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Thread: S/PDIF vs USB

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jun 2018

    Location: Mildenhall, Suffolk

    Posts: 239
    I'm John.

    Default S/PDIF vs USB

    After enjoying the FLAC Files played from the Laptop, through a Bluetooth Speaker.
    I am now getting curious about hearing the Laptop and FLAC Files played through the main system.
    My DAC has a USB and COAX Input, so I believe I can play the FLAC Files straight into the DAC using a USB Cable.
    Is anybody using the USB Cable option as a interface ?.
    How is USB Cable rated as a interface, against the more common mentioned S/PDIF interface ?
    Are there any recommendations of Brands to be considered ?
    This will be my first venture into digital replay beyond CDP/DAC with a Mapleshade COAX Cable interface.
    Another experience to be ventured into, during the long dark evenings.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jun 2012

    Location: London

    Posts: 165
    I'm Marcus.


    I use USB, and I think a number of other forum members do as well.

    The 'better or not' depends on the particular implementation of a given dac, for me, USB sounded the best.

    I tried a few different USB cables out, from the cheapo type you use with a printer, a Belkin and tested a few others out at a dealer.

    I settled on the Chord C-Line, as I needed 3M, and it was the best I could get for my budget at the time, and certainly a worthwhile improvement against bog standard or Belkin.

    You need to try out with your particular kit, some people never hear a difference.
    Furutech/Studio Connections power cables and connectors-> Modded Marantz CD63SE or Bluesound -> Roksan K3 Dac -> RFC Venus -> LS25 -> Onkyo 9070

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jul 2013

    Location: Kingsbury, NW London

    Posts: 1,085
    I'm Clive.


    Just goes to show we all have our own opinions. I have just spent the afternoon comparing sp/dif & usb from my Aries G1 to my Qutest dac. With both connected and swapping between the two listening for about 20 min each and doing the exercise 3 times, I came to the conclusion that sp/dif sounded better to my ears.

    Im not saying that this is a definitive conclusion, just mine. It maybe well worth others trying the test.
    SOURCE:Auralic Aries G1, OPPO UDP-205 BluRay, SkyQ, Technics SL1210M5G/Achromat/MN Bearing/Isonoes with Boots/Origin Live Encounter Mk3A/Ortofon Cadenza Black or Hana SL or AT33PTG/II. PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter
    DAC: Chord Qutest, Chord Mojo/Poly
    AMPLIFIER:Bryston BP17-3 Pre & Bryston 4B3 Power
    SPEAKERS: Spendor D7.
    HEADPHONES OPPO PM-1 with Atlas Zeno cable, B&W C5 v2
    CABLES: Analogue: Speaker - Chord Signature. Interconnect - Atlas Mavros XLR x2, Atlas Mavros Ultra, Chord Indigo Plus XLR.
    Digital: Atlas Mavros Ultra x2, Atlas USB, Chord Optichord.
    Mains: Chord Power Chord x2, Black Rhodium Libra/MK/Shurter or Wattgate x4, IsoTek Orion 6 way, Sounds Fantastic 6way Mains Blocks.
    STORAGE Synology DS216J NAS with 2 x 3Tb WD Red hard-drives.
    TV LG55B7 OLED

  4. #4
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: North Down /Northern Ireland/ UK

    Posts: 18,553
    I'm Neil.


    Everything comes down to implementation and in some cases Coax is better than USB, but in others USB is better.
    Regards Neil

  5. #5
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 2,814
    I'm Lawrence.


    I might be wrong but as I understand it, at some point in the chain the file based output needs to be converted to S/PDIF for most dacs so there is a converter somewhere along the way. High end devices might have a high quality one built in at either end, but for average equipment anything built in is relatively low quality and you are better off getting an external converter from the USB out to the dac S/PDIF in. This often has other advantages in terms of better power supplies (if not driven off the usb power) and electrical isolation.

    Sent from my BLN-L21 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Join Date: Apr 2014

    Location: quebec

    Posts: 24
    I'm denis.


    I think that with the impossibility of a consensus about that usb versus spdif, all the crux of the matter depend of the implementation of the audio system and last but not least, i know that for sure, of the cleaning and filtering of the electrical grid and lines of the audio system...I use different mineral pieces of rock for that with a success astoundingly audible...It seems that the right minerals act like a kind of passive filtering device for the electro-magnetic field of the line and of the system and of the computer(router included)... Usually people laugh, and i usually does not talk about this anymore...But this forum is always civilized and if my remarks can make some curious spirit to try some experiment of his own with minerals he will be surprized and i will be pleased... It is difficult to be silent about that extraordinary case, and the results are so revolutionary that i dont call that a "tweaks" anymore...By the way i use s-pdif..

    Happy new year to all of you...

  7. #7
    Join Date: Jun 2018

    Location: Mildenhall, Suffolk

    Posts: 239
    I'm John.


    A year ago, with much lesser reading and philosophies learned.
    My thoughts on such a suggestion, that to place different minerals around a HiFi System, would have caused huge amusement, and in keeping with the Thread, "I would have thought somebodies taking the S/PDIF here" .
    Today though things are different, I suppose a analogy would be, I have become the flea, that scaled the hair, leaving behind the security of lower environment, to see what the world outside is offering.
    The idea of processing materials such as wire, to re-orientate their molecular structure following manufacture processes is acceptable, and seen as a design that could produce results that surpass a standard process of producing wire.
    The idea of Natural Dielectric Sheathing, Isolating Cable from contacting synthetic materials, are practices I do not see as unnecessary.
    I see them as designs to be tried, when a system is perceived as being at the end point, trying these designs at the interfaces of devices may just eek out the last bit of synergy.
    If your use of crystals has been perceived as a method to eek out that last bit of synergy, then I am pleased you have discovered it.
    It might be cheaper than uber expensive cable.
    For the curious types, who might be enticed to give it a go,
    What crystals types do you use ? How large are the crystals used ? Where do you suggest placing them ?
    As a response to the answers offered to my original post, it is now my view that I will need a Eitr interface between Laptop and DAC.
    Laptop>USB Cable>Eitr > Digital Coax> DAC.
    A device to replace the Laptop will be chosen in 2019, when I have more understanding, at present,
    a Kingdel i7 NUC, at less than $400 has a attraction.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: London N2

    Posts: 1,464
    I'm Edward.


    What is Eitr?

    By the way in addition to optimising your cables (and philosophies?) also focus on optimising the OS on your computer. Lots to do there especially if you are using Windows. Worthwhile improvements to be had. Maybe you already did.
    Source: Tidal/Roon
    DAC: Metrum HEX, Chevron Paradox

    Pre: LDR
    Amp: Radford Revival STA25 V,
    Sugden Masterclass 2018 spec
    Speakers: Tannoy Berkeley & Eaton, Kudos Cardea

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

  9. #9
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 56,695
    I'm Grant.


    What would u do Ed, pc wise?
    Last edited by struth; 31-12-2018 at 09:58.
    Grant .... ؠ

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
    .... ..... ...... ...... ................... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....

    **Men are not punished for their sins, but by them**
    ***SMILE, BE HAPPY***

  10. #10
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Valley of the Hazels

    Posts: 8,818
    I'm AMusicFanNotAnAudiophile.


    Quote Originally Posted by Edwardlon View Post
    What is Eitr?
    Good question - some folk seem to think everyone is telepathic
    Could be one of these http://www.schiit.com/products/eitr

    Common sense isn't anymore!

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