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Do I need a sound card? - Page 2

post #11 of 15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All3n View Post

I agree, I should have went with a DAC first time around. I liked how a sound card is "built in", but the drawbacks were not worth it. With better sound came problems, heck I did not even check my front panel headphones because I'm sure the interference and audible ground loops would have been worse. This was just my experience others have no troubles at all.

Now my amplifier is optically isolated from my PC completely. I just plug the DAC straight into the wall via an old USB cellphone charger, done.

Not sure what to do with my Xonar DX other then put it into my work PC. I don't want to sell it really because if someone experiences what I did shortly after purchase, they would think I sold them a defective card lol.

Not to get sidetracked but the problems I am talking about are huge "BANG" sounds or a loud "SCREECHING TECHNO BANSHEE".
I got rid of the bang sound by disabling a bunch of settings, but then the screeching sound started when you first use the audio after a bootup. I would have to leave my amplifier off for 30 seconds or so to avoid this obnoxious sound. (Tried different amps). I tried both factory and third party drivers.

The card (Xonar DX) sounds good otherwise, aside from ground loops that let me hear exactly what the 7950 GPU is doing.

Long story short a DAC avoids a huge amount of potential problems. Your mileage may vary. My amplifiers are particularly susceptible to ground loops because they have the third pin (safety ground) on the power cord. So ya I should have got an external DAC first time around.

Where are good places to buy these DACs? Can I get one for ~$40?
post #12 of 15
For $40 you're only going to get a portable headphone amp really.

You're going to have to spend about $100 for a decent DAC / amp combo (new), you could get one used though for the price range you're interested in.
I'd head over to Head-Fi there are always alot in good shape moving there smile.gif
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Stugots III
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post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by howyoudoing6 View Post

Where are good places to buy these DACs? Can I get one for ~$40?

If by "these DACs" you're talking about external stereo line-level** audio output interfaces connected through optical S/PDIF input, yeah, you can. FiiO D3 can be found on Amazon, B&H, other places for a little less than that. Many are much more expensive, but there's eBay-listed generic audio devices for less than that too, if you want to roll the dice:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-Optical-Coax-Coaxial-Toslink-to-Analog-RCA-L-R-Audio-Converter-Adapter-/180951139853?pt=US_Audio_Cables_Adapters&hash=item2a2187460d

** need to connect to powered speakers, speaker amp, headphone amp, etc.; not to drive headphones directly


The person you were quoting was interested in electrically isolating the part because of ground loops (which is what the above is most useful for)... which is much different than what you're looking for, inferring based on the OP.


For driving headphones directly, some external for around ~$40 that's most suitable is maybe the Asus Xonar U3. It's a USB device. Use a USB extension cord if you want.
Edited by mikeaj - 6/16/13 at 9:59am
post #14 of 15
The Behringer UCA222 is $30. Here's NwAvGuy's review on it. You have to have over 80 ohm headphones, though.
Edited by DoctorWorm - 6/16/13 at 10:04am
post #15 of 15
Ya I was going to look at some of the FiiO products, but my decision was partly based on what my local store had in stock.

The one I have is a DAC / Headphone amp combo that also has the optical input I was looking for. Apparently the Audioengine D1 can run most headphones, although there were a few folks that would have liked a little more umph with really high impedance headphones.

The headphone amp is a bonus, as I might not be able to use my onboard Purity Sound even though it is half decent. (Haven't tried it)

Anyhow see if FiiO has something to suit you, I don't know whats good or not but there is a bunch of them under 100 bucks, maybe there is something there that suits you.

Here is a link of some assorted by price in Canadian dollars but you get the idea. http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?cPath=16_1110&bsort=0&brand=0&price=1&location=0&sid=4k2bkdmnjqaneq6ja8pgr7dhi0
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