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Posts by PurpleAngel

 USB DACs (& USB-DAC/amps) bypasses sound card features.S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) DACs (or DAC/amps) will work with sound card features.So you would plug a S/PDIF cable into a sound card's S/PDIF output jack. Some programs like Razor and PowerDVD will process surround sound, then sent it thru USB. So there can be a little more factors, besides sound quality, when deciding between USB and S/PDIF. For music, I use my Foobar2000 (w/WASAPI) and send thru USB, for trying to...
How about a Asus Xonar U3 USB sound card, $40. Comes with S/PDIF 3.5mm optical output jack. You do not have to use any of it's sound card features. 
 Soundmagic HP150 closed headphones.FiiO Q1 USB-DAC/head.Might be able to get both for around $200. The HP150 are V shaped, but still a good over all sound.
 I've always considered the best headphone surround sound is to get nice quality stereo headphones and hook then up to something that provides Dolby or SBX Headphone surround sound. Any headphones with 7.1 or 5.1 speakers built in would sacrifice audio quality, because of cost.
 What source/DAC/amp are you using with the AKG Q701 headphones?
 I spend $300 for my current DAC/amp (MFB-15)and spend another $250 on a tube head amp (Darkvoice 336SE), to have a tube amp option from my NFB-15's solid state head amp.So I have no problem pointing you at something better. I just like to make sure people are  aware of decent lower costing options.I know in the past I spent to much on home audio, would it have nice if some had pointed out smarter and simpler lower cost options.That had at the time been more practical, for...
 I'm biased for FiiO products.I never really hear any bad feedback on the iFi brand (with in the Head-fi threads I visit).
 Yes, that external sound card, the Creative E5 would be fairly easy to use. I like external DAC/amps, but I'm willing to pay $300 for my external DAC/amp,so at $300 mine is better. It really comes down to how much your willing to budget, for how good you want it. If you need sound card features, then get a sound card (internal or external USB).If you do not need sound card features, then a DAC/amp is a better value.
 Bravo Ocean tube (hybrid) headphone amplifier, $80, Which leaves around $70 for a DAC.Asus Xonar DX sound card (used, $40-$60) would provide a good DAC function, for the price.Hifimediy offers USB DACs, maybe something in the $42-$70 range?http://hifimediy.com/DACs/ready-made-dacs?sort=p.price&order=ASC&limit=100
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