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Is a cheap DAC enough for just optical in?

  1. EarFun
    I want to connect my PS3 to my Hifi system, but the RCAs produce unacceptable results (noise).
    I tested the HDMI output and it works fine, but I cant use it, because I dont have hdmi device with audio out.
    I want to use the optical out of the PS3, which I need to convert to normal cinch/rca to connect to my stereo.
    As I understand it the processing is done in the PS3 and the signal is only converted into analogue in the DAC,
    so could I use a cheap DAC like this without compromising the Audio quality?:
    The DAC would be connected to my stereo amplifier, so I really only need a simple convertion from optical to rca, no amplification,etc. .
    I allready own a good DAC(Cozoy Aegis), but without optical input. I dont wanna buy another good one just for my PS3, can I get the cheap one or would that compromise the audio quality?
    Thanks in advance
  2. cel4145
    My concern about that one is their claim that it has 2.1 output, when it clearly does not. Kind of turns me off when audio manufacturers, especially ones of cheap products, make claims that are just not true.

    Check out the Fiio D3: https://www.amazon.com/Digital-Analog-Converter-Optical-Toslink/dp/B005K2TXMO. If you search the reviews, people indicate it works with PS3.

    Will a cheap DAC provide better audio quality than the RCA out on the PS3, sorry. I don't know.
  3. EarFun
    Thanks for the quick reply.
    I think i have to restate my question:
    If I dont use my DAC/AMP as a convertion tool for my audio data via USB
    I dont need it as an amp, because it goes into my stereo system(amp)
    isn't the qualty of the DAC negligible?
    I mean if I plug my DAC into my laptop it converts my mp3, wav, or whatever into analogue signals and amaplifies it.
    But the PS3 allready created the optical out signal, which by my understanding is done by the internal DAC of the PS3
    and I don't need further amplification.
    It seems like a waste to buy a good DAC just for that small step of convertng optical to rca, without decoding the audio data,
    creating the signal or amplfyng it,
    The DAC connected to the PS3 via optical does not replace the exisitng DAC/AMP in the PS3, but only converts the optical output into an analogue one,
    so any DAC that does that would do, even the 12€ one mentioned above.
    Is my understanding right here?
  4. cel4145
    Yes. The PS3 is doing some kind of digital processing when using the optical out. But no. The optical is still digital, so it would not be using the DAC of the PS3 yet.
  5. Smithington
    Hi Earfun, that small step you described is the job of a DAC - to turn a digital signal (the optical signal from your PS3) to an analogue one (the RCA out that you want your amp to use).

    If you're using the optical out of your PS3, forget how good you think the PS3's DAC is, it's not doing anything. The PS3 will not be doing any audio conversion, it will just be supplying a digital signal to DAC that your suggesting. Whatever you do put between your PS3 and your amp is then solely responsible for giving you a nice clean analogue audio signal.

    I've not answered your original question, but I think the answer is likely yes, if what you buy is of good quality. Can you borrow one to try?
  6. EarFun
    I could maybe borrow a cheap one....
    Its strange that you can not connect a DAC via USB, because the PS3 won't detect it and lacks the specific driver for accepting a external DAC,
    but it can be done via optical,
    I thought the optical out sends the finished audio signal in a digital form
    and the USB out sends the raw audio data for convertion
    Kinda like wether you
    connect your DAC to the cinch
    USB of your device.
    I must have been mistaken than,
    seems like I need to buy a good DAC for that like the Chord Mojo or sth,
    i mean a 22 dollar product will most likely not do my hif setup (SVS Ultra Bookshelves) any justice,
    meaning if a DAC, connected via optical cable does the same job as one connected via USB.
  7. Smithington
    That's not quite the reaction I was looking for. Seems the mojo might be a bit overkill, I was just trying to make the point that yeah, your PS3 has provided a signal, but that's all its doing in this scenario. It's likely worth a punt on a $12 optical dac before going for a mojo, unless you have lots of other use for the mojo. Sorry if I made my point a bit hard.

    I read a thread on getting audio out of the PS3 and optical does seem the best way. It is a bit disappointing that usb can't be used, now you mention it.
  8. buke9
    Just check out your speakers as I have not heard of them before and yes I think a $20 DAC is not something I would consider. What are you running them with now?
  9. EarFun
    Laptop/Smartphone --> Cozoy Aegis --> Stereo amplifier of my old stereo system --> nice sound
    Ps3 -->Component --> Rca to cinch converter --> Stereo amplifier of my old stereo system --> noise when bass hits + suboptiml mage
    Ps3 --> HDM --> Beamer --> Rca out --> Rca to cinch converter (same as above) --> Stereo amplifier of my old stereo system --> not Cozoy clear, but no noise
    So seems like I have to output via HDMI or maybe optical.
    I guess I will go with a cheap Dac adn upgrade later to an AV Receiver for a Surround system,
    as I still need a sub at least (2.1) and later I will go full 5.1
    I will go with a cheap Dac and upgrade later to a Chord Mojo, which I can also use with my FLC 8s and my standard setup
    Ahh decisions, decisons,
    would be a whole lot easier just to connect my Aegis somehow to my Ps3, do you have a spare optical to Usb converter somewhere :wink:
    I think a cheap Dac it is, first of all at least the rest wll be decided later, as I can already listen to quite nice music va my laptop setup
  10. EarFun
    Okay I ordered my stuff now.
    As you recommended I bought the cheap Fio DAC and connected it via optical in.
    Result: Noise is still present, when loud bass heavy passages hit, like e.g explosions. So nothing really changed, only the noise got a bit less.
    Then I bought this  thing:
    which takes the audio stream out of the HDMI and either forwards it to an optical output or converts it into and analogue RCA signal (DAC with HDMI input)
    I tried forwarding the HDMI signal to the cheap Fio DAC via optical in and... still the same problem,
    but when I take the HDMI signal, convert it in this 13€ trashDAC into an analogue signal---> no noise, but ****ty audio quality, because of the cheap ass DAC.
    I tried this with another DAC with an HDMI input (my beamer has HDMI audio in and RCA audio out), same results works fine sounds bad.
    So it seems like my PS3 sound only works when I convert it directly from an HDMI output into an analogue signal.
    I mean sure I could buy an AV receiver with HDMI in or so, but
    what is going on here?
    The optical and RCA audio outputs create noise in explosive audio situations only,
    so does the HDM;i audio, when separated and forwarded to the optical in from my DAC.
    Only when I convert the HDMI out directly to an analogue signal (RCA) the audio does not make this irritating clipping sound...
    This puzzle surpasses my audio knowledge, why is this happening?

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