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PAULCHRISTOPHER's picture
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PC to Hi-Fi


Hi  I have always kept
my computers separate from my hi-fi but to future proof my quality music
listening I need some advice as how best to connect my PC with my hi-fi.  Systems are;-


Hi-Fi;- Marantz PM6004 Amp & CD6004 & Q Acoustics
2050i speakers etc.


PC . Home assembled 
Novatech ,AMD Phenom Quad processor, with 4GB RAM, 2TB hard drive, onboard
sound with Windows 7.  8 MEG + Broadband


I can get a quality Soundblaster sound card for £50 from
Maplin. This is PCI Express which is the only slot I have left. Can I connect
this to the PM6004 tape in inputs? All analogue.


I presumable cannot connect a USB lead from my PC direct to
the USB in on the CD6004.


Do I have to buy an audio  steamer whatever that is?


My idea is that I download Jazz & Classical from
dedicated websites. Store the files on the hard Drive. Make back ups on CD on
the PC in case of HD failure and transfer this music to the hi-fi by one of the
various methods. What can I do and which route gives the best sound?

PAULCHRISTOPHER's picture
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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

I Suppose I need a Marantz NA 7004, (don't tell the wife!)

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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

No not necessarily (The NA7004 that is). Your Pc is already a streamer and you don't need to buy another.

You should be able to plug your Pc into your CD player if it has a USB input. If for some reason this is not workable, you could get a perfectly good USB DAC for around £100 or less. Both of the below are very good DACs

E-DAC <£90 REVIEW

Behringer UCA 222 <£30 REVIEW

You will need some way to catalogue and order your music and a software media player idealy, if taking the DAC route and feeding your amp from the DAC. If plugging into your CD player, it's own internal DAC will be used and you may be able to navigate through your music without a media player, but I have no experience with the Marantz equipment mentioned, so I'm just guessing here.

I use iTunes as a media player and to catalogue/organise my files, all of which are CD rips. My system is a computer based streaming one and works very well, being compact and very versatile. You already have the equipment to do the same, but a dedicated DAC could possibly be of some benefit, depending on the ability to use the CD player as a DAC or not.

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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

Bluetooth is an option.Thats what I use

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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

Loads of choices really, depending how much you want to spend, starting with:

Spend nothing. As you backing them up to CDs, just play those

Spend a tenner on a 3.5 mm to 2 phono RCA lead. Plug into the headphone socket and a line in on the Marantz.

Spend £70 on a QED uPlay and Bluetooth adapter.

....

....

....

Spend £800 on a Musical Fidelity M1 SDAC

Spend £1250 on a Naim DAC-V1

and so on.

Basically, what sort of budget can you get past the missus?

 

 

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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

As above  QED uPlay  thats what I use and I am happy with the sound quality.My PC didnt have Bluetooth so i bought a Belkin mini Bluetooth adaptor t.The whole setup cost me £60 +

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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

Hi  I’m pretty green on all this so please bear with me. The Marantz  CD6004 has a Cirrus Logic advanced  DAC built in and a USB port. The USB port can be used by Ipods but the instructions don’t mention PC’s but there has been mention of hard Drives on this forum. It can play MP3, WMA & AAC files but not FLAC files which I understand are the best. I thought that the clue to USB was in the abbreviation “Universal Serial Bus”.  I guess I might need to contact Marantz to see whether I should connect a USB lead to my PC. If this was permissible then the CD would only recognise the files it wanted to (IE Not FLAC files. If I wanted to hear FLAC files then presumably I would need a DAC that recognised them. At the moment I am using an old AIWA FM/AM tuner but do not have a DAB tuner. In about a year’s time I was intending to buy a FM/DAB tuner so it seems it will be better to buy a "box" with PC connectivity.

In the meantime it would be interesting  to know what I could do for the price of a USB lead. Any further help would be appreciated  and I think I will email Marantz.

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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

PAULCHRISTOPHER wrote:

In the meantime it would be interesting  to know what I could do for the price of a USB lead. Any further help would be appreciated  and I think I will email Marantz.

Having looked at the specs it might be that the CD player would not play files found on the Pc hard drive. If this is the case, then the cheapest way to link your Pc to your hifi, is to get a 3.5mm Jack to twin phono lead, as suggested earlier.

You need spend no more than a few pounds.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=3.5mm+Stereo+Mini+Jack+to+Twin+RCA

3.5mm to twin phono

FLAC files are losslessly compressed files and are no different in sound to the original files, however you could use lossy compressed files, such as mp3 or AAC and might still not be able to tell them apart until a certain point ( I use 256Kbps myself).

The above advice though, will get you along your way for now and with minimal outlay until you have done a bit of research and decided what exactly your ideal solution might be.

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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

You should've gotten something like a Nuforce DDA-100 and ran a usb cable directly into the amp, instead of the Marantz PM6004/CD6004 combo. 

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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

Hi All, thanks for the replies .If I am just to use 3.5mm jack into sound socket on the PC to phono plugs into spare inputs on amplifier such as Aux. or tape then the connection is analogue and would presumably benefit from an upgrade on the PC from sound chips on the motherboard to a better sound card. But presumably the quality would not be as good as a digital connection such as the Marantz NA7004 network audio player would achieve. I could get one of these in due course but I don't want to spend any more than they cost (£364) as anything dearer would be out of proportion to the rest of my system.

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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

PAULCHRISTOPHER wrote:

Hi All, thanks for the replies .If I am just to use 3.5mm jack into sound socket on the PC to phono plugs into spare inputs on amplifier such as Aux. or tape then the connection is analogue and would presumably benefit from an upgrade on the PC from sound chips on the motherboard to a better sound card. But presumably the quality would not be as good as a digital connection such as the Marantz NA7004 network audio player would achieve. I could get one of these in due course but I don't want to spend any more than they cost (£364) as anything dearer would be out of proportion to the rest of my system.

If you only want to improve on the sound from the Pc, then one of the DACs I linked to, or similar would be fine. Have a read of the UCA202/222 review, it really is rather good for the money (£25 approx, I believe).

Bear in mind that a dedicated streamer will not offer anything over your Pc in terms of types of media playback and I doubt that the sound quality between your CD player and the N7004 would differ much. What you would be able to do with the streamer, is to stream media without needing to have the Pc turned on, but you then would still need to buy an external hard drive for your file storage.

Do you have any Android or iPod/iPhones in the house?

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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

If I was you I'd just buy myself a 3.5mm Jack to twin phono lead as mentioned above and see how you go with that first. It will only cost you a few quid from Maplins, or even cheaper on Ebay, tons of choice on there.  In the past I've been surprised how good this very basic connection has sounded from my PC into my various amps, and the quality has been nowhere near as bad as some people would have you believe. Just my personal opinion and experience.

 

BTW does your PC's soundcard have an optical output at all? Mine does and I run a cheap Maplins Toslink into my sub £30 Fiio D3 DAC and the quality is superb.

 

 

.

Creek/ProJect/SBT/Epos

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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

Hi Overdose, No Andriod.Ipod or I phones in the house, unless my daughter is in residence.

Hi DIB. I don't have an optical out on my PC as it just has sound onboard the motherboard., and my spare PCI slot is blocked by my video board. I have a spare PCI Express slot and you can get sound boards to fit this slot but I have not seen one with an optical output.

As I said above I will want to replace my AIWA FM tuner with a combined FM& DAB tuner when I have recovered from spending a grand on the new Amp, CD & Speakers. I am leaning to the Marantz NR7004 to match the rest but it is going to be 2014. So I am coming back to keeping the PC and HI-FI separate again! It is nice to keep up with the latest technology but the one advantage of keeping them separate is that if one system goes down you still have the other. Thanks for all your reples. They have given me much to reflect on. Paul 

 

Anonymous
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RE: PC to Hi-Fi

Hi Paul, I have a wireless Arcam rDac which works great and sounds great too from the laptop via USB, but I also use it for CD input - and it has a USB port.You already have a DAC so this route seems a bit of a waste. I know that Creative Labs do a USB 'sound module' which acts as an external sound card if you're not impressed with the internal sound chip on your laptop. This has a 3.5mm jack out so you could connect to your amp as in previous posts. However, if I could have my money back I'd still go for the rDac for the quality of sound and solid reliable wireless performance, and you did say 'the best sound' but it's your decision - good luck Smile

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