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Digital audio switchbox?

mkush

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I’m considering SAM-series Genelec speakers for my living room system. What would be cool is if I didn’t need a DAC or preamp at all. Since these speakers are pricey at least that would save money. The Genelecs do their own volume control so I don’t need another one of those, just source switching.

I’ve got one analog source (turntable preamp), two Toslink sources (TV and Apple AirPort Express for AirPlay 2), and one USB (iPad) which could be converted to Toslink or coax using a Topping D10.

My thought is that I could run the turntable preamp straight to the Genelecs, but I can’t do that with the digital sources since there are three of them. I’d need some sort of a switchbox or, maybe more expensively, a DAC with digital output (therefore not really using the DAC part of the DAC, just the switching capabilities).

So… are there holes in this idea? If not, any suggestions on suitable devices?

PS: I’d like to be able to easily power off the switching device so the Genelecs will understand to play the turntable if there’s sound coming from it.

PPS: Just had the idea to use a Bluesound NODE for this. It does have digital out and can do fixed volume, but it only has 2 digital inputs. This could still work since it does AirPlay 2 (so no need to connect an AirPort Express) has HDMI eARC (which I could use from the TV instead of Toslink) and then the iPod’s USB gets converted to Toslink by the Topping D10 and then can connect to the NODE. The turntable still goes straight to the Genelecs (even though the NODE would digitize it, but the input port is shared with Toslink so it’s not feasible).

As a followup to the NODE sub-question, am I correct in assuming that the best sound would be achieved by controlling volume at the Genelecs and not at the NODE, or similar device, which would have to mess with the digital signal to do volume?

Sorry for the rambling post.
 

radix

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You could get a streamer, like a NAD C658. This has digital in, phono in, has airplay (and others) built-in so no airport needed, and has balanced out for the Genelecs. I believe you can set the volume control to variable (i.e. enabled) for fixed (i.e. preamp out) for each input source. It also has a DIRAC option for room correction if you don't have GLM for the genelecs.
 

MCH

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I don't know how the genelecs work but assuming you have the volume control sorted out, for a low budget option you could convert the USB to toslink with a hifime dongle (or others) and then use a toslink switch. There are toslink switch with remote control that work well and also a couple with auto sense, that i don't own but for which i have read mixed opinions. Good luck!
 

HCT-5808

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mkush

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Thanks all so far. Regarding using a streamer, the idea is to run digital to the Genelecs, so one that outputs analog is not desired. The Tindie is interesting. Anyone using that and if so, how is it? I wanted to be able to manually switch but I guess auto switching could work if I set it up properly.
 

radix

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I have used the Inday toslink/coax 4-port switchbox. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/892449-REG/ocean_matrix_da4x_rs_spdif_4x1_digital.html. it does not do auto switching, but it does have a remote.

The minidsp SHD, which is also a streamer and has analog input (you'd need a phono preamp) has digital outs (coax). It has 1x coax, 1x spdif, 1x aes, 1x usb, 1x analog (unbal) and 1x analog (bal) inputs. It has 4 outputs channels (analog or digital). The SHD Studio gets rid of all the analog and only has digital in and digital out. The SHD also has DIRAC room correction, which likely has a bigger effect on the overall sound (though you're probably using GLM with the SAMs).

You should make sure that each toslink device and the switch box support whatever sampling rates you want to use. TOSLINK is often limited in the supported sampling rates. Coax and balanced AES are often a better digital interface if you don't need the cable lengths or ground isolation.

Personally, I think minimizing the number of boxes and thinking about your UI is also important. Do you want multiple remotes, or need to use a sofabaton?

I cannot answer the question of noise difference between controlling the volume on the genelecs vs on a box like the NAD or SHD or other preamp, but I'll go out on a limb and say it's likely not audible.
 

Willem

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awaysooner

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For digital switching, take a look at this. https://www.tindie.com/products/beni_skate/automatic-spdif-opticalrca-audio-switch/

It handles Toslink and Coaxial. Output as coaxial and a cheap adapter can turn this to AES. It will automatically switch from input to input based on if a signal is present.

For the turntable, I think you'll need to convert it to balanced analog for the Genelec's
I use this Beni_skate switcher to go completely digital in my car stereo. I am using Atoto S8 Ultra that has toslink output (the device DAC and RCA are rubbish). This automatic switch takes 3 inputs, a hard-wired toslink connect to a USB-C > Toslink adapter from Fiio M11Plus, a Mosconi bluetooth receiver with toslink output and finally from the Atoto receiver and output to a Helix DSP toslink input. The Atoto receiver has to be the last priority because it output constant data like a tv. Volume control from all source devices work perfectly. The software is not hard to use after some reading and everything installed fine on Windows 11, the only setup I change is to reduce the switching time. Highly recommend this switch, the only regret is I should've forked out additional money for Coaxial input for future expandability.
 
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