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Wait, soundcard to external DAC?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I have been doing this, but don't understand why, let alone why anyone else is. Why are we buying a soundcard with a DAC inside, only to use coax or optical and hook it to an external DAC? Why don't we just use the analog outs to an amp?

 

also

 

Are they both decoding, or what?

 

 

post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLACKENEDPLAGUE View Post

I have been doing this, but don't understand why, let alone why anyone else is. Why are we buying a sound-card with a DAC inside, only to use coax or optical and hook it to an external DAC? Why don't we just use the analog outs to an amp?

 

also

 

Are they both decoding, or what?

 

 

Computers have "electrical noise" (inside the computer case) that can affect an analog signal.

You can send the digital signal to an external DAC, where the analog signal is created free from any electrical noise inside the computer case

Usually an add-on external DAC comes with a better DAC chip then the DAC chip on the sound card.

Also some external DACs come with 2 or even 4 DAC chips.

When the external DAC is used, it bypass the sound cards DAC chip.

Also some sound cards can process headphone surround sound and send it out the coaxial and optical outputs.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 8/18/12 at 2:16pm
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

so does it matter what sound card you have, or do they bottleneck the external dac? Say I were to get a Diamond sound card with 16/48 optical out and hook it to a Yulong Sabre, will that symphony come out as 192khz or 48khz?

 

Obviously that is hypothetical and in no way would happen using a Diamond sound card.


Edited by BLACKENEDPLAGUE - 8/18/12 at 1:50pm
post #4 of 16
Personally I find differences between coax outputs between sound cards. Specifically, some hiss while others don't. Generally the onboard ones hiss the most.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

I was doing optical from ALC889 onboard to a Maverick D1 before selling it and heard absolutely no hiss, compared to the USB route. Maybe your 1010 is sh*t

 

I'm sorry that wasn't called for


Edited by BLACKENEDPLAGUE - 8/19/12 at 7:08am
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hooking a Teac up to onboard via optical would be fine, correct?

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLACKENEDPLAGUE View Post

Hooking a Teac up to onboard via optical would be fine, correct?

 

Yes, don't sweat the minor digital details. Unless there's something really wrong or otherwise a serious compatibility issue (ie, your 24bit/xxx-khz files are being downsampled) you'll probably be better served by saving the $200 on a good soundcard on

 

1) buying more music

2) earpad fund

3) Another headphone/iem for different use (portable, etc)

-----

 

BUT of course if you need to output an analog signal with better quality than onboard - like for keeping it simple with an Onkyo stereo card or if you want your multimedia surroudn speakers to sound better - or multiple digital streams - one to a stereo DAC for music and one for an A/V receiver for movies and games - a quality soundcard is definitely a good investment.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

This is very very good news. I was about to shell out 69 bucks on an M-Audio US41750

post #9 of 16

The reason why some of us would do that is that we're using the sound card's DSP, particularly for gaming effects.

 

DACs are obviously not DSPs...or ADCs or any of the other functions a sound card might have, for that matter.

 

However, while I can understand buying a cheap sound card just for the DSP effects, buying something near top-of-the-line just to ignore their improved analog outputs (which is the main thing they have over lower-end cards) would be a waste of money.

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

The reason why some of us would do that is that we're using the sound card's DSP, particularly for gaming effects.

 

DACs are obviously not DSPs...or ADCs or any of the other functions a sound card might have, for that matter.

 

However, while I can understand buying a cheap sound card just for the DSP effects, buying something near top-of-the-line just to ignore their improved analog outputs (which is the main thing they have over lower-end cards) would be a waste of money.

Yeah because I was thinking a great idea would be to use the rca-out of an Essense STX into an Objective O2 or a Little Dot MkIII.

post #11 of 16

The only reason I use an aftermarket internal soundcard (X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty) is for processing for games.  

 

For music, I run USB>DAC, which I feel is a better option for optimal sound quality.

post #12 of 16

You could just run the soundcard's S/PDIF to your external DAC using the "play stereo mix through digital output" option and get probably better quality than USB. Then for gaming, you would just need to turn on your CCSM-3D headphone, and switch it off again for music.

post #13 of 16

How do i add my sound blaster zxr's effects to my sennheiser hdvd 800 for surround when gaming and watching movies, anyone?

post #14 of 16

So connecting spdif from my onboard soundcard to my Fiio e17, I get to use/keep the gaming features of my mobo right? I find the my onboard has better directional audio for FPS. 

post #15 of 16
Try the amp of your choice via the sound card line output. Listen to how it sounds to you. You can always pick up an external DAC later. If it sounds good (prob will with decent sound card) you'll have saved $ for other good stuff like games or music .

It's your perception that counts.
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