I am by no means an "audiophile" but what made me more interested in the audio quality of things was when I purchased my first sound card. (Which is considered a budget cheapy lol)
Once I installed that I immediately noticed a ridiculous difference from the on-board audio. That made me purchase a pair of Ultrasone PRO 550's which I've had for almost a year now. (Which was another ridiculously good improvement)
Overtime I got more and more curious as to if a USB/DAC would improve the sound quality even further so I eventually bought the E17 sort of to just see what happens. Well upon listening to this thing for several days I actually spent the last 4 hours switching back and forth between the 25 dollar sound card and my E17 in various things like gaming, all sorts and types of music ranging from dubstep to metal to country, and movies.
I cannot find ONE thing that sounds better with the E17 besides the fact that gunshots and shell ejections from sniper rifles sound more metallic and crisp. The E17 in gaming made the sounds and foot steps seem like I was playing a game while the sound card made it sound like I was walking, astonishing difference. But I put it off as the straight DAC not being meant for gaming. So I went to try some music.
After probably going back and forth from various 10-20 second bouts of listening to over 50 different songs I can firmly say that the 25 dollar sound card has a richer more "3d" sound to it. It really pops out and is great. When I listen to songs from the E17, vocals seem to be more apparent however at the cost of everything else sounding "tinny", flat, and empty if you will. The same exact effect that my game had.
I figured I'd post to see if I'm doing anything wrong before I send it back.
Even playing with the treble and bass settings on the E17 it does not match the overall richness that the sound card has. I still get a somewhat lifeless feel from the E17.
At high volume the differences are subtle, but at medium or below is where they really stick out.
Edited by spmoore93 - 12/31/12 at 9:15pm