dac in the computer..?
Nov 21, 2008 at 9:45 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

plonter

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Hi , i recentely connected my computer to my ultra micro amp
through the headphone jack...and it sound fine i would say.

but..isnt the output of the soundcard supposed to be digital only?
i mean, somewhere in the way there needs to be a dac which converts the digital signal to analog... but still i can listen right through my amp!

can someone explain to me how does it work...
trhx!
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 10:23 AM Post #2 of 9

Rempert

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The headphone or line out from a sound card is most certainly not a digital output. Sound cards (and even integrated sound chips on motherboards) generally do have their own DACs, and good sound cards tend to have pretty nice ones at that.
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 10:41 AM Post #3 of 9

plonter

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ok..so youre saying that there is a difference between using the headphones jack and the usb port(which is digital i suppose..).
is there a huge different in sound? what can you recommend me to do
for achieving the best, flat , clean,passive sound from my computer?
ofcourse i wanna plug it to my ultra micro amp.
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 11:44 AM Post #4 of 9

krmathis

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^ Correct.
* The headphone jack is analog. Meaning that the signal have been processed by a DAC.
* The USB port carry digital audio signal, and need to be processed by an external DAC.

An external DAC is preferred over a built in one, when it comes to sound quality. How much of a difference there are depends on the gear. if you're looking for an external USB DAC I suggest you search the forum, as there are several threads which list DAC's. Or at least tell us your budget.
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 12:03 PM Post #5 of 9

plonter

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my budget for a dac is a 200 dollars the most.

the question is, would a dac be enough for me to get my desireable pure line out sound...? if its so than this is my next step.
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 12:09 PM Post #6 of 9

RockCity

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Plonter, you want a bit-perfect digital output to a DAC that outputs analog. There is as much software involved as there is hardware. Most USB DACs and good soundcards support ASIO or WASAPI programs that decrypt the music files into raw digital information. It took me a while to understand these things. Once you delve into computer territory, you might encounter some compatibility issues as well. Honestly, it's pretty painful to use computer as source now that I think about it.
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 12:24 PM Post #7 of 9

plonter

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do you have any other recommendations for source...maybe a good mp3 with a line out...? or not mp3 . even a multicodec player but i dont want to listen to cds. otherwise i would bought a nice cdplayer that will solve all my problems!
i would like to hear your reccomendation for a source thx.
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 12:35 PM Post #8 of 9

RockCity

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The pathway of your computer signal should be-

Mp3/Flac-> Foobar2000 player (ASIO output) -> DAC (either USB or SPDIF) -> Amp (RCA) -> Headphones

A lot of people use expensive CD Players that combine the DAC and transport steps together. Economically, good CD players are more expensive than both standalone DAC and computer combined. Hence, I went with the latter path. But computers are always quirky about what peripherals are allowed to do. On the plus side, you can use your headphones for any application on the PC, not just music but games, internet, etc. So stick with it. If you want suggestions, portable rigs are very popular alternatives. Your iPod or Mp3 players are considered miniature sources.
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 4:57 PM Post #9 of 9

krmathis

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Quote:

Originally Posted by RockCity /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Honestly, it's pretty painful to use computer as source now that I think about it.


Sad to hear!
I use a computer as source (have done for 2 1/2 years) and find it totally painless. Just plug and play.
smile.gif
 

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