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Is a USB DAC basically an external sound card?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Will a USB DAC like the "Nuforce Icon" for example, sound any better than the integrated sound on a motherboard? I am looking to get maximum sound quality possible from a laptop.
post #2 of 7
Yep.
post #3 of 7
Yes. An external DAC will definitely sound better.
    
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post #4 of 7
You get interference from other components with a sound card.

With the dac it's taking a digital signal from the computer and converting to an analog signal with good parts and away from the other components

summary:
get a dac over a sound card.

I'm getting the udac2 delivered from another ocn member. remind me to tell you about it.
Edited by dcyli - 3/14/11 at 4:08pm
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post #5 of 7
Yes. If you're on a laptop, the onboard almost always has a high noise floor. Unacceptable. The best route is to go for an external DAC.
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post #6 of 7
A USB DAC is a DAC on an external PCB. A sound card should also have a DAC but they usually feature separate audio processors for special effects like say surround sound virtualization.
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post #7 of 7
I might be repeating what others have said but.... essentially yea...

All sound cards have a digital to analog converter (DAC) that converts a digital signal, represented as a series of 1s and 0s, to a continuous analog voltage waveform that can be played over speakers.
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