What’s an I2S cable?

I have an DSjr with an I2S input and an m2Tech Joplin MK iii Phono Preamp/A/D converter with a I2S output. What’s an I2S cable and where can I get one? Is it worth using?

It’s just an HDMI cable but since there is no standard for I2S pinouts it won’t matter if the DSjr and the m2Tech aren’t using the same one.

Thanks. What’s the advantage?

Depends on who you ask but I have never heard one. The Matrix crowd swears there is one though but fully outfitting a Matrix will cost you.

From one of PS Audio’s owner’s manuals:

"The PWD uses an HDMI cable to transfer I�S data. This data can only be used with another compatible PS Audio component, such as the PerfectWave transport, and will not work in other HDMI equipment as the I�S format incorporated does not comply with the HDMI standards. The HDMI connector and cable were chosen to carry the I�S signal because of their superior high- speed data transmission capabilities for multiple clocks and data lines.

As in all high performance audio applications, the quality of the cable is important to the overall sound, although any manufacturer’s cables can be used. PS Audio manufactures two models of approved I�S ready HDMI cables, either of which are highly recommended for this application.

No HDMI cable was included with the PWD and to get started it is OK to use an off-the-shelf HDMI cable."


I also understood that because Sony do not allow digital streaming of the DSD layer of SACD, manufacturers of SACD transports like PSA are required to use a proprietary connection to the corresponding DAC, for which PSA’s choice is I2S.

I’m curious, I recall the standard HDMI cable has a 5v power line like usb, does the PSA configuration do away with the power?

PS Audio provides 5V, unfortunately some non-PS Audio devices also do too. This can’t be good for sound quality and can cause all manner of weird symptoms if the DS is powered off (as in upgrading software) with the external I2S device still connected and powered.


M2Tech states that they use the ‘PS Audio Standard’. This may be superfluous in my case because I don’t have any DSD source to plug into the m2Tech Joplin.

With regard to our gear, it’s just an HDMI cable. However, other companies use I2S as a protocol and some use something like an RJ45 cable.