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Optimal setup PC -> Dac -> HiFi??

vyvyanhs

Standard Member
Hi, I'm trying to play audio files off PC thru the HiFi at 'audiophile' quality. If it works I may get into the business of ripping my CDs to HD. Amp is LSA Standard, PMC FB1+ speakers.

Soundcard is a M-Audio 1010, (they're built for music production), with loads of sync options and configurable output buffers but not hi-end DACs, so I'm thinking of getting the Musical Fidelity M1.

Question is, how to get the digits from PC to DAC? I imagine the SPDiff out from the card will be better than USB (because of jitter problems) but not sure if this is introducing a load of unnecessary extra processing.

Also, does the media player software have an influence over how accurately the soundfile is played, ie is Windows media player good enough?

Any advice gratefully received.
 

richie60

Active Member
Before spendig any more money, try using the RCA outputs on the soundcard straight to the amp. I have the M Audio 2496 and use mine this way with excellent results.

Player wise, don't bother with Windows media player, Use Foobar 2000 with the WASAPI plugin, which bypasses the Windows mixer, (you'll need to make sure your output is set to this in the options). Rip all music to FLAC format with EAC or similar.

Foobar looks pretty basic in comparison to other players in it's default mode, but you can customise the player to look how you want it to.

Hope this helps,

Richie
 

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
Why not sidestep the hassles of bit-perfect playout from Windows/Soundcard and get a music streamer? You may find that a Squeezebox Touch is good enough for your listening without needing a DAC.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Why not sidestep the hassles of bit-perfect playout from Windows/Soundcard and get a music streamer? You may find that a Squeezebox Touch is good enough for your listening without needing a DAC.

Though more than just, for the most part, a Squeezebox is a DAC.

Considering the quality of sound card this person has M-Audio 1010 (from £150 to has high as £400 depending on configuration), which is intended as essentially a home recording studio, I'm not sure how much he will gain from an external DAC.

If the stereo is considerable distance from the computer, than perhaps some digital transfer to that DAC/Stereo is in order.

However, if the computer and the stereo are reasonably close, I think analog would be good enough.

Now, if this was a built-on-the-motherboard sound card vs a DAC, I'm pretty sure the DAC would win.

Is there any way you could borrow a DAC from someone? You could connect sound by both DAC and by analog, and compare them very easily. But short of doing that, in my mind, it is too close to call.

For what it's worth...

Steve/bluewizard
 

vyvyanhs

Standard Member
Many thanks for all answers so far. I will initially try the audio out from the 1010 and compare a FLAC file against the original CD (an elderly Rega Planet by the way, which was another reason for considering an upgraded DAC).

The 1010 is a PCI card with separate rackmount box for the ins, outs and audio circitry which cost about £400 10 years ago so I find it hard to imagine that DACs haven't improved a bit since then :rolleyes:.

Cheers,

Vyv
 

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