Denafrips IRIS + Hi-Fi USB Card = Overkill?

Hello Everyone,

So, I am always looking for ways to improve my system.

Although, Digital and Analog sound good right now, I feel I could always squeeze out more performance.

On the Digital Side, I have a PC that I built that I use for Qobuz, FLAC, DSD.

A little while back I discovered Hi-Fi USB Cards, like the Matrix Element. My thought was perhaps with a card like that going to my DAC, I could improve my Digital Game.

Now, I just recently discovered Digital to Digital Converters (didn't even know such a thing existed). 

In particular, I am looking a the Denefrips IRIS.

So I guess my question is to anyone who has gone done this path and has experience with it, would one type of device be better than the other? Meaning DDC vs Hi-Fi USB Card?

To me it seems like they are trying to accomplish the same thing.

Would combining both just be overkill and the results minimal?

Just wanted to see if anyone else has tried either or perhaps both together?

Did you feel it really improved vs just going from a PC directly to your DAC?


No, not overkill.

I did some research...although I have never heard about the Matrix Element (until now).

USB ports on desktop computers are typically very noisy at the data-power level. Laptops - not as much, but noise generated from any internals would degrade sound quality.

Power supplies (higher efficiency) PSUs would improve how efficiently your computer uses electricity. System noise and temperatures of the CPU would also be reduced. This is inherently positive... a win for digital audio & overall computing.

I think it’s brilliant of you to share thank you. There are many folks with USB DACs who want to optimize performance.

For laptops, ifi has a jitter eliminator (which also includes a noise cancelation filter). With devices like this, it appears that we are actively improving the quality of the digital signal; therefore bettering playback quality to our headphones and/or speakers.

Thanks for your prompt input 

I just realized something, I was looking at the Denefrips website just now and saw that the IRIS actually does not have a USB output, only input (for some reason I thought it did).

Since my DAC does not have a I2S input, I would be limited to COAX and or Optical Input from the IRIS and therefore would forfeit DSD Playback.

I like listening to DSD and so it looks like this solution may not work for me unless I upgrade my DAC to something that has I2S inputs also.

That probably won't happen anytime soon since I like my DAC, has been working well for me.

Looks like If I want to improve on digital side then perhaps my only option would be to use a Hi-FI Style USB Card with a Linear Power Supply and maybe a Jitter Eliminator as you stated.

I use a Ubiquiti Networks swatch with 2 Fibre connections. I use each connection to a Sonore OpticalRendu which then converts USB and into 2 DACs. It sounds great and better than RJ45 network streaming and other non-Fibre streaming such as the microRendu.

The fibre cable cannot carry analog noise in the network to the DAC.

Thanks for your feedback.

I was looking at the Sonore website and tried looking at their manual and also some Youtube video's.

I am trying to understand how this unit would work in my system if I were to get it. 

So I am assuming this is how it would work connection wise (correct me if I am wrong).

Currently, my PC connects wirelessly to my network. 

I am assuming I would instead have to connect my PC via Ethernet to a switch that supports SPF (Fiber Connection). From the switch it would go out to the Optical Rendu via Fiber and then from the Rendu via USB to my DAC?

Is that correct?

I am also assuming that my audio output (regardless of what I am playing: JRiver, Youtube, Qobuz, etc) on my PC somehow has to be configured to output via ethernet so that all the audio makes it to the Rendu and DAC?

Is that correct?

Do you use a PC of any sort for music playback?

@jay73 Let me tell you my setup. Maybe my explanation will answer your questions.

1) I have 5 PowerLine adapters hooked up in 5 rooms of the house, including garage. These PowerLine adapter are $50 for a pair and transform the copper wire in your house electrical wiring into an extension of a homes Ethernet network.

2) I have a cheap DELL server ($400) that is running ROON Core in one of the rooms in the house. I do not think it matters about the internal electrical noise in this computer (explain later). The computer is connected to my Ethernet network using the PowerLine adapter. I have not used JRiver in a few years but if JRiver could function as a server then you would install that on a dedicated server like I have.

3) I have 2 audio systems in 2 rooms with 1 hooked up to the PowerLine adapter (living room) and the other hooked up from a network switch connected to my router (office). The other 2 PowerLine adapters are in the garage for my business servers and the family room for a MacMini for YouTube etc...

4) For the audio system in the living room. I connect an Ethernet cable from the PowerLine adapter to a microRendu in the living room. The microRendu then is connected to my DAC by USB. Now in the future, with available funds, I will change the microRendu to an OpticalRendu because the OR is so much better. However, instead of using a Network switch (which I could still use) I will likely buy the OpticalModule from Sonore that can convert Ethernet input to Fibre (similar to a switch). The reason for maybe not using a switch is to avoid flashing lights from a switch.

5) In my office I have a network switch (with flashing lights) that has 2 Fibre cages installed. I take 2 Fibre cables from the switch and input them to 2 OpticalRendu’s in the office system. The OpticalRendu’s then connect by USB to my 2 office DACs. I do not need the OpticalModule to do any Ethernet to Fibre Optical conversion. The switch already provides me Fibre.

For my music playback I use the ROON client that I have installed on my iPhone, MacMini, and a PC that is not my ROON Core PC. I can wireless control playback if required.

The beauty of the Optical is that it sounds amazing and I am told the reason for this is that Fibre cannot transmit analog electrical noise into a DAC (very bad) hooked up to an Ethernet network via RJ45 or USB. Noise can include power supplies, RFI, computer noise, etc. The Fibre is supposed to stop all that and will transmit a clean signal to the OptcalRendu which may add a bit of noise since it converts to USB.

The only DAC that I know of that can take a direct Fibre Optical cable as input is the Lumin X1 ($15K). So I will stick with my $1500 USB DACs which I feel using the Fibre Optical approach I have described is much better than RJ45 streaming and the microRendu.

Thanks for the detailed feedback!

That makes a lot more sense now.

What I need to do is decide if such an upgrade will make sense for me or if I am satisficed with where my Digital Sound is right now.

But all this information really helps.

The Sonore Products are quite interesting.
Using the coax connection you can feed DoP to your DAC. You’ll still be able to listen to your DSD files.