• 12-02-2006, 08:34 PM
    USB DAC and existing system
    Okay. First off let me describe my existing setup and then I will expound on my problem.
    My existing system is quite primitive but for gaming it is quite sufficient. It consists of a 5.1 Denon HT setup with a cheap Denon receiver that was on sale on crutchfield. The receiver is an AVR-485. Right now, my speakers are setup through the receiver and then thru the analog inputs on the back of my computer (X-Fi soundcard). As this setup was primarily for gaming, it did its job.

    Now, however, I have set up a music server with all my WAV files on an old computer functioning as the server. Consequently, I'm interested in upgrading my speaker system to sound better. I plan to do this by buying some B&W 602s (on a budget). I don't intend on getting an amp right now but eventually I will get a Rotel amp to couple with my speakers. Now with the little guide on audioreview about setting up a music server I was wondering about getting a USB DAC instead of getting an external soundcard. However, what I want to know and my main question is is that can I still maintain my existing setup and use the USB DAC when I want to listen to music? In other words, can I use my X-Fi soundcard and the USB DAC at the same time and if so, how? And if I use the USB DAC that would mean I wouldn't be able to use the sub w/my new speakers. It would be only a 2.0 setup not a 2.1. Is there another way of using the sub? In terms of base would the B&Ws be sufficient for a small room?
  • 12-02-2006, 09:32 PM
    Carl Reid
    Ok, I'm not the most technically savvy member of this site, but I'm gonna take a crack at this one and hopefully some of the more knowledgeable members will correct any mistakes I make... so here goes:

    I see no reason why you can't have your USB DAC running simultaneously with the 5.1 set-up.... Simply keep the denon plugged into the computer via the analog outputs for your 5.1 and then attach the USB DAC to one of the USB ports on your computer and to some other input on the Denon receiver... so you'll have two different inputs connecting to the receiver from the computer.... 1 set via analog sound card for 5.1 and the other via USB for 2 channel audio....

    Next, I suspet that for a small room, unless you really absolutely love Bass, then the 602's should be sufficient for good sound....

    Finally, from personal experience I'd suggest investing in the best speakers and amp you can get first and then determining whether you need to save more for a USB DAC... since, I believe that it will make less of an impact on how good your setup sounds than the speakers and amp... I have my MAC connected via analog output directly to my Rotel Pre-amp and the sound is suprisingly good.... so even though I plan to get a USB DAC eventually, I'm not in a rush to do so....
  • 12-02-2006, 11:07 PM
    Simple and straightforward. Thanks for the info. I will put my money towards a nice amp before going into buying a DAC. It's just that a USB DAC would be cheaper to buy than a really nice amp. Anyway, thanks again.