Computer´ - I suppose it is called on english versions of Windows.

I am sure a PC could be a very good HiFi source, but you have to make everything right.

I am still trying to make it better. Right now I am experimenting with K&K Audios USB to I2S interface, into a Twisted Pair COD DAC with K&K Lundahl output trafos.

First step were Lexicon SP/DIF to COD DAC, and that is by far the best PC sound I have had so far, but the problem is that very few media players recognize the Lexicon SP/DIF port. The one I have used is a professional sequnzer program, but it does not allow playlists, so it were only good for testing.

Any feedback i very welcome.

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Old 3rd October 2011, 07:45 PM   #8
joemana is offline joemana  United States
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Location: San Jose
I have the EXAU21 USB-I2S to Buffalo II, EXA board is just aboved the Buf II with tube/Sowter transformer output, the sound is pretty good. I've also tried the HiFace USB-I2S with Buf II. There are several reviews and comparison between the EXAU21 USB-I2S and some other known brand. Just google it, if you are interested on the reviews or comments.
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Old 7th October 2011, 06:27 PM   #9
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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yeah it sounds like you are still reading articles (or talking with people that read them who have hung onto that old info) from the old school, like REALLY old when usb wasnt the best way to go for audio output, firewire?? haha dead in the water. usb is the best way to get audio out, psaudio type balanced i2s drivers are good for quite long lengths, but 'll be honest here, you arent up to it yet.
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