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New to USB DAC

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

So I am considering grabbing one of these:

(HRT music streamer II).
I would use it to drive my headphones (ATH-M50s) and my speakers (Logitech Z-5500). I do not plan on upgrading the headphones (ATH-M50s) but I am considering selling the Z-5500s and grabbing some decent monitors and a nice sub. Would there be a noticeable sound quality difference in the headphones (ATH-M50s)? and or the Z-5500 speakers? and a noticeable difference in a higher quality set of monitors?
    
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post #2 of 36
it'll remove all the electrical noise from the computer
post #3 of 36
An external DAC still uses the sound from the onboard audio chip. I would recommend a good sound card that can both process the sound and convert it to an analog signal. Most of the DACs I've seen are used on laptops that can't have an internal sound card installed.
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post #4 of 36

If you're looking for a USB dac, consider the Nuforce uDac-2. It's small, lightweight, and is great for its price/quality.


I have the Fiio E7 myself. It has a built in battery so I can use it as a portable headphone amp, but most of the time it's plugged into my laptop. I use it with my M50(yay) and it sounds a lot better than from the laptop onboard sound card. The E7 also has a bass boost if you want more BOOM.

If you're interested in the E7, the link is here.

The uDac2 and E7 is pretty similar in terms of sound quality, but the E7 can be used without being plugged into a USB port.
Edited by Smallville - 4/10/11 at 11:14pm
post #5 of 36
if it's for PC, I'd rather go soundcard tbh.
post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post
if it's for PC, I'd rather go soundcard tbh.
Okay so why do you and everyone else recommend an internal sound-card over an external DAC such as the one I listed? Is there much difference really? I don't care about portability or size as it will just stay in one spot anyways.
    
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post #7 of 36
Mainly depending on budget, a better DAC chip + specs for the price. It used to be the other way around but the Asus Xonar series did really shake things up for the better in terms of soundcards.
post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post
Mainly depending on budget, a better DAC chip + specs for the price. It used to be the other way around but the Asus Xonar series did really shake things up for the better in terms of soundcards.
So you are saying that at about the $100 range, I will see better performance from an internal sound-card than an external USB DAC?
    
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post #9 of 36
similar if not better.
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ____ View Post
An external DAC still uses the sound from the onboard audio chip.
Could you explain what do you mean? Why would an external DAC be dependent on the internal DAC when they're completely unrelated to each other?

An external DAC does all of the work and basically acts as an external separate "sound card" if you like that term, it doesn't matter is it USB, coaxial or optical, it carries the data in digital and converts it into analog and is in not dependent on the internal sound card except if you're looking to export high resolution 192KHz/24-bits or Dolby TrueHD/DTS HD surround streams, in which case your sound card must support either decoding it into PCM or sending it through as it originally is in the Bluray disc, and the former I believe most intergrated optical/coaxial outs do. All that is rendered pants-on-head retarded when your GPU has a HDMI port and supports PAP, you can just plug a single HDMI cable between a receiver and GPU and be done with both sound and picture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallville View Post
If you're looking for a USB dac, consider the Nuforce uDac-2. It's small, lightweight, and is great for its price/quality.

Amazon.com: NuForce Icon uDAC-2 (Black) Headphone Amp and USB DAC (24bit/96kHz): Electronics

I have the Fiio E7 myself. It has a built in battery so I can use it as a portable headphone amp, but most of the time it's plugged into my laptop. I use it with my M50(yay) and it sounds a lot better than from the laptop onboard sound card. The E7 also has a bass boost if you want more BOOM.

If you're interested in the E7, the link is here.
Amazon.com: FiiO E7 USB DAC and Portable Headphone Amplifier (Black): Electronics

The uDac2 and E7 is pretty similar in terms of sound quality, but the E7 can be used without being plugged into a USB port.
Go with either of these, the only way you could get better is by decoupling your computer from the DAC completely by using optical but that is beyond your price bracket, unless you have a digital receiver laying around.
Edited by Shiobock - 4/11/11 at 6:25am
    
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