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KEF and DAC mixed sensible?

Ludo

Active member
Jan 28, 2021
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I have a pair of KEF egg-speakers on my desktop and am quite happy with that.
Now my son gave me a V-DAC II that he wasn't using anymore; I had never even heard about DACs :)
I wonder if it is worthwhile placing that DAC between the KEF and PC, or would it simply be overkill?
 

Ludo

Active member
Jan 28, 2021
9
4
25
....then you might not know that there's a DAC in your Kefs - which you've been using if you connect your PC to it's USB socket.
Why not try the V-DAC and see how you think it compares?
Indeed I didn't know that.
I do see that the KEF is inserted to the PC via mini-jack at present.
Tomorrow - in daylight - I'll see if I can sort the cable spaghetti around the pc and get the KEF working with USB instead.
Thanks for that info!
 
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Ludo

Active member
Jan 28, 2021
9
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25
USB is working now, and I found something else I didn't know - in the settings for sound (Linux Mint 19.3, Cinnamon) KEF Egg is mentioned in 2 ways:
- Digital Output (S/PDIF) KEF EGG
- Analog Output KEF EGG

At present I have selected the latter.
It may take some more monitoring and comparing, but at first listen it appears to be the best choice :)
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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.....in the settings for sound (Linux Mint 19.3, Cinnamon)
Thought you were talking about the Kef's sound settings at first Ludo (wondered what Mint and Cinnamon had to do with the price of fish :unsure: )
Then I remembered you said you used Linux.
Seems you might prefer the DAC in your PC to Kef's one then.
 

Ludo

Active member
Jan 28, 2021
9
4
25
You mean put the DAC in between PC and KEF?
But I thought you said KEF has its own DAC-system inherently?
Perhaps I misunderstood..

At present the DAC is hooked up to an older laptop and some cheaper Bose speakers - there the difference is really noticeable.
If the DAC would improve even the KEFs sound, that should be an incredible sound.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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You mean put the DAC in between PC and KEF?
Yes, that's an option for you.

To be clear, your Kefs have got their own DAC.
It's capable of accepting up to 24 bit, 96kHz hi-res files (via the USB input).
It also does the Digital to Analogue Conversion if you use the optical digital input.

When you listen to any stream on your computer, whether it be FLAC, mp3 or any other audio file, it starts out in digital form.
The digital has to be converted to analogue (by a DAC) before you hear it .
A line output is an analogue signal.
So when you use the line output from your PC into the Kef (3.5mm) line input, you're using the DAC in your PC.......Kef internal amp gets the analogue it needs to drive the speakers.
If you connect via USB from PC to Kef, the signal is still in digital form and the necessary conversion from D to A is done by the Kef's own DAC.

When you connect the V-DAC to PC via USB, once configured, the V-DAC will be doing the D to A conversion and sending analogue to Kef's line input.
Note that, at any time, only one DAC is in the chain.....you can choose which one of three o_O
 
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Ludo

Active member
Jan 28, 2021
9
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25
Thank you Gray, that is a very clear explanation.
Putting the V-DAC between PC and the Kef will be the next sound experiment then :)
 
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Ludo

Active member
Jan 28, 2021
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I've done some puzzling and see there's 1 bit missing.

My PC has an S/PDIF output that I could put in the optical input of the V-DAC.
The only output option on the V-DAC is a 2-way RCA mini jack.
I do not have a cable in the house that turns 2 female RCA into 1 mini jack for the KEF aux input.

Is it worthwhile buying such a cable, or won't it add extra sound quality - perhaps even make it less good with the mini jack aux?
All the cables that came with the V-DAC are high quality copper by the looks of it. Ending up that chain with an ordinary mini jack also might weaken the signal?
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
1,518
944
12,570
I've done some puzzling and see there's 1 bit missing.

My PC has an S/PDIF output that I could put in the optical input of the V-DAC.
The only output option on the V-DAC is a 2-way RCA mini jack.
I do not have a cable in the house that turns 2 female RCA into 1 mini jack for the KEF aux input.

Is it worthwhile buying such a cable, or won't it add extra sound quality - perhaps even make it less good with the mini jack aux?
All the cables that came with the V-DAC are high quality copper by the looks of it. Ending up that chain with an ordinary mini jack also might weaken the signal?
Differences between DACs can be subtle - but a million times less subtle than the differences between cables (y)
For under 3 quid, this (perfectly adequate) cable would allow you to experiment if you wish to.
Various lengths available:
 
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Ludo

Active member
Jan 28, 2021
9
4
25
Thank you again Gray, I've meanwhile bought a similar gold plated cable.
Afterwards I decided to hook up the V-DAC to the laptop again, because on the main desktop it's not so practical that I always have to remember to unplug the power to prevent it from overheating.
The laptop is used only occasionally, and set up so that unplugging won't be forgotten.
Also, the KEF-egg sounds really good enough on its own - it was a worthwhile experiment :)
 
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