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X-Fi Prelude vs Elite Pro + external DAC

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I busted my X-Fi Elite Pro opamp so I can no longer use my headphones with it. This means I have 2 options:

1. Hook up the digital out on the Elite Pro to an external DAC
2. Screw it and buy an X-Fi Prelude

The Prelude costs about £120 ($240). Would this money be better spent on an external DAC? I'm using HD595s.

Appreciate any help.

((Yes, I am an idiot. Even though I'd practiced removing SOICs on scrap without a problem for some reason when I (carefully) clipped off the opamp with my sidecutters 3 of the solder pads came with it. One is completely ripped off and the other 2 have about 1/4 of the pad remaining. I have no idea how I did it, since I only clipped it, I didn't do any pulling whatsoever.

Anyway, you learn by your mistakes I guess.))
post #2 of 16
Do you plan on using it to play games in surround or that require EAX, or will it mostly be used for music listening?
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
Do you plan on using it to play games in surround or that require EAX, or will it mostly be used for music listening?
Bit of everything. I play lots of shooters with EAX or, preferably, OpenAL. The CMSS-3D headphone support is also really important for me personally. I'm big into my music though, and I've filled a whole drive with my FLAC files.

The decision I'm trying to make is down to:

Busted X-Fi Elite Pro + Beresford TC-7510
OR
Auzentech X-Fi Prelude with no external DAC/amp
post #4 of 16
I can't comment on the sound quality of the Beresford TC-7510, but if it were my decision, I'd go with the standalone DAC. That way, you aren't tied down to a computer if you decide to upgrade. You'll lose surround capability with this solution, but if you didn't use it in the first place, the extra channels of the Prelude would go to waste.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
Do you plan on using it to play games in surround or that require EAX, or will it mostly be used for music listening?
He can still have all the EAX effects with an external DAC.

I'd say just get an external DAC and use your x-fi for the digital out to the DAC
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post
He can still have all the EAX effects with an external DAC.

I'd say just get an external DAC and use your x-fi for the digital out to the DAC
Aren't the DACs in the Prelude better than a similarly priced external DAC? This is where I get confused.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CloseToTheHedge View Post
Aren't the DACs in the Prelude better than a similarly priced external DAC? This is where I get confused.
The AuzenTech Auzen X-Fi Prelude costs roughly $240. The E-MU 0404 USB costs around $200. Both use the same DAC, the AKM AK4396, and both have emphasis on sound quality.

I'm not sure anyone has done a direct comparison between the two, but the feature set between them is different enough that some people will opt for one or the other without even considering SQ. For example, the Prelude has multi-channel output and EAX support, while the 0404 USB has balanced outputs and can be used as a standalone DAC.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
The AuzenTech Auzen X-Fi Prelude costs roughly $240. The E-MU 0404 USB costs around $200. Both use the same DAC, the AKM AK4396, and both have emphasis on sound quality.

I'm not sure anyone has done a direct comparison between the two, but the feature set between them is different enough that some people will opt for one or the other without even considering SQ. For example, the Prelude has multi-channel output and EAX support, while the 0404 USB has balanced outputs and can be used as a standalone DAC.
Exactly why a 404 would be ideal.

It will cost the same or less as the auzentech, but should have better sound quality, and a better array of output options.

Plus, since you would be using your current X-fi for the DSP, you retain all of the EAX and other effects.

So your choices pretty much are:

Prelude

or

X-fi + EMU 404

The emu will cost less, and will most likely have better sound quality since it is external, it has more output options, and you have all the same effects as the Prelude.

That is why I say get the 404 or comparable DAC, and use your x-fi as a transport.
post #9 of 16
i agree, if you can transport EAX still through the x-fi, i say get an external dac and get best of both worlds. You would get both good SQ and EAX for games. However, do you use a multi-channel speaker setup through the x-fi analog outs like the logitech systems? im not sure if the emu 404 usb has 5.1 analogue out.
post #10 of 16
The Prelude does have better components all around than the 0404 usb. Better opamps, solid state caps etc.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help. I think I'll go the external DAC route. Seems a bit silly to replace my X-Fi when the DSP works perfectly.

However, I'm not sure about the 0404. How does it compare against similarly priced DACs like Beresford, Zhaolu, Dice etc?

By the way I have zero interest in 5.1 etc. I use my HD595s for everything, and I can't see that changing in the foreseeable future.
post #12 of 16
I have used the X-Fi as a transport for years. An external Dac is the way to go.

What's your budget? Do you have an amp?
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spacemanspliff View Post
Do you have an amp?
Nope.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spacemanspliff View Post
What's your budget?
Budget is about £150 ($300).
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CloseToTheHedge View Post
Nope.



Budget is about £150 ($300).
Get a DAC and an amp then.

Maybe even DIY if you can.

Possibly a alien DAC and a cheaper DIY amp.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CloseToTheHedge View Post
=However, I'm not sure about the 0404. How does it compare against similarly priced DACs like Beresford, Zhaolu, Dice etc?
.

I have the X-Meridian 7.1 with the LM4262. It's far better than the Citypulse DA7.2x + clock upgrade (better than the Zhaolu ...).
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