Digital audio isolation

Isolator for digital audio is needed in cases where coaxial S/PDIF digital audio link forms a ground loop in your audio system. Typically in coaxial S/PDIF connections the coaxial cable shield is connected to equipment cases. This arrangement easily creates ground loops which can cause noise problems in various places in audio system. A suitable transformer can be used to isolate the coaxial S/PDIF signal and avoid ground loop problems (other option is to use optical connection instead of coax). Here is the circuit of the S/PDIF signal isolator I have used:

audio_isolator

ELFA catalogue product 56-550-55 “PE65612 Trafo dig.siirt.” is a tranformer suitable for isolating S/PDIF digital audio signal. The manufacturer for this product is Pulse Engineering and their product code is PE-65612.

Ratio: 1:1
Bandwidth: 100 kHz-55 MHz ±3 dB

PE65612

Here is a picture of the S/PDIF signal isoltor I built (box open):

spdifisiolator

spdif_isolator

More information on S/PDIF and related circuits can be found on my SPDIF document.

22 Comments

  1. Adolfo says:

    Hi, since I found it very interesting and since I have on hand some of these transformers, can I have a more clear picture of the box, or at least an easy schematics of how to connect the 4 pins of the trafo, please? thanks in advance! Adolfo

    Reply
  2. tomi says:

    I just added a new circuit diagram drawing that shows the exact connection of the transformer I used in my ciruit I built. The RCA connector on the left connects to transformer primary and the RCA connector on the right the secondary. It ideal direction for the signal would be from left to right throught this isolator (although the circuit works also well on other direction).

    Reply
  3. tomi says:

    There is an RSS feed button on the right…

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  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Use plastic optical fiber for isolation
    http://www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/anablog/4443041/Use-plastic-optical-fiber-for-isolation?_mc=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_analog_20161201&cid=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_analog_20161201&elqTrackId=2d95b60583b443149364cb9c6d5da32f&elq=7517261bace8488e9b40d5df4abd1fc7&elqaid=34983&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=30538

    Don’t overlook using fiber optics to achieve isolation. The Navy learned to love optical fibers since they are insensitive to EMP pulses from nuclear weapons. Glass fibers are expensive, and you can expect to pay 25 to 100 dollars for the transmitters and receivers. Then again, glass fibers work to GHz frequencies. A much more cost-effective solution is plastic optical fiber (POF). Here data rates are limited to 10 or 100 MHz, but the costs are closer to 5 dollars for transceivers.

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