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SoundCard or External DAC?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking about doing a system build with a mATX board and want to be able to SLI in the future. However, I would sacrifice the room for a sound card. Is an external DAC better than getting a sound card? What's a good recommendation for $100-$150?

Are there better studio monitors than the M-Audio DSM1 for $400 range? Thanks.
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post #2 of 15
Depends. Pundits will tell you external units will obviate electrical noise from the internal components of the system. However a well-shielded sound card shouldn't have too many problems with noise.

I think most DACs sound the same nowadays TBH, so just get something well-engineered that measures well.
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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Are external DACs sufficient for games?
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post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Limniscate View Post

Are external DACs sufficient for games?

Sure. External AMP/DACs are more versatile than sound cards because they aren't linked to a single computer/no need for installed drivers.
 
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post #5 of 15
Going external DAC here. Just pre-ordered the new Asus Xonar Essence One that is getting great reviews. $550 though so you have to pay to play!
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post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by CallsignVega View Post

Going external DAC here. Just pre-ordered the new Asus Xonar Essence One that is getting great reviews. $550 though so you have to pay to play!

I wonder if it performs like the price tag tongue.gif
 
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post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by CallsignVega View Post

Going external DAC here. Just pre-ordered the new Asus Xonar Essence One that is getting great reviews. $550 though so you have to pay to play!

I have never heard of this. I just read into it and it does not seem terrible. I might consider it for taking to my office and traveling with. Please share your thoughts when you get it. Also, will it do up to 24/192 through USB, or is that only on SPDIF? It's really hard to find a good DAC that will do 24/192 through USB, that's worth about $150 just for that feature.
post #8 of 15
Audiophile-marketed external DACs tend to have less robust software enhancements for gamers. I'm sure Asus's offerings are fine.

Personally I think any DAC or source above $100 probably is not worth it (and I've spent thousands of dollars playing in these waters -_-).
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post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by friend'scatdied View Post

Audiophile-marketed external DACs tend to have less robust software enhancements for gamers. I'm sure Asus's offerings are fine.
Personally I think any DAC or source above $100 probably is not worth it (and I've spent thousands of dollars playing in these waters -_-).

I plan to run M-Audio DSM1 through the DAC. Is the Nuforce sufficient?
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post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Limniscate View Post

I plan to run M-Audio DSM1 through the DAC. Is the Nuforce sufficient?

Which NuForce? I'm sure it measures well, though you can probably do as well for $100 or less. I'm quite a fan of Creative's E-MU 0202 USB personally. Generally you pay for less voodoo and blubbery with equipment positioned for professionals.
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