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Looking for a decent sound card

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My motherboard's onboard soundcard has intermittent sound issues and rather than reformatting in an attempt to debug the issue, I'm interested in purchasing a standalone sound card.  Looking for a decent one for $100-125 to power my stereo speakers (don't need 5.1).  

 

If there are any with a built-in amp+headphone out, I'd be willing to pay up to $200, but I still need a dedicated line out for my speakers.  I'm currently using AKG K702s.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 9

The only one I know with a built in amp is the Asus Xonar Essence STX

post #3 of 9
The STX would work well for what you want. It has both a headphone jack and line outs. You use the Xonar control panel to switch between the two outputs.

If you go with the STX, a lot of people recommend using brainbit's unified Xonar drivers. A little bit better drivers than the ones that come with the STX: http://maxedtech.com/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I will look into the STX.  Can the sound be active on both outputs for this card or is it possible to automatically disable one when I plug in headphones?  Just worried I'd be a hassle to switch outputs every time I want to use my headphones, but it's probably something I can deal with.

post #5 of 9

I think cel just mentioned that you need to switch between the devices in the control menu.

I don't use the STX so I can't tell you but I use a splitter so the signal goes both to my headphone amp and to the speakers > problem solved.

 

Alternatively I was thinking of buying a DAC with multiple outputs like the DACMagic plus which will do what you want.

post #6 of 9
Headphones or speaker out, and you have to switch it. But the Xonar control panel is in the notification icon area of the taskbar. Doesn't take long.

There may be external dac/headphone amps that have that functionality. Not sure about in your budget range.

Edit: kookoo beat me to it smily_headphones1.gif
post #7 of 9
Also look into the Audioengine D1: http://audioengineusa.com/Store/Audioengine-D1
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks, if it's in the task bar, that's okay.  I would just worried I'd have to open up a program everytime I wanted to switch.   The D1 is in my budget and looks like a good option as well.  I will have to take a closer look into both but starting to lean towards the external dac.

 

Thanks a lot for the help!

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by everybest View Post

Thanks, if it's in the task bar, that's okay.  I would just worried I'd have to open up a program everytime I wanted to switch.   The D1 is in my budget and looks like a good option as well.  I will have to take a closer look into both but starting to lean towards the external dac.

Thanks a lot for the help!

Yeah. You just click on the little notification area icon, and it opens right up. It's one pull down menu switch to change over.

The other thing you might like about the Xonar is that it has some DSP features, such as Dolby Headphone. That can be fun for gaming and movie watching. And internal sound cards like the Xonar do have an advantage over external DACs because of their gaming audio support.

There are lot of people that like the D1 on head-fi, so definitely worth looking into as well. smily_headphones1.gif
http://www.head-fi.org/t/581815/review-audioengine-d1-24-96-usb-and-optical-dac-amp-for-laptops-and-computers-in-progress
http://www.head-fi.org/products/audioengine-d1-premium-24-bit-dac
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