Coaxial S/PDIF PCI Bracket

Coaxial S/PDIF is vastly superior to optical S/PDIF (TOSLINK). Yet the optical S/PDIF output has taken over, and is now found on every motherboard, while coaxial outputs have disappeared.

The inferior optical S/PDIF is limited to cable-lengths of less than 10 meters, and it’s hard to find cables longer than 3m to 5m. Optical cables are also stupidly expensive because no-one uses them. Coaxial S/PDIF will happily drive a cable running 20m or more, quite possibly 50m, and the cables are standard shielded coax with RCA plugs, so they’re cheap & available everywhere.

Fortunately, some good motherboards still have a coaxial S/PDIF header which you can wire up to RCA jacks mounted on a PCI bracket. Suitable PCI brackets are available cheaply on ebay – but if you want one ASAP, it’s easy to make your own.

Since these things are so handy, I made two brackets, and after testing, gave one to my brother. For added convenience, each bracket provides two jacks which both output the same signal.

All you need is a drill, a soldering iron, wire, and:

  • A PCI slot cover, which you can drill with holes for the RCA jack(s)
  • An RCA jack or two, available for a couple of dollars at your local electronics parts store
  • A small 2-pin fan connector which you can buy, or scavenge off an old fan.
  • So easy there’s nothing to even explain, after simply pointing out how easy it is!