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Using motherboard's optical out vs. USB

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I was wondering if it's better to use the optical out on the motherboard instead of USB to connect to a DAC/Receiver?


To some extent it depends on the DAC/receiver and what you'll be playing.


Advantages of USB:

- Asynchronous transfer (if supported by DAC) eliminates clock jitter.

- Supports very high sample rates.

- Can support DSD.


Disadvantages of USB:

- May need non-standard drivers.

- May carry electrical noise.


Advantages of optical S/PDIF:

- Electrical isolation avoids noise and ground loops.

- Compatible with most AVRs.


Disadvantages of S/PDIF:

- Limited sample rate.

- Multichannel only with lossy AC3/DTS.

- High clock jitter.


If you're connecting to an AVR, you could also use HDMI.


As someone else already said, you should really try all practical options and evaluate for yourself.

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