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View Full Version : More squeezebox hardware alternatives: MK808, Influence of the DAC



xvlun
2013-10-24, 00:40
Hi everybody, i have been using the combination of a Tronsmart MK808, a chinese Muse DAC based on the TI PCM2704 and a QF9700 as a squeezebox alternative (~70$ altogether) with squeezelite.

At first using android as the operating system i was not to impressed, sync was somehow unreliable (networking in general). Changing that to picuntu (RC3) made the problems go away, so now i am quite happy with it and looking to buy another unit.

The question that keeps bugging me is, if there can be any difference regarding the audio quality, if sound is output via a digital output (SPDIF) at a given sample rate (it is digital after all, is it?). So as long as I keep using digital outs (and sample rates of 44.1/48 kHz, I could use just about any external soundcard?

erland
2013-10-24, 15:40
The question that keeps bugging me is, if there can be any difference regarding the audio quality, if sound is output via a digital output (SPDIF) at a given sample rate (it is digital after all, is it?). So as long as I keep using digital outs (and sample rates of 44.1/48 kHz, I could use just about any external soundcard?

I'm not sure how "external soundcard" comes into the picture but if the question is if different hardware which have SPDIF outputs can affect sound quality even if using the same external DAC, the answer is yes. The difference is a lot smaller compared to hardware which are using analogue outputs (built-in DAC), but there are still differences which some people are able to hear. For more details, look in the Audiophiles section, for example the following thread contains some very technical comparisons: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?99073-MEASUREMENTS-Do-Bit-perfect-Digital-S-PDIF-Transports-Sound-The-Same

Having said all this, I also believe that for most people the differences are too small to be noticed, at least unless you are an audiophile user who have spent significant money on amplifer, speakers and other hardware in your listening setup.

xvlun
2013-10-25, 00:41
i was not sure, which term to use for usb dac, as it is not doing any digital analog converting when used with spdif output ;). So I went with he external sound card. thanks

JohnSwenson
2013-10-25, 06:51
i was not sure, which term to use for usb dac, as it is not doing any digital analog converting when used with spdif output ;). So I went with he external sound card. thanks

A DAC can have S/PDIF input (coax or optical) or USB, or both inputs. It is still a DAC, converting the digital data from the Touch into analog for the stereo system.

BTW with the EDO applet a Touch can work with many USB DACs (some USB DACs use propriatary drivers, they will not work with the Touch).

John S.

avp1
2013-10-25, 10:15
Most USB capable DAC use of of two USB audio interfaces - XMOS or Tenor. Unfortunately Tenor based DACs are not very stable with current EDO kernel. Unfortunately not all DAC manufacturers tell which USB interface then use.