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CD Player VS Soundcard DAC

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

 

Currently looking to invest in either CD Player or a Soundcard to push over some AUX cables to my AMP. 
 
My absolute main concern is for quality of audio. I would love to use my computer and iTunes (all Apple Lossless) for ease of use with a soundcard. But in my experience CD players always sound better? But I also have never owned a HI-FI DAC like the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829132014
 
So, CD Player Or SoundCard?
 
 
Speakers: EMP TEK E55Ti
AMP: Yamaha AX-497

Edited by peck1234 - 4/29/12 at 2:06am
post #2 of 28

I am currently considering whether to get rid of my cd player and get a dac. Morbid toaster suggested the marantz sa 8004 - it has a cd player with optical, coax, and usb ins.  CD player and DAC in one, that could solve your dilemma. 

post #3 of 28

Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card, $50-$60

 

DAC Destroyer, USB DAC, $50

 

HRT Music streamer, USB DAC, $150.

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 

 

Thanks I think I'm going to try both in this case.
 
I have a very basic Sony CD Player on order, 
along with the 

ASUS Xonar Essence ST

 
Once they arrive I will be comparing both in terms of sound quality and update this thread. 

Edited by peck1234 - 4/30/12 at 3:51am
post #5 of 28

If you mainly intend to use the CD player as a DAC only, rather than actually playing CDs, then a sound card or DAC is likely to be better value for the money.

post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 

Very True as I said I will be comparing both and returning the one which offer less sound quality.   I have a very weird feeling that the cd player is still going to outperform the ASUS Xonar Essence.

ST.

 

Here's the items I have on order...

 

http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921666438938

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132014

post #7 of 28

It looks as if you are looking at the lower end of the market.

 

You do get what you pay for and good DACs are not cheap.

 

My own DAC / headphone amplifier is about £2,000 (though it sells for just under $2,000 in the US)

 

Personally, I would not get an internal sound-card nowadays due to the risk of electronic and RF interference from the computer.  Also, most of them seem to be designed for the gamer market.

 

I would go for an external unit myself.

 

I would suggest you look at the CEntrance DACport.

 

DACport_pictures_1-200.jpgDACport_pictures_2-200.jpg

 

 

DACport-inside_lmod.jpg

 

This is a full Class-A audiophile headphone amplifier and a very nice DAC - certainly well worth looking at.

 

The advantage is that you can move it from computer to computer - anything with a USB socket.

 

The Stereophile review is HERE.

post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by peck1234 View Post

Very True as I said I will be comparing both and returning the one which offer less sound quality.   I have a very weird feeling that the cd player is still going to outperform the ASUS Xonar Essence ST.

 

Well, a $35 (is that correct ?) player probably does not outperform the Xonar ST technically, although it may be good enough to sound better to someone who believes it is better normal_smile%20.gif By the way, if you do not need the headphone amplifier of the ST, then other models would have been fine. A simple Xonar D1 or DX has higher noise and distortion specs than the ST, but still not at an audible level anyway; on the other hand, the ST has less flat frequency response (slightly rolled off treble).

post #9 of 28

Why did you get an non-HiFi optical disc player when most desktops have optical drives? I assume they offer approximately the same level of SQ- someone please correct me if not.

 

If the Xonar ST works on your machine, then you'll probably be able to compare ODD v. Soundcard that way.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post

It looks as if you are looking at the lower end of the market.

 

You do get what you pay for and good DACs are not cheap.

 

My own DAC / headphone amplifier is about £2,000 (though it sells for just under $2,000 in the US)

 

Personally, I would not get an internal sound-card nowadays due to the risk of electronic and RF interference from the computer.  Also, most of them seem to be designed for the gamer market.

 

I would go for an external unit myself.

 

I would suggest you look at the CEntrance DACport.

 

 

Yes but without an internal soundcard, how do you get clean audio out of your desktop/case? I wanted to use an external solution as well but found that the audio exported from both my motherboard and case USB ports was riddled with distortion when played through an admittedly low-end Maverick Tubemagic DAC/AMP.

post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
I wanted somthing seperate from my pc. Like i said, in my experience even the most basic cd players are better in terms of audio quality compared to even the best dacs and sound cards.
post #11 of 28

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by suburbanite View Post

 

Yes but without an internal soundcard, how do you get clean audio out of your desktop/case? I wanted to use an external solution as well but found that the audio exported from both my motherboard and case USB ports was riddled with distortion when played through an admittedly low-end Maverick Tubemagic DAC/AMP.

 

The problem was more likely the low end DAC/AMP or a problem with the computer.

 

The sound from the USB is the raw digital audio which the external USB sound card should sort with no problem at all.

 

This is what I do when I use my Grace m903 with my MacBook Pro (and previously with my Samsung "lighter than air").

 

The distortion you got was either in the original sound file or a problem with your DAC/AMP (maybe picking up RF interference?).  - oh - or maybe you did not load/update the drivers or select the external card correctly - or maybe there was a clocking problem (eg: you had set to clock to wordclock and it should have been looking for the embedded clock in the sound file).

 

You are more likely to get interference and distortion with an internal sound-card than an external one.

 

I certainly would never let the audio get anywhere near the standard internal card.

post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post

 

The problem was more likely the low end DAC/AMP or a problem with the computer.

 

The sound from the USB is the raw digital audio which the external USB sound card should sort with no problem at all.

 

This is what I do when I use my Grace m903 with my MacBook Pro (and previously with my Samsung "lighter than air").

 

The distortion you got was either in the original sound file or a problem with your DAC/AMP (maybe picking up RF interference?).  - oh - or maybe you did not load/update the drivers or select the external card correctly - or maybe there was a clocking problem (eg: you had set to clock to wordclock and it should have been looking for the embedded clock in the sound file).

 

You are more likely to get interference and distortion with an internal sound-card than an external one.

 

I certainly would never let the audio get anywhere near the standard internal card.

 

It was both my desktop and the DAC/AMP that were problematic.

 

When I plugged my desktop into the DAC/AMP via USB, I got a lot of distortion but when I plugged my notebook into the DAC/AMP via USB, I got no such distortion.

 

The DAC/AMP had a high noise floor even when there was no input.

 

There was no problem with my sound files.

 

I shared your thinking that an external source is better than internal but it seemed obvious to me that I couldn't export sound from my desktop mobo and case with its existing ports so I decided I needed a PCIe card to do so. I suppose I could've used a PCIe USB or HDMI card but I took a chance and used a PCIe soundcard instead, an HT Omega eClaro.

 

The eClaro has no external EMI shield as does the Asus Xonar Essence STX but as far as I can tell with my Sennheiser HD 518's, I'm getting clear audio from it and haven't looked back.


Edited by suburbanite - 5/2/12 at 12:54pm
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 

Just intalled the sound-card last night.  I'll post my concluesions tommrow after I a/b the cd player vs sound card.

 

Tests will go

 

DVP-SR210P>Lossless CD >RCA>AX-497>EMP Tek E55ti   $35 CD PLAYER

vs

Asus Sonar>Lossless Audio>RCA>AX-497>EMP Tek E55ti $200 Sound Card


Edited by peck1234 - 5/4/12 at 12:26am
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 

God that took long. After about 2 hours of A/B ing im come to the conclusion that the CD player does infact sound better. 

Now, the Xonar does come EXTREMELY CLOSE, but the highs are just a tad recessed and lack the detail and overall dynamics that the cd player provides. 

Also I really cant raise the volume with the Xonar as much as I can with the cd player being that the cymbals are VERY Present and seem to shadow over the mix. Maybe I'm just not used to all the detail? Mid highs are lacking tho. 

Hrm, : ( now to decide which one to keep.


Edited by peck1234 - 5/4/12 at 6:25pm
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 

 Update: I have gone through a HRT Music Streamer II and a Emotiva XDA-1.   Both sound unatual and tonally unbalnced to the cd player.   


Edited by peck1234 - 6/10/12 at 12:20am
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