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How to get the best sound from a pc

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gasolin's picture
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I am curios how to get the best sound from my computer and in to my Denon DRA-F109 (most noise free an high end sound)

 

I am using an optical cable from my motherboard  into the reciver, is it  this the best way?

Using my usb soundblaster titanium hd hifi usb souncard, either with optical cable or usb from my computer,then to my reciver an optical cable or rca?

 

If i in the nearest future want to upgrade the sound, i guess it's a dac, but how to connect it for best sound? Optical cable  or usb from my computer?

Then from the dac to my reciver an optical cable or rca?

 

Isn't there some kind of dac in my Denon reciver that would make an external dac less effecient(not using the sound from the external dac to it's full potential), like using a good dac then to put the signal thru some cheap or awarage dac or other digital circuit in my Denon reciver?

 

Ist there a sound difference from a cheap but good Optical cable and someting like QED's performance Graphite Optical cable?

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superchiwawa's picture
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RE: How tog get the best sound from a pc

Getting quality audio from a pc, though subjective, isn't always an easy feat. There's loads of interferemce going on and as a consequence the soundcard on your mb is porone to high levels of jitter (timing errors) which affects things like soundstage and generally the quality of your listening expereince. So you got two routes to go if you want the best out of your source (excluding high quality souond card - externalising your source will reduce the chance of interference):

- usb to a quality Asynchronous usb spdif converter -> then striaght to amp. Your amp will do the digital to anaolgue conversion with its own DACs. There's a few good ones about. Audiophileo 2 is a very very good example with seriously low jitter, with a price tag to suit (though not unreasonable IMO)

- or as you mentioned go usb to asynchonous DAC -> to your amp's analog imputs, bypassing your amp's DAC. Here you have the advantage, as with all seperates, of choosing the sound that you like best from your source, and will likey improve on your amp. French company micromega's mydac is a great example for 300 euros - I can't vouch for it personnaly, but it's been recommended to me by a reputable hifi shop that sells stuff 100 times that price -  and a a couple friends chose it to an 1800 euros NAD dac.. You get to improve your WOW vibe on your listening experience with the right suff. Anyway it's all subjective but you get the point... 

Why USB? And why asynchronous? Well the standard is open and sufficiently mastereed to be used as a quality transport. And that has enabled to develop better (and more complex) ways to control the timing of the signal. Asynchrous basically means the timing is no longer controlled by the computer but by the device that's doing the processing, in time with it's own functions as required. Else things get a little muddled and that's if i'm not talking rubbish is kinda what jitter is.

And if you really wanna clean things up, you can go usb->usb battery power (not from noisy computer) for clean signal ->super quality spdif converter->DAC->Amp, but depending on the DAC, that may just be overkill...

Tbh this all theory but having asked myself the same questions and done a fair bit of research, this is what i've learnt so far...

As for cables, well that's a big debate, and the only way to tell is a blind test - unfortunalety the fact that you're wowed by the graphite performance marketing blabla may have a psychological effect on your result if you know which is which. I've heard and read that each cable has it's signature though so it's not impossible, and my guess for an optical cable is the cleaner the received signal, the less error correction, and the better the sound, but what to I know... pure speculation here

Oh and as with any test, if you are testing that is, don't make any assumptions, and change one variable at a time (ie not cable and DAC + different amp. just cable for instance), else it's not a valid comparison. People easily forget this and inadvertently rule out some perfectly good kit in the process

gasolin's picture
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RE: How tog get the best sound from a pc (rca or optical)

 

If i use one of these that i can get for about 100€ what kind of cable do i use?

http://www.m2tech.biz/hiface.html

I guess it has to be analoge cables into my reciver or else the dac inside of my reciver which cost totally about 268€, sounds good and lots of power for what i am using it for, but it does not leave so much for the dac, so i thinks it's a analoge cable or else it's the denon dac that does the converting.

Havn't found which cables i can use, theres only one singel output and i need two plugs (is that the right word?) into my reciver all in all 3 plugs one in the dac and 2 in my reciver.

I just can find such a cable

Which way is best to connect a dac with a usb cable? Direct into my motherboard or the usb on my cabinet from fractal design (core 3000)

 

 

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superchiwawa's picture
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RE: How tog get the best sound from a pc

Yeah, the hiface or hiface two if you can, I've read good reviews.

I think you're confusing analog, which requires two connections (for stereo, left and right channels) and digital connections. The hiface has an SPDIF connector, sends a digital signal over a COAX cable (wire therefore current), instead of optical (digital COAX has lower jitter apparently). So whatever you plug it into is going to receive a digital signal. There's no digital to analog conversion here! (which would split the output into left and right channels for stereo like you describe, hence your red and white connectors)

Yes the connectors are the same 'RCA' type on your reciever. No you only need one cable. Plugs into "Network" or "CD" (the brownish RCA type ones) under "Digital In" at the back of your receiver.

Plug straight into the mb. any other rerouting of the usb signal is source for interference. And worth getting  quality COAX cable if you're going this route. IMO

sogophonio11's picture
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Check my sig, thats how to do

Check my sig, thats how to do it.

Cheers.

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gasolin's picture
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RE: How tog get the best sound from a pc

superchiwawa wrote:

Yeah, the hiface or hiface two if you can, I've read good reviews.

I think you're confusing analog, which requires two connections (for stereo, left and right channels) and digital connections. The hiface has an SPDIF connector, sends a digital signal over a COAX cable (wire therefore current), instead of optical (digital COAX has lower jitter apparently). So whatever you plug it into is going to receive a digital signal. There's no digital to analog conversion here! (which would split the output into left and right channels for stereo like you describe, hence your red and white connectors)

Yes the connectors are the same 'RCA' type on your reciever. No you only need one cable. Plugs into "Network" or "CD" (the brownish RCA type ones) under "Digital In" at the back of your receiver.

Plug straight into the mb. any other rerouting of the usb signal is source for interference. And worth getting  quality COAX cable if you're going this route. IMO

 

mad   The hiface is only something that change anlog sound into a high quality digital signal for a dac...........right?

 

A new dac for my pc for not more then 100€, is that possible? The project usb dac is possible to get for about 100€ in germany but the project dac that  whathifi reviewed isn't that good  http://www.whathifi.com/review/pro-ject-usb-box 

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sogophonio11's picture
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And try and keep subject

And try and keep subject heading under 64 characters please.

EDITED to post properly!

Cheers.

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sogophonio11's picture
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Sorry mods! DIFFICULT.

Sorry mods!

DIFFICULT.Wink

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superchiwawa's picture
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RE: How tog get the best sound from a pc

Quote:

 

mad   The hiface is only something that change anlog sound into a high quality digital signal for a dac...........right?

 

A new dac for my pc for not more then 100€, is that possible? The project usb dac is possible to get for about 100€ in germany but the project dac that  whathifi reviewed isn't that good  http://www.whathifi.com/review/pro-ject-usb-box 

Nope the sound is still digital from your usb port, but just because it's digital doesn't mean it's stays a perfect signal. The Hiface converts it as close to the source as possible to SPDIF standard format, which your amp for example can understand.

If you wanna go for an external DAC instead, i'd say save up, shop around, listen, pick the one you like best for your budget. 300-400 or so euros should get you something pretty decent like the mydac (seems great value for money), then again it's not always about the price... Always nice finding great value for money gems Smile ... And in the mean time, you can stick to what you got (optical or minijack to rca from mb/soundcard to amp)

Hope that's making sense! Smile

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RE: How to get the best sound from a pc

gasolin wrote:

I am curios how to get the best sound from my computer and in to my Denon DRA-F109 (most noise free an high end sound)

 

I am using an optical cable from my motherboard  into the reciver, is it  this the best way?

Using my usb soundblaster titanium hd hifi usb souncard, either with optical cable or usb from my computer,then to my reciver an optical cable or RCA

Optical cable into your Denon should be fine. If you want a good USB DAC recommendation, then try one of THESE. Don't be put off by the price or size, it has been tested favourably against a Benchmark DAC 1.

Optical provides the benefit of galvanic isolation, but this might not be an issue for you, in which case USB would be fine.

EDIT: I think you'd be surprised at how good your sund card is just connecting via the analogue output.

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gasolin's picture
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RE: How to get the best sound from a pc

Overdose wrote:

gasolin wrote:

I am curios how to get the best sound from my computer and in to my Denon DRA-F109 (most noise free an high end sound)

 

I am using an optical cable from my motherboard  into the reciver, is it  this the best way?

Using my usb soundblaster titanium hd hifi usb souncard, either with optical cable or usb from my computer,then to my reciver an optical cable or RCA

Optical cable into your Denon should be fine. If you want a good USB DAC recommendation, then try one of THESE. Don't be put off by the price or size, it has been tested favourably against a Benchmark DAC 1.

Optical provides the benefit of galvanic isolation, but this might not be an issue for you, in which case USB would be fine.

EDIT: I think you'd be surprised at how good your sund card is just connecting via the analogue output.

 

My creative usb soundcard?

Was about to buy the dac but when i pressed the purchase button and i lost the connection to the site.

On a danish web site they told me a dac for what is equal to 113 -170£ isn't worth buying to upgrade the sound from my cheap 227£ reciver (denon DRA-F109) . Whats your opinion on that statement? I mean denon isn't just a manufactury of awarage mini hifi systems at a affordable price, the are one of the best like with the D-M38DAB and D-M39DAB

What would you recomend med to get first the Epiphany Acoustic 24 bit Miniature dac or the 155 IsoAcoustic speakerstands?

http://epiphany-acoustics.co.uk/products-page/dacs/e-dac-24bit-miniature...

http://www.isoacoustics.com/isol8r155.php?id=speaker%20stands%20studio%2...

 

 

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RE: How to get the best sound from a pc

Personally I would not worry too much about the DAC. Try different connections with your existing equipment to see if a DAC might be of benefit.

If you feel that you have to get a DAC, then the Epiphany DAC is well worth consideration, but there might be another supplier offering a similar DAC, as it is THIS item, but in a retail case.

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gasolin's picture
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RE: How tog get the best sound from a pc

I have this soundcard  with a dac and digital i/o if i use it. will it be an advantage over just a digital cable from my motherboard to my reciver? (have to try it) i will be using a digital cable into the soundcard and a isoda ha-08-psr from my soundcard and into my reciver.

http://uk.store.creative.com/sound-blaster/sound-blaster-x-fi-hd/1-19829...

Any one who know the quality of the dac?

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hayhal's picture
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RE: How tog get the best sound from a pc

Just thought I'd throw this in -   I have Audioengine A2 speakers next to my laptop in my basement.After seeing a (very) few reports on the ELE DAC (D01), I bought one on ebay for about $16.

I thought the Audioengines sounded pretty darn good already. However, I watched part of a samurai movie on youtube the other night with the ELE connected to the USB port and then to the Audioengines.It blew my mind. I was listening at low levels at night. I couldn't believe the clarity and the separation of the sounds.The bass was unreal. Not super low to feel in your bones, just absolutely amazing for my ears.Although I knew the bass from the A2's was really nice, I couldn't believe the A2's could produce bass like this. I was emersed in the movie like one would be at a theater.

I still can't get over the difference in the already great sound.I'm not knocking my Schitt DAC, it sounds fantastic on my pc upstairs with Equator D5's. But, if anyone wants to try an insanely priced DAC, you might want to take a gamble on this one. I already ordered another ELE DAC. It's pretty small, (about 1/2" sq by 2" long) so you can carry one with you to use with your pc and earphones.I think this was the best bargain in hi fi I've had since the T-Amp.

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RE: How tog get the best sound from a pc

gasolin wrote:

Using my usb soundblaster titanium hd hifi usb souncard, either with optical cable or usb from my computer,then to my reciver an optical cable or rca?

 

seriously, before you spend any more money, try going from the analogue outs on your usb soundcard to the amp.  so it would be pc>usb cable>usb soundblaster>analague out>amp

 

All this talk about dacs and soundcards are very confusing.  the pc see's a "dac" as a soundcard, so in it's eyes, it's the same thing.  The DAC's in the sb titanium hd's are pretty good actually.

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RE: How tog get the best sound from a pc

Check my signature. That's the way to do it imo.

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