Ha, I see we've been accused of "not knowing USB" by some USB mafia on another site, because, you know, "them old guys with their SPDIF canes don't understand the future."
So, to clear things up, here's a version of an email I just sent.
Experience with USB?
Not enough experience with USB? Ha! Our DAC would have been out a year ago if it wasn't for USB. We have investigated all the commercially available USB interfaces, including some very expensive licensed ones, and arrived at design that is one of the best, if not the best, out there. I mean, it's USB 2.0, not antique 1.1, it's async, it has separate crystal-controlled clocks for 44.1 and 48K multiples, it has galvanic isolation.
We put a ton of engineering time into USB. We know it's necessary for many customers. We simply aren't going to portray it as anything it isn't. We have no reason to. So if you buy our USB solution, you know you're getting one that's solidly engineered and done to the highest level we can possibly achieve today. It's not slapped-together or afterthought. And it sounds really nice. For USB.
And--unlike everyone else at or near this price point--it's upgradable, for when the technology changes. And yeah, you can speculate about whether or not upgrades will come, but, you know what? One thing is for sure: technology will change, and when it changes, you will throw away a non-upgradable DAC--or accept less than the state of the art performance.
SPDIF from computers is inferior?
And I'm unsure where you get this idea that SPDIF from computers is "inferior." Sure, there's variation in SPDIF output quality, but we're getting jitter rates from Apple TOSLINK and good PC soundcard coax that are not significantly different than what we get from a good transport.
So--I gotta ask: Maybe it's not a case of these "old dogs" not knowing USB, but maybe it's a case of these newfangled designers not knowing how to properly implement a SPDIF receiver? There are so many tricks beyond the datasheet implementation . . . and we've been doing them since the 80s.
But we'll see. When Bifrost ships, judge for yourself.
Edited by Jason Stoddard - 7/9/11 at 7:08am