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Are sound cards still the way to go or have standalone DAC's replaced them yet? - Page 2

post #11 of 14
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so I see the FiiO E7 is recommended. Do you also need an amp for something like Sennheiser HD555? Or is it just huge heavy duty nice speakers?
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Ice Wings
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post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Z Overlord View Post

so I see the FiiO E7 is recommended. Do you also need an amp for something like Sennheiser HD555? Or is it just huge heavy duty nice speakers?

HD555s work fine without an amp, however something like the HD595 and HD650 will greatly benefit from an amp.
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post #13 of 14
Clearly in an absolute sense there's no way an internal sound card can compete with an external DAC/headphone amp. The Bryston BHA-1, for example, is much better than any sound card and at $1400 or so it should be. Same goes for receivers. But I don't think you can say that an external DAC/headphone amp, or even receiver, is always better than any sound card when you factor in price. It just depends on construction, DACs used etc.

For my current build I bought an Asus Xonar Essence STX (around $175) over an similar HT Omega model, and I don't regret my purchase. A major factor in my decision were reviews from sites like Sterophile and Head-Fi. FYI - the STX direct analog outputs are EMI shielded though that doesn't prevent interference for front panel jack use. When connected to the front panel jack I have occasionally noticed some EMI noise w/ headphone use, but nothing horrible (certainly better than my previous "high-end" creative sound card). As for drivers, personally I've never had an issue with the STX drivers, and the last update was about 2 years ago. Frankly, I haven't had a single issue with the card at all in over two years of use. Lastly, the STX does feature a dedicated headphone amp (power by 4-pin molex) and is rated to drive headphones up to 600 ohm headphones. It has various DSP effects, but what I like the most is the HF or "hi-fi" disables all post processing of the signal when listening to music.

Nothing wrong with using an external DAC/headphone amp over an internal sound card. However, for the $150-$200 price range, viable or perhaps even superior, internal sound card alternative options exist.
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post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorgatron View Post

Beast. So a receiver would be a viable option for a HTPC setup?

even better for an HTPC, because if you have it in your living room...

you can use speakers like these. I'm just linking Polk because that's who I use and love.

http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-TSi500-Floorstanding-Speaker/dp/B0018QNYPI/ref=sr_1_18?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1371002797&sr=1-18&keywords=polk+audio

http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-TSi200-Bookshelf-Speakers/dp/B0018QROCC/ref=sr_1_24?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1371002832&sr=1-24&keywords=polk+audio

anything that takes speaker wire on the back of the speakers. So you get REAL sound without having to rely on those junky computer speakers.
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