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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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