What is the best way to listen to mp3s through receiver

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andrew Chandler, Dec 21, 2001.

  1. Andrew Chandler

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    I am trying to connect my computer to my receiver so that I may listen to my collection of mp3s through my home speakers. I haven't paid much attention to computer technology for the last year or so and I'm out of the loop on the new technology. Heres my situation.

    I will not be playing any games, so all the special features like 3D sound are not needed. I also won't be watching DVD from my computer so things like Dolby Digital are also not necessary. I've heard talk about S/PDIF connections on sound cards, and I've also heard of PC-receiver systems like the Harman Kardon DAL 150 and the Xitel system. Whats the advantages and disadvantages of each, or are both needed? thanks.

    Andrew Chandler

    Austin, TX
     
  2. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I would assume that if you're listening to MP3 that quality isn't of the ultimate importance- so just get a 1/8 inch stereo to rca cable and connect out the output on your soundcard to input on your receiver- analog.

    Should work with any sound card, costs about $5, and should sound the same as an SPDIF connection when dealing with MP3.

    -Vince
     
  3. Jon_B

    Jon_B Screenwriter

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    On my old computer I used the OEM version of the Aureal Vortex 2. I believe it's a clone of the Xitel soundcard. The benefit of having a digital/toshlink out is that you lose the hiss/hum that you would otherwise encounter using rca cables. It's a cheap card, you should be able to find it under $20. Good luck.

    Jon
     
  4. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    I would disagree with Vince on this. An SPDIF (or optical) digital connection will keep the noise of the computer out of the receiver.

    When I hook my laptop to speakers using the normal stereo output, I get pops, clicks and whines out of the speakers as well from the electronic noise inside the laptop. Not so when I use the digital connection.

    Besides, really good MP3's can rival CD output, so why not spend a few bucks to get a digital connection?
     
  5. Andrew Chandler

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    Yeah, I want to be able to get rid of the hissing sound. If I didn't care about sound quality, I wouldn't be hooking it up to my home theater speakers in the first place.

    From what I understand, most of the PC-stereo products haven't been released yet (Harmon Kardons is being released Jan 15). Is their any point of waiting for this technology, or should I go ahead and buy a S/PDIF sound card?
     
  6. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

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    I recently connected my PC to my home theater system by simply splitting the audio signal from my sound card, and running an RCA cable to my receiver. Pretty cool, listening to CNET Radio in multiple rooms in my house using my computer!
     
  7. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    The M-Audio Audiophile 2496 would be a concrete suggestion for a high quality audio card with SPDIF. Will set you back about $200 I think. http://www.m-audio.com
    However, you might want to look at cards with optical outs too since optical cables conduct no electricity. Isolating your sound equipment from the PC seems like a good thing to me.
     
  8. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Interesting.

    I have used a dozen consumer level cards and have never had problems with interference simply from connecting via analog. If you are getting HISSING, is it because you have to crank the stereo volume louder than normal? In most cases, you could max out the soundcard volume (both master and individual wave balance that controls MP3 playback) in windows controls in order to get proper voltage output for receiver input...

    It's been a few years since I'be had a audio card inside my computer case (I use a Gina studio card now which has a small PCI interface that connects to a large breakout box with all the convertors)- but even when I did I don't really recall getting THAT much noise from the internal card.

    I would assume that if the Noise you're getting is interference from the PC electronics itself, SPIDF would also be affected by the problem, to some degree. Not to mention that fact that the MP3 audio would be resampled for digtal output compatible with your receiver.

    I guess I'm out of the loop a little- could someone fill me in on the "PC-stereo products" that Andrew alluded to in his post- and what in the world they could offer differently than a standard audio card.

    -Vince

    PS: Sorry to suggest that you "don't care about quality"- in rereading my post that came out different than I intended. What I meant to say was, in my experience any quality difference gained from going digital vs analog connection from PC would be reversed by the fact that you're using a 15:1 lossy compression scheme in the first place- so analog would normally be fine.
     
  9. Andrew Chandler

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    I guess what I'm trying to figure out is this: If just spending $5 to split the audio signal and send an RCA cable to the receiver will allow one to listen to good quality mp3s on home theater speakers, then what is advantage of using these USB-receiver connection devices like the Harman Kardon DAL 150? or what is the advantage of getting a sound card with SPDIF for that matter.
     
  10. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  11. Andrew Chandler

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    Thanks for all your help Vince
     
  12. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Well, for my part I can only say that when I plug headphones into my laptop or the desktop machine here at work, I hear pops, growls clicks and buzzes - probably from the drive and other electronics. Those same noises can be heard from my computer speakers when I wind the volume up a bit.

    However, when I run the laptop via the SPDIF conncetion to my receiver, those noises aren't there.
     
  13. Bobby T

    Bobby T Supporting Actor

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    I've been using a mini jack to rca cable out of a soundblaster live 5.1 to my receiver for a year and have never had any problems with noise or pops.
     
  14. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Compgeeks has a soundcard with SPDIF out for $14.99.. I think they had another model for $9.99 awhile ago.. check up on that site often.. ehre's the 14.99 one, but it looks like the SPDIF comes out of a Coaxial jack instead of an RCA or Headphone jack, so you might need to buy a converter...
    http://www.compgeeks.com/details.asp?invtid=SQ2200-DIO
     
  15. Chriss M

    Chriss M Second Unit

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  16. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    I had a slightly different problem in that my computer is on the other end of the house from my stereo gear. I had no desire to change that situation, because of logistics, space, personal preference and not wanting a bunch of noisy fans and hard drives right next to the stereo.
    The solution I found was a bit pricey but worth it for me:
    Turtle Beach Audiotron
    This little gem connects to your PC via Ethernet or HPNA, attaches to any standard Windows (or Linux Samba) share, and indexes and plays your MP3, WMA or WAV files via either analog RCA or optical digital output. (It also plays Shoutcast or Icecast Internet radio.) It's in a standard audio component form factor, and has an IR remote. Sound quality is fine via digital, and navigation is quite good considering the limits of the front panel display.
    Again, it's quite a bit more expensive than a $5 cable (I paid $280 from pcmall.com), but if you don't want your PC and stereo cohabitating it's a great solution.
    Ryan
     
  17. Brian Kissel

    Brian Kissel Auditioning

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    Ok guys you can thank me later. I'm an ex-audio guru (still fiddle) but to solve all your problems, go down to your local rat-shack and pick up a audio isolater(or ground loop isolater). It's a 1:1 transformer and allows the RCA pre-amp level to work while not actually any electrical connection(the same way your Braun Oral-B electric tooth brush gets a charge when you put it on the base with no electrical connections). It has an in and out and breaks the potential ground loop between your computor and hi-fi gear (not in the same location nor same wall outlet thus the ground loop). Try it and again, thank me later.
    Brian
    [email protected]
    I type slow but can anwser any questions you may have
    P.S. optical connection is the way to go if that's a choice
    PPS Sony just came out with an upgrade for there TA-E9000ES reciever that allows it to decode the new AAC codec, better than MP3 and used in Japan now.
     
  18. Brian Kissel

    Brian Kissel Auditioning

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    Has anyone tryed it yet? It's only a $12.00 piece, i'm excited to hear your pleasent results. Please send me an emial directly at [email protected] after your experances.
    Brian
     
  19. Patrick Cate

    Patrick Cate Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Brian Kissel

    Brian Kissel Auditioning

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