PCIE use required on Pi Audio Drive?

Hi, is the PCIE connection required if I’m only planning to use the audio inputs and outputs on this hat? I have a bottom mounted nvme installed already for context, and it’s integrated into my case.

Yes it will work without the PCIe nor the USB C on the Pi Audio Drive
But you should try ! as in my test we are a bit faster than competion and being able to use USB C PD profiles give more room for power hungry requirements of the PI5.