First off, hello all this is my first post!
I have been lurking for ages now, but have always found the information I needed by searching. Now I am presented with a series of questions that would be better answered together rather than looking for individual posts.
First off I currently have a recon3d sound card that I bought for the headphone amp more than anything, But I am looking to get rid of that in favour of a hifi DAC (most probably a Fire Pheonix as recommended on here as good value.) Would shifting the recon3d out and using the optical out on my onboard sound to the DAC be a better bet than continuing to try and use the optical out on the recon3d to the DAC? I guess the question is:- is a realtec onboard DSP/DAP(is this correct?) sufficient with a high quality DAC, or is the marginally better processing on the recon going to give me a better overall sound? A better equalizer perhaps? So optical from onboard to DAC or from recon to DAC? (it is the lowest end recon I own fyi :P)
Secondly once the DAP/DAC is out of the way, would getting a better amp with a headphone amp and speaker outs on them be a good next step in the chain, or would it be better to use the Fire Pheonix to power the headphones and a couple of bookcase speakers? Or a half decent good value tube amp perhaps or something with a hardware eq?
Sorry for all the questions on my first post!