Originally Posted by Anaxilus
I am not surprised. Despite every claim about X>Y>Z standard every piece of gear I try (from $30 to $3000) yields a different result as to which is the best. I can draw no conclusion other than it's all in the implementation and execution of the chosen standard. There might be a theoretical answer but practical listening makes it seem more complicated to me.
Exactly. Implementation is going to trump "theory" every time in audio. I put "theory" in quotes because so often some small truth gets unjustifiably enlarged to an absolute, and in audio the truths tend to be quite small, not so widely applicable as to cover the entirety of what's going on in any given piece of equipment.
I've got a Bifrost on order and will be very interested to hear the S/PDIF optical, coaxial, and USB inputs. There are "small truths" in favor of each of these interfaces (optical eliminates all electrical sources of distortion through ground; coax has greater bandwidth than optical; async USB tends to have lower jitter than all but very expensive S/PDIF implementations), but none large enough to say that one absolutely will sound better than the others in my system. I will have to wait and listen to find out.