Originally Posted by saffamike
My new setup is going to be:
X-fi Titanium HD -> Fiio E09k + E17 combo -> MTH50 / M-100
I'm totally new to audio configuration and have always made do with onboard sound in the past. I'm a little confused about the best way to link my PC sound card to the E09k. I've done a bit of research and have confirmed my options as being:
1) Titanium HD RCA to E09k RCA
2) Titanium HD SPDIF out to E17 Optical in
3) PC USB to E09k USB
4) Titanium HD 3.5mm out to E09k AUX in
Option 4 makes the least sense to me and I've tried option 3 without much luck. Options 1 and 2 work, but I'm concerned that I might settle for a sub-optimal setup without realising it and then I won't get the maximum benefit from my investment. I understand that my sound card has better DAC performance than the E17 which I use mostly for its portable functionality, so my aim is to use the E09k solely as an amp.
I'd really appreciate it if anyone with the know-how would point me in the right direction. Thanks and apologies if this has been answered before.
Use the one that sounds best to you, although skip option 3 entirely: you miss out on all of the TiHD's awesome DSP work.
As for the difference between RCA and minijack output (1 and 4), it should be minimal considering you use an external amp. The RCA jacks may be balanced outputs as well, since they don't touch the backplate, and thus are grounded only to their respective OpAmps from my look at the card. They could of course be grounded together, but then it makes no real sense to have it not make contact with the backplate or have one dedicated output stage for each channel.
Here's my personal setup:
Headphones: foobar2000 -> DirectSound mixer (the devs themselves say that there is no difference sound quality-wise, and as an electrical engineering and computing student, I agree) -> Titanium HD Line Out -> Splitter -> PA2v2 amp -> ATH-M50
Speakers: foobar2000 -> DirectSound mixer (the devs themselves say that there is no difference sound quality-wise, and as an electrical engineering and computing student, I agree) -> Titanium HD Line Out -> Splitter -> harman/kardon Soundsticks 3 (laugh all you want, I need my table to shake when I crank up the volume. Thinking of moving up to some Behringer MS40 later on, and add a sub even later).
EDIT/Addendum: I use the RCA line-out + splitter rather than the headphone out for two reasons:
1. I don't have to crawl under the ******* table every time I want to switch between headphones and speakers (I just mute the speakers, and power up the headphone amp (or vice-versa)). This **** gets old reeeeal fast.
2. I get 192kHz sample rate only on RCA out (vs 96kHz everywhere else), so I will damn well use it, especially since the difference(s) between the two outputs are inaudible to me!Edited by ZeDestructor - 1/10/13 at 4:09am