Dac and computer connections

Good afternoon. Looking at buying a Denafrips Terminator. I have read several articles where the person states they prefer the I2s /HDMI  connection, rather than USB.   My current DAC had no I2s/HDMI connect, so I use USB from DAC to Windows based laptop, sounds Great. I currently use a 20' 2.0 USB cable to my listening area.

If I were to get the Denafrips, could I use their I2s/HDMI connection from terminator to my laptop via a 20' HDMI cable, rather then the  USB? I'll have to look and see if there is an available HDMI port on my computer?   Thanks for the help before I pull the trigger. Robert TN  hope this all made some sense. Connection ally challenged.


i2s is not an hdmi connection it is a proprietary connection that uses an hdmi cable




Dave  and TROY

Audio intellect nj

Streaming Specialists 

Lots of great systems out there using USB.  I lean toward the camp of "usb is inferior" as mostly supported by those selling alternative technology.

Denafrips Terminator works great with their DDC (Hermes, Gaia) and when connected over I2S, especially if you are using a laptop as a source. USB can sound great but it needs a lot more effort to get it right and quickly becomes very expensive.


oh yeah so you be getting the terminator but now you need to a gaia to use i2s or else the terminator will just suck ... he he he... so that’ll be another 2 grand please... that was always the plan ya know... alvin and the denafrips folk are tricky dudes huh?

just kidding...

Thanks for your posts. I appreciate the knowledge you folks have that I don't. I thought I may get lucky and just plug and play, HDMI from Dac to Laptop. I do not want to at this time( or maybe ever) have to buy a DDC unit. If I cant get a GREAT sound USB from laptop to Terminator 2 by itself and a great sound coax to CD transport, I quit. My current system is Benchmark DAC 3B to laptop, and it sounds to me, VERY GOOD. Hoping the Denafrips was a bigger step up, same connections. Bubble somewhat bursted.

Without trying the Denfrips you are likely not to know. What is the difference in sound between streaming and your CD player? If there is a big difference with the nod to the CD, then getting a streamer and getting your laptop out of the loop should provide a large improvement in sound.

About connections. Typically the quality of the component (in this Case DAC)… is many times more important than which connection you use. Having said that the USB is a much newer connector added to allow streaming from PCs. It wasn’t that many years ago DACs had no USB inputs at all. How good a USB connection sounds depends very strongly on how good the streamer is and the DAC… simply put the signal from the USB source needs much more processing than any of the other connections.


I would choose a separate streamer and use the AES connection or SP/DIF. Optical is nearly always inferior. Streaming can sound as good or better than a CD… a better DAC should improve both. Denfrips are very highly regarded.