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Newbie unsure.

Bit of an audio newbie here so bare with me. I'm currently looking at buying a Denon M39DAB microsystem for use with my laptop. I've gathered that in reality I'm going to need a DAC. The only thing is that I'm not sure which DAC, connection wise, would allow me to do all I want it to for the cheapest price? The laptop I'm using I'm pretty sure dosen't have a digital output so I'm not sure how that affects it. I'll be using my setup with my headphones quite often so while I'm not even sure if they get plugged into the stereo or the DAC I'm going to need a connection for that too. Will I need a headphone amplifier as well?

 

In short: Microsystem, laptop (no optical output), headphone use, DAC = how do i achieve best results cheapest?

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RE: Newbie unsure.

Onkyo ND-S1. Use the USB (it's a digital signal) to output from the laptop to the Onkyo. Use the supplied optical lead to connect the Onkyo to the Denon. You don't need a DAC nor a headphone amp. You can try both the Denon and the laptop for headphone use. Whichever is best for YOU is the winner.

 

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RE: Newbie unsure.

You could use this Turtle Beach USB device to connect your laptop to the Denon. It has a combined analogue output and optical digital output, and comes complete with a miniToslink adapter, so all you need add is an optical cable to connect it to the digital in on the D-M39DAB.

It's about £20-25 from retailers such as Amazon.

 

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie unsure.

Thanks for the replies, guys!

jjbomber wrote:
Onkyo ND-S1. Use the USB (it's a digital signal) to output from the laptop to the Onkyo. Use the supplied optical lead to connect the Onkyo to the Denon. You don't need a DAC nor a headphone amp. You can try both the Denon and the laptop for headphone use. Whichever is best for YOU is the winner.

After researching I've gathered that the Onkyo ND-S1 is an iPod dock first-and-foremost but also acts as a kind of DAC as well? Would the audio quality be as good as if I was going for a DACMagic, or whatever, or is that kind of kit really useless for a bedroom setup?

Andrew Everard wrote:
You could use this Turtle Beach USB device to connect your laptop to the Denon. It has a combined analogue output and optical digital output, and comes complete with a miniToslink adapter, so all you need add is an optical cable to connect it to the digital in on the D-M39DAB.

I don't think I'm really fussed on a USB device. Although I don't really know much about how any of this affects sound quality won't my audio files from the laptop lose alot of quality without the boost of a DAC rather than just a straight digital-to-analogue cable from the laptop to the Denon?

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RE: Newbie unsure.

ben.talbot wrote:

Andrew Everard wrote:
You could use this Turtle Beach USB device to connect your laptop to the Denon. It has a combined analogue output and optical digital output, and comes complete with a miniToslink adapter, so all you need add is an optical cable to connect it to the digital in on the D-M39DAB.

I don't think I'm really fussed on a USB device. Although I don't really know much about how any of this affects sound quality won't my audio files from the laptop lose alot of quality without the boost of a DAC rather than just a straight digital-to-analogue cable from the laptop to the Denon?

The USB cable has an optical output (ie digital), so you'd just plug it into the optical digital input on your Denon and use the Denon's DAC.

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie unsure.

Just wanted to add about the headphones. Wouldn't the sound output be much better if they were connected to the Denon or a DAC rather than just the laptop's crappy soundcard? I have ATH-M50s whether that makes a difference or not.

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie unsure.

The_Lhc wrote:
The USB cable has an optical output (ie digital), so you'd just plug it into the optical digital input on your Denon and use the Denon's DAC.

Oh. Are there varying degrees of DAC quality? I've heard from somewhere that this Denon microsystem's DAC is pretty crap.

But basically you guys are telling me I don't need a DAC then?

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RE: Newbie unsure.

ben.talbot wrote:
I don't think I'm really fussed on a USB device. Although I don't really know much about how any of this affects sound quality won't my audio files from the laptop lose alot of quality without the boost of a DAC rather than just a straight digital-to-analogue cable from the laptop to the Denon?

Well, you're going to need to use USB to get the sound out of the computer and into any device in digital form, so the Turtle Beach is just about the simplest way of doing it.

There's no such thing as 'a straight digital to analogue cable': if digital's going in one end and you want analogue out the other, then there's go to be a DAC in there somewhere. That's what the Turtle Beach does, but it also converts from digital in on USB to digital out on optical, allowing you to connect to the optical digital in on the Denon. In other words, it's doing exactly the same job for which you were suggesting using the Onkyo dock, but at a fraction of the price.

And here's nothing at all wrong with the DAC in the Denon, as evidenced by how good it sounds when playing CD or DAB radio, so I think you can connect up this way with confidence, and use the headphone out on the Denon to feed your 'phones, which I am sure will sound better than the headphone socket on your computer.

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RE: Newbie unsure.

ben.talbot wrote:

After researching I've gathered that the Onkyo ND-S1 is an iPod dock first-and-foremost but also acts as a kind of DAC as well? Would the audio quality be as good as if I was going for a DACMagic, or whatever, or is that kind of kit really useless for a bedroom setup?

 

The Onkyo is not a DAC; it is not a digital-analogue converter. It takes the USB signal and outputs an optical digital signal. I use one for playing Spotify and it works superbly well. You don't need a DAC and the money saved would be better used to upgrade to a Marantz or Denon. 

 

Anonymous
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RE: Newbie unsure.

I think I'm a bit more informed on the subject now then, heh. Thanks for all your help.

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