Using S/PDIF with Computer Media Center?

E

edbj

Enthusiast
I've digitized my CD's (192K wma). The computer I'm using has sound capability built onto the motherboard. I'm presuming the DAC and associated circuitry to be less than optimal. Am I overcoming the lack of conversion integrity by using the S/PDIF output of the audio circuitry and doing all audio processing in my Yamaha RX-V2500 receiver, or am I kidding myself? Should I be looking for a high-end audio board solution?
 
M

MDS

Audioholic Spartan
You can't send an mp3 digitally thru the s/pdif connector (either optical or coaxial) directly to your receiver unless the receiver has a built in mp3 decoder. The mp3 has to be decoded to PCM and that is done by whatever application you are using to play the mp3s on the computer.

Here is how it works:
1. The media player (winamp, wmp, etc) decodes the mp3 to PCM and sends the data to the sound card or integrated sound chip.
2. If the sound card has been set to digital out, it will send the pcm thru the digital out to your receiver and the receiver will do the digital to analog conversion and amplify it so you can hear it thru the speakers. No dobut the receiver will do a better job of d/a than the onboard sound chip.

If the sound card has not been set to digital out, it will do the digital to analog conversion and use the analog outs - this is the 'conversion' step you are hoping to avoid because then the quality does depend on the capabilities of the sound card.

So just make sure you configure the onboard sound to use digital out and everything should play fine thru the receiver.
 
E

edbj

Enthusiast
I'm using Windows Media Player to play the recordings. I don't have the ability to set the board to digital out. I'm using the S/PDIF output from the board to the digital coax input on the receiver. I presume, therefore, that I'm always in the digital domain until I reach the DAC in the receiver. IOW, I opine that the signal is not suffering quality degradation in the computer, other than during the digitization of the original program material (CD). My bottom line is that despite the [presumed] compromised quality of the onboard audio circuitry, there's no need to upgrade to a high-end audio board as long as I stay in the digital domain. Do you concur, or am I missing something?
 

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