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Optical VS USB Out Schiit Modi

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have a relatively simple question. Would connecting the Schiit Modi (Optical version) to my motherboards' optical port sound just as good as if I connected the USB version of the Modi to my motherboards port? I'm asking this, because wouldn't using the optical port force me to use onboard audio? Or would it bypass that and just output a digital signal from there? Sorry, but I don't know much regarding this.

post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielMiracle View Post
 

I have a relatively simple question. Would connecting the Schiit Modi (Optical version) to my motherboards' optical port sound just as good as if I connected the USB version of the Modi to my motherboards port? I'm asking this, because wouldn't using the optical port force me to use on-board audio? Or would it bypass that and just output a digital signal from there? Sorry, but I don't know much regarding this.

 

Windows might provide an option for bypassing the on-board sound card features, when using S/PDIF.

I know it does for add-on internal sound cards.

post #3 of 10

I have the bifrost Uber and the SCHIITz claim it is bit-perfect through USB meaning there is no jitter, I don't know if the optical in is also jitter-free....so maybe someone can clear it up...if the USB is bit-perfect does that mean the Optical-in is also bit-perfect ?

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam21 View Post
 

I have the bifrost Uber and the SCHIITz claim it is bit-perfect through USB meaning there is no jitter, I don't know if the optical in is also jitter-free....so maybe someone can clear it up...if the USB is bit-perfect does that mean the Optical-in is also bit-perfect ?

I think that sums up what I was asking better. I guess you'd think it would be, but idk. 

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielMiracle View Post
 

I have a relatively simple question. Would connecting the Schiit Modi (Optical version) to my motherboards' optical port sound just as good as if I connected the USB version of the Modi to my motherboards port? I'm asking this, because wouldn't using the optical port force me to use onboard audio? Or would it bypass that and just output a digital signal from there? Sorry, but I don't know much regarding this.

 

AFAIK can manually defeat sound processing, but the benefit is that DSP-processed virtual surround can go through optical, so that means you can use the same audio chain when playing games.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

AFAIK can manually defeat sound processing, but the benefit is that DSP-processed virtual surround can go through optical, so that means you can use the same audio chain when playing games.

That sort of makes sense, but I'm not entirely sure I understand what you mean. Can you explain it? 

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielMiracle View Post
 

That sort of makes sense, but I'm not entirely sure I understand what you mean. Can you explain it?

 

There is a DSP chip - digital sound processor - for comuters, whethat that's on the motherboard or on a discrete soundcard, that processes the sound before it goes into the DAC. This is where you simulate a bunch of soundfield effects, like what Wacken sounds like vs Radio City Hall, or having a 5.1 channel signal from your games and movies "processed" (NOT downmixed) to simulate the same effect for stereo headphones, like Dolby Headphone or EAX.* When you have your DSP somewhere on the computer, it doesn't go through USB** (forgot why, but I think it's because USB only handles 2ch PCM signals), so you need an SPDIF output as these were designed to handle such signals (as with HT receivers, until HDMI came along). You can always disable Dolby Headphone, EAX, or whatever you have running when you're listening to music and you don't get the DSP applying anything on it.

 




*In a stereo recording, this is done with mic placement relative to the sound source, but of course neither can fully simulate a sound coming from behind you on stereo hardware. Look up EMMA test discs on torrents, there's a soundstage test there with one guy walking around  while the mic/s stay in one position, so EMMA judges can evaluate how that voice moves around the dashboard, as in some cases it may no all be on it, but sometimes change spots on the Y-Axis on some systems (that incurs more point deductions than not having as much movement on the X and Z axis as the best system in there). In any case, Dolby headphone simulates the same thing with software to add depth for positional audio on 2ch headphones.

**There are of course USB soundcards, but what distinguishes that from a DAC is that while both have a DAC chip in them for Digital to Analogue Conversion, a USB soundcard like a PCI soundcard has the DSP chip on it. The audio data can go through USB and the DSP in a Xonar U3 for example interfaces with the software on the computer (Xonar+whatever game you're playing) so the DSP can do its job.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

There is a DSP chip - digital sound processor - for comuters, whethat that's on the motherboard or on a discrete soundcard, that processes the sound before it goes into the DAC. This is where you simulate a bunch of soundfield effects, like what Wacken sounds like vs Radio City Hall, or having a 5.1 channel signal from your games and movies "processed" (NOT downmixed) to simulate the same effect for stereo headphones, like Dolby Headphone or EAX.* When you have your DSP somewhere on the computer, it doesn't go through USB** (forgot why, but I think it's because USB only handles 2ch PCM signals), so you need an SPDIF output as these were designed to handle such signals (as with HT receivers, until HDMI came along). You can always disable Dolby Headphone, EAX, or whatever you have running when you're listening to music and you don't get the DSP applying anything on it.

 




*In a stereo recording, this is done with mic placement relative to the sound source, but of course neither can fully simulate a sound coming from behind you on stereo hardware. Look up EMMA test discs on torrents, there's a soundstage test there with one guy walking around  while the mic/s stay in one position, so EMMA judges can evaluate how that voice moves around the dashboard, as in some cases it may no all be on it, but sometimes change spots on the Y-Axis on some systems (that incurs more point deductions than not having as much movement on the X and Z axis as the best system in there). In any case, Dolby headphone simulates the same thing with software to add depth for positional audio on 2ch headphones.

**There are of course USB soundcards, but what distinguishes that from a DAC is that while both have a DAC chip in them for Digital to Analogue Conversion, a USB soundcard like a PCI soundcard has the DSP chip on it. The audio data can go through USB and the DSP in a Xonar U3 for example interfaces with the software on the computer (Xonar+whatever game you're playing) so the DSP can do its job.

Okay, that makes a lot more sense now. So basically, as long as I don't have the DSP applying anything to my sound, it will sound the exact same as if I were using a USB DAC instead of an optical one? Oh, and thanks for the detailed answer. It was pretty informative. 

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 it doesn't go through USB** (forgot why, but I think it's because USB only handles 2ch PCM signals), 

 

Is USB limited to 2 channel of PCM digital audio?

I use to think USB was limited to 2-channel, but if your using a USB sound card that can process 5.1 (6-channels).

Then that would seem to mean that 6-channels can pass thru USB?

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Is USB limited to 2 channel of PCM digital audio?

I use to think USB was limited to 2-channel, but if your using a USB sound card that can process 5.1 (6-channels).

Then that would seem to mean that 6-channels can pass thru USB?

 

It's a different kind of data. Like I posted above, the only time USB transmits multichannel is when you have a USB soundcard, which is sold by Asus and Creative and not brands like Schiit, and the main difference is that the DSP chip is inside the USB soundcard, not on the mobo or PCI soundcard then getting passed out through SPDIF or USB (that doesn't work). I think what essentially happens is however the game does with the DSP inside the PC it does through the DSP on the external unit, even through USB.

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