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DAC or Sound Card for my Airmotiv 5s

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I have an HTPC setup where I've ripped terabytes of DVDs and well over 500 CDs.  I've added Airmotiv 5s to my system and it's not very obvious that I need better sound output then comes standard with my motherboard.

The options seem to be the Asus Xonar Essence ST or an external USB DAC.  There's always the discussions about headphones and surround but those aren't the main issue for me.  I simply want to get the best sound for music in the room.  Yes, I will be listening to movies through these speakers but the music is most important to me.

 

I listen to classical and pop with the kids, rock and metal when I'm alone unless I'm working in which case it's either classical or trance.

 

Internal sound card or external USB DAC?

 

BTW - I'm new here, so thank you all for any patience and response. smile.gif
 

post #2 of 3
If you don't need headphone output but just want to power the speakers, I would go for the ODAC (google to also find reviews). I have a Xonar STX and the ODAC, and I prefer the output of the ODAC over the STX line out when used with my speakers/receiver (an HK 3390 and Energy Vertias V5.1) or my headphone amps. There's always the risk with the internal sound card that you might get some electrical noise interference from the inside of your computer. Using an external USB DAC negates that problem. The ODAC is about half the size of an iPhone (but a little thicker). Would be easy to conceal out of the way.
Edited by cel4145 - 2/15/13 at 10:14am
post #3 of 3

Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirMoby View Post

Internal sound card or external USB DAC?


Based on my experience, get a really good USB DAC.

I tried the one I have for my headphone system in my main system (against my Naim CDS CD-Player) and while not as musical, the match was surprisingly close, not what I expected. I have yet to hear any computer sound card sounding like this.

But do shop around, I tried a fair few DAC's before, non where a match to this DAC. 

Best way, get the bit of fluff over so you can cop a feel before splurging out.

Cheerio Rich

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