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As good as the rest of your gear....

 

Source is where it all starts, so better, is better,

Balancing act me thinks between all components.

 

Start basic like 3.5mm to rca and work your way as time and money permits.

 

Not sure if you can get a USB signal out of an ipad with the camera kit, into a usb dac..?

 

Have fun researching :-)

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As good as the rest of your gear....

 

Source is where it all starts, so better, is better,

Balancing act me thinks between all components.

 

Start basic like 3.5mm to rca and work your way as time and money permits.

 

Not sure if you can get a USB signal out of an ipad with the camera kit, into a usb dac..?

 

Have fun researching :-)

Is DAC even that much of an improvement?

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We need a bit more info. Apparently an ipad/ipod is your source? Do you have an amp and speakers or what are you trying to get the signal to? A 3.5 mm to RCA adapter isn't necessarily bad. Not great, but not all that bad.

 

As for youtube as a source, depends on if it makes you happy. Some stuff on it isn't too bad, but none is top quality. If by source you mean music, and wonder if itunes downloads are good, they can be okay, but again not top quality. We need a bit more info on where you stand and what you want to accomplish.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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We need a bit more info. Apparently an ipad/ipod is your source? Do you have an amp and speakers or what are you trying to get the signal to? A 3.5 mm to RCA adapter isn't necessarily bad. Not great, but not all that bad.

 

As for youtube as a source, depends on if it makes you happy. Some stuff on it isn't too bad, but none is top quality. If by source you mean music, and wonder if itunes downloads are good, they can be okay, but again not top quality. We need a bit more info on where you stand and what you want to accomplish.

I have a laptop/iPad/iPod as my source. I have speakers and an amp, I'm just trying to play some music. I will be getting new speakers. I most likely won't be using Youtube, more like Soundcloud and Spotify (music from the actual producers) so I'm assuming it should be decent quality.

 

Will optical be a lot better than RCA? Is it worth an extra £10 for example?

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Best thing is to demo some stuff, then you can decide for yourself.

 

I prefer coax, a mate prefers optical.. each to there own.

 

If I was to chose between my £1.50 optical and my mates £65 optical, I would choose mine.

I feel mine has a more tight crisp presentation, and my mate prefers his, as he thinks his has a softer, bass heavy presentation, that he likes.. all down to personal choice!

 

I picked my first amp, Cambridge Audio A5 over an Arcam of over twice the price of the A5, as I did not like how the Arcam presented the music...

 

Listen to a range of gear, to get an idea as to what you like.

 

"Is DAC that much of an improvement"

Up to your own ears to decide ;-)

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Best thing is to demo some stuff, then you can decide for yourself.

 

I prefer coax, a mate prefers optical.. each to there own.

 

If I was to chose between my £1.50 optical and my mates £65 optical, I would choose mine.

I feel mine has a more tight crisp presentation, and my mate prefers his, as he thinks his has a softer, bass heavy presentation, that he likes.. all down to personal choice!

 

I picked my first amp, Cambridge Audio A5 over an Arcam of over twice the price of the A5, as I did not like how the Arcam presented the music...

 

Listen to a range of gear, to get an idea as to what you like.

 

"Is DAC that much of an improvement"

Up to your own ears to decide ;-)

I didn't realise that cable actually made that much of a difference that you can tell it apart :o ! I only have one amp and no room for change there so I can only buy some new speakers really, will be testing them soon.

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Okay so does your amp have digital input? And is the laptop a Mac? If so it has an optical digital out. And yes, it likely is a fair bit better than RCA into the amp. Get an inexpensive optical cable to try first.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I didn't realise that cable actually made that much of a difference that you can tell it apart :o ! I only have one amp and no room for change there so I can only buy some new speakers really, will be testing them soon.

 

Cool, keeps things simple, if you have an amp, and only have to match some speakers to your amp and ears :-)

Remember to take your favorite music, and maybe your amp, to listen to the speakers.

 

Once you've settled on some speakers, if you feel like it maybe ask to try a couple of different cables...

Shop should know roughly what you like from helping you pick your speakers, they may be able to suggest a quick demo of cables to see if you hear a difference.

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I am a newbie too...only at it a few weeks. I am very happy with the process i have followed.

 

Option 1

I recommend you buy a dragonfly. For less than $100 for a used one, you can vastly improve your audio out of your pc, and probably most non-audiophiles would be happy with that.. (or if you aren't as cheap as me $150 for the newer 1.2 version)

 

It is very convenient and installation is a snap...plug it in and enjoy.

 

Option 2

If you are willing to budget a little more and want the latest technology of playing 5.6mhz dsd files, i suggest buying an external DSD/PCM DAC. there are models from $200 to $500 to pick from, and my guess is they will continue to spiral down. Suggestions have been KORG DS-DAC-100m, ifi nano, or Denon.

 

Option 3

If you are willing to spend more, i would recommend you either wait for 2014 avr's to come out (lots of new features with new avr's over past few years...network radio, wireless, 4K upconverting, 3d ++++). So if you haven't upgraded your avr recently, now is a good time, and with 2014 models you will see new hdmi 2.0 and who knows what all that will bring...I personally am hoping for a asyncrhonous usb port and DSD w/5.6mhz playback in a reciever for under $1000.

 

Option 4

One other option, which is where i am at right now (started with the dragonfly), but will change soon...is a SONY uDA-1/b. It does it all, and a couple additions it has if you don't have an amplifier that you want to dedicate to your pc, it has it's own 24watt amplifier, which should be sufficient for a small room, and you can also set it to shut off automatically after non-use. Retail $800. I don't really need the amp out, so will be returning it, and be doing option 2 above, and then depending on 2014 lineup of avr's will move to option 3.

 

Keep us updated on your decisions.

 

Some have suggested the Schiit, but it is DSD only. Perhaps IF they came out with a PCM/DSD DAC i would consider it...but i don't want to have to rely on a player, as i would want one solution where i can play all of my pc audio.

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I am a newbie too...only at it a few weeks. I am very happy with the process i have followed.

 

Option 1

I recommend you buy a dragonfly. For less than $100 for a used one, you can vastly improve your audio out of your pc, and probably most non-audiophiles would be happy with that.. (or if you aren't as cheap as me $150 for the newer 1.2 version)

 

It is very convenient and installation is a snap...plug it in and enjoy.

 

Option 2

If you are willing to budget a little more and want the latest technology of playing 5.6mhz dsd files, i suggest buying an external DSD/PCM DAC. there are models from $200 to $500 to pick from, and my guess is they will continue to spiral down. Suggestions have been KORG DS-DAC-100m, ifi nano, or Denon.

 

Option 3

If you are willing to spend more, i would recommend you either wait for 2014 avr's to come out (lots of new features with new avr's over past few years...network radio, wireless, 4K upconverting, 3d ++++). So if you haven't upgraded your avr recently, now is a good time, and with 2014 models you will see new hdmi 2.0 and who knows what all that will bring...I personally am hoping for a asyncrhonous usb port and DSD w/5.6mhz playback in a reciever for under $1000.

 

Option 4

One other option, which is where i am at right now (started with the dragonfly), but will change soon...is a SONY uDA-1/b. It does it all, and a couple additions it has if you don't have an amplifier that you want to dedicate to your pc, it has it's own 24watt amplifier, which should be sufficient for a small room, and you can also set it to shut off automatically after non-use. Retail $800. I don't really need the amp out, so will be returning it, and be doing option 2 above, and then depending on 2014 lineup of avr's will move to option 3.

 

Keep us updated on your decisions.

 

Some have suggested the Schiit, but it is DSD only. Perhaps IF they came out with a PCM/DSD DAC i would consider it...but i don't want to have to rely on a player, as i would want one solution where i can play all of my pc audio.

I literally have minimum money, as little as possible. I found a nice DAC last night for really cheap.

 

NAD DAC 1<br>Wireless USB Digital to Analogue Converter | Sevenoaks Sound and Vision

 

Good price right?

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I literally have minimum money, as little as possible. I found a nice DAC last night for really cheap.

 

NAD DAC 1<br>Wireless USB Digital to Analogue Converter*|*Sevenoaks*Sound*and*Vision

 

Good price right?

 

let me know when they have one of those with DSD, and i will buy one! (grin)

Can't argue with the price...I personally would have gone with the dragonfly for that price range, or depending how long you could save $90 more for the ifi nano (dsd), but that looks to fill the bill, welcome to CA.

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let me know when they have one of those with DSD, and i will buy one! (grin)

Can't argue with the price...I personally would have gone with the dragonfly for that price range, or depending how long you could save $90 more for the ifi nano (dsd), but that looks to fill the bill, welcome to CA.

Nah I can't even afford that at the moment, need to save up. I'm just going to get some Optical to 3.5mm for now. Thanks :).

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