Converting USB to i2s

My Aurender N100H converts my DSD files to PCM before my DS Sr. will play them. I read you can feed the DS DSD directly if you are using i2s. If I got a UltraDigital 1.5 - USB to LVDS i2s converter, would this let me play DSD directly to my DS? Would I see any benefit or would I gain anything considering the UltraDigital is about $500.


I do not own an Aurender and I no longer own the DS Sr., but from what I can tell online, your Aurender outputs DSD over PCM (the so-called “DoP” protocol). This is different than – and preferable to – converting DSD to PCM, which is a transcoding setting that arguably degrades sound quality.

So, if you want to play DSD files on your Aurender and not transcode to PCM, make sure the Aurender is set to output DoP.

Having said all that, there is the remaining issue of whether placing a USB-to-I2S D-to-D converter between one’s source and the DS Sr. improves sound quality. Put differently, does the DS Sr.‘s I2S input sound better than its USB input? In my experience and many others’ experiences, the answer is YES.

There are several USB-to-I2S converters on the market. I used to use the Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2, and there is a long thread on this forum about the Matrix. I am not familiar with the ultraDigital model you mentioned.

Thanks for your reply. I have tried setting to DoP/Native DSD but the Aurender tells me the DAC is not compatible and reverts back.

That is surprising and disappointing. Check out this thread and perhaps message James and/or Craig to see if they have any insights. Good luck!

The DS definitely accepts DoP. That’s the setting I use with a Sonore Signature Rendu SE.

Get a USB to I2s converter like the Matrix X-SPDIF 2 like @bootzilla advice. Not only can your DS play high rate 256 DSD, but the sound from the I2s is way superior to the USB input of your DS. Believe me, I had an Aurender before.

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Wait, what?! Why haven’t I heard about this Miracle Matrix before??!!

vkennedy61, USB input or i2s with Sonore

Al, didn’t you ran some kind of fiber optic with your Signature Sonora Rendu before and I2S out? it was so long ago I don’t remember.

FWIW, I run 75’ of OM1 fiber to a Signature Rendu SE that sits in my rack. It outputs USB to a Sonore ultraDigital (Digital to Digital converter) which outputs I2S to my DSD. The ultraDigital powers off the Signature Rendu. The Signature Rendu and ultraDigital replaced an opticalRendu and Matrix each with Farad PSs. The Signature/ultraDigital works great. What sounds better…don’t remember anymore. I do like what I have.

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The previous signature had an I2S, but the SE (latest model) does not. Not sure why they changed that. @Rob_W I have the Rendu Signature SE and put the matrix in the middle. I did not notice a vast improvement as others have seen. Maybe its me or the system. Not sure. I pulled it out. did not see, I might try it back again. With it in the mix, I was able to set the streamer to native DSD and the matrix converting it to I2S let the DSD Sr work with it. On USB I the DSD Sr will only accept DoP

In my case, I wasn’t trying to connect the Aurender via I2s; my SGCD has only one HDMI input, and when I got the Aurender, that port was already being used by a NuPrime CD transport that did DSD conversion and had an HDMI out that was pin compatible with PSA’s I2S standard (and when a PST took the place of the NuPrime, it took over that port).

Mine was a case of the SGCD’s USB input not working with the Aurender’s USB output, and which @jamesh and the folks at PSA put right (as a no-charge warranty repair, I might add).

So I have no experience with conversion of USB to I2S. It sounds interesting, but since I only have the one port, it would be academic for me.

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Yes, I got there one day. But that was after I bought two Matrix converters and cycled through a half dozen USB cables, four or five HDMI cables, and three or four power supplies. I still use one Matrix, the other is on the shelf.

I also posted the most messages in the Matrix thread. (344)


Right, and that is why I suggested the OP consider contacting you and/or James. Apparently, the OP’s Aurender’s USB output is not working properly (at least not with DoP) into his DS Sr. Thanks.

Thank you for all the replies and suggestions. My USB on the Aurender s working as expected and my DSD is getting converted to PCM first. I wanted to send DSD directly to the DS (Native DSD) and the DS will not support this using the USB input. It is documented that in order to use native DSD I had to use an i2s port.

I had been looking at the ultradigital 1.5 and now the Matrix and Senore.


Just in case there’s some confusion. DoP isn’t “DSD converted to PCM”. DoP “smuggles” the actual DSD bits in the bottom 16 bits of each PCM sample, then the receiver (the DS in this case) can unwrap the original DSD bits by throwing away the top 8 flag bits from the DoP. I.e. the DS uses the exact same DSD bits whether you use DoP or native DSD.

And, FWIW the DS “converts” native DSD to DoP to use the 24 bit wide data path for the buffering, etc. If you are, for some reason, worried about multiple conversions, sending DoP might save one :slight_smile:


The Sonore Signature Rendu SE is optical in and USB out. I tried the Matrix with I2S and it was good. I tried the KTE SU-2 with I2S and sold the Matrix. The KTE is much better IMHO.

In the time since I did all this testing, I replaced our P10 with a P20. Now with the P20 in place, I’ve tested with and without the KTE. IMHO the KTE using I2S into the DS is not significantly better then the Rendu outputting USB into the DS. Sure the USB is limited to DSD 128, but so are my ears :wink:

The Rendu’s USB circuit is quite good. I know some will say that the DS’s USB has it’s own issues, but I don’t hear them. I’ve since move the KTE out of my digital stream. It will go back in once the DS MKII arrives so I can test with the AirLens to MKII and the Rendu/KTE to MKII.


Thanks for all the great input. vkennedy61 hit the nail on the head in my case as well, my ears are limited to DSD128. Senore and Matrix plan to raise their prices in the next few weeks due to supply issues and I just can’t justify the money right now for a new one. I would still like to try, however, so I’m going to keep my eye out on the used market.


I tried my friend’s Denafrips Aries 2 DDC which took USB in and gave me I2S out. It sells for around $500. and it improved the sound of my Denafrips Pontus 2 DAC nicely.


I find. this very interesting, my brother called me and said he compared his new Esoteric N-01XD DAC/streamer to his Matrix modified completely stock DS and said he couldn’t hear any difference.

Before he said the Esoteric completely blew away the DS using RCA digital out from his Cambridge CD transport. He still stands by that. No Matrix in the mix.

With Matrix it’s a whole new ballgame, but he added an Audience Front Row USB, Sbooster LPS, and WW Platinum HDMI cable, which increases the cost of the DS to about the same as the Esoteric, but a lot of extra pieces. He use the Matrix from his Mac Mini.

I added much more cost to my Matrix including a Valhalla 2 USB, Farad Super 3 LPS, and AQ Dragon HDMI and it outperformed the Esoteric, but added together cost a little more than the Esoteric. Also my DS is modified with XS4400 and a few other tweaks.