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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been an A/V enthusiast for ~45 years. As technology has changed and improved, I find myself becoming more and more of a luddite; I find it increasingly hard to keep up with (maybe it has something to do with old age).
Having said this , I know that I need to update my system(s) to use digital download sources. At this point I know how to download/store music to my PC, but after reading all sorts of articles, instructions, etc. on the topic, I'm still befuddled about the most basic question - how to send PC downloaded/stored music to my stereo and home theater systems.
Also, I recognize that a DAC is a fundamental upgrade to improve the sound quality of digital audio files. But again I'm confused. Most DACs that I read about seem to be intended for use with headphones; but how does one get the converted signal to a separate audio system? Also, like all A/V hardware, DACs seem to be available across a very wide price range; yet I read a recent article that compared a $40 DAC to a $1000 unit, and concluded that there was no audible difference in the sound improvement.
So, I continue to be confused. I know that this isn't rocket science; and that somewhere out there is a source of the information I'm looking for - maybe "Digital Audio and DACs for Dummies"? Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.
 

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I use iTunes to download all of my music, and I used iTunes Airplay option to stream my music to my Pioneer SC-1522-K AVR, which supports Airplay.

I can also download all of my music to my iPhones and iPads, and use Airplay to play my music in my HT. So, I would suggest an AVR that supports some type of Airplay feature. I also know that you can buy a Bluetooth adapter for your AVR, and use the bluetooth feature to stream to your AVR as well.
 

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1. The simplest (and least satisfactory) way is to send line outs from the PC to a stereo input on your preamp. All you need is a music streaming program and they range in convenience and intelligence but you can start with WMP before exploring options.
2. Better is to use the USB output and insert a USB DAC between the PC and the system.

Everything else would be variations on how/where you (a) store files, (b) select and control play, (c) convert from D-to-A and (d) how you connect all.
 

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Do you use a separate DAC to improve sound quality?
Is your audio system completely analog? Tell us what you have to work with.

No, I do not. I only use my PC / iTunes + AVR to play music via Airplay.
So, in effect, you are using a DAC separate from your PC; you are using the DAC in your AVR.
 
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