Audio Off-Ramp I2S for the Northstar 192 DAC.
This is a USB-to-I2S converter that takes a USB signal from a computer and converts it to a I2S signal as input to the Northstar Model 192 DAC. This essentially converts the Northstar DAC to a USB DAC. The signal is transmitted using a specially wired I2S cable utilizing male RJ45 connectors on each end. (In separate listings I am offering for sale a Northstar Model 192 DAC with Empirical Audio TurboMods and a high quality I2S cable for connecting them.) The Off-Ramp works great and I rate it as a 7 because a very narrow strip of the black anodized finish is missing from the lid where it meets the rest of the case and there is some slight scratching on the USB-B receptacle. When turning on the computer and the Northstar DAC, it is sometimes necessary to unplug and replug the power cable from the Off-Ramp to reset it.
Other things being equal, transmitting the signal to the DAC using I2S rather than S/PDIF should result in clearer, cleaner sound. Feeding S/PDIF to the DAC requires the DAC to convert the signal to I2S, which is the format that the internal DAC chip requires. Providing the DAC with an I2S signal avoids the need for this conversion, along with the associated risk of creating additional jitter.
I originally paid $1,143 for this Off-Ramp, but I am offering it for sale for far less because it uses adaptive USB technology, rather than the newer asynchronous USB protocol and it only works with the Northstar 192 DAC.
If someone were to buy this Off-Ramp I2S, along with the Northstar 192 with Empirical Audio TurboMods and the I2S cable I have separately listed for sale, they would have a clear upgrade path, since by later adding a more up-to-date Off-Ramp they would have a truly outstanding system with Empirical Audio quality, without having to buy all of it at once.
Input signals: up to 96 mHz and 24 bits
Output signal: 5v I2S
Drivers required: None for Windows or Mac operating systems
Inputs: USB-B receptacle and power cable socket
Output: female RJ45 socket for I2S cable to the DAC
Indicator lights: 2 red leds to indicate presence of power and USB signal
Dimensions: 4.25” long x 3.25” wide x 2” high
Weight: 0.75 lbs
Ships in original packing.
Included in the box:
- Off-Ramp I2S for Northstar 192 DAC
- Wall-wart power supply
- USB cable with A and B male connectors.