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Which input jacks on my receiver should I connect to?


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Hello everyone, I am currently setting up my first home audio ensemble, and have a quick question. Which input jacks should I connect my DAC to on my receiver? My (limited) understanding, is that the signal is somehow handled differently, depending on the channel. I'll be sing an onkyo TX8511, which has phono (already have a use for that), tape 1 and 2, cd, as well as video 1 and 2. BTW, I intend to use this dac . I do have some 192khz files, so that is necessary for me. In case it matters, I am running Ubuntu Linux.

Thanks in advance.

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Hello everyone, I am currently setting up my first home audio ensemble, and have a quick question. Which input jacks should I connect my DAC to on my receiver? My (limited) understanding, is that the signal is somehow handled differently, depending on the channel. I'll be sing an onkyo TX8511, which has phono (already have a use for that), tape 1 and 2, cd, as well as video 1 and 2. BTW, I intend to use this dac . I do have some 192khz files, so that is necessary for me. In case it matters, I am running Ubuntu Linux.

Thanks in advance.

 

Welcome to CA. The DAC has analog output, so it shouldn't matter which analog input you use on the receiver (except for phono). Suggest using the CD input.

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Cool, thanks.

If your receiver has a multichannel receiver (and you're not using it) I would recommend unsung the front channels of that as more of the receiver is bypassed (the connection is made just prior to volume control). This of course precludes using any digital processing.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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If your receiver has a multichannel receiver (and you're not using it) I would recommend unsung the front channels of that as more of the receiver is bypassed (the connection is made just prior to volume control). This of course precludes using any digital processing.

 

I managed to avoid all the surround sound/home theater receivers. This is sort of a trial system (on a shoestring), having left lossy codecs behind a couple years ago, and now aquiring more and more high resolution files. I am not sure just how the varous digital proccessing techniques employed by different receivers would affect how my music sounds, so I am keeping things as simple as possible, at least for now.

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I managed to avoid all the surround sound/home theater receivers. This is sort of a trial system (on a shoestring), having left lossy codecs behind a couple years ago, and now aquiring more and more high resolution files. I am not sure just how the varous digital proccessing techniques employed by different receivers would affect how my music sounds, so I am keeping things as simple as possible, at least for now.

 

If you want to play hi res music, I would recommend you get something better than the Onkyo receiver you list. An entry level receiver won't have the resolution you need to make use of the better formats. You probably won't hear any difference at all.

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If you want to play hi res music, I would recommend you get something better than the Onkyo receiver you list. An entry level receiver won't have the resolution you need to make use of the better formats. You probably won't hear any difference at all.

Hmmm. What would be an indication that a given receiver can take advantage of the hi-res source? I mean, I've seen some very high quality vintage stero gear online, but wasn't sure if modernity or quality of components was my largest concern. I know that sony has at least one (new, and costly, I might add) receiver that actually says "hi-res" on the unit, but I gotta figure that slapping a sticker on the case aint what does the trick.

For this particular system, I am keeping costs down with (mostly) used equipment. What I learn throughout this process will eventually lead to a much more powerful/capable setup.

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"I am not sure just how the varous digital proccessing techniques employed by different receivers would affect how my music sounds, so I am keeping things as simple as possible, at least for now."

 

I forgot to comment about that in my last post. You are going to plug your DAC into your receiver. That signal is analog, and should remain so when going through your receiver. So there's no digital processing of any kind. You may have some tone controls, but they should be analog.

 

Now to your last post. I think you may be confusing digital resolution and analog resolution. With digital, you can tell what the resolution is simply by looking at the numbers. A CD, for example, is 16/44. And that's all you need to know. All CD's are the same. For something like a record or a cassette tape, there is no number to signify what the resolution is. Analog resolution varies according to how good the playback equipment is. You can take the exact same record and play it on an entry level turntable and get one resolution, and then play it on a better turntable and get much more detail/resolution from that same record.

 

The receiver that's labeled "hi-res" may, or may not be marketing. If they are talking about the analog portion of the receiver, its probably marketing. If the receiver has a built in dac that can play high res files, its a legit claim. Keep in mind that just because the digital section of the receiver can play high res files, doesn't mean that the analog portion has enough resolution for you to be able to here the difference.

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I do understand that the DAC will be supplying an analog signal to the receiver, and that considerable differences exist between digital and analog recordings. But your earlier comment, about the receiver being unable to take advantage of a high-resoltion recording, does confuse me a bit. I don't see why high-resolution input to the DAC, wouldn't result in a superior-sounding output. It's now an analog signal, but ought to contain the same audio quality, right? Or, is something lost in that conversion?

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"I do understand that the DAC will be supplying an analog signal to the receiver, and that considerable differences exist between digital and analog recordings."

 

Sorry. I know its confusing. The above quote is correct.

 

"But your earlier comment, about the receiver being unable to take advantage of a high-resoltion recording, does confuse me a bit. I don't see why high-resolution input to the DAC, wouldn't result in a superior-sounding output. It's now an analog signal, but ought to contain the same audio quality, right?"

 

You can have a very expensive, high end, high res DAC, and if you don't have components in the rest of the system of similar quality, you won't be able to hear all of what that DAC can do. You seem to understand the digital aspects of this much better than analog. I'll give you an example, just for comparison.

 

An amp and a preamp, both analog pieces, have a huge effect on sound quality. A receiver is integrated, and that means the amp and preamp are in one box. Lets say that an entry level receiver ($300-500), is about MP-3 quality in digital. That would suggest you wouldn't have the resolution to take full advantage of a CD. For CD, maybe you need a higher quality integrated amp to realize the formats full potential (about $1000-2000). The next step up, hi res, would call for an even better amp and preamp to get the most out of that format. Possibly separates at $2000 each.

 

When you look at the above example, keep in mind that I just made it up to show a rough comparison. Don't take it to mean that you need to buy $4000 in separates to make use of high res formats. I'm only trying to show that analog components have resolution limits just like digital components. The difficult part is that you just can't put a number on any of it. A big part of this hobby is trial and error. The people that have the most success, are the ones that go out and listen to as much equipment as possible and try different combinations. Even though its listening to music, audio is very hands on. Especially for a beginner. It may seem overwhelming at first, but if you stick with it, it gets easier. If you're not sure about something, just use common sense. For example, its probably not a good idea to buy a pair of $500 speaker cables for a $600 pair of speakers.

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So then, when I am looking to upgrade my sytem in the future, I'd really be looking for a high-end receiver sporting purely digital inputs, a the absolute minimum. That makes sense.

For the moment, however, would I be correct to expect better sound quality from this setup than simply connecting the receiver to my laptop via the 3.5mm audio output jack (using a an adapter, of course)? I still need the analog inputs of the receiver for my turntable and tape deck, it's just a matter of how best to play my digital music until I can put together something better. Everything is a minimum of 44/16.

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"For the moment, however, would I be correct to expect better sound quality from this setup than simply connecting the receiver to my laptop via the 3.5mm audio output jack (using a an adapter, of course)?"

 

There's no guarantees, but I would say yes. It would most likely be an improvement. But I wouldn't get the M-Audio dac. Instead, I would go with an Audioquest Dragonfly. Its the same price and I think it would do a better job for you. They sell them at Best Buy, so you can return it if you're not happy.

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I managed to avoid all the surround sound/home theater receivers. This is sort of a trial system (on a shoestring), having left lossy codecs behind a couple years ago, and now aquiring more and more high resolution files. I am not sure just how the varous digital proccessing techniques employed by different receivers would affect how my music sounds, so I am keeping things as simple as possible, at least for now.

 

If you want to play hi res music, I would recommend you get something better than the Onkyo receiver you list. An entry level receiver won't have the resolution you need to make use of the better formats. You probably won't hear any difference at all.

Totally disagree - just because its affordable does not mean is bad. What do you mean it does not have the resolution? I guarantee you that receiver with a nice affordable Dac and a set of good affordable speaker such as Elac debut speakers or even the Pioneer bookshlelvees properly set up is a great affordable system capable of prducing very good sound quality of hi res audio. Off course you can do better but with his receiver, a good Dac and nice speaker it will perform good.

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"Totally disagree - just because its affordable does not mean is bad. What do you mean it does not have the resolution? I guarantee you that receiver with a nice affordable Dac and a set of good affordable speaker such as Elac debut speakers or even the Pioneer bookshlelvees properly set up is a great affordable system capable of prducing very good sound quality of hi res audio. Off course you can do better but with his receiver, a good Dac and nice speaker it will perform good."

 

You read all of my posts and that's what you come up with? I can tell you for sure that not you, me or anyone else, can guarantee anything when it comes to audio. And where did I say that something affordable is bad? I did say this, however: "When you look at the above example, keep in mind that I just made it up to show a rough comparison. Don't take it to mean that you need to buy $4000 in separates to make use of high res formats. I'm only trying to show that analog components have resolution limits just like digital components. The difficult part is that you just can't put a number on any of it. A big part of this hobby is trial and error. The people that have the most success, are the ones that go out and listen to as much equipment as possible and try different combinations. Even though its listening to music, audio is very hands on. Especially for a beginner. It may seem overwhelming at first, but if you stick with it, it gets easier. If you're not sure about something, just use common sense. For example, its probably not a good idea to buy a pair of $500 speaker cables for a $600 pair of speakers."

 

I went on in my next post to recommend an AQ Dragonfly. Its almost as good a value as the Pioneer speakers you recommend, which I happen to own, as well. But as good as they are, the Pioneer 22's just don't have the resolving power of either my Vandersteen's or Wilson's. You can only do so much for $130, and that's exactly why my recommendation was to not worry about hi res for the time being.

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Don't get me wrong I know you are trying to help. I just happen to disagree on your assessment that you cannot possibly take full advantage of a CD via an Onkyo stereo receiver. I guess I will agree to disagree.

Cheers

 

I never said that. My comments were on hi res playback. I just don't think that you'll hear much of a difference, if any, moving up from Redbook with a $250 receiver. Have a look at some of the threads that talk about hi res music. The percentage of people who try hi res with components that are much more revealing and expensive than the OP's, say they can't hear a difference. It wouldn't surprise me if it was over 50%. I can hear a difference myself, but my systems are more revealing than what we're talking about here.

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I wouldn't be overly worried about the finer details of reproducing the highest quality playback just yet. Go with your original plan, connect the DAC to the CD input and start listening to music. You should be just fine.

 

+1 totally agree

 

Absolutely +1. Enjoy what you have for some (a long) time. The differences between various receivers and seperate amps, etc are all VERY subtle. The source and digital front end and the speakers will determine 95% of the final sound, mainly the speakers.

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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Absolutely +1. Enjoy what you have for some (a long) time. The differences between various receivers and seperate amps, etc are all VERY subtle. The source and digital front end and the speakers will determine 95% of the final sound, mainly the speakers.

 

One of the things that causes new audiophiles to run away from the hobby like its a building on fire, is conflicting and confusing information. To say the difference between amps, receivers, preamps, etc..., is VERY subtle, puts you in a very small minority. The vast majority of audiophiles with some experience, would disagree with that statement. The issue I have with regards to your comment, is that its an opinion. Your wording clearly sounds like you're stating a fact, and that's not the case. Given that the OP is new to audio, its only fair to clearly state that your comments are either fact or opinion. If not, there's a good chance the OP will get frustrated and walk away.

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One of the things that causes new audiophiles to run away from the hobby like its a building on fire, is conflicting and confusing information. To say the difference between amps, receivers, preamps, etc..., is VERY subtle, puts you in a very small minority. The vast majority of audiophiles with some experience, would disagree with that statement. The issue I have with regards to your comment, is that its an opinion. Your wording clearly sounds like you're stating a fact, and that's not the case. Given that the OP is new to audio, its only fair to clearly state that your comments are either fact or opinion. If not, there's a good chance the OP will get frustrated and walk away.

Yes my opinion, as are yours. But I wonder did you notice that you are the only responder here telling musicpig he has to immediately dump his Onkyo to have any shot at high def audio. Maybe re-read what our site admin Chris wrote. The gear he has is just wonderful to get him off to a good beginning.

And I'm the one making him walk away? LOL

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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This is just silly.

 

"But I wonder did you notice that you are the only responder here telling musicpig he has to immediately dump his Onkyo to have any shot at high def audio."

 

Can you point out where I said he has to immediately dump his receiver?

 

"Maybe re-read what our site admin Chris wrote."

 

I assume you were referring to this.

 

"I wouldn't be overly worried about the finer details of reproducing the highest quality playback just yet. Go with your original plan, connect the DAC to the CD input and start listening to music. You should be just fine."

 

Maybe some of my posts didn't show up on your screen, so have another look.

 

"A big part of this hobby is trial and error. The people that have the most success, are the ones that go out and listen to as much equipment as possible and try different combinations. Even though its listening to music, audio is very hands on. Especially for a beginner. It may seem overwhelming at first, but if you stick with it, it gets easier. If you're not sure about something, just use common sense. For example, its probably not a good idea to buy a pair of $500 speaker cables for a $600 pair of speakers.

 

There's no guarantees, but I would say yes. It would most likely be an improvement. But I wouldn't get the M-Audio dac. Instead, I would go with an Audioquest Dragonfly. Its the same price and I think it would do a better job for you. They sell them at Best Buy, so you can return it if you're not happy.

 

I never said that. My comments were on hi res playback. I just don't think that you'll hear much of a difference, if any, moving up from Redbook with a $250 receiver. Have a look at some of the threads that talk about hi res music. The percentage of people who try hi res with components that are much more revealing and expensive than the OP's, say they can't hear a difference. It wouldn't surprise me if it was over 50%. I can hear a difference myself, but my systems are more revealing than what we're talking about here."

 

To me, it looks like I'm giving the same general advice, only a bit more specific. I also stand by my comments about sometimes needing to spend more money to get better sound. Go figure.

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I managed to avoid all the surround sound/home theater receivers. This is sort of a trial system (on a shoestring), having left lossy codecs behind a couple years ago, and now aquiring more and more high resolution files. I am not sure just how the varous digital proccessing techniques employed by different receivers would affect how my music sounds, so I am keeping things as simple as possible, at least for now.

Sorry ... I didn't realise your receiver was a simple 2 channel amplifier with radio - got so used to "receiver" referring to multi-channel AV devices.

 

Given that, then you can connect to any of the inputs (except for phono).

 

The suggestion of the DragonFly DAC is a good one, but beyond that enjoy what you have and you can use it as a baseline for moving upwards if you desire later.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Thank you all for your input. As long as I get some good sound now, and learn something from the experience, I will have accomplished my immediate objectives. I went ahead and got two used NHT Super One's (not the 2.1 model) for $128 shipped. Now I just gotta pick up the my dac. More powerful, pricier equipment will come later, starting with some BIG speakers:)

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That should round out a very nice sounding system, the Super Ones were very well reviewed speakers. Enjoy.

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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