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cd player or music on a hdd?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
haven't really kept track of music players in years I've been using my ps3 as a cd player & extracted all my cds to flac on it but recently my hdd died & now I'm screwed

I have all my music on my lap top in flac but it doesn't have hdmi or digital optical & when I stream it via home network it sounds horrible not sure about it's DAC & DAC's in general

could I buy a cheap lap top with a digital optical output & have decent sound this is where I'm clueless about DAC's
post #2 of 11
Quote:


could I buy a cheap lap top with a digital optical output & have decent sound this is where I'm clueless about DAC's

You could. You'd need a DAC with an optical input, too. Decent ones can be had very, very cheaply.

Alternatively, you could try a USB DAC with your existing laptop (which I presume has USB ports).
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

You could. You'd need a DAC with an optical input, too. Decent ones can be had very, very cheaply.

Alternatively, you could try a USB DAC with your existing laptop (which I presume has USB ports).

well my price range is around $400 with lap top & a dac but the thing is I don't wtf a dac is XD let alone how to select a decent one
post #4 of 11
A DAC is a device that converts digital into analog. The music in your computer is digital. At some point it has to be converted to analog in order to play it on an audio system or device. There's a DAC in your computer, but obviously you're not happy with the sound you're getting, for whatever reason. (And there could be many reasons.) So you need a DAC further down the chain, either freestanding or built into another component.

As for selecting a decent one, it's much harder to select a bad one. Monoprice sells some very inexpensive ones that other people here use.

A key question you haven't addressed is what the rest of your system consists of. What are you connecting your laptop to, and how? You said "streaming," so I'm assuming wireless, but what hardware are you using?
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

A DAC is a device that converts digital into analog. The music in your computer is digital. At some point it has to be converted to analog in order to play it on an audio system or device. There's a DAC in your computer, but obviously you're not happy with the sound you're getting, for whatever reason. (And there could be many reasons.) So you need a DAC further down the chain, either freestanding or built into another component.

As for selecting a decent one, it's much harder to select a bad one. Monoprice sells some very inexpensive ones that other people here use.

A key question you haven't addressed is what the rest of your system consists of. What are you connecting your laptop to, and how? You said "streaming," so I'm assuming wireless, but what hardware are you using?

a pioneer1120k avr & polk m70s it has a usb connection for music players I used it with flac files on my music player but the menu system is clunky haven't tried hooking my pc to it for that reason
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
And always wired by best available connection(stupid ps3 character limit wouldn't let me include this)
post #7 of 11
OK, you have an AVR, which means you already have a DAC. It's built into the AVR. So just get a new laptop with an optical out, and connect it that way, and you're done.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

OK, you have an AVR, which means you already have a DAC. It's built into the AVR. So just get a new laptop with an optical out, and connect it that way, and you're done.

so the sound card in the lap top doesn't matter? is that another name for a DAC? I'm clueless with this DAC stuff XD
post #9 of 11
The sound card also contains a DAC. If you use an analog connection between the sound card and the AVR, then it's the sound card's DAC that is doing the conversion before the signal leaves the computer. If you make a digital connection between the computer and the AVR (optical, USB, HDMI, etc.), then the AVR's DAC is doing the conversion. Either is OK, although there are some practical reasons to prefer the digital connection.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

The sound card also contains a DAC. If you use an analog connection between the sound card and the AVR, then it's the sound card's DAC that is doing the conversion before the signal leaves the computer. If you make a digital connection between the computer and the AVR (optical, USB, HDMI, etc.), then the AVR's DAC is doing the conversion. Either is OK, although there are some practical reasons to prefer the digital connection.

ok cool thanks for the help mcnarus
post #11 of 11
Get media player like squeezebox (for audio only) or WDTV if you want to play video filed too. Keep all you files on computer or NAS with access over network (wi-fi is enough for audio only, but you need wired network for video). Do not forget to backup you media files regularly.
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