SPDIF and PC audio system [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums

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ignasi
10-24-2009, 12:26 AM
I want to build a music server. To avoid audio interference inside the PC, the digital/ analog conversion will do it outside, through the optical SPDIF out an external DAC.
My question is this: Is influential the audio codec used for SPDIF output?
It is necessary to buy a sound card audiophile when the audio signal is not going to modify into the PC?

Thanks for the help and forgive my poor English (Iím from Barcelona)

Feanor
10-24-2009, 04:05 AM
I want to build a music server. To avoid audio interference inside the PC, the digital/ analog conversion will do it outside, through the optical SPDIF out an external DAC.
My question is this: Is influential the audio codec used for SPDIF output?
It is necessary to buy a sound card audiophile when the audio signal is not going to modify into the PC?

Thanks for the help and forgive my poor English (I’m from Barcelona)

Hello, Ignasi, and welcome to AR Forums.

Most audiophiles prefer to have an external DAC rather than use an internal sound card DAC, (although there are some sound cards that have a good reputation for their analog output).

The two most common methods to get a digital signal from the computer to an external DAC are:

S/PDIF, either optical or coaxial. S/PDIF output is supported by the sound card and its own drivers; (as far as I know there are no special operating system codecs that pertain to S/PDIF apart from the sound card drivers). If your sound card supports ASIO, try the corresponding driver if you music player lets you to choose it.

Presently I am using S/PDIF coaxial output from an M-Audio Revolution 7.1 sound card. The Revo 7.1 supports ASIO but I don't use it because that driver because doesn't work well on my XP computer. I connect the output to my DAC via a 10 m cable; this very long cable is supposed to reduce signal reflections caused by sound card versus DAC impedance mismatches, and thereby reduce the phenomenon of "jitter". Some audiophiles prefer to use an optical connection in order to prevent RFI from the computer getting to the DAC.



USB if the DAC has such a connection. The computer's internal sound card is irrelevant to USB output; most often standard operating system USB drivers down stream of the audio codecs are used to drive the USB connection to the DAC. However there are a few external DACs that require their own USB drivers to be installed on the computer; this is usually done to provide "asynchronous", DAC-controlled transmission of the USB signal. The DAC-controlled transmission, again, is supposed to reduce jitter.At this point there is no general agreement whether S/PDIF or USB is better. There is also the issue of which of the operating system's "audio stack" components to use or substitute, but that is another subject.

harley .guy07
10-24-2009, 09:59 AM
I myself are looking into building a music server and have read up on the subjest quite a bit and will say that the USB option is very tempting. I have seen reviews that USB can be a very high quality output to use for audio and the newest crop of USB DACS are very good. Right now i am thinking I want to use an External 1 or 1.5 TB hard drive and a Musiland MD-10 or other USB DAC to set this server up. I do like to fact that the usb does not shoot through the sound card for some reason, I think its a more direct connection. But I could see both ways working well with the right cables and Dac.

poppachubby
10-24-2009, 10:15 AM
Sorry, I don't fully understand you question. Personally, I have a Creative Soundblaster Audigy Platinum soundcard that has endless options. If you have an amp with digital inputs, it would be possible to go straight into those. However, you may have issues with jitter and other such digital problems. I tried it once into a JVC A/V receiver's CD coax input. I had to set the card to 48k output, but it worked and sounded great, no DAC.

Presently I run my soundcards optical output to a 24b/96k dac. It's amazing. I have a turntable inputted into the soundcard's analog RCA's. Really, really fun. I can convert LP's to digital files but lately I find I have been listening more than anything.

Not really sure if this answers your question, hope it's some help...