Question PC analog to AVR, question of DACs ADCs, options and assurances.

jonnyc55

Novice Member
My PC connects 3.5mm to L/R RCA to my AVR (Denon 1910), I no longer use direct or pure mode to keep crossovers. I use stereo mode. I am currently using a £2 cheap Chinese 3.5mm to RCA wire. I ordered £40 QED 3.5mm to RCA to replace this connection, hoping for results. I've just been reminded that I could of got a £40 soundcard with optical and used an optical connection. No worry of noise interference with optical connection and also it would be a '(PC)digital to digital then analog(AVR) chain', so two less conversions than my current setup? which if I'm right(?) It currently goes from digital to analog in the PC, then the AVR analog to digital(for processing), back to analog(without pure direct modes which is what I'm doing).

Now I should see an improvement from a £40 QED RCA cable than a cheap £2 Chinese RCA cable?

Would a optical soundcard to optical AVR of been even better? If so, will my new cable still give me some improvements so I can feel somewhat assured money wasn't totally wasted?

Thank you.
 
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Deleted member 39241

Guest
Hi, you are right in that you want to keep the digital to analog to digital conversions down to a minimum, so ideally keeping the signal digital out of your PC and into the AVR is the best option.

Have you tried HDMI? That is not considered the best for audio due to jitter, but your AVR has HDMI inputs and your PC, I am guessing, most probably has an HDMI output, so you could give it a try for no cost.

USB is often considered to be a good option for getting audio out of a PC, and easier than fitting an internal soundcard. So you could go USB to toslink via an external soundcard or DAC into your AVR.

However, Denon AVR's are not great for 2 channel music, maybe getting a stereo amp might be the biggest upgrade for you. What speakers do you have?

Also the £40 RCA cable - do you have the option to return it?
 
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jonnyc55

Novice Member
I think I tried an HDMI chain with the PC >AVR > monitor. I think my current 5M long cheap HDMI cable from the AVR was to blame for weird colours. I'll have to re-try the HDMI chain possibly, but with a new shorter better cable. Since you mention jitter, I would try the optical route first.

An external USB soundcard sounds good. I don't mind fitting an internal computer soundcard, I'm fairly used to doing that sort of thing, so an optical out from a new internal soundcard sounds good.

I could look into stereo amps I never thought of that, sounds promising for my 2.1 setup compared to a unit trying to keep 5-7 channels happy. Thanks.

Regarding the £40 cable, it has not yet been dispatched so I can cancel it if my mind gets made up.

So if I did get an optical soundcard, the PC is doing no conversions and sending a digital signal for the AVR to immediately process and put into analog for the speakers? Just one conversion in the AVR with the optical setup? Impressive. I'll have to do some quick research on stereo amps, optical and conversion matters. Thanks Rambles.
 
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Deleted member 39241

Guest
A stereo amp in 99% use cases will produce better sound quality for music than an AVR, but I might be assuming that is your aim, as I don't think you actually said that!

So, it is probably best to ask you what it is that you are looking to improve upon over what you have already?

With the HDMI, it is probably best to not pass the video through the AVR, as your AVR is quite an old model now and may not support the resolution and refresh rates for passing through the type of video you want to display on your monitor.

You could have two connections from your PC, maybe DVI to the monitor for video and HDMI to the AVR for audio.
 

jonnyc55

Novice Member
Yeah my aim is purely music. I believe you on the percentage too.

I've just researched the HDMI to AVR thing, my PC only sports HDMI ports from the GPU. It turns out Nvidia GPUs won't output audio only. I would have to send a duplicate video signal of my computer video signal down it which can limit refresh rates. Something like that. It's a shame.

I will just have to get a soundcard with either HDMI or toslink.

Do stereo amplifiers have a way of setting up a crossover, such as 80hz to my subwoofer? I saw a stereo amplifier with 150 watts x 2 channel for £249 Tibo PA150 (Black) I'm worried whether £249 for such high watts is a bit dodgy. I see more expensive stereo amplifiers (£400+) with less wattage. I know it's not all about wattage. But I have no idea what I should be entertaining when trying to buy a stereo amplifier in regards to entertainment. I want clarity and quality but also power. But the budget is £300 tops. For example a quality £400 stereo amplifier that is 120watts x 2 channel rather than 150w, might not be as powerful but might sound clearer. Is this the right kind of thinking when trying to choose a stereo amplifier?

I do like quality not necessarily power. I mean would a £249 stereo amplifier like the one I linked still greatly outperform a Denon 1910 and its 90watt for L/R channels?

Thanks :).
 
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Deleted member 39241

Guest
I've just researched the HDMI to AVR thing, my PC only sports HDMI ports from the GPU. It turns out Nvidia GPUs won't output audio only. I would have to send a duplicate video signal of my computer video signal down it which can limit refresh rates. Something like that. It's a shame.
You can either clone or extend desktops. You will have the option to have different resolution and refresh rates if you extend.
Do stereo amplifiers have a way of setting up a crossover, such as 80hz to my subwoofer?
Some do, but most don't, however you can usually use the controls on the sub to blend in the sub picking up the bass notes where your speakers roll off. What speakers and sub do you have?

I saw a stereo amplifier with 150 watts x 2 channel for £249 Tibo PA150 (Black) I'm worried whether £249 for such high watts is a bit dodgy.
That is a power amplifier rather than an integrated amplifier, so no pre-amp, volume control, DAC. I also had a quick look at manual and there is no specifications on what they mean by 150 watts x 2, we need to know at what speaker impedance and at what distortion. I suppose you could email TIBO and ask them, but, although you technically could use your PC as the pre-amp, I wouldn't recommend it as PC's are very noisy environments, and don't make very good pre-amps.

A £300 budget is tight.

The Yamaha WXA-50 gets good reviews, but a bit over budget. You could stream music to it over the network, it also has an optical in and analog in and a subwoofer out.

The Yamaha RN-303D is just in budget, that might be worth a look at. No subwoofer out, does your sub have a high level connection?
 

jonnyc55

Novice Member
You can either clone or extend desktops. You will have the option to have different resolution and refresh rates if you extend.
Ah ok, seems reasonable then to go with the extend option. I was getting overwhelmed researching that hehe.

Some do, but most don't, however you can usually use the controls on the sub to blend in the sub picking up the bass notes where your speakers roll off. What speakers and sub do you have?
Ok, so I would have to check to see if they have a crossover feature.
I have x2 Dali Zenzor 5 floorstanders and a BK P12-300SB subwoofer. The subwoofer does have a crossover but this wouldn't offload the workload from the Zenzor 5s like an AVR crossover? In such a case, I would want to get a stereo amp with a crossover.


That is a power amplifier rather than an integrated amplifier, so no pre-amp, volume control, DAC. I also had a quick look at manual and there is no specifications on what they mean by 150 watts x 2, we need to know at what speaker impedance and at what distortion. I suppose you could email TIBO and ask them, but, although you technically could use your PC as the pre-amp, I wouldn't recommend it as PC's are very noisy environments, and don't make very good pre-amps.
Thanks for looking at the manual anyway.

A £300 budget is tight.
Yeah, I suppose it's tight at the moment but my head is also everywhere hehe.

The Yamaha WXA-50 gets good reviews, but a bit over budget. You could stream music to it over the network, it also has an optical in and analog in and a subwoofer out.

The Yamaha RN-303D is just in budget, that might be worth a look at. No subwoofer out, does your sub have a high level connection?
That Yamaha WXA-50 seems good. I'm not sure about the Yamaha RN-303D with no sub out. My sub does have a high level connection though I've not looked into how that works.

I checked out the specs on Yamaha WXA-50:

Rated output power: 70 W + 70 W (6 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.06 % THD, 2-ch driven)
Maximum output power: 90 W + 90 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.9 % THD, 1-ch driven)

My current Denon1910 L/R (Front A/B):

90 W+90 W (8 Ω/ohms, 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz with 0.08 % T.H.D.)
125 W+125 W (6 Ω/ohms, 1 kHz with 0.7 % T.H.D.)

My Zenzor 5 floorstanders:
Frequency Range [+/- 3] dB [Hz]: 43 - 26.500
Sensitivity [2.83V/1m] [dB]: 88dB
Nominal Impedance [ohms]: 6
Maximum SPL [dB]: 108
Recommended Amp. Power [Watts]: 30 - 150

From my very novice eyes, I fear the Yamaha WXA-50 would not power my Zenzor 5s as strong as the Denon1910 would based on wattage. I don't know how to properly compare.

I have made up my mind for now though because I'm very busy with a lot of things at the moment and I'm just going to let my £40 RCA cable shipping resume its course. The £40 one is shielded which my current cable isn't and my current one is actually in two parts, going from my PC headphone port, 1 meter, then into a 3.5mm extension socket which goes off another meter into my RCA aux ports on my AVR which is an added noise potential I think.

Another thing that gives me some assurance with my current purchase is like you said with HDMI getting jitter. I also learn optical can get jitter too:
Optical isn’t foolproof either. Though not prone to interference in the way that aux is, digital can 'lose' data, especially over longer cable runs. This is what happens when some of the binary '1s' or '0s' arrive at the wrong time (or don't make it down the cable at all). This can sometimes result in jittery or blank portions of audio — which is why, especially over long cable runs, well-routed and shielded aux can come out as the winner.

Now hopefully my new £40 shielded 3.5mm RCA single cable run will give me some benefit in the mean time. I was going to entertain optical PC soundcard, optical to AVR but with a 3 meter run I worry with the jitter. I know the number of conversions with an analog cable isn't pretty but I should still see a benefit with the new cable for now.
I have learnt a bit about the digital and analog cables, in part thanks to you and have found some assurances in the mean time.

The big thing I have became aware of though is the factor of a dedicated stereo amplifier for my permeant stereo (2.1) music setup. I will keep that in mind for the future. So thanks for that.
 
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Deleted member 39241

Guest
Ok, so I would have to check to see if they have a crossover feature.
I have x2 Dali Zenzor 5 floorstanders and a BK P12-300SB subwoofer. The subwoofer does have a crossover but this wouldn't offload the workload from the Zenzor 5s like an AVR crossover? In such a case, I would want to get a stereo amp with a crossover.
Correct. Stereo amps with digital crossovers are generally AVRs, either multi channel or stereo. And adding more digital processing to the signal, can often make things sound worse.

High fidelity is generally about keeping everything in the analogue domain as much as possible, but, some people prefer to digitise things to add EQ and room correction, so there is no hard and fast rule.
That Yamaha WXA-50 seems good. I'm not sure about the Yamaha RN-303D with no sub out. My sub does have a high level connection though I've not looked into how that works.
I have a couple of BK subs, and use the high level on one of them, for 2 channel music listening. BK should have supplied you with the necessary cable, it piggy backs off of the same speaker outputs on the amp that is feeding your main speakers.

I really like how it sounds for music. The sub gets the exact same audio as the mains, at the exact same time, then the crossover and volume on the sub is used to blend it in to taste.

Yes, power is a whole other debate. More headroom is always nice, but may not be necessary. If you do like to listen loudly, an amp with pre-outs means you can always add more power.

Jitter / DACs / pre-amps and cables are all important. I do think £40 on a cable out of a £300 budget is not a great balance, but I hope it works well for you. Let us know.
 

jonnyc55

Novice Member
I really like how it sounds for music. The sub gets the exact same audio as the mains, at the exact same time, then the crossover and volume on the sub is used to blend it in to taste.
Sounds good.

Yes, power is a whole other debate. More headroom is always nice, but may not be necessary. If you do like to listen loudly, an amp with pre-outs means you can always add more power.
Ah ok, that's nice to know. I like the idea of that, friendly on the wallet.


I do think £40 on a cable out of a £300 budget is not a great balance
As in I should of spent more on a cable? hehe. Sorry, I'm not offended, just curious to know what is meant. The £300 budget or a bit more was because I thought a stereo amp is worth the money for what I'd imagine is a bigger jump in improvements than a cable but that was a theoretical budget on what I would spend on an stereo amp not necessarily now, I should of been more clear on that. My mood is too low for serious music listening these days anyway hehe. But it's nice to know the idea of what money is reasonable for a stereo amp I would enjoy and get value from.

but I hope it works well for you. Let us know.
Thanks. Yeah I'll chime in probably tomorrow with any results. The new cable comes tomorrow.
 
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Deleted member 39241

Guest
Sorry to hear that you've not been in the mood to enjoy your music. I know what you mean, when you are into music it can be a sentient experience, so everything has to be right!

If the cable doesn't improve things, you might be able to get a USB DAC for a similar amount of money (I'm presuming the cable will be returnable).

Ultimately though, I think it might be the pre-amp in the AVR that will be the problem, that plus the digitising the input in order to add bass control.

It's all about compromise though, so you have to try some different things until you find a configuration that hits the spot and hopefully comes in on budget!
 

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