USB 2.0 or 3.X better for feeding DS

Since USB 2.0 has the required bandwidth for the formats supported by the DS dac, is their any advantage feeding from 3.X usb ports, or are they inherently more noisy? My understanding is that 2.0 is less noise from lower clock speeds, although the extra speed is disabled in 3.X ports when connected to 2.0 cable and sources.

Any insights here? Ted? Thanks in advance.

I don’t have any hard knowledge here. USB 3 provides more current when needed so it’s power supplies have to be a little better. That may lower VBUS noise a little. You are correct that noise over the USB cable from a USB 3 source isn’t affected by the potential extra speed, but if you have a USB 3 hub doing other things between the PC and the DS you might have more noise. I have a 10 port USB 3 hub with (among other things) five USB drives with my music library. I don’t hear the results of electrical noise from the data reads of the USB drives in the DS, but I do see just a little more noise on the scope.

One thing that I always liked to do is to put a powered USB 2.0 hub right before the DS with the DS being the only device on it. That can lower noise along that path to the DS and simple USB 2.0 hubs are cheap.


What brand(s) do you recommend for a usb hub ?
Sorry for the stupid question but when it comes to digital there seem too many unanswered questions.

And, what hub does @tedsmith use??

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I’ve been happy with Plugable, here’s the one I’ve been using for years:
Plugable USB 3.0 10-Port Hub with 48W Power Adapter – Plugable Technologies

For cheapo USB 2, I had good luck with Belkin mini hubs but I haven’t bought one of them for years. (

I’m sure most USB 2.0 hubs from reputable companies are fine these days. USB 3.0, 3.1, C, etc. are still changing and I’d be a little more careful to look at the warrantees and return policies for those. I’ve had a few USB C hubs be unreliable just because of how well the cables fit (or didn’t.) For now I’m sticking with non-USB C hubs.


Thanks Ted !
With these units I connect the I2s that feeds into the DSD dac ?

I’m lucky here. I use a Bryston BDP-3 which provides both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. How do I choose what to use for what purpose? I store all of my digital music library on a USB drive connected directly to the BDP. For that application I choose the USB 3.0 ports because I want the speed it affords. It helps greatly for file transfers to and from the drive. For the BDP to DAC interface (I have a companion BDA-3) I use the USB 2.0 port because the industry in general seems to have settled on 2.0 as the interface best suited for highest quality SQ. For me this mix has worked out really well.

No, you can either connect the USB directly to the DAC or use an external device to convert USB to I2S. The Matrix X SPDIF 2 is one such device.

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Is there any advantage going the Matrix X SPDIF route ?

The sound quality is definitely better with the Matrix and can be improved further with an external power supply. The Matrix thread has many, many suggestions:

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Thanks Ted !
I am always amazed as to how many “things” have to be considered when it comes to optimizing digital sound. Perhaps in the not too distant future life will become simpler in the digital sound world.