Steaming via USB from PC to Dac

eljr

eljr

Audioholic Chief
is steaming via USB from PC to Dac a poor way to stream music because of computer noise?
Is a deducted streamer cleaner, less noisy, by design?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
The digital connection wouldn't transfer the noise most complain about in a pc (via analog conversion within the pc and its output). Many use just the pc for their streamer....personally I do it when convenient (but wirelessly in my case, sometimes via hdmi), sometimes the phone is a more convenient device....
 
eljr

eljr

Audioholic Chief
The digital connection wouldn't transfer the noise

This is what I though.... is this fact or opinion, do you know for sure?

Logic tells me all that is being passed are one's and zero's which contain no noise.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
This is what I though.... is this fact or opinion, do you know for sure?

Logic tells me all that is being passed are one's and zero's which contain no noise.
Yes the ones and zeros do not include the noise from the pc is one way to look at it.....outside of what is inherent in the recording or the device. Would I kid you?
 
eljr

eljr

Audioholic Chief
Yes the ones and zeros do not include the noise from the pc is one way to look at it.....outside of what is inherent in the recording or the device. Would I kid you?
I have someone insisting that using a PC via USB as I described will result in computer noise hence I need a dedicated streamer instead of using the laptop as a streamer.
I want to be double sure i am right, that it won't, before i contradict them.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
I have someone insisting that using a PC via USB as I described will result in computer noise hence I need a dedicated streamer instead of using the laptop as a streamer.
I want to be double sure i am right, that it won't, before i contradict them.
Ask him to prove his assertion, that's the usual way. The dedicated streamer is far more a limited computer than anything....at least up until it's analog section.
 
S

stalag2005

Audioholic
I converted to using a DAC via optical and USB both. Either way does not transmit analog noise, and if the bit rates are high enough the digital artifacts are a non issue.
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Audioholic Chief
I have someone insisting that using a PC via USB as I described will result in computer noise hence I need a dedicated streamer instead of using the laptop as a streamer.
I want to be double sure i am right, that it won't, before i contradict them.
I find the MBP is great for streaming via Audirvana over my inexpensive USB cable to the built-in Hegel H90 DAC or using wifi via UPnP on the Denon 4700. No noise, just great sound. With that said, some people believe you need an expensive USB cable with noise canceling hardware and all sorts of other strange ceremonies. They probably have $500 speaker cables too.

With that said, I think it's probably fruitless to try to convince them otherwise. Just go with what sounds best for you.
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Audioholic Chief
I converted to using a DAC via optical and USB both. Either way does not transmit analog noise, and if the bit rates are high enough the digital artifacts are a non issue.
Most DACs offer slightly better specs with a USB connection. You may not notice it, but sometimes the optical input provides lower specs and measurable noise differences. If I am going to use a cable I'll typically go with USB if it's an option.
 
S

stalag2005

Audioholic
Most DACs offer slightly better specs with a USB connection. You may not notice it, but sometimes the optical input provides lower specs and measurable noise differences. If I am going to use a cable I'll typically go with USB if it's an option.
It used to be that optical was better, but times have also changed.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
I will personally choose USB to a DAC (or any USB connection), if that is my only reasonable option. If I have other connection options, I will take those first, but will use USB if that is the only option or if it is convenient.

But, to answer the question, that is a big "Nope" that a dedicated streamer will be audibly better than streaming via PC. There may be some advantages on paper, but not likely to be audible.
 
S

stalag2005

Audioholic
I have noted recently the noise floor of computer audio has gotten much better. On older motherboards I saw values of -35 dB whereas now I am seeing values below -80 dB This is a significant drop. You can hear -35, you can't -80.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
While there is no noise which will be transferred over a good USB connection to a good external sound card, the real answer for which is 'best' is the same as always...
IT DEPENDS!

The DACs within the sound card of any computer, USB sound card, or streaming device are the key points at which the audio streaming bits are converted to a analog format for playback. Some receivers have integrated DACs for streaming as well. In fact, many do these days.

So, it is the quality of these various components which will dictate the quality you will get into the receiver or amplifier or speakers which you are using.

At the end of the day, I would think a typical DAC these days will outperform most of the speakers which people are using. But, I would opt for a known quality streaming device over any unknown quantity. So, something like a Blusound streamer if I really want known good audio quality. Maybe an Oppo player. Or I would ask and do my homework on a good USB sound card if I really wanted to control every single piece from my computer... Which I would not typically want to do. But, that's me. Many people do nothing but sit in front of their PC, and that's when it makes a lot more sense I suppose.

This is why we have options.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic General
I have someone insisting that using a PC via USB as I described will result in computer noise hence I need a dedicated streamer instead of using the laptop as a streamer.
I want to be double sure i am right, that it won't, before i contradict them.
Todays usb DACs deal with computer noise, that's the bottom line. In my case I enjoy iTunes on PC via usb to OPPO-205 usb DAC up sampling AAC, ALAC, and AIFF input to 24/192. I have ZERO perception of any noise, distortion, or other anomalies. In fact, the sound stage and detail are phenomenal. I sense I can hear tape splice edits on 50's and 60's DOO WOP. Of course, my OPPO also allows Network Play, and I sense the sound via that means to music is pretty much the same in all manner that I get from usb connection, only the access and control of music is slower.
 
Last edited:
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I have someone insisting that using a PC via USB as I described will result in computer noise hence I need a dedicated streamer instead of using the laptop as a streamer.
I want to be double sure i am right, that it won't, before i contradict them.
If you are doing the conversion external to the computer that will be no problem. However computers are notorious for issues of ground loop hum, so may be some people are confused by that.

I connect my DAW to my RME external DAC mixer for very a very high quality connection. However I built that computer and so made darn sure there were no ground loops.
 
P

pcosmic

Audioholic
I have someone insisting that using a PC via USB as I described will result in computer noise hence I need a dedicated streamer instead of using the laptop as a streamer.
I want to be double sure i am right, that it won't, before i contradict them.
If "someone" made you scared of your pc, do as follows:
a) Get a usb B to usb C cable for your phone! Connect cable to your phone! Get a lovely app called "USB Audio Player Pro" for 7 bucks. This app will run you bit perfect to your DAC.
b) If "someone" made you scared of of your phone too, get some 5000 dollar dedicated streamer transport with a good return policy. Compare it side by side to your phone with "USB Audio Player Pro" or pc. If the 5000 dollar streamer transport didn't sound any better, return the streamer and do a lil dance.

A "good" dedicated standalone dac should be very forgiving of (compensate for) deficiencies in your streaming device extremely well. Consequently, a dedicated streamer is an area of extreme levels of snake oil and diminishing returns. It is primarily targeted towards old geezers with zero knowledge of computer hardware. Visualize granma fiddling around with a pc/smartphone. These geezers are no different than granma. Don't get screwed over by the theory crafting snake and its oil. Good luck
 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
I have someone insisting that using a PC via USB as I described will result in computer noise hence I need a dedicated streamer instead of using the laptop as a streamer.
I want to be double sure i am right, that it won't, before i contradict them.
If you have a properly engineered DAC being fed by a computer the analog out of the DAC will be pristine. Benchmark Audio, years ago, proved this by making a cable that was something like 4 times longer than spec and just rife with errors. What happened? Their DAC played pristine music.

You've simply bumped into someone that doesn't actually trust their ears. At whatsbestforum SuperDad (Alex of Up-Tone Audio) I asked him if he would blind evaluate his own USB product. He said any day of the week. When it was offered to fly out to him and do this in his very own setup he didn't post again @ wbf for 18 months.

Tell your friend this: I have $8000 to their $1000, loser to pay expenses, in their own setup that they can't tell the difference between a well engineered DAC fed by a computer or fed by Micro-rendu 1.5 when blinded. The computer will be something bog standard like an Intel NUC or something like my Celeron 3150 based system that is totally silent or most likely a laptop.

When I say their setup it would be from their USB DAC on back. JRiver would be the playback application. After all this Covid business is done.
 
eljr

eljr

Audioholic Chief
Consequently, a dedicated streamer is an area of extreme levels of snake oil and diminishing returns. It is primarily targeted towards old geezers with zero knowledge of computer hardware. Visualize granma fiddling around with a pc/smartphone. These geezers are no different than granma. Don't get screwed over by the theory crafting snake and its oil.
God Bless you.
 
M

MTVhike

Enthusiast
Streaming from my PC via USB or HDMI - does it make any difference? I think not, because both are digital but I haven't been able to properly test them.
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top