Originally Posted by matbhuvi
A stupid audiophile question. Anyone using external DAC with STX and finding bigger benefits? I find the DAC in STX to be adequate. But, 5 years back i found my first bose speakers are my route to audio nirvana :P
In my experience, nope, haven't found a DAC that I found really superior. I have the Musical Fidelity M1DAC that I use for a speaker setup, which is about 1000$ (or was when it was new a couple of years ago), in all major reviews everyone pretty much raved about it and called it the gaint killer, or something that can pretty much perform as good as any DAC regardless of price, blah blah...but to be honest, I don't hear any difference when using it between the STX and headphone amps as opposed to connecting a headamp directly to the cards RCA outputs. I mean, there might be some tiny difference, I THINK the M1DAC has slightly more bass, (and thats probably placebo because reviews said it has great bass performance) and STX is maybe slightly brighter and detailed sounding in the highs...but its like 99% identical to my ears. I also had the Essence One for a few days for testing, as well as Teac UD-H01 and CA Dacmagic plus, and while their headphone outputs varied from the STX and from each other, the DAC sections pretty much were all on par with each other. In other words, if someone put all of them on a table without letting me know how many DAC's there will be tested, blindfolded me before, and then switched between them, I doubt I'd be able to tell which one costs 1000$, which one is the STX, etc. IMHO, STX DAC specs are one of the best out there, regardless of price, and it uses one of the best DAC chips available on the market, as well as pretty much some of the best other components available as well...and is built by a company that makes motherboards, graphics cards, etc., stuff that is technically a couple of lightyears ahead of soundcards, so as far as "assembly" of the parts and the technical side of things go, I think it cant get much better than it is now.
If you really wanted to hear any significant difference, you'd probably have to go for some seriously expensive professional DAC's or soundcards like the ones used in recording studios.
Edited by derbigpr - 1/23/13 at 9:25am