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Best Way to connect computer Audio to HiFi

Mogami Cables

samgurung

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Hi all,

What would be the best way to connect my computer to a HiFi system that does not have USB audio support and has only analogue inputs?
 

MaSh

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Well depends on what outputs are available on your computer? Ideally any DAC with usb, optical and coaxial will be able to connect any computer to a stereo system. If it's just usb then you could consider a usb only dac too to keep things simple.

In the end it's just two things, outputs on your computer and the money you are willing to spend.

MaSh
 

samgurung

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The HiFi does have optical in. Is there a USB to TOSLINK cable or convertor that one can use?
 

robin3989

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If you have a desktop, get a decent sound card with Coaxial and Optical capabilities that you can attach to the PCI slot. You will see long term benefits even if you change the DAC.

USB to TOSLINK cable or convertor
This method may work, but not the right way!
 

samgurung

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If you have a desktop, get a decent sound card with Coaxial and Optical capabilities that you can attach to the PCI slot. You will see long term benefits even if you change the DAC.


This method may work, but not the right way!
Trying to connect macbook air
 

robin3989

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Trying to connect macbook air
Ha ha. That's interesting.
I have heard about USB to optical converter cables, I have not used such. But I assume an externally powered convertor (something like attached) will do be better job than cables. Ofcourse there's nothing wrong in trying out the convertor cable as a cheap solution.

images.jpeg

I have a macbook air, I was using that as a source with Amarra Luxe installed until i switched to Allo Digione. For me, the macbook sounded bright and a bit forward with my system.
 

robin3989

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Looking for a cheap solution.. Don't know if said value exist and where i can't find it.

It's a DAC, but you can skip the analog outputs and still use your DAC connected to the optical out.
 

samgurung

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MaSh

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The HiFi does have optical in. Is there a USB to TOSLINK cable or convertor that one can use?
Don't get into that conversion. Doesn't MacBook have an optical out built into the headphones out? If yes then use that to connect to your hifi. You might need a mini optical cable/adaptor. If not then get this unit. Connect your computer via bluetooth to this unit and then connect the unit to your hifi via optical. I am using this device and it's amazing.


MaSh
 

robin3989

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Don't get into that conversion. Doesn't MacBook have an optical out built into the headphones out? If yes then use that to connect to your hifi. You might need a mini optical cable/adaptor. If not then get this unit. Connect your computer via bluetooth to this unit and then connect the unit to your hifi via optical. I am using this device and it's amazing.


MaSh
But MaSh, macbook air doesn't have an optical out to connect the outboard DAC. But it has USB ports, so a converter in some form is essential to get the digital audio from USB to the external DAC.
Wonder if this will work.
I'm not exactly sure, because this product and other similar products take Digital in (USB/Toslink/Coax) and convert to analog RCA/Aux. Feeding input through USB and expecting optical output from one of the inputs may not work. I'm not sure.
 

superczar

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Don't get into that conversion. Doesn't MacBook have an optical out built into the headphones out? If yes then use that to connect to your hifi. You might need a mini optical cable/adaptor. If not then get this unit. Connect your computer via bluetooth to this unit and then connect the unit to your hifi via optical. I am using this device and it's amazing.


MaSh
Unlike Windows laptops, The internal DAC on most macbooks is reasonably high grade and designed to be free from emi interference .
While not perfect, it will still yield better results than BT connections or entry/mid level DACs

I don’t think OP will get any tangible benefits from using anything other than a plain RCA connection unless he wants wireless
Even for wireless, airplay will yield better results than BT + better usability too

@samgurung - if however you want wireless connectivity to your hifi, try looking for an airport express that supports airplay2.
Unfortunately they are not manufactured anymore but I was able to find 4 of them on olx/ ebay when I was setting up a multi-room audio setup a few years ago
 

MaSh

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But MaSh, macbook air doesn't have an optical out to connect the outboard DAC. But it has USB ports, so a converter in some form is essential to get the digital audio from USB to the external DAC.
Oh no optical then yeh usb or bluetooth only.
I haven't noticed this. This method will work.
I wish bluetooth medium was as clean as wires.
Check out the bluetooth specs on that phoenix device. It's built in dac is crap but bluetooth to optical is really good.
Unlike Windows laptops, The internal DAC on most macbooks is reasonably high grade and designed to be free from emi interference .
While not perfect, it will still yield better results than BT connections or entry/mid level DACs
Hmm totally agree. But will the DAC be better than the hifi system? Also I could not think of a more budget yet good quality component to connect.

MaSh
 

Passive_audio_enthusiast

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PC -> USB DAC Like (Topping E30 / D50s / SMSL SU8 / Schiit Modius ...) -> Amplifier. Beyond this point all you are paying for is either for a special combination of THD, SNR and other parameters which messes with transparency but may be subjectively good to some. Also extra features like MQA, Bluetooth and other features.

Again with DACs the older higher end DACs are now easily beaten by newer entry level stuff due to the fact that DAC chips have advanced like PC processors advanced over years.
 

superczar

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Oh no optical then yeh usb or bluetooth only.


Check out the bluetooth specs on that phoenix device. It's built in dac is crap but bluetooth to optical is really good.

Hmm totally agree. But will the DAC be better than the hifi system? Also I could not think of a more budget yet good quality component to connect.

MaSh
It will probably be comparable with the DAC on a mid range AVR.
So hypothetically

- if I have to connect a mac to a Denon 3500, I would take the wired line out from the mac and hook it to the Denon
- If I needed wireless, I would use Airplay 2 and offload the DAC to the Denon (or an airport express which again has a decent onboard DAC)
- If I have to connect it to a good Integrated Amp and I had a decent budget, i would look at a good USB DAC but then a USB DAC that would be better than the onboard DAC on a MBP would cost at least half as much as a MBP :confused:
 

nandac

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sq wise i think ethernet is preferable. with upnp.

I have tried multiple DACs and amp with usb - but ethernet connection seems way better.

Ethernet apparently does not have limits in data transfer rate unlike say usb.

Bel Cano told me that thats the reason they have not upgraded their usb input in the integrated amps.

check audiolab 6000n play streamer.
 
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