How to resolve 2 RCA outlets but 4 speaker cable ends

Discussion in 'Audio Visual' started by alwaysaskin, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. protecon

    protecon Member

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    The DACmagic is actually pretty good bang for buck - better still would be the Audio-gd DACs from KingWa.

    DACs are line-level equipment trying to solve the universal problem of converting your digital signal from a source into an analog one that your speakers can understand. I can see how you were confused in the process.

    Disregard the unhelpful people in this forum - a little bit of knowledge can be quite the burden apparently.
     
  2. pezzy

    pezzy Member

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    perhaps the receiver needs to be set/told that you are using a digital connection for your audio input.
     
  3. Zee

    Zee Member

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    OK, your equiment is actually reasonably good. Your quality issues are not related to poor amp/speakers. Good start..

    Do you know what the sampling rate of your audio is? 128kbs mp3's are going to sound like crap on a system like yours, so making sure your mp3's are at least 256kbs will help.

    Make sure your receiver is in Stereo mode, not one of the surround modes. Music is generally mixed in stereo, and thus, sounds better in stereo.

    Finally, got any CD's? Put a CD into the CD/DVD tray of your PC, press play, and report back as to how that sounds.

    Z...

     
  4. OP
    OP
    alwaysaskin

    alwaysaskin Member

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    Thanks for that. How do I determine the sampling rate of an MP3 or WAV etc?
    Is there a way of boosting the sample rate?
    Do I need a program for this?

    A good deal of my music is off CDs but unfortunatley I turned them into MP3 and threw most of the CDs away thinking I would not need them anymore but now I get a high rate of corruption in audio files and I have to rip replacements off music files from the net.
     
  5. Zee

    Zee Member

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    NEVER throw away your CD's. I know it's too late now, but any CD's you buy in future, keep them.

    What program are you using to rip your CD's? Generally, 128kbs is the default for MP3's. I'm pretty sure that WAV is generally lossless, but I don't really rip much music in WAV, so don't really know enough about it.

    I'm pretty sure you can right click an MP3, click properties, and the bit rate will be there - though most of my stuff is FLAC these days now that I have migrated away from Apple, and have been re-ripping all my CD's, so I can't actually find an MP3 on my laptop to check...

    Z...
     
  6. OP
    OP
    alwaysaskin

    alwaysaskin Member

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    From the positive contributions to my request for help I have learned that:

    something like this DACmagic device, or, anything like it such as a audiophile quality soundcard is of no use to me unless my receiver has straight passthrough.

    that unless my music is greater than 128?? any device I might get is not going to add much to the quality of the sound my system produces.

    Is this right?

    If my receiver has straight passthrough would the DACmagic or anything like this, or a audiophile quality soundcard add much to the quality of my existing music?

    I was looking at a M-Audio 192 Sound Card once, does anyone know anything about these?

    thanks
     
  7. OP
    OP
    alwaysaskin

    alwaysaskin Member

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    I used Windows Media Player 8 or 9 at the time.
    thanks
     
  8. OP
    OP
    alwaysaskin

    alwaysaskin Member

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    How does upsampling sound from 16bit to 24bit make it sound better ?

    I just assumed it did.

    Also, if you are playing MP3 files, make sure they are over 192kbps.

    How do I do this? Can I boost them in some way?

    I had that receiver before, and I remember it was quite a confusing one to set up

    I agree, there are two lots of settings that do the same thing, getting a new receiver might be my next investment. The 1905 is 5 channel but I've never used it for anything other than stereo. I've started looking for a stereo only receiver but they are in short supply and no cheaper that 7 or 8 channel and nor do they have HDMI inputs.
     
  9. Loop Goose

    Loop Goose Member

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    My understanding of Upsampling, is that it improves the quality of the filtering process, but does not increase the quality of the original sound sample.
    Usually upsampling or oversampling needs to be increased by a factor of 2 to work properly. ie 16bit -> 32bit. 16bit-> 24bit is disproportional so it doesn't seem beneficial.

    As for the bit rate, when you rip a cd, the software you use will have an option for ripping quality, maximum is 356kbps in many programs, some can rip higher depending on the file format you select.
    Once you have ripped the track, increasing the kbps via a conversion tool etc won't improve the sound quality, as the sound quality depends on what setting was used when you originally ripped the track from the CD.

    To check the bit rate of a MP3 in Windows Explorer, you can right click the file, choose properties -> details, and then it's listed as a number followed by kbps.

    To check within VLC, play the track , then click Tools -> Media Information
    and click the "Codec" tab and it will list it in there.

    MP3 is a lossy format, as it compresses the audio by removing frequencies. The more that are removed, the smaller the file, but the tinnier the audio sounds.
    That's why 128kbps mp3s sound bad quality compared to 192kbps or 256kbps or higher.

    It's like if you have a JPEG photo, you can reduce the size of the picture by cropping the edges.
    But if you try to expand the picture it looks blurry because there is no data available to "uncrop" a full sized picture, or increase its resolution beyond the original size.

    In the future, try to use a lossless file format such as FLAC, or rip to MP3 using the highest quality setting available.
    You can always reduce the sound quality later, but you can't truly increase the quality from a bad sounding file.

    You can use filtering techniques to remove unwanted noise from the file to make it seem better,
    or use an equalizer to adjust bass/treble but this is of limited use, and depends on the original quality of the file you are editing.

    I've owned an M-Audio Audiophile card in the past, and it was fine for audio recording, but no good for gaming.
    The HT Omega and Auzentech cards are pretty good for both gaming and audio, but if you aren't interested in gaming, then look at getting an audiophile soundcard.

    It will have better quality OP AMPs on it than your onboard sound currently uses, and some are swappable, which means you can upgrade the chip to improve the sound quality in the future.
     
  10. pezzy

    pezzy Member

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    i still think you should keep the receiver and just use an optical cable from your onboard soundcard. it's easy and you don't have to spend anymore money (yet anyway). you need to make sure the computer knows you're using optical as your sound output and the receiver knows that you're using optical as the input.

    i use to do this with my old pioneer receiver. combining that with lossless audio files, the sound quality was excellent.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    alwaysaskin

    alwaysaskin Member

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    I have learned here that unless my receiver support pass-through having anything in front of it won’t enhance the sound quality. I have researched this issue but I cannot find anything on it either way so I think I’ve come to a full stop so thanks to all those who gave positive contributions.
     
  12. deluxe

    deluxe Member

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    alwaysaskin, your biggest issue is the files you play.
    Rip CDs to lossless flac files for anything you really want to sound good (wav is fine but chews space) , or 320kbps MP3s for less-important stuff if storage space is an issue. (I'm guessing it's not?)

    You have decent midrange gear, so I'd suggest there's two good connection methods:

    Easy, and good sound:

    PC analog audio (3.5mm TRS) out > decent connector cable (like one of those Belkin ones)> Amplifier > Speakers

    More complicated, marginally better sound:

    PC sp/dif digital > toslink cable > outboard DAC > RCA cable > Amplifier > Speakers


    Personally I'd try the first method as it shouldn't involve purchases except for maybe the connector cable.

    You mentioned an M-Audio soundcard- these are awesome for audio recording and MIDI control purposes but massively overkill for playback.

    Your onboard soundcard should be doing 24bit/48khz (DVD audio grade) which is more than sufficient. If you're really not happy with it after doing all of the above, try a basic gaming soundcard.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  13. deluxe

    deluxe Member

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    Don't assume that- grab your model number and check it out.
     
  14. pezzy

    pezzy Member

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    second method doesn't require any purchases as well. the receiver will work as a dac/amplifier combined.
     
  15. deluxe

    deluxe Member

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    True!

    PC sp/dif digital > toslink cable > Amplifier > Speakers
     
  16. OP
    OP
    alwaysaskin

    alwaysaskin Member

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    I did research my AVR and found an installation manual which said nothing about It. I also ofund some specs for it which didint say anything about it either. I will continue to research this as it seems to be the key.

    I would appreciate recommendations for a sound card that will decode 24bit/48khz (DVD audio grade) as it seems the M-audio capability is more than I need. My MB will take PCI and PCIe.

    If I can establish that my AVR 1905 has pass through then I will have another look at something that may do the trick.

    A hundred or so $ for a soundcard is definately a lot cheaper than $500+ for a DAC device.

    thanks all
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  17. Loop Goose

    Loop Goose Member

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    Pretty much any soundcard on the market these days can handle 24bit/48kHz,

    I'm currently using an HT Omega Claro, which is quite an old card now, but it has great specifications for audio, and it has a very strong amp onboard, compared to the Creative cards I had a while back, but this won't mean much since you have an AV receiver already.

    There are a few new cards out since I bought the original Claro, in 2008 or so, the HT eClaro is a PCIe soundcard that is getting good reviews, it is very basic, it just has optical, 3.5mm jack and a DSUB connector that has mic and line outs etc. It costs $179 on Amazon

    The HT Omega Claro Plus+ costs around $120 used on eBay, which is the higher model of the Claro. There is also the Claro II now, but I have read that it is very similar to the original Claro, with very few new features, and a higher price tag. ($185 on Amazon)

    The HT Claro Halo might be of interest to you, it has RCA connectors on board, and also optical in/out. It's priced around $199 on Amazon. The Halo card is the main card, the XT is the additional card it connects into for the individual 7.1 RCA connectors.

    There is a comparison chart that lets you compare features of all their cards, so you can choose what suits you best. These cards are all based on the C-Media CMI8788 chip, whereas Creative cards are X-Fi or something else.

    I haven't used any of the new Creative cards, so this might seem a bit biased, but I'm just going with what I'm familiar and happy with :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  18. pezzy

    pezzy Member

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    or you can save some money and buy the cheapest soundcard available with an optical out. eg asus xonar dg.

    imo, going analogue at the soundcard stage is too costly for now. new soundcard, a decent interconnect, and (if it was me) an integrated amp ditching the receiver. i'd consider this option only after you're not satisfied with soundcard optical -> receiver -> speakers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  19. slobber

    slobber Member

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    Agreed a decent soundcard will be you best first option using RCA or optical

    I know you have stated you dont have the original CD's any more but can you borrow your favourites and re rip ???,

    Re the quality of your rips, which software have you been using ???, I use Foobar2000 to rip/play all my media but there are many other rippers/players out there, just remember to convert to FLAC (free lossless audio codec)

    Remember the quality of your source material is the most important component for aural bliss

    Oh and you dont brought something, you buy it ;)
     
  20. deepulse

    deepulse Member

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    Is this your receiver?

    If so, it supports optical and coax digital input so you should be fine on your receiver end, so I would start looking at your software configuration, as well as setting up your receiver correctly.
     

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