Playback AND Recording in One PC+DAC+CDP+TT System...How the Heck to Get it All Connected? Help!
Oct 25, 2008 at 4:47 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1


100+ Head-Fier
Mar 8, 2007
Hi, thanks so much for reading and for helping me!

I can't quite figure out how to get my system finalized in terms of a "circuit."

My system is used both for playback AND recording, which makes things super complicated. I can't just plot-out a viable final "system." There are so many things that need to be interconnected or need to be able to be switched into/out-of connection, and so many different TYPES of connections and cables involved, that I just don't know what will go where and what to put between it and the next component, if anything.

I'll start by listing all of the components that I currently have and intend to use.

PC with Digital Out and a USB-based Microphone
Vinyl Equalizer Pre-Amp (Stereo RCA In/Out)
5-Disc CDP w/ Digital Out
2 Turntables, both with stereo RCA In/Out.
Headphone Amplifier with RCA In and 1/4" output.
Several Headphones, all terminated in 1/4" or 1/16".
Pair of speakers using outdated "frayed copper"-style connections. I will get better speakers eventually.
Aphex 204 Aural Exciter, with 1/4" stereo jacks i/o OR XLR Balanced i/o. I REALLY want to use the balanced i/o's if possible...

As you will have noticed, I do not have an external DAC or amps at this time. I do have a stereo receiver, but it does not have digital input so I do not think I want to continue to use it in my system if I can avoid it.

I want to be able to process the output of the following THROUGH the Aphex 204 before outputting to speaker/headphone amps:

But it gets complicated here because, as I so often record or make music with my PC, I also need to be able to output from my PC INTO the Aphex 204, and then output from the 204 BACK INTO my PC, while picking up as little noise as is possible. In the future I will construct a more "professional" system, but right now improving my playback components is a bigger priority since I'm a student with only amateur projects to be recorded anyway.

I guess one simple solution (but which wouldn't solve everything) would be simply to get a stereo receiver with digital input - but how then to integrate the Aphex 204, with its only options being 1/4" or XLR? Plus, as I understand it, a lot of the DACs inside of stereo receivers aren't nearly as good as what I could get in a stand-alone DAC, so I was kind of keen on getting a stand-alone DAC for the sake of better overall sound quality during playback.

Will I need to use switcher boxes? If so, will they introduce distortion or degrade sound quality? Are some switcher boxes better than others in that regard?

I'll also need to buy all-new interconnecting cables, too, as I've nothing but ****ty Radio Shack stuff at the moment. I think there's a brand that's called "Blue Jeans" or something that's supposed to offer really good entry-level-priced cables? What's your opinion there?

Okay, thanks a million for reading and helping me figure this out, I'm just still a bit clueless when it comes to all the logistics involved in projects like this. I really appreciate the help!


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