USB sucks

USB really isn‘t the right connection between DAC and Server: depending on cables used, you get very different sound quality if the server manages to recognise the DAC at all. Some time ago I replaced my highly tuned Mac Mini (by now-defunct Mach2mini, running Puremusic via USB) with an Innuos Zenith Mk3. For starters I couldn‘t get the DAC (Antelope Zodiac Gold) and server to recognise each other, transmission from the server under USB2.0 wasn‘t possible because the server is Linux based (mind, both alledgedly support the USB2.0 standard) and when I finally got them to talk to each other (by using Artisansilvercables (pure silver) the sound quality was ho-hum. While I understand the conceptual attraction to have the master clock near the converter under asynchronous USB, the connection‘s vagaries (need for exact 90 Ohms impedance, proneness to IFR interference, need to properly shield the 5v power line, short cable runs) makes one wonder, why one wouldn‘t do better to update I2S or S/PDIF or at the higher end use AES/EBU. After more than 20 years of digital playback, the wide variety of outcomes from minor changes seems unacceptable.

Since then and after a lot of playing around I have replaced the silver cables by Uptone USPCB rigid connectors, inserted an Intona Isolator 2.0 and Schiit EITR converting USB to S/PDIF. Connection to the DAC is via Acoustic Revive DSIX powered by a Kingrex LPS.

The amount of back and forth to make all this work is mindboggling, depending on choice of USB cables (with and without separate 5V connection, short, thick and God-knows what else) is hard to believe for something called a standard interface and the differences in sound quality make any review of USB products arbitrary verging on meaningless.

Obviously S/PDIF gives you no native PCM or DSD but, hey, most recordings still are redbook, anyway.
Conversely it is plug and play although quality of the cable still matters but finally it got me the sound quality I was looking for. It may not be the future but nor should USB, given all the shortcomings. Why is the industry promoting a standard that clearly isn‘t fit for purpose?

Finally, I invite the Bits-are-bits naysayers to go on a similar journey, it just might prove to be educational.
If there were a definitive answer, all would adopt it and quit debating.

But because there isn't, the process is the product, the medium is the message, and the reading is the resonance. Closer to fine, every bit.
I have a 2010 MacMini with dual SSDs one for the OS and one for music files.  I run USB to my Schiit Yggdrasil w/Unison USB.  I started with a  generic data cable as I did not yet understand the issue with music transmission through USB.  I upgraded to an AudioQuest Cinnamon and was quite amazed in the sound change.  I then upgraded to the AudioQuest Coffee and was again pleased with the improvement.  I am currently very pleased with the sound from my setup.  
SQ from usb sucks too! Get the best network attached dac you can afford then you get the best of both worlds: be need for a dedicated server in the audio room and no usb along with its many tweaks
This thread 😆😆😆

Idk, it sounds like this company was way too ambitious with their drivers and software after reading a review. The DAC I mean. 

All the nonsense about USB being unreliable is exactly that, nonsense. Plugging something in, installing drivers and configuring software is not a journey for most people. If you don’t like all that then stick to optical media and vinyl. 

+1 dougeyjones

I have heard PS Audio DirectStream, Denefrips Terminator, Chord Hugo, Geisler DACS and quite a few I can't recall the name of, all using USB. Including Grandinote, pity I wasn't there for the MSB session.

I used to make Curious Cables, they are expensive, I do use a JCat Femto USB card in my computer server also not cheap.

I have read many reports that ethernet is superior to USB for streaming, however I can't say USB sucks, I mean, at all.
Opinions vary, glad you found something that works for you.