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



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.

@ghdprentice Great, thanks for all the info. Do you have an opinion on integrated vs just adding a pre-amp? Seems like everyone has a different opinion on this.

The HT processor box packs so much stuff into one box it is not going to sound great. So, a separate integrated is a better choice. Purpose built for the least number of functions nearly always sounds best.


If you got HDMI no signal error message then check out this article. Here is the complete guide that how you can able to fix it.

I am kind of jumping in on this late, but I do have a couple comments.  If you want to use your PC to do all sorts of audio/video output (including Atmos and stuff), it's best to keep HDMI output.  If you wanted only 2-channel stereo, there are other better alternatives.

That being said, you can improve the quality of the HDMI output from your PC.  One way is to upgrade your computer power supply.  Put in the largest you can for smoothest current/power - something like Seasonic TX-PRIME 1600.  The second item is to upgrade your video card (depending on what you currently have).  The newer cards have more power phases for the GPU and output - this translates into a cleaner HDMI signal.  I think the minimum I would recommend is a NVIDIA GTX 1650 card. 

What is your current power supply and video card?