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  1. #1

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    Default S/PDIF ?> ??> Monitor 40s

    I am putting a pair of Monitor 40s in our kitchen. The source is a coax S/PDIF coming from a wall-mounted computer. Audio will be a mix of lossless (CDs or files from our music server) and lossy (Rhapsody and MP3s).

    Given the environment, it is not worth spending a substantial amount on either superfluous fidelity (focused music listening takes place in the parlour?I just want to match the Monitor 40s' capabilities) or on features that we won?t use (e.g. artificial sound stages, video passthrough).

    I?m considering going with something like an AudioSource AMP-100 or an Onkyo M-282.

    There seems to be a range of DACs out there. What am I looking for? Key stats? Key features?

    Given that I'll only have the one source and that the PC has volume and an equalizer for tone control, do I need a pre-amp or can I go straight from the PC to the DAC to the amp to the speakers?

    Am I missing anything in this projected setup?

    Thanks,

    Rhythm

  2. #2

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    Yes you can do that, PC to dac to amp. A pre amp will make it sound better. Look at something like a Peachtree Idecco for an all in one solution of good sound quality. Plus it will take up less room being in a kitchen. Used I've seen them for 500 bucks, considering it has an amp, pre amp and a good dac all rolled into one, it's a steal.

    Another option on the cheap, is we have several dacs for sale here at around the 200 buck mark. Then pick up any cheap amp to match up. You could also pick up any cheap receiver with digital inputs off of your local craigslist for under a hundred bucks too if budget is really tight.

  3. #3
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    How much are you wanting to spend? I recommend an integrated amp with an internal DAC to keep things compact and clean.

  4. #4
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    Firestone makes some nice, budget minded products:

    http://www.amazon.com/Firestone-Audi...irestone+audio

  5. #5

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    Budget-wise, it's the holiday season so I'd rather spend on gifts than this. Plus, it's the kitchen. Yes, I'm sometimes in there alone cooking, but usually it's at least the two of us. And then there's the dishwasher, the stove fan, etc. It's far from a listening room, so ambient noise and acousitcs suggest that at a medium level or so any boost to fidelity will be completely lost.

    I think the Monitor 40s give a good idea of where I'd want to max out/match quality-wise. They are excellent speakers, but there is a lot of room to improve (the parlour and theatre have much better systems overall).

    The Firestone is an interesting example of my difficulty in finding the 'right' amp (let alone the hookup needs). At $350, it's about 1.5 times what I paid for the speakers. As I said, they're excellent, but wouldn't I be paying a lot more for what I could ever expect to hear (environment/existing equipment-wise)? What is the $380 Firestone doing that a $100 Audiosource not--with again, regards to both the speaker and the space?

    I'm also still clueless as to what a preamp is doing to make the sound better. The PC has several built-in utilities to modify the sound, and there are aftermarket programs as well. I don't understand the benefits of a distinct preamp.

    I'm similarly clueless about DACs metrics-wise. First, these have been out since the 80s and I'm not pushing advanced signals through. Well, aside from CDs, the lossless formats have been out for years. And don't MP3s and Internet-based streams have so much compression already that a basic chip fro the 90s would be able to handle it? I feel like I'm missing something major.

    And speakign of DACs, I'd have to fish wires through the walls again, but can't I replace the digital coax with an analogue line-out and rely on the PC's DAC? Couldn't I just take that right to an amp?

    I'm not trying to be petulant, but I can't help but feel I'm either missing something or won't stop asking but WHY is the sky blue?

    Thanks~

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