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Old April 7, 2013, 01:45 PM
sa seba's Avatar
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Default USB/Optical DAC or Soundcard?

Now that I have nice speakers (A5+ and AS8) I want to feed them a proper signal that improves upon what comes out of the integrated chip on the Crosshair V. This is mainly for Hifi experience and I won't be needing more than left/right and possibly sub outputs
So far I have been looking at the Audioengine DAC and various sound cards from Asus and Auzentech.

Does anyone have experience of one over the other and possibly some advice on what chip and output options provide the most accurate sound stage?

Currently I am going from onboard front/right out to the A5+, and from there per rca out to the AS8.
It would be the same schematic when using a DAC but a sound card will have a sub out.

My goal is clarity, accuracy instead of enhancement of certain frequency ranges (I am listening to a lot of different types of music) and I suppose that fewer elements within the signal path are an advantage.

Does this leave me with a DAC as the best option to circumvent the possibly influence that drivers and settings within windows can have on sound quality?

A lot of questions, I know...

BTW, my budget is 200 CAD.
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Old April 10, 2013, 07:19 PM
nasrott's Avatar
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dosen't audioengine have an amp/dac, not sure on the price.... guess you would need a bigger budget for both the amp and dac from them, around 340 for both it seems.

For my speakers I use this Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD Sound Card | Creative Labs Online Store

Last edited by nasrott; April 10, 2013 at 07:27 PM.
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Old April 10, 2013, 08:16 PM
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You can get a Schiit stack (amp and DAC, and yes, hardy har har), a Nuforce UDAC2, a FiiO E10, etc. There are so many options it's hard to narrow one down. Quality between them is relatively subjective so it's you're choice at that point. For $200, i'd definitely look at the Schiit stuff.
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Old April 10, 2013, 09:42 PM
sa seba's Avatar
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Oh I like the Shiit Bifrost but it's out of budget unfortunately.
Basically, I am now between a DAC such as the Audioengine D1 (180 bucks) or an Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card (200 bucks) or an Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 2G (If it ever becomes available).

Question is: which one would provide a better sound quality....external DAC or soundcard, based on users experiences?

BTW: An amp won't be needed since I am not using head phones and my speakers are all active.
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Old April 11, 2013, 02:08 AM
nasrott's Avatar
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If your just doing DAC would have to say fiio with the connections u use. Essense is a nice card also, use the pheobus also, kid stole my essence, never tried Az stuff.
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