Cable recommendation for long distance between PC and DAC

Discussion in 'DACs' started by cloneofkane, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. cloneofkane

    cloneofkane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I was gifted a Cambridge Audio DacMagic and find I am completely out of my realm. Currently, I've been running an RCA cable direct from single green audio out on my Gateway PC directly to Tape 2 connectors of my receiver. I enjoy watching movies and music videos on YouTube or concerts on PBS/ACL. The cable I am currently using is 25 ft long to run from back of PC around half of my room to my receiver on the opposite side of the room and behind me. Frankly, it has always sounded pretty good to me and, even though trying a DAC in my set up has intrigued me, I always had more pressing audio interests with my $.

    I believe I can run a 25ft USB 2.0 A Male to B Male Cable, and I think I read that in some cases, USB is the preferred connection to minimize jitters. But a lot of these longer cables appear to be printer cables -- does that matter? Here is one I was considering as the white would blend in with the molding around the base of my room: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001CX2XC2/ref=psdc_464394_t4_B00183E8WE

    I also have an SPDIF output and was wondering if I can use a standard optical cable like this one: https://www.amazon.com/KabelDirekt-Optical-Digital-Theater-Playstation/dp/B00RXNU7EG?th=1

    If I can use the SPDIF connector on my PC with an optical cable, there seems to be audio/hi-fi applications with this type of longer cable than with the USB.

    Thanks in advance for shared advice for this digital newbie!
     

     

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  2. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    Hard to say, both can work (or not). Assuming it is the original DacMagic it has an asynchronous sample rate converter on a TI DSP chip so the extra jitter on the wire due to the length likely won't matter as the data will be re-clocked anyway. One thing to note it is limited to 16bit/48kHz on the USB input, which can be a reason to run Toslink instead if you want to dip your feet into hi-res up to 24bit/96kHz.
     
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  3. motorstereo

    motorstereo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Try all 3 and see which one works the best for you. You are in for a very nice upgrade though by bypassing your computer's internal dac. I tried all 3 and settled on the digital rca output as my preferred connection from my desktop to external dac.
     
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  4. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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    I think 25ft is pushing it with USB. I've never tried a 25ft toslink cable, but I've run digital signal 50ft via coax with no apparent issue and I've run 25ft analog audio over coax with no apparent issue.

    In this case I think I'd spend the $11 or whatever to try the optical cable. Nice thing about optical is it also reduces the chance of ground loop since it's a non-conductive connection between the PC and what's at the other end.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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  5. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    16 ft is maximum length for a USB 2.0 cable. Beyond that, you need to use a powered hub in between the spans.

    Long spans of optical have issues also. The cable needs to be made of either glass or optical plastic.
     
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  6. pdm4606

    pdm4606 Super Member

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    Go toslink. I run around 30 feet around my room from my mac mini to the DAC near my Yamaha C-50 and it is really great.
    I don't know if toslink size means anything but I am using the smaller toslink fiber optic cable.
     
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  7. beanoil

    beanoil That's not how this works

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    Now that the snowball is over the crest, time for you to build a small PC for over by your entertainment stuff!
    USB needs to be shorter than 25 feet. Optical might work, but if you already have the RCA cables run, start with the DAC next to your current setup, a short USB A to B cable, and plug the current RCA cables into it.
     
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  8. cloneofkane

    cloneofkane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I think I will try this -- just to confirm, an optical cable like the one I linked will plug into the SPDIF connector? I don't have an "optical" out.
     
  9. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    In my system I an running a 25 ft RCA cable to connect my Pre with my amps - it is a Blue Jean Cable BC-1. I use short on the USB and speaker cables (of course my amps Kenwood L-07M's were designed for that).
     
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  10. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    before you do anything - :needpics: - please. This will help.
     
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  11. cloneofkane

    cloneofkane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I thought of this but failed to mention in my OP that I do have a Sonos Connect that I use to listen to songs through Google Play. So, the music end of digital is covered and I love the Sonos Connect!

    This DAC application is for music videos and Netflix/Amazon Prime shows that I am watching at my desk, with my system playing behind me (attached).
     

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  12. cloneofkane

    cloneofkane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Man, I am embarrassed by how dusty I've let my PC get -- going to get my vacuum and air duster out pronto. Here are couple shots of the connectors on back of the PC. Let me know if I need to remove any cables to get a clearer picture (edit: picture added of connectors free of cables). I've been running a RCA cable from that green audio out connector directly to the receiver. It's a 25' cable too and no problems with sound quality (at least that I can hear, but maybe a shorter distance would reveal a better sound quality...).
     

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    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  13. rwartner

    rwartner Super Member

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    If possible connect short USB PC to DAC. Then long RCA from DAC to amp. Put the DAC next to the PC. You are already running long RCA cable. Plug the RCA into DAC.

    There are wireless solutions. My system is in living room. I beam the music into bedroom system using AudioEngine W1. (no longer made have newer model). Is just one way.
     
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  14. cloneofkane

    cloneofkane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Now, that makes too much sense. Only downside is that it is another box on my desk... ha. In theory, that is a best-case sound quality solution (short USB from PC to DAC; long RCA from DAC to receiver)?
     
  15. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    That is what I do.
     
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  16. FileFixer

    FileFixer Well-Known Member

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    Toslink optical cable probably work. Best way for that distance is any Audio extender which have SPDIF/TOSLINK inputs and UTP otputs from transmitter side and UTP input and audio outputf from receiver side. That extenders we use on my workplace for TV broadcasting at that distance and all works perfect.
    Something like that...

    [​IMG]

    Infio:
    http://www.ambery.com/diopspauexov.html
     
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  17. rwartner

    rwartner Super Member

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    The best solution is to place pc, dac and amp next to each other so cables are short.
    Ideal is to have dedicated computer for music.

    In your case I was scratching my head wondering why the long USB.
    I think long RCA is better choice than long USB. And you already have the RCA.
     
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  18. cloneofkane

    cloneofkane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  19. Mitkraft

    Mitkraft Super Member

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    My guess is that you should be pretty safe feeding toslink that far. Its freaking light fed down a fiber optic cable so theoretically it should be pretty hard to mess it up without breaking the fiber. I can tell you from experience that spdif is also pretty robust. I feed SPDIF ALL OVER my two story house from my DVRs and BluRay via a Component video distribution amp (which according to the specs will distribute the SPDIF but doesn't amplify it) and down multiple extremely long runs of Belkin 5 way mini-coax cables that were designed for video and analog audio.
     
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  20. Mitkraft

    Mitkraft Super Member

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    I'm curious, why would you think its better to run a long analog cable which is susceptible to all kinds of interference and degradation which never get corrected instead of a long digital run which isn't susceptible to interference, has error correction, is simply moving data, and can't color the sound in transmission until it gets converted to analog?
     
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