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My '09 Realtek ALC888 integrated audio sounding better than new FiiO E10?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone. I'm using my desktop computer for all my audio needs right now. Built it 2009 with a motherboard containing Realtek ACL888 audio

 

I use some of those generic 5.1 Logitech speakers and the Sony mdr-v6 headphones. 

 

Last week I bought the FiiO E10 to see if I could improve my ish with the headphones. What I've found so far is that my onboard audio sounds a lot more "clear," or like the equalization is better. The E10, which certainly produces more loudness, sounds more "muddled." I've switched back and forth a couple of times, playing a few different songs in FLAC, and the difference is pretty clear. Highs come through a lot stronger. 

 

My question is: are my ears not adjusted or something? The unit doesn't seem to be defective. I just feel like I'm missing something. The only difference I discovered from looking into their specs is that the ACL888 supports 44.1k/48k/96k/192kHz sample rates. The E10 can only do up to 96k. Could that be making the difference?

 

At this point I feel like I should just return the E10. What do you think? 

 

Thanks!


Edited by machinewater - 4/7/13 at 2:43pm
post #2 of 8

Do you have any effects turned on that might affect the sound? "Crystalizer", 3D effects or the like?

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Nope! All effects and EQ disabled.
post #4 of 8

Huh.

You asked about the sample rate and i forgot to answer, it shouldn't make any audible difference.

I really don't know what could be causing the difference, then. Do you think the difference obvious enough to rule out placebo?

post #5 of 8
The head-fi reviews of the E10 are pretty shaky:

http://www.head-fi.org/products/fiio-e10

I'd send back the E10 and save until you can get something better. You might start with a good $100 headphone amp (no DAC), and then add a separate DAC later when you can afford it. Perhaps the Schiit Magni.
post #6 of 8

The E10 is really a budget DAC+Amp, I'm not surprised the quality would be worse than on board audio chips. But it certainly is better than most on board audio out there. Yours might be an exception.

post #7 of 8
Many of the more serious/enthusiast motherboards have a decent onboard soundcard implementation, I personally prefer the sound from my AD1989B based motherboard to the FiiO E17, as the former has less noise.
The E17 is a portable unit, and it gives better SQ than what I get from my laptops and stock Dell office PC.
The AD1989B chip is in turn bested by the Benchmark DAC2, and a lot of other DACs I've auditioned...
In my experience a lot of the basic motherboard models have rather crap SQ tho, especially the ones found in laptops and SFF systems.
post #8 of 8

Actually, I like the overall very neutral tonality of my iPhone to my fiio e17, which is warmish with a slightly grainy/uneven treble. The soundstage and transparency is better on the fiio, though.

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