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Questions about motherboard vs. a cheap DAC, double amping, and playing 48khz audio in 44.1khz "playback mode"

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#1
Hello everyone, new member and a newbie in general here. I've been reading here a lot past couple of weeks or so and I've purchased a JDS Labs Atom to drive my HD 600s (which I have not received yet) because of the great review it's got here. I've done some more reading and concluded that it might not be the best idea to connect the Atom amp to the "Line-Out/ Front Speaker Out" jack of my Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard as I initially planned. I'm still not sure if it is actually a bad idea or if it's just fine, to be honest. I wanted to avoid the possible negative effects of double amping(amplifying noise/distortion etc.) , i.e. plugging the atom amp to an already amplified output, the line-out in this case. Some people say it's a non-issue while some others say it's bad, so I'm not sure who is right. I also don't know how well my mobo's DAC performs in general, as there's no measurements available for it.
So, I decided to look into external DACs, but at this point I've already spent much more than I'd initially planned, so I am looking for a cheap DAC that will not "ruin" the sound I'll be getting from my expensive setup(pretty expensive for me), weakest in the chain and all that. I am thinking of getting the Fiio D3 (D03K) aka Taishan, as it seems to have performed quite well in 44.1khz in Amir's review. Although, I have a worry. It seems to have performed poorly in 48khz, which seems to be the format for all movies, a lot of games and TV shows etc. which are all things I'll be using this setup for as well as listening to music. So, I've done some googling and could not find any answer to this question:
What is the result of using 44.1khz mode for things that have 48khz audio?
Depending on the answer of the question above: Would I be better off using the 48khz mode for movies/games instead, even if the D3 performs much worse in that sample rate.
I'm also still wondering if I would just be better off with my motherboard audio with the Atom amp instead of a cheap DAC like the D3.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks
 
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RayDunzl

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#2
I've done some more reading and concluded that it might not be the best idea to connect the Atom amp to the "Line-Out/ Front Speaker Out" jack of my Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard as I initially planned. I'm still not sure if it is actually a bad idea or if it's just fine, to be honest.
Line Out should be appropriate to go from a PC to an amplifier that has a Volume knob.
 
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Line Out should be appropriate to go from a PC to an amplifier that has a Volume knob.
That's what I thought at first, but the line-out in my mobo's case I think is just an amplified audio out. See here in the manual, it is telling you to plug your headphones into the so-called line-out. So, wouldn't it be double amping? Am I misunderstanding it?
 

maxxevv

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#4
You could go with a cheap Apple dongle and connect to the line-in on your Atom. It should perform pretty well and cost maybe a 2 cups of Starbucks coffee.
 

RayDunzl

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#5
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You could go with a cheap Apple dongle and connect to the line-in on your Atom. It should perform pretty well and cost maybe a 2 cups of Starbucks coffee.
Can you eloborate a bit? What would I connect the line-in into? And by line in, you mean the 3.5mm in at the back, right? Why do I need an Apple dongle for that(and what Apple dingle?) I'm so confused
 
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#7
I think so.

When you get your amp, try it.

Report back.
The thing is, I'm getting all of this through a friend who is in the US right now, and I have to get everything at once before I get my hands on them, or else I'd have to pay customs tax and shipping to buy them myself, which would end up doubling the price. So I can't do testing beforehand unfortunately.
 

BillG

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#10
Line-Out/ Front Speaker Out" jack of my Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard as I initially planned.
The back panel connection on motherboards is Line Out, and the front panel has a headphone amplifier. Looking at layout of that motherboard, it appears to follow the industry standard. You could potentially overdrive your amplifier by connecting it to the headphone output. Will this damage it? I don't know, but it will probably sound very distorted when doing so when you crank the volume up via your PC. So, stick with the back panel Line Out, and you'll be fine... :cool:
 
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The back panel connection on motherboards is Line Out, and the front panel has a headphone amplifier. Looking at layout of that motherboard, it appears to follow the industry standard. You could potentially overdrive your amplifier by connecting it to the headphone output. Will this damage it? I don't know, but it will probably sound very distorted when doing so when you crank the volume up via your PC. So, stick with the back panel Line Out, and you'll be fine... :cool:
Here's an article for the M7 motherboard, I'm assuming it is the same case for my M5:
https://www.msi.com/blog/audio-boost-3-there-is-more-in-life-than-graphics
"Even though you have a great gaming headset, it could still sound flat and dull if it isn’t powered properly. The Audio Boost 3 implementation on the MSI Z170A GAMING M7 motherboard is equipped with OP1652 headphone amplifiers (up to 600Ω) to get the maximum out of your gaming headset. Because the motherboard houses two of them, you can choose whether you prefer to connect your headset directly to the motherboard’s I/O panel or to the front of the case, both of them will be amplified. "
So, I think both of the line-outs are amplified unfortunately.
 

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