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Upgrade from Xonar ST

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hey Guys! i'm considering building an ITX (just because I want to have the Silverstone SG-08 rolleyes.gif) next year but I'd need to replace my audio setup (no PCI slot for soundcard), so my question is: Anyone have any opinions on a DAC that would be considered an upgrade and < $500 (included amp if needed)? I'm also thinking about adding a pair of speakers.

I see two paths:
1) PC - Optical Out - DAC - Headphones(headphone amp) - AMPLIFIER - Passive Speakers
2) PC - Optical Out - DAC - Headphones(headphone amp) - Powered Speakers (ie: Audioengine D1 with A5+)
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post #2 of 7
You're not going to get an upgrade from the Xonar ST DAC for under $300 imo. You will also lose the gaming features like dolby headphone which you lose anyways using an amp on the line out ports. I'm willing to bet people are going to say the objective DAC but can tell you from my experience, it is not better, I sold it 2 weeks after I got it and stuck with my xonar. I would probably go with the Schiit Bifrost or Music Streamer II+ with a Little Dot, Matrix M-Stage, or Objective 2 amp; all depending on the headphones you have of course. I really think you're a lot better off finding an ITX board with PCI and just buying an amp or possibly some better headphones.

If there isn't an ITX board with PCI, consider trying to trade the ST for the STX; might not be that hard since the ST has a better clock than the STX.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
The ITX motherboard does have PCI-E but that's for the GPU, ITX has only 1 expansion slot hence the need for an external DAC. Thanks for your reply it pretty much confirms some stuff I've reading lately. I guess my ITX build is on hold for some time haha.

PS: now where am I putting my money next year thinking.gif (besides a next gen GPU)
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post #4 of 7
Optical to an O2.

Amp with the driving power to taste.


It is not an upgrade but you won't hear the difference anyway (i.e. not a downgrade either). There are some cheaper options in the $100-200 range that will also get the job done just as well.
Edited by friend'scatdied - 9/21/12 at 11:56am
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks I'll check it out, the thing that worries me is spending $300 to match my sound card, then $350 for new case and mobo just to use the SG08, we are talking about $650 for the same thing I have lol. I'm trying to justify the DAC/Amplifier with an "upgrade" which looks like is not happening.
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post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCa View Post

Thanks I'll check it out, the thing that worries me is spending $300 to match my sound card, then $350 for new case and mobo just to use the SG08, we are talking about $650 for the same thing I have lol. I'm trying to justify the DAC/Amplifier with an "upgrade" which looks like is not happening.

Well, not much upgrading you can do on the DAC front. What you have is consistent with what you can expect to get.

Can't you sell the sound card to defray the costs? That said, there's always a cost to going small. You can get a O2 DAC for less than $150.
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post #7 of 7
Why not just go microATX instead of ITX?

I have a microATX with a 4.2ghz i5 (noctua makes some seriously low profile coolers if you need that), and a geforce 660, an empty slot infront of GPU for air, and then my xonar d1
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