I2S / Coaxial Connections Dilemma

I recently purchased the SACD Transport and the Airlens streamer. The manuals for both recommend the I2S connection to the DAC. I’m using the built-in DAC in my Stellar Strata integrated amp, which only has one I2S connection. It has a couple of coaxial digital connections. So, I have to use the I2S for one component and the coaxial for the other. Theirin lies my dilemma :disappointed:!

Any recommendation from the forum experts or from PS Audio techs/engineers?

Thanks - Walid

I’ll vote PST but the question I’d ask instead is where is most of your DSD content? If it’s on SACDs, let PST occupy the slot, if stored locally, then AirLens. The coax port on Strata doesn’t accept DSD, hence my reasoning.

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Thanks carbonF1. That’s what I’m leaning towards precisely for the question you put forth. Yes, all my DSD content is on SACDs. That too was the reason I purchased PSA’s SACD Transport. Worth to note though that the Airlens come supplied with I2S cable, but the Transport does not. Hmmm, is PSA trying to say?!

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The PST definitively deserves the best I2S IC. That said, there’s also a low cost PC, so why not also provide that uncostly I2S? Both will undoubtedly be replaced for better alternatives to show PST’s innate qualities.
Same goes for the AL, perhaps to a lesser extend.

I’m not sure I understand the scheme. Purchase a PC (personal computer?) to use it how? Sorry, I’m not too tech savvy.
I could also do the manual switching, plugging either the SACD Transport or the Airlens to the Stellar integrated I2S whenever I want to use either, but that could get annoying. I also wondered whether there is such a thing as a I2S splitter where I can connect both the PST and the Airlens simultaneously. Is there such a thing?

I setup the Airlens with the coaxial connector. Trying to get it to work using Tidal Connect but to no avail. Tidal shows the Airlens option, I select it and press the play button, but it does not go into the play mode. I updated the firmware for the Airlens and the streamer, just in case that was the issue, still the same, nothing.
Any suggestions?

Gave up too soon :grinning:! I rebooted the router and voila, Tidal Connect/ Airlens combo is working. Big sigh, I can breathe again.
Thank you folks for bearing with me through my frustration.
No, time to chill, and enjoy la musica .

Unbelievable clarity! Amazing sound! I’ve never used any kind of streamers before, so nothing to compare with except using my iPhone Bluetooth to stream to a tiny blueMe Pro receiver. It pales in comparison to the Airlens.

Paul, PS Audio team, job well done! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


PC here equals power cord.

My AirLens came with an I2S cable (cheap); not sure why yours didn’t. I do think you will want to upgrade to a better I2S cable. My system certainly benefited from this.

My Airlens did come with an I2S cable. But I had already purchased an audio quest I2S and a coaxial cable, middle of the road about $250 or so each. I2S for the PST and coaxial for the AL. So I’ve been streaming using the AL for few hours now, listing to my Tidal playlist that I’m very familiar with and just dumbfounded by the clarity and the separation of vocals and instruments, so clear even at high volume. Oh, and the bass is definitely deeper and more present. That despite using a pair of 35-year old speakers, Polk Audio SDA 1C. My next upgrade, you guessed it, the speakers. My room is very challenging though, so it will take sometime to figure out what speakers will work best.

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Thank you magister for the acronym, PC=power cord. :grinning:

HDMI Y-connector for I2s input - DACs - PS Audio forum HDMI Y-connector for I2s input

Don’t use y-connectors as they completely negate your investment in upgraded cables. Stick with your current configuration.

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I’m happy to hear you’re able to enjoy the music. That’s what it’s all about. After breaking in, the AL will be sounding even better, so you’re really up to a treat.

Good for you to have already upgraded your IC’s (inter connect). You can use that coaxial just fine, especially when using it to transfer the output from Tidal. Their highest resolution is lower than dsd, so technically you’ll not be limited in available resolution.

If you like, you may start reading (e.g. on this forum) into what cables can do for sound quality (SQ), but be aware of required budgets, even when considering buying on the used market.

Thanks! The AirLens is indeed getting an amazing reputation one (I dare say) is deserved. Thanks for chiming in!

@Walido using the coax connection from the Airlens, are you seeing the Strata show a 192kps connection? I ask as I have an Eversolo DMP-A6 connected via coax, but the Strata never shows anything over 44.1, while a USB connection does go to 192. Thanks!! And congrats!

I get Qobuz at up to 192kHz indicated with coax to the Strata using a Wiim Pro Plus via WiFi. But I did need to make sure that the Wiim Home app put out that resolution. Perhaps there is a similar change needed with the Eversolo.

Streaming from Tidal through the Airlens with the coaxial connection, the Strata displays 44.1k for High Res and either 88.2k or 96k for MQA. I haven’t seen 192k yet. I also tried the I2S connection for the heck of it. Same results. Is this a Strata limitation or disfunction ?

Thank you Job_Jalink! So after the break-in period another level of paradise awaits :grinning::+1:.
For connectors and PC, yes, they are scary expensive. I will be upgrading to middle-of-the-road quality, and eventually venture into the higher realm as i upgrade my components to a higher tier. I love this hobby.
My next priority is upgrading my speakers. Any suggestions? I’m looking into the the $4k to $7K range. Thanks!

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What Tidal are you using: regular hifi or hifi+?
Presumably the latter if mqa is showing, but I still have to ask. Did you check Tidal output settings?