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Dac or soundcard?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have an on board sound card the has a optical and s/pdif.

I use ATH-A700 Audiophile Closed-back Dynamic Headphones

ath_a700.jpg

Should i get Aune Mini USB DAC Mk2 SE?
http://shop2.hifidiy.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=10_24&products_id=99

a-10.jpg

OR
ASUS Xonar Essence STX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132010&Tpk=ASUS%20Xonar%20Essence%20STX
29-132-010-S01?$S300W$

Basically, what would be the best upgrade for me?
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Intel Core i7-3770K ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Superclocked G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 
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Samsung 24in SA300 RAZER Black USB Wired Lycosa CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 Corsair Carbide Series 500R Black 
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My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-3770K ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Superclocked G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
SanDisk Extreme SDSSDX x 2 RAID 0 ASUS Black 8MB Cache SATA Blu-ray Burner CORSAIR H100 Liquid CPU Cooler Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 24in SA300 RAZER Black USB Wired Lycosa CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 Corsair Carbide Series 500R Black 
MouseAudio
RAZER Naga ASUS Xonar Essence STX 
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post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 
Or what other options should i be considering or getting?
My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-3770K ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Superclocked G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
SanDisk Extreme SDSSDX x 2 RAID 0 ASUS Black 8MB Cache SATA Blu-ray Burner CORSAIR H100 Liquid CPU Cooler Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 24in SA300 RAZER Black USB Wired Lycosa CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 Corsair Carbide Series 500R Black 
MouseAudio
RAZER Naga ASUS Xonar Essence STX 
  hide details  
Reply
My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-3770K ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Superclocked G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
SanDisk Extreme SDSSDX x 2 RAID 0 ASUS Black 8MB Cache SATA Blu-ray Burner CORSAIR H100 Liquid CPU Cooler Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 24in SA300 RAZER Black USB Wired Lycosa CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 Corsair Carbide Series 500R Black 
MouseAudio
RAZER Naga ASUS Xonar Essence STX 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 5
Sound cards are better if you play games. External DACs don't support hardware accelerated sound APIs like OpenAL with virtual surround support for stereo headphone users.
post #4 of 5
The DAC on the Essence is pretty decent, and is definitely more versatile than a USB DAC. If you do spring for the soundcard, I would recommend looking into some op-amp replacements which can make a dramatic improvement (for relatively cheap).
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Win 7 64 Asus Pro Art PA246Q Seasonic X750 Silverstone TJ09 
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G9X 
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Wallet Flusher
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2600K@4.8 Lapped MSI P67A-G55 GTX 580 980@ 1.18v (WC) 4x4GB Mushkin Ridgeback 7-8-7-24 
OSMonitorPowerCase
Win 7 64 Asus Pro Art PA246Q Seasonic X750 Silverstone TJ09 
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G9X 
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post #5 of 5
DAC - Music
Soundcard - Gaming
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