TOSLINK vs RCA with 24-bit files. What should I use?

Leonel_3

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May 1, 2017
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Good day fellow users.

I currently have the Logitech Z906 connected to my PC through the Sound Blaster Z's TOSLINK port. I just recently got my hands on some sweet material; Rush's 2112 and Jethro Tull's Aqualung on 24-bit; for each, I have the stereo, quad and surround (5.1) files.

My question is; what would be preferable to play these masterpieces? I am not all too familiar with how TOSLINK works. I've read (vaguely) that it supports up to 7.1 channels, but not with 24-bit (much less 32-bit, I have a few) files. If I want to play stereo 24-bit files and also 5.1 24-bit files, how should I configure my setup? Should I use TOSLINK, or conventional RCA?

Moreover, the SoundBlaster Z Control Panel has quite a few settings that I am not sure I should change. For the Encoder I can choose Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect, and within DTS I can choose to enable DTS Neo: PC for either Cinema or Music.

Any insight you could provide to this amateur of an audiophile would be much appreciated!
 
Start with two channel 24 bit files.
Optical can handle that but the soundcard and the speakers would both have to be 24 bit compatible and both probably are not.
You can try it without changing you current hookup. Turn the volume all the way down on the speakers first since you can get noise when you try it.
Coax digital can go higher than optical in two channel so try that next. Last option is all analog. That uses the DACs in the soundcard.
The 5.1 channel files are discrete so don't need any encoding if you use the analog output. That would be the best way to use those. To use a digital output you would have to encode them and you would lose quality in doing that.
The soundcard setting and software you use to play the files will affect if they play to best advantage.
Check on computeraudiophile.com
They will have a lot of info on playing hires audio files.
 
Start with two channel 24 bit files.
Optical can handle that but the soundcard and the speakers would both have to be 24 bit compatible and both probably are not.
You can try it without changing you current hookup. Turn the volume all the way down on the speakers first since you can get noise when you try it.
Coax digital can go higher than optical in two channel so try that next. Last option is all analog. That uses the DACs in the soundcard.
The 5.1 channel files are discrete so don't need any encoding if you use the analog output. That would be the best way to use those. To use a digital output you would have to encode them and you would lose quality in doing that.
The soundcard setting and software you use to play the files will affect if they play to best advantage.
Check on computeraudiophile.com
They will have a lot of info on playing hires audio files.
 
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