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RE: Dedicated USB converter or

An external USB -> S/PDIF converter still needs an S/PDIF receiver in the DAC. A USB receiver in the DAC does not need to go through the S/PDIF conversion and clock extraction process. Although many DACs actually DO use a USB to S/PDIF converter in the box and feed that into the S/PIF input.

A really good asynchronous USB input in the DAC is probably going to be better sounding than a really good external converter feeding the S/PDIF input on the DAC.

If the DAC has a crappy USB receiver you are better off using a GOOD external converter.

So how do you tell them apart? Look at the manufacturers specs first, check the sample rates supported by the S/PDIF and USB inputs. If the S/PDIF says it supports up to 192 and the USB only goes up to 48, you are probably better off with an external converter. If the spec says the USB input is asynch and goes up to 192 you probably have a good USB receiver and will be better off without an external converter. If the S/PDIF goes to 192 and the USB is asynch but only goes to 96, you have to decide if 192 is important to you. There are some very good asynch USB inputs that only go up to 96, if you don't need 192 support, USB directly into these can be a very good choice.

If none of these is definitive, look at the marketing literature, what does it focus on? If all it talks about is how good the S/PDIF input is and never talks about the USB input it's probably a good bet that the USB input was thrown in as an after thought and you will be better off using an external converter. If the marketing literature talks a lot about how good the USB input is, then you can probably assume the designers have done a good job with it and you probably don't need an external converter.

Of course the BEST way is to try both options yourself, but if you don't have that option the above might help steer you in the right direction.

John S.

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  • RE: Dedicated USB converter or - John Swenson 13:42:34 04/17/12 (1)


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