Digital Sound Card out -> DAC -> Analog Receiver? (inexpensive)


New member
Username: Ornlu

Post Number: 6
Registered: Apr-04
Ok...I'm sort of a newbie when it comes to DAC's... In fact I think that they are basically the same things that are in most audio products like cd players Dolby digital (ac3) devices, etc etc.

Anyway, here's my situation. I listen to all music through my computer at the moment, it has a very nice sound card with digital outputs as well as analog stereo mini. I'm running a stereo mini to RCA converter (just a small device to split l/r into rca female plugs) and I'm running that RCA (using all decent cabling etc) to my receiver, which has plenty of power and very little distortion, all in all, it's a decent receiver. This doesn't really seem like the optimum setup to me. I don't really trust the stereo signal I'm getting from the sound card distortion wise. Since the original signal is digital, I figure that It'd be best to use the digital output which will be relatively distortion free and run and won't require sketchy splitting cables and mini plugs.

I'm only using two speakers and a subwoofer. Two Athena AS-F2 towers and a custom made subwoofer, 1400 watts.

what I want to do is run a single digital coaxial cable from the sound card to a DAC (which I have basically been unable to find and have no idea where to buy), then run the rca outputs on that to my receiver. I enjoy my receiver and don't want to replace it with a digital one. I'd hate losing the nice clean power.

My questions are, is this a good idea? What do I have to take into account? What are some reccomended DAC's (I don't need something that's extremely expensive).

The main reason for doing this would be to improve clarity and decrease coloration from the sound card, thus starting with a much more pure signal.

Thanks for any help/suggestions you can give.


PS. Sorry about the writing, I'm so tired.

New member
Username: Ornlu

Post Number: 7
Registered: Apr-04
Perhaps I am thinking of the wrong device, DAC's seem much more complicated than what I need. I just need a way to convert the digital signal to analog, preferably stereo but I can always change that in the source of the sound card properties.

I understand that these are "Digital to Analog Converters" however, is there no simpler device for just converting a digital binary signal from a source into analog without altering it?

Unregistered guest
I am using a similar setup right now (integrated amp instead of receiver and no sub) and I seem to get pretty good sound quality. However, you are right, it is not an ideal setup. Computers are full of interference, which supposedly will degrade any analog signal. So there are 3 options to elimnate possible interference:
1. Send the digital out of your soundcard to an external DAC (probably best option for you)
2. Get an external soundcard and use its analog out. Creative sould cards are not usually good for high quality sound. (Although I have one)
3. Get one of those new receivers that have ethernet so you can just send it music files.
(Very limited choices right now but might be a good option in the sometime in the future)

As for DACs: They stand for Digital-Analog Converter. And they do just that. Every Cd player and sound card and any receiver with digital inputs has one. The external ones that you can buy are the best quality, but the ones in cd players have improved greatly in the past few years.

Unregistered guest
i have problem with designing a digital keyboard with dac .how can i do that?

Unregistered guest
Right now im running my computer to my reciver useing a 1/8 to RCA adapter it costed me $7 (canadian) this is just my temporary fix, theres lots of ground and buzzing... well not exessive amounts but some. can anywon recomend me a good sound card that i should buy with RCA out?

Charles Hedrick
Unregistered guest
For a moderate priced card, the Revolution 7.1 is well regarded. If you're not using more than 5 channels, the newer 5.1 may be a better choice. These cards will still require a 1/8 to RCA adapter. I don't see why this would be a problem. RCA connectors are unbalanced, so they have common grounds. Thus you don't lose anything by combining two channels in a stereo 1/8. (The situation is different with professional equipment, which uses balanced lines, but receivers aren't typically bulit for balanced inputs.)

The Revolution cards will give fairly good sound, appropriate for typical "mid-fi" equipment. If you're using high end equipment you'll want an external DAC or a very high-end card. But these start at $1000, which is more than most people need.

I should note that this will not necessarily fix your buzz. That's probably caused by a ground loop. Just changing the type of card may not fix it. If your receiver has a digital input, you may get better results by feeding it digitally. The Revolution card has digital output. If you still get buzz, and your receiver can handle an optical digital input, that should get rid of the buzz. The Revolution cards have coax outputs, but Radio Shack makes a fairly cheap coax to optical converter.

New member
Username: Docorange6

Post Number: 1
Registered: Oct-04
Ok, here's my hangup...

I want to use the surround sound feature on my Xbox. I have purchased the A/V pack that comes with the digital audio output for Dolby surround.
Unfortunately, I don't have a surround sound system; rather, I have four powered speakers, so I need some sort of adapter to convert the digital optical signal to four analog RCAs or 1/4" signals.

Any recommendations? I don't need something ridiculously high-end (heck, two of my powered speakers are guitar amps), I just need something that will get the job done without losing the surround sound.

Unregistered guest
So what there is no sound card with 2xmono rca out?

Unregistered guest
In the next few months I plan on setting up 5.1. Not looking for anything terribly hi-fi, as I've been content with using an SB Live! Value and two Bose desktop speakers for the past four years.

I have four of the speakers but still need a center channel, sub and receiver.

Any recommendations on a new sound card? I'd prefer staying away from the higher-end stuff like the Audigy2, but I need something with at least 5.1 coax output (not sure what the technical term is for that). I figure I'll just connect the coax output on the sound card to the coax input on the receiver. Any advice on this? Again, I'm not going for anything super expensive. Thanks.

New member
Username: Jlc123

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-04
Now that's a great question.
From the research I've been doing for the past few days - the well-muted, hi SNR answer is: no.

New member
Username: Docorange6

Post Number: 4
Registered: Oct-04
Well, I've solved my problem.

Digital decoder. Breaks 5.1 surround from optical or coaxial into six rca's, which I will mix down to four with my eight channel mixer.

Unregistered guest
I've got a Problem, I'm trying to connect my pc to my home receiver, but when i do this, i get tons loads of feedback, what should I do?

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