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-   -   High end sound card or digital - analog converter (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/audio/47736-high-end-sound-card-digital-analog-converter.html)

gomer October 28, 2011 01:17 PM

High end sound card or digital - analog converter
Hey, i just bought an older high end sound system that i want to hook up to my computer. Ive been down to some local audiophile type stores and their recommending rca into a nice 300$ + ditgital to analog converter to get the best sound quality if just wondering if going with a high end sound card is a better option. Its a naim system with kef 105.2 speaker setup. Thanks for the help.

Jackquelegs October 28, 2011 06:54 PM

Essence STX/ST has a nice line-out using RCA. I'm currently using them with my Schiit Asgard, and am quite satisfied.

lowfat October 28, 2011 07:11 PM

I think I saw an Auzentech Prelude for sale in the BST section for around $80 a few days back. You probably won't find a better soundcard/DAC for the price. Is still is among the best cards available.

ilya October 28, 2011 07:19 PM

Depends on how much you value sound card features vs lack of noise and how much you want to spend.

High end sound cards will have DACs that can output SQ at a similar level to upper mid range DACs. The main issues would be noise and OS latency. A high end external DAC won't have either of those problems, but a ~$200 sound card like the Asus Xonar Essence ST/STX would be cheaper and just as good *if* you can get the drivers working. (your speakers should be much more forgiving of noise) I'm not sure if you'd want to go that route though, as you have a fairly high end speaker setup with a high input impedance.

KaptCrunch October 30, 2011 05:36 AM

most new MB's have optical/coaxl outputs then going to your theater amp the dac onboard will see it

Jackquelegs October 30, 2011 04:50 PM


Originally Posted by KaptCrunch (Post 562617)
most new MB's have optical/coaxl outputs then going to your theater amp the dac onboard will see it

Indeed but to get the same kind of DAC offered in ~100 sound cards you would have to spend 800$ or above on a HT receiver.

biff November 1, 2011 06:37 PM

FWIW I have a pretty good system and am using a Auzentech Meridian (analog out). There is zero noise even with my ear right at the speaker.

Thucydes November 2, 2011 11:26 AM

Another thing to consider as far as the DAC goes is do you have another device that would benefit from it?

If so, it may make sense to purchase a DAC with multiple inputs and have a few devices plugged into it. I've used my DAC with everything ranging from an HD DTVR to PS3/Xbox to the obvious DVD/CD players.

If none of that concerns you then I would say you'd probably do just as well buying a soundcard, especially if you can get a deal on a used one like the previous poster mentioned.


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