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Thread: SPDIF sound card vs. SPDIF converter

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate
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    SPDIF sound card vs. SPDIF converter

    Hello,

    I am tring to find the high end solution. I used the Audison BitOne as the audio processor and want to use the digital signal as the input of bitone. It seems that there are two kinds of device:

    1) Sound Card with S/PDIF output
    There are many posts in this forum related to this.

    2) USB to S/PDIF converter
    For example, the expensive Bel Canto


    Or the DIY one



    So which type is best fit in my case? Does the dedicated converter work better than sound card?

  2. #2
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    I imagine that a usb-spdif adapter would be the best, becasue it would be a dedicated convertor, whereas the spdif soundcard is primarily used for analog sound output, but includes spdif for thos that want it--if there was a quality differance, i really think they are going to work the same though.

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate
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    The spec of USB-SPDIF say it is plug and play without drivers, does it support ASIO?

  4. #4
    Low Bitrate Flaring_Afro's Avatar
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    usb is a sound card. its just usb instead of internal. usb takes up more processing and can slow boot time. if you dont have a laptop, i'd go with a good internal sound card.
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  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate
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    These solutions are basically all the same, just implemented differently. A USB->SPDIF converter is just a USB sound card with only SPDIF outputs, it's nothing special.
    -James
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  6. #6
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    These solutions are basically all the same, just implemented differently. A USB->SPDIF converter is just a USB sound card with only SPDIF outputs, it's nothing special.
    Well yes and no....spdif is a transport medium->there are various features that should be considered.
    1. Does the chip do Stream Pass-Through or does it re-encode the stream?
    2. Does it support 24bit audio or only 20bit?
    3. What sample rates does it support?
    4. Does it only support PCM or does it support AC3, DTS or even the HD audio formats?

    Flaring_Afro has a great point->usb sound cards use a significant amount of USB bandwidth. You'll want to make sure the sound card has a dedicated usb bus otherwise theres a good chance you'll get lag or stuttering.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by justchat_1 View Post
    Well yes and no....spdif is a transport medium->there are various features that should be considered.
    1. Does the chip do Stream Pass-Through or does it re-encode the stream?
    2. Does it support 24bit audio or only 20bit?
    3. What sample rates does it support?
    4. Does it only support PCM or does it support AC3, DTS or even the HD audio formats?

    Flaring_Afro has a great point->usb sound cards use a significant amount of USB bandwidth. You'll want to make sure the sound card has a dedicated usb bus otherwise theres a good chance you'll get lag or stuttering.
    That's true but all of these concerns would be the same as comparing one sound card to another, my point was that a USB-SPDIF converter isnt anything special, it is just a USB sound card, and should be thought of as such
    -James
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  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate FPeter's Avatar
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    most of the "USB transport" stuffs are based on TI PCM2906 / PCM2706 or CMI CM106/108/119 etc, with unconnected analog part... there is no special thing, its only a soundcard... when the documentation says that "no additional driver is required" this means there is no direct ASIO support, but in most cases they can be used with ASIO4ALL ( DirectSound based ) or ASIO2KS ( kernel streaming based - bypass the dummy mixer on driver level ) - the last one is better, but it has problem with several soundcard, You are lucky if its ok...

    but of course, the are difference between SPDIF out and SPDIF out! its a one wire system, clock is recovered from the stream - so its very sensitive on both sender, cable and receiver side...

    and the real fact is that the SPDIF itself is not a real high-end, professional stuff! its a cheap consumer design... of course, it gives much better quality and noise free, compared to onboard and cheap/expensive soundcards...
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