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Looking for clarification on DACs and amps - Page 2

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacgunner1 View Post
 

I have another concern that I hope can be answered. While playing CD's, there is a minor buzz (kind of fuzzy static, if that helps) in the background. Is it the CD or my amp, or something else? 

If the computer is causing noise in the analog signal, using an external USB DAC should(?) hopefully remove the static.

post #17 of 26

Should be able to connect to the Onkyo using coax or optical and bypass needing a separate DAC. Unless there is something wrong with the optical drive in the comp.

post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 

I have been using coaxial the entire time. However, it is a dual ending one (sorry for the crummy description, but it splits into two on one side?) that I have been feeding into the CD input. Would plugging it into the coaxial digital input change anything?

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacgunner1 View Post
 

I have been using coaxial the entire time. However, it is a dual ending one (sorry for the crummy description, but it splits into two on one side?) that I have been feeding into the CD input. Would plugging it into the coaxial digital input change anything?

 

Yes, you (probably) don't have a digital audio output on the laptop so you wouldn't get sound that way. I'd confirm, but HP product pages are frustratingly bad; some laptops do have a combo output jack. If you're using analog outputs to RCA inputs on the receiver, the noise could well be from the laptop's audio hardware. (you know, you can check with different source files and other things like that)

 

You can get an external converter that outputs digital S/PDIF through coax or optical, as I suggested earlier, to use the Onkyo's DAC (as bigshot is suggesting).

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacgunner1 View Post
 

I have been using coaxial the entire time. However, it is a dual ending one (sorry for the crummy description, but it splits into two on one side?) that I have been feeding into the CD input. Would plugging it into the coaxial digital input change anything?

 

You mean analog 3.5mm out of the computer into the analog 2xRCA "CD input"? When they mentioned "coax," they specifically refer to "coaxial SPDIF digital, 75ohms" - not the design of an RCA cable or plug.

post #21 of 26

No, through a USB output from the computer. A USB to optical audio converter. Analog out from the comp appears to be the problem.

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacgunner1 View Post
 

I have been using coaxial the entire time. However, it is a dual ending one (sorry for the crummy description, but it splits into two on one side?) that I have been feeding into the CD input. Would plugging it into the coaxial digital input change anything?

The CD input on the receiver is analog (red/white) 2-channel , coaxial cable would be one single RCA connector on each end (mono-channel) and coaxial cable is usually a thicker cable then the standard analog RCA cable.

So you are using an analog audio connection, not digital coaxial.

Get the Sabre U2 USB DAC, way better DAC chip then what the computer (laptop) or that low priced Onkyo receiver has.

Those speaker clips on the back of the Onkyo, those are what are used on the low priced bottom end receivers.

low costing stuff comes with low costing parts, Onkyo is going to go with the cheapest DAC chip then can with that receiver.

Same story with the laptop, they would use the cheapest DAC chip they can.

post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 

You mean analog 3.5mm out of the computer into the analog 2xRCA "CD input"? 

 

That is exactly what I was doing! 

 

If Bigshot is correct about the analog out being the issue, than I think I will be needing a USB-out device. However, I found a head-fi thread discussing USB-SPDIF converters. I think it may just be more cost efficient to buy a separate DAC than the converter. 

 http://www.head-fi.org/t/623798/why-are-usb-s-pdif-interfaces-so-expensive 

I think the ODAC and Magni are USB output and well withing my price range. I will probably go for one or the other, unless if a better one withing my range can be found. 

Thanks for the help all, I really appreciate it! 

post #24 of 26
post #25 of 26
You have the solution in your own hands. Listen to the Sony CDP and the Galaxy Ace through the Onkyo. Can you hear a significant difference? I presume there's a DAC in the receiver too. You should be able to tell whether any of your sources are seriously lacking. The CDP should provide a reasonable reference standard.

The probability is that you will struggle to hear a difference between these devices if they are properly set up.

w
Edited by wakibaki - 2/13/14 at 5:58pm
post #26 of 26

See my review of the Alpen E17 for my experience, which was that my phone and laptop already had a DAC that was as good as the E17. With the need for markups, a case etc., you probably won't be able to get an external DAC for $100 to $200 that's better than the one in your computer or phone if you have a high end phone, as most everyone does these days.

 

Any way, if you do get one, do experiments to confirm that it's actually better (at the exact same volume too decibel wise). I did such experiments for hours, listening and relistening to parts of songs and found absolutely no advantage to the Alpen E17 relative to my phone and laptop DACs and that's supposed to be the best DAC you can get for under $200.


Edited by ag8908 - 2/13/14 at 6:07pm
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