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USB DAC/ Sound Card for Dell XPS 15

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kromastorm

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Hi,
I have a dell XPS 15 L502X laptop. I wish to enhance the audio with either a USB DAC or USB sound card. I live in Bangalore, India.

My main usage is games and movies with occasional music. I will be using this with a 5.1 channel home theater and an audio technica ATH AD300 headphone. My budget is under $75- $120( if something remarkable can be found)/ INR 7500.

Please let me know if this looks practical and also what options are in my range.

Thanks
 

dr_rocket

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Audioquest dragonfly for 10k will be good if you can stretch the budget a bit. Otherwise one of the fiio products can do the job. These are for 2 channel output. For 5 channel look at creative or asus usb sound cards.

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kromastorm

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Thanks for the response. I will checkout audioquest product. Meanwhile, I am indeed looking for something which supports both stereo(headphone) and 5.1 or 7.1 channels. That way there would be some more sense in investing. Would it be possible to get both within 7-10K ?
 

MaSh

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Hi,
I have a dell XPS 15 L502X laptop. I wish to enhance the audio with either a USB DAC or USB sound card. I live in Bangalore, India.
In that budget, you can check out FiiO E10K and Headphone Amplifier and USB DAC. However, this is a Stereo only DAC. For multi channel, you can look at a USB Sound Card which also doubles up as a DAC. A good example being Asus Xonar U7 -Compact 7.1-channel USB soundcard and headphone amplifier with 192kHz/24-bit HD sound with a Coaxial Out OR Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 USB Sound Card with an Optical Out.

MaSh
 
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kromastorm

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Thanks for the response. If I should pick one out of sonar or creative, which one is more VFM?
 

kromastorm

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I have looked a bit for Xonar U7 and Creative 5.1 sound card. Now I am clear that I need a 5.1/ 7.1 usb sound card.
Also, creative has a newer option, Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 Usb Sound Card. The cost including import comes to Rs 7.7K.

Now I am lost with these two Xonar U7 and Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround. Anyone has experience of these two products?
Thanks
 

Kannan

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I have looked a bit for Xonar U7 and Creative 5.1 sound card. Now I am clear that I need a 5.1/ 7.1 usb sound card.
Also, creative has a newer option, Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 Usb Sound Card. The cost including import comes to Rs 7.7K.

Now I am lost with these two Xonar U7 and Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround. Anyone has experience of these two products?
Thanks
I have not used the Creative, but yes I owned the Xonar U for quite a while.
It is an excellent soundcard. It has two DACs, one for the main stereo channels and the other for processing the remaining surround, center and the .1 channel.
 

kromastorm

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I have not used the Creative, but yes I owned the Xonar U for quite a while.
It is an excellent soundcard. It has two DACs, one for the main stereo channels and the other for processing the remaining surround, center and the .1 channel.
Thanks for the input. Just had one doubt, do we need two DACs to run a 5.1 channel system?

One Xonar U should be enough right?
 

MaSh

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Thanks for the input. Just had one doubt, do we need two DACs to run a 5.1 channel system?

One Xonar U should be enough right?
Yes, one device is sufficient. The dacs if I am correct are built in to handle stereo and multi channel.

MaSh

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kromastorm

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So Xonar U7 is better choice than Creative SB Omni ?

It does offer 7.1 channels compared to 5.1 channel from omni.
 

MaSh

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Yes it is an excellent device, offering numerous possibilities.

MaSh

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MaSh

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Thanks.

One more doubt, I see there is a newer version of Xonar U7, Xonar U7 MK II https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X3RGC8Y/. Is it worth opting for? I will have to import it, if I decide to do that. but would it justify the additional cost.
Hmm not sure on what is new. On one of the reviews below is what I found

Asus is billing this as an upgraded version of the original Xonar U7, though it doesn't mention what exactly is different. Both products feature the same compact design and near identical spec sheets, save for the use of a C-Media 6632AX sound processor in the new model versus a C-Media 6632A in the old. It's the same chipset found in Asus's Strix Soar sound card, though it's listed as being capable of 384KHz/24-bit on that product and 192KHz/24-bit on the Xonar U7 MKII.
PC Gamer

Hope it helps. Worth it or not, is for you to decide;)

MaSh
 

elangoas

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Hi,
I have a dell XPS 15 L502X laptop. I wish to enhance the audio with either a USB DAC or USB sound card. I live in Bangalore, India.
Does you laptop have HDMI out ?

My main usage is games and movies with occasional music. I will be using this with a 5.1 channel home theater and an audio technica ATH AD300 headphone. My budget is under $75- $120( if something remarkable can be found)/ INR 7500.
Since you said you want to use this with a 5.1 channel home theater, do you already have one (or) considering to buy one ?
 

kromastorm

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Thanks Mash. The only difference I found was a better headphone amp and better windows 10 drivers ( works with generic drivers they say). Not worth the pain in my opinion.

@elangoas: yes there is an HDMI output. But that is being used by my secondary display. I already have a 5.1 channel home theater. Its a local company here called F&D. This is stopgap arrangement. I would buy a proper receiver after few years.
 

MaSh

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Thanks Mash. The only difference I found was a better headphone amp and better windows 10 drivers ( works with generic drivers they say). Not worth the pain in my opinion.
I guess a couple of chips are different but if there is no change in output, then I feel you are good with the current version.

MaSh
 
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