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SPDIF V USB?


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Hi folks

 

As a follow up to my previous post... well I have just discovered that my laptop (a pretty average Packard Bell EasyNote TR87, bought in January) actually comes fitted with a SPDIF output! Am I right in thinking this ought to be superior to USB? I have investigated the soundcard and it would appear to be by VIA Technologies. Looking into properties/supported formats, I see the card can output DTS Audio & Dolby Digital (ticked as default settings) and Microsoft WMA Pro Audio (unticked). The latter option is very intriguing...

 

So before I go down the USB route, would the SPDIF output be a better bet for high quality audio? And if so, are there any good cables (or adaptors) that can channel the digital output from the mini-jack SPDIF to the coax on my DAC (I have yet to buy a DAC but I working on it!)

 

As always your thoughts, links and all round expertise will be most gratefully received.

 

Inamelotone

 

 

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Firstly, you should check exactly what kind of spdif output you have - when you wrote mini-jack I immediately thought of the toslink optical output available from newer macs. In which case you probably need a mini toslink to toslink cable and a DAC with toslink input, not the same as coaxial spdif.

 

The (theoretical) advantages of this over usb would include - no electrical connection between computer and dac, and does not have to share the connection with other devices like external hard disks, keyboards and mice.

 

However I'd suggest that what is more important is your choice of DAC: The implementation matters more than the interface, besides which not all DACs give you a choice.

 

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Thanks Souptin - all good to know. The soundcard properties tell me SPDIF is via 'optical jack'. I think for the sake of a few £££ it will be worth investing in the mini toslink cable you mention and experiment. Not sure if my current DPA DAC (probably over 10 years old) will know what's going on but it should be interesting!

 

As it stands most modern DACs seem to carry the USB option so I guess I will have a choice when it comes to listening... which let's face it is quite a nice thing!

 

Cheerio for now

 

Inamelotone

 

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