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Advice needed (laptop/external sound card/cabling).


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First off, Hi, been enjoying reading these forums for a while now as a guest, but now I need some advice :)

 

I'm looking for a laptop as my music server that will connect to my DAC. I've been considering a HP 255 G3 Laptop - Laptops at Ebuyer and a Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 - USB sound card - Creative Labs (UK) and was wondering if you guys had any better suggestions (I can't go Mac as I just can't afford one).

 

Also, for my radio listening I was advised that I couldnt use a 3.5mm mini TOS to TOS (Optical Digital Audio Cable) to connect my phone to the DAC and to just use a Premium Grade Black Thin 3.5mm Mini Jack to Mini Jack Audio Cable connected to my amp's front panel.

 

I now have the tablet and would a toslink cable work now or not? I really want to utalize my DAC more as I generally listen to the radio during the day and the poor thing isnt getting much use.

 

Velve

HP 255 G3 -> DacMagic 100 -> TOPAZ AM10 -> Monitor Audio Silver 5

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I believe your Sound Blaster Omni Surround is in fact a DAC, it's takes USB as an input and sends out analog signal. You could skip that step completely (unless you need it for something else like the microphone) and connect the USB port on your computer directly to your DAC Magic.

Analog: Koetsu Rosewood > VPI Aries 3 w/SDS > EAR 834P > EAR 834L: Audiodesk cleaner

Digital Fun: DAS > CAPS v3 w/LPS (JRMC) SOtM USB > Lynx Hilo > EAR 834L

Digital Serious: DAS > CAPS v3 w/LPS (HQPlayer) Ethernet > SMS-100 NAA > Lampi DSD L4 G5 > EAR 834L

Digital Disc: Oppo BDP 95 > EAR 834L

Output: EAR 834L > Xilica XP4080 DSP > Odessey Stratos Mono Extreme > Legacy Aeris

Phones: EAR 834L > Little Dot Mk ii > Senheiser HD 800

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I now have the tablet and would a toslink cable work now or not? I really want to utalize my DAC more as I generally listen to the radio during the day and the poor thing isnt getting much use.

 

If you are referring to the Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME170C, I don't see where it can output a digital signal which is what you need for the Toslink cable into your DAC. Could be wrong just looking at spec sheet but you cannot use the headphone/microphone jack (3.5 mm connector) because this is an analog output.

 

Some of the Mac computers have dual jacks which can output both analog & digital signals. Other than the Mac's, don't know of others that can do this.

Eric


Ubuntu Linux box (i7-12700K, 12 cores, 32GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber > fitlet2 (HQP Embedded OS - NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP, DSP with HQP convolution 

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Thankyou both for your replies.

 

I believe your Sound Blaster Omni Surround is in fact a DAC, it's takes USB as an input and sends out analog signal. You could skip that step completely (unless you need it for something else like the microphone) and connect the USB port on your computer directly to your DAC Magic.

 

Since my original post I started to suspect this was indeed the case with the Sound Blaster.

 

If you are referring to the Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME170C, I don't see where it can output a digital signal which is what you need for the Toslink cable into your DAC. Could be wrong just looking at spec sheet but you cannot use the headphone/microphone jack (3.5 mm connector) because this is an analog output.

 

Some of the Mac computers have dual jacks which can output both analog & digital signals. Other than the Mac's, don't know of others that can do this.

 

And again, you have confirmed what I was hoping wasnt the case.

 

So what you're saying is that unless I get a Mac there are no budget windows laptops with a digital output that I can use solely for the purpose of storing my music collection and playing though the DAC?

 

I'm trying to keep my setup 'minimal' as I've become cablephobic over the years. My 1st setup was Rotel preamp, dual powers biwired to the speakers, seperate tuner, cd player and even dual yamaha tapedecks. (On top of all that I had a 5.1 surround sound system for my movies (getting a Canton DM50 soon, but that's another story as this is a music forum)). From that setup I went to a Linn Classic which I realley loved for it's compactness.

 

Basically I just want an affordable way of storing my music close to my DAC/Amp with the minimal ammount of wiring possible. I don't mind getting out of the chair once in while to pick another album to listen to :)

HP 255 G3 -> DacMagic 100 -> TOPAZ AM10 -> Monitor Audio Silver 5

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Why don't you connect your computer (Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME170C) to your DAC (Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100) via USB? It has a USB port. I am guessing here but it might work but not familiar with those devices. Be easy to try, just need a USB cable.

 

You can then connect your Blu-ray player (Pioneer BDP-160) via a digital coax (S/P DIF 1 Input on DAC).

 

Taking a step back here, have you considered using something like the Apple Airport Express? You can plug the Airport Express into an electrical outlet near your DAC. Then run your TOSLINK cable from the Airport Express to the DAC. We do this for our family room system where we can play music from our iPhone or iPad wirelessly.

 

In your case, you could wireless stream from your tablet although you would need some 3rd party apps to get the Android to work with Airplay (Apple) from what I am seeing. Perhaps something like:

 

How to Stream Anything from Android to AirPlay

 

A lot "if's" here but hopefully give you some ideas.

Eric


Ubuntu Linux box (i7-12700K, 12 cores, 32GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber > fitlet2 (HQP Embedded OS - NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP, DSP with HQP convolution 

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Why don't you connect your computer (Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME170C) to your DAC (Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100) via USB? It has a USB port. I am guessing here but it might work but not familiar with those devices. Be easy to try, just need a USB cable.

 

I'm pretty sure this wont work as the micro USB is just for the power lead? If it was able to audio out to the DAC I'd do a back flip for sure :)

 

You can then connect your Blu-ray player (Pioneer BDP-160) via a digital coax (S/P DIF 1 Input on DAC).

 

This is my current configuration. I have my music/movies stored on an external HDD that I plug into the Blue-ray via USB, which is then connected to the DAC via digital coax. What I'm after is a setup where I store my movies on the extrnal HDD and watch them via the Blu-ray and a laptop with digital out that plays my music via the DAC/Amp, bypassing the need to have my TV and Blu-ray turned on just to listen to music.

 

Taking a step back here, have you considered using something like the Apple Airport Express? You can plug the Airport Express into an electrical outlet near your DAC. Then run your TOSLINK cable from the Airport Express to the DAC. We do this for our family room system where we can play music from our iPhone or iPad wirelessly.

 

In your case, you could wireless stream from your tablet although you would need some 3rd party apps to get the Android to work with Airplay (Apple) from what I am seeing. Perhaps something like:

 

How to Stream Anything from Android to AirPlay

 

A lot "if's" here but hopefully give you some ideas.

 

I have zero experience with apple, plus its expensive and I really can't justify the expense of getting into a whole new area of tech right now. It's interesting reading though :)

 

I guess what I really need is an Anologue to Digital converter that can sit between my anologue outputs and my digital converter :)

HP 255 G3 -> DacMagic 100 -> TOPAZ AM10 -> Monitor Audio Silver 5

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Well guys, I took the plunge and bought the laptop (£30 cash back!), attached it to the DAC via USB, installed the DAC driver from Cambridge Audio and all is sounding good ;)

HP 255 G3 -> DacMagic 100 -> TOPAZ AM10 -> Monitor Audio Silver 5

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