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USB interface into the mix

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I have been trying more and more changing things in my audio pc as I learn every day about this hardware of which I knew nothing only 3 months ago. 

the pc I bought second hand and was made by a Dutch audio store has two audio cards. A JCAT USB and a WaveIO USB to I2S/ SPDIF card. The card is inside the PC and is wired to a SPDIF coax input mounted on a PCI bracket. The USB input was wired from the motherboard. Being a tinker addict and posting a lot of questions (annoying to the more veterans in some forums...), I realised quite early that the PC has some decent HW but leaves a lot to be desired in the way it is setup. It has a bad linear power supply (which I’m almost done with replacing), SW wise I also tried several solutions and settled finally for Euphony. What i did not do so far is change the way the cards were setup. Each was setup as an independent source and I often compared between the two connected to the usb and coax inputs of my DAC. Until today. Today I connected the JCAT to the USB port on the WaveIO and into Coax on my DAC. The way the soundstage opened was no less than spectacular. This cannot be a permanent solution. The WaveIO does not support DSD on SPDIF plus it is inside the PC so I need to pull the usb cable from the external USB port of the JCAT to the card inside. Possible conclusion is that I need an external USB interface. I was looking at the Xing AF200. I read a nice review of the Xing usb interface apparently used by Denafrips. Would love to get more opinions, recommendations etc...

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Ultimately you'll need to figure out if the kernel of Euphony were able to recognize what you're getting, I found that both U30 and AF200 are sharing the same XMOS / Thesycon driver





Most likely Euphony should be good to go because of the popularity of XMOS / Thesycon.



If you really don't mind something without a chassis, Xing already made this interface for DIY and here's their official store in China





Brand:    XING;
model:    U30;


You could compare that to the prices offered by third party sellers


















Theoretically the pins might be compatible when we're comparing Xing to Amanero







Here's something called BridgePi for US$29





BridgePi's USB input could be connected to anything, just stack something like TransportPi on top of that and you'll get Coax output as shown below









And then you could also consider adding FifoPi Q3 Ultimate / Kali Reclocker etc. to make a sandwich like this




At some point you could consider replacing the clock(s) of FifoPi etc. as an upgrade, and then you could also try other products instead of TransportPi




I used to own an Allo Digione Signature and have compared it with PI2AES. Both boards are examples of great engineering. Allo sound is sensitive to the "clean power". I prefer simple setup. The PI2AES sounds great with a good switch power supply. Note that it can sound "ear-tight" fatiguing when powered by a unmatched PS. I tried 3 different switching PS, this one gave me the best audio results:



First, the HATs are different. Maybe the PI2AES is better immune to EMI noise? I don't know. The PI2AES uses LT3042 Ultralow RMS Noise voltage regulator (0.8uV). The Allo Digione Signature is sensitive to power supply (not a bad thing by itself).



Of course you could also connect BridgePi to the USB output of Raspberry Pi and then stack everything together, that will turn your USB interface into a network streamer as well





If you don't like the idea of BridgePi at all, you could actually turn Raspberry Pi 4 into USB interface




All links to ASR are blocked on this site and therefore I could only link to Google instead



Raspberry Pi as USB to I2S adapter



IMHO it's pretty cool to be able to upgrade the software of USB interface ourselves.



No good USB Type-C to Type-B adapters are available so far, that's why it's a little bit of bummer to get only USB Type-C input on AF200 IMHO.


It really depends on whether you're looking for something simple like AF200, or stuff like BridgePi etc. that could give you other upgrade paths in the future.


I'll work on replying your post on another thread, stay tuned.

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Many thanks for the detailed response! Indeed, many projects right now in times of pandemia when no travel for work and no social life :-) 


I have to admit that the USB-C input is a serious showstopper for the AF200, but the rest is only advantages. The AS318C version is 146 EUR in Aliexpress - a very competitve price! plus it has a 5V dc in 2.1mm which means I will be able to power it directly from my HDplex 300 LPS. 


The bridgepi - X30 combo is an interesting idea, although it costs almost the same. Not sure though how I power this? 



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Another important question is on the principal side (and I have been reading other threads in the same direction). Is a USB interface an addition in every scenario or should like look for a better DAC with a well executed USB interface? 





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48 minutes ago, al2813 said:

I have to admit that the USB-C input is a serious showstopper for the AF200, but the rest is only advantages. The AS318C version is 146 EUR


AS318 series ain't worth much to begin with because it's all about price gouging outside China IMHO, right now it's available from the seller of HXMelody HX500 for approximately $13





Already superseded by AS338 series and the price is right





36 minutes ago, al2813 said:

Another important question is on the principal side (and I have been reading other threads in the same direction). Is a USB interface an addition in every scenario or should like look for a better DAC with a well executed USB interface?


Maybe keep an eye on this one? Pretty much all owners seemed to be happy campers so far but you could only connect one source to U192ETL




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