DAC's and USB 3 (or higher)

are there any USB 3 (or higher) supporting DAC’s out there?

balanced and / or single ended?

or any tricks with using USB 3 (or higher) ports off a computer / notebook to a USB 2.0 DAC?

I asked Schiit support and they recommended you use 2.0 gear across the board if at all possible. that’s usually not an issue for desktops as they tend to come with 3 (or higher) and 2.0 ports. not so much with notebooks as they tend only to have two or three ports now…one 3 (or higher) type C and then two 3 (or higher) type A, at best.

I mean a fair amount of dacs have usb3, but tbh you really don’t get a benefit from it unless you are playing extremely high end files like over 192k or dsd128. You don’t really have to worry about using a usb3 port, as they will both function as normal imo

most say it’s a USB 2.0 port…I can’t recall any specifically mentioning they’re running gen 3 or higher USB technologies.

and 3 is backwards compatible…but there’s always opportunity for bugs, hence my query.

Alot of ifi dacs or other dacs use 3.0 or higher. I would just use the ports you have, and if possible perhaps try to use the audio device alone on one usb controller (if your machine has multiple controllers)

The big “win” in USB3 was the loss of the frame clock, it reduces latency for things like USB storage.
And the obvious increase in bandwidth.
They’re really not a big win for audio

yeah…not a real win until we have audio that needs the bandwidth.

USB2 has a peak speed of 480 MBits/second, that’s 15Million 32 bit samples per second uncompressed.
CD is 44000 16 bit samples a second.
Audio is unlikely to ever need that bandwidth

You only need usb 3 if you play dxd or dsd256 or higher

why’s that? as Poly just showed…bandwidth saturation isn’t an issue / concern for even USB 2.0.

Well you can have clock and jitter differences, but the main thing is that those types of files require more bandwidth than a simple CD quality file. You might be able to play them through USB 2, but it might not be stable. My ifi stuff won’t play the ultra high res stuff without USB 3. Realistically though it really doesn’t matter because like very little music is in that high res of format

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interesting. thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

I myself only release masters at 24/192 (well it’s 32 bit when I’m working on it) because I really don’t feel the need to go higher (also gear limitations lol)

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I had a PreSonus Audio interface that had a USB-C port, that may or may not have been in USB 3.1 Gen 1 spec (what USB 3.0 is commonly called), because the thing had more jitter than a hamster driven record player.

For 2 channel DACs (or any other “home gamer” device), USB 2.0 offers sufficent bandwidth (480Mbit/s).

USB 3.2 Gen1 with its 5Gbit/s is simply overkill.

Yeah, it’s more how they designed the dacs usb design

Also with an interface that’s a bit different because you have audio streams both ways

You could use an FPGA as a DAC, and even then, bandwidth would not be a problem.

While USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (yes, really) is the only released USB standard that supports full duplex, this does not affect data rate or latency in a meaningful way.
Audio is just not a very complex thing to transport over digital media.

For education purposes:

Bandwidth isn’t the main concern, its driver support and interface compatibility


When the basic interconnect on a hardware level (such as USB) fails, the driver is SOL.

You haven’t experienced the wonderful lack of care some manufactures put into low latency driver solutions lol

Anyways main point just use 2.0 or higher and if your dac has 3.0 or higher support use that

  1. I have experienced more shitty software of every kind than I would like
  2. I have enough knowledge in electronics and computer science to know where someone fucked up
  3. Latency on an audio level is LOOSE. Yes, milliseconds are loose! Microseconds are a thing in networking gear (the stuff where low latency audio runs over at times), and processors and high-speed interconnects in computers are sub-nanosecond in acceptable jitter.