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  1. #1

    DAC PSU required?

    I've just bought an SMSL M3 DAC/amp for driving my headphones. It cost ú46 on eBay.
    My main system has no headphone socket so I've setup another Pi Mk 1 running piCorePlayer 3.0.1. Squeezelite is ver 1.8.4-762. Output setting is iec958:CARD=DAC,DEV=0. Connection is via USB.
    It sounds quite good, but I suspect my Sennheiser HD470 headphones are the weak link.

    However, if I plug an external PSU (2.1 amp) into the DAC, I can't tell any improvement in the sound. The DAC is obviously being powered by the Pi (2 amp input), but I'd have thought a PSU running to the DAC should sound better.
    Can the Pi be configured to supply signal only to the DAC? I imagine separating power & signal would give a better sound.
    Any advice welcome.
    Last edited by muggo; 2017-10-07 at 10:23. Reason: more info

  2. #2
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by muggo View Post
    I'd have thought a PSU running to the DAC should sound better.
    Why?

    I imagine separating power & signal would give a better sound.
    Again - what makes you imagine that?

    Most DACs have more than adequate internal power regulation/filtering.
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Julf View Post
    Why?



    Again - what makes you imagine that?

    Most DACs have more than adequate internal power regulation/filtering.
    I thought it was generally accepted wisdom that decent power supplies lead to better sound.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by muggo View Post
    I thought it was generally accepted wisdom that decent power supplies lead to better sound.
    Pretty much all "generally accepted wisdoms" tend to be wrong. Especially audiophile ones.
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by muggo View Post
    I thought it was generally accepted wisdom that decent power supplies lead to better sound.
    Only by the folks that sell overpriced and unnecessary power supplies (and a few of their victims that suffer from the normal human nature of "rationalization" based on their post purchase biases).
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by muggo View Post
    I thought it was generally accepted wisdom that decent power supplies lead to better sound.
    What makes you believe the DAC doesn't have a decent enough power supply then?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by alfista View Post
    What makes you believe the DAC doesn't have a decent enough power supply then?
    Because it cost ú46 & is made in China so I imagine some corners will have been cut.
    It has a USB port for signal & also one for power. Why would it have two if one was enough?
    Anyway, my query was about if a Pi can just send signal & not power. The thread has been diverted into whether power supplies in hifi are a waste of time.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by muggo View Post
    Because it cost ú46 & is made in China so I imagine some corners will have been cut.
    It has a USB port for signal & also one for power. Why would it have two if one was enough?
    Anyway, my query was about if a Pi can just send signal & not power. The thread has been diverted into whether power supplies in hifi are a waste of time.
    You should change the thread title. It is asking whether a PSU is required for a DAC. It turns out that is not your question. Probably should mention Pi in your subject and be more specific in order to get Pi users to notice that they might have something to add to thread.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by garym View Post
    You should change the thread title. It is asking whether a PSU is required for a DAC. It turns out that is not your question. Probably should mention Pi in your subject and be more specific in order to get Pi users to notice that they might have something to add to thread.
    Done

  10. #10
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    @muggo

    One can buy usb devices that block the power supply part and pass through only the data and ground.

    Some dacs need the power supply to "handshake" with the computer.

    It is possible to insert a piece of tape over the power part of the usb connector to stop the power supply.

    Google is your friend.

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