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post #71 of 85
Hello I have a question. I've been using onboard digital out (spdif) to my Panasonic stereo system which is quite old but still not too bad. When I use headphones I also just plug them into that. Now, would I see a difference by moving to a sound card and using its digital?
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post #72 of 85
Thread Starter 
As far as speakers go, digital without any conversion is the highest quality you can get. Sure some sound cards will make the digital signal less fuzzy and ultimately better, but digital out already streams the highest quality and a sound card won't make it sound any better unless you get a kick out of playing with the opamps to change the tone.

As far as headphones go, they can't use the optical digital out so they would benefit from a sound card. The headphones are analog, so conversion from digital is necessary. The sound card is the DAC that does that conversion and the better the sound card is the cleaner the conversion will be. The more details you'll hear, the better the audio will be etc.
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post #73 of 85
That video was gross. Was it supposed to describe your feelings toward onboard sound?
    
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post #74 of 85
Thread Starter 
I came in with the mindset of "OH YEAH, KILLER ADVANTAGE, GUNNA KILL SUM N0RBZ YAAAA"
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post #75 of 85
Here are my experiences with computer audio.

I started with dedicated sound since my first PC (Athlon 800 Thunderbird/ge-force 256) and have worked my way through the sound blaster series cards through the years until driver support dropped.

I am not really a headphone man, I tend to only use headphones when it would be inappropriate to have my speakers running. Receivers, Amps and semi decent speaker/subs are what I have always driven, up until my latest set up.

Current;

My computer leads into an electronic crossover and then into two amps, one for treble and one for bass/mid. These drive a pair of speakers I designed specifically to be bi-amped. These tend to be very transparent speakers with an clear uncluttered sound, but a bit of warmth would not go amiss.

I originally had an x-fi extreme audio card which sounded decent, but was nothing special.

I modded it by upgrading the op amps and capacitors, this made a huge difference in sound quality. The sound opened up - everything was so much more clear and detailed, music seemed far less muffled than before.

I then moved do an external DAC (grubdac) - a difference of night and day from the sound card! Everything just sounded so precise, all the detail was there. I found the greatest benefit was lower down, mid bass was clear and detailed. At the bottom end, things had lost the boomy sound the x-fi threw out, the sound was clear and extended.

I received a pair of HD515's last Christmas, with my DAC driving my amps I ended running them off my computers on-board sound.

With SupremeFX X-Fi sound built in I figured this would be OK, I just accepted that my headphones had nothing on my full speaker set up and left things at that for the last 10 months.

This last month and a half have seen me go past a surplus electronics store daily on the way to work. After having a look around I found a rack of old tubes they were still trying to clear out. I picked up a couple of pentodes that I knew I could make would work with the millet starving student headphone amp.

I have been working on the amp, a bit at a time over the last couple of weeks and got it to a functioning state last weekend. I hooked it up to my ipod and some old headphones to test - sounded OK. Next up were my 515's and GrubDAC - I could not believe how good my headphones sounded, far better than any headphone system I have ever heard.

This still does not sound as good as my speaker/crossover/amp setup, but the difference between DAC/headphone amp and onboard sound is quite astounding.

I would recommend moving off on-board sound into a DAC or high end sound card to anyone.

Side note:

Remember that sound is analogue and a digital out is only as good on the DAC on the other side - a cheap receiver will have a cheap DAC.

I have heard receivers that sound worse, fed with digital than with an analogue source from a media PC.
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post #76 of 85
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input Jacob, I have also removed the youtube video from the thread. It wasn't necessary and as some people have pointed out it was, not the best reference to use, hahaha.
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post #77 of 85
Where can I get more info on DACs, what they are exactly and how to use them?
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post #78 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErOR View Post
Where can I get more info on DACs, what they are exactly and how to use them?
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post #79 of 85
Hey guys, I just recently bought a headset Sennheiser PC 360. I use it almost solely for gaming.

I'm using an onboard (mobo Asus M5Q-deluxe) and I feel it's not keeping up with my new purchase. So I've seen Xonar SB and DX/XD discussed here somewhat, but none of you mentioned Xonar DG - which costs less but apparently is better for headphones. The sources I have this from aren't very reliable though, and after stumbling upon this thread I registered to see what your opinions are, because you seem to know your stuff.

Also feel free to recommend me a sound card, at around 80 bucks budget.

Major emphasis should be on positional sound and overall clarity Thanks in advance!
post #80 of 85
I havn't had to to read through everything here but I would like to add on.

Now im not sure if you can do this with on-board sound or not but heres my experience.

I have the logitech z-5500, and they have a strong sub. I like bass so i turn it all up. The only problem is when i get it turned up enough to get the rumble and hard hits, the satellites become very unclear, they seem to be have quite a bit of bass as well, now I dont like this.

So what ive found is fine tuning the speakers with my sound card and provided software (creative x-fi titanium fatality) I can get big hits on the sub and clarity on the satellites. In order to do this I tune the channels, increase the treble and tweak some other things.

So by tuning the speakers i Set the sub to 75% and then each satellite speaker to 25%, this makes them not have much noise though when i turn the sound up. So to counter this i have turned up the treble to 75%.

Normally i would just have all the speakers the same level and turn the bass to 75% and treble down to 40%, but now i get the same amount of bass with clarity. So for those that ahve bas heavy systems a sound card might come in use more then you thought.
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