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Running speakers and my headphones out of the computer at the same time?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

So, I have a Matrix M-Stage Amp + DAC stack (so, the DAC is the standalone, not the cheap one that comes with the USB version of the M-Stage amp), with a pair of Sennheiser HD-650's.

 

I also have a really cheap pair of powered computer speakers by Altec Lansing. Is there any way I can use both the Sennheiser HD-650 and the cheap speakers running out of the computer and through the M-Stage stack?

 

I had assumed I could just use the preamp outputs on the M-Stage amp, to drive the computer speakers... thinking they are the same as the line-out. But now I'm thinking I have the wrong idea about what the preamp is, considering I just connected them right now, and no sound is coming out.

 

There is only one output for the DAC, which would be used for the amplifier, so it seems there are no options of running the speaker out of the DAC as well.

 

I do have onboard audio with my motherboard, so would I have to do a song and dance with the onboard audio and the M-Stage DAC to get both headphones and speakers running?

 

I could connect the M-Stage DAC with the onboard audio through optical for the headphones, and run the speakers from the onboard audio. I am hesitant to do that, however, because I've read the quality of optical outs vary from source to source, and given that my source is onboard audio, I'm assuming the optical output quality won't be very good.

 

Or is it possible to use onboard audio, and have the M-Stage DAC installed through the USB connection at the same time? Or would there be driver conflicts?

 

Or are there any other options of running the speakers out through the M-Stage stack, and not having to deal with the onboard audio at all?

post #2 of 6

Sorry if this is a stupid question. Have you tried unplugging the headphones to get the preamp to work?

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

You are a very smart man. Thank you.

 

But... doesn't this mean I have to unplug the headphones every single time I want to use speakers? Isn't this bad for the headphone connector?

 

Is there any other way to do this (without having the connect and reconnect the headphones all the time), if possible?


Edited by fuzzybaffy - 2/13/13 at 9:30pm
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzybaffy View Post

But... doesn't this mean I have to unplug the headphones every single time I want to use speakers? Isn't this bad for the headphone connector?

 

I have not encountered an amp that totally does not "pop" through the headphones upon power-up, and I've always assumed that busting the drivers/voice coils will be a bigger problem than the plugs and sockets. Your real problem will be you - if you're clumsy, in a hurry and don't pay attention, you can scratch the amp going in and really damage the plug or socket if you're not pushing/pulling smoothly straight in/out.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzybaffy View Post

I could connect the M-Stage DAC with the onboard audio through optical for the headphones, and run the speakers from the onboard audio. I am hesitant to do that, however, because I've read the quality of optical outs vary from source to source, and given that my source is onboard audio, I'm assuming the optical output quality won't be very good.

 

 

But the DAC is connected via USB, correct? I wouldn't worry about optical vs USB if I were you, unless your DAC can somehow make use of the 5v current, like the SuperPro707 which takes the 5V signal out of the USB to power not just the USB receiver chip but also the DAC, and the power brick goes exclusively to the analog output (I got around this by using a higher voltage output PSU).

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzybaffy View Post

Is there any other way to do this (without having the connect and reconnect the headphones all the time), if possible?

 

In any case if there is only one set of analog output on the DAC, balanced or not, and you don't want to unplug the headphones (which if I understand correctly is for the preamp on the amp), then just don't use the M-Stage stack on what you describe as "cheap" speakers and hook them up to the analog output on the motherboard and manually switch on Control Panel. Chances are those speakers won't reflect too much how much better (wider, flatter, etc) the freq response is. How much of the 20hz to 20khz range can the speakers do at all, let alone how much of it is close to flat?

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Right. The decision between optical vs. USB is still up in the air.

 

Would I be able to use -both- the motherboard onboard audio, and the DAC connected through the USB? Won't there be any driver conflicts, and therefore possibly prevent the DAC from performing optimally?

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzybaffy View Post

 

Would I be able to use -both- the motherboard onboard audio, and the DAC connected through the USB? Won't there be any driver conflicts, and therefore possibly prevent the DAC from performing optimally?


There shouldn't be any by default but some DACs with specific drivers might. Barring any feedback about that I think it's safe enough to assume it wouldn't have any driver conflicts. My laptop doesn't have any issues when switching between USB audio and headphone out in the same session.

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