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Help playing music from laptop thru amp!

steveji

Standard Member
Hi,

I wonder if anyone can offer any advice?

Like many others, I’ve recently made moves to play the music files stored on my laptop straight through my hi-fi amp (an early 1990’s Denon).

I’ve purchased an external soundcard (the M-Audio Fast Track USB with “Professional 24-bit/48kHz sound”!) and connected it to my amp via the phono sockets. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, when I play music files through this set-up, I notice that the sound is very (for want of a better word) “muddy”. However, when I burn the same music files to disc and play them through my Denon cd player, the sound is far superior... much more crisp.

Can anyone explain to me where the problem may lie? Am I missing a link in the chain? Is my amp too old?

Thanks for any advice.

steveji
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Hi,

I wonder if anyone can offer any advice?

Like many others, I’ve recently made moves to play the music files stored on my laptop straight through my hi-fi amp (an early 1990’s Denon).

I’ve purchased an external soundcard (the M-Audio Fast Track USB with “Professional 24-bit/48kHz sound”!) and connected it to my amp via the phono sockets. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, when I play music files through this set-up, I notice that the sound is very (for want of a better word) “muddy”. However, when I burn the same music files to disc and play them through my Denon cd player, the sound is far superior... much more crisp.

Can anyone explain to me where the problem may lie? Am I missing a link in the chain? Is my amp too old?

Thanks for any advice.



steveji

Hi steve

I would hazard a guess and say the problem lies with the ext soundcard. The Dac in the Denon cdp is far better than the one in the sound card.For decent sound it should be at least 24-bit/92kHz. Some may dispute that but this is from my experience. I wish i could suggest a better soundcard but since i'm not that clue up on them, i can't - sorry.
Also, are you using the box standard phono cable that are supplied with the soundcard? if so, replace them as thay are of poor quality.
 

steveji

Standard Member
Hi Don,

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

The phono cables were purchased separately - however, I can't really vouch for their quality!

I've just listened to my laptop's audio files via the headphone jack on the new external soundcard. The sound quality is really very good. Something is clearly going wrong with the signal following its departure from the soundcard.

steve
 

Matt W

Established Member
I wouldn't have thought it's the soundcard - the M-Audios are very good, and well recognised. 24/48 is in general the most you can get over USB anyway without paying silly money.

What kind of drivers are you using? What is your system load like? Are you bypassing the Windows kmixer? What OS are you running? Have you turned off all the processing on the M-Audio unit?

Edit: try different phono sockets on your amp? I'd say it's unlikely to be the interconnect if the degradation is that much.
 

steveji

Standard Member
Hi Matt,

Thanks for you post. Your message prompted me to try switching the cables from the phono socket to the TAPE/DAT playback sockets on my amp. This has had a dramatic effect on sound quality!

Can you explain why this might have done the trick?

Cheers,

Steve
 

Matt W

Established Member
I presume you plugged it into the Phono PreAmplifier initially? Designed for increasing the output level from turntables not for line level inputs. That would be why.

Now it's in a line level input you're good to go :D.
 
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