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Arcam rDAC and surround sound
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Hi

New to the world of refined audio and DACs, I have done some reading here and on the net and not really found an answer.  I understand the benefit of a DAC for stereo sound from a digitial file (my Arcam rDAC is on the way!).  

But what benefit does a DAC (stereo sound) provide when using gaming consoles and HD set-top boxes that are sending 5.1 sound?

From Arcam's website: "Uses for the rDAC are almost endless. Internet radio, set-top boxes and game stations can be connected via coaxial or optical leads to receive a dramatic increase in sound quality."

If I plug my Xbox 360 or watch an HD channel off cable TV into the DAC.  Would it not then deliver only stereo sound?  Likewise if I play a 720p or 1080p video with surround sound from my media server into the DAC, this would also be downsampled to stereo?

Would I not be better off letting my amp take care of the surround sound for video streaming, HD set-top box and Xbox to enjoy surround sound?  Or is there something I am missing / misreading / misunderstanding???

Thanks for your patience with a newbie question

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RE: Arcam rDAC and surround sound

Yes it would downsample it to stereo. Sometimes they can do passthrough from USB to optical but that won't be using the DAC obviously thus is only for limited convinience. It would be better quality stereo sound (depending on how it "downsamples" it of course) which wouldn't bother me in the slightest but then do you really need this for gaming? - almost certainly not.

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RE: Arcam rDAC and surround sound

I don't think (m)any stereo DACs will actually downsample a 5.1 stream to stereo, they'll either ignore it or pass it through. You'd have to tell the source to output stereo but if you already have an AV amp and are using that for 5.1 sources there's no benefit to using a stereo DAC with a 5.1 source.

Anonymous
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RE: Arcam rDAC and surround sound

Thank you QP and TL.

I'm definitely using the DAC for music but was making sure I am using the DAC to its full.  I was unsure of benefit from a 5.1 perspective for gaming or video.

Thanks for clarfying!

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RE: Arcam rDAC and surround sound

Yes sorry don't listen to me, the PC (software) would have to do the downsampling. The important factor is the stereo DACs cannot deal with surround (only pass it through if you're lucky) so your concern was correct - no good for games and movies.

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