I2S connection via RJ45 on dac Aqua

Hi all, I have the Aqua Formula xhd rev2 dac and I would like to connect it to the k50 via I2S RJ45, but the Aqua has a non-standard pinout and requires a cable to be built ad hoc. Has anyone tried this link and could you tell me what solution they went for? Thank

I used to have an Aqua La Scala DAC and after a lot of discussion with both Antipodes and Aqua we couldn’t get it to work. I think Aqua use a different protocol to Antipodes, who use a more common one. I ended up changing the Aqua to an Ayon DAC and got Tubulus to make me a RG45 Concentrus cable with custom pin out which now works really well.

Thanks for the information, from what you tell me I should leave the K50 alone, because I already have the Formula. But have you tried to follow the pattern suggested by Mark Cole here??


Digging into old emails about this from the UK Aqua dealer, it looks like Aqua use a different I2S protocol to everyone else. The only choice I had if I had kept the La Scala was to use their Linq streamer, which I wasn’t keen on as it didn’t have the functionality I wanted from the K50.

I decided to go for a K50 as the streamer and try different DAC’s instead. Currently happy with the Ayon but am looking to try out a Mola Mola DAC in the near future.

Just to let you know I have had a bespoke rj45 i2s made to connect K50 and Aqua Formula. It arrived yesterday and I am very pleased with the result.

A euro 100 premium over the stock cable price. Made by a Netherlands company. www.tubulus.net I chose the Concentus model

I sent the pin out diagram that @MarkCole posted a while back. Took less than 4 weeks from order to delivery

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Thanks for sharing. I followed a different method, I describe it because someone might want to do it: I purchased a Clear Network CAT-7 which features Telegartner connectors, I opened it and modified the pinout, according to Mark Cole’s instructions, only on the Formula side. Practically an I2S Cardas Clear RJ45, without Cardas having ever produced it.


Good to know that this works. I have recently acquired an Aqua La Scala, just waiting for a crimping tool to arrive in the post, then I will give this a go. I was going to try with a cheap cable first to see if it works, thanks for reporting your results here. I’m interested in how this connection will sound compared to the others. I have an Afterdark network cable I’m not using, with the Telegartner connectors, which I plan to modify when I have had some practice.

Does your La Scala have the OEM tubes fitted?

If so I highly recommend changing them, I would think it will do far more for you than I2S over other connection types.

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Thanks @glos_olly , the previous owner fitted a NOS Mullard ECC81 (subtype 1552) tube from the early 1950s. I have only tried it with the xlr output at this stage. I just want to try all connections possible between my K22 and the La Scala. And also be able to switch to my other main dac easily, lots of fun experimenting!

Modifying the cable with the Telegartner connector is quite simple because you don’t need a crimping tool. On the Cardas the hardest part was removing the block of hot glue that sealed the connector. Once the Telegartner is open, you simply open the terminal, position the strands according to the Aqua/Mark Cole pattern and close everything again.

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I have the Aqua Formula HD and the K50 G5 and I am using a Sablon AES/EBU cable to connect. I am curious if you tried other cable connections between the Aqua and K50 and how they compared to your I2S cable.

I currently use an Ansuz Digitalz C2 for AES/EBU, a Siltech Legend 880D for USB and a Cardas derived from the Clear Network CAT-7 for I2S. They all have a full and satisfying sound, the differences are minimal but, I don’t know because in the end I go to the I2S connection, for some reason that I haven’t yet managed to realize, I almost always lower the VI stick of the Formula.

Mark still early days with the i2s and have not yet compared it properly it to the spdif. First impressions are greater resolution and better instrument timbre/tone. Though not night and day by any means. The Tsoyoshi Yamamoto trio ‘What a Wonderful World’ has a fantastic double bass intro which is great for that kind of comparison

What I can say is that earlier on I borrowed a Tellurium Q silver diamond USB from dealer. The rest of my interconnects and speaker cables are TQ silver diamonds. Despite that I preferred the Transparent spdif

I’ll report back after a proper A/B in due course. Plan from here is to get the Transparent upgraded to a higher tier Transparent AES, borrow a TQ AES and then see how they compare.


I did compare SPDIF to AES/EBU connections with Jorma digital cables and found the AES/EBU to be fuller with more depth in sound. I later compared the Jorma to the Sablon and preferred the Sablon. That is partially due to my preference in a fuller sound with copper cables. I am interested in the results of your comparison.