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Optical out from a sound card to the amp

ajookon

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Feb 26, 2021
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Hi,


I have a DAC built in my integrated amp (Marantz PM6006 UK with SPDIF and COAX inputs) and would like to use it instead of an external DAC.
I use my computer for music and it doesn't have a coax or an optical out, and currently I would prefer not to buy an external DAC or an external sound card.

On another thread I was told that even a simple internal sound card with SPDIF out should do the trick.
Now, I'm a bit worried that somehow the signal might get messed up with noise and jitters with it coming from a card and not from the motherboard. I honestly have no idea if that's true, so you would definitely know much better than me on this subject :)

Another thing I though of is perhaps buying an inexpensive USB to SPDIF/COAX converter, but I'm not sure there are any inexpensive ones that aren't DACs themselves or just crappy converters that could mess up the signal...

1. Any thoughts on this?
2. Maybe a cheap card or converter you could recommend of?
3. Quality of the SPDIF cable I should buy - does it make a huge difference? Any recommended ones?





Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Zek

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Are you sure your main board does not have an SPDIF connector on it - see the board manual.
 
OP
A

ajookon

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Are you sure your main board does not have an SPDIF connector on it - see the board manual.

The motherboard might have the pins to connect a plate with SPDIF and COAX outs. I'll have to check the manual to make sure.
 

Ralph_Cramden

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Plenty of external USB-to-Optical devices out there. Here's a small one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07VSFBT82/

51vC1bmdN-L._AC_SL1200_.jpg
 

Pietro

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Are you sure your main board does not have an SPDIF connector on it - see the board manual.
How are these motherboard´s digital outputs in terms of performance? are they usable for quality external DACs? did anyone measure them?
 

Offler

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How are these motherboard´s digital outputs in terms of performance? are they usable for quality external DACs? did anyone measure them?
This is review of an onboard soundcard done by Amir, measuring LineOut and HeadphoneOut
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...te-z390-aorus-motherboard-audio-review.13083/

In short - they got better in last 4 years, but if you have a graphic card or other component which produces audible coil whine it might get to the analog outputs of the card.

My solution was a NAD d3020v2 with integrated DAC by Cirrus Logic, and its connected to the PC only over Optical SPDIF to filter out coil whine.

First I struggled with audio output over Toslink, as the sound was "flat" and I blamed DAC in the amplifier.
1. I installed proper drivers for Realtek ALC1220
The ones from mainboard support page - apparently those are customized depending on the board.

2. Found out about issue with CAudioLimiter and applied fixes (either Wasapi Exclusive Mode or Equalize APO set gain to -0,14dB)
THD then got much better from roughly 0,1% to 0.01% and less.

Did my own measurements
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ements-of-d3020-v2-at-home.24083/#post-828783

I take them with a grain of salt, but the results are as expected from the product sheet and the sound quality between Exclusive and Shared mode or OPT vs AUX does not differ anymore. To be absolutely sure that the onboard SPDIF out is working flawlessly:

a) I should get a different DAC which has Toslink, display and reports what are the PCM signal parameters on the SPDIF input, as my current amp does not report those.

Some SPDIF outputs might be limited to 20bits and this should be indicated by green or grey connector cover (mine is black), while on PC side everything indicates 24bits, this would be just a verification.

b) Do a jitter measurement.
I dont have the equipment for that.
 
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