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Am I crazy or does my 25 dollar sound card sound better than the E17?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

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)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102176

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.

Edit:
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
post #2 of 5

I am kind of on the same boat. Kind of.

 

Using my HE-400's the Xonar DG is better for gaming (Positional Awareness)

 

But using my FiiO E10 is much better for all my music. I can clearly hear more detail and the most noticeable thing is how much less sibilant my FiiO E10 is vs the DG.

post #3 of 5

It is not strange because sound quality is a subjective feeling . if there are absolute sound, there will have not so many kinds of headphone and other audio device. personally I think the SQ similar with food. 

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by feiao View Post

It is not strange because sound quality is a subjective feeling . if there are absolute sound, there will have not so many kinds of headphone and other audio device. personally I think the SQ similar with food. 

When I first hooked everything up I noticed it sounded way different and I put it off as me just being used to my sound card for a year or two and the fact that the E17 is giving me a more true to absolute sound. But even after days of getting used to it and going back and forth I still prefer the sound card unfortunately.

The sound card provides almost the same level of maximum volume. With the sound card I can get to the upper limits of the bass just before it starts to distort. With the E17 I can go even louder but there's no point because if I go 10-20% louder it's a crazy volume that nobody would listen to music with for one, and the bass gets heavily distorted because it's way past the headphones ability to even play bass.

I even went as far as using NCH tone generator to directly compare very specific frequencies like 15hz 20hz 40hz etc. The sound card kept up with all of the E17's clarity and punch.

1. Not only do I think the sound is richer in games(which was to be expected), but also MUSIC and even MOVIES. Stuff like Youtube even sounds a little odd and lifeless with the E17 even though it's more "crisp"!
2. The sound card provides much more than sufficient listening volume. (Anything past 35% in my media player when the volume slider is at 100 in Windows gets almost too loud.)

I really wanted the E17 to work for me but I just can't bring myself to find a reason for why it would be worth 140 dollars when all I get is perhaps more pronounced Treble with the loss of richness in everything else.

post #5 of 5

I am not sure what the answer is, BUT, keep in mind 2 things: the sound card is connected via a PCI slot, meaning directly to the motherboard. In this case, there are no USB drivers or chipsets in the middle. What USB version is your PC using (2 or 3.0, etc), and what drivers did you use to install the E17? 

 

Also, did you try the E17 on another PC / Laptop with the same sound track to see if there is a difference? 

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