TOSLINK vs USB for DAC

GT98

[H]ard|Gawd
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Is there really any major difference in using a TOSLINK cable or just using a USB Cable to connect to my Schiit MODI 2 Uber DAC?
 

Island

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What's the modi's purpose? Are you using it as an external soundcard with your PC? If so, then connect via USB out to preferably a USB input going straight into the motherboard. If your connecting to a AVR or console like PS4, then you can use toslink
 

grausch

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USB power is not always the cleanest, and in my PC using any USB 2 port introduces static-type noise into the sound. Using TOSLINK you eliminate the potential to introduce noise coming from the USB port.
 

GT98

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USB power is not always the cleanest, and in my PC using any USB 2 port introduces static-type noise into the sound. Using TOSLINK you eliminate the potential to introduce noise coming from the USB port.

That's what I was thinking. I have an onboard sound card and an Asus Soundcard to try from plus USB, So I'll see what sounds the best between them and USB hookup
 

Island

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That's what I was thinking. I have an onboard sound card and an Asus Soundcard to try from plus USB, So I'll see what sounds the best between them and USB hookup



USB power is not always the cleanest, and in my PC using any USB 2 port introduces static-type noise into the sound. Using TOSLINK you eliminate the potential to introduce noise coming from the USB port.

The Dac internals should be able to eliminate any type of cross-talk or interference. While I agree with you both in saying that Digital out via Toslink is clean...Last Time I checked, U need a USB cable to install drivers and communicate with PC/Os device, unless you are just using a headphone amp, but then you would be asking about a magni...not a modi

https://schiit.com/drivers
 
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GT98

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I'm using the Modi 2 Uber as a possible replacement for my Soundcard(s)

I have a Vali 2 as my headphone amp. I'm getting a set of 2.1 Speakers to add to the Modi 2 as an alternative sound soruce
 

Island

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So, windows is going to have to communicate with the modi and install drivers, hence the need to use the USB. From the reviews I've read on shiit dacs, feedback, white noise, hum, etc is not an issue
 

sayu

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USB noise might not be an issue for you, but it is for me and many others. As mentioned, optical takes care of that. No drivers needed.
 

omegatotal

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USB power is not always the cleanest, and in my PC using any USB 2 port introduces static-type noise into the sound. Using TOSLINK you eliminate the potential to introduce noise coming from the USB port.
sounds like you have power or ground issues with your motherboard or something connecting to it., I have never experienced that on anything I own unless it was failing or failed.
 

Island

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USB noise might not be an issue for you, but it is for me and many others. As mentioned, optical takes care of that. No drivers needed.

He's going to use the modi dac as his soundcard from what I gather in his post. he needs to use USB and drivers are needed albeit windows native versus the ones on the Shiit website
 

sayu

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He's going to use the modi dac as his soundcard from what I gather in his post. he needs to use USB and drivers are needed albeit windows native versus the ones on the Shiit website

He doesn't NEED to use USB and if he doesn't use USB, he doesn't need drivers. Toslink doesn't need drivers. I would know, I actually use optical connections to my dacs (gustard x20, modi 2 uber, smsl m8).


And yes maybe I do have power issues (household, not computer/device) but that doesn't change the fact that USB noise issues are fairly common (see all the gadgets made by many companies to address the issue). If the OP has these issues then optical would be the answer to his question. If he does not have USB noise issues, then USB would arguably be the better option.
 

westrock2000

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The Dac internals should be able to eliminate any type of cross-talk or interference. While I agree with you both in saying that Digital out via Toslink is clean...Last Time I checked, U need a USB cable to install drivers and communicate with PC/Os device, unless you are just using a headphone amp, but then you would be asking about a magni...not a modi

https://schiit.com/drivers


Schiit drivers, been saying that for years :p
 

grausch

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sounds like you have power or ground issues with your motherboard or something connecting to it., I have never experienced that on anything I own unless it was failing or failed.

USB2 -> Sound Blaster X-fi HD USB was fine.
USB2 -> Sound Blaster X-fi HD USB -> Bottlehead Crack via RCA introduced a static type noise.
USB3 works perfectly no matter how I listen.

I thought the Crack had a loose solder joint, but output from the iPhone to the Crack was fine. I always used a powered USB-hub so I thought it should correct any USB issues. Only device with any detectable issues on the hub was the DAC, everything else worked fine. However, if USB power never had any issues, then Schiit would not be selling the Wyrd - http://schiit.com/products/wyrd. I was considering getting this, until I discovered switching to USB 3 solved my issue.

I may be mistaken, but I always thought grounding issues would lead to hum and not static. In any case, if there are issues with noise, using the optical connection may solve them.
 

GT98

[H]ard|Gawd
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Just as an update, it works fine with either TOSLINK or USB. I am disappointed with the Modi a little bit...the selector button is loose or as their tech support says free floating...and it makes a rattling noise if you shake it. Not the best of build quality IMO
 

Compddd

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What did you end up deciding to connect it to your PC with? USB or Toslink?
 

Compddd

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He doesn't NEED to use USB and if he doesn't use USB, he doesn't need drivers. Toslink doesn't need drivers. I would know, I actually use optical connections to my dacs (gustard x20, modi 2 uber, smsl m8).


And yes maybe I do have power issues (household, not computer/device) but that doesn't change the fact that USB noise issues are fairly common (see all the gadgets made by many companies to address the issue). If the OP has these issues then optical would be the answer to his question. If he does not have USB noise issues, then USB would arguably be the better option.

How do you connect to your PC with the Toslink? Via the motherboard?
 

OFaceSIG

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I don't see how a USB connection can induce noise on a USB DAC. To me this sounds something is wrong with your DAC. USB only carries digital info, no analog audio. Even if there is electrical noise coming from your port your DAC should be isolating it from the analog audio output. If it isn't, then your DAC is defeating the purpose of having an external DAC which is supposed to seperate itself from the electrical noise of your motherboard.
 

Sunez

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I don't see how a USB connection can induce noise on a USB DAC. To me this sounds something is wrong with your DAC. USB only carries digital info, no analog audio. Even if there is electrical noise coming from your port your DAC should be isolating it from the analog audio output. If it isn't, then your DAC is defeating the purpose of having an external DAC which is supposed to seperate itself from the electrical noise of your motherboard.

I agree. In addition, USB is reliable connection and if there is an error (may be incurred by noise), it detects the error and re-transmit the data. So the data which DAC receives must be the same from the sender. I am thinking to buy either Modi2 or Modi2 Uber and found some people complaining this issue. Indeed, it seems that there are real people who have some static noise issues and they keep repeating that their problems are solved with Modi2 Uber or optics. I guess USB sometimes can't provide enough power to Modi2 or it experiences high transmit errors under uncertain reasons. If I meet more people with the static noise issues, I also will go with Modi2 Uber.
 

RandemTox

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I agree. In addition, USB is reliable connection and if there is an error (may be incurred by noise), it detects the error and re-transmit the data. So the data which DAC receives must be the same from the sender. I am thinking to buy either Modi2 or Modi2 Uber and found some people complaining this issue. Indeed, it seems that there are real people who have some static noise issues and they keep repeating that their problems are solved with Modi2 Uber or optics. I guess USB sometimes can't provide enough power to Modi2 or it experiences high transmit errors under uncertain reasons. If I meet more people with the static noise issues, I also will go with Modi2 Uber.

USB Audio (Isochronous mode, i.e. what you're using with a USBA 2.0 Async connection) does not do data-retransmission.

The power lines on a USB port from a typical PC are often very noisy and that noise can get injected into the circuits of the DAC. VERY few DACs, especially entry level stuff, has any kind of isolation - and if you want full galvanic isolation you're either using an isolator or a higher-end DAC. If your DAC is USB powered then there is no way it is isolated and, at best, it has a reasonable onboard voltage regulation - still unlikely it has much in the way of specific noise filtering however. It's easier to just use TOSLINK if you have the option.

For completeness, the "digital data" on the USB data lines is a modulated analog voltage.

For USB 3.0 there is so much crap emitted, even as RF (so no physical connection needed) that it can clobber 2.4Ghz wireless networks that are place too close (Intel have had this issue).
 

Megalith

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I can't stand the idea of optical because that may involve dealing with additional audio software. Like, I kind of not want to install Realtek crap if I don't have to.
 

RandemTox

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I can't stand the idea of optical because that may involve dealing with additional audio software. Like, I kind of not want to install Realtek crap if I don't have to.

I can certainly understand that.

However, on Windows you're going to need a driver, at least, regardless of whether you use Toslink or USB-Audio 2.0 connections since Microsoft still doesn't support USB-Audio 2.0 out of the box. If Windows vendors are still bundling tons of crap in their driver packages that's a different story. But on OS X and (usually) Linux this is all handled without additional software installations.
 

I3eyond

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From experience USB>Optical. Just trusting my ears, no theorycrafting. I have a headphone setup and a stereo setup that have ran both optical and USB, and I prefer USB.
 
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