Question Active Speakers. To external soundcard or TV?

Apr 28, 2019
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Hello.
I got a pair of active speakers to connect to the tv set. But I also like to listen to music from my laptop. I own an old M-Audio Fast Track soundcard . My question... concerning sound quality, should I connect my laptop to the speakers via external soundcard or via hdmi using my tv audio out? The tv audio driver is an intel samsung audio display and it supports higher resolutions than my fast track. Still, I don't know if the fast track could yell yield better results. In theory, what do you guys think?

As a side note, I'd consider a chromecast audio if it's the best out of the three.
 

Murissokah

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Well, it boils down to which has a better DAC, your TV or the M-Audio. HDMI will carry audio data untouched, so there's no difference as to what your source device is (Intel, Nvidia, etc). If your speakers had a DAC (optical input, for instance), than that could be preferable.

I don't know how good the M-Audio is, so I'd try both.

Chromecast would be digital too, so same as HDMI but i'm not sure it can handle the same bandwidth. It trades the reliability of a cable connection for the convenience of wireless setups.
 
Apr 28, 2019
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Unfortunately the speakers only have RCA inputs, nothing optical... that would be the optimal indeed. I don't know which has the best DAC, but the tv output is twice as loud and it can handle 24/96. But I'm not sure if it has the best sound. I can't compare side by side because everytime I unplug the cables I lose my reference! :rolleyes:
 
Am going to sound like a snob, but anytime u going through PC, TV in an analog form, High Fidelity is already out of the door. Ideally you want unaltered digital source, then pipe that to an external DAC/amp is the way to go. Don't worry about it, do whatever is more convenient to you. Going through TV then requires TV to be on even if you are just listening to music.
 
Apr 28, 2019
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Yes, I completely understand your point of view. In fact I have a separate sound system for high fidelity, hooked to my Rega turntable and Klipisch speakers. I was just wondering in that case scenario, what would be the most interesting solution?
 
Apr 28, 2019
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Chromecast would be digital too, so same as HDMI but i'm not sure it can handle the same bandwidth. It trades the reliability of a cable connection for the convenience of wireless setups.
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I was wondering about Chromecast, there might be a difference compared to HDMI ... when I connect through hdmi, I need to use the tv analog sound output to send the music to my active speakers. Now, if I connect the chromecast device straight to the speakers, would I be getting a purer signal, since the tv wouldn't be getting in the way?
 

Murissokah

Distinguished
Chromecast would be digital too, so same as HDMI but i'm not sure it can handle the same bandwidth. It trades the reliability of a cable connection for the convenience of wireless setups.
I was wondering about Chromecast, there might be a difference compared to HDMI ... when I connect through hdmi, I need to use the tv analog sound output to send the music to my active speakers. Now, if I connect the chromecast device straight to the speakers, would I be getting a purer signal, since the tv wouldn't be getting in the way?
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I guess it depends on how the RCA connection is set. If it is amplified by the TV and then amplified again on the speakers, this would probably be worse then chromecast straight to the speakers. If its line out from the TV it probably won't make much of a difference. You'll just be using the TV DAC instead of the speakers' DAC.
 
Apr 28, 2019
7
0
10
I was wondering about Chromecast, there might be a difference compared to HDMI ... when I connect through hdmi, I need to use the tv analog sound output to send the music to my active speakers. Now, if I connect the chromecast device straight to the speakers, would I be getting a purer signal, since the tv wouldn't be getting in the way?
I guess it depends on how the RCA connection is set. If it is amplified by the TV and then amplified again on the speakers, this would probably be worse then chromecast straight to the speakers. If its line out from the TV it probably won't make much of a difference. You'll just be using the TV DAC instead of the speakers' DAC.
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The way it's setup: I connect my laptop to the tv using an hdmi cable (mirroring audio and video from the computer) and from the tv to the speakers, using the tv's analog audio out. I guess the tv's soundcard (samsung/intel hd audio) is working as the DAC.
If I used chromecast audio, it would be connected straight to my speakers, to receive the audio coming from my laptop. I really don't know if it makes any difference.
 

Murissokah

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Besides the difference in the quality of the DACs which is hard to measure without a direct comparison, there would be a significant difference if the audio out from the TV is amplified. You could try using the speakers without power to establish whether the output from the TV is amplified or not. If it is, its best to avoid it as it would be again amplified in the speakers reducing quality. If not, then it's more a matter of choice between convenience and signal reliability.
 
Reactions: Marcel1979
Apr 28, 2019
7
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Besides the difference in the quality of the DACs which is hard to measure without a direct comparison, there would be a significant difference if the audio out from the TV is amplified. You could try using the speakers without power to establish whether the output from the TV is amplified or not. If it is, its best to avoid it as it would be again amplified in the speakers reducing quality. If not, then it's more a matter of choice between convenience and signal reliability.
I'll give it a try, thanks for the tip. But how can I determine if it's amplified or not (excuse my ignorance). All I know so far is that the sound coming from the tv out is much louder than the one I get plugging in my soundcard... it's also a tad brighter.
 

Murissokah

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I'll give it a try, thanks for the tip. But how can I determine if it's amplified or not (excuse my ignorance). All I know so far is that the sound coming from the tv out is much louder than the one I get plugging in my soundcard... it's also a tad brighter.
Power off the speakers. If the TV can still drive them, the output is amplified. If you can hear barely the sound, it's not.
 

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