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audio through monitor

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pinky33

Member
Joined
May 6, 2008
Seeing headphone jacks advertised a lot more on gaming monitors. Correct me if I am wrong but it seems it is taking the digital HDMI audio signal and the monitor is acting as a DAC.

Or in other words people are bypassing decent audio on most new nice motherboards audio output in exchange for a crappy Monitor DAC.


My current pioneer SX-828 is starting to give feedback through the headphone jack so I have switched my headphones to MOBO output. Seems mobo audio has come a little ways and I don't have much quality loss on my senheiser cans.

About to start looking for a new receiver.
 

wagex

Chapstick Eating Premium Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
sometimes it's more conveneient, especially with a tower that's under the desk, i had mine that way for a while but the monitor introduced some noise into the line and so i opted to go back to the motherboard for my speakers. Then again the market is for the 99% not the 1% who care about things like audio quality or output power. chances are that they already had the hardware in the board to run an internal amp for speakers on the board (probably universal board through half their product line) and adding the 3.5mm out is worth it from a marketing standpoint.. any extra plug is a bonus in the general market.

99.9% of the market couldn't tell you the difference between using a $1000 DAC or a crappy onboard audio chip.
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2005
To piggyback on what Wagex said - like all HIDs, "what sounds better" is fully user dependant. 99.9% may be a bit of a hyperbole but I'll agree a large chunk of the audio equipment out there is overhyped.

It all comes down to what you're using. With sensitive cans or low impedence IEMs, having a decent source is more important. I even grabbed a small DAC for my HTPC since the receiver was picking up interference - probably very similar to what you were hearing - through the onboard audio. Would I say the sound is 'sharper', 'tighter', 'it makes me better pancakes in the morning?' No, but it does sound cleaner, and for $80 I consider the little unit worth it.

That being said - what are you driving with the receiver? Aside from the headphone jack do you like your current one? What Are you looking for in a new one?

If you're driving some speakers with that Pioneer and everything else is golden, seriously don't bother, more trouble and money than it's worth. Do you like the onboard audio? Stay with that. Does your monitor have a 3.5mm jack, and do you like it? Stay with that. Are you looking for more? Someone can help, not me, I'm a bad influence.
 
OP
pinky33

pinky33

Member
Joined
May 6, 2008
I am toying with the idea of selling my Pioneer SX-828. Seems I can get a pretty penny for it ($200-$400). Can buy a newer used receiver and way better cans.

Then buy a $60-120 Sony/Yamaha receiver on facebook market place or craiglist that can take digital input such as optical or coax from Motherboard. Will have working headphone jack again.

I can also afford a set of Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...-250-ohm-closed-back-studio-mixing-headphones

Current cans are low end sennheiser HD 212Pro and HD 202. Also the speakers I am using are https://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-br-1s-shielded-6-1-2-2-way-monitor-kit--300-642

My current pioneer SX-828 is giving me some issues with left or right cutting in and out every so often. I move around the Balance and hear a lot of static action and eventually both channels come back. Needs some TLC. I have the original box/sale ticket so even with issues I should be able to get $300-400 . Only downside I can see is most newer used receivers wont last 50 years like the Pioneer sx-828

Don't think I will regret sale of Older Pioneer receiver.......

Thoughts?

Thanks for reading and helping me decide.
 

NiHaoMike

dBa Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
Keep in mind most receivers, especially the newer ones, have the headphone output as more of an afterthought than a high quality output. The analog inputs and outputs are generally implemented with a chip similar to what's used on motherboards. The speaker output stages are driven by PWM/PDM from the DSP.

Try fixing your existing receiver with some Deoxit in the controls, if nothing else you'll be able to sell it for more if the controls aren't noisy. (Must be quite old for the controls to use potentiometers.)

For headphones, there are lots of cheap and good DACs available, most notably USB-C DACs for smartphones. Keep in mind you'll want to make sure it supports USB Audio Class 2.0 if you go the USB route.
 
OP
pinky33

pinky33

Member
Joined
May 6, 2008
I bought a Yamaha HTR-5750 for $40. See how that sounds.

After I sell my old pioneer I will see what I can afford. Looking at these options.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

and maybe this if I can afford it.

https://www.amazon.com/FiiO-E10K-Headphone-Amplifier-Black/dp/B00LP3AMC2

Also want something like a modmic, but the price to me is stupid. I have been using a logitech desktop boom mic from the 1990's for 20 years and all my friends that I game with can hear me just as well as anyone else with nicer mics. My logitech boom mic finally bit the dust. Looking at cheap modmic options or just another cheap desktop boom mic from online. I am not doing any recording, just use it for gaming or talking to google, lol.

If you see any issues with this setup or you can think of something better let me know.

Thanks again.
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2005
For the E10K, I think most of the ExxK line is slightly dated at this point. And FWIW, I was rocking an E07K up until late October/early November. It had a "colder" sound. Not bad, drove lower impedence cans fairly well, just not for me.

For the DT770s...Beyers are tricky with some of their lines, the 770s being one of them. They have a couple different variations, impedence wise. But overall they're good.

If you're going with a mic with a 3.5mm input, I'd recommend keeping an eye out for a good deal on the 32 ohm DT 770s and grab a Schiit Fulla. Depending on what you get for the Pioneer, that is.
 
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OP
pinky33

pinky33

Member
Joined
May 6, 2008
I wonder how much better of a DAC for headphones an e10k vs Yamaha is actually noticeable. Maybe one day I will find out...........

Will use 770'son Yamaha receiver and see how I feel and look at amps from there.

I am set on some 770s since I have tested out a friends. I think its funny I will be using this cheap A** mic. But its just for gaming.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-Weari...112278?hash=item46afcc4bd6:g:klcAAOSwOA1aRZoH
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2005
Are you still using HDMI with the Yamaha? If you're connecting to it via HDMI or TOSLINK, you're using the Yamaha's internal DAC. If you're connecting over RCA or 3.5mm, you're using your PCs DAC.

What's better, the Yamaha or say the E10K? This is what I really hate about audio, as the answer is almost always "it depends on the user". But it sounds like you're taking the best route and trying the Yamaha first.

And if/when you do order a set of 770s, link 'em. Like I said, they have a few different versions (I believe for the 770s it's 32/80/250 ohm, and studio/pro). It's more out of curiosity at this point than anything.
 

NiHaoMike

dBa Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
The "DAC" (PCM to PWM/PDM converter) in a digital amplifier is integrated into the DSP and cannot be bypassed. (Theoretically, you could put an analog PWM circuit in it as well and switch between the two but why?) Nor would you want to because you'll just end up with a cheap amplifier module if you could.
 
OP
pinky33

pinky33

Member
Joined
May 6, 2008
Bought 80 ohm dt 770 off amazone that come with a nice hard case. $150. Yamaha receiver had been great. Using optical from comp to receiver so receiver dac. Unless there is noise/interference I will most likely stay with Yamaha as a DAC.

Unfortunately headphones are back ordered until end of month. I decided to wait as they were $10 cheaper and came with case. I have 2 little kids and keeping these babies in a case is very appealing. My 3 year old just broke my NES game genie. :(. My fault for not keeping it out of her reach.
 

habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
Hdmi is the full pure digital output. From a monitor with a headphone jack it's the same exact signal as the hdmi would output except the jack is there as a convenience. Think 0 lag and 0 overhead from the video's signal. They are doing this for your convenience. "crappy monitor dac" simply does not exist. Even if your monitor had speakers built-in, the jack would bypass that completely. IOW, there is not a monitor made that has a 'dac' built-in. Why? HDMI is why. ALL the audio is just a part of the video stream/s file itself. IF the video and the audio were separate files, THEN you'd start thinking dac. This is why no one makes a headphone that uses an spdif plug. They don't need to. For that matter analog sounds better just like live music will always sound better than the digital recordings. This is why turntables never went out of fashion they just got super fancier and more expensive. Analog baby. In fact the most expensive amplifiers you could ever imagine use tubes. All digital is just cold (and dead) "It's not live it's memorex"
 
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Joined
Dec 13, 2005
Hdmi is the full pure digital output. From a monitor with a headphone jack it's the same exact signal as the hdmi would output except the jack is there as a convenience. Think 0 lag and 0 overhead from the video's signal. They are doing this for your convenience. "crappy monitor dac" simply does not exist. Even if your monitor had speakers built-in, the jack would bypass that completely. IOW, there is not a monitor made that has a 'dac' built-in. Why? HDMI is why. ALL the audio is just a part of the video stream/s file itself. IF the video and the audio were separate files, THEN you'd start thinking dac. This is why no one makes a headphone that uses an spdif plug. They don't need to.

This...Ok.

I know where you're getting at. But a DAC is a DAC is a DAC. The one thing that always bugged me about the "audio community", and I suspect it's causing confusion here, is the haze that it put around DACs.

If a monitor outputs an audio signal it receives from HDMI, it *has* to have an onboard DAC. Some onboard circuitry that converts the digital signal coming over HDMI to the analog signal speakers/headphones use.

Now, the second part of your post. Video and audio streams are always separated during the decoding process. The video stream is sent to the video output - monitor, TV, occular implants put in by little gray men in the Nevada desert, whatever. Audio signal goes to whatever is decoding tbe audio signal - DAC onboard the motherboard, DAC onboard the monitor, USB DAC, it's all "an output". What I'm getting at is, the original audio "source" is transparent to the DAC. It doesn't care if the source is an MKV file, an MP3 file, or a Youtube stream.

So while there are different transmission methods to the DAC - traces to a chipset on the mobo, USB to a standalone unit, HDMI to a monitor, TOSLINK to a receiver, etc - the end result is the same. A digital signal is received, a DAC - which literally means Digital to Analog Converter - converts it, and then outputs an analog signal.

To top this off, no, not all DACs are created equal. This is as obvious as reading spec sheets. Some can convert 44.1KHz files, some can convert 384KHz files. Some top out at 24bit, others "claim" to do 32bit. Some will offer cleaner sound than others. The DACs stuck in a monitor? Chances are, unless you have a super ultra high end monitor, is most likely an afterthought, and filtering is usually not that great. Even though you're getting the full uncompressed audio stream over HDMI, you can go plug in a $400 headset and still be underwhelmed.