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PCIe>SPDIF coax VS PCIe>USB>XMOS>I2S?
PCIe>SPDIF coax VS PCIe>USB>XMOS>I2S?
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Old 14th February 2019, 10:11 PM   #1
laserscrape is offline laserscrape
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Default PCIe>SPDIF coax VS PCIe>USB>XMOS>I2S?

The typical way of connecting PC to DAC is through USB with USB-I2S interface but im wondering if eliminating USB and using SPDIF holds any value.

There are PCIe soundcards which will convert PCIe directly to SPDIF, no USB host or USB interface is needed, Im aware of the downsides of SPDIF carrying clock and data signals together but it is intended to transfer audio signals unlike USB. Im not sure if the modern interfaces like XMOS eliminate the problems associated with using USB for audio or if there is still downsides to it.
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Old 16th February 2019, 08:56 AM   #2
batteryman is offline batteryman  United Kingdom
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PCIe>SPDIF coax VS PCIe>USB>XMOS>I2S?
Quote:
Originally Posted by laserscrape View Post
The typical way of connecting PC to DAC is through USB with USB-I2S interface but im wondering if eliminating USB and using SPDIF holds any value.

There are PCIe soundcards which will convert PCIe directly to SPDIF, no USB host or USB interface is needed, Im aware of the downsides of SPDIF carrying clock and data signals together but it is intended to transfer audio signals unlike USB. Im not sure if the modern interfaces like XMOS eliminate the problems associated with using USB for audio or if there is still downsides to it.
Forget USB if Spdif is available, in my opinion.

The card's spdif output will probably be direct from it's on board dac so there is no software/drivers involved in sending it compared to over usb.

This (and HDMI) sends data in packets which involves extra hardware and driver software so why not avoid this by using spdif.

I2S might be the purest from of data transfer to a dac but it is not designed for distances of more than a few cm.
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Old 16th February 2019, 05:07 PM   #3
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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In most cases, there will probably be more difficulty keeping jitter low with SPDIF than with modern high quality USB designs such as Amanero. Especially, true since USB is now fast to enough to make synchronous operation possible. It can also support higher sample rates and DSD, that SPDIF can't. There are cases where it may make more sense to use SPDIF, but keeping jitter very low will require a more sophisticated and costly dac design than most seen around here.

Where there is commonly a problem is when OS's interject their own limited quality DSP in order to meet the goals of OS designers, not users wanting the best sound quality over everything else. Therefore, it can be important to make the USB interface use ASIO drivers and make sure the ASIO sound device is not the same sound device that the OS uses for default audio output of any kind. Otherwise, the OS will interfere with the ASIO.

Last edited by Markw4; 16th February 2019 at 05:14 PM.
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