I2S vs USB Auralic Aries

I have a Directstream DAC connected with USB to my Auralic Aries and very happy with the sound. I have read online that the best sound quality is by using the I2S input on the Directstream DAC. As the Aries doesn’t have a I2S output, I am thinking of buying a Singer SU-1 or Matrix S-SPDIF 2 which have the I2S output to go to my Directstream DAC. Would this bring any sound quality improvements over my current direct connection from the Aries to the Directstream DAC with USB?


The benefit of I2S comes from keeping the separated clocks and data in their original form without going through multiple PLLs etc that go from. One form, like S/PDIF or USB to another. So, my advice would be no, unless you can get a source like the DMP that has native I2S then it won’t be worth your time or money.

In theory, and anecdotal practice, either SU-1 or Matrix will isolate DAC from PC electrically but this is an aside re: I2S.

I have a Matrix being delivered today, I’ll update after a week or so of using it. Currently, I find PC direct USB to DS more enjoyable vs. Bridge II. The Bridge II seems so soften/round off the edges a bit too much for me, like it’s ‘too nice’ or ‘too well behaved’.

I installed a Matrix X-SPDIF 2 between my Melco and the DS Sr. so I could access the DS Sr.'s I2S inputs. The sound improvement was immediate and not subtle. There are too many variables to say whether you would achieve a meaningful sonic improvement from your AURALiC Aries by adding a Matrix, but I would be surprised if you didn’t.

And I would expect the Melco is a relatively low noise device given its design and target audience.

I have a plain jane PC that if UPS ever makes it this way, I’ll try out and post.