First Dac

Discussion in 'DACs' started by noobydoo, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. noobydoo

    noobydoo Active Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    North Bay Ontario Canada
    Hello everyone. So I've begun looking in to purchasing a Dac for use with a laptop that I use as a music source. A couple of quick questions. I'm currently using the 3.5mm jack to rca adapter which I feed to the cd input orn my Yamaha rx v4600 avr which also serves as a pre amp. My only other source is a Sony Blue ray player which has a decent onboard dac if I understand correctly.
    1. Will there be a noticeable improvement by inserting a usb dac into the signal chain between the PC and the avr.
    2. will there be an improvement if I use hdmi from the dac to the avr instead of the 3.5-rca connection.
    Any input(no pun intended) would be appreciated.
    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018

     

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  2. Yamaki

    Yamaki Not For Hire Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,768
    Location:
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    USB DAC between PC and receiver will produce the best results. USB DAC to DAC seems redundant.

    HDMI to DAC? Did you find a DAC with HDMI in? Most are USB, digital coax, optical or AES/EBU in some cases.
     
  3. noobydoo

    noobydoo Active Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    North Bay Ontario Canada
    Hello. I maybe wasn't very clear. I am planning to use a USB dac between pc and avr. I was simply wondering will an HDMI connection between dac and avr offer better sound or is the 3.5 to rca ok The first part of my question is a dac even necessary, or is it just introducing an extra component into the signal path, albeit one with amplification. . The main reason I'm considering a dac is my understanding that it facilitates use of a streaming service and is better able to cope with D\A conversion than the D\A converter on my laptop.cheers
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  4. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    990
    You don't need a DAC as you have one already in your receiver and all the cheap options will be worse than it. All you need to do is find a way to send digital audio from your laptop to the Yamaha receiver, some laptops have an optical digital output integrated with the 3.5mm jack, if yours has it all you need is a Toslink cable with the mini-plug on one end which goes into your laptop, the other goes into your receiver, you may need to assign the optical input on the receiver to your liking. If no optical output on you laptop you need a USB to SPDIF converter, this one will do up to 96kHz/24 bits which is enough for streaming, playing lossless CD rips, and even Tidal Masters: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1pcs-Compu...003507?hash=item3af20c6bf3:g:VRAAAOSwYkBZxHbZ , it doubles as a DAC but I wouldn't use it as such. Connect it like this: laptop -> USB -> PCM2704 -> optical or coax -> Yamaha digital input.

    If you want to up the game a bit look for SMSL X-USB, but I wouldn't pay more than $50-60 for it.

    And if you must have a new DAC, look for Topping D10, it is a DAC and a good USB to SPDIF converter in one box, so you get both and have an option using it as a DAC or as a USB to SPDIF converter with your receiver. D10 was just on Massdrop for like $75.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
    mjw21a likes this.
  5. noobydoo

    noobydoo Active Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    North Bay Ontario Canada
    I thank you very much. That is the answer I was looking for. I was sceptical of the need for a dac. One more question. Could I not just use the Hdmi output on the laptop into the hdmi input on the amp. Would this not give me the same result as using the usb to optical?
     
  6. noobydoo

    noobydoo Active Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    North Bay Ontario Canada
    PS no optical output on the laptop. 3 usb and 2 hdmi
     

     

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  7. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    990
    You might be able to, much depends if the driver supports it. If you have HDMI audio showing as an audio device try playing through it. This is not a typical audio path so there may be some unwanted resampling happening in the way even if it works, and you might not be able to use WASAPI with it. But you should definitely try it.
     
  8. noobydoo

    noobydoo Active Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    North Bay Ontario Canada
    I checked out the link. Definitely the way to go. Even cheaper than a good HDMI cable. Thanks again for all your help and for your knowledgeable responses. Cheers
     
  9. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    990
    You're welcome. You still need a cable to your receiver, don't use analog RCA interonnects instead of coax. If you have an old composite 75 Ohm video cable with RCA connectors (usually yellow) you can use that. And that converter, you want to use it set to max volume and control volume on your receiver for best SQ, at least keep it above 75% (it will be synced with the volume slider on the PC).
     
  10. noobydoo

    noobydoo Active Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    North Bay Ontario Canada
    Got it. Thanks again. BTW i edited my original post. I had written between dac and avr when I meant between pc and avr. CHeers
     
  11. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,026
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Not much point until you jump up to $700 or so, which is still entry level though in a different league to say a Topping D30 or S.M.S.L M8. Where separate, inexpensive DAC's come in useful is with older amps which are analog only or with low end or older AVR's.

    Having said that there are good and bad DAC's at all price points. A little research never hurts.
     

     

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  12. GSS61

    GSS61 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,624
    Location:
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    Yes, you certainly can use the HDMI output of your laptop connected to one of the HDMI inputs of your receiver... the DAC in your receiver will convert the digital audio stream, no need for a separate DAC if you go this route

    I have a HTPC (home theater personal computer) connected to my receiver via HDMI and it works perfectly fine for music, as well
     

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