I2S vs USB


#1

Hallo, I´m new in this forum, but read already a lot in here103_gif

I have a chicken and egg problem. Looking forward to upgrade my system whit a new DAC and the Directstream DAC is (after all I read about it) my top candidate. Since I used only a CD Player so far, I need to rip and store my CD´s first, so I´m looking for an audiophile server, NAS & Bridge plus ripper or whatever solution is the best. The audiophile server would have the beauty of an “all in one” solution whit the parts I like. Now the Directstream DAC is “less sensitive” than other DACs, but I guess qualety of e.g. power supply (linear power supply or battery power supply) still matters? How about the USB output, there are some high end products such as from Paul Pang, JCat or SotM, do they improve the SQ significant on the Directstream DAC? And there is also an interessting output card whit I2S from Pink Faun which looks like it works well after a modification whit the PWD. I understand that for PWD and DD different things matters. Is in principle the native I2S the better solution for the DD or does it makes the DAC dependent from the computer clock, so that only the transversion over asyncron USB enables the DD to get rid off the jitter? Which way to go?


#2
schwoasser said Hallo, I´m new in this forum, but read already a lot in here103_gif

I have a chicken and egg problem. Looking forward to upgrade my system whit a new DAC and the Directstream DAC is (after all I read about it) my top candidate. Since I used only a CD Player so far, I need to rip and store my CD´s first, so I´m looking for an audiophile server, NAS & Bridge plus ripper or whatever solution is the best. The audiophile server would have the beauty of an “all in one” solution whit the parts I like. Now the Directstream DAC is “less sensitive” than other DACs, but I guess qualety of e.g. power supply (linear power supply or battery power supply) still matters? How about the USB output, there are some high end products such as from Paul Pang, JCat or SotM, do they improve the SQ significant on the Directstream DAC? And there is also an interessting output card whit I2S from Pink Faun which looks like it works well after a modification whit the PWD. I understand that for PWD and DD different things matters. Is in principle the native I2S the better solution for the DD or does it makes the DAC dependent from the computer clock, so that only the transversion over asyncron USB enables the DD to get rid off the jitter? Which way to go?


All inputs are essentially the same as far as jitter rejection is concerned (the FPGA doesn’t know the difference between USB and I2S). The differences in inputs come from things like system ground loops, etc. Differences between USB and I2S are probably very system dependent. USB doesn’t have a leg up on jitter, the FPGA’s jitter rejection is more complete than USB offers.

In general the DS should be less sensitive to the server’s details - but everything matters, it’s just whether that difference is audible in your system. FWIW I use my laptop and external USB drives for my server, ripper and player. I don’t hear any practical difference between the inputs, but I’m not saying that no one can.

As I posted elsewhere, when Paul, another person and I listened A/B’s the JCAT cable, the differences were a matter of preference: Paul liked the JCAT better, the other person and I liked it worse.


#3

Thanks Ted for the answersmile

So if I understand this correct; in theory the nativ I2S has an advantage over USB, but in practice the difference will be small and depends more from the system interaction and personal taste?


#4
schwoasser said Thanks Ted for the answersmile

So if I understand this correct; in theory the nativ I2S has an advantage over USB, but in practice the difference will be small and depends more from the system interaction and personal taste?


USB connects up a 5V signal between the source and destination so that signal might be a source of electrical noise to the DS - that isn’t ideal.

The ground loop kind of issues are very system dependent - I2S or USB could each win or loose.

The jitter that’s coming into the DS isn’t a problem for USB or I2S.


#5
schwoasser said Hallo, I´m new in this forum, but read already a lot in here103_gif

I have a chicken and egg problem. Looking forward to upgrade my system whit a new DAC and the Directstream DAC is (after all I read about it) my top candidate. Since I used only a CD Player so far, I need to rip and store my CD´s first, so I´m looking for an audiophile server, NAS & Bridge plus ripper or whatever solution is the best. The audiophile server would have the beauty of an “all in one” solution whit the parts I like. Now the Directstream DAC is “less sensitive” than other DACs, but I guess qualety of e.g. power supply (linear power supply or battery power supply) still matters? How about the USB output, there are some high end products such as from Paul Pang, JCat or SotM, do they improve the SQ significant on the Directstream DAC? And there is also an interessting output card whit I2S from Pink Faun which looks like it works well after a modification whit the PWD. I understand that for PWD and DD different things matters. Is in principle the native I2S the better solution for the DD or does it makes the DAC dependent from the computer clock, so that only the transversion over asyncron USB enables the DD to get rid off the jitter? Which way to go?


You could consider the solution I have found. The W4S ms2 server does all you want with an i2s output that is compatible with PS Audio DACs. It is also a ripper, DLNA server for the bridge, and has USB output if you want to compare. Not sure about the DS, but with the PWD2 the i2s connection is the best (for me at least).

#6

Thanks Stereophilus, I appreciate your input!

At the moment I think about the c.a.p.s. v3 zuma with Redwine Audio battery power supply which is in the same price range as the W4S m2 server and comes whit the SotM USB card. Advantage is that the battery supply avoids ground loops and noise, also the SotM card can switch of the 5V if the DAC doesn´t need it. For similar price as the SotM USB card, I could also buy the Pink Faun I2S card. Also Paul Pang offers very nice music servers. Which drive to use for ripping I´m not sure jet. I would be greatful for further inputs and ideas!


#7

Do any other I2S cards exist apart from Pink Faun? Pink Faun is “Windows only” :(


#8

If the DAC does not need the 5V signal, can this wire be removed from a USB cable? Will that make a difference?


#9
Alekz said If the DAC does not need the 5V signal, can this wire be removed from a USB cable? Will that make a difference?
I don't rightly know - it's used for signaling, but it also goes thru a 1k resistor and is used like a data line input to the XMOS chip so it's effects should be lessened accordingly. I don't think it will physically hurt anything to lift it, but I really don't know if it will compromise the ability to connect.

#10

If this is about whether the 5 v is needed to connect no it’s not, I use this Short Block which disables it.

http://www.empiricalaudio.com/products/short-block