PC/ STRDN1080

Fozed78

Standard Member
Hi all, I am looking at building a media centre pc. I have a Sony STRDN1080. I want to know the best way to connect the pc before I start building it. Would I be best with an internal soundcard or external DAC? Or would it be best to let the receiver do the work via an optical input? Would it be just as good running the sound through hdmi? There are too many options but I want the best audio quality solution thanks. Fozzy.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I'm not that familiar with AV Receivers but for electronics in general many of the biggest differences in sound quality between protocols come down to how well the device in question implements support for them rather than any sort of intrinsic capabilities.

Cables are cheap so I would just try the various connections and see which one sounds best to you.
 

Fozed78

Standard Member
I'm not that familiar with AV Receivers but for electronics in general many of the biggest differences in sound quality between protocols come down to how well the device in question implements support for them rather than any sort of intrinsic capabilities.

Cables are cheap so I would just try the various connections and see which one sounds best to you.
The thing I am wondering though is pretty specific. I have read that an external DAC is better than a sound card from a pc. But if I connect to my dn1080 by optical cable, am I therefore using my dn1080 as an external DAC? And wouldn't it be as good as a stand alone external DAC?
 

Fozed78

Standard Member
So I did more research. It seems that the best way to connect a pc to my av receiver is by hdmi. So to get Audiophile sound from my pc I fit a graphics card, connect to my dn1080, and that's it? That's the best I can do?
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Digital data is definitive. If a value in a track is 5 then every player will read it as a 5. You won't get a 4.9 or a 5.1 because your needle is a slightly different width or your tone arm is a slightly different weight.

Additionally digital connections include redundant data so that transmission is perfect even through the inevitable small errors - it takes a lot to produce unrecoverable errors and that means things are really bad and easy to notice.

So the areas to worry about in digital land is when something is manipulating the signal. Such as mixing together the output from multiple programs or compressing to MP3 to take up less space on disk/bandwidth for internet transmission.

Another factor is capability. Older protocols like S/PDIF from the 80s don't have the bandwidth for lots of extra audio data such as additional channels or positional data layers so to get them to work you have to compress the audio which comes back to the above.

And finally with great processing power comes great meddling and it's not unheard of for devices to apply different audio processing to different types of inputs.


Obviously when you come back to analogue land - generating the signal to drive the speakers then you get variation but I wouldn't put too much stock in broad categorisations. It's true that doing digital to analogue conversion away from other electronics is easier and requires less shielding, but that doesn't mean that all external devices are better than all internal ones - or that all standalone devices are better than those with other functions.


HDMI will work fine if you're using that connection for the video as well. HDMI expects a video signal and not all operating systems deal well with using it for audio only - your receiver can act as a phantom screen.

If you want audio only then consider USB instead, provided your receiver can act as a USB receiver (client) and not just a USB host.

Don't bother with a graphics card unless you've got other requirements for it (Gaming, MadVR etc.), integrated graphics tend to just as up to date and capable, sometimes more so, in everything except general purpose processing power and memory bandwidth, neither of which matter here.
 

John7

Well-known Member
If you want the high-res audio tracks from movies (DTS HD Master, Dolby True HD etc), you must use HDMI. Optical audio does not have the bandwidth to convey HD audio formats
 

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