Originally Posted by thrand1
The Toshiba user manual isn't very forthcoming about the capabilities of its digital output, unfortunately. So this might have to fall under the "just try and see category" :) Go to this link for the user manual.
A few considerations to make for your setup:
-- I don't think the adapter you listed should have any harmful effects on the sound since you'll just be repeating a digital signal, and it might be easier/less messy to configure than having to configure your TV as well. In other words, no quality sacrifice unless that adapter is seriously broken.
-- In order to use the optical input on the E17, you'll want to configure your XBox and/or TV to output PCM sound, not Dolby Digital, in order for it to be compatible with the Fiio. Again, don't expect any quality sacrifice- PCM and its Dolby Digital counterpart are essentially the same thing. You might have to configure the XBox to output 2 channel sound as well, but I don't own one so I'm not sure if that is even an option.
-- I can't offer any conclusive statements about the benefit in audio quality...I'm sure others can provide more insight...but the digital to analog converter in the E17 may be better quality than the one in use in your laptop. The E17 may also provide a less noisy environment for this conversion to take place so there may be a "blacker background"/less background hiss. If the output impedance of your laptop is high enough, it could potentially alter the frequency response of the sound through your headphones, and the E17 may help correct that so you are getting a "less altered" sound. The E17 may also provide more power, but that is likely not an issue with your headphones. Overall, the E17, by isolating the environment where the decoding process takes place, may provide elevated performance, and it is very versatile with its suite of inputs and outputs.
Sorry I can't offer more definitive statements on some of the above, but I own none of these devices, haha. I think the E17 is a great tool with many uses in your setups, and would be a fantastic bang for your buck purchase.
Thank you very much for this response, it is extremely helpful.
I do know that my TV can toggle between Dolby & PCM output.
On my Xbox 360 I see options for:
- Digital Stereo
- Dolby Digital 5.1 OR
- Dolby Digital with WMA Pro.
According to xbox.com, Digital Stereo = PCM (16-bit, 48 kilohertz).
So it sounds like either option would work and that's great, it will depend on what I want I guess.
Glad I figured that out!
Now the second part of my issue is whether to amp or just convert. Actually, the adapter for the Xbox would allow me to plug a male RCA to female headphone out converter into it and use my headphones directly without conversion. However, if I do this or just use a DAC then I get zero volume control, so I'd have to buy a volume control extension for my headphones.
Can anyone offer further advice on either of the following:
Is getting an amp worth it given my headphones (Sennheiser HD598) and my demands (music listening on a business designed laptop with original on board sound card, not FLAC but mostly 256kbps MP3s or higher, and gaming on an Xbox 360)?
And, will an volume control extension like this one be likely to cause audio degradation? Or, is there another option for adjusting volume given that the Xbox does not have a Master Volume option and neither do these headphones?
And just for fun I'll throw in another potential scenario:
I own a 10 year old Aiwa 3 way speaker system, which is excellent for its purpose which is mostly blasting bass boosted music in my apartment, less so for movies/gaming. I'd need a DAC to run sound from anything digital to it, but it does have a headphone jack. If I ran sound from the 360 to it and then plugged my headphones into it, I would have volume control via the stereo volume...Does the stereo system provide any benefits in the form of an amp or is that unlikely?
It all seems a bit silly, having so many adapters and cords all attached together, but I guess one does what they have to...
Thank you in advance.