View Full Version : OT: Laptop Digi Out
Does anyone know of a reasonably priced mid to lower end laptop audio card with digital out (coax or toslink)?
Plan to buy a used laptop, put in a big drive, and play my sizeable song collection through a digi sound card, into my stereo's D/A. The 802.11 distribution systems don't appeal to me, I don't leave my main PC always on.
Card doesn't have to be high end, most files are 192 - 256 MP3.
One thought is an acer netbook with a MyBook 500GB usb drive, and a portable usb dac, but it couldn't match the stereo's dac, and 3 boxes is a pain when I can just do it all on the lap top.
05-09-2009, 10:14 PM
I use a Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro (http://www.turtlebeach.com/products/micro/home.aspx) to send a Toslink signal to my stereo from my laptop. Works great. A short USB extension cable can be used for stress relief on the socket if necessary (monoprice sells 'em cheap). I'm usually listening from it when I'm online. Like now:).
p.s. I just recently transferred my entire collection to HD, straight WAV files. 1TB is $100 now, so I had to.
05-09-2009, 10:41 PM
I picked up a cheap Behringer USB unit for cutting voice overs & editing video on my Dell laptop. I just started using that machine as a music server over the last month or so and it works very well, running the optical out into an older (slightly modified) Musical Fidelity DAC.
05-10-2009, 10:56 AM
The transit, although not the newest is still around and cheap
fwiw, I've got a squeezebox. It's pretty cool, but having to leave the computer on all the time is a little annoying. I've thought of the same as you- cheap netbook with a dac or soundcard...
05-10-2009, 07:10 PM
I don't know what other components you have but Elemental Designs is clearing their inventory of media amps.
They accept USB input and provide power. If you need the DAC and amps, these really can't be beat.
Thanks guys, I'm thinking along the same lines. AJ, the Turtle Beach looks attractive, but the OCD side of me noticed the it always resamples to 48KHz. I was also leaning towards the Transit that Mark recommended, with the added bonus of having a portable system for testing.
I was really hoping someone made a $100 card with optical out, that slides into the laptop, but I haven't been able to find one.
BTW, I bought a used (cheap) Monarchy Audio DIP to play with, but my DAC didn't benefit from it. If I use the USB port, this will come in handy to clean it up prior to sending to the DAC, and it also gives me an extra toslink input.
05-10-2009, 11:12 PM
I'm ok with the 48k resampling:). For testing too now eh? For that I have a M-audio (usb) MobilePre. Gotta have phantom power.
05-11-2009, 12:51 AM
$ for $, it's hard to beat the Behringer U-control-especially with wireless USB coming of age. A simple USB transmit fob intalled in an open slot on the Laptop and a receiver attached to the Ucontrol is as simple as it gets.
05-11-2009, 04:38 AM
I'd get a 160GB apple TV and be done with it: http://www.apple.com/appletv/whatis.htmlIt's got toslink optical, HDMI, and component.
If it's somehow not enough space, just put the stuff you listen to most on it and then stream the other stuff from your PC using the network streaming feature.
Or, you can get the 40GB version and software-hack it to plug into a USB hard drive directly (you need linux on your PC to do this - you can just install ubuntu on a new partition), or even replace the internal drive with a bigger unit without voiding your warranty by sending into an authorized upgrade shop. You can get it upgraded to 320GB, warranty in-tact, for $220: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/APLTV320UPOOWC/. That means the total cost would be $230 for the 40GB apple tv, plus, $220 for the 320GB upgrade, for a total of 450, which is still very cost competitive with a laptop+hard drive+sound card option, and a lot more elegant.
05-11-2009, 11:04 AM
Western Digital makes a $100 device that will play all of the popular file formats including flac. It doesn't have its own storage since they intend for you to plug in an external harddrive/memory.
I own a m-audio firewire solo outboard sound card. THe sound is pretty good. It has balance and unbalanced outs as well as a mic and guitar input. I enjoyed the headphone preamp as well.
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