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DAC for 360 and pc use.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi I am new to the audiophile world but I am very interested in getting good sound. I would say I know what to listen for in audio for someone who doesnt actually own any high end audio equipment due to friends being musicians that have nice stuff. 

 

So I have been doing research for the last two days about DAC's and Ive decided I would rather have a DAC than a sound card because I want to use the same DAC for an Xbox 360 as well as a pc. I want to use the DAC for output to both headphones and a power amp stereo. I will be using one or the other so no need for a fancy DAC that does both at once. I just want to option to use both. 

 

With that said I have read numerous threads saying DAC's do not work with a 360 because you cannot install drivers for them, yet on other threads Ive seen people using one with no problems via the optical output on a 360. Some were saying that games will work but dvds dont, I just want games to work on the 360, I can use my pc for movies if thats the case. So I know that the Turtle Beach DSS2 will work on the 360, but not on a pc because the optical or coax cables will not have enough bandwidth unless I get another sound card to output to DSS. I do not want to do this.

 

I am looking for a DAC that will work for both systems and give me the option to use either a headset or speakers. I have no equipment at this time, so for christmas I will try to put together a setup. This means I cant be asking for thousands of dollars worth of stuff. Im gunna say $200 is my max for a DAC, if it works on both systems then Im sold. Can anyone suggest some DAC's that will do this or if that is impossible, clarify why it doesnt work and what my options are. 

 

A DAC I was looking at was the NuForce Icon uDAC-2 which seems to work great on a pc, just not sure about 360 compatability since I have been finding mixed opinions in my research. Oh and I should mention that I dont need the DAC to be portable like the NuForce, Im going for quality and I dont want top sacrifice that for portability. 

 

Thanks for any help, it is appreciated.

post #2 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dot584 View Post

Hi I am new to the audiophile world but I am very interested in getting good sound. I would say I know what to listen for in audio for someone who doesn't actually own any high end audio equipment due to friends being musicians that have nice stuff. 

So I have been doing research for the last two days about DAC's and Ive decided I would rather have a DAC than a sound card because I want to use the same DAC for an Xbox 360 as well as a pc. I want to use the DAC for output to both headphones and a power amp stereo. I will be using one or the other so no need for a fancy DAC that does both at once. I just want to option to use both. 

With that said I have read numerous threads saying DAC's do not work with a 360 because you cannot install drivers for them, yet on other threads Ive seen people using one with no problems via the optical output on a 360. Some were saying that games will work but dvds dont, I just want games to work on the 360, I can use my pc for movies if thats the case. So I know that the Turtle Beach DSS2 will work on the 360, but not on a pc because the optical or coax cables will not have enough bandwidth unless I get another sound card to output to DSS. I do not want to do this.

I am looking for a DAC that will work for both systems and give me the option to use either a headset or speakers. I have no equipment at this time, so for christmas I will try to put together a setup. This means I cant be asking for thousands of dollars worth of stuff. Im gunna say $200 is my max for a DAC, if it works on both systems then Im sold. Can anyone suggest some DAC's that will do this or if that is impossible, clarify why it doesn't work and what my options are. 

A DAC I was looking at was the NuForce Icon uDAC-2 which seems to work great on a pc, just not sure about 360 compatability since I have been finding mixed opinions in my research. Oh and I should mention that I don't need the DAC to be portable like the NuForce, Im going for quality and I dont want top sacrifice that for portability. 

What make and model is the power amplifier stereo?

Do you know the make and model of your computer's motherboard?

S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) is basically the same, weither it's xBox or PC, so the TBS DSS2 should work the same for the xBox and PC.

As long as your PC comes with built in S/PDIF toslink optical output and DDL (Dolby Digital Live).

 

You should not need to add drivers to the Xbox for it to output 2-channel stereo audio and 5.1 surround sound audio.

But make sure the xBox is updated, so hopefully it is hooked up to ethernet.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the response @PurpleAngel.

I do not have any speakers or amp yet, I am not going to get anything for a while. I just want to know where to start in order to match all the components correctly. So Im starting with a DAC since its the first link in the system and the part I know the least about. I am confident that once I find the DAC that will fit my needs that I will be able to find everything else on my own.

 

The DDL output from the computer is something I read about but people were saying you need a aftermarket soundcard to get it. Are you saying that some motherboards have this output stock? Is it high enough quality because I want the DAC to do all the converting and not the motherboard. I am also going to build a desktop once I sell my mx15 laptop. I am starting from scratch here and I want to build the most cost effective setup. 

 

Is the DSS2 a good enough DAC to use for both applications? I only mentioned it because I know it works with a 360. The only problem I have with it is it only has a headphone output and not a left and right for a stereo setup. My stereo will most likely consist of two bookshelf speakers and an amp, so will a DSS2 preform well when connected to the amp with an aux cable from the headphone jack? If I can get the virtual 5.1 on both the headphones and the speaker setup that would be amazing! Thats basically what Im going for.

post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dot584 View Post

Thank you for the response @PurpleAngel.

I do not have any speakers or amp yet, I am not going to get anything for a while. I just want to know where to start in order to match all the components correctly. So Im starting with a DAC since its the first link in the system and the part I know the least about. I am confident that once I find the DAC that will fit my needs that I will be able to find everything else on my own.

 

The DDL output from the computer is something I read about but people were saying you need a aftermarket soundcard to get it. Are you saying that some motherboards have this output stock? Is it high enough quality because I want the DAC to do all the converting and not the motherboard. I am also going to build a desktop once I sell my mx15 laptop. I am starting from scratch here and I want to build the most cost effective setup. 

 

Is the DSS2 a good enough DAC to use for both applications? I only mentioned it because I know it works with a 360. The only problem I have with it is it only has a headphone output and not a left and right for a stereo setup. My stereo will most likely consist of two bookshelf speakers and an amp, so will a DSS2 preform well when connected to the amp with an aux cable from the headphone jack? If I can get the virtual 5.1 on both the headphones and the speaker setup that would be amazing! Thats basically what Im going for.

Most motherboards come with a S/PDIF output (optical or coaxial) and some of those come with DDL built in.

Optical and coaxial (S/PDIF)can pass 2-channels of PCM (uncompressed) digital audio.

To send 6-channels (5.1) of digital audio thru S/PDIF, you need to use DDL (or DTS connect) to compress the audio down to where it can pass thru S/PDIF.

Once it pass thru S/PDIF, you need DDL at the other end to uncompress the audio

When taking about external DACs (Digital to Analog Converters), most external DACs (USB, optical, coaxial) are usually 2-channel stereo audio (no DDL support)

The ones designed for 6-channel (5.1) surround sound are more designed for gaming (or movies) and come with DDL.

These "gaming" DACs are usually of decent audio quality, not "audiophile" quality.

 

I'm guessing for your setup, it might be better to get am A/V receiver, they usually come with enough digital inputs (optical & coaxial) that you can connect your xBox audio and PC audio into (as well as the speakers).

Also DDL is usually a standard feature.

I prefer Yamaha receivers as they usually come with Yamaha's Silent Cinema, Yamaha's version of headphone surround sound.

 

Even better is to connect the xBox and PC to the receiver using HDMI, which can carry higher quality digital audio compared to S/PDIF.

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