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Music Connection - HTPC > AMP - Digital or Analogue?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by csayers, Apr 10, 2002.

  1. csayers

    csayers
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    All,

    I have just got a new reasonable AV Amp (Arcam AVR100) and am about to get a new sound card (Audiophile or A.N. Other) what do you think is the best method for playing MP3 and CD based music - to use a digital SPDIF connection or to use analogue?

    Obviously it is a question of where the DAC is done and I think, but am not certain, that the DAC in the amp will be of a higher quality.

    I have done some reading around on the subject and found several people to be stating that jitter is a problem when connecting digital output from a HTPC (I am not convinced by this), they sight this as the reason for all but the highest quality CD players using a one box solution (rather than a separate Transport and DAC)

    Obviously once audio is in the analogue domain it is much more susceptible to any kind of interference - something which I see as key in a HTPC - and why professional audio computer users use external DACs

    Any ideas / personal experience greatly received,

    Thanks,

    Chris.
     
  2. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I've an Audiophile 2496 into a Denon THX processor/amp.

    I currently use the two analog outputs to go to the analog CD in on the Denon, just because I use Girder to open WinAmp when the CD button is pressed on the amp remote and the amp also rember I use CD as Stereo.

    With only one digital output (coax) to the amp, I have that configured for the DVD input.

    I can't hear a big difference between the two and the convenience of the above swings it, so I use analog for music.

    I am aware that the first thing the Denon will do is use it's own 24-bit converter on the analog input because I have a subwoofer connected it does all bass management digitally, so it's probably technically better to pass a digital signal as it avoids an extra conversion to analogue and back.

    I wish I could get the DVD and CD inputs both using the Coax1 digital input though. Anyone know how to with a Denon A10SE?

    Will listen more this weekend!
    Rob.
     
  3. Guest

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    One of the sound cards that I use is the Audiophile 24/96 in SP/DIF pass-thru to my DAC.

    When I first got the card, I tried the analog outputs, that lasted about 1 hour. The difference in sound quality between the analog output of the card and my stand alone player was just too much to tolerate. Using the SP/DIF pass-thru the difference was hardly noticeable.

    Perhaps the DAC that is used has a lot to do with the difference in perceived sound quality.

    There is alot a lot of technical support on the web for the Audiophile which is also a plus.

    Raymond
     
  4. MAW

    MAW
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    Does your amp decode MP3? If you use digital, that's what you're asking of it. I'm sure it does PCM, but MP3 decoding is more unusual in an AV amp.
     
  5. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I'm not aware of anything that tries to pass MP3 over SPDIF digital?

    WinAmp decodes the MP3 and passes pure SPDIF (2-channel PCM 16 or 24-bit) over the digital cable.
    Rob.
     
  6. nutcase_1uk

    nutcase_1uk
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    Rob's right, winamp (or whichever program you use) decodes the MP3 and then that is coded into PCM and put onto the SP/DIF, which is then decoded by the amp into analogue.
     
  7. Pootle

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    There's been a big debate on this going on for a while, here is a VERY LONG discussion on the topic which is quite recent. In general if you have an integrate hifi, then playing analogue out from your PC can sound just as good as hifi. If your CD player is a serious hifi separate then it will probably sound better than a PC. But you will need a really good sound card to get a good output.

    The midiman delta 410 with their new drivers which do bass management and most of the things a good pre-amp can do is a good buy at around 200 pounds.

    If you really want the best then lynxtwo is probably the answer, but costs getting on for a grand.

    It is slightly tricky to get a PC to do the up-sampling that a good hifi CD layer does, but this is one of the things that brings a PC very close to real hifi CD players.
     
  8. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    "I wish I could get the DVD and CD inputs both using the Coax1 digital input though. Anyone know how to with a Denon A10SE?"

    Well I never. I just bought a midiman coax to optical converter, delivered from millenium music for £40.

    Surprisingly this can be use as a convertor and splitter; has 3 modes and does:

    optical -> coax out and optical pass-thru
    coax -> optical out and coax pass-thru
    coax <-> optical full duplex.

    I bought it because I want to capture my Star Wars trilogy Laserdiscs, including the toslink optical digital PCM soundtrack into my Audiophile 2496.

    It's a nice bonues that it will allow me to use it to repeat the Audiophile digital output into both my denon's DVD and CD digital input jacks.
     

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