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DAC Comparison: USB Soundcard vs Amp for M-Audio AV40 MKII Speakers

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

hey guys, 

 

i've, like many of you - although to a much lesser extent - been very much reliant on headphones, having owned akgs, denons, ATS and currently i'm using a pair of ultrasones that are very much decent for their price

 

however, i've decided to finally invest in having a bit of a set up outside of purely personal listening too 

 

i've been researching for a good while on what speakers/monitors to buy to maximise bang for buck sort of thing - and have ended up finding the m-audio av40 mkII's at cut price, which i'm aware isn't the best whatsoever but the fact that i'm getting it at cutprice does leave me a budget to also either bring in a USB soundcard or a cheap/small DAC amp sort of thing which should hopefully help make the most of the money i do have?

 

my budget is around £50~ which isn't amazing i realise, if i stretch slightly above that, it allows for these two coming into it: 

 

the fiio e10 http://www.amazon.co.uk/FiiO-Headphone-Amplifier-Analogue-Convertor/dp/B005VO7LG6

the creative sound blaster x-fi hd http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Sound-Blaster-X-Fi-Card/dp/B003RRY3WE/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1343838615&sr=1-1-catcorr

 

cheaper alternatives to the two being: the E7 or this creative sound blaster: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Labs-70SB109500002-Blaster-Surround/dp/B0042RUEQW/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1343838615&sr=1-2)

 

thing is i've no idea what's better in the sense as in more suitable? i presume the external soundcard rather than the headphone amps since i won't actually be using it for portable purposes? but would they be more useful in actually optimising audio output? 

 

although i'm not sure if they are even "connectable" to the m-audio speakers..

 

any help appreciated

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

considering just pissing a bit of extra money for this instead: http://www.play.com/Electronics/Electronics/4-/31285858/871761480/EMU-0404-PCIe-audio-interface/ListingDetails.html?_$ja=tsid%3a11518%7ccat%3a31285858%7cprd%3a31285858

 

thoughts here? will that maximise sound quality as well as potential for more with this frankly budget? or should i just go with the creative one? or maybe the e10.... i've read the many similar-ish threads on here but none of the answers seem really ideal for me!

post #3 of 10

Used Asus xonar DX or D1 sound card, they can sell for as low as $50 (33 GBP), fairly decent DAC.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

they aren't external though are they?

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerome View Post

they aren't external though are they?

The Xonar DX/D1 are not external.

As the M-Audio AV40MKII are self powered and have no need for an external amplifier.

Something like the DAC Destroyer, USB-DAC, $60 on eBay, ships from Canada, can be connected between the computer's USB port and the AV40s.

post #6 of 10

Sorry for using this thread but I've a qns to ask.

 

Is it possible to pair my FiiO E17 with a powered speaker and for M-Audio AV40, since it's powered it'll be using power from the socket, do I have to get a transformer to use it in Singapore?

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by naoeneko View Post

Sorry for using this thread but I've a qns to ask.

 

Is it possible to pair my FiiO E17 with a powered speaker and for M-Audio AV40, since it's powered it'll be using power from the socket, do I have to get a transformer to use it in Singapore?

You mean to hook the E17 between the computer and the M-Audio AV40s?

I believe the answer is no, as the E17 does not come with a analog line-out.

 

you can have the AV40 plugged into a computer's line-out and the E17 plugged into the computer's digital output (USB or optical) at the same time.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

The Xonar DX/D1 are not external.

As the M-Audio AV40MKII are self powered and have no need for an external amplifier.

Something like the DAC Destroyer, USB-DAC, $60 on eBay, ships from Canada, can be connected between the computer's USB port and the AV40s.

 

okay great - i've found this here: http://hotaudio.com/store/dac-destroyer.php

 

would you recommend these over the EMU-0404s then? although obviously the 0404s work out as £90 compared to about £40 for the destroyer - just wanting a bit of a pro/cons for both outside of cost for me to decide. after reading other threads, i'd been meaning to get an actual soundcard that was both a DAC and ADC rather than just a DAC - hence why i was looking at the 0404s which covered everything - but if the DAC destroyer is very good bang for my buck i'm more than happy to just do that really

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerome View Post

 

okay great - i've found this here: http://hotaudio.com/store/dac-destroyer.php

 

would you recommend these over the EMU-0404s then? although obviously the 0404s work out as £90 compared to about £40 for the destroyer - just wanting a bit of a pro/cons for both outside of cost for me to decide. after reading other threads, i'd been meaning to get an actual sound card that was both a DAC and ADC rather than just a DAC - hence why i was looking at the 0404s which covered everything - but if the DAC destroyer is very good bang for my buck i'm more than happy to just do that really

The DD (Dax destoryer) comes with a PCM2704 DAC chip, which i would assume is better then the one in the EMU 0404.

A used Asus Xonar DX & D1 sound card will sell used for $50.

I really know very little about the EMU 0404.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

the problem with the asus ones is that they are not external - and i'll be using it with a laptop so i imagine it's not workable right?

 

although as an alternative i have come across asus xonar U1 instead which are external - any idea on them? they are very cheap too, so probably quite inferior in quality?

 

so i'm leaning heavily towards your recommended dac destroyer - the only slight hitch with it is it says on their website it doesn't work with an ipod? not that's a big problem really, as it's only really in very much lazy situations we'd be doing that

 

would you recommend the dac destroyer over fiio e10 or the creative soundblaster in the OP? keeping in mind i'll just be looking to plug and play with laptop/mp3 players etc and the m-audio av40 mk2's 

 

although you did say the av40 mk2's are self powered so an additional amp such as the e10 is unnecessary i imagine so it's just the soundblaster v the destroyer and i'm leaning towards the destroyer, now - i imagine you'll agree?

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