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Old 1st October 2008, 05:03 PM   #1
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Default DAC volume control

I am thinking of buying a USB DAC module, (audiosector SPDIF DAC) which I would want to connect directly to my amp with no volume control (ecc 83 valve input) .

My question are : 1. is the analogue output from the dac variable by software control?
2. What software is available to download, copy, store, and catalogue, music in as high quality as possible?
3. Is there a limitation of the length of the USB cable?
4. Is there a Wi-Fi wireless DAC module that I could use instead.
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Old 1st October 2008, 07:57 PM   #2
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1. it depends on the usb/sound chip used. most are.

2. see 4 below.

3. The standard does have a limit. I believe it is 12 or 16 feet. There are companies that make repeaters for going further.

4. Not one that is comercially made that I know of. I have done this using a linkstation running Linux with a usb wi-fi card plugged into one usb port and a usb dac in the other usb port. I run MPD on the box for the music player. MPD plays FLAC, MP#, etc. and automatically catalogs the music files based on the ID3 tags in each file. So long as the tags are correct, the catalog is correct and can be sorted and searched by artist, title, album, etc.
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Old 1st October 2008, 08:57 PM   #3
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If USB will only connect 12/16 feet this may be a problem, it may make more sense to use an audio card such as the RME Hammerfall DSP 9632 I/O CARD. and pipe the analogue audio signal from my chair to the amp. But my problem remains the same, I need to identify idiot-proof software that gives me a volume control,
Can some kind person tell me if it exists and where to find it?
The ultimate would be a touchscreen that allows me to select the music with a preselected volume.!!
http://www.rme-audio.com/english/hdsp/hdsp9632.htm
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Old 2nd October 2008, 11:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
1. is the analogue output from the dac variable by software control?
For the TI 270x chips (as used in this DAC), yes.

Quote:
3. Is there a limitation of the length of the USB cable?
TI recommends 6ft or less for their PCM270x chips. I have had occasional problems 8ft cables.
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Old 3rd October 2008, 12:18 AM   #5
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Wireless USB hub?

$199! That would double the cost of my system...

w
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Old 14th October 2008, 10:54 AM   #6
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Further investigation on the web strongly suggests that digital volume control results in a ! noticeable! degredation of the signal. So I think I will use an analogue attenuator. Unless someone out there knows different!
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Old 14th October 2008, 11:26 AM   #7
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It depends on the DAC and the method it uses to control volume, but typically this is correct. Also consider the analog volume control you use will always add some degree of noise/distortion (again, depends on what you use) which can also be quite noticeable.

Trying it with the digital approach is free (control it on your PC), so why not try that first. You can add an analog attenuator later if you feel the need.
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Old 14th October 2008, 02:07 PM   #8
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The USB spec says that 5m is the limit. You'll need to use proper shielded cables, but I don't see why the TI devices would be special in this regard. It should work fine at 5m; performance so dismal it can manage less than half that would be an abberation.

You can also use hubs (up to 5) to extend the range. They don't need to be powered. That should get you across the room cheaply.
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