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I need help providing the cleanest signal to my speakers

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Alright, First of all my list of gear:
Xonar DX
Pioneer VSX-522-K AVR 5.1 (80w/chan)
x2 Infinity Primus 163 Bookshelf speakers.
I also have a pair of BX5a's

I was wondering what the best way to hook up the 163's would be?

Currently I have them setup like this:
Xonar DX -> optical -> AVR -> 163's

But am wondering if it would make a difference if I setup them up like this:
Xonar DX -> 3.5/RCA -> AVR -> 163's

My theory is that my Xonar DX is better at creating an analogue signal, than my AVR receiving a digital signal and having to decode it to an analogue signal. In all honestly I have absolutely no idea if it even makes the slightest difference, Which is why I'm asking OCN to educate me.

I also don't know if my BX5a's or my 163's being pushed by my AVR would provide the cleanest sound, thoughts on that are also appreciated.

I appreciate and will reward all the help I can get! thumb.gif
post #2 of 9
You're in the best position to answer those questions as you have the equipment at hand, all we can do is make an educated guess and speculate. I'd presume that the way you have it now would be better than running analogue from the card to the AVR, if you're really curious then hook it up that way and hear for yourself. The same goes for the speakers, hook them up and listen thumb.gif
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tUDJ View Post

You're in the best position to answer those questions as you have the equipment at hand, all we can do is make an educated guess and speculate. I'd presume that the way you have it now would be better than running analogue from the card to the AVR, if you're really curious then hook it up that way and hear for yourself. The same goes for the speakers, hook them up and listen thumb.gif

I'm just looking for some hard science behind it. I am brand new to the audio game and want to get my facts as straight as possible. I appreciate your suggestion though. thumb.gif
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Hairy_Yak View Post

I'm just looking for some hard science behind it. I am brand new to the audio game and want to get my facts as straight as possible. I appreciate your suggestion though. thumb.gif

One thing you should realise about audio is that it can be very subjective. You can look at facts and figures until your eyes bleed but they don't necessarily translate into what is good or bad, or more importantly what you enjoy the sound of or don't. Take your situation for example, I might prefer the sound of your setup when you use the digital connection, you might prefer it when using the analogue connection, neither one of us would be right or wrong. There's nothing wrong with trying to get a better understanding though! smile.gif
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tUDJ View Post

One thing you should realise about audio is that it can be very subjective. You can look at facts and figures until your eyes bleed but they don't necessarily translate into what is good or bad, or more importantly what you enjoy the sound of or don't. Take your situation for example, I might prefer the sound of your setup when you use the digital connection, you might prefer it when using the analogue connection, neither one of us would be right or wrong. There's nothing wrong with trying to get a better understanding though! smile.gif

Yeah, I am the type of person who is all about facts. I understand it can be very subjective, but the hard science behind the sound reproduction is a big part of what attracts me to audio. biggrin.gif
post #6 of 9
It would be my opinion that optical from the sound card out to the AVR would be better. However, there are 2 drawbacks to both scenarios.

First, the reason I would not suggest letting the sound card to the digital to analog conversion is because of the noise from the PC system and power supply. PC power supplies are very noisy, and the power from your PCI slot is especially noisy. This can cause the sound card to output bad analog information. If you went digital, the likely hood of noise problems would be lessened, although jitter may occur.

Optical connections are arguably known to cause jitter, but if you have a short run of optical then you really shouldn't have to worry. The noisy power being provided to the sound card which is re-clocking and passing the digital bits through the optical connection may induce jitter itself, but I don't think it would be as bad compared to what the noisy power would do to the sound card when creating an analog signal.

All that said, it really does not matter at all. The only thing you have at hand here is a fun experiment to spend your time on and create your own conclusions! thumb.gif
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the information! I figure it wouldn't make much of a difference if at all. But either way I like to keep my facts straight.
post #8 of 9
Noise from the PSU, jitter, all pretty subjective and meaningless. I've said this time and time again, and I will defend it until death. If your shielded sound card is picking up noise from something in the case, that device emitting the noise is faulty or a cheap piece of crap. A shielded sound card would need a lot of radiation coming at it to give you noise. A PSU giving out dirty power is crap and should be thrown in the trash can. Jitter is also a retarded thing to look at. This isn't 1990, and all DACs now re-clock the signal internally. Nanoseconds of jitter in the input signal aren't anything. It is fixed inside of the DAC. There are "audiophiles" who still use analog mediums, and their wow and flutter (or "analog jitter") are in the hundredths to tenths of seconds.

I'm not changing my stance and you don't need to spend thousands of dollars on good sound. The more you spend, the point of diminishing return, and I'm convinced those changes are totally subjective and a justification to one's conscience on the spent money.
 
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

Noise from the PSU, jitter, all pretty subjective and meaningless. I've said this time and time again, and I will defend it until death. If your shielded sound card is picking up noise from something in the case, that device emitting the noise is faulty or a cheap piece of crap. A shielded sound card would need a lot of radiation coming at it to give you noise. A PSU giving out dirty power is crap and should be thrown in the trash can. Jitter is also a retarded thing to look at. This isn't 1990, and all DACs now re-clock the signal internally. Nanoseconds of jitter in the input signal aren't anything. It is fixed inside of the DAC. There are "audiophiles" who still use analog mediums, and their wow and flutter (or "analog jitter") are in the hundredths to tenths of seconds.
I'm not changing my stance and you don't need to spend thousands of dollars on good sound. The more you spend, the point of diminishing return, and I'm convinced those changes are totally subjective and a justification to one's conscience on the spent money.

I was thinking the same thing. I REALLY doubt you would be able to monitor the signal and see any signs of my PSU or power input to the sound-card. I was really just looking at the assumption that there may be a possibility the sound-card was "better" at creating the signal than the AVR since the sound-card has more of a dedicated purpose. NOTICE: this is all ridiculous theory that I pulled out of far left field tongue.gif.

I appreciate all of your inputs on the matter.
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