D/A Converters

A forum for discussing hardware related news, help, rumors, etc...

Moderators: boat, rickh

Post Reply
User avatar
Grummun
[NME] tried and true
[NME] tried and true
Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Central OH
Contact:

D/A Converters

Post by Grummun » Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:04 pm

Any of you home-entertainmenct-PC types ever played with running S/PDIF output through a D/A converter and thence into a "real" stereo system? The limited experience I have with PC audio cards is that the digital-analog conversion is weak. For example, take a CD-quality WAV file, playing on your PC, run the analog output from the PC into your stereo, and you won't get the same sound quality as the same song playing though a good CD player connected to the same stereo. Maybe D/A converters on high-end PC-audio cards are more comparable in quality to real stereo kit? Also, I believe running the audio out S/PDIF bypasses the onboard amp, thereby reducing another potential point of sound degredation.

User avatar
boat
[NME] tried and true
[NME] tried and true
Posts: 2753
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: Hampton Roads, VA
Contact:

Post by boat » Wed Nov 08, 2006 6:54 pm

nope, sry. i never quite made it to actual 'production' status :oops: :lol: :P i know the board i was using has a digital out (optical and rca)...so it would jsut be a matter of having a stereo system with the corresponding inputs.

User avatar
[NME]T-Bone
[NME] tried and true
[NME] tried and true
Posts: 2818
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: Sharpsville, PA

Post by [NME]T-Bone » Wed Nov 08, 2006 7:04 pm

Doesn't your receiver and/or amp have a digital input? Most of the setups I've seen don't use a D/A converter. The S/PDIF uses a TOSlink cable to hook directly into the stereo rig.
T-Bone

"If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominos
will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate."

User avatar
Paradroid
[NME] tried and true
[NME] tried and true
Posts: 332
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2002 7:13 pm
Location: Holland, EU
Contact:

Post by Paradroid » Wed Nov 08, 2006 7:27 pm

I've hooked up several PC's straight to a stereo. And between the different soundcards you hear a lot of difference in sound quality. The sound quality from a soundcard connected analog to a home stereo doesn't have to be any less than that of a CD player connected analog to the stereo. I think it really depends on the output quality of the soundcard. So my guess is that the D/A converter in your CD player is just better than the one in your soundcard.

The analog audio out your soundcard should be unamplified too. I don't know much about S/PDIF, but i do believe that it should sound better than an analog connection.

I'll ask my cousin about it. He runs a sound studio on PCs.

:mosh:
Parad®σιd

User avatar
Grummun
[NME] tried and true
[NME] tried and true
Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Central OH
Contact:

Post by Grummun » Wed Nov 08, 2006 8:24 pm

[NME]T-Bone wrote:Doesn't your receiver and/or amp have a digital input? Most of the setups I've seen don't use a D/A converter. The S/PDIF uses a TOSlink cable to hook directly into the stereo rig.
Ah. The kit that I have is old enough that there's no digital input on the pre-amp. If a digital input (and presumably a built in D/A converter) is available on current stuff, then that'll be a feature to look for when I buy a new pre-amp (which I will have to, eventually, if I want surround sound).

User avatar
boat
[NME] tried and true
[NME] tried and true
Posts: 2753
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: Hampton Roads, VA
Contact:

Post by boat » Wed Nov 08, 2006 8:32 pm

well if youre looking to hang on to your current stereo, there are standalone D/A converters out there. they might be higher priced though, because when you start separating components youre getting into the audiphile/highend market :P

User avatar
[NME]T-Bone
[NME] tried and true
[NME] tried and true
Posts: 2818
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: Sharpsville, PA

Post by [NME]T-Bone » Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:10 pm

Grummun wrote: Ah. The kit that I have is old enough that there's no digital input on the pre-amp. If a digital input (and presumably a built in D/A converter) is available on current stuff, then that'll be a feature to look for when I buy a new pre-amp (which I will have to, eventually, if I want surround sound).
Yes, all new equipment that provides 5.1/6.1/7.1 DTS or THX has an optical in. It's the standard for hi-def audio and uses a TOSlink optical cable between devices be it stereo or pc hardware.

User avatar
Grummun
[NME] tried and true
[NME] tried and true
Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Central OH
Contact:

Post by Grummun » Wed Nov 08, 2006 11:15 pm

boat wrote:well if youre looking to hang on to your current stereo, there are standalone D/A converters out there. they might be higher priced though, because when you start separating components youre getting into the audiophile/highend market :P
And you ain't kiddin' there... I dabbled in the low end of high end for a very short period, and some of that stuff is blindingly expensive. I learned pretty quickly that either my hearing is sub-par, or I'm insufficiently pretentious, but I couldn't tell the difference between the stuff I got and the stuff that costs 5 or 10 times as much.

Funny thing, my CD player has an RCA jack on the back marked 'Digital Out.' The salesman said I could use that to upgrade to a better D/A converter later. I never knew what that jack was good for; now, I figure it's a AES/EBU or S/PDIF coaxial jack.

User avatar
boat
[NME] tried and true
[NME] tried and true
Posts: 2753
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: Hampton Roads, VA
Contact:

Post by boat » Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:11 am

yeah, i started to dabble into that audiophile stuff before...some of that stuff is ridiculous :o so youre saying that you dont want a turntable for a few thousand..? :P actually, the 'true' audiophiles tout analog/vinyl as the most true sound, since its recorded in true wave form...no breaking into digits then putting them back together in an analog wave.

but ill be damned if that audiophile stuff aint purty...

http://caryaudio.com/

that vacuum tube stuff is delicious...mmm... :P ;) my brother lives in cary so ive been wanting to maybe try and get soem kinda tour or something to their headquarters/factory/facility. :P

User avatar
Grummun
[NME] tried and true
[NME] tried and true
Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Central OH
Contact:

Post by Grummun » Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:38 am

boat wrote:yeah, i started to dabble into that audiophile stuff before...some of that stuff is ridiculous :o so youre saying that you dont want a turntable for a few thousand..? :P actually, the 'true' audiophiles tout analog/vinyl as the most true sound, since its recorded in true wave form...no breaking into digits then putting them back together in an analog wave.

but ill be damned if that audiophile stuff aint purty...

http://caryaudio.com/

that vacuum tube stuff is delicious...mmm... :P ;) my brother lives in cary so ive been wanting to maybe try and get soem kinda tour or something to their headquarters/factory/facility. :P
Yeah, the salesguy I had was pretty cool, but I think he was drinking the kool-aid a bit... he played a record for me on this turntable, the platter was a 3" thick piece of translucent plastic, and he was all "doesn't that sound great." Well, yes, that turntable reproduces the pops and clicks with admirable fidelity.

As for vacuum tubes, I'm all for 'em... you can put your amp under your desk and use it to warm your feet in the winter. :D

Post Reply