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Newbie DAC question (regarding internet radio)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi, I listen to a lot of Internet radio thru my Computer and was wondering if I upgrade my soundcard and add a DAC willl that improve the sound quality of the internet radio? What I mean is does a DAC iprove the cound quality of internet radio or just music stored on your HD? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Siebel
post #2 of 9
An external DAC would make instrument separation and overall clarity a great deal better. For internet radio, it would just make the compression artifacts a good deal clearer.

Usually, an DAC external will yield best results on uncompressed audio. Good quality compressed audio gets a good overhaul from a DAC too. Overly compressed audio like internet radio will most likely just be more annoying to listen to through a good DAC, depending on the quality of the stream (I would say 128kbps and greater and an external DAC will start shining).
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Redo, Thank you much for your reply. The Radio Stations I listen to stream at a minimum of 128k. So I should be alright there. Also all of my music is Flac so that's a plus too.

Looks like I'll be looking for a new Soundcard and DAC.

Thanks,

Siebel
post #4 of 9
Siebel...check out LIVE365.com if you want to find cd quality streaming radio stations. The free stations usually are at a much lower quality but for a small fee you can hear the difference! Great stuff. I think net radio stations absolutely kill satellite radio in terms of sound quality and diversity. XM and Sirius playlists sound more and more like fm radio every day.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siebel View Post
Redo, Thank you much for your reply. The Radio Stations I listen to stream at a minimum of 128k. So I should be alright there. Also all of my music is Flac so that's a plus too.

Looks like I'll be looking for a new Soundcard and DAC.

Thanks,

Siebel
Don't bother with the soundcard unless you want to run quality speakers. I am looking at a USB/Firewire fed DAC because I believe the HD sends the information direct to the DAC, bypassing the soundcard. My speakers are for convenience listening only so the oem soundcard does fine.
post #6 of 9
Is AOL Radio running off Winamp a compressed solution? Sometimes I think it sounds ok and other times it seems weak. Live365 is a broadband solution? Do you use their player or Winamp. I couldnt get it to work with Winamp which I have setup with ASIO. Is the Live365 player a good option?
post #7 of 9
I also listen a lot to internet radio and only from Live365 with the Radio365 player.
I'm going to get a dac for my DVD player but I think that Live365 will benefit from a dac too. Most channels are 64 kbps MP3 Pro and some are 128 kbps. 64 kbps MP3 Pro sound at least as good as 128 kbps. My favourite channels for sound quality on Live365 actually are 64 kbps MP3 Pro.
post #8 of 9
I run Last.fm client at work off of the Griffin iMic. It's not the best 'usb soundcard' (technically just a DAC, it has no synthesis capability) but it is much quieter (signal/noise wise) than the Dell's headphone jack.

Anyway, last.fm seems pretty nice, except for the occasional pop when the video on the system is painting a window, or Windows is going crazy to clean something up.
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post
Don't bother with the soundcard unless you want to run quality speakers. I am looking at a USB/Firewire fed DAC because I believe the HD sends the information direct to the DAC, bypassing the soundcard. My speakers are for convenience listening only so the oem soundcard does fine.
x2.
I built myself a USB DAC and whenever I want to listen to my headphones which are connected to a CKKIII, i just plug the usb dac in and the sound automatically comes out of the usb dac. When I pull it out, it immediately reverts back to my soundcard output to my speakers. It is very convenient and should offer a much cheaper implementation for bit perfect. I noticed a significant improvement in sound when using the DAC.
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