As the thread title states, please forgive my ignorance. I have been lurking in this part of the site for some time now and feel the only way to prevent myself screwing up is just to ask....
For those with time to kill, an intro...
I don't game. I watch the very occassional movie on my desktop. I listen to music....a lot, I have some great cans and about a dozen pairs of IEMs of various calibres (my favourites being my Westone UM2's with ACS custom sleeves) and do most of my listening on a Cowon S9 which has fantastic sound reproduction. I don't have the technical knowledge to know why the things I like generate a lovely, clear, precise sound. But I know they do and I love it.
Increasingly I find myself working from home so have started to listen to my foobar library via my deskptop's onboard Realtek audio and the old Sony 2.1 (I think) SRS-D21 subwoofer and satelites. About a month ago I cracked. I can no longer cope with the tinitus-like whine that presumably the onboard audio (Asus P8P67 mobo) generates or the muffled, muddy noise of the Sony speakers.
So, I've been trying to find a solution to getting decent audio quality from my desktop, without spending a fortune (budget is probably a max. £150, though as with anything if there is significantly better quality available for a little extra investment then I'd go for it).
So, to my questions....
- Is there a general consensus on the route to go here. PCI soundcard (like the Asus Xonar range) or some sort of desktop DAC?
- If the better route is the desktop DAC route, does the audio output come via USB? Looking at something like the Fiio E9/E7 combo, this is right?
- I am right in saying I don't need both a discrete soundcard and a DAC? I think a soundcard is just a DAC that connects via PCI rather than being n external.
- I have my eye on something like the Edifier R1600T or the Aego M speakers. Would either of these be better suited to the discrete soundcard or the USB-fed DAC?
- If I went for either of the two speaker systems above, would I need any other hardware? Would either of the speaker sets mentions need an DAC with a built in amp for example?
Thanks in advance to anyone who is able to offer me any advice. I suspect I know the answers. I suspect the solution that would suit me best would be the USB-fed DAC, as I don't want to have to control volume, etc on the PC but would prefer to use "knobs" on my desk.
Edited by LJ50 - 10/11/11 at 12:45pm