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These DACS - do I need One?

Amish

Established Member
Ok, bit of an audio n00b here.

Don't really understand these dac's and whether I would actually need one.

My music will be going through a phono cable from my laptop to my amp - I have NO INTEREST in purchasing a CD player in the future because it is too much of a faf to play music off there all the time. I just want one click music play.

I know a lot of the quality is lost with play from a laptop/pc and my vague understanding is that a DAC helps with this??

Might be completely wrong there but if somebody could reply in simpleton terms :) - I wanted to keep playing music through my laptop but want the quality to accompany it if possible.
 

Ys.

Established Member
The DAC will convert digital to analogue so you wont be using the Line/Headphone out from your laptop with your phono cable. Does your laptop have any digital outs? Might mean having to also invest in some sort of PCMCIA/USB/Firewire soundcard with digital out if you want to use a dedicated DAC.

I haven't used my laptop for audio, I dare say some people here have so they'll be able to give you opinions/options :smashin:
 

Amish

Established Member
The DAC will convert digital to analogue so you wont be using the Line/Headphone out from your laptop with your phono cable. Does your laptop have any digital outs? Might mean having to also invest in some sort of PCMCIA/USB/Firewire soundcard with digital out if you want to use a dedicated DAC.

I haven't used my laptop for audio, I dare say some people here have so they'll be able to give you opinions/options :smashin:

Digital outs? I dont think so no lol.. Only headphones and mic

Thanks for the advice dude... if any has experience in this kind of thing and listening from their laptop let me know...

The Soundcard is just a standard onboard one i believe..
 
P

Peter Galbavy

Guest
I used to be a DAC skeptic then I acquired a Beresford Caiman. My sources are primarily a Sont CD plater and a Squeezebox 3. I have also used the USB input to play sound from my laptop. If you have the right amp and speakers for it the sound quality difference is clear and audible - for the better I should add.

The question is can you spend the cost of a DAC (£100-£xxxxx) on something that would improve your system more ? For me, as a convert, the answer was no (£200-odd was well worth it to my ears).
 

leedswillprevai

Established Member
Hi this question is fairly easy to answer, if your laptop doesn't have an optical output, you can connect the laptop to the dac via a usb and rca cables from the dac, to the amp. Does it make a big difference? yes absolutely, do you need one? no you don't, it's entirely your decision but from experience the resulting sound quality is so much better. I would recommend that to get the best out of it that you play high bitrate files or rip your cds using one of the many free sofrware programmes to a lossless format to truly get the best from it.

So what are your options? well the 3 most popular dac's are the Beresford 7520 Caiman, the CA Dac Magic, The Musical Fidelity V Dac. They are all excellent but I have the Beresford 7510 and I think it's fantastic, this is an older version and have been told that the other dac's improve upon this. Having said this, I would advise you to go for a Beresford 7520 Caiman and the reason is that Stanley Beresford will provide you with a loan unit if you email him and request one. That way you can decide for yourself if it's worth the outlay or not.

P.S There is no reason why it won't sound just as good if not better than a very expensive cd player.
 

Amish

Established Member
Hi this question is fairly easy to answer, if your laptop doesn't have an optical output, you can connect the laptop to the dac via a usb and rca cables from the dac, to the amp. Does it make a big difference? yes absolutely, do you need one? no you don't, it's entirely your decision but from experience the resulting sound quality is so much better. I would recommend that to get the best out of it that you play high bitrate files or rip your cds using one of the many free sofrware programmes to a lossless format to truly get the best from it.

So what are your options? well the 3 most popular dac's are the Beresford 7520 Caiman, the CA Dac Magic, The Musical Fidelity V Dac. They are all excellent but I have the Beresford 7510 and I think it's fantastic, this is an older version and have been told that the other dac's improve upon this. Having said this, I would advise you to go for a Beresford 7520 Caiman and the reason is that Stanley Beresford will provide you with a loan unit if you email him and request one. That way you can decide for yourself if it's worth the outlay or not.

P.S There is no reason why it won't sound just as good if not better than a very expensive cd player.

Great - thank you very much for that :)

I'm still a tad confused about the DAC though - so you connect this to your laptop via USB and then click MPs on your laptop to open as you do normally and instead of going straight through the Amp to the speakers, it will go through the DAC (which will improve the sound somehow) to the amp > speakers. Do you actually need to do anything with the DAC or just connect it to both the laptop and the amp, then go about the way you were previously doing things? Sorry if that's a stupid question :)
 

leedswillprevai

Established Member
Lol no problem, well if you are using xp for instance, you go into control panel, sounds and select the sound playback device. The usb will connect between your laptop and the dac, so the onboard soundcard is being bypassed. If it makes it easier to understand, think of the external dac as a very souped up soundcard, So the signal is then passed from the external dac to the amp (via rca cables). So yes after that, you are done and dusted the dac doesn't need to be configured or anything like that.

Make sense?
 

Amish

Established Member
Hi this question is fairly easy to answer, if your laptop doesn't have an optical output, you can connect the laptop to the dac via a usb and rca cables from the dac, to the amp. Does it make a big difference? yes absolutely, do you need one? no you don't, it's entirely your decision but from experience the resulting sound quality is so much better. I would recommend that to get the best out of it that you play high bitrate files or rip your cds using one of the many free sofrware programmes to a lossless format to truly get the best from it.

So what are your options? well the 3 most popular dac's are the Beresford 7520 Caiman, the CA Dac Magic, The Musical Fidelity V Dac. They are all excellent but I have the Beresford 7510 and I think it's fantastic, this is an older version and have been told that the other dac's improve upon this. Having said this, I would advise you to go for a Beresford 7520 Caiman and the reason is that Stanley Beresford will provide you with a loan unit if you email him and request one. That way you can decide for yourself if it's worth the outlay or not.

P.S There is no reason why it won't sound just as good if not better than a very expensive cd player.

Hey mate,

you say you can email Stanley Beresford to request a loan unit - any idea where I can get contact details or if you know his address?

Home HIFI main page - I'm currently looking on there but the e-mail provided seems to be a generic one.

Also one other thing I was wondering, with a connection to the DAC... do you think there would be a massive difference in USB / digital out connection? I doubt I'd be upgrading my soundcard to allow for a digital connection so USB would have to be the best and just wondering if it's worth the outlay for that type of connection and if the improvement would be justified :)
 

leedswillprevai

Established Member
Well firstly the generic one is basically emailing Stanley since I think I am right in saying he is all but a one man band but he is very reliable and a nice guy. Secondly don't worry about usb vs digital etc, there is no audible difference.
 

Amish

Established Member
Brilliant - cheers for the replies mate, very helpful. I have the wiring and speakers, now for the Amp (if I ever stop being a fusspot and decide) and DAC :)
 

krishtr

Standard Member
The usb will connect between your laptop and the dac, so the onboard soundcard is being bypassed. If it makes it easier to understand, think of the external dac as a very souped up soundcard, So the signal is then passed from the external dac to the amp (via rca cables).

Sorry to hijack the thread, but I just had a question. You say that the onboard soundcard is going to be bypassed and the sound signals go to the DAC directly. This makes sense. But, suppose my laptop does not have the digital out, someone above mentioned that you can upgrade your soundcard and put one that supports it. If the soundcard is going to be bypassed, how does this arrangement work?

Thanks in advance! :thumbsup:
 

Amish

Established Member
I also have another question in relation to DACS.

I've been reading a lot about laptops causing background noise when the power supply is connected to it - would a DAC resolve this issue as it would be bypassing onboard sound or would the issue still remain as this is an issue to do with the PSU? I'm quite confused as the problem is apparently eliminated when the mains lead is taken out of the laptop.

Sony Vaio's seem to have been big culprits, and guess what I have :(
 

Amish

Established Member
Sorry to hijack the thread, but I just had a question. You say that the onboard soundcard is going to be bypassed and the sound signals go to the DAC directly. This makes sense. But, suppose my laptop does not have the digital out, someone above mentioned that you can upgrade your soundcard and put one that supports it. If the soundcard is going to be bypassed, how does this arrangement work?

Thanks in advance! :thumbsup:

I believe a USB connection from laptop > dac is digital which means the output should be exactly the same to the DAC whether it is via USB our digital out.

Don't quote me on this though.
 
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leedswillprevai

Established Member
To answer your question the dac will eliminated the background noises because it will bypass what is going on it your soundcard. It is the process of converting in your soundcard which are giving you those background noises.
 

Amish

Established Member
Hey,

I understand that but I've read that there is background interruption related to laptop PSU's which is eliminated when they are unplugged from the laptop...
 

Nobber22

Prominent Member
Hey,

I understand that but I've read that there is background interruption related to laptop PSU's which is eliminated when they are unplugged from the laptop...

My Tosh laptop picks up noise from the hard-drive when I use the headphone output straight to my amp. On-mains or on-battery the annoying hum is still there. :(
 

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