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Sound card vs DAC?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I currently have a Logitech Z623 hooked up to my PC's onboard sound. Being the lazy guy I am, I haven't been really bothered about it. However for the last couple of weeks, the onboard sound has been so bad, that I have been getting very bad static coming through the speakers. Now I have been looking at buying a DAC or a Soundcard.


For the DAC I have been looking at the AudioEngine D1 DAC - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=211&products_id=19169


From what I had read, this DAC seems quite good. It should be able to handle the Z623 and more importantly is bypasses the on-board audio (uses instead USB).


The other option is going for a Soundcard, however might have issues fitting one in as my GPU is double slot and takes up one PCI slot. 


Any suggestions?

post #2 of 9

Has this static problem always been there or did it start up a few weeks ago? Could be that your Logitech is failing. Maybe just a bad connection? As for getting an expensive dac, waste of cash imo. If you want to improve your audio, a $50 sound card would be more then enough. But first, figure out whats causing the static. Test the connections first and if the static is still there test the drivers. If the problem is still there test the speakers with a phone or mp3 player. If you still get static then the speakers are done.


Here are a few sound cards to consider:

Creative x-fi 5.1 Pro USB

Asus Xonar DG (pci)

Asus Xonar DG (pci-e)

Asus Xonar U3


All under $50 and will match nicely with your Logitechs. But first things first, you need to figure out whats causing the static

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Nah I can confirm its the onboard audio. When I plug the speakers into another source like a TV the static issue diappears.

I am using the sound cable (green colour speaker port) as opposed to the RCA connection since my motherboard doesn't support RCA
post #4 of 9

Get the cheapest soundcard you can find. They're all pretty decent now, especially for Logitech speakers. You won't hear a difference, unless you want to spend money on a placebo.


I have some $350 speakers, the Swan M200 with a Velodyne VX10 sub. When I got a nice soundcard for it, an Auzentech Prelude 7.1, I had my audiophile neighbor come compare it with onboard. He has $15,000 speakers.


I first played a song with onboard audio. Then when I went to switch over to the Auzentech, I actually just switched it back to onboard. He claimed there was a massive difference, it was much clearer with a wider soundstage.

Edited by astro - 3/3/13 at 1:16am
post #5 of 9

Has this problem always been there? If not then when did it start? Might be a driver issue?

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
I don't think it is a driver related issue. My motherboard is about 5 years old. I have relatively new drivers for it so yeah. I will install newer drivers and see but I am sure the problem lies with the audio chipset.

Also just plugged in my iPhone into the speakers and the static issue is non existent
post #7 of 9

One thing to check is the volume controls for all the misc. inputs. Go to playback devices, and hit properties. Then go to the levels tab. Mute anything that's there that's not the master volume such as Line-in, CD-in, etc.


Then go to recording devices and do the same.


Sometimes an input on there will make noises.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hmm... I will try that. It could be a setting.
post #9 of 9

- Isolate all other source of audio except the one you want to listen.

- Try to clean the audio output jack (on mainboard). If you have a front audio connect, you can switch to use it for testing.

- Try to reinstalling the operating system and all drivers/software (Cleaning software after a while of using computer is a good habit, maybe after 3 or 6 months).

- If onboard sound chip failure, you can look for dedicate sound card with your budget. Remember to check the compatibility of the sound card with your operating system (Windows 7 or 8 or Mac OS...).

- If possible, you can upgrade to a new system. 5 years is a pretty long period for a computer, lots of things have changed!

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