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post #11 of 27
You really want a USB DAC. Since UISB data transfers are asynchronous, word-clock jitter is greatly reduced.
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post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
i thought about that but i also read reviews about the STX as a DAC - like the one by stereophile.com - and it seems like it ain't that bad; also, i would connect the card to the amp using the RCA lines and i would use the system to playing games and movies too. Having a thousand devices is not my preference and could always get one in the future, alongside the sub, if need be.

thanks for the advice, the async transfer is something that i'm quite looking into!
post #13 of 27
Going from any sound card the "ain't that bad" to a USB DAC is a big step.

Of course then with a new component I always say "If your other components won't play the difference then you won't hear the difference.".
 
 
Edited by billbartuska - 9/19/15 at 8:33am
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post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by urielejh View Post

UPDATE #3

Well, I've found an audiophile HiFi shop in my town and listened to some speakers + amp combo. I've tried a pair of Celestion with modded crossover + a couple of amps and a customized (by the shop's owner) set of speakers based off Norwegian tech. The latter, though 50 € less, blow away the British set. Monday I'll go back there with some music that I listen to and, eventually, conclude the deal.

He suggests to buy an analog amp and link it to the soundcard or a separate dac through RCA or, at most, USB as an integrated amp with dac is far less recommended quality wise, i'd need an expendable amp + high cost cables. What do you guys think about using my STX (soon to be "clock modded") as a dac through RCA? Too eventually add a sub in the future, is a sub out needed in the amp?

I agree with the shop owner. You don't need to spend a lot of money to get a great DAC, and the DAC you get will depend greatly on what you plan to do with it. Expensive cables? Sure, they help, but we're talking about maybe a 2-3% difference from $10 cables to $200 cables. The one cable that I think it's important to spend a good chunk of change on is the USB cable. I've been using a Supra for months and it's quite good. If you want a really good USB cable you should look at the Corning optical USB cables but those are hundreds of dollars. A Supra can be had for probably 30-40 GBP/$50-60

DAC wise, it depends on the type of sound you want, and the sample rates you will be putting through it. Do you listen to high-resolution recordings? Would you like to? How high res do you want to go? 96Khz? 192Khz? DSD?

I had an ARCAM rPAC for a while. It was great but the stereo seperation and soundstage were slightly lacking. That cost me $300 CDN. I traded it for a subwoofer and picked up a TEAC UD 301 for $550. Being a dual mono DAC I got my stereo seperation and soundstage that I was after. I also gained the ability to play DSD tracks without downsampling to PCM.

If you just want to get your feet wet and get a DAC which has lively, high fidelity, punchy sound, without the need to buy an expensive USB cable, I suggest that you look no further than an Audioquest Dragonfly 1.2 which is $150 USD. That'll go up to 96KHZ/24 bit.

If you want to go higher end, the sky's really the limit. There's no need to go nuts though, considering that you will be buying entry-level-mid-fi equipment, there is no sense in spending on anything greater than the dragonfly, in my opinion. Cable wise, you don't need to spend thousands there either. A 20 pound Audioquest Evergreen 3.5mm TRS.>> RCA cable will do you just fine and going to a higher end cable would be sort of silly with the rest of the gear you're looking at. Speaker cable wise, yes, buy good cables, but again, don't go nuts. Get yourself some low gauge (lower is thicker) pre-terminated cables with the termination, be they plugs or spades, soldered (preferably cold soldered) to the wire. Solid conductors in the cable are generally agreed to sound better than several thinner strands. I personally like locking banana plugs, but you should pick what you like, in terms of termination. It's much more of a style choice than it is an audio quality choice.

By the way, I would suggest that you not pull the trigger on speakers until you listen to KEF Q100's which are in your price range. The clarity of those speakers is quite surprising for the money and you should have a listen before making a final decision.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Guys, thank you all for the replies!

i brought back home a Technics SU-VZ320 + 2 way speakers (with bass reflex, it seems) and.. well, they sound as good as they did back in the shop using a cd audio.

Can you tell me if STX -> RCA ( L + R) -> AUX is the right one? the other suitable options being TUNER and CD, other than TAPE and PHONO which are not to be considered. Also, the amp has a "subsonic filter" which i deactivated and what about windows speakers setting? do i have to select full-range speakers? with the old system (2.1) i left it off.
post #16 of 27
Leave the sub sonic filter on. It filters out ultra low frequencies that could damage your components.

Yes, use STX -> RCA ( L + R) ->: anything except PHONO (they are functionally all the same).
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post #17 of 27
If you don't have one, you can download a User's Manual here:
http://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/technics/su-vz320.shtml
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post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
already found that link, thanks anyway. do you know anything about that windows speaker setup option - on full-range speakers..?
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by urielejh View Post

already found that link, thanks anyway. do you know anything about that windows speaker setup option - on full-range speakers..?
Yeah, just go through the options. Use Stereo. Test, to be sure right and left aren't reversed.
Also, when you're done, setting the Windows Volume Control to 100% will bypass the Windows Mixer, just control the volume from your amp. If that's a problem and you do want to use the Windows Volume Control, it's not a big issue.

Also, you might want to play around with whatever sound control settings (enhancements?) are installed for you video card - then turn them all off!

Now get a copy of Exact Audio Copy and start burning all your CDs to a lossless format (.flac?). You can convert any music you already have too.
I think you'll be finding that the fidelity of the digital files you play will have a marked effect on the sound quality you hear. WAV < FLAC < MP3

PS: I haven't used a sound card nor onboard sound in years. Have a look at JPlay (not JRiver). Jplay is, as faar as I'm concerned, the best (highest fidelity) player there is, but, alas, $150, though there is a free trial.
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post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

I understand but it's funny..........

I'm using a pair of Amphion Argon 2 speakers in my main system. Amphion Loudspeakers is located in a Kuopio, Finland!
Oh, didn't know that the factory is about 10min drive away from my place biggrin.gif
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