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Do I really need a DAC for my computer?


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Hi Everyone,

 

I just recently got into the world of hi-fi (or at least mid-fi) . I have set up a decent 2-channel NAD system (C162 preamp and 2400 THX poweramp) and Totem Sttaf speakers with my computer. I find that there isn't too much of a difference from playing a regular CD on my NAD T533 player than when I play uncompressed tracks from my computer. I am running Vista with iTunes through a soundblaster Audigy2 soundcard. I have my soundcard set to 16 bit, 44100 Hz (CD playback) option as I don't have much high resolution music that I play through my computer.

 

I guess the million dollar question is should I try to improve my computer sound by delving into the world of external DACs or an internal soundcard that has better ouputs? If so, what do you think would be reasonably priced options that will be apparent in my overall sound?

 

Thanks

 

 

iTunes-> Soundblaster Audigy2 -> NAD C162 preamp-> NAD 2400 THX power envelop -> Totem Staff

 

 

 

 

 

HP Pavillion> J River Media 15> Arcam RDAC > NAD C162> NAD 2400 > Totem Sttafs

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Hi kidgoo - If your happy with the sound then there's no need to change anything. The fact that you can't tell a large difference between the CD player and the computer doesn't really say much if both sources are compromised. I think with the right external DAC your sound will improve. Also, I recommend trying MediaMonkey instead of iTunes on Windows based music servers. If you do get an external DAC you can direct MediaMonkey to send the output directly to the DAC.

 

Reasonable price is very relative. A Benchmark DAC1 USB or Pre will give you great results for a reasonable price in my opinion. So would a Wavelength Audio Brick. There are tons of options at all price points. Between all the members of CA you should get plenty of different options thrown your way.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Thanks for your comments Chris! It's great to have a resource like your website for beginners like myself. I have downloaded Media Monkey since I began visiting CA but have yet to use it.

 

 

 

HP Pavillion> J River Media 15> Arcam RDAC > NAD C162> NAD 2400 > Totem Sttafs

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Hey there and welcome. First off, Do NOT use Itunes, that is a BS app meant for lossy MP3 type people. Vista is a good OS so I suggest you use J River Media Jukebox as your front end player.

 

My high end, audiophile system sounds much better using a good USB Dac.

 

Write me if you need help

 

Liz

 

Powerbook G4 15 inch Aluminum, \"Fidela,\" M2tech EVO (BNC)with RF attenuator,dedicated PSU, Stereovox XV Ultra (BNC) Audio Note Dac Kit 2.1 Level B Signature Upgraded to 12AU7 tubes, ARC SP-16L Tube preamp , VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp), Vintage Tubes, Furutech ETP-80, (Alon 2 Mk2, (upgraded tweeters, Usher Woofers), Pangea Power cords, Omega Micro Active Planar PC. Signal Cable Silver Resolution ICs.

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Lizard is correct, iTunes is a bad choice for a PC, unless you are streaming wireless to an Apple TV or an AirPort express.

 

Foobar or Jriver is what I would recommend. For Vista, use WASAPI for good sound quality.

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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Lizard MAY be correct with respect to iTunes not being the preferred player on Vista, but his comments that "iTunes is a BS app meant for lossy MP3 type people" are a rather disingenuous way to suggest that.

 

:)

 

enjoy

clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

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