Combo: Help choosing a DAC and Optical Audio Doubt
May 26, 2012 at 12:55 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2

ninioquiroz

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Hi
 
I've mostly been a lurker for a few months, and first I'd like to say this is an awesome community. I want my main configuration to be MacBook Pro > USB DAC > Headphone Amp > D1100/HD598/HE-3? HE-4?
 
I currently use a really cheap mini amplifier plugged via RCA to a Samsung Blu-Ray player to listen to my CD's. Simple and economic as it may be, I at least get much better music quality from it compared to my iPhone/EQu set, which is my main source for most of the day.
 
First, I'd like some opinions on which USB DAC to choose. Right now I'm considering the Music Hall 15.2 as my closest choice, since it comes from a good brand, complies with my limited budget of no more than $400 dollars, according to the specs it has a decent Texas Instruments chipset and offers 24/96 processing trough USB and 24/192 on Optical.
 
Any suggestions on a different DAC and which amp to plug it into? I think I'll go for the Schiit Asgard next, since it has very good reviews as a decent-priced class A amplifier.
 
Second, at risk of passing off as a mere newb, I have to ask: How does the optical out on my Blu-Ray player work? My doubt is on whether the signal will be bypassed and 'pure' from the player to an external converter such as the 15.2 or will it be processed on it's internal DAC by deafault. I know, obviously, that the signal I get from the RCA out of said Blu-Ray is already processed going to my mini amplifier, the thing is, I'm not quite shure what happens when using the optical audio out.
 
So, what do you think about my potential Music Hall 15.2 > Schiit Asgard setup? Any suggestions?
 
Thank you
:D
 
May 26, 2012 at 1:26 AM Post #2 of 2

PurpleAngel

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Quote:
I've mostly been a lurker for a few months, and first I'd like to say this is an awesome community. I want my main configuration to be MacBook Pro > USB DAC > Headphone Amp > D1100/HD598/HE-3? HE-4?
I currently use a really cheap mini amplifier plugged via RCA to a Samsung Blu-Ray player to listen to my CD's. Simple and economic as it may be, I at least get much better music quality from it compared to my iPhone/EQu set, which is my main source for most of the day.
First, I'd like some opinions on which USB DAC to choose. Right now I'm considering the Music Hall 15.2 as my closest choice, since it comes from a good brand, complies with my limited budget of no more than $400 dollars, according to the specs it has a decent Texas Instruments chipset and offers 24/96 processing trough USB and 24/192 on Optical.
Any suggestions on a different DAC and which amp to plug it into? I think I'll go for the Schiit Asgard next, since it has very good reviews as a decent-priced class A amplifier.
Second, at risk of passing off as a mere newb, I have to ask: How does the optical out on my Blu-Ray player work? My doubt is on whether the signal will be bypassed and 'pure' from the player to an external converter such as the 15.2 or will it be processed on it's internal DAC by deafault. I know, obviously, that the signal I get from the RCA out of said Blu-Ray is already processed going to my mini amplifier, the thing is, I'm not quite shure what happens when using the optical audio out.
So, what do you think about my potential Music Hall 15.2 > Schiit Asgard setup? Any suggestions?

As the Music Hall 15.2 analog put is only 2-channel stereo. you will need to set the Blu-ray player to 2-channel PCM (digital) output and you will be getting zero surround sound, but with music CDs, I guess it does not matter.
So you should get the full digital audio signal from the CD to whatever DAC you use. The Blu-ray player has no reason to do any chances with the digital signal, with these settings.
As the CD's audio is 44.1, the Music hall's  USBs 96 and the optical is 192 is more then enough.
 

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