I certainly not recommend PCI cards. For example if the Creative is not making driver, probably you can still use PAX, but the PCI slots are about to disappear from new motherboards. If you do not want a mod, probably I recommend the PCI Express ASUS Xonars, or if you want a mod and cost+risk is not an issue. Otherwise I suggest a Titanium or Titanium Fatal1ty Pro. From DAC point of view I prefer the Cirrus DAC on the Titanium cards. Cirrus DACs are energetic rough beauty compared to the gentle refined PCMs with the nice 3d touch. The Xonar cards with their own DAC chip for every two channel are supposed to be superior for clarity. The X-Fi cards is the choice for a gamer to reach the maximum frame/sec gameplay. From driver point the Creative cards had less trouble according to the rumors few years ago.
From Titanium VS Titanium Fatal1ty Pro point what you get for the extra money is a piece of iron shield to improve the SNR. Measurements show the difference your hear will not.
For digital connection any of the cards released in the last 10 years from Creative or ASUS, probably do a perfect job.
The PSU cable is a good question, in theory it is matter, in practice, perhaps.
The power get somehow to your house from the generator. In Russia it can come from really far, on who knows what sort of network of wires. In the walls of the house maybe there is copper, if the building is old it can be aluminum. Next thing is how good is your extension lead if you use any. Then we arrived to your Z's 2 meter long power cord. If the previous wires are quality and the power cord is made from dirty cheap rubbish (no offense to the Chinese, just a possibility) the new cord is perhaps make a small difference. My friend told me he bought a fancy cord for his external DAC and he was happy with the improvement. Yet I have to try.
On the first post I have mentioned we changed of the original speaker wires to solid core copper wall cable. The result is good. We have not try to replace the spring clips. If you interested in the best connection try gold plated.
Gold have 3 attractive qualities:
- looking great
- no oxidation
- soft metal create better contact (in theory because the plating is thin)
- higher price
- not the best conductor (the next after copper the silver is on top from the elements)
- no connector beat the solder joint.
Edited by ramachandra - 5/29/16 at 5:02pm