Need Help Optimizing PC Audio

So currently my PC is hooked up in my living room to my Marantz Receiver via HDMI. I use my OLED tv as a pc monitor and television. I almost exclusively listen to music via MPC-HC on my pc. All of my files are FLAC. I'm wondering if I need to consider a DAC or something between the PC and the Marantz to get even better quality playback. I'm not really sure I totally understand how this would all work and I would love some advice. Thanks


Is the sound quality that bad?

I am doing the same thing except I have the Marantz 8805 and do HDMI from a custom built pc to the 8805. Then B & W  CDM7 SE fronts, 7.2 with 4 Atmos.

Is your pc or Marantz doing the rendering? If I use my 8805 the sound quality is a little better but not really worth it to me full time because I have Plex on the pc and also have all my cds ripped to flac.

And yes with optical you would lose Atmos, again I do the same thing I use my setup for movies and music. There are some things you can do for a pc like get a linear power supply to get rid of a lot of noise.

Like I said I think mine sounds pretty good for what the setup is, so until my job working on the corner starts to pay off or I hit the lotto I'm good. 

@flrun No I don't think the sound quality is bad at all. I'm just trying to make sure if there's an extra couple hundred I can spend on a DAC and it makes a difference that I do simple things like that. If there's no sensible option that will keep atmos then I'll just keep my current setup. I was just hoping for a simple fix, haha, which never appears to exist.

I came across this DAC. Any opinions? It has hdmi input and output. Would this make a significant difference instead of going straight from the PC to the Receiver?


@mattmiller Hey Matt just wanted to make sure you saw my responses since I forgot to tag you in the initial response. Thanks


Thanks for the additional info… very helpful.

So, my first thought is… the speakers are likely to make a big difference. The better quality… the better. I would work on that first. The Kanta’s are likely to be great.

When I first started out in this, sometimes I would try to change multiple things at once to make sure I got a big boost in sound quality, to justify my investment. But, if you want to really get the most out of your purchases. It is better, to make one purchase at a time… let new equipment break in… speakers usually 100 hours or more. Then learn what your system sounds like, before taking on another step.

So, for now, I recommend getting the very best speakers you can afford. Now, for a more strategic look at HT and 2 channel.


I would skip the extra DAC for now. Typically, combining home theater and two channel audio is a huge compromise on the two channel side. If possible keeping them separate is best… clearly not possible for many people. Those who listen to music most of the time can use a Home Theater bypass to develop both. Here is one reference. But I would learn about how to combine the two and you can then get the best of both worlds.

Is you get great speakers, you can later enhance the music side. I have had a home theater and two channel audio for decades… and a little bit of surround sound really enhances HT… and a lot of better sound quality enhances two channel audio. Very different goals.