USB Split Cable + Galvanic Isolation + Corning USB 3. Optical

Man, since I ordered my DSD Sr. yesterday I think I have spent at least 10 hours on these forums reading and learning so much. This is such a great community.

Ted mentioned galvanic isolation many times with regard to the purity of the USB signal and why the Corning USB 3. Optical is desirable. I started doing my own research and wound up with more questions than answers and was looking to get some of your feedback.

Currently I use a USB split cable that has two independently shielded wires to carry power and signal separately such that if the DSD Sr. doesn’t require power input on the USB line I can remove the power component all together:

The only contamination I can think of in this scenario would be proximity cross talk induced at the actual USB header pins.

Which got me thinking- for ultimate galvanic isolation, what if I purchased the ifi galvanic isolator (link below) and used my split USB cable as the input. I could then use the Corning USB 3. Optical (link below) cable as an output to the DSD Sr. In this case the nanoiGalvanic3.0 would eliminate any possible power contamination and the Corning USB 3. can be driven directly into the DSD Sr. My only concern with this method is that I am not a big fan of the ifi’s REclock2/REgenerate2/REbalance2 nonsense, I don’t know what it is doing to the signal and would rather leave that heavy lifting to the DSD Sr.

Any thoughts? Am I crazy and should just stick with the split USB cable? Or does the daisy chain of USB Split Cable + Galavnic Isolator + Corning USB 3. Optical have some merit?



Go with the bridge instead…!(?)

Here are two Ethernet Galvanic Isolation options:

1: Audiostream “Review” of TP-Link Isolation

2: Audiostream Review of GigaFoil v4 “Black Box”

Not on topic but I thought you might be interested in learning about another option.

Have fun.

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…or consider this option;


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I am currently using the iFi iGalvanic between my NUC and DSD Sr. with very positive results and like it better than a couple other things I’ve tried (Intona Isolator, Uptone Regen and Bridge II). It’s just cleaning and reclocking the USB signal before passing it thru. That can only be a good thing, besides the Galvanic Isolation :^ ) Having said that I’ve got a Matrix X-SPDIF II coming tomorrow which may replace the iFi.

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Would be great to hear your thought about the iFi and the Matrix.

Yes, I will do that probably in the Matrix thread ;^ )

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I bought this week used Nuwave DSD DAC and I’m trying to figure how to maximize my chain too.
I think to go for the Matrix and the TP-Link combination.

I am using the DSD Sr. to decode PC audio for gaming/movie streaming too, so I would need a USB solution as well.

Don’t know if latency would be an issue, but you can run Ethernet via PC/Wi-Fi/Router to the DAC with a Bridge…


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@robwilgus @wijber

I put a significant investment in the DSD Sr. and I would rather trust its USB to IS2 internal conversion than pay for an external solution. I know the Matrix X-SPDIF 2 has an overwhelmingly positive reception on this forum, my fear is that although people may enjoy the sound better it may just be from coloration of the signal.

I am ignorant with regard to the X-SPDIF 2 and I have to do my research regarding its performance/measurements but I would be disappointed if a <$400 box that replicates existing functionality inside the DSD Sr. would do a better job.

Well the Matrix does a lot more than just the conversion.

If using the Matrix USB to I2S conversion yields better results than the DS DAC’s built-in USB interface, the main reason for that would be the crude fact that the active USB components and their upstream sources have been further removed from the sensitive interior of the DAC. Short of selling their own external box I’m not sure there’s much more that PS Audio could do at a reasonable price, so you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Have a read of the thread discussing the “super DAC” which Ted is now working on and you’ll see that physical and electrical separation of the analog output stage and the master clock from all the noise associated with getting input data and processing it is a foundational principle.

Let’s not lose sight of what is important… which is better sound according to our own personal preferences. The music we hear is a product of disparate equipment assembled based on our knowledge, experience, budgets AND personal preferences - unique as DNA when you factor in room acoustics. “Coloration” is an assumption and really has no point of reference as any recorded music is an interpretation of a live performance with many hands involved in the process. Now, one can say that such a device “colors” the already “colored” interpretation and that is fine, but the only way to rightfully conclude such would be through some type of comparison/testing - but of course that is subject to subjectivity. Again, what matters most is how it sounds to OUR ears unless all of this money, time, and effort spent is to please listeners other than ourselves

So, don’t become paralyzed by the fear of altering the “Almighty” pure audio signal. You may end up missing the most beautiful and elegant sound your ears will never hear. .


Perfectly articulated, Jeff.

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Galvanic isolation is at best a partial solution to filtering out dirty power from USB, as some remains in the signal wires.

Note that optical requires transceivers (converting electrical to light signals) at each end which are prone to noise and the SPDIF standard is so old it does not address jitter.

Best to use ethernet or I2S inputs, dependent upon the gear involved.

Thanks for the thoughtful responses all. Another question that I am sure has been covered, I am just having trouble finding.

Does the DSD Sr. with Snowmass require power on the USB line?

No it doesn’t. EDIT: well let me rephrase that. I believe it needs to ‘see’ it, as in a handshake or something?

RE: Concerns about power on the USB cable…

Here is an option I employed on my desktop system before I switched to an Audioquest Dragonfly Red DAC: ANTICABLE USB Digital Interconnect


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I would consider the Sonore “ultraRendu” & “ultraDigital” combo.

A great USB streamer/renderer and the usage of PS Audio I2S interface.

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Just recently incorporated fiber bridge into:

Ethernet switch> Sonore opticalModule (LPS) >fiber> Sonore opticalModule(LPS) >ultraRendu>ultradigital> I2S DSSr… with an impressive SQ bump. EtherRegen to follow when it comes out.

Head over to Small Green Computer, Sonore, or their forum on CA for a lot more info on this upgrade path. Well worth the $ to clean up the stream.

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