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beginner here. Will this work with the output from my pc?


Hey there, beginner! Welcome to the hobby. Short answer is yes. What follows is a list, defining each part of a digital audio chain, in the order that your music travels, plus optimal playback tips: In that setup, your PC (Personal Computer) will serve as storage or streamer, the player, DSP (Digital Signal Processor, like EQ and effects), DAC (Digital to Analog Converter, a cheap one built into the motherboard), and PreAmp. Then, this SMSL will technically serve as an Integrated Amplifier (PreAmp and Power Amp) for your headphones. Why do both this SMSL and your Motherboard both have Preamp function? Because they can both control volume, and that will affect the quality of your sound. Keep in mind that there is a spectrum of quality for each component, from your headphones to the type of files in your storage/stream. Basically, what you will want to do is connect your SMSL amp into your PC’s 3.5mm headphone jack (or RCA if it’s there), set windows volume almost to max, and start the SMSL volume from low and adjust as needed from there. The lower your PC volume is set, the more music data is thrown away and the closer the music signal will be to the “noise floor” of fuzzy hiss in the background. The more you have to turn the SMSL volume up, the more it will amplify your computer’s hiss, and even a little hiss will collapse the sense of soundstage depth in your headphones.
I just wanted to come back and thank you! I was actually struggling from a bit of writers block, but I revisited the beginner topic of “what are the different parts of an audio setup, and what do they even do?” Basically, replying to you was great practice, and I think this article is the best coverage I’ve done yet on the subject:
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