Hi, my first post in computer audio. I really need your input and experience here people so I appreciate your time in a big way. I have just recently purchased an SPL Auditor amp, which I love, but I need to upgrade my source as my current CD player while nice, does not have balanced output so I am not giving the Auditor enough voltage to work with. I have found a CD player with a really nice DAC in it, Audiolab 8200CD with the 32 bit Saber ESS DAC if I remember. When discussing this with my brother he thinks I'm nuts. He has converted to computer music serving and swears that I can essentially equal or best the sonic performance of a $1000 CD player with around a $200 sound card. I am simplifying his logic, but he is a highly experienced computer user and certainly with audio.
That said, I need to know if I was to spend say $400 on a sound card that would run under Windows 7 can I actually get one with true balanced output which I require. My brother was describing some software (I forget which) that allows the soundcard or it's DAC anyway,to be locked away from Windows so that you don't get the Windows sound management processing happening. Is this all true, can I really just skid the use of a CD transport for such a low dollar value and not suffer any SQ degradation? If so I think I am ready to make the jump to computer audio, but I am afraid of all the possible issues, i.e sound processing from the OS, USB problems, this problem, that problem. I guess I am just having a hrad time accepting how far computer audio has come.
So, do you experienced head-fiers concur, I can get just as good sound as the Audiolab 8200CD player for less money? It just sounds too good to be true and in my experience when that is the case, it usually means it is too good to be true. Anyway, please give me the benefit of your collective experience. Thanks in advance.
Edited by Sonic Defender - 7/9/12 at 9:23am