How can I improve cableTV audio?

I currently run my cable TV directly into my Samsung Tantus TXN2798HF 27" CRT tv, and then take a pair of RCA audio outs to my VAC preamp.

The sound for TV through my stereo this way isn't very good at all, better than just the TV alone, but I'm wondering if I can do better? like run the coax cable into something else (a DAC? something else?) and then run the video signal onto the TV, and the audio onto my preamp?

I don't know of any DAC or otherwise that will accept the raw coax feed from cableTV. If you have digital cable, generally the set top cable box will have digital outputs. Sometimes these digital cable boxes can be set to PCM and the output can be decoded by a DAC, however the last two different digital cable boxes that I've owned output DD encoded signals only. A DAC will not decode dolby digital.


Yup Reubent nailed it. The best thing is to get an older box where the output is 44.1 or 48----Then hook that to a 2ch dac.----I have 2 direct boxes--one each. (DD and 48hrtz)
If it's not digital cable you might try routing your cable through a HiFi VCR and connecting the audio from that to your stereo. You'd need to use your VCR remote to change channels.
While you can route the audio through a vcr---that method isn't any better than just using the box's analog straight to a 2ch pre. The goods are there--you just need to keep it digital--to a quaity 2 ch. dac. This refers to the older non DD / but still has a digital out, box. The setup I have will challenge many cd systems. (I use the Audiomecca Enkianthus dac.)
Any idea where I can find a non DD (that stands for Dolby Digital?) cable box? How does that work... I run the raw cable into this box, and then run digital out to my DAC, and another Coax to the TV?
What you would be looking for is an older box. The rf screw connector cable goes into the cable box,as usual.(Cable-in) Then out of the box you run a coax to a 2ch dac. Years ago most cable company boxes had a coax-out. In fact I go back to the dmx radio;from my cable co.---I think thier present boxes do DD for the movie stations(hbo etc) and 48 for the music stations.---(48 is a 2ch. digital format) This is how it was 2/3 years back and I don't know how it works today. To repeat; the goods are in there.
My current Hi-Def digital cable box for Time Warner Cable is made by Pace. It only outputs DD signal over the digital coax or toslink cable. For non-DD 5.1 broadcast, it outputs DD 2/0. Most/All DACs will not convert DD 5.1 or 2/0, only PCM. My current and previous (Scientific Atlanta) hi-def cable boxes do not have a setting to change the output from DD to PCM. So, I can't use my DAC for any cable TV broadcast.

Some older boxes had a feature that would allow selection of the digital output format, like a DVD player has. If you can find a cable box that has a selection for PCM output, it should work.