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Sound Card, or external DAC? - Page 3

post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsa700 View Post

Maybe I'm dumb but why do you need a DAC at all? Cannot the digital outputs found on many motherboards and sound cards feed the digital signal to an AV receiver? My G5 power mac could do that via optical in 2004.
?

Because the DAC on your motherboard is one of those things that's ridiculously horribly sounding. I never knew either until I heard a pair of AKG Q701s and a O2 + NFB 12.1 (NFB 12.1 being used only as a DAC).
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post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulWog View Post

Dumb wouldn't be the word; I didn't know about all this until recently as well. However, if you had read my entire original post, you wouldn't need to ask this question. smile.gif I'll leave the quote at the bottom of my post for the portion which explains that.
In further detail beyond what I'm quoting below, every audio setup requires a DAC. What "DAC" stands for is "Digital to Analog Converter". When you feed a digital signal directly into a receiver (most home theatre receivers take SPDIF digital signals as well as HDMI digital signals), it takes the signal and has its own internal DAC built in to conver the signal. With a stereo amplifier, it doesn't have a built-in DAC. So, I need a to convert the digital signal at some point in the mix. The option was between an external DAC, or using a sound card as the digital-to-analog converter. The external DAC I decided was the way to go.
To reiterate, you have an AV receiver which has built-in components to deal with the digital signal. However, that doesn't mean you're getting better audio at all. In my case, I chose not to opt for an AV receiver in order to get better sound quality through a more thorough setup.
Quote: "Originally I thought I'd be done with just an amp and my two speakers. I had thought the amp would receive an SPDIF digital signal from my computer, but didn't realise that's not the case. This is an unanticipated cost; however, I do not want to bottleneck my investment from the get-go."
My Final Setup Choice:
- Kef Q300 Speakers (2.0 stereo... will eventually throw in a subwoofer if I decide to -- which I probably will... eventually!)
- Marantz PM-6004 stereo amplifier
- DacMagic Plus
- Kimber Kable PBJ 1-metre RCA cable

Ok, I see.

I didn't catch that the Marantz was an amplifier only.

My bad.

Carry on then.......
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post #23 of 44
'- Kimber Kable PBJ 1-metre RCA cable - Why not just get a cheaper RCA cable? Does the same thing....
post #24 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post

'- Kimber Kable PBJ 1-metre RCA cable - Why not just get a cheaper RCA cable? Does the same thing....

RCA cable quality matters.

I demoed a system with similarly-priced speakers (Monitor Audio RX1 speakers) with the same amplifier I'm getting, and the DacMagic Plus. I got to try switching the RCA cables. The difference is definitely evident. They had a Monster RCA cable, a generic one, and then various ones they sold... the difference actually showed. I was the one who pushed to ask them to demo the various RCA cables and they were able to do that for me to prove there's a difference. Was enough for me to see it.
Edited by PaulWog - 10/21/12 at 3:18am
    
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post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post

'- Kimber Kable PBJ 1-metre RCA cable - Why not just get a cheaper RCA cable? Does the same thing....
Both will carry a signal, but not always sound the same. Cables with different resistance or capacitance can sound different.
post #26 of 44
Analogue, yes maybe (depends on your ears) but digital, hell no.
post #27 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by subnet View Post

Analogue, yes maybe (depends on your ears) but digital, hell no.

Your comment is so irrelevant it hurts...

We're not talking about digital.
    
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post #28 of 44
I've had Kimber PBJ cables for at least 15 years and they are excellent.

They also look super cool and are of high quality with locking RCA connectors.
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post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post

'- Kimber Kable PBJ 1-metre RCA cable - Why not just get a cheaper RCA cable? Does the same thing....

Sort of wondering this too. Cables is a very controversial topic over at Stereophile, but honestly, you can just go to Monoprice and get a great cable with low resistance and it will be just as good. I really want to say that the difference is sound is subjective. Do some blind testing and that will probably hold true.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulWog View Post

RCA cable quality matters.
I demoed a system with similarly-priced speakers (Monitor Audio RX1 speakers) with the same amplifier I'm getting, and the DacMagic Plus. I got to try switching the RCA cables. The difference is definitely evident. They had a Monster RCA cable, a generic one, and then various ones they sold... the difference actually showed. I was the one who pushed to ask them to demo the various RCA cables and they were able to do that for me to prove there's a difference. Was enough for me to see it.

Do some blind testing. Maybe then you won't hear a difference, or use something like a Monoprice cable because I've never really gotten to care for Monster cable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Face76 View Post

Both will carry a signal, but not always sound the same. Cables with different resistance or capacitance can sound different.

Unless it can somehow modify the signal that's going through in terms of sound, it shouldn't be different as far as I know.
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post #30 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HybridCore View Post

Unless it can somehow modify the signal that's going through in terms of sound, it shouldn't be different as far as I know.

The testing was blind testing.

Anyway, it does matter how the cable is constructed. Every cable modifies the signal, because it has to travel through the cable. If a cable has more resistance, or different impedance, or different levels of inductance, that all modifies the signal (among other things). Each cable has different properties. If you compare a cheap cable to a more expensive cable, you usually look at worse numbers on the cheaper cable when it comes to measurable impedance, inductance, and resistance.
    
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