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Audio "pipeline" for listening to music

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I am new to this forum and I'm currently searching for a few answers.

 

I want to improve my listening experience in general, but currently especially with headphones.

I mainly listen to music through my computer (with high-quality files).

The first step I thought about is to buy new headphones, I was thinking about Sennheiser HD 700's.

But I then read about the necessity (or at least it would be better) to use a headphone amplifier.

And diving deeper into all this stuff I also heard about "DAC's".

 

Because my current setup is pretty bad and no-name stuff I think I have to upgrade every part that's necessary.

So my questions are, when I use a computer to listen to music:

 

1. A DAC converts a digital signal to an analog one, this goes to the amp and then powers the headphone, right?

2. When using a DAC, how do I get the signal into the DAC? With a sound card (S/PDIF or TOSLINK)? And if so, can I use any sound card or is the digital output affected by the used card? How do I prevent the sound card from changing my signal, I'd like the soundcard just to transport the signal to the DAC to get the raw signal to my ears (without any effects (EAX, Crystalizer, ...) maybe with an option to affect the sound (more bass, less treble,...)).

 

I was already looking for answers to these questions but couldn't find any on google or here, I'd be very happy if you could help me with this. :)

 

And I was thinking about if this is the same order that would be needed for non-headphone hifi experience if connected with a computer?

PC (Sound card/...?) -> DAC -> AMP -> Speakers

 

Thank you very very much! :)

I'm pretty new and unknowing in this...

 

- Daniel

post #2 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagrinar View Post
 

Hello,

 

I am new to this forum and I'm currently searching for a few answers.

 

I want to improve my listening experience in general, but currently especially with headphones.

I mainly listen to music through my computer (with high-quality files).

The first step I thought about is to buy new headphones, I was thinking about Sennheiser HD 700's.

But I then read about the necessity (or at least it would be better) to use a headphone amplifier.

And diving deeper into all this stuff I also heard about "DAC's".

 

Because my current setup is pretty bad and no-name stuff I think I have to upgrade every part that's necessary.

So my questions are, when I use a computer to listen to music:

 

1. A DAC converts a digital signal to an analog one, this goes to the amp and then powers the headphone, right?

2. When using a DAC, how do I get the signal into the DAC? With a sound card (S/PDIF or TOSLINK)? And if so, can I use any sound card or is the digital output affected by the used card? How do I prevent the sound card from changing my signal, I'd like the soundcard just to transport the signal to the DAC to get the raw signal to my ears (without any effects (EAX, Crystalizer, ...) maybe with an option to affect the sound (more bass, less treble,...)).

 

I was already looking for answers to these questions but couldn't find any on google or here, I'd be very happy if you could help me with this. :)

 

And I was thinking about if this is the same order that would be needed for non-headphone hifi experience if connected with a computer?

PC (Sound card/...?) -> DAC -> AMP -> Speakers

 

Thank you very very much! :)

I'm pretty new and unknowing in this...

 

- Daniel

1. pretty much. But remember that there are standalone DACs and Amp, and ones that have an AMP/DAC on them (like the fiio e17)

 

2.You can connect the dac either with a usb cable, coaxial, or toslink. Using USB cable will competently bypass your onboard osundcard. Using toslink, you are still able to use your onboard sound card's feature (for example, you onboard has gaming features useful for directional audio for games). I don't have coaxial so i can't comment on it.  

 

If you have active speakers, you do not need an amp since it already has one. For passive speakers, you do because they have no power supply/amp.

 

Some speakers have have build-in dac, but may not necessary be better/worse  than a external one. 


Edited by imeem - 2/21/14 at 11:54am
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much! That answers all of my questions!

 

I will then try to get a decent setup :)

 

- Daniel

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