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Alright, bear with me

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm sure there are plenty of threads covering parts of my questions, so if you'd rather just link me to them, feel free

I'm purchasing an Esoteric D500 DAC that does not have USB input. I figure I'll be using optical to connect it to my soundcard. I figure I'm not looking/reading previous threads properly, or I'm just lazy, but does the quality of the soundcard matter if I'm running it to a DAC? At the moment I've got a cheap SB Audigy 1 that I use with a 5.1 surround system for my pc. I'll be getting bookshelf speakers soon enough, so 5.1 support isn't required. The Chaintech (sp?) seems appealing because it's cheap and everyone seems quite satisfied with it. Are there advantages to upgrading to more expensive cards if I'll only be listening to music/ watching movies?

I currently use iTunes to listen to my music, but it seems like I should be using Foobar2k and ASIO4ALL, apps I'm not quite familiar with. Would getting a new sound card and the DAC be useless if I continue to use iTunes to play my music?

Thanks for any help (answers or links )
post #2 of 14
Using optical out bypasses the soundcard's DAC.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
So basically any soundcard with optical out would do the trick.

Thanks!
post #4 of 14
ASIO/KS and foobar2000 is your best bet. You'll need to use the SRC or SSRC plugin to resample to 48khz, or else your Audigy will hack up the resample job.

Which leads to your question, yes the sound card and software makes a difference. You want a sound card capable of passing the native PCM stream without TOUCHING it in any way, shape, or form. You also need software that can bypass all the Windows processing (eg a KS or ASIO plugin). iTunes doesn't stand a chance of bit-perfect in Windows though. Unless you use the multi-plugin (or whatever it's called) and use Foobar2000 for playback. You'd have to rollback iTunes to an earlier version to accomplish this.

But even if you don't upgrade to a bit-perfect capable card, SRC or SSRC resample to 48khz in foobar2000 to a good DAC will sound great.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Like I said, I'm not familiar with any of this. SRC; SSRC? Can I have Foobar running for playback and just use itunes to sync with my ipod?
post #6 of 14
It's pretty easy to remember, since S/PDIF is digital (also called, digital out) it does not need to go through the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter).
Every other crap not happening in the DAC will still be in the stream.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blockman86 View Post
Like I said, I'm not familiar with any of this. SRC; SSRC? Can I have Foobar running for playback and just use itunes to sync with my ipod?

SRC and SSRC are plugins that resample the 44.1khz audio to 48khz audio far better than your Audigy does. The Audigy requires everything to be 48khz, so if it isn't 48khz, it will send it to the internal resampler. You would be better off using a much nicer software resample plugin over the very mediocre Audigy resampler.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Nobax View Post
It's pretty easy to remember, since S/PDIF is digital (also called, digital out) it does not need to go through the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter).
Every other crap not happening in the DAC will still be in the stream.

It isn't so simple, as there is plenty of digital processing going on before it ever hits the analogue stage.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redo View Post
SRC and SSRC are plugins that resample the 44.1khz audio to 48khz audio far better than your Audigy does. The Audigy requires everything to be 48khz, so if it isn't 48khz, it will send it to the internal resampler. You would be better off using a much nicer software resample plugin over the very mediocre Audigy resampler.
So I would require these plugins if I stick to the audigy. If I switch it to the chaintech av-710, do I still need those plugins? Sorry if I'm being obtuse about this.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blockman86 View Post
So I would require these plugins if I stick to the audigy. If I switch it to the chaintech av-710, do I still need those plugins? Sorry if I'm being obtuse about this.

I almost certain the AV710 is capable of bit-perfect, though I don't know specifics about the card.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Chipset
* New Multi-channel sound CHIP
* VIA ENVY 24PT

General Features
* PCI 2.2 I/F with bus mastering and burst modes
* 24-bit resolution audio format support
* Sampling rates up to 192KHz
* Supports Mic In / Line In / 4 Line outs & Digital Optical output
* 2 separate CD audio stereo inputs
* ACPI and PCI PMI support
* Windows WDM drivers
* Dimension:120mm x 106mm

24-bit is bit-perfect?
post #12 of 14
24bit means it can handle 16 or 24 bit, or upsample 16 to 24 bit.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok, that makes sense. Thanks for the quick and easy answers, I'll be posting impressions of the DAC in a few weeks hopefully.
post #14 of 14

I'm sure that...

The guy that sells you the Esoteric might just hand you over his sound card too
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