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 that were true, why is InnuOs lauching a Phoenix reclocker costing $4000+.
Even Mike Moffat of Schiit Audio now prefers USB. He’s an accomplished designer and originally was very anti-USB. With the right implementation of the new asynchronous architecture, USB is superior. In my and many other’s opinion. 
Innuos will make a $4000 reclocker because people will buy it. Whether they need it or not. 


You seem to be having an issue with business fundamentals.. If there’s a market, then it makes business sense for someone to create a product that addresses the market demand.

It matters not one bit that there wasn’t a demonstrable problem in the first place. This community is living proof of these principles. 
If you build it.....they will come.

Maybe their stuff needs reclocking they didn’t build it right in the first place. Your DAC wouldn’t negotiate with a Zenith right? Buy one of these reclock things that will fix you up.