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DAC and SOUND CARDS

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brejeshvarma

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Dear friends

I have doubt.

Suppose I am intending to use my PC also as a main source of music.Mp3,wav,or anything...

I also intend to use a very very good DAC.

So while using computer as a digital source alone,does it matter whether the sound card i use is an on board sound card ?
or
should i use a greater sound card ?

Any experiences ? suggestions ?
 

marsilians

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Dear friends

I have doubt.

Suppose I am intending to use my PC also as a main source of music.Mp3,wav,or anything...

I also intend to use a very very good DAC.

So while using computer as a digital source alone,does it matter whether the sound card i use is an on board sound card ?
or
should i use a greater sound card ?

Any experiences ? suggestions ?

I think you might be asking if you need to use a top class sound card if you are also going to be hooking upto to really good DAC?

If this is correct, then all you need coming out of your PC should be a digital signal (toslink to keep the jitters to a minimum vs. coax). The DAC can then take care of the rest.

I personally have 2 systems - one runnng Juli@ and the other Asus Xonar Essence. They are both good but in different types of applications. I have heard some of my friends who have used Beresford, Benchmark and Havana DACs are are extremely happy with these. All these people use a run of hte mill card with SPDIF output.
 

doors666

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I think you might be asking if you need to use a top class sound card if you are also going to be hooking upto to really good DAC?

If this is correct, then all you need coming out of your PC should be a digital signal (toslink to keep the jitters to a minimum vs. coax). The DAC can then take care of the rest.

I personally have 2 systems - one runnng Juli@ and the other Asus Xonar Essence. They are both good but in different types of applications. I have heard some of my friends who have used Beresford, Benchmark and Havana DACs are are extremely happy with these. All these people use a run of hte mill card with SPDIF output.

I currently have a m-audio revolution 7.1 sound card. No plans to change it right now, but in the long run, is an asus essence a better choice or is it better to go for a seperate DAC with the current sound card. Mine has coaxial as well as 7.1 analog outs. Also, most of the DACs are two channel or 5.1/7.1 channel analog outs?
 

jai1611

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Does the need for a better sound card arise even if you are using a USB based DAC, which should presumably bypass the sound card hardware altogether?
 

brejeshvarma

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I find a massive difference between using onboard sound and a proper card for digital output.

The ESI Juli@ has one of the industry's best digital outputs, and is ~8K IIRC. If your DAC is really very good, don't settle for anything less.

Dear Cranky
Thanks a lot.
A couple of quesstion more
1.From where do you get ESI Juli in India ?

2.I was suggested by one of my friends regarding (a)Creative X Fi Elite pro
(b) LYNX 22L Sound card....(I also have lot of cassetes for conversion).I know they are costly,but is it worth ?I have heard Creative XFi elite pro and was impressed,but no idea regarding others including ASUS ,OF WHICH A LOT OF GOOD OPINION HAS BEEN SAID IN THIS FORUM

3.How will you compare ESI Juli with them ?

Thanks once agan
regards
Brejesh
 

doors666

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Jitter in the digital signal comes from may sources, but the transport is the number one cause of jitter. In this case, the PC is the transport and merits equal care.

If you are ripping the cd using EAC (multiple reads for the same data to make sure its accurate) and then playing the wav or flac, does that not take care of transport related jitter.
 

longshanks

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If you are going to use only digital output then get the ESI-juli.It is said to be having the same digital out as lynx.

If you want to use both analog and digital out of your sound card then E-Mu 1212m.the E-mu's analog can produce better sound than many dedicated dac's.


if you have high budget then get the lynx two.
 
Last edited:

magma

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cranky\

i thought the best way to get a digital signal out is thru firewire on teh MOBO
but i know of only one DAC in the world that sports a firewire in and it costs 5000$ !

also sir
please do explain how the SC digital out betters the MOBO digi out
i know you have kind of explained it earlier but i didnt understand :sad:
 

suprateep

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cranky\

i thought the best way to get a digital signal out is thru firewire on teh MOBO
but i know of only one DAC in the world that sports a firewire in and it costs 5000$ !

also sir
please do explain how the SC digital out betters the MOBO digi out
i know you have kind of explained it earlier but i didnt understand :sad:

tanag khichai????:eek:hyeah:
 

thevortex

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My, my Cranky - a bit unlike your usual self and a bit more like your user id in this post :)
 

magma

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tanag khichai????:eek:hyeah:

completely NOT

As for your second question, I don't understand it, exactly the way that you could not understand my explanation. If you want to check for differences, connect a cable to a proper soundcard, and to your onboard audio SPDIF out. If you can hear a difference, you're lucky that you're able to spot the problem. If not, thank yourself that you don't need to spend more money, and give some to charity.

I see the sarcasm increasing gradually, so I'm out of here now. Have a great time. I had one for the while I was here.

umm
cranky ji's just got upset

i was doing no such thing as tang khichai nor was i being sarcastic.
sir you have grossly misinterpretted my post
i was not challenging any of your findings but trying to understand how you arrived at them.
its sad that you consider a question as a sarcastic challenge.

unfortunaltely not all of us are gifted in understanding electronics and hence many a time your tech posts do go over my head ( dont know about others)

i was just about to PM you about another volume control related query i had after i read one of your posts in another thread but i see you will probably consider that a challenge too rather thana noob looking for advice and hence i shall have to find someone else to answer that
 

marsilians

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I currently have a m-audio revolution 7.1 sound card. No plans to change it right now, but in the long run, is an asus essence a better choice or is it better to go for a seperate DAC with the current sound card. Mine has coaxial as well as 7.1 analog outs. Also, most of the DACs are two channel or 5.1/7.1 channel analog outs?

Essence does not support more than 2 channels and is really meant for analogue out. In addition, this is best used with headphones in my view. Even speaker output is a bit inferior (though I have not done scientific measurements). So basically this card is built for headphone listening and replaces an external DAC as most high quality ones do need one.

If you want to upgrade from the m-audio for multi-channel, there are a no. of options even in m-audio, Xonar D2X, Auzentech, Emu. They pretty much do an excellent job.

If you want to go the DAC route, I see it as a device providing way more functionality than a card as well as mobility if you get a small one like a little dot or such. I would go this route if you already had a digital connection and wanted flexibility to use a headphone on the move with the DAC.

I know this is going to be controversial, but my feeling is that an optical (toslink) conneciton - USB DAC sounds better than onboard and is not impacted by as much jitter as the card.
 

anm

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So if I have to decide between

1. Internal sound card - Asus Xonar Essence (that's the most preferred 2 channel card I assume), or E-MU 1212

2. external USB sound card (say E-MU 0404,my heart is set on it)

3. a DAC - I don't know which one to go for, and whether I should add one sound card too for passing spdif, or use USB - what should I go for?

4. firewire sound card - my current laptop doesn't have a firewire port. My older laptop has it, but the laptop seems to be dying. It's a shame I spent about 8k on it to change its keyboard, RAM etc. Damn!

What is your recommendation? Cranky, I hope I haven't upset u in another thread. I have abandoned that miniwatt thread as well after listening to Lyrita amps.

regards
 

brejeshvarma

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CRANKY JI,

As per your recommendation,I visited ESI Juie and saw HER.

My plans (or dream) is to build a system,where I will rip all CD,s as WAV files on a computer hard drive and play it from there,so that the CD-CD drive interface and its problems are skipped altogether,This may require Terrabytes of space though. I intend to give the digital out to DAC....to Preamp..like that.I would like to have the best results.Thats why my questions.

Moreover I would like the soundcard to make good quality recordings from my audiocassetes.

If you are i my position,which one will be your choice ?Creative...Asus...ESI Julie...LYNX...?

I once again thank you for showering the fragrance of knowledge into this forum.That makes it lively and meaningful.Your postings come out with the Science of art .
 

brejeshvarma

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Frankly, laptop supplies are extremely noisy so I don't know about using them as sources, except for casual listening. My Alien DAC sounded much better when using a regular desktop PC with a good low-ripple supply, than connected to my office laptop (I was not using bus power an yes, source file and player was identical).

Firewire is the way to go if you can afford it.

Second option is Hobson's choice: The USB 0404 uses poorer converters than the E-mu 1212m or the STX, but the latter are inside the PC and thus subject to all sorts of EMI and RF. The STX for me is an unknown quantity. The 1212m has a very good analog section, but I hear it is surpassed by the Asus. Then again, there are conflicting reports about the STX, with a headphile friend recently reported it sounds cold. I don't judge equipment when I haven't heard it, but my modded 1212m sounds extremely good too, though I don't much use it these days.

CRANKY JI...Thanks

I still dont believe in laptops !I dont use one and no plans also...

"desktop PC with a good low-ripple supply"...I didnt understand or when i use desktop PC with good sound card what else should i take care?I USE V-Guard UPS-60 to power my computer.Is that allright ?

For any of my queries,you can correct me and suggest for th better.
 

magma

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anm and brigesh

a couple things

forget about firewire unless you wanna spend big bucks
As i said the only DAC i know of that takes firewire input costs 5000$

next the Emu souncard 12m is agood soundcard for its price ( its costs half of the essence i think so its not a bad choice either.
cranky ji seems satidfied with it too.
its good good analogue andgood digital
i would consider it

now coming to external usb SC
well it doesnt make much sense to me
the Asus external usb SC has ordinary specs and is hardly known
youre much better of getting either a peter daniels , scot nixon or a PICO usb DAC
the you can get them used for 200$ or less easy. i believe they will beat the crap out of any external SC or might even better the Asus Xonar for that matter.
i would myself consider these , but i thought i would get one with more inputs hence im a bit stcuk
 

suprateep

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i never saw emu 121m card here in pune? any idea of actual cost or availability??
 

kaushik

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anm and brigesh

a couple things

forget about firewire unless you wanna spend big bucks
As i said the only DAC i know of that takes firewire input costs 5000$

Can we look at firewire recording interfaces, 200$ range has lott of them with 24bit/192khz DACs
 
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