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the basics of using laptop and itunes as a source...

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I have a half decent set up with cd as my source, and i also have alot of music on itunes.

how do i get a good signal from my itunes (can be lossless) to my MF V3 amp and hd650?
i am assuming its best to somehow feed an external DAC which then feeds my amp? i have no special sound card on my acer laptop that i know of.
how do i feed an external DAC from itunes? is there a digital output?
can i feed a dac from my ipod?
will any of this upset the moody itunes platform?

i have clearly missed something in the basics here, and have found the really simple info hard to get...so thanx for putting up with my daft questions.
post #2 of 28
You will certainly get higher sound quality with an external DAC.
Since your computer don't have a digital output you end up with three options:
1. Use an Apple AirPort Express, which have digital output.
2. Buy a DAC with USB connection.
3. Buy a PCMCIA sound card with digital output.

I am going the AirPort Express way and a very pleased with the result.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
You will certainly get higher sound quality with an external DAC.
Since your computer don't have a digital output you end up with three options:
1. Use an Apple AirPort Express, which have digital output.
2. Buy a DAC with USB connection.
3. Buy a PCMCIA sound card with digital output.

I am going the AirPort Express way and a very pleased with the result.
If I get an external DAC with USB connection, can I use this straight from my computer and itunes (or even the ipod)???
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exit Pupil View Post
If I get an external DAC with USB connection, can I use this straight from my computer and itunes (or even the ipod)???
Yes. A DAC bypasses onboard audio and cleans the signal. That should work with no problems. Plug the DAC into the amp and that should work perfectly.
post #5 of 28
Not the iPod, and depending on your laptop you may have other options. All recent Apple computers and a few others include optical connections. I use a Macbook to feed a Lavry DA10 DAC. As mentioned you can use a wireless Airport Express/Squeezebox/etc. to feed a DAC (thru optical or coaxil).
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
will i need to change any preferences in itunes, or will it automatically stream in digital once usb connected to my external dac? my acer aspire computer has no optical out.

thanks for dragging me into the 21st century with this.
post #7 of 28
After you connect a DAC your computer will detect it automatically, and no preferences should be needed to be changed in iTunes.

Welcome to Head-fi and sorry about your wallet!
post #8 of 28
If a change in settings is required it will be in your operating systems sound settings, not iTunes with USB, etc. connections. If you use an Airport Express (which is a great option if you have or want a wireless network at home) you'll get a 'switch' at the bottom of iTunes that will allow you to broadcast to different places.
post #9 of 28
I found the Airport Express and iTunes solution solved some nasty noise problems when I was using the laptop for work and connected directly to an external DAC via USB. It also untethers you from the external DAC....
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
but how can an airport connect to a dac, if its all wireless? will i then require a super wireless dac?
i do have wireless internet hook up, but i feel this is unrelated.

yes, this site would seem to facilitate wallet slimming activities. i can imagine worse things to spend money on!
post #11 of 28
Another vote for the Airport Express, using mine with a PC and iTunes. Had to buy a USB-connected wireless thingie to transmit the iTunes stuff to the AEX. But that was, like, 60 bucks. So, now my desktop sends wireless bit-perfect iTunes-managed ALAC rips of my CDs to the AEX, which is optically connected to my DAC.
Nothing to it, really. I also have a nice older CD player hooked to the DAC (an Electrocompaniet ECD-1) and I can A/B the two digital feeds very easily - no discernable difference between the rips and the original CDs.
This is a great way to go, imo!
post #12 of 28
Exit Pupil, think of the Airport Express as eliminating a cord. The Airport Express can act as it's own wireless router, but if you already have one, your laptop would send the audio to your router which would send it to the Airport Express which has as dual analog/optical mini out. So you could hook the Airport Express to a DAC that would accept a TOSLINK in with an optical cable. This may seem complicated, but it would get your bitperfect output with iTunes in Windows (because of Windows limitations, it's already there with a Mac) and eliminate feedback/card noise. You could also hook one up to a stereo receiver too.

http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessingx View Post
Exit Pupil, think of the Airport Express as eliminating a cord. The Airport Express can act as it's own wireless router, but if you already have one, your laptop would send the audio to your router which would send it to the Airport Express which has as dual analog/optical mini out. So you could hook the Airport Express to a DAC that would accept a TOSLINK in with an optical cable. This may seem complicated, but it would get your bitperfect output with iTunes in Windows (because of Windows limitations, it's already there with a Mac) and eliminate feedback/card noise. You could also hook one up to a stereo receiver too.

http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/
This is brilliant... my laptop has wifi b/g so this should work as is.
it sounds like i then have an option to use the airport express as analog or digital out ie: straight to an amplifer, or straight to a dac using toslink?
do most dacs accept this toslink thing?
will the airport express interfere with my d-link router/modem combo?

finally - does a product exist which encases the following in one neat package with sound qual at least on par with my MFV3
-headphone amplifier
-has a good built in DAC (compat with stated airport express)
-can be used as a preamp for a power amp without wire swapping
-crossfeed option (not essential)
-sweet sweet sound

thanks again everyone, i am indebted - this site is great.
post #14 of 28
bithead covers all of those except for the third
post #15 of 28
For bit-perfect, you want to use the toslink out on the Airport Express to a DAC, not an analog connection from the AE to anything.

The Grace M902 gets you all of the items on your list. I've been using one to drive Senn 650s and Mackie HR824 powered monitors and both sound fantastic.
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