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JZatopa 22nd April 2012 11:59 PM

Is there a DIY/high end 5.1 DAC like this?
Although many of us are looking for the ultimate in 2 channel sound quality. There is a growing number of people looking for the same level of quality in 5.1. I have not had much luck looking for a 5.1 dac except for products like this on ebay.

MOCHA X-3B AC3 DTS 5.1 Digital Audio Decoder & USB DAC | eBay


Is there anything better out that that I could use to replace my xonar ST + daughter board?

SoNic_real_one 23rd April 2012 12:32 AM

Get a decent digital receiver.
You will have more formats available to decode, you have the amplifier, remote, eventual a direct 5.1 analog input needed for a SACD/DVD-A universal player.

JZatopa 23rd April 2012 04:15 PM

I have a denon 3805 for another room, which is great if you are just looking for a traditional 5.1 setup. Could you tell me why you think using a receiver is a good idea? It's completely redundant in a HTPC setup. Why would I go htpc > receiver > F5 amplifiers > speakers, is there some benefit I am missing?

SoNic_real_one 23rd April 2012 11:34 PM

Why use F5 amplifiers for surround? I have the exact AVR3805 and it is more than capable of a decent surround output: 102 dB SNR and 0.005% on Direct mode.
DD and DTS are lossy formats, you get at the most 55-65dB.

JZatopa 24th April 2012 12:16 AM

I have tried it the way you describe and found the quality lacking. Bluray is, for the most part, lossless on all channels.

Currently the best soundcard I have used for surround has been the Xonar ST but PCI brings it's own set of problems. I want an external solution that will be on par with a high end setup.

The fact of the matter is that HT and stereo have the same goals, it's just more expensive for HT due to the number of amplifiers and speakers. Now that I have some extra amps, I can build a system that excels in both stereo and surround. The limitations are quality sources. When you look at the large number of high end DACs that compete with much more expensive CD players, it is very easy to see that this can apply to hometheater as well. Who needs a receiver/processor and their added expense, if you have a computer and a good sound card?

i2k92 24th April 2012 12:50 AM

How about Marantz AV7005 ?
Can you explain more about the problems with PCI related to sound reproduction ? I'm interested as I plan to built HTPC with Asus Xonar D2X.

SoNic_real_one 24th April 2012 01:08 AM


Originally Posted by DJNUBZ (
I have tried it the way you describe and found the quality lacking. Bluray is, for the most part, lossless on all channels.

That decoder doesn't decode any HD audio formats. Actually, you need a HDMI - audio decoding receiver for that, because the encryption.
As for bluray - there is just hype about it. Movies don't have high-quality tracks (don't need more than old DTS), albums on bluray are few.
SACD/DVD-A has identical quality and are more to be found. AVR3805 can be used with a DVD2930/3930 and DenonLinkIII (shielded CAT5E cable) to send the SACD/DVD-A multichannel digital signals straight to receiver.

hochopeper 24th April 2012 05:15 AM

Do you ever want to use a source other than PC? That is where I find the receiver most useful.

My audio setup is in the loungeroom and I can't avoid the fact that I need more than one source connected into my system, this is the big reason I use a receiver. I have the Denon AVR3808 and use a pre-out into power amps for front L/R.

The power supply stage in a receiver is typically the limiting factor for its amplifier stage. So reducing the load by having power amps for L/R speakers can improve your headroom for supplying centre and rear speakers.

If you want diy/high end multichannel DAC then you'd be looking for

multichannel usb to i2s -> multichannel es9018 dac (buffalo/acko etc) -> multichannel IV -> amps

To implement that you're an order of magnitude (likely far more) above the cost of those ebay units.

boris81 24th April 2012 02:58 PM


Originally Posted by DJNUBZ (
Is there anything better out that that I could use to replace my xonar ST + daughter board?

To the best of my knowledge SPDIF, USB 1.1 and early versions of HDMI don't have enough bandwidth to carry multichannel audio formats at full resolution. You will need a very expensive USB 2.0 or HDMI decoder. A sound card solution is much cheaper.

HDMI version comparison

JZatopa 24th April 2012 04:02 PM

On this setup I would only want to use PC. If I really wanted another source I could always use the mic input for a stereo input. The fact is that I can play my music, watch movies, stream video and play games on the PC. I could even use it for cable TV if I wanted to. What else would I ever really want to switch to for the home theater?

I will pass on the HDMI decoder, to expensive and complicated.

Here are some cheap devices that would do the job but are not even close to "audiophile" level. I am sure that there must be others who would use a 24/192k 5.1 external sound card. Zalman ZM-RSSC External USB 5.1 Sound Card: Electronics - Creative External Sound Blaster Live! SB0490 5.1 Channels 24-bit 48kHz in 5.1 mode and up to 96kHz in stereo mode USB Interface Sound Card - SIIG IC-710112-S1 7.1 Channels USB Digital External Surround Sound Device - Creative 70SB109500000 5.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz USB Interface X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro

Considering this guy can do 24/192k for 6 channels, I am sure this could be done.
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