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Looking to upgrade my listening situation

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello Head-Fi I'm looking for some advice if you don't mind! I know this has probably been answered, I did a quick scan and couldn't find it, but I need help! Let me explain:

I just bought Audio Technica AD700s for home use only. I'm listening through my computer, with no sound card, and no DAC. I'm confused on what to do first though as I'm being told all sorts of things. I'm looking to spend no more than $200 total, and looking for the best bang for my buck. From some quick research it seems this would be a nice starter set-up:

Xonar D1
I plan on getting first and plugging my headphones direct into it. I only have PCI slots, no PCI-E sadly.

Then when I get the money I plan on buying a DAC second:

Nuforce udac

In which I will then plug my headphones into that.

Does this sound like a good plan or are there better options for the price/etc?
post #2 of 9
Why would you get both? Save the first time and just get a uDAC. They're $100. <_<
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well see this is why I'm here! I thought I needed both no? How do I connect the uDAC to my computer though? Would getting a sound card increase the sound in conjunction with a DAC? Which would increase it more, if they aren't used together?
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by keanex View Post
... How do I connect the uDAC to my computer though?
Some connect via USB, while others via FireWire port, depends on the DAC you buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keanex View Post
Would getting a sound card increase the sound in conjunction with a DAC?
No, I think a DAC works better as it bypasses the sound card in your system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keanex View Post
Which would increase it more, if they aren't used together?
They arn't used together, it's one or the other.

Edit: BTW when you say uDAC are you refering to a DAC, never mind I guess you are refering to a USB DAC
post #5 of 9
uDAC is a USB DAC that can be used standalone from your system, with very few things affecting it. (One being source files (duh), another being power-out from the USB, another being driver latency issues, which if those come up, we can help yah out fixing them.)

You're on the right track, though, you just confused systems. If you were to go to an optical DAC instead of a USB DAC, it would probably be optimal to get a soundcard as a 'digital transport'.
post #6 of 9
Have you considered the Maverick TubeMagic D1?
I own the ATH AD700s as well as Denon D5000s and UE TripleFi 10s and I bought the Maverick for my work PC. It is USB/Optical/Coaxial/Analog capable and if you are using it as a headphone amp (instead of a pre-amp which you can) it operates as a DAC/Solid Sate Amp.
I also own a HiFiMan EF2 (Hybrid USB DAC/AMP) and I love the sound of the Maverick over the EF2.

Search the forums for Maverick and you will see a long thread with comments and questions. It sells for $200 and if you are not using it as a pre-amp then you do not need to upgrade the tube (although you will want to spend $35 on a new OpAmp someday).

The Maverick added a lot of punch to my 700s that I was not getting from the EF2 or the X-Fi PCI Sound Card I had when I first got the 700s.
Good luck and sorry for your wallet...
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
So with the NuForce Icon uDAC which is indeed a USB DAC, the sound would be transferred through USB as opposed to a jack? Basically I plug it in via USB, and plug my headphones into it and I'm good to go? Thanks for letting me know that I don't need a sound card as well, saves me some money!

DannyBuoy, they looks REALLY nice, but out of my budget for now sadly. I'm going to put it into consideration though.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by keanex View Post
So with the NuForce Icon uDAC which is indeed a USB DAC, the sound would be transferred through USB as opposed to a jack? Basically I plug it in via USB, and plug my headphones into it and I'm good to go? Thanks for letting me know that I don't need a sound card as well, saves me some money!
Correct. You plug in the USB, set Windows to use it as the default sound device, and plug your phones into the uDAC unit. Doesn't even need a power plug.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that, I guess everything is answered then =)
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