Question about computer line out and amplifier

Twinrehz

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Sep 17, 2012
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I have a Soundblaster Z card with a line out-connection on it. I don't know how good it is, and from past experience I've been warned about connecting my computer to standalone amplifier via 3.5mm jack, however that is usually with the headphone jack, as most computers don't come with a line out by default.

I've been googling a bit, but I can't find any useful info, only that the line out uses a flat amount of resistance, and isn't affected by the built-in headphone amp, which I've been told is the reason you don't want to connect your amp to the headphone jack. (It can distort the signal and affect audio quality).

I'm a bit of an audiophile, so I'm wondering if using line out will give roughly the same result as hooking my computer up to a DAC via optical cable, which then goes to the amp. The main reason I'm wondering is I need to get a new cable of some sort, and I'm trying to decide what my ideal choice would be. I'll be needing a 10 metre (30 feet) long cable, so I guess that signal degradation might become an issue at this length.

(As a sidenote, I also have the option of using USB to connect my computer to the DAC).
 

skit75

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Oct 7, 2008
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Line Out is an unbalanced analog audio signal. It would not suit you well to cover physical distances with that signal. With USB, you will also run into a distance limitation if you are trying to use extenders/hubs. When dealing with real time audio or video over USB, you are susceptible to the maximum allowable cable delay of 26 ns or 5.2 ns per meter. Adding more cable/hubs only adds more delay, eventually the host will drop the device due to delay.

Best to cover the distance with a digital signal and a DAC.
 

skit75

Distinguished
Oct 7, 2008
243
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18,860
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Line Out is an unbalanced analog audio signal. It would not suit you well to cover physical distances with that signal. With USB, you will also run into a distance limitation if you are trying to use extenders/hubs. When dealing with real time audio or video over USB, you are susceptible to the maximum allowable cable delay of 26 ns or 5.2 ns per meter. Adding more cable/hubs only adds more delay, eventually the host will drop the device due to delay.

Best to cover the distance with a digital signal and a DAC.
 

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