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#368538 - 28/03/2017 19:24 External DAC's - thoughts?
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2500
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Since there are a few people here that are concerned about good quality sound, I figured I'd ask this question here.

I've been using the sound from my PC like this for more than 20 years : Soundcards -> external amp -> speakers
The only thing that changed in that setup during the years are the PC's and thus soundcards that got connected to the amp. I started with a Gravis Ultrasound, then a few Creative Labs cards and for more than 10 years now I've been using onboard soundcards exclusively.

But now my amp has given up the ghost...

I could just buy a new external amp and be done with it, but a friend of mine recommended to buy an external DAC (with included amp). These DAC's are supposed to generate a much better sound than the internal soundcard can.
I'm wondering a few things:
- Do these DAC's work as an external soundcard? In other words, will they produce every sound coming from my computer? I've got a feeling they only work when playing music files or streaming, but do they produce sound as well when eg. playing a game?
- My speakers are 170 watts RMS - 8 Ohms (some old Jamo's - CL30A's). A lot of these DAC's don't have very powerful amps, sometimes only 2x 25 watts. Does this matter? In the end, I want to connect KEF LS50's to it.

These are the models I've already considered:
- NAD D3020 - 2x 30watts - Bluetooth
- Denon PMA-50 - 2x 50 watts - Bluetooth - I very much like this model, but I'm not sure It can be used as an external soundcard.
- Teac AI-101DA-B - 2x 26 watts - Bluetooth : this one seems to be specifically designed to connect to a computer, but the amp seems a bit weak.
- Teac AI-301-DA-BK - 2 x 60 watts (sometimes 2 x 40 watts, depending where you look :$ ) - Bluetooth. Also nice, but mixed reviews...

I've come to a point where I just don't know anymore. I would appreciate any thoughts or comments you guys can give me. Or maybe al alternative model that's even better maybe?

Cheers!
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Riocar 80gig S/N : 010101580 red
Riocar 80gig (010102106) - backup

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#368540 - 28/03/2017 22:02 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: Archeon]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
A buddy of mine is "into" such things.
They're usually just "USB soundcards", in an external box.

I don't know if they sound better than the internal soundcard or not, but the primary benefit they may have is that they're outside the main box, and therefore farther away from any electronic noise inside the PC.

As they also often integrate a power-amplifier, there is less potential for noise entering the stream between DAC, pre-amp, and power amp.

Cheers

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#368541 - 28/03/2017 22:48 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: mlord]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30578
Loc: Seattle, WA
I do audio production, so I look at those products and shrug my shoulders, because for a similar amount of money, you could get a full external audio interface with a large number of XLR recording inputs and outputs. But I suppose if you're only ever playing back music, never recording it, I could see an interface like those being superior by virtue of their connection and playback features (and the built-in power amps; most audio production gear assumes you're using self-powered studio monitors).

If you're only ever playing back compressed audio, though (MP3, AIFF, DVD, Bluray), I wouldn't expect the DAC portions to sound noticeably improved, and even if you're playing back uncompressed original source audio, I'd think the change in DAC would be super-subtle. If your current computer sound system doesn't have any current problems with non-DAC related things like hum or ground loops, then I'd think you'd not notice a difference moving to an interface like those. You'd probably get more bang for your buck by putting the money toward upgrading your speaker systems; that's always a place where you can hear immediate improvement.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#368542 - 28/03/2017 23:35 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: Archeon]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
Ahh, I have many things to say about this!

First, a trip in the Wayback Machine to 1997 or thereabouts, where I had a crappy Dell PC on my desk and had just splurged on a pair of Grado Labs bottom-of-the-line headphones. When I plugged them into the CD-ROM's audio jack, what came out sounded like great music. When I plugged them into the sound card, it was a mess. I could hear the graphics card working. Scroll a window, listen to screechy noise.

Fast forward to more modern times and I've observed similar issues with modern computers. With most Macs I've tried, the audio is pretty solid, but often has a noticeable noise floor. Dead silent music and you still get some hiss.

I've tried a number of different external USB DACs, including a CEntrance DACport, a generic Chinese USB-DAC amplifier, a TEAC A-H01, and a handful of line-level devices like a Griffin iMic.

All of these devices are about getting out of the electrical nightmare of the interior of your PC. After that, it's all about your needs.

For example, the CEntrance DACport (mine is older than the current one shown) has a crazy, headphone-level class-A amplifier. But, the built-in volume knob was super scratchy when you turned it. Seriously? Yeah. The generic Chinese USB-DAC amp ran great, until a month past its first birthday it just up and failed. The Teac has been running like a charm for years, and I'm using it to power my gigantic VMPS RM2 speakers without issue, albeit in a relatively small room. I also use it as a headphone amp. I've used the line-level devices like the Griffin iMic back when I was doing DJing, so you'd have one channel for the room and one for you to preview what's next.

Suffice to say that I'm very satisfied with the Teac USB DAC that I'm using. My only complaint was that it requires the installation of a driver to make it work. If my Teac blew up today, I'd buy another one tomorrow, so I guess that I'm endorsing the Teac models that you're listing.

Also, I'd avoid Bluetooth. That's just another source of compression artifacts.

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#368543 - 29/03/2017 02:31 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: DWallach]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30578
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Also, I'd avoid Bluetooth. That's just another source of compression artifacts.


I'm assuming that ll the models I'm seeing listed that say "bluetooth" are ones where the bluetooth is an added feature that lets you play your iPhone music on 'em? That their main connection is meant to be USB2 or USB3?
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#368544 - 29/03/2017 19:46 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: mlord]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2500
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Thanks guys for all your input!

Mark: Good to hear these things are effectively external soundcards. Because that's what I'm after. Combined with the ease of having the volume button in front of me, and also the headphones jack.
I've just come to realize in the last couple of weeks how much hiss there is to hear with my internal sound card. And to think I paid extra for this motherboard because this one featured a Creative Labs (as opposed to Realtek) audio chipset and some shielding. Not enough obviously. shocked

Tony: I don't, never have and probably never will do any audio production. I do enjoy good quality sound though. And if I may believe a lot of the reviews I've read on these things, they *do* seem able to improve the sound of sound files quite a but, even of lossless ones. That combined with the idea that all hiss will be gone is very tempting to me.
With regards to my speakers: these are already pretty good. They are large standing speakers about 3 feet tall (that's also the main reason why I would like to replace them with the LS50's : smaller footprint for an equally good -probably even better- sound quality)
The Bluetooth feature on the DAC is indeed to allow portable devices to easily connect to them and play their music. I'm not particularly fond of Bluetooth and would always prefer a cable given the chance, but it's also one of those "nice to have" features. The true connection to the PC is indeed via USB.

Dan : Thanks for your input! I must say it eases my mind to see you are driving even bigger speakers that I own with such a little amp, and doing so without a problem! smile
The Teac model you own would have even been my first choice, but unfortunately it's discontinued. I believe the AI-301DA-BK model I linked to is its successor, but I'm not sure.

To be honest: I'm in doubt between the Teac and the Denon. It's strange to see: in the US, it seems the Denon costs $599 and the Teac $335. If I was living in the US, that would make it an easy choice. But here in Europe, the Denon costs €409 and the Teac €457!
Also strange: when looking at the US and EU spec sheets of the Teac, they are identical, apart from the one line talking about the power of the amp. On the US sheet it says 60W + 60W (4 Ohm), on the EU sheet it says 40W + 40W (4 Ohm). I don't think this is a small difference. I think I'll give Teac support a call tomorrow, see what gives. If this is for real, and the thing will accept voltages from 110v up to 240v, it might be worth it just buying it in the US (or maybe the UK, but it seems Amazon UK doesn't sell it - other shops do, starting at £319, also only 40W + 40W though crazy)
_________________________
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Riocar 80gig (010102106) - backup

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#368545 - 29/03/2017 21:31 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: Archeon]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30578
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
That combined with the idea that all hiss will be gone is very tempting to me.


Indeed, if you've currently got hiss or hum, moving to an external sound device could potentially improve the situation immensely, as was already discussed.

Hiss or hum can be introduced in a lot of different places in the signal chain, so if you're daisy chaining devices together, such as the audio being produced by your computer and then being sent through a flimsy headphone port down a crappy headphone cable into a cheap splitter adapter plugged into the RCA jacks of a power amplifier which is on a different DC power source than your computer, that's a lot of potential for things to get hissy or groundloopy.

Since those external DACs you listed had their power amps built-in, hopefully the designers made them so that the signal path from the DAC to the speaker jacks was clean, and that they've eliminated any chance for ground loops in their internal signal chain. In that case, it's the shortest and best-controlled possible path between the place where the actual audio signal is generated (the DAC) and the place where it drives voltage to the speakers (the speaker jacks). My expectation is that if you had any hiss or hum at all before, it should be 100 percent gone after you switch to one of these external jobbies, provided it's well-made.

If you don't use the internal power amp built into the external doohickey, though, and instead daisy-chain it into another power amplifier, then you're back to the same old issues again where noise and ground loops start to become possible again.

I still don't think the DAC itself is going to sound any better than what's in your computer. But there's a lot of other stuff those devices can do to make it sound better. Aside from the elimination of noise in the signal chain, they could do additional signal processing and EQ to improve the perceived quality of the sound.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#368546 - 30/03/2017 08:00 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: tfabris]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2500
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Thanks Tony. Indeed, those are my thoughts too. There's a lot that can go wrong with the sound quality when you're just using analogue out from the PC. An external DAC solves all this. And indeed, the built-in amps seems to be of good quality too. Also the used digital-to-analog converters are better quality components (like BurrBrown's) so that probably doesn't hurt either.

I've just phoned Teac support and they told me that the difference on power wattage between EU and US models is probably because is the US they mention peak output and in the EU they don't. Still strange. They also couldn't confirm to me if the power supply could handle both 110v and 230v, so buying it in the US is probably not a good idea.

Added to that: I just read some posts about the Teac having issues with the USB driver. A lot of people returned the device because of this. This of course is not an issue if you're using the device as a TV amplifier, but for the use I have in mind it's a complete no-go.
So that leaves the Denon and the NAD. The Denon has a higher wattage rating than the NAD does (50W vs 30W per channel), but every review I've read on the NAD says it drives every connected speaker excellently and very loud, so I guess that'll probably be ok. The Denon also seems to break down more easily and have more issues (crackles, pops). NAD warranty and customer service also seems better should something happen. So I guess I'll end up with the NAD D3020. smile

The only thing that still worries me is that maybe when I change PC's in a couple of years, I won't be able to use the DAC anymore because either there won't be any drivers for the new OS (by then) or USB-A will be gone and USB-C will be the norm. (but that can probably be easily fixed with a converter cable) In other words: that this new amp will have a considerable shorter life span than my old amp had. Even though I do consider 20 years of use to be a formidable success for a medium range amp. smile
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Riocar 80gig S/N : 010101580 red
Riocar 80gig (010102106) - backup

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#368547 - 30/03/2017 08:04 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: tfabris]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5676
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: tfabris

Indeed, if you've currently got hiss or hum, moving to an external sound device could potentially improve the situation immensely, as was already discussed.


My self built games PC has awful hum on both the front and back headphone connectors. Rather than work out how to fix it, I "treated" my PC to a $5 USB soundcard wink

It now sounds infinitely better than it did before.
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#368548 - 30/03/2017 14:54 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: Archeon]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
On the Teac and driver issue: Teac supports these crazy high-bitrate audio schemes (96KHz, 24-bit and the weird DSD thing from SACD), and those in turn require a driver. I can confirm that, after installing their driver on my Mac, everything works exactly as you'd expect. This was more of an issue a few years ago, when Apple switched up how drivers worked and broke everybody's legacy MIDI drivers and all sorts of other things. Today, it's a non-issue. I can't speak for how well it works on a PC.

Other options: the NAD and Denon options weren't available back when I was shopping, but the NAD is certainly price-competitive with the Teac, while the Denon costs a good bit more. Poking around Amazon, another choice seems to be the PS Audio Sprout (Amazon link) which is notable for supporting turntables in addition to USB, Bluetooth, etc. According to the vendor's web site, the Sprout supports "Model specific 120VAC, or 230VAC 50 or 60Hz", so that seems to imply that there's some way to buy one that will work for you.

Oh, and here's a super-nerdy comparison of the Sprout to the Teac. This review notes that the newer Teac doesn't need a driver on a Mac but does need one on a PC. Sigh.

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#368549 - 30/03/2017 21:17 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: DWallach]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Well, if Apple gear is an option, the Apple AirPort Express has a digital TosLink optical output, as does the Apple TV 3rd generation, IIRC. Analog output too. Feed into any Amp or powered speaker.

Some powered speakers accept TosLink optical input, so no ground loop concerns.

http://www.theairportwiki.com/index.php?title=AirPort_Express

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/forum...-external-dac-s

http://www.imore.com/how-hook-fourth-generation-apple-tv-optical-audio-speakers

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#368550 - 31/03/2017 07:08 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: DWallach]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2500
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Thanks for the info Dan! I kinda lean towards the NAD because it doesn't need a driver at all it seems, also gets good reviews and the price is pretty good. I also found out about the Sprout thanks to Amazon, and while I believe it's a very good unit, I also find it too expensive. Also, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to buy it in Europe (Amazon doesn't sell it over here, and importing it myself would easily add another 200 dollars to the already rather steep price).

Thanks very much for that nerdy review link, that was very informative! Cheers!
_________________________
Riocar 80gig S/N : 010101580 red
Riocar 80gig (010102106) - backup

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#368551 - 31/03/2017 08:00 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: Archeon]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5528
Loc: London, UK
Jumping in here, because I was also interested in an external DAC (mainly for the ability to switch between headphones and speakers without getting under my desk, and because the noise on my speakers is ridiculous).

Gotta ask: does your computer have some other form of digital audio out, such as S/PDIF or HDMI? Could you not run that into a standard amp, rather than using USB to a DAC? You'd get more options, and they seem to be slightly cheaper.
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-- roger

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#368552 - 31/03/2017 11:06 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: Roger]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2500
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
One of my main reasons I want such a DAC is exactly the same as for you Roger: I want something small to put on my desk which enables me to easily change the volume of my speakers, and indeed switch to headphones without having to crawl under my desk. Such a DAC does this.

It's funny, because about 10 minutes before I read your post I had the same thought: does my motherboard have optical out, and if so, wouldn't it be cheaper to just buy a bookshelf amp with optical in and without the DAC function, and so just keep on using the internal sound card, but optically?

As it turns out, yes, my pc's motherboard does support optical out (didn't even know that myself until I checked). And there are cheap bookshelf amps out there, like eg. the Orb Audio Booster or the Dayton Audio DTA120. (all between 90$ and $160). But it seems the headphones function, which is important to me, is not there then. I found one example that has both an optical in and headphones connection, the Denon DRA-100, but it's even more expensive than the DAC version (probably because it's also a network player).

This does ease my mind a bit about the lifespan of an external DAC : should at some point in the future the USB part become unsupported because it doesn't work anymore with a future version of Windows or something, I could always use it as a dumb external amp with optical input. When reading the user comments on Amazon, it seems this is the use case for most users anyway (because they connect it to their TV), disregarding the DAC features entirely - strangely enough.
_________________________
Riocar 80gig S/N : 010101580 red
Riocar 80gig (010102106) - backup

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#368553 - 31/03/2017 12:24 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: Archeon]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Archeon
... a bookshelf amp with optical in and without the DAC function ...
I would expect there would be a DAC inside the powered speaker since the optical input is digital, especially if the internal amp is not a direct conversion Class D amp (and even then).

Regarding headphones, I use Bluetooth headphones with my Mac. Absence of a cord is refreshing even when sitting at the desk, being able to just step away without concern.

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#368554 - 31/03/2017 14:13 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: K447]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2500
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Originally Posted By: K447
Originally Posted By: Archeon
... a bookshelf amp with optical in and without the DAC function ...
I would expect there would be a DAC inside the powered speaker since the optical input is digital, especially if the internal amp is not a direct conversion Class D amp (and even then).

Well yes, obviously when the audio connection is optical (= digital), there needs to be a conversion to analog at the end. My bad, sorry. Let me rephrase that then: a bookshelf amp with optical in and without the external soundcard function... smile

Originally Posted By: K447

Regarding headphones, I use Bluetooth headphones with my Mac. Absence of a cord is refreshing even when sitting at the desk, being able to just step away without concern.

I agree that Bluetooth streaming of audio is pretty good. I use it in my car every day. To be honest I still prefer a cable, but the convenience of wireless is sometimes *so* tempting. Besides, I don't believe the audio quality is that much worse with Bluetooth. No that I can hear or that it bothers me anyway...
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Riocar 80gig S/N : 010101580 red
Riocar 80gig (010102106) - backup

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#368670 - 20/04/2017 02:03 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: K447]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: K447

Regarding headphones, I use Bluetooth headphones ...
With my iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac ...

Bose accused of spying on headphone & speaker users, selling listening data

Well, fack sick mad

Yep, Bose QC35 is what I have. Two pairs. And I use the Bose app to switch which Bluetooth device I want to listen from (the QC35 headphones can only link to two at a time, and I have four device sources)

It is not entirely clear to me yet whether the Bose Connect app alone is doing the spying or whether the headphones can also 'report back' via the app.

Copied from the app itself;
Quote:
Bose Connect App Privacy Policy

Bose Corporation (“Bose”) respects the privacy of our users.  This privacy policy describes our practices concerning information collected in connection with the Bose Connect Mobile Application (the “app”).  It does not apply to the Bose website or any other Bose mobile apps.

The app enables users to configure their Bose SoundLink® around-ear wireless headphones II and link them to other devices, such as iPhones and computers.  The app gives users greater control over their Bose products and keeps those products up-to-date with the latest Bose software.

This policy explains the conditions under which Bose collects, uses, and discloses information in connection with the app, and your rights in relation to that information.  By downloading or using the app, you are agreeing to the terms of this policy.

The information collected through the app is controlled by Bose Corporation, which is headquartered in the United States.  Bose’s principal office is located at The Mountain, Framingham, Massachusetts, 01701.


What Information We Collect About You

The app does not collect any information that Bose or our service providers can use to identify you personallyAs discussed below, however, the app does automatically collect certain information from the mobile phone, tablet, or other device that you use to access the app. 

Log data.  When you use the app, we or our service providers may automatically receive and record certain information from your mobile phone, tablet, or other device.  This may include such data as your software and hardware attributes (including device OS version and hardware model information), the date and time you use the app, whether and when you update the app and your Bose products, and certain other tracking information.  To do this, we may use web logs or applications that recognize your device and gather information about its online activity. 

Analytics and related tracking mechanisms.  We may use mechanisms to track and analyze how you use the app.  We also may partner with third parties who do so on our behalf (see below in the section entitled “How We Share Information with Third Parties”).  These mechanisms can be used, for example, to collect information about your use of the app during your current session and over time, when and why the app crashes on your device, and a variety of information about the mobile phone, tablet, or other device that you use to access the app.  Such mechanisms may include software developer kits (“SDKs”), pixels, scripts, or other tracking mechanisms.  Some of these mechanisms involve storing small files on your mobile phone, tablet, or other device.  Others involve transmission of information to a third-party server through other means. 


How We Use the Information That We Collect

Bose uses the information that we collect to empower you to get the most out of your Bose audio products.  For example, we enable you to link your headphones to a variety of media sources, and we enable you to share content among more than one set of headphones.  And we use the analytics information collected by the app to learn more about how our customers use the app and linked devices; to improve the app and enhance users’ experiences with the app and Bose products linked to the app; to create new products and services and improve our existing products and services; and to enable additional analytics and research concerning the app. 

  
How We Share Information with Third Parties

We share the information that we collect with a variety of third parties.  Additionally, other third parties collect information directly through the app.

Analytics providers and similar service providers.  As discussed above, we may partner with certain third parties to collect the non-personal information discussed above and to engage in analysis, auditing, research, and reporting.  These third parties may use SDKs or other tracking mechanisms to collect information from the app and from your device.  Such parties may include crash and bug analytics providers like Crashlytics and service providers like Segment that enable us to better control data from the app and direct it to third-party analytics providers.  The use of online tracking mechanisms and non-personal data by these third parties is subject to those third parties’ own privacy policies, and not this policy.  Although the app currently does not respond to “do not track” requests, the data collected through the app is not used to create user profiles for behavioral advertising or similar purposes.


Other service providers. 

Sharing for legal and other purposes.  Bose also may use or share your information with third parties:   
• To respond to subpoenas, court orders, or legal process, or to establish, protect, or exercise our legal rights or defend against legal claims;
• When we believe it is necessary in order to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal activities, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to our property or the physical safety of any person, or violations of our terms and conditions;
• To facilitate the financing, securitization, insuring, sale, assignment, bankruptcy, or other disposal of all or part of our business or assets; 
• As otherwise permitted or required by applicable law.
Aggregated information.  From time to time, Bose may also share anonymized and aggregated information about app users, such as by publishing a report on trends in the usage of the app.
Children’s Privacy

The app is not directed to children under the age of 13, and Bose does not knowingly collect any information from anyone under the age of 13.  We recommend that persons over 13 but under 18 years of age ask their parents for permission before using the app or sending any information about themselves to anyone over the Internet. 


Security

Bose takes commercially reasonable steps to protect user personal data against loss or unauthorized access, use, modification, or deletion.  However, no security program is foolproof, and thus we cannot guarantee the absolute security of your personal or other information.


Reviewing and updating your information 

If you want to learn more about the personal information that Bose has about you, or you would like to update or change that information, please contact us by email at privacyandsecurity@bose.com.


Special note for app users from outside the United States

The information that Bose and third parties collect from the app is transferred to and processed in the United States for the purposes described in this privacy policy.  Bose also may subcontract the processing of your data to, or otherwise share your data with, affiliates or third parties in the United States or countries other than your country of residence.  The data-protection laws in these countries may be different from, and less stringent than, those in your country of residence.  By using the app, you expressly consent to such transfer and processing. 


Additional information

We reserve the right to amend this policy at any time.  We will make the revised policy accessible through the app, so you should review the policy periodically.  Any such amendments to this policy may apply to information we collect in the future as well as any information we obtained prior to such amendment.  If we make a material change to the policy, you will be provided with appropriate notice.

If you have any questions or concerns about this privacy policy or about the information that Bose collects about you, please send us an email at privacyandsecurity@bose.com. 

You may also contact us at 1-800-999-2673.  Outside the United States, please call 1-508-766-1099.

Or send a letter to:

Bose Corporation
C/O Online Commerce Group
P.O. Box 9168
MS 740 
Framingham, MA 01701-9168
 
Revised November 8, 2015


Edited by K447 (20/04/2017 02:20)

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#368674 - 20/04/2017 06:51 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: K447]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5676
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Well the app on iOS certainly can't "spy" on you in any meaningful way.

It can't tell what music or podcasts you are listening to, Apple doesn't give apps access like that.

I guess in theory the headphones could spy on you. They could run audio fingerprinting code, like Shazam, to identify what you are listening to.

The app could then feed that data back to Bose (or wherever).

But that sounds very unlikely, I'm calling bullshit on this spying claim until someone provides some actual evidence of it happening wink
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#368675 - 20/04/2017 06:53 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: andy]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5676
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Hmm, actually I guess the headphones don't need to do that (the audio fingerprinting). The track title info is available to them via Bluetooth, if they are using the right Bluetooth protocol.

That makes it sound a bit more plausible that they might be tempted to do this.
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#368682 - 20/04/2017 11:35 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: andy]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1437
Loc: Arizona
I thought the Bose app used its own player and not Apple's? If that is the case, the inherent protections wouldn't matter any more, would they?

I deleted the app as being useless after 10 mins of playing with it when I first got my headphones.

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#368684 - 20/04/2017 12:16 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: Tim]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5676
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
It seems the app does have a built in music player, can't see many people using that.
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#368685 - 20/04/2017 12:35 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: Tim]
K447
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Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Tim
I thought the Bose app used its own player and not Apple's? If that is the case, the inherent protections wouldn't matter any more, would they?

I deleted the app as being useless after 10 mins of playing with it when I first got my headphones.
I use(d) the app to install firmware updates into the Bose QC35 headphones. And to select which Bluetooth source I wanted to connect to.

I have not used the Bose Connect app to control actual playback, but the app does have something in that regard. Something about 'start the playback elsewhere, then the iOS Bose app can intervene'. Never actually tried it though.

Since the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones are Also sold by Apple I suppose this (potential) privacy question may become clearer once either Bose or Apple say something.


Edited by K447 (20/04/2017 12:36)

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#368822 - 06/05/2017 13:07 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: Roger]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5528
Loc: London, UK
Related: I wanted to connect some crappy PC speakers to an Xbox 360, which has a weird-ass AV connector on it (as well as HDMI), but it does also have digital optical out.

I got one of these ("Optical and Coax Digital to Analogue Audio Converter") from Maplin. Yeah, it's Maplin, and it's probably overpriced, but we were in a hurry, and it does seem to work.
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#368834 - 09/05/2017 01:37 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: Roger]
tfabris
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Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30578
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Roger
I got one of these ("Optical and Coax Digital to Analogue Audio Converter") from Maplin. Yeah, it's Maplin, and it's probably overpriced, but we were in a hurry, and it does seem to work.


Just remember to configure your Xbox digital audio output settings to be plain stereo instead of surround sound. I have found that, with cheap adapters like that, if you forget to force the source to plain-stereo, you will frequently get just the Front L+R channels of the surround mix coming out of those RCA jacks, dropping the all-important center channel completely. So movies, netflix, and cutscenes on the Xbox would lose all the main dialogue out of the center channel.
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#368836 - 09/05/2017 07:29 Re: External DAC's - thoughts? [Re: tfabris]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5528
Loc: London, UK
Originally Posted By: tfabris
Just remember to configure your Xbox digital audio output settings to be plain stereo instead of surround sound.


A valid point, but since we only needed it to work for the duration of a kids' birthday party, a little late smile

They were only playing Lego Harry Potter, etc., so I don't think it particularly mattered...

Originally Posted By: Roger
some crappy PC speakers


It turns out that the weak link in my PC audio chain is these. Terrible mains hum when using the headphone socket on the front. I'm going to wander down to Richer Sounds in Chiswick, probably tomorrow or Thursday, and have a chat with the nice man about my options.
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