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Audio-gd overhaul Digital Interface for 2014 edition

  • Audio-gd’s Kingwa has a bit of reputation for changing his product line up at a moment’s notice. Blink once and that PCM1704-based DAC you were saving for has been discontinued. Blink again and it’s been replaced by an ESS Sabre-chipped version with balanced outputs.

    One of Audio-gd’s more enduring products, the Digital Interface re-clocker (reviewed here), was nixed in early 2013 and it’s taken Kingwa over a year to design and manufacture a replacement.


    It looks like it was worth the wait.

    The ‘DI-2014’ washes it hands of the two-box approach of its predecessor (the DI-V3) for a single-chassis solution that’s powered from an internal potted transformer. No more deciding between an umbilically-linked PSU and USB power.

    Kingwa is at pains to point out the improvements to the 2014 edition’s internal power supply regulation, particularly the extra attention paid to juicing its USB input. He’s promising an even more sophisticated implementation than that found in his current range of DACs.

    Remember how the older DI would take 5V from a (possibly noisy) USB port? Here, the USB input completely severs ties with the power coming over USB. The internal transformer juice is divvied up between five separate Class A power supplies that in turn feed the USB-DSD 32 receiver chip, S/PDIF receiver chip, PLL, clock and output stage.


    Yeah – but what’s it do? The DI-2014 is USB-converter and S/PDIF re-clocker, the latter being of specific interest to users of Apple TV and Sonos. Three inputs – USB (32/384), coaxial (24/192) and toslink (24/96) – see the digital audio stream re-timed to remove jitter before being output over BNC, coaxial or ethernet-terminated I2S. USB-to-I2S conversion handles up to 32bit/384kHz PCM and DSD 64/128 whilst coaxial outputs are restricted to a maximum PCM rate of 24bit/192kHz (with no DSD).

    There’s also a difference between BNC and RCA outputs that readers will have to decipher for themselves.

    A standard version of the 2014 Digital Interface is available for US$280 but I reckon most buyers will stump up the extra $20 for the upgraded TCXO clock to bring the grand total to a flat US$300 + shipping. And that’s the exact same RRP as Wyred4Sound’s Remedy S/PDIF reclocker. Interesting.

    Further information: Audio-gd

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. Without having heard either Kingwa ”appears” to offer a whole lot more bang for the buck.
      I’m attracted to the WFS minimalist design but the switching power supply somewhat dampens my enthusiasm.

    2. Slightly OT in regard to audio0-gd, but in regard to Teradak, I have been using one to power 9V DC in to W4S microDAC (via Cardas DC cable), to excellent effect; I ran Audioquest straight from netbook to dac. I have just picked up a Bifrost (with all mods), this doesn’t require power from the 5V usb rail, but would putting the Teradak and splitter cable between netbook and Bifrost reap benefits? (I know it technically works, I have just done it, not had time for critical listening yet).

      • Dave – if the Bifrost completely severs ties with your computer’s 5V feed then I don’t think you’ll notice a difference.

        • Thanks John, I will keep it as I love the little W4S dac, particularly with techno. The Bifrost so far seems to be giving me that bit more with hi-res – FM’s Dreams came through with some much clearer guitar work and subtle placement of instruments.

          Love the site and your writing by the way, keep it up.

    3. In concept would the reclocker be a good solution to improve the USB input for my Rega DAC? I think Rega USB is only 44.1 KHz.

      And does it convert native DSD tracks to PCM? (Or better to make JRiver etc do this)

      • It’ll only parse DSD via USB to the I2S output. I suspect all you’ll get is noise on other outputs, so yes converting in software to PCM is your safest option. As for the Rega, its USB input is fairly standard / nothing special. Feeding it from the coax output of the 2014 DI will more than likely bring improvements to tonal density and all-round musical vitality.

        • Per the comment made by Mike about the WFS µLink, if you were not using the feature of the I2S output, are these products essentially the same? Do they use the same equivalent USB chipset to your knowledge? I’d also agree that the WFS looks like a better design.

          • The audio-gd reclocks either USB or spdif inputs so its really a combo of W4S’s uLink and Remedy products. The latter enjoys Femto clocking and is being reviewed next week.

            I suspect the USB input on the audio-gd is the better of the two but what happens in each circuit thereafter is anyone’s guess. The only way to know for sure is to try them both – admittedly that’s easier said than done.

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