Michaelg7, If you have an expansion port 3 on your laptop (which I think you do), here's what you'll need: HP QuickDock 2.0. It's not the most streamlined solution, but it works and it's your only option. HP is no longer using the expansion port 3 on their laptops so this product is tough to find and may only be available used or refurbished. Back in 2006 HP made a cool multi-function cable (just a cable - no docking station at the other end) that connected to the expansion port of my ZD8000 and provided SPDIF out. I bought it for $29! Good luck.
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Thank you for your response. I'm so new to this that I don't even really know if I have an expansion port 3 on my laptop. How would I find out?
Since there is already a digital output audio device (s/pdif)shown as working on my laptop, and if I go to Properties it indicates that is in the front panel optical jack, can't I just connect with an optical cable and a toslink adapter on the 840c end? It seems to me that the digital stream would then flow to the 840c dacs. I even found in the properties of the digital output device that I can select the bitrate and frequency of the output, from 16/44 all the way to 24/96. To my untrained thinking, it seems I should be able to do this straight out of the computer without a QuickDock.
Again, I appreciate your help. I have looked all over the Web and HP support for information on this and can't find anything.
By the way, the 840c sounds beautiful. I'm running it with Vandersteen 2c3 Signatures and a basic NAD C372 integrated, but still the sound is great.
I almost forgot another obvious option (I was thinking strictly in terms of HP options via your sound card), you can use a USB to SPDIF converter like the Musical Fidelity V-Link or the M2TECH hiFace. Sorry about this lapse in mental facilities.
Michael, I think you're right! Now you have 3 options! If memory serves me right, HP output SPIDF via a headphone jack on a couple of their entertainment laptops a few years back. If your soundcard/properties gives this option, then it must be so. You'll need one of two adaptors: 3.5mm to toslink or 3.5mm mono to single RCA; or a 3.5mm to toslink cable. If you want a low cost solution, one of these is the way to go. If you want the highest quality sound and the most sturdy and reliable solution then a good quality USB to SPIDF converter is the way to go. FYI The expansion port should be on the left side of your laptop next to the monitor out (it's a wide multi-pin connector). It should also show up as an option in your soundcard.
Thank you so much. You have been a tremendous help. It's amazing how hard it is to find out information on this laptop and its sound capabilities. Starting with the help on the computer itself to multiple searches on the Web (and hours of time) I could find hardly anything, even on the HP support site.
I will try to 3.5 cables you suggest first. If the sound quality is not satisfactory, then I will go to the USB to SPDIF route. According to my reading, asynchronous is the way to go!