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Optical S/PDIF Port

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

1.  I am a newbie, emerging audiophile you can say

2.  My computer motherboard(I am not using Mac) has an Optical S/PDIF Port.
 

3.  I know Optical S/PDIF Port will supply digital stream.

 

4.  I want to purchase a DAC (max. $50). Please suggest it.

 

5.  I want to connect this new DAC in between my earphone and computer.

6.  How can i make this happen ? ( exactly what 'cables' will be used... proper name and model number please )
 

7.  I generally listen to alternative rock. So please suggest the DAC accordingly.


8.  And for cables i can spend $20-$30.

9.  And i also want to understand how this rig will work ...i mean the sound science behind it ..

10. Money is actually not an issue, but i just want this rig to work, that's why i am keeping my budget low.

 

THANKS

post #2 of 22

Just go to electronics store and buy Optical S/PDIF cable for about $5.00 - $10.00, connect from motherboard optical out to DAC optical in. Windows will see it once DAC is turned on and just make sure it is selected as the playback source in Windows. Plug headphones into DAC. 

 

I don't know which DAC though so will let others answer that.


Edited by Schonen - 8/9/13 at 5:42pm
post #3 of 22

I am a newbie too but I know there's plenty of choices for DAC if money is not the issue. Just browse the summer buying guide.

 

However, if there's any weak point of your chain(lossless format, dac/amp, headphone/speaker), your SQ could suffer. 

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schonen View Post

Just go to electronics store and buy Optical S/PDIF cable for about $5.00 - $10.00, connect from motherboard optical out to DAC optical in. Windows will see it once DAC is turned on and just make sure it is selected as the playback source in Windows. Plug headphones into DAC. 

 

I don't know which DAC though so will let others answer that.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wenyuanalive View Post

I am a newbie too but I know there's plenty of choices for DAC if money is not the issue. Just browse the summer buying guide.

 

However, if there's any weak point of your chain(lossless format, dac/amp, headphone/speaker), your SQ could suffer. 

Can i make this type of rig ...with usb output ?
i mean taking the digital stream through usb ...then it goes in the DAC..
Will there be a difference in the Optical S/PDIF sound and USB sound ?

post #5 of 22

You definitely can. Check sth like AudioQuest Dragonfly. However, I m not sure Optical S/PDIF would make any difference than USB sound.

post #6 of 22
Both USB and optical output are digital and should sound the same if you are using the same sources (media files). DACs with optical input tend to be more expensive than those with only USB, so unless you have other sources that don't have USB and are optical output only, like a CD player, you should stick with a simple USB DAC. You would also save money not having to buy an optical cable - you probably have an extra USB cable laying around that you can use.

 

The Hifimediy Sabre DAC is excellent and very cheap, and sounds almost as good as an ODAC.

 

The type of music you listen to should not inform what DAC you choose. DACs should be neutral and transparent, not colouring the sound in any way. If you want some colour in your sound (e.g. extra bass) you should buy headphones with the sound you're looking for.

 

As for the science behind it, it's quite simple conceptually. The song is stored as a digital file - ones and zeros. The DAC takes those digital data and turns them into an analogue electrical signal. Your headphones then take this signal and turn it into vibrating movements of the driver, which you perceive as sound.

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

thanks

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueangel2323 View Post

Both USB and optical output are digital and should sound the same if you are using the same sources (media files). DACs with optical input tend to be more expensive than those with only USB, so unless you have other sources that don't have USB and are optical output only, like a CD player, you should stick with a simple USB DAC. You would also save money not having to buy an optical cable - you probably have an extra USB cable laying around that you can use.

The Hifimediy Sabre DAC is excellent and very cheap, and sounds almost as good as an ODAC.

The type of music you listen to should not inform what DAC you choose. DACs should be neutral and transparent, not colouring the sound in any way. If you want some colour in your sound (e.g. extra bass) you should buy headphones with the sound you're looking for.

As for the science behind it, it's quite simple conceptually. The song is stored as a digital file - ones and zeros. The DAC takes those digital data and turns them into an analogue electrical signal. Your headphones then take this signal and turn it into vibrating movements of the driver, which you perceive as sound.

+1

All great advice. smily_headphones1.gif
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wenyuanalive View Post

I am a newbie too but I know there's plenty of choices for DAC if money is not the issue. Just browse the summer buying guide.

 

However, if there's any weak point of your chain(lossless format, dac/amp, headphone/speaker), your SQ could suffer. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


+1

All great advice. smily_headphones1.gif

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wenyuanalive View Post

You definitely can. Check sth like AudioQuest Dragonfly. However, I m not sure Optical S/PDIF would make any difference than USB sound.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schonen View Post

Just go to electronics store and buy Optical S/PDIF cable for about $5.00 - $10.00, connect from motherboard optical out to DAC optical in. Windows will see it once DAC is turned on and just make sure it is selected as the playback source in Windows. Plug headphones into DAC. 

 

I don't know which DAC though so will let others answer that.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueangel2323 View Post

Both USB and optical output are digital and should sound the same if you are using the same sources (media files). DACs with optical input tend to be more expensive than those with only USB, so unless you have other sources that don't have USB and are optical output only, like a CD player, you should stick with a simple USB DAC. You would also save money not having to buy an optical cable - you probably have an extra USB cable laying around that you can use.

 

The Hifimediy Sabre DAC is excellent and very cheap, and sounds almost as good as an ODAC.

 

The type of music you listen to should not inform what DAC you choose. DACs should be neutral and transparent, not colouring the sound in any way. If you want some colour in your sound (e.g. extra bass) you should buy headphones with the sound you're looking for.

 

As for the science behind it, it's quite simple conceptually. The song is stored as a digital file - ones and zeros. The DAC takes those digital data and turns them into an analogue electrical signal. Your headphones then take this signal and turn it into vibrating movements of the driver, which you perceive as sound.

 

Can anybody suggest a Portable USB DAC (Max $50). Thanks

post #10 of 22
This is the one I was suggesting: http://www.head-fi.org/products/hifimediy-sabre-usb-dac

Can be bought from here: http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=83

Slightly higher end version: http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=123

post #11 of 22
he will need an amp at the end of dac wont he. or does the one you suggested have n onboard amp?
post #12 of 22
It will drive IEMs and some portable headphones just fine, but for higher impedance or lower sensitivity headphones an amp will be needed.
post #13 of 22

at that price point I would recommend a diy kit, at least smth soldered together without a case, imo only the case costs 30$,

look at the auction site, and leave feedback here..

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonci View Post

at that price point I would recommend a diy kit, at least smth soldered together without a case, imo only the case costs 30$,

look at the auction site, and leave feedback here..

He has the budget to spend more but needs to know that it will work. 

 

Maybe he shoud go with the good ole E17 used here for $110 or so. That way he's got a DAC that will increase quality and an amp for when he needs it. Kill two birds with one stone! 

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post

He has the budget to spend more but needs to know that it will work. 

 

Maybe he shoud go with the good ole E17 used here for $110 or so. That way he's got a DAC that will increase quality and an amp for when he needs it. Kill two birds with one stone! 


+1 on E17.  For the price it's a great DAC/AMP.  All you'll need as an optical cable to plug into it.

What are your headphones?

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