Do DAC's affect the quality of audio delivered to wireless headphones?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Tez Jaggs, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Tez Jaggs

    Tez Jaggs
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    Hello, I am going to get a new t.v which annoyingly only has a digital output, I will need to get a dac to convert this to analogue to use with my
    Sennheiser RS170 Wireless Headphones (RS 170 Wireless Headset)
    I believe.
    my question is does converting the audio through the DAC affect it and you end up with a less quality sound?
    Also what is the difference betweena headphone socket output and a rca output in quality, if any?
     
  2. probedb

    probedb
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    In a word no. Your TV will have a DAC in it to drive the speakers and the quality of TV transmissions isn't wonderful mainly due to the low bitrate they insist on using.

    If you're just using the phones for watching TV you're better off spending less money.
     
  3. Tez Jaggs

    Tez Jaggs
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    I will be usig them for gaming too, I have just read using a dac to convert the optical out to analogue means you cannot increase or decrease the volume in ur headphones? They will be set at a volume that cannot be changed..??
     
  4. Tez Jaggs

    Tez Jaggs
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    this sh*t is so confusing, MAKE T.VS WITH HEADPHONE PORTS U !!!! lol
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2014
  5. jellofund

    jellofund
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    A DAC just converts a digitial signal to an analogue one that a set of headphones / speakers can use. There is no volume control and normally you'd use an amplifier to control this.

    However, I believe that the RS170's have a built-in volume control so you can just use that for the volume control, so it's not something you need to worry about.

    Now I'm not sure what the quality will be like but you could run an optical cable from your tv to a box like the one linked to below (essentially this is a cheapo DAC) and then some rca cables to your RS170's base unit.

    Digital Optical Coaxial Toslink to Analog RCA Audio: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

    It's only £11ish so not a huge outlay if it doesn't do a decent job, but might save you shelling out on something more expensive that doesn't give noticeably better results.

    Depending on the optical connection the tv uses you may either need a standard optical cable or a mini toslink to optical cable.

    Do you have a note of the model no. of the tv as I can have a look at the manual just in case I can see another option for hooking up your headphones?
     
  6. Tez Jaggs

    Tez Jaggs
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    Oh ok i just heard the digital optical output just outputs the sound in one volume and it cannot be changed?
    Would this DAC do a better job than the one you linked? it has a headphone port as an output and a built in amp I think?
    Superfi - CYP AUD3H DIGITAL TO ANALOGUE CONVERTER WITH HEADPHONE OUTPUT
    I haven't bought it yet but it will either be the Samsung PS60F5500 or the LG 60PN650T.
     
  7. jellofund

    jellofund
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    Optical just carries data and it's only after the conversion that you have an analogue audio signal. You are right that the DAC outputs audio at a fixed volume and that might be an issue if you were plugging in a regular pair of headphones directly.

    However, the RS170's have their own 'onboard' volume control so you will have no problems with changing the volume level.

    There isn't much in the way of technical date with the DAC linked to and it's hard to say if its better than the cheaper one. I don't think the built in headphone amp is really necessary as I'd imagine that there is one built into the RS170's already, so you may actually end up double amping which without getting technical might degrade the sound quality.

    If you'd prefer to spend a bit more though then I think this one would be worth considering as on paper it seems decent for the cash: FiiO D3 192KHz/24 Bit Digital To Analog Converter: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

    I did look at both the TVs you're considering but from the product specs it looks like you are limited to optical out as you mentioned.
     
  8. Tez Jaggs

    Tez Jaggs
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    Ah ok so the fact the DAC outputs the volume at one level does not matter because the headphones would counteract this? I just don't want to be limited to a single volume level. The DAC would not cap the volume at a certain level would it as that would be the single volume level as the max kind of thing?
    I am not against spending around that amount if it improves the quality or something, with the rca output though would that mean I would have an echo sound coming through the t.v speakers when using the headphones or will they automatically be muted? As the DAC does not have a headphone port but a RCA port.
     
  9. jellofund

    jellofund
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    The headphones will have some form of amplification built in which will allow you to increase or reduce the volume of the audio signal being passed from the DAC. I seriously doubt you'll have any problems with them not being loud enough and plenty of people with wireless headphones are using a similar set up to feed audio from their HDTVs.

    I don't have any first hand experience with cheap (<£100) DACs so can't really say whether the £11 DAC I linked to would provide decent audio quality or whether you'd be better spending a bit more on something else. You may find the cheap one performs perfectly well or it may be there is a bump in quality if you spend that wee bit more. I really don't know but it's possible something other members who've gone down this route can help with.

    I don't have my DAC hooked up to my TV but I'd imagine that if you are using the optical out (doesn't matter if the DAC outputs audio through RCA or a headphone jack) either the TV will auto-mute the speakers and send audio to the DAC or you will be able to manual select where it sends the audio to via one of the menus. This could well vary from model to model.
     
  10. Tez Jaggs

    Tez Jaggs
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    Oh ok aslong as the headphones will still be loud lol.
    Thankyou for providing this information, it has been very interesting and alleviated a few fears.
     
  11. jellofund

    jellofund
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    No worries - you're very welcome mate!

    If I stick a pair of headphones directly into the line out of my DAC (I could so I did lol) the audio output is only what I'd consider moderately loud. If however I plug the same 'phones into a headphone amp and hook that up to the DAC then I guarantee you that magic smoke would come out my ears well before I got anywhere near 100% volume :D

    Whilst I'd be surprised if the RS170's have that kind of amping ability I really don't think you'll have an issue with volume.
     
  12. Tez Jaggs

    Tez Jaggs
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    Well if I consider the volume not loud enough when I get all this up working, I will be back on here asking more questions about it!! lol.
     
  13. Tez Jaggs

    Tez Jaggs
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    I am very much thinking of connecting these headphones to my t.v via a DAC, but I have been told I will probably get a delay in audio in the headphones, is this likely? As any delay would obviously be jarring and unacceptable? Thanks for everyones input in advance.
     

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