I think im using my TV for DAC work... that cant be good can it? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-10-2013, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been doing some thinking about my signal chain lately... I think i have at least one weak link... I have pretty decent audio equipment, and i like to consider myself an amateur audiophile, so how can i fix this?

A pic says a thousand words, so here's a diagram of my setup:



The HTPC is almost exclusively my source for everything. FLAC, Spotify, Movies, Games, TV, etc. We turn the cable box on about once a week.

The computer just has a decent gaming style graphics card with HDMI Out. That's where all the sound and video comes from.

Then it goes to the TV. The TV does the Digital to analog work, then send it out on RCA's to the receiver that i'm using for a pre-amp, then to my amp.

I assume this is less than ideal... but i'm not sure why. I should probably get something better in the line to do the digital to analog work for the sound right? Perhaps a better sound card for the computer? Then I could just set the audio from the sound card to go straight to the receiver, and the video will continue to go out through the HDMI?
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-10-2013, 11:09 AM
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what kind of inputs does your receiver have? just two channel rcas?

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post #3 of 7 Old 01-10-2013, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Yup... its a 2 channel HK 3480.
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-10-2013, 11:39 AM
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if its less than ideal its because Vizio uses lower quality d/a converter hardware. only you can decide whether its "good enough" or not.

a sound card is one route. you could also buy a usb based d/a converter - that would give inputs too, so you could use it on your cable box as well.

just keep in mind windows can't use two different audio outputs at once. so you will either always have to keep your speaker system on when watching tv, or you will have to switch manually.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-10-2013, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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i guess the only way to find out is to try it...

I felt like i knew what i was doing when I wasn't in the computer age... Plug in a nice CD player, or record player and play your music!

I just get a little confused when it comes to this digital stuff... I know HDMI is high quality, but there are a lot of people spending a lot of money on DAC's, and that cant be for no reason.... and i have my 200$ TV doing the job.

The TV does also have optical audio output, right next to the Analogs im using now.

Is that signal of equal quality to the HDMI coming from my video card?

Is the HDMI sound from the video card up to par? Or would a usb DAC or the like be a large improvement?
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-10-2013, 01:18 PM
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The tv's digital output only sends 5.1 channel audio when you are watching an ATSC broadcast via antenna. It can send the Dolby Digital out that way. Any other source and you will get 2 channel PCM (less than ideal).

Digital coax (the orange RCA jacks) and digital optical (aka toslink) have less bandwidth and cannot pass the HD audio formats (Dolby Digital+, Dolby True HD, DTS Master Audio). If you are sending Dolby Digital (AC3) or DTS in theory both hdmi and digital audio jacks should be equal.

HDMI sound is computer data - that is until you decode it to analog. For most people now their receiver does the decoding - send computer data from the video card to the receiver and the receiver does the magic. When you use hdmi the end quality of it will depend on the dac used - whether that is a separate component or part of a receiver.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-10-2013, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

The tv's digital output only sends 5.1 channel audio when you are watching an ATSC broadcast via antenna. It can send the Dolby Digital out that way. Any other source and you will get 2 channel PCM (less than ideal).

Digital coax (the orange RCA jacks) and digital optical (aka toslink) have less bandwidth and cannot pass the HD audio formats (Dolby Digital+, Dolby True HD, DTS Master Audio). If you are sending Dolby Digital (AC3) or DTS in theory both hdmi and digital audio jacks should be equal.

HDMI sound is computer data - that is until you decode it to analog. For most people now their receiver does the decoding - send computer data from the video card to the receiver and the receiver does the magic. When you use hdmi the end quality of it will depend on the dac used - whether that is a separate component or part of a receiver.

Thank you! That shed a bit of light on the subject...

Also, im pretty much a two-channel man, so all the dolby craziness and 5.1, 7.1 etc is lost on me.

It all gets converted to 2.1 at the end anyway.
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