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Should I be using a USB DAC instead of my TV
January 24, 2011 4:16 PM   Subscribe

Should I not be using my television as a DAC for my home stereo?

(Inspired by this question, which I didn't want to threadjack.)

I think I know the answer.

Right now I have a media PC running an HDMI cable (video AND audio) to my Sony Bravia TV (this one). Then I have a standard composite cable from the Sony TV audio-out to my amp, and then to two speakers. My speakers are nice, my amp is an Emotiva.

Am I losing something by not using, say, the HRT Music Streamer II High Resolution USB D/A Converter?
posted by johnchristopher to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Ideally, your Emotiva has a digital audio in that you can pipe from your PC's sound card.

Beyond that, I'd think that audio straight from the sound card and through a cable run through a ferrite ring will get you most of the benefits of the HRT unit - you know - just without the audiophile markup.
posted by plinth at 4:33 PM on January 24, 2011


Am I losing something by not using, say, the HRT Music Streamer II High Resolution USB D/A Converter?

Yes. Wallet vacancy.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:37 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Datapoint: Never heard the term "D/A Converter" until today and am still unsure what it is or does. I have a "Y-cable" straight from my laptop to my stereo receiver. I am fairly picky about music, and it sounds totally fine to me.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:39 PM on January 24, 2011


Assuming your amp has a digital input, just use that. There probably isn't much practical difference between the D/A in your amp and the one in your TV. You will, however, avoid possible degradation from the analog cabling.

Your TV might even have a digital output for such a thing. If not, just get a cheapo sound card for your PC with a digital output.
posted by neckro23 at 4:44 PM on January 24, 2011


thanks for the input. my amp has only analog-in, so it's digital to TV, analog to the amp.

So far I haven't really been able to tell a difference in any other changes once I got the speakers, and was wondering if I was doing something horribly wrong in leveraging the TV as DAC. I am sure I am to certain purists. Screw them!
posted by johnchristopher at 5:24 PM on January 24, 2011


I'm doing the same thing with the HDMI through the TV, and my biggest gripe is that the TV has to be on if I'm just going to listen to music. I'll be watching this thread intently in case someone chimes in with a great reasonably priced DAC so I can just put the music on random and save the 150W for the unnecessary monitor.
posted by hwyengr at 5:26 PM on January 24, 2011


...in case someone chimes in with a great reasonably priced DAC...

The question I cited above had this comment, which mentions two reasonably-priced DACs, one of which I mentioned.

I too dislike the TV having to be on.
posted by johnchristopher at 9:48 PM on January 24, 2011


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