USB audio. Whatever your DAC’s USB performance, it can always be improved upon. We seem to be forever fixing USB’s qualitative shortcomings.
Four or five years ago, USB-S/PDIF converters like the Audiophilleo, Wyred4Sound’s uLINK, Resonessence Labs Concero and the JKSPDIF were the most talked about products in digital audio. These devices re-clocked USB data before moving it over to a coaxial S/DPIF output. That meant better sound and, for some, the ability to play hi-res PCM when their DAC’s USB topped out 44.1 or 48kHz.
Now that hi-res audio is standard in the majority of DACs’ USB implementations, bleeding edge enthusiasts have taken to addressing issues such as “signal integrity” and power supply cleanliness with all manner of USB fixers: the UPTone Regen, the Wyred4Sound Recovery and the Schiit Wyrd being some of the more popular models.
Spying an opportunity, Schiit Audio today take aim at USB Decrapifiers – including their own device – with the announcement of their Gen 5 USB input. With a nod and a wink, Schiit claim it to be so good even the usually hard-to-please Mike Moffat gave it the thumbs up. That’s marketing, sure, but handled with Schiit Audio’s trademark sense of humour.
The tech-y stuff: “With galvanic isolation (uniquely, via transformers), self-powered via the DAC, and precision crystal local clocking for both the 44.1k and 48k sample rate multiples, it’s the highest performance USB input we’ve ever offered, by a large margin,” says Jason Stoddard via email.
Gen 5 USB will become standard across the Schiit DAC range but, thanks to a modular design, those with upgradeable models can have the Gen 5 USB board installed for US$150. Details on the how and the when are on Schiit’s website.
It doesn’t end there.
Schiit have dropped the Gen 5 USB into its own case for an all-new product, the Eitr — the liquid substance of all living things in Norse mythology. The Eitr is a USB-S/PDIF converter that offers a taste of 2012 without approaching those days’ price tags and (hopefully) matching their performance. Only one way to find out…
From the product page: “The Eitr features the same unique Gen 5 USB input technology as in our upgradable DACs. It’s simply the highest-performance USB input available today, with complete electrostatic and electromagnetic isolation (via transformers), self-power (requires no USB input power) and separate, precision clock sources for both 44.1 and 48kHz multiples. (And if you don’t understand the technobabble, here’s the point: it works great and sounds great, too.)”
The Eitr will sell for US$179.
Further information: Schiit
[Photo credit: Lee Shelley]