DS MK2 via USB

Just got my order in for the DS II. Will be using it with the Airlens but inasmuch as that is not yet available, USB for the moment from my self-built server (which is optimized for ethernet.) I do have a USB Regen in my office system; has anyone tried that or similar devices with the DS MK2? Would only be temporary anyway but…TIA!

Hi Bob…. I have upgraded to a DS2 from a DS……I stream from an Auralic Aries G1 to the DAC. Via USB. I used to use a USB Regen on the DS….until the Regen died. So I’m straight USB to the DS and now the DS2. The DS2 does USB Way Better than the DS did. Most have found the USB input from a decent source to be on a par with the I2S inputs. I’m loving Qobuz via the Auralic to the DS2. I wouldn’t worry about the USB Regen anymore.


Thank you, I am not surprised to hear this of course :slight_smile:

But tell everyone you use I2S so they leave you alone.


After 30 days with the MK II I’m trying to find out if USB or Matrix/I2S is better.
First days I liked I2S, next I had to go USB (due tu a faulty USB cable to be replaced) and I was more than happy, lastly I came back to I2S.
I found any differences very subtle.
Today I’ll try for the last time going USB directly, hoping to get my final decision, almost until the AirLens arrives (what? when? who?).

To be honest I enjoyed more fun tweaking with grounded/lifted settings than investigating on which one between USB or I2S input sounds better.

Sorry Al, here I declare: I can attest with my right hand up that I2S is and will be better


I look forward to what you conclude (if you do) after you conclude your listening session today using the usb input,

I am supposed to be receiving my MK II next week (fingers crossed) and have been closely following the I2S vs USB input comments. At this point, it seems that any sound difference between the two inputs is tiny. My current setup is Router > ethernet to Waversa Switch > ethernet to Roon Nucleus > usb (Siltech Royal Signature) to Matrix 3 > I2S (Audioquest Dragon) to MKI. I will most likely simply swap the MKI for the MKII and let it burn in for a few days before starting to compare the usb and I2S inputs and playing about with lifting the grounds. Looking forward to starting the process.


Different not better and what you are used to.

That USB is the equal of i2s on the Mk2 per most including Ted is a real plus as to its wider acceptance I’d think

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I don’t have my DSD Mk2 yet, as I just ordered it last week. However, I’m pretty sure that I will be using the USB input into the DAC. I’m currently using an Innuos Zen Mk3 and a PhoenixUSB prior to my DS Mk1 DAC. I’m also using Innuos Sense rather than Roon. My USB cables are decent (Shunyata Alpha from Zen to Phoenix and Network Acoustics III from Phoenix to DAC). Unless I find out that a box to convert USB to I2S would result in a lot better sound with the DSD Mk2, I’ll stick with USB. That means that switching in the Mk2 should be pretty much “plug and play” for me, with no new HDMI cable or converter (with upgraded power supply) needed. I’m relieved to hear that the USB input on the Mk2 has been upgraded compared to the Mk1.

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Maybe you are loosing the sense of my sentence, sorry for the misunderstanding, I was referring to a previous post of Al.

Hi Calord, curious are you getting a green light connection via your Auralic g1 through usb on MK2? And does it show incoming sample rate? I’m thinking about purchasing the g1.1

Yes… My Auralic G1 via USB does show the green connection light and I do get accurate sample rates displayed.

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Awesome, thank you.

It’s time to share my thoughts about the MK II after less than 30 days with it in my system.

As usual I prefer numbers than words.

My aim is to compare the MK I vs MK II AFTER I already upgraded the system with the introduction of the Innuos Statement (as already reported on another sheet posted here on the forum)

I’m focusing particularly on the differences I’m hearing between I2S/Matrix and USB. See my profile to know the components and cables I’m using.

White noise/Hum ++ ++
Background +++ +++
Neutralness + ++
Image precision + +
Soundstage depth + +
Soundstage width +++ +++
Separation ++ ++
Voice + ++
Highs + =
Basses + +
Presence ++ ++
Transient + =
Clarity ++ ++
Airy ++ +
Detail +++ ++
Unveil ++ +
Realism ++ +++
Calm + ++
Control ++ ++
Engagement ++ +++
1,75 1,75

In both cases I keep lifted the only inputs in use and grounded the others, lifted the outputs and grounded the shell.

At the end of the day the MK II is simply wonderful, still so difficult to say what I prefer between I2S and USB. Ted really made a fantastic job in every aspects. Maybe USB is a bit less open even if still detailed and revealing but has something more analog to my ears, warm and silky too. I2S sounds spectacular and after I solved the little brightness by grounded/lifted settings is really airy with a perfect image.
It’s just a question of tastes at this point IMHO.
They are both pleasantly rich, crystal clear and never prone to coloration, tonally balanced and very very dynamic. The width of the soundstage is probably the BIGGEST improvement you can immediately notice, just right out of the box.

Playing CDs from PST (that I still tend to prefer but with a so subtle difference that is almost irrelevant) or playing files from the server at whatever resolution or streaming from Qobuz… well, all of the media are shining and the presentation is phenomenal,. Music at its best.

And I will have the opportunity to re-start the burning in process as soon as a new unit reworked will be shipped to replace the “beta” one actually in my hand.

@Paul @tedsmith let me thank you, well done! Another happy customer here!


Busy day as we’re hosting a dinner tonight, but I don’t want to miss your review. My next streamer will have a USB output and I already have a nice cable that I have yet to hear.

Thanks for another excellent review on cable input difference!

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Have a nice dinner (which wine did you choose?), thanks Donald.

Go USB you’ll never look back! And if you accidentally will change in future to I2S, well you’ll be equally happy. Plenty of alternatives ahead makes your life easier, isn’t it?

Still curious to know what streamer…

Back to the kitchen now.

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The stars are a bottle of Stag’s Leap Cask 23 2010 (magnificent and has plenty years left), and a bottle of Chateau Beau Sejour Becot 1996 (need to drink now).

Oh, we have a 12-day aged prime rib for dinner, it is in grill now for a 4-hour

slow roast (200F).


Simply marvelous, congrats both food and wine (1996 is well aged, hope your guests will appreciate and don’t need to drive within 6 hours after dinner!).

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Thanks everyone. My server is optimized for ethernet streaming and I am definitely going to get the Airlens, but from what has been said here I will not be suffering in the meantime :slight_smile:

To be honest, given how good the DSD Mk2 is, for me I think I’ve moved on from the AL since. I wanted it for the i2s connection to the DSD but hearing various people’s comments about feeding it through USB and how marvelous it is, I’ve just decided to get a Holo Red and be done, plus it also does i2s. And 1/3 the price.

It’s a shame. By the time the AL comes out, I wonder if it’ll be too little too late.