does quality soundcard make a difference when only using digital output?
Sep 15, 2009 at 3:02 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 29

curiousmuffin

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hello, my question is just as my title says. i'm imaging it does since cd transports too make a difference while also being a digital stage only. if my assumption is correct, could you recommend me an (over/up)[i never figured out which ones best for my need- my dac is oversampling lite dac 60 tho]sampling soundcard? im currently using chaintech av710. also which do you think would make more difference between a new soundcard or a new interconnects if they were costing around the same amount? thanks for all your inputs.
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 3:06 PM Post #2 of 29

linuxworks

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there's no set answer to this. put 2 people in a room and you'll get 3 answers.
wink.gif


my answer: jitter is a total complete non-issue today. bits are bits. dacs reclock just fine today. interconnects don't matter one bit (lol).

relax and enjoy the music.
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 3:22 PM Post #3 of 29

moogoob

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Quote:

Originally Posted by linuxworks /img/forum/go_quote.gif
there's no set answer to this. put 2 people in a room and you'll get 3 answers.
wink.gif


my answer: jitter is a total complete non-issue today. bits are bits. dacs reclock just fine today. interconnects don't matter one bit (lol).

relax and enjoy the music.



I'm using a cheap, very flexible optical cable to connect my mac to my DAC. Sounds great.
biggrin.gif
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 3:41 PM Post #4 of 29

curiousmuffin

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interconnects does matter because speaker wires do- especially ones for headphones. i can attest for this from upgrading to blue dragon cable for my hd600 one day and being blown away by the difference to never question the argument again. i can also clearly distinguish the metallic sparkle that my silver coated interconnect has from the regular copper one whenever i switch them back and forth. i'm not here to argue about the opinion that i have a first hand experience on nor should there even need for a dispute since there are enough people whose made same observation as me to dedicate a whole section of threads about them on head-fi and are part of a rather large niche in the consumer market for the goods that you don't believe matter in improving sound quality. i can even discern the difference when the upsampling is done internally through foobar to when its done on the soundcard. i hope you can believe me when i tell you there is a discernible difference in 44.1k and 96k sound- 44.1k is grainy yet more analogue with thicker bass, 96k is considerably cleaner to the point of being artificial- probably due to being more honest about its mp3 nature through a clearer rendition. please don't tell me what i could not be hearing the difference of when i clearly do with my overly sensitive tube equipment that i paid dearly for in order to achieve this kind of sensitivity. i have a modified dac 60 from pacific valve with $200 a pair amperex gold pins, ming da mc84-a tube amp with full sets of mullard NOS that cost as much as the amp itself, and an rbr diy speakers from madisound that can give any bookshelfs in $5k range a run for its money. (some ppl on htguide.com say its as good as anything they've heard in $10k range) i don't mean to brag but i'm just telling you what i have thats allowing me to hear the differences that you seem to not care. please only provide me answers to my questions instead of telling me that i don't need to be asking them at all.

ugh i should've said analogue interconnects for going between my dac and the amp. sorry for the confusion. ofcourse digital interconnects don't matter... but them analogues.. xP
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 3:46 PM Post #5 of 29

linuxworks

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Quote:

interconnects does matter because speaker wires do


I cannot follow this reasoning.

I don't even agree that spkrs cables matter. not even the tiniest bit.

low-z sources (like amps) don't care about 'transmission lines' at audio freqs and all you care about is power transfer. capacitance and that stuff is IRRELEVANT at spkr levels.

line-level analog interconnects (rca cables) may matter to test equipment but in the real world, the jury is still out on THAT one, too.

digitally, its a can of worms; you'll find even less agreement that digital interconnects 'matter' compared to analog ones.

its not any kind of agreement. there is no concensus. its voodoo. you'll just have to decide which ears and which theory you'll believe
wink.gif


but there IS no DEFINITE answer. that's why it comes up almost every day on these forums.
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 4:21 PM Post #6 of 29

ROBSCIX

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The actually components on the soundcard that produce the analog sound such as the DAC, opamps etc have no bearing on the sound quality of the digital output.
The digital out basically bypasses the entire analog output section.

Some say digital is digital no matter if it is a motherboard sound chip or an expensive recording card.
Others say there is a difference in the way the digital out circuit is built such as transformer coupling etc. Other suggest jitter or other negative aspects in the signal can vary from card to card
-so saying that digital out can be better on one card as oppsed to another.
This is one of those audio debates that will go around and around.
If your interested, I would suggest reading up on the subject and forming your own opinions based on that research.

I am not sure if that helps with your question or not.
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 4:46 PM Post #7 of 29

bordins

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If your dac does reclocking, then the digital transmission from the transport wouldn't matter much. But if not, different audio interface and digital cables will sound different, due to jitter. This is a fact when you try different traditional CD transports. The C.E.C TL2 I've tried in my system sounded the "best". In addition, I still haven't found coax cables that sound better than my Oritek X-1's.

My Lynx AES16e adapter makes my PC sound comparable to a quality ($$$) traditional CD transport.

<- Click.
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 4:58 PM Post #8 of 29

krmathis

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I say that depends where you tap the digital output.
From the sound card, then it certainly might make a difference. From the mother board o.l. then I do not see how it can make a difference.
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 5:30 PM Post #10 of 29

curiousmuffin

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only reason i would read up on technical documents is so that i can argue better on the point that i've already decided for myself with real world experiments- involving my wallet, my ears and upgraded components. i was only talking about analogue interconnects when i said just plain interconnect. difference between silver/copper and regular copper analogue interconnect is too noticeable to be a mere placebo effect- from this i safely assume that there can be difference among copper interconnects since there are varying qualities of build and material of copper. HD600 cable upgrade was just too dramatic to be anything but a solid case against non-believers of 'accessorious upgraditis'. for those who hasn't done so, i can vouch that this experiment will prove what should have become a fact if everyone had $150 to spend on a headphone wire. there are those on the forum who spends twice that amount on a cd transport for whats suppose to be the lowest entry level model (little dot). these people know how the cure for 'upgraditis' works. i'm asking for their opinion. please lets not divert the topic to figuring out whats snake oil. i already have my opinion that i consider as a proven fact. thanks, bordins i dont think my dac has a reclocker. i use an optical cable- bad idea? i prefer cleaned up sound of 96k (more detail, better imaging) so definitely upsampling sound card. ill consider your recommandation. i thought digital cables didn't matter for quality since the signal is non-degradable? im using optical btw, should i switch over to coax? i need to get my wallet ready for another 'experiment' xp
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 7:51 PM Post #11 of 29

tosehee

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Sep 15, 2009 at 10:20 PM Post #13 of 29

MikeW

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This is the most accurate answer, it depends on your DAC. With a good re-clocker SPDIF output differnces will be minimized. If your dac has no reclocker, or a poor quality one, then a higher quality SPDIF output can and will make a signifigant differnce. With my dac, for example, it does not reclock SPDIF input, and there's an obvious differnce moving between poor, mid-fi, and hi-fi digital outputs. Then there's the peice of mind as well, when you know you have a quality SPDIF output, you don't have to wonder if your music sounds as good as it can. Quality sound cards, most definatly put out a better quality SPDIF signal, depending on dac design, Your milage may vary.

Linuxworks, seems to say it does not matter, but in another thread he says you should have transformer coupled implenetation on both sides.. almost no consumer grade sound card has this, niether do motherboards, it's somthing you have to look for. EMU 0404PCI is the cheapest thing I know of that has it, many dac's don't have it either, it's a pretty easy mod though.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bordins /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If your dac does reclocking, then the digital transmission from the transport wouldn't matter much. But if not, different audio interface and digital cables will sound different, due to jitter. This is a fact when you try different traditional CD transports. The C.E.C TL2 I've tried in my system sounded the "best". In addition, I still haven't found coax cables that sound better than my Oritek X-1's.

My Lynx AES16e adapter makes my PC sound comparable to a quality ($$$) traditional CD transport.

<- Click.



 
Sep 15, 2009 at 10:31 PM Post #14 of 29

MikeW

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I assume you have a/b a glass toslink, to make sure there's no differnce right? or you use a cheap cable and are satisfied and go no further?

Quote:

Originally Posted by moogoob /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'm using a cheap, very flexible optical cable to connect my mac to my DAC. Sounds great.
biggrin.gif



 
Sep 16, 2009 at 12:30 AM Post #15 of 29

linuxworks

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spdif was not (ever) designed to run glass fiber.

it simply was not.

adding 'better parts' is a fools errand if the design can't make use of them.

and spdif can't. no matter who tells you otherwise (likely, its a company selling you THEIR glass fiber).

atm and fddi and sonet; sure; fine; use glass
wink.gif


digital audio is just not in a need for such things.
 

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