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Old 17th July 2012, 01:38 PM   #1
Sandor is offline Sandor  Italy
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Default Better converting usb or spdif?

I have in hands a linux box equipped with both USB and spdif digital audio outputs.
I want to send digital audio stream to the I2S inputs of a dac chip.
Will I obtain better results converting usb with a good device, such as those based on xmos, or converting spdif with a good receiver, such as wm8804?

Last edited by Sandor; 17th July 2012 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 17th July 2012, 01:54 PM   #2
erin is offline erin  Australia
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If done well, both will give good results.

I have no proof, but my feeling is that usb is better.
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Old 17th July 2012, 03:16 PM   #3
wwenze is offline wwenze  Singapore
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I don't trust USB audio controllers. And the USB interface is too shaky compared to the Direct Media Interface which connects the Northbridge to the Southbridge where the integrated audio controller is located. (Read as: stuttering and pops with USB DACs)

SPDIF is in many ways technically inferior to USB, but it only needs to do a single job hence reliable.

Ultimately the end result doesn't really care which interface you use, measurements show that either can be worse than the other. But I hate stuttering.
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Old 17th July 2012, 03:26 PM   #4
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If you need high sample rates I'd go for USB, otherwise stick to SPDIF as the isolation is way simpler (a fairly cheap transformer).
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Old 17th July 2012, 03:39 PM   #5
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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if you get stuttering and pops you are doing something wrong with usb. perhaps too low latency is set, or you do not have your driver set up with priority access to the audio hardware. maybe old computer? USB is done very well is IMO superior to any spdif, but the WM part is good, not so easy to get right though.

Last edited by qusp; 17th July 2012 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 17th July 2012, 05:03 PM   #6
phofman is offline phofman  Czech Republic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwenze View Post
I don't trust USB audio controllers. And the USB interface is too shaky compared to the Direct Media Interface which connects the Northbridge to the Southbridge where the integrated audio controller is located.
I am curious what bus the integrated controllers in the southbridge are connected to. They appear as PCI/e devices. According to Basic PC architecture - Page 1 it is an internal PCIe bus. Both intel HDA sound controller and USB controller would be connected to that.
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Old 17th July 2012, 07:53 PM   #7
Sandor is offline Sandor  Italy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
If you need high sample rates I'd go for USB, otherwise stick to SPDIF as the isolation is way simpler (a fairly cheap transformer).
Do you consider 96kHZ a high sample rate?
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Old 17th July 2012, 11:56 PM   #8
wwenze is offline wwenze  Singapore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qusp View Post
if you get stuttering and pops you are doing something wrong with usb. perhaps too low latency is set, or you do not have your driver set up with priority access to the audio hardware. maybe old computer? USB is done very well is IMO superior to any spdif, but the WM part is good, not so easy to get right though.
About this I need assistance, I failed to find a way to change the latency setting for USB DACs running on Windows' standard drivers. No ASIO driver either.

BTW, i3 CPU, can't be too old.
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Old 18th July 2012, 12:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandor View Post
Do you consider 96kHZ a high sample rate?
In this context, no - if that's the highest you're going I'd stay with SPDIF if I were you.
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Old 18th July 2012, 06:08 AM   #10
erin is offline erin  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwenze View Post
About this I need assistance, I failed to find a way to change the latency setting for USB DACs running on Windows' standard drivers. No ASIO driver either.

BTW, i3 CPU, can't be too old.
cMP² | CMP / 07Optimisations

do the things listed on the link above and tell me if the sound gets better.
It does not specifically change the latency setting, but reduces other things running in the background. This should free up processing power to be able to run USB audio without dropouts and clicks and pops.

Also, you really should run ASIO.
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