Matrix X-SPDIF 2 vs FMC

I may be getting totally confused and misunderstanding what the Matrix X-SPDIF 2 but is it fair to compare it with optical ethernet FMCs for the purposes of isolation?

My current understanding is that the two approaches are this:

  1. music server -> USB cable -> X-SPDIF 2 -> I2S cable -> DSD DAC
  2. music server -> ethernet cable -> router -> ethernet cable -> FMC -> optical cable -> FMC -> ethernet cable -> DSD DAC

Assuming power supplies are equal, which do people feel is the better approach.

As always, thanks so much for the upcoming education. :slight_smile:

The Matrix isn’t really an isolation device: it’s a well designed and built USB -> AES3 / S/PDIF / TOSLink / I2S converter. I find this function to be valuable in my system and it’s gravy that I also get better sound quality in my system. The Matrix (possibly with an external power supply) is all the tweaking that many people think they need with USB.

I’d say that the Matrix helps most people’s systems sound quality enough that they don’t feel that the Bridge (even well tweaked) has an inherent advantage compared to USB. This frees them to pick the UI they want or, for example, the infrastructure they want (USB doesn’t support nearly as long of a cable as Ethernet does.)

To me the biggest difference in the two options you show would be the user interface. Personally I don’t like any of the UIs that I’ve seen for DLNA / UPnP systems, they don’t let me navigate my music collection in the manner to which I’ve become accustomed. On the other hand probably most people like those interfaces better than the nerdware I use (foobar2000).

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Thanks, @tedsmith!

I’m a fan of roon so if I went down the Matrix route I would run roon on the music server and output directly from it’s USB to the Matrix and ultimately into the I2S port on my DAC. I think would work and would negate the need to invest in FMCs and potentially one additional LPS. (2x FMCs vs 1x Matrix).

The only downside I see is that I’d need to have my music server in the listening room.

I think that would be the best approach assuming I can mask any audible fan noise from the server (could do fanless NUC of course)?

I find Foobar2000 to be the absolute best windows media player whatsoever! I have tried them all.