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Requesting a bit of advice HD555 Onboard audio

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Okay, here's the deal. I originally had a Xonar STX in my old build but I sold it because I went down to the ITX form factor and I only have space for a GPU. Right now I am using the onboard audio out to Bravo V1 headphone tube amplifier. I was wondering what I could to to improve sound quality out of my computer? I am running Mac OS X 10.8.2 and I don't think my X-Fi Go! would make much of a difference from my current onboard sound card or would be compatible with mac OS.

Also I have Westone 4's that I use on the go and sometimes on the computer, if you could find a solution that would work with both that wold be cool.

Any help would be great.
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post #2 of 13
take a look at the Audioquest Dragonfly.
    
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Little out of my price range.
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post #4 of 13
it's a great solution for laptops or special situations like yours. it's a USB stick with a Sabre32 DAC and headphone amplifier capable of driving IEM and basic headphones. it's even got a line out so you can hook up your tube amplifier. I bought one for my dad.

it's challenging trying to find a DAC and headphone amplifier that sounds decent for less than $200. take a look at the Audioengine D1.
    
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post #5 of 13
Maybe a creative USB Dac? Its cheap and good I have one running with Pax Drivers pretty decent audio quality its not a Cambridge Dacmagic ok but not far, here is a pic of my set up (I like a good sound)
The DAC is on top of the Sub-Woofer its really tiny thumb.gif







post #6 of 13
It would help if you knew what audio your apple has so that you can comparison shop.

Windows machines go by Realtek ALC numbers, ie: 892 is better then 889 etc.
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post #7 of 13
the Audioengine D1 is pretty small if that is a concern. your hand is probably bigger than it. I don't think the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD USB is compatible with Mac. the Audioengine D1 also has variable line out so you can control the volume on studio monitors or computer speakers with the knob on the front.


Edited by bumblebee1980 - 1/14/13 at 4:42pm
    
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post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have the Realtek ALC898 builtin. I was looking at the AudioQuest Dragonfly and I think that may be the best solution as I travel a lot and it would be nice to also replace the crap audio on my laptop, Sager W110ER.
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post #9 of 13
Yes with ALC898, you will notice a difference going to a discrete card.

Have a look here for example, because the specs don't tell the whole story. The ALC898 should be good, but it's not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omm1JL5R790

I found a big difference when I installed my Xonar DX.

Incidentally, my old HP MoBo from 2008 had better onboard sound then my ASRock extreme 3 which I bought in the summer. With my old computer I did not feel the need to get a soundcard like I did with my current one.
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post #10 of 13
the Dragonfly is a little longer and heavier than a thumb stick so it doesn't sit right in a USB port.



you can solve this problem by getting an adapter or extension

http://www.amazon.com/Male-Female-Extension-24AWG-Cable/dp/B002KKYXSI/ref=sr_1_10?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1358220537&sr=1-10&keywords=usb+2.0+extension
http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Go-30501-FlexUSB-Adapter/dp/B0001LS3EI/ref=sr_1_7?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1358220629&sr=1-7&keywords=usb+2.0+right+angle
    
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