USB to 24/192 coax recomendations?

Hey Guys,

Just checking to see if anyone has any recommendations for a USB to Coax converter they like that will do 24/192. When I look, all I see are DACs, not just pure converters



1 Like

Honestly, wasnt the kind of thing I expected to need a specific budget for. I assumed it was like asking what displayport cables people liked. I guess sub $40 is ideal, but if I cant get clean signal with that I am open t other options. The thing just is, if we start hitting a few hundred I may be better off getting a new mobo w/ spdif

I guess Ill ask this then. Would I be better off getting an add-on sound car with coax/optical out for $40?

EDIT: I think i should be able to use an HDMI out to coax/toslink from my onboard (all my GPU output are filled). Whats your take on the options at hand?

The reason it can cost significant amounts is the adapter becomes where the clock is generated for the audio signal, and at the high end low jitter clock sources get expensive.
If you can find one used the Schiit Eitr used to have a strong following for a budget device (it was $100 new), but it’s no longer available.
There are cheaper ones, there is a small list here

The other option is going HDMI to SPDIF, that’s just masking off wires and the computer is generating the clock, so it should be minimal cost.


oh! I didnt even think o that aspect!. so the best options in that case would 100% be HDMI (if I can) or just a soundcard with coax/toslink out it seems like (or at least that would get me further for cheaper)?

Maybe see if there are soundcards with SPDIF output for that cost. I remember in the PCI-days, this was somewhat common.

ESI U24 XL can do SPDIF I/O, no hands on experience with it. I have an ESI Soundcard I am very happy with. does not tell me its price because “Product can’t be shipped to Germany”

1 Like

optical out of a soundcard is easy to do for $50 or so, but coax doesnt seem to exist on any sound cards short of $400 or so (which is fine). Is that going to be the lowest latency method method I can do for the price?

No idea. I don’t have the means to check latency. That said, most latency comes from software being bad.

1 Like

lol. No worries. I was trying to think of setup in my mind and just realized it wont matter anyways. I think that will be the simplest solution at least though so I may go that way (especialy since HDMI to optical/coax arent cheap/common either)

OT: all this hassle is because the BTA30 is massively limited over USB input, but plays nice with both optical and coax. Is this a common thing with DACs?

Optical is going to have issues at 192kHz. Look for USB to SPDIF converter, or for HDMI audio extractor if you want to go with the HDMI path.

At under $40 most of the stuff looks the same, check the reviews to make sure it works.

From an electronics standpoint, there is a massive difference between SPDIF and TOSLINK (= coax and optical) versus USB.
Timing difficulties asside, USB requires good filtering on the delivered power. As far as I know, the single-chip USB to I2S implementations are kind of mediocre.
SPDIF and TOSLINK are better that way (I think there are DAC chips that directly accept SPDIF).

I hadnt heard of that. Mind if I ask how people feed their DACs if mobos/sound cards w/ coax are unavailible anymore and toslink doesnt go that high? Dont get me wrong, I dont have anything higher than that anyways, so its just a curious question

From an electronics standpoint, there is a massive difference between SPDIF and TOSLINK (= coax and optical) versus USB.

I get that they operate differently (and I hadn’t thought about clocks before it was mentioned here), but is it realy any harder to utilize? Or just different?

EDIT: I just reread this and realized it comes off kind of attacking (? not the right word, but you get it). I dont mean it like that at all so I tried to edit it to get rid of that. Just trying to understand where the limitations are.

I mean, im not sure about the single chip USB to I2S solutions, but power filtering for noise/signal instability on USB (in my industry at least) is pretty easy (assuming you are getting main power from elsewhere and have an actual PS) so I’m surprised its issue here. Assuming no one here is doing massively long runs, type 4 POE and USB basically have the same noise susceptibility levels and have common/easy to implement filtering solutions for even fairly high data transfer rates (my background w/ the tech is automation). Am I just misunderstanding the total data transfer rate of uncompressed digital audio and thats why its an issue? Or is USB usage just not where it is for other industries? FWIW, I 100% believe you that USB noise can be an issue for audio equipment, I just dont get why that is.

SPDIF and TOSLINK are better that way (I think there are DAC chips that directly accept SPDIF).

Mind if I ask how you output SPDIF from your comp (assuming you have one you use)? I can figure out how to get optical out, but not coax.

USB devices either run Class Compliant (which requires the USB-Slave device to act a certain way) or you need a driver.

You would think that. And yet, from my hobbist knowledge about electronics, regulations and power supply design, most audio gear in all price brackets lacks any meaninful filtering except for a fuck ton of capacitors.

It is not about data. USB-Audio is a lot like UDP (networking protocol), it just throws the packets down the line at 1kHz and hopes for the best.

It is about the 5V and Gnd rails in the USB transfering common mode noise from the computers 5V rails (a lot of VRMs on mainboards either run of 5V from the PSU or of stepped down 7V (from the 12V rail). As somehow the existance of chokes is not trickled down to the audio manufactureres, this is what it is.

I don’t get it either. Maybe $5 worth of filtering is too much in a $1000 MSRP device. Who knows.

I have an ESI Maya 44eX to handle TOSLINK I/O. I have not used SPDIF via Coax in a long while.

AFAIK there are Toslink to SPDIF converter.


Mostly USB.

I mean, that is also true of all digital transfer formats. You either need to use a standard protocol or have a driver to understand your signal

I have seen a few people say that now. Thats just such a strange concept to me given how absurdly little it costs to implement (vs the cost of general tooling and the like for production).

Sorry about that. I brought up data bandwidth because USB 1.1 has an issue with packet loss when it is realy bordering on bandwidth capacity due to how the chipsets use to handle it. Not an issue with modern USB (since 3 at least), but lots of stuff still uses 1.1 implimentation that this can be an issue for, so I asked.

Which, again, is so weird. Obviously with lower power output devices than computers you have far less source noise, but even still, source noise isnt all that hard to deal with so long as you have a power filter on your card. Hell, the ones we use at work for 15 y/o dataloggers use an AGP port + external 5v plug from the PSU, cleans it separately, and then sends out 1.1 at basically unreadable noise levels (and this was even cheap to do when it was first made). Im suprised no one has done similar using PCIe or similar to get a good digital output source (that I can find at least)

Fair. Should I just not worry about coax for the time being and just get a toslink out (assuming the next dac I buy isnt a high enough quality to handle USB as well as it does toslink)?

1 Like

wait, so is USB limitations (when compared to other inputs) not common on DACs? I had thought someone said it was, but reading back I dont see that statement anywhere

There are “Audiophile USB Interfaces”, off which none strike me as remotly worth their price. (20€ PCIe-USB host adapter + 10-ish € off Linear Regulator and some caps, sold for 150€…)
What bugs me most are the ones that have an external barrel jack to send in power from an external PSU. Why would you do that when there is perfectly good power on the PCIe bus?

TBF, PCI bus power is fairly dirty and must be split from input signal (EDIT: for the absolute best benefits at least, that is a much easier way to go). That said, you have a 5v rail on your PSU…

1 Like

USB is fine for most people, and it supports the highest sampling rates. Coaxial and optical have more limitations than USB. USB works fine most of the time.

1 Like

lol, so I just 100% read something no one ever wrote. Got it. tyvm for the help